Monday, 31 August 2015

brioche

I remember the first time I discovered just how much butter a loaf of brioche contains. I kind of wished I had remained ignorant. However, butter really is what makes this bread brilliant. So, as long as you don't eat an entire loaf in one go, I think it's ok to indulge in this delicious sweet bread every now and then. I made this loaf for a Saturday brunch with friends a few months back, and it turned out beautifully. If I were to make it again, I think I would add chocolate chips, then it would be the perfect cross between bread and pain au chocolat. We served this with jam and homemade lemon curd.

If you are planning on making this for breakfast, it's helpful to bear in mind that you will need to make the dough the night before so it can have adequate chilling time, and that you will need to give the dough a second prove before baking, so you will want to start this process fairly early if you want to eat at a respectable time!

Brioche
ingredients (recipe by Paul Hollywood)
500g strong white bread flour
7g table salt
50g caster sugar
10g instant yeast
140ml warm full fat milk
5 free range eggs
250g unsalted butter at room temperature

method
1) Put the flour, salt and sugar into the bowl of a freestanding mixer with the dough hook attachment fitted.
2) Heat the milk on the stove or in the microwave until it is warm to the touch. This takes very little time - perhaps a minute on the stove and less in the microwave.
3) Add the milk and eggs to the flour mixture and mix on a slow speed for 2 minutes. Continue to mix but increase the speed to medium for a further 6-8 minutes.
4) Once you have a soft, glossy and elastic dough, add the softened butter and continue to mix for 5 minutes. This is a very sticky dough, so you will need to periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that all of the mixture is being kneaded.
5) Grease a large plastic mixing bowl with a little oil, then tip the dough into the bowl, cover with cling film (glad wrap) and chill in the fridge for at least 7 hours. The easiest thing to do is chill overnight.
6) Grease a 25cm round loose bottomed cake tin.
7) Once the dough has chilled overnight, remove it from the fridge and tip it onto a floured surface. Knock the air out of the dough by folding it in on itself a few times.
8) Weigh the dough and divide the weight by nine to determine the weight of each piece. Shape each piece into a smooth ball. Place 8 balls around the outside of the greased cake tin, and 1 in the centre.
9) Place the cake tin in a plastic bag, or plastic lidded container and leave to prove for 2-3 hours until doubled in size.
10) Half an hour before your brioche is ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 190C / gas mark 5 / 375F.
11) Once the brioche has proved, bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove the brioche from the tin and leave to cool slightly. Serve warm if possible, as this is delicious! 

Sunday, 30 August 2015

The 52 Project: 35/52

'A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week in 2015.'

Dear Ruby,
At the start of this week, there were a few things that I knew would be happening:
1) We would see your good friend Immi at least once.
2) You would talk about Auntie Hannah and Choc the dog at least fifty times.
3) We would be having a new boiler fitted (dull, but true).

One thing that I definitely did not anticipate was that we would be taking you to A&E at bedtime on Saturday evening. We had spent a wonderful afternoon with friends, then when we arrived home, you and Daddy sat outside watching the hot air balloons fly over our city. Somehow, you managed to somersault over the railings at the end of our wall and split your eyebrow open. Your bravery and resilience never cease to amaze me, little one. You handled the whole experience with such calmness (except for the part where the nurse had to glue your eyebrow back together), and in spite of going to bed five hours later than normal, you acted like it was just another day, playing happily with toys and the two other children who also needed to see the Doctor. Please can you hold off from attempting any more somersaults anytime soon?

All my love,
Mama xxx

Friday, 28 August 2015

five years.

Five years ago today, John and I said our vows in front of our family and friends, and began our married life together. I thought that it would be fun to recall some of the slightly more unusual moments in the day, as this might make for a more interesting read than some sentimental words.

+ I got ready for our wedding in the flat that John and I were to live in for the first two and a half years of marriage. There was a little pathway that you had to walk down to get to the cars, and I remember noticing that on the morning of our wedding, the path was covered in slugs and snails from all of the rain we had been having. I asked my Mum if she would be able to move the snails before I walked to the wedding car, so that I wouldn't end up with any unwelcome critters on my dress. Of all the things I thought I would need my Mum's help with in life, I never would have thought of moving slugs on my wedding day. Thank you, Mum, you are truly wonderful.

+ We arrived at the Church ten minutes early, and so our driver drove around the block a couple of times to kill time. I remember thinking it was a shame he was going to waste unnecessary fuel, and did it really matter that I was early?

