America · Ice Cream · Salads · Sweets · Travelling

What I eat in Arizona, Part 1

First of all, Southwest Airlines are hilarious- I’m only ever flying with them again! Airline and a stand-up comedy act? Sold.

Featured highlights:

‘If you’re scared of flying, put your head between your knees and tremble until we bring round the alcohol’

‘You are so lucky to have us as your flight crew’ (no lack of confidence there)

‘My guy in Houston writes these leaflets – I know none of you will read them but you should. If there’s an emergency – tough, you’re on your own! (Only joking, obviously look for a crew member!)

[Paraphrased but the gist is there]

They also give very friendly snacks…



During the first few days we have swum, relaxed and eaten a lot of good food, so here follow the highlights!

The first night we ate at Pita Jungle where I was again reminded of the scale of American portions – I ate the  second half of the meal for breakfast the next morning! I had a lentil fatoosh salad which there is no photographic evidence of – it tasted good though!

Dessert did make the camera though – below is an ice cream sandwich made of a chocolate chip cookie, a s’mores cookie with mint chocolate chip ice cream and hot Nutella (hence the salad before…)


(They also gave us free brownies (2) and 12 white chocolate macadamia nut cookies as we were there at closing time!)

The next day we went to one of my favourite lunch places – Flower Child. Basically a hippie place (even including a ‘yoga mat parking’ spot) it specialises in bowls, salads and other tasty things. I had a Vietnamese salad bowl with tofu which was delicious, but I was also very taken by the drinks – honey-lavender-limeade, elderflower-rose lemonade and strawberry-lemonade, all on tap!


Then we had a quick tour around some of the amazing houses in the local area before heading to Creamistry – my favourite ice-cream place! Based on some – very dodgy – liquid nitrogen freezing principles you can create your own ice-cream by choosing a base, flavourings and toppings. Below we have a creamy base, tiramisu flavour with hot fudge sauce on the top. (Again, salad for supper!)


I do also get hugely excited by watching them make the ice-cream in front of you! We are planning on going again later in the week and then I plan to go a little more experimental with flavours.

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Also, this is what a Malteaser looks like in the States…

Until next time then, happy eating!

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Baking · Cupcakes · Sweets

Mint Humbug Cupcakes

Old fashioned mint sweets are gradually going out of fashion in the UK. They are regarded as being a particularly old-fashioned sweet, and the new innovations in confectionary techniques and flavours have tended to drive people towards to newer types of sweets. Humbugs though, still have a particular vintage appeal to them, and one that still is appealing today.

Mint Humbug Cupcake

 

Mint Humbug Cupcake 3

Another Hummingbird Bakery recipe, this one takes the traditional boiled sweet, the mint humbug and develops this into a cupcake. I was dubious about this – I often find caramel very sweet, but in this recipe the peppermint goes someway to cutting through the sweetness. The recipe suggests topping them with crushed mint humbugs, but I used rice paper butterflies to top the cupcakes – I couldn’t face any more sugar in them!

Mint Humbug Cupcake 2

Mint Humbug Cupcakes

Instructions:

Cake:

  • 70g butter, softened.
  • 210g plain flour
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 210 ml whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint essence
  • 2 large eggs
  • 50g tinned caramel

Frosting:

  • 500g icing sugar
  • 160g butter, softened
  • 50ml milk
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint essence
  • 20g tinned caramel

Ingredients:

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 3, and line a cupcake tin with liners. Set aside for later.

Beat together the butter, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt until they form crumbs. Mix the eggs, milk and peppermint essence together in a separate bowl and when well-combined, start adding to the dry ingredients, slowly and mixing well after each addition. Beat the mixture until a smooth batter is formed. Add the caramel and mix in until well-distributed through the mixture.

Fill the cupcake cases to 2/3’s full, and bake for 30 minutes until form and well risen. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, before removing and cooling completely on a wire rack.

Make the frosting by beating together the butter, icing sugar and milk with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the peppermint essence and caramel and beat until completely combined. Transfer to a piping bag and pip a swirl onto the top of each cupcake,before decorating as you prefer.

Sweets

Oreo Fudge in Five Minutes.

This is possibly the most dangerous recipe you will ever make. Read the title – enough said.

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5 Minute Oreo Fudge

Ingredients:

  • 12 crushed Oreos
  • 3 cups of white chocolate
  • 1 can of condensed milk

Instructions:

Combine the chocolate and condensed milk in a microwavable bowl and place in the microwave on a medium heat for 30 seconds. Remove and stir, before repeating until the mixture is completely melted and smooth.

Line an 8in x 8in tin with baking parchment and place a layer of crushed Oreos at the bottom. Top with the chocolate mixture and sprinkle with the remainder of the Oreos, pressing in slightly. Leave to set before cutting into pieces.

Chocolate · Sweets

Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Today, I’m sharing with you my new favourite sweet treat, homemade chocolate peppermint bark. Now to be honest I’m not convinced that this needs a recipe, as it is so ridiculously simple, but I felt that it was so delicious, that I just had to share it with you!

Peppermint bark 2

[Note: This recipe can be (and will be) adapted in as many different ways as you see fit, so feel free to change the combinations to match whatever flavours you prefer.]

peppermint bark

Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Ingredients: 

(To make one 9″x9″ pan)

  • 200g dark chocolate (the better the quality, the better the overall product)
  • 200g white chocolate (as above)
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • A few drops of green food colouring
  • 2 peppermint aero bars, roughly chopped

Instructions:

Line a 9″x9″ tin with tin foil. Melt the dark chocolate over a pan of simmering water and pour into the tin, spreading out to cover the bottom. Place in the fridge and leave to set.

Melt the white chocolate over a pan of simmering water and add the green food colouring and peppermint extract. Pour over the set dark chocolate and spread to cover the first layer of chocolate. Cover the top with a layer of chopped mint aero pieces and leave to set in the fridge. Once completely set, break into large pieces, using a sharp knife to help you if needed.