Frome Independent Market.

bumble and wildHello again and HAPPY EASTER! I hope you all had a lovely day whatever you got up to and ate, drank and got merry with your loved ones celebrating all things Easter, Spring and chocolate. My family and I went to Frome Independent market today which is a town about 30 minutes away from where I live. Frome is a town in lovely Somerset which has a lovely mix of both highstreet retailers and a lot of cute independent shops. I’m a big fan of any town or high street that isn’t like no other and quite often in the UK you could walk down any high street or shopping town centre and be greeted with the exact same shops, the exact same closed down shops and end up in the same chain coffee shop drinking the same skinny vanilla latte. Eurgh. Not for me. Don’t get me wrong I do shop in these places and photograph the life out of my seasonal hot chocolates on the ‘Gram but I do like to support local and support smaller businesses more. See pic above of the very pretty florist’s shop Bramble and Wild. Their window display’s truly are wonderful. Continue reading

Chocolate & Coffee Battenberg cake.

HEY HUNS it ya gurl abfab here hitting you up with an absolute belter of a cake recipe. I am posting this later than it was due to go up because I’m a little bit of an unprepared/unorganised fairy. Recently in the UK it was Mothering Sunday or Mother’s Day as it is more often named. For this special mummy day this year, me and my little big sis decided to treat our lovely Mumsy by making and baking some of her favourite delectable treats.  We made a little afternoon tea for her to put her feet up with a glass of prosecco and enjoy with. And I only went and baked a special cake for her too. I actually baked two cakes but I’ll just tell you about this one for now. Star baker and star daughter award goes to me I think????

Cake is my favourite and it is a family favourite in my household too. There’s nothing a bit of carbs don’t make better in my book. Having pretty much always made classic Victoria sponge cakes or something like a carrot cake I wanted to try something a little bit different for a change. Continue reading

Sea Salt & Dark Chocolate Torte.

I know, I know. Last time I posted on here I said I was going to be posting more regularly once on a Wednesday and once on a Sunday. Well me and scheduling/any form of organisation is like Donald Trump to rational thinking and not being a total div. Sorry team I really do wish I was one of those super organised, elegant gals that arrive at events 10 minutes early with immaculate hair and makeup and always know what’s what. But that’s not me. I’m trying me best at scheduling and drafts and what not so gimme some time for this to actually start. Thanks for being all so wondrous, so supportive and so damn fit. LY mean it. Anywho, I have a foodie post to whet your metaphorical and internetty appetite with today, so sit back (or however you want to sit idm) relax and have a read of this little gem. This was super easy and dead showy offy to make as well, so enjoy!

When I get sad I bake. When I bake I eat more. When I eat more I get fat. When I get fat I get sad. YA SEE HOW THIS CYCLE GOES ON. Everything in moderation is something I should live my life by more often but the sad truth is a slice of chocolate cake and a large vino tastes infinitely better than a wheatgrass shot and some bulgar wheat grains. I’ve been feeling a little bit rubbish, a bit low and not quite myself for a few weeks now, with me putting it down to hormones or just feeling a bit lost in life. I’ve made some changes in my personal life and am starting to put me first a lot more from now on, I’ll talk more about this in my lifey post which’ll put up in the next few days. So after a bit of a grotty week I decided to traipse into town and do some food shopping yesterday and to get a few ingredients. Cue all the adulty adults having a good old chuckle as I ATTEMPTED to food shop on a Saturday. At Midday. uGH. This is going to be much more of a chatty recipe post so I hope you’re not expecting a fine cuisine recipe for this one, I kinda just made it up as I went along and it happened to turn out pretty yum. It’s a torte not a tart as the dictionary definition is that a tart contains flour and a torte has more of a crumbly/no floury base. So not only are you making something delish it also sounds dead fancy!? So if you want to emulate me and this recipe you’ll need to put on your comfiest clothes, scrunch up your hair into an incredibly messy high bun and follow de rulez.