+ As I was standing in the entrance to the Church, one of my bridesmaids spotted that I had a green stain on the hem of my dress from some moss. Never mind the slugs, my poor dress didn't stand a chance of staying clean! And I had only been wearing it for an hour at this point. Thankfully, that same brilliant bridesmaid had a fabric stain remover in her hand bag (as you do...I never would have thought of this...) and it removed that green stain like it was its J.O.B.

+ I had to ask my Dad to carry my bouquet for me as I negotiated the stairs that led up to the main aisle in the Church. Although we had rehearsed the Bridal Procession, I had not anticipated that my feet would get caught in my dress. So, my Dad dutifully carried my bouquet in one hand, while I held my dress and linked arms with him. Again, not the glamours entrance I imagined, but I loved it anyway.

+ During our meal at the wedding reception, I remember turning to my Nanny (maternal grandmother) and asking her what the time was. It was 5pm. I turned to John and declared how incredibly tired I was, all of a sudden. He felt the same, so I asked him if we could go and have a nap. I never thought I would want a nap on my wedding day, but I did, and I didn't have one.

+ My poor sister had two drinks spilled all over her during our wedding celebrations - the first by a waitress at the restaurant where we ate on the eve of our wedding. The second, by a waiter at our wedding. What are the chances of that?

+ John and I did not have a first dance. He is much taller than I am, and the only experience we had had of dancing together prior to our wedding was at a ceilidh. It did not go well, and it certainly wasn't pretty or romantic. So I wanted to spare us the embarrassment, even though I had always secretly loved those surprise wedding dances, and John is actually a brilliant dancer. Anyhow, a few years after our wedding, it transpired that some of our closest friends had a memory of our first dance - that it had been a brilliantly choreographed affair. I loved that they created this false memory of something I had secretly wanted to do, although I would never have had the courage to actually go through with it.

Here's to celebrating the milestones in marriage, and delighting in the ordinary moments that make up much of life too.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

sewing lately // zippered pouches


I have owned a sewing machine for about seven years now, and in all that time, I have always been daunted by attempting to sew with zips. I imagined them to be very tricky to work with, so just avoided any patterns that involved inserting a zipper. I was also hindered by the fact that with my old sewing machine, I didn't have a zipper foot, so it was probably quite sensible not to attempt to conquer my fear. Earlier this year, I bought a brand new sewing machine, which I absolutely love. It's so quiet (my old one sounded like a machine gun firing), I have full control over the speed, and it just works perfectly. Do you remember the post I wrote a while back about how I realised that in creating a goal to make three quilts before the end of the year, I discovered that it wasn't so much about wanting to make a specific number of quilts, as it was a desire to start and finish the process of making something.

While I was in the phase where I had hit a wall with making my quilts, I decided to try my hand at making a zippered pouch. Although I still felt a little daunted at trying something new, and risking wasting some lovely fabric, in the grand scheme of all the difficult things there are to sew, a tiny pouch seemed relatively easy. I talked myself into having a go by telling myself it was just a matter of cutting four rectangles (easy), sewing three straight lines (really easy), and not getting the zipper stuck in the machine or inside the pouch (slightly less easy). Just a few simple steps, and I would have myself a pretty little pouch. Thanks to a helpful tutorial I found on Pinterest, I made my first pouch in about half an hour. And the sense of satisfaction that comes from making something from scratch? It is great, and so worth the little bit of time and effort.
I decided to make another pouch as a gift for a friend who is about to have her second baby. I filled it with a few nice toiletries - shower gel, organic shampoo, hand cream and lip balm. Before having a baby, I would never have thought to give this kind of gift to a Mum-to-be. Then, when I was pregnant with Ruby, my friends held a baby shower for me. Every single gift I received was for Ruby, except for one. An experienced mother of three gave me a lovely set of travel sized toiletries and said, 'I'll get something for the baby when she arrives, but it's important for you to have something special for you.' I packed those toiletries into my hospital bag, and was so very thankful to that wise friend when I had my first shower after giving birth. It was such a lovely treat to use an extra special expensive shower gel that I probably wouldn't have bought for myself. Before having Ruby, I never knew how much I would come to appreciate the simple luxuries of some lovely toiletries, or how much lip balm and hand cream I would get through in the early months of having a newborn baby in Winter. Zippered pouches filled with luxury toiletries might just become my new go-to gift for new Mums. I can see a lot of these featuring in the near future for me, as I know a vast number of people expecting babies at the end of this year. 

