Monday, 11 April 2016

Lemon Parma Violet Cupcakes

A few weeks ago I was asked if I'd like to try some of the baking range by Betty Crocker. As I've started featuring more recipes on Gingerbread Smiles, I thought it was great timing and agreed knowing it was pot luck what would arrive at my door. When I opened the package I saw that I had received a lemon cake mix and lemon icing. I was a little disappointed as lemon is probably my least favourite of cake flavours, but I got to work thinking of ideas.

I'd recently bought some parma violets on a whim to use in a recipe for the blog and hadn't got round to using them for anything yet. So I decided that the two would go together, and you know what they did and they taste delicious.

Lemon Parma Violet Cupcakes Recipe Sweets

Lemon Parma Violet Cupcakes Recipe Sweets

Lemon Parma Violet Cupcakes Recipe Sweets

Lemon Parma Violet Cupcakes Recipe Sweets

Lemon Parma Violet Cupcakes Recipe Sweets

So to make these little beauties you will need:

- A box of Betty Crocker Lemon Cake Mix
- A tube of Betty Crocker Lemon Icing
- Jar of Lemon Curd
- About 4/5 packs of Parma Violets
- 2 x Icing bags and a nozzle

First start by making the cakes as per the box instructions. I cooked my cakes for around 20 minutes and they came out a little browned on top but other than that still lovely and moist. When they'd cooled down I got a teaspoon out and used the other end (i.e not the spoon end) to carefully take out the middle of the cake. If you have a cupcake corer you can use this, but I didn't have one at the time so I carved out a small circle in the middle of the top of the cupcake working my way down making sure not to go too far.

Then I filled up my first icing bag with lemon curd and piped this into the little holes I'd just created. Once these were full up with lemon curd, I got the lemon icing from the tub and transferred this to an icing bag. Now depending on how you decided to ice your cakes you may find the tub doesn't stretch to the amount of cakes you have. I know mine didn't although it said it would on the packet. I'd use it sparingly if you don't want to have to buy more, or make some!

Once you've iced your cakes its time for a little Parma Violet decoration. I emptied a packet at a time into a bowl and crushed them with the back of a spoon. Most of them I crushed into dust, but some I left quite a little bit bigger to add to the decoration. Once I'd sprinkled this dust across my cakes I added a full Parma Violet to each cupcake.

And there you have a Lemon Parma Violet Cupcake with a lemon curd filling!

What do you think? Will you be making these?
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Friday, 8 April 2016

Chocolate Afternoon Tea at Acklam Hall

At Easter time a lot of chocolate is consumed, so I decided it was only right to eat more and go for a chocolate afternoon tea. Acklam Hall has recently opened to the public after a long restoration period to bring it back to its former glory after being an all boys school. It is now a beautiful venue, able to host weddings and events as well as having a restaurant for fine dining. 

Following their grand opening they've been promoting their chocolate afternoon tea on the run up to Easter. Over the long weekend I decided that it had been a while since myself and Mum ventured out for afternoon tea, so it was a chance to try Acklam Hall.

Acklam Hall Middlesbrough Afternoon Tea Review Chocolate

Acklam Hall Middlesbrough Afternoon Tea Review Chocolate

Acklam Hall Middlesbrough Afternoon Tea Review Chocolate

Acklam Hall Middlesbrough Afternoon Tea Review Chocolate

Acklam Hall Middlesbrough Afternoon Tea Review Chocolate

Acklam Hall Middlesbrough Afternoon Tea Review Chocolate

Acklam Hall Middlesbrough Afternoon Tea Review Chocolate

We we're seated in the dining room and we'd arrived so early there was no-one else in the room. We had it all to ourselves. After getting ourselves acquainted with the building and doing the obligatory toilet visit, our pot of tea and plates of food were brought out. The staff at Acklam Hall were all very friendly and accommodating bringing us more tea and changing our sandwich selection to ones that we liked. 

When we were settled with a cup of tea, we started on the food. Sandwiches first, we're not animals! There was cheese savoury, egg and cress, chicken and ham. They were all lovely but as I'm not a massive ham fan, these were the two left at the end. On to the scones and there was one chocolate chip one and one normal. I only could manage the chocolate chip one as there was so much more left for me to try. Unfortunately it didn't live up to scones I've had in the past as it was crumbly and just fell apart.

Then it was on to the dessert tray. This was where the chocolate was at! We had little white chocolate eggs filled with raspberry cream, chocolate orange tart, a hollow chocolate bunny and a piece of the most decadent chocolate mousse cake. All the desserts were delicious but by the time it came to eat the bunny I was stuffed and only managed his ears. Sorry bunny.

Overall we really enjoyed our visit to Acklam Hall. It is one of the closer venues to us being in the centre of Middlesbrough but when you're inside it doesn't feel like this. It's quiet and elegant. I will definitely be back to dry out their proper menu as I've heard great things about the food.

