Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Tala Utility Range




I'm sure most of you are familiar with Tala products
As a brand that has been around for over one hundred years at some point most of us have come across their bakeware or kitchen products;
be it in our own Grandmothers or Mothers kitchen or the familiar blue and white packaged kitchen necessitates found in any good store that sells homewares.
I remember bits and bobs that my grandmother had in her kitchen which bore the signature Tala name  but I became more acquainted with their products as a teenager when I worked in a department store in the home and kitchenware section.
One of my weekly tasks was to re-stock, tidy and organise the large section we had of Tala products.
As many people came so purposefully into the store to purchase from their range I often wondered why, these days most supermarkets sell kitchen items- why go to the trouble?
As I started to learn more about baking and cooking, from getting my own home and becoming a mother, I can understand the value of the trust that is built up by companies like Tala.
From the way each of their products are made using traditional methods, most finished by hand, to the way their original icing syringe from the 1920's will still work with their nozzles made today;
this company has worked hard on creating items that last, building that level of trust with their customers and maintaining their traditional values.
So, last month when Tala contacted me to ask if I'd like to review their new Utility Range I was rather pleased indeed and of course said yes!


Many people know Tala from their baking items such as their iconic Cooks Measure but they also have a beautiful range of  Household and Cleaning products and have done for many years.
Their new range of utility products is exactly what you would expect from this great company;
stylish yet traditional, simple in design, and very well made.

They were kind enough to send me a little box of kitchen items;
a vegetable brush, a dish brush, some polka dot gloves, a soap dish and a bar of their olive oil soap.
I have included some of my own enamel ware and kitchen products in this little shoot to show how well Tala's range fits in.




This sturdy little vegetable brush has hard and soft bristles on each side-
Although so many vegetables are washed and packed these days, many people, including myself, are turning back to source local and organic produce, which most of the time is unwashed. 
I have been looking for a vegetable brush for a while now and have a feeling more people could use one of these!








This wooden dish brush is perfect- it feels so well made and the colour is beautiful.
I never thought I'd feel so happy looking at the washing up bowl-
The rubber gloves certainly brighten up cleaning time too!





The enamel soap dish is great for keeping sink-side;
it's heavier than it looks making it feel much less likely to clatter off.
The soap smells wonderful; not over-bearing and is made with natural ingredients.
I love any products with olive oil in for its moisturising and protective qualities.


I can honestly say the quality of each of the products I was asked to review was simply excellent.
From the materials used to the traditional design.
I would definitely count myself among those who seek out such well made products in the hope that they will last, become part of our home and maybe even one day get passed on, as our children make their own homes

I am very grateful to Tala for supplying me with such beautiful products and collaborating with me on this post.
They are a wonderful company to work with and I look forward to seeing their brand go from strength to strength.



If you haven't popped over to the Tala website- go now and have a look at their gorgeous range;
you wont be disappointed.

Sally
x




N.B All opinions are my own 


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Wednesday, 9 September 2015

#Bakeofflovelies - Alternative Week

Although I've been feeling rather unwell for the last week, luckily for me it was Alternative ingredients week on the Bake Off, 
which meant I could share my favourite but thankfully very easy bake.
I came across this recipe several years ago in Nigella's "Feast" and ever since have been making it every Easter and Christmas (and any excuse in between)
I also often make her Chocolate Orange version of this cake which is just A-mazing.


Apart from the fact that it is so easy to make, to me it is perfection in a cake;
it's dense, moist, and even though it has none in it, very buttery.
Although I'm not completely intolerant to gluten, it tends to disagree with me so the lack of white flour here is a bonus.
The almonds are not overwhelming at all but give it a delicate flavour that means you can grab a slice with your morning coffee and not feel too indulgent.
Nigella's Recipe calls for puréed apple which I omit for mine; 
not because it isn't delicious but because I just love how simple this cake can be.
I use less almonds for mine and a smaller tin as I like a taller cake.


Here is my slightly adapted version:

Recipe
300g of Ground Almonds
275g of Caster Sugar
8 Eggs
Juice of half a Lemon
1 tsp of Vanilla Bean Paste
A generous sprinkle of Flaked Almonds

Method:
Combine all ingredients in a food processor (or a mixer/bowl)
Pour into a greased and lined tin ( I use a loose bottomed 10inch tin)
Sprinkle with flaked Almonds
Bake at 180 for 45 mins to an hour
(keep an eye on it to make sure the top isn't catching)


Nigella advises to serve warm with a dusting of icing-
In my opinion it tastes even better cold.


Even feeling as sorry as I did for myself I managed to put this cake together in five minutes;
It's definitely worth a try if you're new to gluten free baking.