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So to make this little babe you will need:

  • A loose bottom tart/flan tin. (I used a 9.5 x 1.4’inch one).
  • 200g of shortbread biscuits.
  • 100g melted unsalted butter.
  • 400g dark chocolate.
  • 300ml double cream or whipping cream.
  • 100g caster sugar.
  • 50g unsalted butter.
  • Sea salt flakes.
  • 1tsp vanilla extract

It starts off with a cheesecake buttery biscuit base whereas normally digestive biscuits are used I fancied using some shortbread. I don’t know why I thought it would bind together a bit better and a sweeter over flavour to it. Which it did. After this I did think you could blend two different types of biscuits together to make it a bit different, maybe add some oats or maybe some chopped nuts to give it a crunchier more interesting texture. So smash up the biscuits to a fine crumb, picture that ex, that crap friend, that manager that made you work overtime on a Friday. Bash that pack of biscuits til it’s all the same fine sand consistency or ’til you’ve stopped being angry. Either way! Pour in the melted butter until the the biscuits have bound together and you can press it into the tart tin. Pressing it up the sides and across the base with about an inch thickness I left to chill for about 20 minutes. The torte that is. Not me.

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To make the ganache filling put the cream, sugar and vanilla extract into a pan and brought it to a slow, gentle boil. Whilst the cream is coming to a boil break the dark chocolate into small squares in a bowl and put the butter in with it too. Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and leave to rest for about 30 seconds to a minute. Stirring the two together til the chocolate melts into the cream and thickens, forming that gorgeously glossy ganache. The added butter might seem a little bit odd but it give the ganache that lovely sheen to it. I sprinkled some sea salt over the top and then placed in the fridge for 2+hours. Once it’s set serve with a dollop of creme fraiche, some fresh berries or maybe some crushed hazelnuts. YUMMMMM.

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I don’t know how many kcals this contains and frankly I don’t care as it tasted blimmin’ well great. If you try this please do let me know what you think, I found it so easy I don’t even think I can call it baking?!

I MADE A GIANT JAFFA CAKE.

I’ve conjured up a sure fire way to put end to the age old debate as to whether the humble Jaffa cake is a biscuit or a cake, by making my own version larger than my own blimmin’ face! No seriously this is huge and delicious. Just like me amirite? I found this recipe through UniLad would you actually believe it. No offence you absolute lads buuuuut I never had this site synonymous with baking cakes especially chuffing good caked bakes at that! Not only is a gigantic Jaffa Cake totally heavenly to gorge on but it’s also super pretty to look at too PLUS the recipe and method is really easy to follow too! win win eh!

I haven’t done any fun bakes in a while and as soon as I found this I couldn’t wait to put it into practice and share it with you all! I’ve tweaked it a little bit here and there to make it more suitable for how I wanted it but as you can see on the link above you can follow that straight through to the UniLad version.

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So, before I get too into this recipe post, a word to the wise this cake can take a little while to fully create so if you’re hoping for a quick and easy bake to show off to your friends, frenemies and exes on IG maybe give yourself a a good few hours!

You will need:

  • A frying pan lined with baking paper.
  • A round cake tin smaller than your saucepan lined with cling film.
  • 135g packet of orange jelly cubes.
  • 250ml boiling water.
  • 200g unsalted butter.
  • 200g caster sugar.
  • 3 medium eggs.
  • 200g self raising flour.
  • 1 tsp baking powder.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract.
  • Zest and juice of half an orange.
  • 200g dark chocolate.

Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

To give the sponge that bouncy, half spherical shape a lot of websites/recipes suggest baking the cake itself in a frying pan. Sounds weird I know but it works so go with me on that.  I covered the base of the pan with a circle of baking parchment and sprayed the sides with some coconut oil frylite spray to make it easier to get out of the pan.

Cutting the jelly into cubes (who else used to just eat the cubes as a kid??No me neither that would be weird…) I line a round cake tin with some cling film at the same time putting the kettle on to boil. Multitasking check me out eh!? Pouring the boiling water over the top of the jelly cubes and stirring til all the jelly lumps have melted away. I add the zest and the juice of half an orange into the jelly giving it a super orangey kick. One of your five a day right??? I then pour into the cake tin to set up and chill in the fridge for a few hours.

