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.


N.B All opinions are my own 


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:

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

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 !



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!


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


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

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

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