Lottie Loves

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Instagram of the week: I felt like instagram queen this week with my Olympus pen, white marble, candles and cacti.

1. Is it appropriate to start the day with one of these Spiked Coffee Milkshakes? Actually who cares. Let's do it.

2. 5 tools to increase your productivity. POWERRR!

3. I'm reading Dark Places by Gillian Flynn at the moment. I'm enjoying it so far but not quite hooked yet. But I have a feeling if you liked Making a Murderer, you'll like this as well.

4. I'm super excited to watch the new Netflix documentary, Cooked. I find the relationship between people and food fascinating. Not to mention, it reminds me of writing my dissertation.

5. Sweet or savoury monkey breads that are better than valentines cards. Because you can't eat a Valentine's card, can you now.

6. I Let My Grandmother Dress Me For a Week. I reckon my grandmothers would do a pretty fine job.

7. Jack and I went to see Trumbo this week. It's another awards season film that we're ticking off our list. And I have to say, like Creed, it doesn't feel like an Oscar-y film so I loved it. It's honest, raw in parts and with ups and downs in intensity and quality. But it's enjoyable, which is what film should be, right? Plus who doesn't bloody adore Bryan Cranston?

8. Is it possible to reduce sugar in a baking recipe? That is the question!

9. Teens aren't ruining language, so pipe down about the old days and roll with it, yo.

10. These chocolate-dipped chocolate shortbread biscuits looks perfect for Valentine's Day (actually, they'd be perfect for damn every day).

Have a happy weekend, friends! x

Bramley Apple Oat Crumble

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Bramley Apple Oat Crumble recipe

I'm always looking for an excuse to make a crumble.

Last winter, Jack would make a roast dinner every Sunday almost religiously and we'd nearly always follow it with a crumble, made with hedgerow blackberries or wild apples. We'd eat the leftovers of the crumble throughout the week and it was always such a lovely treat to have a little something sweet during the colder months. I'm a real fan of a comfy, cosy winter diet.

Crumble also reminds me, as I guess it does for a lot of people, of childhood family dinners. After my sister and I put our forks down we'd chime in unison 'what's for pudding?' and if our luck was in, a crumble would be in the oven. It's one of those puddings that everyone loves and nobody can refuse. Everyone's always got room for crumble.

So yes, I'm always looking for an excuse to make one. And this week, did you know, it's Bramley Apple Week. What are the chances! So, of course, this is on the menu for the weekend. Everyone's got their own twist on a crumble but this Bramley Apple Oat Crumble recipe is my real favourite. Heady with cinnamon, thick with oats and sweetly sharp with bramley apples, it's a combination of classic flavours that I've honed to make my own. And just so you know, I'm a custard girl. But can sympathize with you team ice cream folk out there, too.  

To make Bramley Apple Oat Crumble you will need:

1kg bramley apples
1-2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp water
2 tsp ground cinnamon
50g plain white flour
50g wholemeal flour
75g butter, chilled
50g oats
100g demerara sugar

Begin by grabbing a large heavy bottomed sauce pan. Then peel, core and chop your apples into chunks. Chuck into the saucepan along with the sugar (amount dependent upon your taste) and water. Stew the apples until soft but still holding their shape, stir in the cinnamon and then transfer to your crumble dish.

bramley applestewing apples

Then make the crumble topping. Start by rubbing together the white and wholemeal flour with the butter. Rub between your fingers until you have a breadcrumb-like consistency. Then stir the oats and sugar through. Done and done! 

You can prepare both the apples and crumble topping in advance and then assemble when you want to put in the oven. 

how to make oaty apple crumble topping
stewed apples for crumble

When you're ready to rock, preheat your oven to 200c. Then pile the crumble topping over the apples and spread out into an even layer. Cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the topping is golden brown. Serve up with more custard than necessary. You can never have too much, can you? 

baked apple crumble
Bramley Apple Oat Crumble Food Blog

Lottie Loves

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Food Blogger Flat Lay Cake Mix
Instagram of the week: There's something peaceful in stirring up a weekend loaf cake.

1. Yes please to this Pita Ribolitta. Yes blummin' please.

2. Which side of your brain is more dominant? Hollaa to all those other right-brainers out there.

3. After some blog graphic tips? This piece on how to create eye-catching blog graphics should be helpful!

4. Sweet and Spicy Short Rib Tacos with Sesame Guacamole. YAAAAAS.

5. I wish I was the type of person to implement something like Shutterbean's closet organisation. I bet she'd never lose her Oyster card. Mine goes walkabout on the reg.

6. This Easy 30-Minute Kale, White Bean, and Chicken Soup is the kind of weeknight meal I need in my squad.

7. YOU GUYS - we've started Luther. I know, I know we're late to the party but did you know it's so flippin' good? One draw back though, I can't watch it before I go to bed, otherwise I convince myself that my wardrobe is full of murderers. Naaat so good.