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

from the weekend

I thought I would share a few photos from our time spent with my family this weekend. My older brother was over from Madrid, which was lovely, as we tend to only get to see him once or twice a year. He hadn't seen Ruby since Christmas, which is an enormous amount of time in terms of the amount Ruby has changed since she was twelve months old. We mostly spent our time at my parents house, where I lived from the age of eleven until I left home at nineteen. Now that I have a home of my own, I have a greater appreciation for just how wonderful my parents' huge garden is. Ruby thoroughly enjoyed rolling on their freshly cut grass, finding caterpillars, spotting butterflies, picking blueberries and playing catch with her Nanny and Uncle. 
On Saturday evening, we went with my Dad to feed his friend’s chickens. This was the first time that Ruby has come into contact with chickens, and seen that eggs don’t just come from cartons in supermarkets!! She was certainly wary of them, and the eggs, and was grateful for the safety of her Grandad’s arms. 
Ruby had the option of sitting on her own chair at all mealtimes, but without fail, she opted to sit with my Mum or Dad. It looks like she adopted my Mum's fork as well as her own, just in case one didn't suffice! It is a shame that we weren't able to spend longer than a weekend together, but for those few days and precious time together, I am very thankful.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

The 52 Project: 34/52

'A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week in 2015.'

Dear Ruby,
This week you have been reunited with some of your friends who you hadn't seen for a few weeks while we were away on holiday. It was so lovely to see the way you embraced one another in a gentle, affectionate and familiar way. What a precious thing it is to have good friends to share life with.

Ever since you experienced what it feels like for a plane to land on a runway, you have become fascinated with the sensation of going over bumps in any kind of vehicle - planes, buses, cars and bikes. I think 'bump' has been one of the words you have used most frequently this week. You have also discovered that you can create a bumping sensation by going down the stairs on your bottom, which is now your preferred method of descending our staircase.

This week has ended on a bittersweet note - we attended the funeral of your Great Grandmother, Iris, who you have enjoyed many Facetime conversations with. It is sad that you didn't get to spend more time with her, but thankfully you still have two sets of wonderful Grandparents who love you very much. We spent the rest of the weekend staying at Nanny and Grandad's house, which involved lots of butterfly and caterpillar spotting in the garden, eating delicious hearty picnic pie, feeding chickens and playing catch with Uncle John and Granny in the garden. Here's to celebrating time spent making memories with family.

All my love,

Mama xxx

P.S Grandad captured this photo of you.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

around here.

I feel like I should start this blog post by saying, 'Hello! How are you? I'm sorry I haven't been around much lately.' I think I mentioned in one of my posts about our Italy holiday that we didn't have access to wifi there, so the blog posts I managed to share were rather rushed. Now that we are back, we still don't have regular internet access, due to ongoing problems with our internet at home, so I am unsure as to when I will be able to resume posting regularly. This weekend we are staying with my parents, so I am able to take advantage of their fully functioning wifi. I thought I would share a few snippets from our first week back to normality since getting home from Italy. My memory is so appalling these days, which makes me so thankful for how convenient it is to capture life with smart phones. I so often wonder, 'where have we been? what did we eat? how have I been spending my time?!!' and I am certain that I would remember far less if I didn't take as many photos of our every day life as I do. Here's to taking the time to remember the small moments that fill our days.

Around here we have been...

flying back from our holiday in Italy. Overall, our first experience of flying with Ruby was brilliant. She loved the airports and plane journeys, and was particularly enamoured with the feeling of the plane coming into land and going, 'bump, bump, bump!' Since getting home, she has a new found awareness of all the bumps we go over in the car, and likes to announce each bump.

enjoying the classic British Summer weather. The heat in Italy was a bit overwhelming, and it was quite refreshing to feel the cool air and Summer rain that is so familiar to us. I loved the contrast of the bright blue skies we saw on the flight home, compared to the grey skies and rain that greeted us when we landed in London.

eating salted caramel ice cream. I made this batch of ice cream for the first time before we went away, but we didn't really have a chance to eat it. So we enjoyed sharing it with friends this week. I will share the recipe here soon.

watching hot air balloons take flight over our house first thing in the morning. Such a lovely sight. 

eating sweet cherry tomato and sausage bake with French bread - so delicious and simple. It's a Jamie Oliver recipe which you can find here.

sewing a tote bag for a friend who's about to have her second baby. A friend and I put together a selection of breastfeeding essentials (chocolate, dried fruit, muslins, lip balm and a few other toilettries), and gifts for her son to play with while she is feeding their new baby.

