Tuesday, 28 February 2012

A Sugar feast.

Last friday, we held one of our infamous pudding parties. These nights are always such a big hit among our group of friends, and this time we enforced a 'no pudding, no entry' policy - it made for a huge variety of dessert goodness but also more leftovers than we could have guessed. Who'd of though that no-one can polish off the equivalent of a whole pecan pie to themselves?!!
Our selection this year included eton mess (amazing!!), banana bread, various pies, brownies, some indescribable pudding made of sponge, baileys and chocolate (dessert of the night!) and Benedict's Gin and tonic jelly, that had so much gin it blew you away - good in theory, execution needed improving.

So to the point of the post: pudding goodness. 
Here are two very simple recipes for two of my favourites: pecan pie and banoffee pie. The pecan pie recipe in particular has been through a lot of tweaking in recent months, i think i've finally got it just right. The original recipe can be found here.The Banoffee is just so simple, it barely requires any thinking, and no baking (what a plus!)

Chocolate Pecan Pie

80g of chocolate (40g milk, 40g dark). Broken into tiny pieces. 
You could use all dark, but it's too bitter for my tastes.
45g unsalted butter.
160g granulated sugar.
230 ml golden syrup.
3 whole eggs.
1.5 tsp of vanilla extract
180g pecans, chopped. Leave a few pecan halves for decoration.

I must confess, i am normally pretty lazy when it comes to this recipe and use pre-made pastry. (a life saver when you don't have the time to spare to be fiddling around with dough!). Sainsbury's fresh shortcrust pastry is the best and biggest sheet for your money, with Jus-roll a close second (though i find the sheets a little too sticky and square for this recipe).

1. Two hours or so before you're ready to make the pie, line a pie tin with the ready made pastry sheet, cutting off excess. Prick base several times with a fork, and leave in the fridge to chill until you are ready to make the filling.
See how easy that step was?! ;)

2. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a heat proof bowl over boiling water, until a smooth runny texture. Stir continuously to stop the chocolate from burning. Set mixture aside to cool.

3. In a separate saucepan, combine the sugar, golden syrup and bring to the boil. Again stir continuously until thin in texture, and all lumps of sugar have melted. Set aside to cool.

4. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, then combine with the cooled chocolate mixture. And continue to beat in the golden syrup mixture, until thoroughly combined and think in texture. Add in the chopped pecans (be careful when chopping, i sliced open a thumb - not fun!) and vanilla essence.

5. At this point i filled the pie crust with filling and left the whole thing in the fridge to cool. You could alternatively, cool the mix before pouring it in the base, but either way should work fine.

6. Bake the pie for 20 mins, at 210'C. At 20 mins, lower temperature to 180'C and bake until the crust is golden and the filling is firm when prodded. 
If, like me, this process has made you hungry take this opportunity to make yourself some lunch. Heres mine:

7. When baked, take your pie out of the oven and enjoy. Amazing, with creme fraiche (especially for breakfast :) or vanilla ice cream.

Banoffee pie


Digestive biscuits, crushed.
A knob of butter.
1 can of condensed milk.
2/3 Bananas (the riper the better), sliced into circles.
250ml of double/whipping cream.
Chocolate/coffee granules

1. Melt knob of butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add crushed digestive biscuits and stir together, until a crumbly paste has formed.

2. When combined, pour into a pie dish to form a biscuit base. Put pressure on the mixture with the back of a large wooden spoon, until the base is very firm and evenly spread. Chill in the fridge for a minimum of two hours.

3. Put the can of condensed milk in a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the can is completely covered and boil for 3.5 hours, regularly topping up the saucepan with water. Do not let the water line fall below the can. This isn't as mundane as it sounds, just check every half hour.

Alternatively, you could miss out this stage by buying a can of prepared caramel. However i am a firm believer that the taste is nowhere near as good as the condensed milk - for me, its worth the extra effort.

4. When ready, pour your new caramel into the pie base and spread evenly with a knife.

5. Cover caramel layer evenly with banana pieces.

6. Whip cream in large bowl and generously spread over the banana layer of the pie. The more cream, the better.

7. Finally, grate chocolate on top of the pie, and if to your taste sprinkle coffee granules.


Friday, 24 February 2012


Recently, i've been running around like a wild thing. There never seems enough minutes in the day - to live, let alone to document all the memories.