THE SPONGE

This recipe was a standard sponge. Cream the butter and the sugar together til light and smooth. Slowly add the eggs and the vanilla extract. Fold in the flour and baking powder and once its all delightfully mixed to perfection pour into the frying pan. Sounds proper mental and to be honest I was a bit nervous I was going to catch fire to my Mum’s fancy pants frying pan but all is well in team What Abbie Says camp. They recommended the baking time of about 30-40 minutes. I’d keep checking on it from that time onwards, as mine actually took somewhere up to 45 minutes altogether as it was still uncooked in the centre.

Once done, transfer the cake on to a wire, cooling rack and leave til its cooled completely. Making sure the jelly is chilled like Snoop Dogg on a day between the 19th and 21st April I melted the dark chocolate over a pan of water. Also known as a bain marie if you will. Wait til the chocolate has fully melted and leave to cool; if it’s too warm it’ll melt the jelly when you pour it over and you’ll either have to eat it on your own VERY QUICKLY or serve a sad jaffa pud. Placing the jelly circle in the middle on top of the cake I poured the melted chocolate over the top, making sure the entirety of the top was covered and that it didn’t drip down onto the edge. Dipping the knife into the top  drawing lines both horizontally and vertically. Quickly putting back into the fridge to set up for the fiiiiiinal time and once it’s cool you can serve it. YOU’RE WELCOME. Jaffa cakes are fab, bigger jaffa cakes are extra fabulous.

If you fancy making this recipe, I would totally recommend. It was super fun, totally easy to do and looks really impressive as well. To give this recipe a little twist how about using a dark chocolate and lime jelly or even raspberry. Equally you could use something like a tropical or pineapple flavour jelly with a white chocolate coating and coconut sponge like a pina colada without the hangover!

 

Lunch at The Ritz, London.

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Your birthday is the one day of the year for the good majority of people when you will be completely and utterly doted on and treated like an absolute QUEEN. So imagine my joy when I was lucky enough to be able to spend my birthday this year in London having a lavish three course lunch date with my family in the very beautiful and the very palatial The Ritz, London. I can only imagine I’d never been before and was so excited at just the sheer thought. The grandeur building standing as elegant and tall as ever, peering over the rest of Mayfair is an iconic London landmark. It opened in 1906 and was known as the ultimate stay for opulence and luxury. The whole experience was utterly divine and completely faultless. From the outside every doorway is adorned with one of their impeccably dressed doormen greeting you on arrival, holding the door or hailing a taxi to help you on your journey. I wish I took more pictures of decor inside but believe me when I say it is all absolutely stunning. With the smell of gorgeous fresh flowers, the sound of beautiful harp music and chatter filling the air, The Ritz has such a decadent feel and ambience to the whole place.

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Having placed our coats in their cloakroom we made our way to their dining room to be seated.  The waiters, just like every other employee couldn’t be faulted and waited on you hand and foot. The attention to detail was incredulous. My sister and Mum were given their usual menu whereas I had a seperate, vegetarian one. The menu wasn’t extensive offering three choices for all three courses with every single option sounding as luxurious and decadent as the next. The ever attentive waiting team came to our table and treated us like royalty, pouring glasses of water, wine, homemade breads, melba toast and a selection of canapes.  Savoury macarons filled with cream cheese and smoked salmon, chicken cigarellos and a gorgeous creamed goats cheese biscuit sandwich.

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As I said the attention to detail was absolutely stunning, the food was just as beautiful to look at as it was to taste. For my starter as seen above I opted for the artichoke royale. It was crowned with coils of carrots, truffle and pear nibs and then adorned with edible flower petals. The artichoke royale was so smooth and creamy accompanied with the tang of the pear it really went down a treat.