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All of these photos are ones that I took on my iPhone and have shared on Instagram. If you are on Instagram, I would love to connect with you there. There's something so much more personal and immediate about Instagram compared to other social media outlets, and commenting on blogs. You can find me there under @hannahruthking



Saturday, 15 August 2015

The 52 Project: 33/52

'A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week in 2015.'

Dear Ruby,
You spent a lot of time in that blue bowl over the past week. It became a bit of an afternoon routine in Italy, that to help with the heat and pass the many hours we spent at the villa, we would fill this bowl with water, give you some toys to play with, and hose you down. Once you discovered that you could just about fit into the bowl, you spent a whole lot of time sitting in it and displacing the water all over the patio.

It was fascinating to hear what you were thinking about from home while we were away. In order of most talked about, these are the things that you seemed to miss about home.
1) Auntie Hannah and baby Phoebe. Every single day, you mentioned Hannah and Phoebe at least ten times.
2) Choc. (Our friend's dog.)
3) 'Nen'. (Wren) - our god daughter, your friend)
4) 'ola (Granola) - you and I love my homemade granola. The day before we flew home, I told you that we would be going on an aeroplane and flying back to our house. You were eating porridge at the time, and excitedly declared, 'house...'ola!', climbed down from the table and went to look in the kitchen at the villa for granola. You were a little bit forlorn when I told you we would have to wait until we were home to eat granola again.

You seem to share your Father's enthusiasm for aeroplanes and airports, which was lovely to witness. You are quite the pro at negotiating escalators and travelators, thanks to the airport experience, and your love of ascending and descending stairs was further fuelled by the many staircases you found on your travels. What a fantastic travel companion you are, little one.
All my love,
Mama xxx

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Lecce.

On Tuesday, the morning began just as nearly every morning has since we arrived. Ruby woke up, asked for 'dood, dood, dood' (food), and went to find her Granny and Grandad who were sleeping on the veranda. They took Ruby to the beach at 6.30am, which is the best time to enjoy the coolest part of the day. For breakfast, Mary went out to buy some fresh croissants  it's quite traditional here to have croissants filled with jam, chocolate or custard, so Mary bought half filled with chocolate and half that were plain.

For the first time since we have arrived, the sky was overcast. The previous night when we had been swimming in the sea at sunset, John had pointed out the shape of the clouds, and predicted that there would be a storm. It seemed so hard to imagine, after the consistent sunshine and unrelenting heat, that it might rain. But it turns out that he was absolutely right. Just as we were packing up our things to go on a trip to Lecce, the thunder started rolling and rumbling, and the sky was filled with lightening bolts. Then came the rain. It absolutely poured, and we all gathered on the veranda to watch the rivers forming and the heavy rain pounding on the cars.

Once the rain had relented slightly, we drove in the two cars to Lecce, which is one of the two cities in Puglia. It took an hour and twenty minutes to get there, and it was still raining when we arrived. Marion bought an umbrella for €5 from a street vendor to keep a couple of us slightly dry. We ate at a wonderful restaurant called Camillo. The food was delicious and the red wine was so good. It was called Vereto Salice Salentino Reserva 2010.
After lunch we wandered the streets of Lecce and visited a couple of churches. The architecture was incredible, but we were often more focussed on making sure Ruby stayed safe, than on taking in the sights. Mary had been craving a Puglian pastry called Pasta Ciotto all week, and finally found somewhere that sold them, so she bought eight so that we could all try them. By the time we walked back to the car, Ruby was so tired that she fell asleep in John's arms and slept for the duration of the car journey home.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Alberobella

On Sunday afternoon, a few of us visited Alberobella, which is an hours drive away from Villanova where we are staying. The drive there was beautiful - views of olive groves and smattering a of Trulli that characterise Alberobella. Trulli are the round houses that were built in the eighteenth century, with very thick stone walls that keep them cool in the Summer and warm in the Winter. They also have conical roofs which are topped with stone symbols that carry various religious meaning. 

For the first time since we arrived, the temperature was actually bearable to be walking around in at 5pm in the afternoon. Like a classic tourist, I saw something in the first shop we visited and bought it, only to discover that every single other gift shop sold the same item for less than half the price I paid! There were so many beautiful doorways and alleyways, I got a little carried away with taking photos to try and capture this unique town.
We ended our time in Alberobello with some gelato at a cafe called Arte Fredda. Their speciality flavours were almond and pistachio, but I opted for strachiatella and bacio, which is a chocolate and hazelnut nut gelato. 