So here it is, my weekly thursday catch up (a couple of hours late!).

Friday night: Pizza Express with the girls. Every time i go to this place, i order the same salad. Boring i know, but i have an ongoing love affair with honey and mustard sauce (it started with McDonalds in South Africa, why oh why England do you not serve H&M sauce with your nuggets!) . So imagine my devastation, when i realised Pizza express had changed their menu! Luckily, after some negotiation with the waiter, crisis was averted :)

Saturday: Pembroke regatta, and Bow showing off the beautiful mud marks from an unplanned trip into the river bank.. oops!!

Sunday: My local traditional sweet shop have put up this AMAZING window display. It's good ol' Will and Kate made of jellybeans. Beyond cool.

Tuesday: Feeding the five thousand Pie at Life group. Followed by a Pancake party!

Thursday: A beautiful summer's day in Cambridge... in february. It was a freak 19'C today, warm enough to get out of the winter boots i've been living in the last few months, and don some more sparkle :) Followed by a lovely meal with two very good friends, one of whom is putting the glamour into washing up. The other who made these chocolate/salted caramel pots and meringue. I am blessed, i tell you.

Apologies for the lack of real posts this week. Its pretty much just been a show of my instagram feed. This will be put right soon, i promise.

Over and out,

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

My kind of love.

One of my biggest weaknesses is my tendency to procrastinate, and so knowing this and panicking about all the major work deadlines i have on the horizon, i took drastic action. I had my internet connection disconnected. And let me tell you, it was so freeing. For these last few days, my productivity levels have been through the roof. I highly advise it, take a break from living your life online for a couple of days. You won't regret it.

The observant among you, will have noticed a post appeared on my blog on monday. A fine example, ladies and gentlemen, of blogspot's amazing scheduling function. 

So now, after a week's absence, i'm back. 
Hello! We have so much to catch up on.

First: Valentines day. 

I wrote on this post, that this year Valentines weekend was down to Steve, and it was so needed. One of the most chilled days i've had in a while. I am a type A person, i want to organise, be in control and know exactly what is going on but it was so lovely to sit back and let steve do his thing.

Unfortunately the day started with a 5.30am wake up call for me. This weekend marked the beginning of rowing race season, and so i had the Pembroke Regatta starting at 8am on saturday morning. Boo! 

Here is my gorgeous man, all snuggly in bed when i left him: (man, was that difficult!)

When i got back, cold and covered in war paint, we exchanged presents and cards. Steve's card to me was hilarious. The silly oof had forgotten to get a card before actual valentines day, and so when he arrived at the shop on friday there were none left. My card proudly displayed '..on our anniversary', but as Steve pointed out, it did have a very cute elephant ha! 

Our presents: yummy milk tray and a photobook of our relationship.
A close up of the card i embroidered for Steve.

Then that wonderful husband of mine pulled out some Disney DVDs out of his bag. I have only recently gotten a thing for Disney movies. As a child, they were forbidden in our house - my mum thinks they promote an unrealistic portrayal of life and so didn't want her impressionable daughter exposed to them. Deprived, i know. So recently our lovefilm list has been swamped with all these beauties... We watched them snuggled up in our pajamas, eating the most amazing steak sandwiches (watch out for the recipe posted soon, they were that good!)

As our lives revolve around our stomachs, Steve piece de la resistance was dinner. Sea Bass with mango, chilli and sweet potato mash, and asparagus. Flip me, it was good. I am blessed to have a husband who knows his way around the kitchen. Unfortunately, i was so enthusiastic to get it in my stomach that i failed at taking any pictures of his masterpiece. 

Then to end our weekend in style, sunday brunch at giraffe. I adore their mexican breakfast. It does not get much better than Giraffe brunch with the man of your dreams. 

Monday, 20 February 2012

six months.

Today i have been Mrs. Bacon for a whole six months.
I can hardly believe it. It's gone so fast and yet also feels like forever, like i can't remember pre-Bacon life.

