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coffee shortbread with chocolate drizzle.

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♥ 225g plain wholemeal flour
♥ 125g cornflour
♥ 125 light muscovado sugar

♥ 2 teaspoons of expresso
♥ 225 butter, cut into pieces

i found this gorgeous coffee shortbread recipe on bakingmad.com - and would definitely recommend! this was actually my first time making shortbread and found it surprisingly easy. will be making it again too so any other recipes send them my way.

in the recipe it suggests covering coffee beans in chocolate and scattering them on top. i slightly adapted this to just drizzle melted chocolate on top as i prefer a lighter coffee flavour and didn't want the beans to overpower. 
i also don't have a food processor at the moment so i crumbled the flour and butter by hands. a little more effort but definitely worth it. i would also suggest buying these expresso pots, actually made for a machine, which are great for if you only use expresso powder for cooking. 

i'm more of a cup of tea kinda girl! something which definitely went with this shortbread.

you can find the full recipe and other brilliant ideas for cakes, savoury treats and cupcake recipes over at bakingmad.com. enjoy!

product review: really cheesy lactose free lasagne with lactofree.

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for the lasagne

♥ 500g lean beef mince
♥ 6 fresh lasagne sheets
♥ 400g your favourite tomato based cooking sauce
♥ lactofree cheese, grated
♥ one onion, chopped
♥ three cloves of garlic, chopped

for the white sauce
♥ 1l of lactofree milk/dairy drink
♥ 50g flour
♥ 50g soya butter

as you may have noticed from my posts about flourless brownies and vegan pumpkin soup, i quite like having a go at trying out recipes for friends with special dietary requirements. i love making lasagne and can't imagine having to cut it out of my diet should i discover i couldn't eat ingredients containing lactose. so here i present you - lactose free lasagne with products from lactofree

preheat the over to 200 degrees celsius.

begin by making lasagne in the regular way - here i added in the onions and garlic followed by the meat. then, once the meat has browned add in the tomato sauce. i used oil here, but if you like to use butter with your onions and garlic you can of course use a little of the soya butter.

for the white sauce, begin by adding in the 50g of soya butter. i believe lacto free also do a butter but they didn't stock it in this particular supermarket.

once the butter has melted, add in the flour like in picture 4. once thickened, slowly add in the milk bit by bit until it starts to look like picture 6. if it needs thickening up, add a little more flour. i don't have a picture of this bit as it required me to have about 3 pairs of hands so sorry about that. however, it then ends up looking whiter and whiter as in the following pictures. it should take around 10 minutes on a medium heat.

layer up the lasagne as you normally would. here i have lightly boiled the fresh lasagne sheets for around 5 minutes. for an extra cheesy taste i added in sprinkles of grated lactofree cheese on each layer.

on the last layer, add lots of lovely lactose free cheese and put in the oven for 30-45 minutes. and there you have it - noone would ever know the difference! :)

homemade farfalle with prawns, courgette and white wine sauce.

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makes two portions.

for the homemade pasta
♥ 200g "0" grade flour
♥ 2 eggs
♥ a pinch of salt

for the dish
♥ 200g cooked prawns

♥ one medium courgette, sliced
♥ 100ml crème fraîche
♥ 50ml white wine
♥ 4 spring onions, chopped
♥ 50g butter
♥ 2 tsp flat leaf parsley, chopped

i got this recipe from a lovely pasta cookbook by jeni wright, which my grandparents bought alongside my pasta machine. i thought seeing as i'd like to make pasta bows, aka faralle, i should go with a dish that actually uses that kind of pasta. as i am told that different pasta holds sauces and flavours differently - is this true? either way this recipe was yummy - though i have adapted it a little. 

if you'd like to make the pasta yourself, you might want to read my first attempt at homemade pasta post in which i made linguine (ish). i then cut the pasta into little rectangles and pinched to form the bow - leaving to dry for about an hour. though i can't see a problem in using supermarket bought fresh or dry pasta - for which you will need around 60-80g each. 

for the pasta dish, i began by melting the butter and spring onions in a large pan on a medium heat for around 5 minutes, until softened. next i added in the courgettes for another 5 minutes and added in a little salt and black pepper too. pour over the wine and cover, simmering for a further 10 minutes. if you are using dry pasta, now would be a good time to put that on to boil. 

next, stir in the crème fraîche and allow to simmer and reduce for 10 minutes. once a golden colour, add in the prawns. this is the part where i put my fresh pasta on to boil, as it literally only takes about 3 minutes. once the prawns are heated through, drain the pasta and toss together. ta daa!

my first attempt at homemade pasta.

shopping list
♥ a pasta machine
♥ 300g "00" grade flour
♥ 3 eggs
♥ a pinch of salt

so for those of you who follow me on twitter or instagram, you'll know that pretty much all i've done over the christmas period is take pictures of my pasta adventures. this was a christmas present from my grandparents and a brilliant one at that.

they also bought me a right pasta recipe book which i have since tried along with my attempt at pasta bows, which i'll post soon. i've also learnt, though i'm sure this is probably something all over the internet already, that the ratio is pretty much one egg to 100g of flour. so here's how i did it... (ish)

firstly, i made a sort of well out of the flour ready to crack the eggs into. i haven't actually looked into why you can't use a mixing bowl to make pasta - does anyone know?

next, i carefully cracked the eggs into the flour to give a rather volcano-esque result. this is followed by a pinch of salt which i've read is really important for the taste. 

i then used a fork to tentatively break the eggs and begin to slowly stir in a little flour. WITHOUT breaking the floury walls. i love this bit as you start getting sort of stringy bits of gooey white flour and egg mix. you then slowly add in more and more of the flour as you dare - this should end up looking a little more like picture 5.

to get from 5 to 6 to 7, it depends on the consistency of your dough. if it seems really dry, add a little water, if it is too sticky, add some of the 00 flour. keep rolling it around until it starts to look more spherical. 

next is the kneading process. as best i could describe in picture 8, keep pushing the dough out and folding it back over itsel.. another technique is to fold it into itself or fold lengthways into itself. i just kept pushing and pulling it around for around 5-10 minutes until it felt really stretchy and the pasta dough kept trying to shrink back.

you then roll it as best you can that you could get into a pasta machine. at the widest setting, begin to roll through. though, even when it begins to get thinner, fold it over itself again. this will create the elasticity of pasta :) eventually you will be able to go smaller and smaller on the settings as it starts to look and feel like fresh pasta. i then put it though the linguine setting which was fiddly to say the least. but i was pretty happy with the results. leave to dry for an hour or so and serve with your favourite sauce. yum.

the mesmerist, brighton.

with mismatched bars stools, real ale, interesting spirits and the likes of johnny cash and hank williams playing through the speakers, the mesmerist in brighton is a lovely place to grab a tasty homemade burger or cold drink with friends day or night.

on my first ever trip to brighton, for new year, i ended up staying a cheeky extra day and stumbling upon this place for a bite to eat. i had seen it on new year's eve, and although we didn't go in because the queue looked massive, it looked like a bustling place to be. especially with a "blitz" themed night for the last day of 2012.
i had a lamb burger with goats cheese and chilli jam. as it was a special that day it was only £5 - and this included yummy black pepper chips. my friend had a chargrilled chicken ciabatta with chorizo and red pepper relish (£4.75), along with roast sweet potato wedges (£3.00) it all looked and tasted divine! 

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