Monday, 10 August 2015

The 52 Project: 32/52

Dear Ruby,
This week has been full of adventure for you, and you have taken all of it in your stride. (Almost.) On Monday, you experienced your first aeroplane flight to Italy. In fact, we flew on two planes to get here - on the first flight you fell asleep the minute we were airborne, and only woke up when we had to strap you back in for landing in Munich. You loved talking about how the plane went 'bump, bump, bump' as we came in to land on the runway. 

We have spent the week in Villanova on the South Coast of Italy, and it is much, much hotter here than it is at home. I had worried that we didn't have enough clothes that would keep you cool, but I needn't have worried. It is so hot that you spend all day in just your nappy, except for when we go to the beach, when you wear your sun suit. You have coped remarkably well with the heat (it's 47°C in the sunshine, and even the water is as hot as 29°C), until yesterday, when you had a meltdown that was so out of character for you. As a result, you ended up having a power nap at 6pm to cope.

One of the things you have loved doing while we've been in Italy is riding in a bike seat. You love it so much that you often don't want to get out of it once we have got back to the villa. When we go to the beach, you are quite happy to play with the sand, but you regard the sea with great caution. I can completely understand this - it must seem overwhelming looking at this great expanse of water that creates waves that are slightly unpredictable. 

We have another week here before we go home and I am sure that it will be filled with plenty more sand, sun, pizza, pasta, cheese and water play.

All my love,
Mama xxx

Ostuni


Before we came away on holiday to Italy, I had assumed that I would not have the opportunity to write any blog posts, but it turns out that I have had far more time than I had imagined. It is incredibly hot here - at 47°C in the sunshine even the Italians are saying it's too hot. As a result of the high temperatures and holidaying with a toddler who still naps, our days have taken on a very leisurely pace. However, we have managed a couple of outings to Ostuni and Alberobella. I was so taken with the unique buildings in Alberobella that I will save those for another post.

Ostuni is famous for its collection of white buildings, and can be seen from miles around. We mainly explored the historical centre, which consists of a series of very narrow, steep stone paths lined with little shops, and leading up to various viewpoints across Puglia. Once we had admired the views and visited the Cathedral, we made a customary visit to a gelateria. When there is no air conditioning or breeze to cool down, gelato makes a very good alternative!

Friday, 7 August 2015

sleep.

There's nothing more peaceful than a sleeping baby, right? At least I think that's how the saying goes. I think it might be more fitting to say that there's nothing more peaceful than a parent when their baby / toddler is sleeping. Because sleep deprivation is a form of torture. 

I am fairly sure that most parents could write chronicles on their babies and sleep. Unless of course, you're the unusual exception of parent who has a baby that just sleeps. But that wouldn't make for great stories to share with friends through mild hysteria from a few years of sleep deprivation. I can assure you I fall into the latter category, not the former. I have written many, many blog posts in my head about how to perfect ninja moves at 4am to avoid the squeaky floorboards & how it's possible but immensely uncomfortable to sleep with your head on your toddler's bed while she holds you in a sleeping head lock, but I never actually write those words down. 

I thought I would share the story behind this photo of my sweet sleeping daughter, because I think it makes for a more interesting photo when you know the story behind it, and also to remind myself that even though on this occasion, she needed to be holding my hand in order to fall asleep, this is just a phase that will not last long. In the years to come, I can imagine myself longing to have those moments back, where my daughter needed me to be close at hand. 

I took this photo on Wednesday morning last week, which was much the same as any other morning. Ruby had woken up at 5am, and as a result, she was ready for her one nap of the day by 8.30am. By the time 8.30am rolled around, she had eaten a three course breakfast (the first course included a granola course in our bed, resulting in crumbs everywherere. I think that crumbs in bed comes pretty close to being as bad as the irritation of getting bitten by Mosquitos at night), watered the plants, read a library's worth of books, sung her entire repertoire of songs and was so exhausted that she couldn't possibly imagine doing anything else without a nap. Meantime, I was giving my husband my crazy eyed look that says, 'how on earth am I going to get through the day if she naps now?!' And maybe going a little bit wild as she launched my laptop onto the floor and put all the clean laundry back into the dirty laundry basket for the umpteenth time. All this happened before I've managed to leave the bedroom, thanks to my kind husband doing the breakfast feast while I lie very still in our granola ridden bed, trying to avoid the feeling of crumbs coming anywhere near me. 