When i think about what we've been through the last six months, it seems incredible.
We've survived a horrific honeymoon illness, the death of my beautiful Grandma, four months of long distance Marriage, Steve's first Christmas away from family.

That's a lot in six months, especially the first six months of a new marriage but it has honestly been amazing! (you know, aside from the rubbish stuff!). Marriage has changed us, for the better. It's no longer about me and him. It's about an us.
We have grown, we appreciate each other more. We know each-other better - its funny that even after over five years of dating, we are still learning..
I am blessed beyond measure with this man. I may be biased, but i am seriously the luckiest woman in the world.

So here's a little recap of a few favourites from the the day i became Mrs. Bacon.. because this blog is about documenting life - and a wedding is a pretty huge part of life!

Thursday, 16 February 2012


So this 'Lately' post is becoming a bit of a regular thing. I like it. Its nice for me to put together a record of all the things i've done that week, mundane or exciting. I'm more appreciative of my life because of it.

So here's a little recap:

1. This man needs a haircut.
2. Watching the Liverpool vs. Man United match at the pub - wife duty!
3. FINALLY back on the river. For two weeks the weather has meant no rowing, and with race season upon us it felt awesome to be back at training. Even if it means starting each day at the ungodly hour of 6am.
4. A love letter from my gorgeous man.
5 & 6. Our termly wine and cheese night. Awesome, love these people.
(note: picture 5 features Matt's vodka jelly. Jelly shots = inconvenient. Especially given said 6am rowing outing the next morning.)

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Show your love.

Today is the day many of us celebrate love. So whether you are someone who can't get enough of valentines, or even if you hate it, why not send some love today in a real, practical and life-changing way.

Introducing, The 139 project.

Did you know that 70% of those in the worst poverty are women? That more than half a million beautiful women, just like you and me, die in childbirth and pregnancy every year? That gender based violence is responsible for more deaths in women aged 15-44 than malaria, cancer, traffic accidents or war?

These women are important, they are significant. These issues matter.

The 139 project was set up and run by my good friend Geni, in partnership with Tearfund, to raise awareness of some of these issues, to be a voice for these women and most importantly, to show them that we care.
So please, if you have a spare couple of minutes, it would be awesome if you could raise your voice too, and really make a difference this valentines day.

Heres how it works:
1.Visit the 139 project facebook page.
2. Take a photo of yourself holding up your message of support.
[[example A]]

Your message can say anything, and in english or your native tongue. Some possible messages could be: You are worth it, we are thinking of you. I admire you. etc..

3.Upload your photo onto the facebook newsfeed.
4. Spread the message. 

The photos will be knitted into a giant, beautiful and organic web of wool - a striking art piece and a loud statement of how much we care - and hopefully it will get as much media attention as possible.

The photos will then be presented to the UK government as a petition to focus on achieving the Millenium development goals relating specifically to women, you can find out about those here. 

Finally, and perhaps most excitingly, the art piece will be chopped up and sent around the world to groups that have close contact with the women we want to help, so that women in poverty all over the world can receive messages from hundreds of strangers telling them they are not forgotten. 

So please consider sharing some love today. 

Happy valentines day.

Given my husbandless status until the weekend, and that my only valentines plans this year are with Augustine and Luther, this seemed appropriate:

Happy valentines day you wonderful, freshly scented people :)

Sunday, 12 February 2012

We've gone card crazy.

[[Pinterest pin found here]
Inspired by Mrs Showers over at 'lettersandmylife', i have decided to send a couple of my friends valentines cards this year. I love to receive post, its one of my favourite things. And so, this year i'm spreading the love a little further and sending these girls a little surprise via their letterboxes.

Having expressed my love of card making, it should come as little surprise that i am getting out my supplies. I'm using this card i pinned
awhile ago as inspiration:

1. Start with a cut out rectangle of chosen card.
2. Fold in half and cut out half a heart - nursery school style!

3. Make sure the crease is deep so the card 'pops out' from the back.
Sew heart onto card.

4. Outline heart with stitches.
hint: Hold up to light so you can see heart's outline whilst stictching - you dont want to sew all of heart onto card.

[[The finished product.. its much cuter in 3D i promise :)]]