8. How to actually Instagram your food. Because porridge hasn't always been so attractive.

9. Aaaaand how to get more likes on Instagram, according to 10 fashion insiders. Let's get those grids on fleek, pals.

10. 40 valentines presents you absolutely need to buy yourself. Ok Hannah, if you say so.

Have a happy weekend, friends! x

Caramelised Banana Pancakes

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Caramelised Banana Pancakes Brunch

Yup, it's Pancake Day next week.

But that's not why I'm writing this post. These pancakes have been, for some time now, my favourite ever weekend brunch recipe. EVER. So simple, so easy and so blummin' delicious. And the fact Pancake Day is next week, well let's just call it a happy coincidence and nothing to do with my editorial calendar...

This recipe is a cross between French and American style pancakes. Sometimes I find American pancakes too thick, and my liberal servings of Nutella are often too cumbersome for poor, delicate French crepes. These pancakes are the perfect middle ground. They're great stackers, have handy inbuilt toppings (is inbuilt the right word...?) and are just begging to be 'grammed.

I use coconut oil in these pancakes, partly because I'm one of those people that has coconut oil on hand (who have I become?!), but also because it lends a really delicious, subtle coconutty flavour that ramps up the banana-y goodness. I reckon a little desiccated coconut wouldn't go amiss as a pancake topping either. Alongside a heap of Nutella, obvs.

It's highly likely that we'll be having these for brinner* on pancake day, and I could not be more excited about it.

*Does the word brinner conjure up this clip from Scrubs for anyone else...?

Anyway - onward!

For Caramelised Banana Pancakes you will need (makes 5-6 medium pancakes):

140g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 level tbsp caster sugar
130-40ml milk
1 egg
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 medium bananas

to serve:
icing sugar

Begin by sifting together all your dry ingredients, the flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar. Then measure out your milk in a jug, beat in the egg and stir through melted coconut oil. You could use butter here if you don't have coconut oil on hand.

Then pour 3/4 of the wet mix into the dry and beat with a fork until you have a smooth batter. Gradually add in the final 1/4 of the wet mix until you have a thinned yoghurt consistency.

Slice up your bananas and ready a medium frying pan!

Pancake Ingredients Flatlay
Banana Pancake Ingredients

Get the pan onto a medium-high heat and brush with a little oil. I really do mean a little, too much oil and your first pancake won't crisp up nicely. Wait until the pan is nice and hot and then add a half-ladle of the batter. Quickly tip the pan so the batter spreads out into a medium pancake.

Once bubbles begin to appear, chuck over a generous handful of the banana slices. Once things are really bubbling, flip it!

When you've flipped the pancake, press down on it using a spatula. This will encourage the bananas to catch and caramelize, becoming deliciously sweet and soft. 

How to Make Pancakes
How to Flip Pancakes

Repeat until you've used up all your batter and stack the pancakes as you go to keep in the warmth. Once you're ready to serve, lay out on plates and dust with a little icing sugar. Drizzle over some honey or maple syrup and then snap away for sassy brunch shots. After that obviously load up with Nutella and go to town.

Caramelised Banana Pancakes Food Blog
Caramelised Banana Pancakes with Syrup

Lottie Loves

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Instagram of the week: Eating one of Jack's delicious Bakewell Slices on the morning of my birthday. Because if you don't eat baked goods for breakfast on your birthday, you're not doing it right. 

1. Friday birthdays are great, aren't they? Jack and I took the day off together and spent the majority eating, walking and debating the logistics of getting a cat. FYI - maybe our next flat. Woohoo!

2. Speaking of birthdays, I treated myself to an Olympus Pen, which I've been coveting for a long old time. I'm so excited to have a more compact camera for my adventures. If you've got any tips on getting the best out of an Olympys Pen - hit me up in the comments!

3. This wouldn't be a Loves post without a chickpea recipes would it? These Spicy Buffalo Chickpea wraps will almost certainly be going in my lunchbox next week.

4. I love this recipe for Small Batch Granola. Just enough of the good stuff without going insane looking for extra baking trays.

5. A Guide to Exploring Iceland. I MUST GO TO ICELAND.

6. We went to see Creed last week and I was taken aback by how much I enjoyed it. I've never really been a Rocky fan (I haven't even seen the original films...) but I kinda' have my fingers crossed for Stallone winning the supporting actor oscar!

7. I'm hypnotized by this post on Toast 12 Ways. Literally. Can't. Stop. Looking.

8. Can I have a bowl of this Baked Spaghetti and Meatballs please?

9. I'd really like to know how to work lipstick properly. Hannah's 6 favourite matte lipstick post is food for thought...

10. 29 delicious Indian recipes you need to cook right now. UM yes please.

Have a happy weekend, friends! x

Black, White and Bao

Friday, 22 January 2016

Last week I pretended to be a fashion blogger.