Hope you enjoyed this weeks #bakeofflovelies
and enjoy tonight's Great British Bake Off!

Link up below !


Sally
x


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Thursday, 3 September 2015

Creative Space






(Photo Credit : Hannah Barnes)

Well we're finally starting Autumn and it seems to have come around so quickly...

This year I wanted to spend more time focusing on my little business and working on new pieces.
Since the start of the year I've managed to meet quite a few of my own goals and make better use of my creative time.
Saying that in the last few weeks I've been rather quiet on the craft front - 
so now as we're heading into this gorgeous season I'm back to work and getting inspired with Autumnal colours.
As I've mentioned before here, I crossed paths with the lovely Hannah 
who blogs over at "All of my days with you" last year when we did a little craft swap;
She takes amazing photographs as well as creating stunning embroideries and at the moment is doing it all with a little one on the way.

She very kindly wrote a piece about my work last month along with these beautiful photographs.
Do pop over to her wonderful blog.
This is one of my favourite pieces I've done as I love the colours and how well they sit in the dark wood frame.

I'll be working away but posting my latest pieces as I finish them-
However I'll still be doing custom work so drop me a line if there's something in particular you'd like!



Sally
x
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Wednesday, 2 September 2015

#Bakeofflovelies Dessert Week

It's been "Dessert week" on the Bake Off, 
and this week once again my lovely husband is the contributor to our #bakeofflovelies.
As someone who loves cheesecake he didn't need any persuasion to bake a delicious dessert.
He spent a whole afternoon putting together this gorgeous cheesecake and carefully timing the process;


I being my usual self thought he might be being a little too meticulous.
Apparently I was wrong.
I can see now why my cheesecakes are always rather solid and crack down the middle when baked.
Although Cheesecake isn't my favourite dessert; even I can appreciate this one.
I'll admit I thought they were giving the bakers an easy task, asking for stacked cheesecakes; 
again I was so very wrong.
There really is so much more than crushing a few biscuits and throwing on some cream cheese;
and as for stacking them, I nearly had a breakdown getting this one onto a plate.
As Joe was  called to work a long shift he handed over the task of decorating his creation to me and gave me full artistic license.
In our house we really do love salted caramel (as you've probably guessed) -
its just so good!


I pondered over what kind of caramel for the topping - believe it or not there are more than one type- but in the end settled for a thick and creamy caramel layer;
 Imagine the caramel in Millionaires Shortbread.

We ended up with a very creamy baked cheesecake to rival the one in Friends, topped with a gorgeous Fudgy layer of Salted Caramel



Recipe

For the Crust:

85g Butter Melted
140g Digestive Biscuits
1 Tsp Sugar

For the Cheesecake:

900g Full Fat Cream Cheese
250g Caster Sugar
3 Tbsp Plain Flour
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
Finely Grated zest of one Lemon
1 1/2 Tsp Lemon juice
3 Large Eggs plus one Yolk
250ml Creme Fraiche 

For the Topping

100g of Unsalted Butter
100g of Soft Brown Sugar
1 Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk



Method
Preheat the oven to 180 and line a 23cm Spring form cake tin with greaseproof paper.
Melt the butter and stir in the crumbs and sugar; press into the bottom of the tin and bake for 10 minutes then cool on a wire rack.
Increase the oven temperature to 240.
Beat the cheese at a medium speed using a paddle until creamy - do not over mix
slowly add the sugar, flour and a pinch of salt.
Swap the paddle for the whisk then add the vanilla. lemon zest and juice.
Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides; again don't over-beat the mixture.
Add the creme fraiche whisking at a low speed
The mixtue should be smooth and light
Brush the sides of the spring form tin with melted butter then pour in the filling
Bake for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 110 and bake for 25 minutes more
(There should be a wobble if you shake the tin)
Turn off the oven, open the door and leave to cool for two hours
cover and refrigerate overnight - If you can wait that long!



For the caramel topping, melt the butter over a medium heat and stir in the sugar until dissolved;
Add the tin of Condensed milk and turn to a high heat, stirring quickly for about a minute
Remove from heat and leave to cool before spreading over your cheesecake
Sprinkle with a good quality salt- Maldon is perfect.









For me this was as near to perfection as a baked cheesecake gets,
The middle was perfectly creamy.
As for the topping, when is it ever a bad idea to top a dessert with caramel?
I have a feeling Joe will be baking this one again soon..

You can link up with us below or tag your #bakeofflovelies on Instagram or Twitter!



Happy Baking

Sally & Joe
x



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Wednesday, 26 August 2015

#Bakeofflovelies Cinnabon Style Cinnamon Buns

Although I love baking, bread is not my thing; 
The simple science of working out rising times and how to get it out of the oven somewhere between "still dough" and "black" seems to be a task too far.
So this week I asked my husband Joe to step in with his "Cinnabon Style Cinnamon Rolls"
the reason being that he is actually very good indeed at making bread and these gorgeous treats are his signature dessert in our home. 
He tends to make these a lot and they always taste amazing!