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For my main course I chose the cauliflower dish. With the menu they didn’t really give a lot away about what was what. The other options were a pasta dish and another one with wild mushrooms and as a self confessed mushroom hater that one didn’t appeal to me at all. Plus as I was dining in one of the finest restaurants in the country with a Michelin star I wanted to try something a little bit different. My main dish was a slice of cauliflower steak, with seperate cauliflower florets. Romanesco florets dotted around the plate like little trees, toasted hazelnuts and toasted yeast with a mini potato croquette and then finished off in a rich white sauce. Divine.

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For dessert, already feeling pleasantly sated I chose the blueberry souffle with a tart buttermilk sorbet. The souffle was light, fluffy and flavourful. It was so beautifully rich in colour; perfectly purple inside. The sharp, piquant flavours of the sorbet cut through the sweetness of the sorbet. It was blimmin’ well glorious. Can I eat you again please Mr Souffle?

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Finishing off the meal was some petit fours from top to bottom they consisted of, some creme anglaise filled macaroons with a slight coconut flavour. Orange and passionfruit jellies, a brown sugar biscuit topped with a citrus and mango cream finished with some gold leaf and finally a handmade chocolate filled with salted caramel. Careful I might get used to this extravagant lifestyle!

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As this very luxurious and special occasion was to celebrate mine and my Mum’s birthday we had a fancy Ritz birthday cake of a genoise sponge, filled with fresh cream and raspberries.

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Considering I can barely write in a straight line with a pen I was completely blown away how anyone can do this in chocolate. Perfect!

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I had such a tremendous time and feel well and truly spoilt rotten by it all. The whole experience simply cannot be faulted and was absolutely perfect from start to finish.

How do you like your eggs in the morning? I like mine in a cake.

Now if you didn’t read that or sing it in the exact same way and tune as Dean Martin then maybe that joke was a wee bit lost on you. Poached, scrambled, fried or delicately placed ontop of some fancy avo I love eggs in any which, way, shape or form. However my all time favourite type would probably be, beaten with some sugar and made into a cake. Juuuuust saying! Cake is great. Cheesecake, carrot cake, birthday cake, maaaaybe even Christmas cake at a push but I loooove them all so, so much. Which probably explains why i’m a bit of a chubby funster these days.

I am collaborating with a very wonderful company called bakerdays with this post as they’ve sent me an early birthday cake (my birthday is on the 27th January so only 10 days time, eeeek!) I’ve seen them all over social media before, they’re really popular amongst other fellow bloggers on Twitter and i’ve always wanted to give them a try. In this day and age I love how accessible presents, gifts and food items like this are. If you want to send your pal a foodie present it has become so much easier. Or even if you just want to treat yourself or even a loved one than why the heck not send yourself a handmade and designed cake.

I was really blown away with how many different types and designs you can get, from standard celebration cakes, ones with celebrities on, ones you can get a picture printed on, literally the list could go on and on. AND if you’re a relatively fussy Gus a little like me there’s a list of different cake flavours as well to suit whomever. Vanilla sponge, which is what I opted for, comes  sandwiched with buttercream between the cake and the icing layer keeping the cake nice and moist on the inside still. You can get fruit cake accompanied with a jam layer, chocolate cake laden with chocolate chips, a gluten and wheat free sponge with jam and buttercream. You can get a half traditional sponge and half chocolate sponge with chocolate chip cake. So in the words of Hannah Montana you really would get The Best of Both Worlds. Blonde wig not included. A dairy free cake is available, a vanilla and chocolate marble cake as well as seasonal options like the lemon drizzle and gorgeous red velvet. The list doesn’t end there, you can also get cupcakes and balloons alongside it too!

After chatting back and forth with the lovely Anna I was left to choose which type of cake I wanted and what I wanted on it. I didn’t think it would take me nearly as long as it did but I eventually decided on the Pink Princess Upload cake and sent one of my fave selfies to make myself A REAL LIFE ROYAL. Well not really, but if you can’t pretend to be a Princess on your birthday when can you!?