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Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Vanilla Toffee Oreo Freakshake Recipe

Following on from my Chocolate Peanut Butter Freakshake recipe that I posted on Sunday, here is my Vanilla Toffee Oreo Freakshake. This is for those folks who aren't major chocoholics like me but still love a good sickly milkshake. Filled with toffee syrup and Golden Oreo biscuits, this shake is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Vanilla Toffee Oreo Freakshake Recipe Milkshake

Vanilla Toffee Oreo Freakshake Recipe Milkshake

Vanilla Toffee Oreo Freakshake Recipe Milkshake

Vanilla Toffee Oreo Freakshake Recipe Milkshake

Vanilla Toffee Oreo Freakshake Recipe Milkshake

What you'll need:
For the Milkshake:-
- 250ml Milk
- 2 scoops of Vanilla Ice Cream
- 3 Golden Oreos
- Good squeeze of Toffee Syrup

Toppings:-
- Golden Oreos
- Toffee Syrup
- Whipped Cream

A very easy but delicious shake recipe, simply add all the milkshake ingredients to your blender and blitz away. Whilst the blender is doing its thing, drizzle the toffee syrup around the inside of your glass. Pour your milkshake in being careful not to touch the sides. Finish off with a mountain of whipped cream then squeeze toffee syrup all over and break up more biscuits on top.

There you have a very sickly Vanilla Toffee Oreo Freakshake!

Will you be having a go?

Got your own Freakshake recipe? Link below!
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Sunday, 3 April 2016

Chocolate Peanut Butter Freakshake Recipe

Today I'm talking Freakshakes. Made famous by a cafe in Australia, they are super-charged milkshakes that are oh so good, but so very bad for you. A deliciously decadent milkshake sits inside a cup drizzled with all sorts of goodies and topped off with a heap of cream and more treats.

I know that a few places in the UK have started to sell these including De Melo in Middlesbrough and GB Cupcakery in Newcastle but I decided it was time to make my own. I decided on two flavours, chocolate peanut butter and vanilla toffee oreo. They are both delicious and filled with too many calories to count. Today's recipe is for the Chocolate Peanut Butter Freakshake...

Chocolate Peanut Butter Freakshake Recipe Milkshake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Freakshake Recipe Milkshake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Freakshake Recipe Milkshake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Freakshake Recipe Milkshake

You will need:

For the milkshake:-
- Vanilla Ice Cream
- 250ml Milk
- Chocolate Spread
- Peanut Butter

Top it off with:-
- Whipped Cream
- Peanut Butter M&Ms
- Chocolate Sprinkles

Add 250ml of milk, two large scoops of ice cream, a good spoonful of peanut butter and two spoons of chocolate spread to a blender and blitz. Whilst this is doing its work, melt some chocolate spread in a microwave and drizzle on the inside on the glass, also smear some around the top of the glass inside and out. Carefully pour your milkshake into the glass making sure not to touch the sides directly.

Shake up your whipped cream can and go to town on the top of your milkshake. Pile it high as the cream will sink as you add your toppings. Finally add your M&Ms and sprinkles to top it off. And hey presto, you've got your own homemade Freakshake. Make sure to take lots of pictures to make your friends jealous!

Stay tuned for my next Freakshake recipe which will be Vanilla Toffee Oreo!

Will you be making a Freakshake sometime soon?
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Friday, 1 April 2016

Burgers in Amsterdam - Burger Fabriek

You know me, whenever I go out for food in a new city I have to find a great burger joint. Although we didn't go looking for anything special, we stumbled across this place whilst on a short trip to Amsterdam. 

Burger Fabriek is on the main shopping street tucked away under the pretence of a quick takeaway. You can get a quick takeaway from here but it's quality grub! There is a little seating area out the back that encapsulates all things I love in interior design - industrial and rustic.

The menu was quite overwhelming with different burger and hot dog options to make your own or a choice of pre-put-together meals. I chose to go with the Black Angus burger topped with cheese and Matt had the same burger with an egg as well. We accompanied these with a portion of chips to share and some dips.

Burgers in Amsterdam City - Burger Fabriek

Burgers in Amsterdam City - Burger Fabriek

Burgers in Amsterdam City - Burger Fabriek

Burgers in Amsterdam City - Burger Fabriek

Burgers in Amsterdam City - Burger Fabriek

The burger was lovely and tasty. Topped with everything I like in a burger including lettuce, tomato and gherkins with a special sauce. They were a bit skimpy with the sauce but luckily I had my extra to douse on. Matt enjoyed his burger although it was a bit messy with the egg! As this is basically just a takeaway restaurant there were no toilets so unfortunately we couldn't wash up afterwards. The chips were yummy and overall the meal was very filling.

If I'm ever back in Amsterdam and need a quick bite I'll definitely head back here. There is so much on the menu that I didn't have chance to try. I also think they have a proper restaurant so that would be cool to visit as I bet it's the same style and same amazing food.

Have you been here? What did you think?
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