Misc

Some news!

Due to some stuff going on in my life right now, I’ve decided to put my baking challenge on hold.  At least I was on track with my bakes, though, so that’s something?  I’ll probably continue baking some of the things in the book (and posting about them on here), but I’m not aiming to do it within a year anymore.  I’ll probably do Cake Number 20 within a couple of weeks, just so it’s a nice, even number 🙂

In other news, I’ve started to sell macarons!  So, instead of posts about my baking challenge disasters, I will now be posting my macarons and the recipes for them.  I hope you enjoy!

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(I am planning on eventually selling them online – but it would only be in the UK, to keep them fresh – and I will update when I plan on doing that 🙂 )

Cake Number 19: Accra Banana and Peanut Cake (Ghana)

Accra Banana and Peanut Cake1

Admittedly, I thought this cake was going to be a disaster, as it just would not bake.  But, a bazillion hours later, it was finally cooked!!  As the title suggests, this is a banana and peanut cake (more like a banana and peanut loaf), but it has also got toffee inside it and it is delicious.

Accra Banana and Peanut Cake3

The dried bananas on top give it a nice crunch – and I’ve now got a bag of dried bananas that I can enjoy 🙂  I’ve no idea why I added the peanuts because I despise peanuts, so I might give them a miss next time (I ate some but picked most of them out).

Cake Number 18: Bienenstich (Germany)

Bienenstich1

I managed to bake something and have nothing go wrong (if you don’t count the fact that I dropped the flour, which caused the bag to burst and flour to go everywhere, and the fact that I managed to slice my finger open with a bread knife.  But they didn’t affect the final result!).  I am so pleased with these!  They are lovely little brioche-y type cakes/bread topped with a sugary/honey/almondy mixture.  And the outside is so satisfyingly crunchy!  When I cut these in half to add the vanilla custard (resulting in the sliced open finger), they made such a nice crunch noise!

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Admittedly, I’m not the biggest fan of nuts and I did try it with them – but I think I’ll probably scrape them off the next one I have.  I seem to be the only person in my family who doesn’t like nuts (or mushrooms.  Ugh….).  Strangely enough, though, I like macarons and they are made almost completely from nuts (but the sugar helps!)

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Cake Number 17: Macarons (France)

Macaron Cake1

I’m gonna be honest here – the recipe in the book calls for individual macarons.  But I’ve wanted to make a macaron cake for so long, so I thought that this would be the perfect time to try!  And I love it!  Admittedly, it doesn’t have feet (I don’t think I whisked my egg whites enough.  Sigh.  There’s always next time, though!)

And this is the first time I’ve flavoured my macaron shells (I know, I know – I shouldn’t just make plain ones but I’m still trying to get them just right, so I’m not really into fiddling with them too much just now).  I ground up some pistachios and added them to the mixture and they taste amazing (and I’m not even a fan of pistachios!)

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For this cake, I made one big disk and a big ring, as I wanted some fruit to go in the middle and I thought it might look weird if they were all piled on top.  Piping the cream onto the disk and them topping with the ring creates a nice well in the middle for the fruit to sit 🙂

Now, I just need to wait for my Mum to come home from work so that I can cut it (I can’t cut it before as many people as possible have seen that I can sometimes bake pretty things).

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Top 20 European Destinations

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Out of all the continents, Europe is the one that I have travelled the most (living in Scotland helps!  What doesn’t help is the fact I have to take at least 2 planes to get anywhere…).  I’ve decided to make a list of my Top 20 European Destinations.  Some of these I’ve been to, some I’m desperate to visit but I hope you enjoy my list!

Just a head’s up, this list isn’t in order of how much I like the destinations, as they’re too amazing to put in order!

                                                                                                       20. Dubrovnik, Croatia                                                                            telegraph.co.uk

If you wanna pretend you’re in Game of Thrones (although, you’ll probably end up killed off like the rest of the characters…), then this is the destination for you!  Dubrovnik is a beautiful, old town, full of amazing history and museums.

Picture 02619. Saas-Fee, Switzerland

I need to go back here.  Saas-Fee is amazing for skiing.  Only electric cars are allowed in the town, which is full of cute buildings and amazing shops (and hot chocolate!)

                                                                                                                18. Monaco                                                                                              hotel-r.net

The world’s second smallest country (after the Vatican), Monaco is one of the glitziest places in the world and I badly want to visit it.  It’s very expensive, though!

                                                                                                          17. Barcelona, Spain                                                 timeout.com

I’m desperate to visit Barcelona and see the Sagrada Familia, get lost in the alleys, and enjoy everything Gaudi!

DSC_025216. Prague, Czech Republic

One of the most beautiful places I’ve visited, Prague is full of amazing architecture, history and everything is so cheap!  And you need to try a trdelnik – they’re so good!

                                                                                                      15. Amsterdam, Netherlands                                                           digital.fespa.com

Full of brilliant museums, Amsterdam is also famous for its biking, culture and history.

Edinburgh114. Edinburgh, Scotland

I lived here for 4 years, so Edinburgh will always have a special place in my heart.  Make sure you visit the many museums and the castle (and palace!).  And you must get lost in the small back streets! (The above photo is the street I lived on – isn’t it gorgeous?!)

                                                                                                       13. Budapest, Hungary                                                                            lvs.luxury

Budapest is probably up there for culture and architecture.  And I’ve heard it’s a good place to travel to if you’re on a budget.

DSC_073212. Verona, Italy

I love Verona.  It’s so small, cute, rustic and full of history – and it’s so easy to get away from the crowds as well!

                                                                                                     11. Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic                                               czechtourism.com

Another small, cute town, Cesky Krumlov reminds me of The Grand Budapest Hotel (one of my favourite films!)

                                                                                                             10. Athens, Greece                                                                   lonelyplanet.com

I love anything to do with Ancient Greece, so what better place than Athens?

                                                                                                             9. Lisbon, Portugal                                                           worldwanderista.com

Lisbon is up there as one of the places I’m probably going to visit soon (fingers crossed!).  This beautiful city is full of amazing culture, great food, and gorgeous, tiny streets.

                                                                                                                8. Colmar, France                                                              thousandwonders.net

Probably the cutest town in France – how can you resist all of those gorgeous, brightly coloured houses!  And they’re next to a river!  Can’t go wrong there 🙂

                                                                                                             7. Ronda, Spain                                                                    malagatogo.com

I badly want to visit this cliffside village – imagine the views!  And the history of the place is amazing.

Picture 0046. Paris, France

The romantic City of Lights, there’s so much to do in Paris – amazing nightlife, culture and food, to name a few!

                                                                                                          5. Dordogne Region, France                                                       leseyzies-tourist.info

So many castles!  I need to go here!

                                                                                                         4. Santorini, Greece                                                                                   foundtheworld.com

You’ll recognise the pictures – the gorgeous, white buildings with blue roofs.  I’ve also heard the sunsets are amazing.

DSC_00053. Venice, Italy

I love Venice.  It’s so unique and unlike anywhere I’ve ever been before.  It’s impossible to walk over a bridge and not take a photo of the canals.

                                                                                                            2. Seville, Spain                                telegraph.co.uk

As well as the history and the amazing architecture, Seville is also famous for tapas, flamenco and sangria.

DSC_00681. Cinque Terre, Italy

Five gorgeous, small towns by the coast.  Hike or catch the train between each town.  Be prepared, though – there’s not a flat area anywhere.  It’s all hills or stairs.