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Seeing as I spoke with bakerdays only on Monday, it went into the design studio and got dispatched on Tuesday and arrived mid morning today (Wednesday) I couldn’t have asked for better speed of service. They are really efficient and I felt like there would be no problem too big or too small that they couldn’t accommodate too. They made my dreams come true of being a pretty in pink princess soooooo?

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The cake itself is really light and fluffy. In my eyes a dry cake is up there with Instagram going down and your phone dying at 20% battery life for first world annoyances. I have a major sweet tooth so loved the personalised fondant icing topping.

I opted for the letterbox cake which comes in a tin inside a letterbox sized package. It wasn’t damaged or broken on delivery at all if anything it looked pretty damn perfect to be quite honest! The cake has 3-4 serving sizes so you could share it with others or have a gorge on it all on your own! Your secret is safe with me if you do. The tin is a lovely added extra especially as I’m feeling particularly thrifty at the moment and am already thinking how I could reuse it. It also came with some candles, some balloons and a paper party blower. I’d definitely like to order from bakerdays again. I found the website was really easy to navigate around. You can have as much creative input into what flavour or picture you want on the cake, whether you want any added text on there too. The team are all really kind and nothing seemed too much trouble. I know a lot of people who have food intolerances or have speciality diets so the fact they have a wheat/gluten free cake and a dairy free one too is really special. Myself having recently undertaken a vegetarian diet and lifestyle I am more often now on the lookout for things like this or even seeing if  they offer anything vegan. Whether that’s something that bakerdays would have in the pipelines at the moment or at some point in the distant future would be great as vegan snacks can sometimes be quite difficult to come by. Especially ones that taste this good and can get delivered to your door!

ON TO THE MORE EXCITING PART OF THIS POST. Having teamed up with bakerdays and them sending me a birthday cake, means only one thing. My birthday is only round the corner. YAY. I share my birthday with my beautiful Mum and for the first time in a few years I am not rushing round, going here, there and everywhere partying. I’ve made no secret of the fact a lot of my friends I’ve formed with you wonderful people online and after speaking to bakerdays they’ve kindly offered a free letterbox cake of choice for me to giveaway on my twitter page (Whatabbiesays_) to one of my UK tweetie pals. The competition is running from Thursday 18th January to Wednesday 24th January at 12pm. We decided to finish it then so the lucky winner will receive their cake on the same day as my birthday and will be able to celebrate with me, but not technically with me if that makes sense? I’m super excited to be doing this and so happy to be working alongside bakerdays. I want to thank them so, so much for all the help and support with this and also for making damn good cake!

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Even though bakerdays sent me a cake and are helping with the giveaway I was 100% myself and honest with my thoughts and opinions in this post.

My Prestige Christmas Hamper!!

Hello! Recently the very kind people at Prestige Hampers sent me a luxury Christmas food hamper to review,  how cool and more importantly kind is that?! Even though it is the middle of November and some people may deem it too early still, I am very much in the Christmas spirit already. Whether that might be because this is my first year out of many I won’t be working in retail and I won’t have the pleasures of irate Christmas customers during the most wonderful time of the year or just because I am a great, big kid when it comes to this time of year.

I love everything from hunting for the right present for a loved one, going to Christmas markets munching on sweet, roasted chestnuts and daydrinking mulled ciders and wines. The dark winter nights aglow with fairy lights and candle lights too, and snuggling by the fire with a hot chocolate in hand watching some feelgood Christmassy films. In my household Christmas has always been such a lovely time of year and I am eternally grateful to my parents for raising me with some cherished memories over the festive period. We always have a lot of family time and enough food and drink to make a King jealous as do a lot of families all around the world I’m sure so with that in mind that’s why I think a food hamper would make an excellent gift at Christmas. Well at anytime of year really but Prestige Hampers do an amazing selection perfect for any occasion and also would suit anyone from your parents, your tricky in laws, that friend that already has one of everything to the colleague who has gone above and beyond for you. You don’t need me to recommend who to give it to, you get the gist!

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