However. 
Due to work and everything in between he didn't have time to rustle up some cinnamony goodness in time for #bakeofflovelies so the task fell to me!
Although Joe hasn't made these buns it's given me the chance to show that anyone can give these a go; 
I had no intention of making these as I believed they would not turn out but they actually worked pretty well...
(Although my husband is still the best Cinnabon baker here!)
And in true Paul Hollywood Bake off style he popped into the kitchen every now and then to cast a judgemental eye over my techniques and presentation!
He rather kindly offered to write up a post to accompany this weeks bake and share his recipe for these delicious buns - 
if you have a few hours spare, I strongly suggest you give them a go.


~                         ~                      ~

I'll start with an apology for you all, because you're not getting Sally this week, you're stuck with her husband instead. I'll do all I can to make this easier on you all.
All the way back in 2006, me and my family went on a holiday to Orlando, and I (being my slack self) missed breakfast, so by the time we made it to Universal Studios I was starving. 
Luckily, I chanced on a Cinnabon shop and they have been my favourite thing ever since.
They're essentially Chelsea bun; made with an enriched bread dough rolled around a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon, then topped with an artery clogging amount or frosting...heaven.
They're soft but dense, with the caramelised sugar in the middle gluing the whole thing together, and its technically still bread! "A risen creation".


As I am a baking novice (I've been told my Victoria sponge is like chewing on a sandal.) these are a bit of an effort, but if I can do it, I'm sure you all can, too.

Recipe:
For the Dough:
1 Packet of Yeast (7g)
1 Cup of Milk
4 Cups of Bread Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Margarine
1 Tsp Salt
2 Eggs

For the Filling:
1/3 Cup Margarine
1 Cup Brown Sugar
4 Tbsp Cinnamon

Frosting:
1/4 cup Butter
1/2 Cup Cream Cheese
2 Cups of Icing Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla

I start by dissolving some yeast in warm milk and leaving for 10 minutes; meanwhile combining the flour, eggs, sugar and salt. 
Then slowly add the milk until the mixture forms a soft dough. 
After kneading the dough needs some time to prove, put into an oiled bowl covered with cling film for about 1 hour until doubled in size. 
This is a good time to mix the butter, cinnamon and soft brown sugar together to make the delicious filling. 
Once the dough has proved I roll it out into a big square on a dusted surface then spread that sugary filling all over it before rolling it all up and cutting it into equal pieces. 




When they've been put into a tin I leave them to prove again, covered by a warm, damp, towel, for about 20 minutes before sticking them in the oven and staring at them intently while they bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown; 

The house always fills with what must be the best smell in the world, and you'll be desperate to dig into them regardless of the burns!

They're an indulgent treat that everybody will keep asking you to make again, but I'd challenge anybody to eat two of these in a row...





I'll give Sally back to you all now, so normal service can resume. Thank you for reading!

~                         ~                         ~

These came out so soft and cinnamony! The most difficult part to this recipe was keeping track of the steps and putting it all together, but on the whole it wasn't too difficult; even for me with a small person to chase after at the same time.
Joe and I disagree on the flour to use, I say bread flour, he uses self raising and gets good results; I'll let you be the judge!

If you fancy joining in with #bakeofflovelies link up below or tag us on Instagram or twitter!


Sally and Joe 
x


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Friday, 21 August 2015

Summertime Surprise Project

I have been a follower of  Lucy's Blog "Capture By Lucy" for a couple of years now and it is still one of my favourites to hop over to when I have a quiet minute.
She takes amazing photographs using beautiful props and is a genius at party styling;
I mean just look!

This spring Lucy launched the "Surprise Project" -
A seasonal creative box swap to spread a little kindness and happiness.

I loved the idea when I first heard about it but being rather disorganised I missed the sign up deadline;
however I decided to get my act together for the Summertime Project and signed up as soon as I could!
Obviously I loved the idea of getting a little surprise in the post
but I also really enjoy being creative and anything which helps spread some happiness around!

The rules of the project are simple;
when signing up list your interests so your partner can put together something you'd like;
gift/create/make/upcycle something your partner would like - the guide price is £5
pop it in the post before un-boxing day!

My partner Hannah said she loved crafting, baking and upcyling in her interests box so I put together a box filled with crafty bits and bobs, fabric, cookie treat bags and a little kit for her to make her own embroidered brooch...
I really hope she liked it!

Just before opening day I received my own Surprise box in the post and couldn't wait to see what was inside!