As I live in London now, I thought this was a natural transition. (Not to be a full-time fashion blogger, don't worry. Just to take a little more care over one's appearance. I'm usually covered in flour and/or animal hair, y'see). Turns out it's not a natural transition. It takes a lot of work to perfect that effortless laugh into the camera (how does Hannah Gale do it...?) or that casual skip across the street (yup, The Londoner we're looking atchu). But I wanted to have a go. Bless Jack for being patient with me (and my static lens - at points he was limboing trying to get the perfect frame).

'Cause I have to say I was kinda proud. I think this outfit is a bit poppin', y'know. I love myself a roll neck, have wanted to road test my new zigzag skirt since I bought it earlier this month and always love werking my well-done-on-being-a-grownup Babour I bought myself once I finished my masters degree.

So I took photos. Well Jack took photos. I reclaimed my camera when we made our way to Bao, a Taiwanese restaurant in Soho famed for its fluffy buns of joy.

They have strict opening times (lunch 12-3, dinner 5.30-10), so we ended up queuing twice after turning up at 2.15. Queuing seems to be part of the mystique with Bao, so be prepared for a wait.

But we had some shopping to do anyway, and some fashion blogging of course... (sassy hair flick emoji).

But back to Bao! We finally got in. This was after being supplied with hot tea along with the other queuers waiting in the chilly air. The staff were genuinely lovely, pleased to see us back in the queue for dinner and happily popped us in the window seat at our request.

You're handed the betting slip style menu outside to peruse your options and then ordering is quick and efficient. They're busy, you're hungry, they've got it all going on.

We went for a little bit of everything, wanting to sample a range of the menu. Out first were the trotter nuggets. I'm a big fan of unpopular cuts of meat being used in cooking. I love them! Cooked low and slow for an amazing, rich flavour. These are good. Don't pass them up. Be inspired by resourceful cooking.

Next - the classic bao. It was good. Topped with peanuts the balance of sweet and salt was perfect. No less than I'd expected.

Next up was the Taiwanese Fried Chicken with hot sauce. Perfectly nice. Good to try the chicken, but nothing to blow your mind. I like my fried chicken Southern, personally.

Next - my favourite of the meat Baos. Lamb shoulder. Rich and messy it was perfectly unapologetic. A little fiery with chilly and delightful coupled with the fluffy bun.

Sweet potato chips whizzed out next with plum pickle ketchup. Another great side and ordered because we are the type of people who love chips.

But our joint favourite was a surprising one. The Daikon Bao. The vegetarian bao. The pickled radish is tangy and sharp, the patty thick and savoury and the bun wrapping it all together as delicious as ever. This was good. So good. And felt completely original, whereas the lamb and pork hadn't.

Let's have another picture of it shall we?

We finished up with Fried Horlicks Ice Cream, because what maniac wouldn't order that? It was delicious. And consequently we now have a tub of Horlicks in the cupboard. If you like malt, order this. In fact stop what you're doing and go and get in the queue now.

I'd recommend you go there if you get a chance. If not for a increasingly trendy picture of the queue, for the food. And for the passionate staff buzzing around you.

Lottie Loves

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Instagram of the week: At Lumiere London 'Patience is Halfway to Happiness'.

1. I found Alan Rickman's passing really quite emotional this week. I think this article by Marc Burrows, especially the final paragraph, summarises why it was so very upsetting.

2. Do you read Hannah Gale's brilliant blog? She's a straight-talker who's full of sass and style and is a must-read for every young woman. I was particularly inspired by her honesty and openness in this post.

3. Meal prepping makes me really very happy. If it makes you happy too, you should read Tracy's post.

4. I want to try making a cake like this blood orange, almond and ricotta cake. I think orange slices make understated but utterly beautiful cake decorations.

5. Oscar nominations are out! My thoughts in brief: Bridge of Spies was a lukewarm film and it's only reason for nominations are thanks to the name of its director. Alicia Vikander, who performed in a leading role just as well if not better than Eddie Redmayne in the Danish Girl, was robbed of a Best Actress in a leading role nomination. I also resent all the nominations The Revenant has received because now I feel I have to see it. And it just looks so very uncomfortable. Bah. That wasn't so brief, sorry.

6. This recipe for Chickpea Shawarma Stuffed Pitas is all I want to eat for lunch this week.

7. Jack and I went to Zara Home this weekend and bagged the most delicious throw EVER. It's huge and silky and quite heavy so makes our bed dangerously comfortable. They actually have a sale on at the moment if you fancy a browse...

8. Another weekly menu plan. I LIKE MENU PLANS OK?

9. Did you watch Derren Brown's Pushed to the Edge this week? Well worth catching up with. His programmes always fascinate me.

10. Please can I have an Olympus Pen now?

Have a happy weekend, friends! x
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