Hannah sent me a gorgeous parcel with some of her home-made cookies in and a sweet hand sewn oil-cloth bag!


I love the colour of this pretty little bag and yes, I do love oil-cloth!
It's so lovely receiving something that someone has took the time to make just for you...


I can honestly say Hannah's cookies were some of the best I've ever tasted;
The Mojito cookies were soft, chewy and had a gorgeous lime tang;
the chocolate orange ones were divine- I love chocolate oranges so these were my favourite.
(and I may have eaten them all to myself...)

Thank you Lucy, for coming up with such a great idea which so many people have loved being part of.
I can't wait for the next one!

If you'd like to send and receive some happy mail, the sign up for the "Autumn Surprise Project" opens on September 1st.
I'll definitely be marking my calendar!


Sally
x

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Wednesday, 19 August 2015

#Bakeofflovelies Teatime at Home and The Great Denby Cake Off

Here we are at week two of the Great British Bake off, and the last week has been all about biscuits.
I am a typical biscuit lover- always with tea and cupboards are never really bare until there's "not even a biscuit in the house!"
Oddly enough however I don't often get round to making any myself;
so this week I set upon composing a suitable biscuit for tea time whilst taking the opportunity to experiment with flavours and structures.
I have been rather disorganised in the last week due to us all being under the weather with some sort of bug.
Washing piled up, pots went unwashed; so naturally now we all seem to be a bit better getting the house back to normal was priority.
Hence why this post is rather late in that we now have exactly forty-nine minutes left until bread week begins...!
So without further ado; my contribution to "Biscuit week"

Salted Caramel Butter-Cream Sandwich Biscuits with Vanilla and Cardamom Shortbread 
Drizzled with White Chocolate


(There's a mouthful when offering round..)

Firstly I went with an average type of biscuit (although why is it called shortbread?!)
but then again, it's delicious. Crumbly, buttery, ridiculously few ingredients.
It's as good a start as any for tea time treat.

As far as flavouring goes, I rarely need an excuse to add cardamom to anything.
At home we always had it in tea; and it's scent is warming and comforting; its perfect in savoury and sweet foods- the pods work like tiny teabags when boiled and the seeds taste almost a little peppery when ground.
I didn't use to much as it can be over powering- less is certainly more here.
I decided vanilla would complement it well and it smelled amazing in the mixer!


I recently made a chocolate cake with salted caramel butter-cream which I thought would go really well with the flavour of the shortbread-
 it's quite sweet but delicious.
Thankfully you can now buy Caramel in a tin and don't have to go to a lot of trouble and effort boiling a tin of sweetened condensed milk for five hours like I had to last week when the shop had run out. 
(N.B Try not to eat whole can.)


Although this recipe requires a few stages and some assembly- it's fairly simple, and again, the little ones can get involved...


This guy loves rolling out dough- although this is very short (being short bread and all..)
so be prepared for short-tempered-ness when it doesn't shape into a perfect dinosaur.


For the Vanilla and Cardamom Shortbread:

220g of Unsalted Butter
110g of Caster Sugar
340g Plain Flour
1 Tbsp of Vanilla Paste
Ground Seeds of one Cardamom Pod 

Method:
Mix the Butter and Sugar until pale and fluffy 
Add the Vanilla and Cardamom
 (You can use a pestle & mortar. Or a rolling pin and a bowl to grind the Cardamom seeds)
 Stir in the Flour and combine into a soft ball
Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes
Roll out onto a lightly floured surface and cut out rounds using a cutter
Bake in the oven at 180 for around 10 minutes until just golden
Allow to cool slightly before transferring to a flat surface to cool completely


For the Salted Caramel Butter-Cream:
Cream 100g of unsalted Butter with half a can of Caramel and 500g of Icing Sugar
Add Salt to Taste


To Assemble:
Pipe swirls of the Butter-Cream onto the flat side of one biscuit and top with another round.
Drizzle the white chocolate using a fork moving from side to side for even results.
Pop into the fridge to set a little before serving...


Our baking scene  is very much about our home this week.
There's nothing very fancy here just a strong cup of tea and the latest treat we've put together in between cleaning, playing, learning and seeing family.
I love being at home and creating things we can enjoy together.
My Denby teacups and teapot are my favourites for everyday Teatime.  
My mum always collected Denby and now I'm gathering my own collection. 
It reminds me of home and I love the classic designs and colours. 












It's been lovely sharing tea and biscuits with you - but the Bake Off is starting...

If you'd like to join in any part of the way link up below or tag your #Bakeofflovelies on Instagram or Twitter...



As well as being my bake off lovelies post I'm also submitting this as part of the "Great Denby Cake Off"  for more information on how to get involved pop over to their website

Sally
x




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