Parenting a baby or toddler can often feel like survival is the main goal, and sometimes you've just got to do what is necessary to survive. If that means holding my daughter's hand with my forehead rested against hers in a way that's comfortable for her, and immensely uncomfortable for me, then so be it. In my case, it also might involve more than a healthy amount of caffeine and chocolate. 

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Italian Adventure

On Monday we started our Italian adventure. In order to get to the Salento peninsular, we drove to Heathrow Airport, flew to Munich, then took a second plane to Bari. This was Ruby's first experience of an airport and flying, and it definitely made me think about how it all must seem from her perspective. How strange it must have been for her to watch our bags and her buggy go onto a conveyor belt in order to be put on the plane. Ruby has been fascinated with planes and helicopters for quite some time (this seems to be characteristic of nearly all young children), so I was intrigued to see how she would react to the whole experience of seeing aeroplanes up close, and actually getting to fly in one. Thankfully, she seemed to love it, and fell asleep as soon as we were airborne on the plane to Munich. I had packed a whole array of different activities to occupy Ruby while we travelled, but we ended up only using the pot of play dough, a couple of books, and an abundance of snacks. I'll write about everything I packed for the flight another time, in case it comes in handy to anyone else planning on travelling with young children.

We are staying in a villa on the border of the Salento peninsular, just a few minutes walk from the coastline. There is no wifi anywhere nearby, so there is no choice but to switch off from what is going on in the rest of the world. This is a mixed blessing in that it means I am taking more time to relax and read more, but it also means that I cannot find out news of friends whose babies are due while we are away, or have contact with my family, who are grieving the loss of our Granny, who sadly passed away the day before we left for Italy. It is at times like this, when major life events are taking place in the lives of loved ones that the value of the internet is even more pronounced. We managed to find a cafe with wifi which is the best part of an hours walk from where we are staying, suffice to say, this is probably the only blog post I will manage while we are away. 

So far, the holiday has been characterised by swimming in the sea, cycling, eating vast amounts of delicious tomatoes and watermelon, and reading a lot while the sun is at its hottest. 

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Malted chocolate ice cream

A couple of months ago, I bought an ice cream attachment for my kenwood chef. I've shared here already about the flavours we have experimented with so far, and today I'd like to share with you this flavour that I made last week. When I saw this post for malted chocolate ice cream, I knew that I wanted to try it out. I don't have ice cream moulds, but they're definitely not a necessity when making ice cream. They do look pretty enticing though, don't they?!

I made a couple of adjustments to the original recipe, and was quite pleased with how this flavour turned out. I have used chocolate ovaltine a lot in the past in icing recipes, so used this instead of the suggested Horlicks. I also decided to add a couple of whisked egg yolks for richness. I don't tend to mess with baking recipes too much, especially when making something that I am not very familiar with, like ice cream. But, I figured it couldn't go too far wrong, and it think my adaptations worked well. If I make this again, I would add more melted chocolate so that there are more chocolate chunks, because you can never have too many, but you can definitely have not enough. 

Ingredients 
125ml double cream 
375ml whole milk 
60g caster sugar
8 tbsp (approx 120g) chocolate ovaltine powder
1 tbsp creme fraiche or cream cheese
2 tsp good quality vanilla extract

for the chocolate chips:
30g dark chocolate for the drizzle (I would double this)
1 tsp vegetable oil (this helps the chocolate to keep its flavour once frozen)

Method
1) In a small bowl, mix the créme fraîche with a little of the milk to thin it out slightly. 
2) Heat the remaining milk, cream, ovaltine powder and two thirds of the caster sugar in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the mixture to being on the verge of boiling - as soon as you see the first sign of bubbles forming around the edge of the pan, remove from the heat. 
3) Whisk the egg yolks with 20g of the sugar until thick and pale in colour
4) Stir in the whisked egg yolks to the milk mixture and continue to stir until the sugar has dissolved. Pour into a jug and place in the fridge to chill. 
5) Once the mixture has cooled completely, churn in your ice cream maker, following manufacturer's instructions, then pour into a freezeable container. 
6) Melt the remaining chocolate, along with the oil, then drizzle a layer of this onto the ice cream. Place in the freezer for one minute, then remove and use a spoon to break up the chocolate and stir it into the ice cream. Repeat this process until you have used all of the melted chocolate. 

Monday, 3 August 2015

Italian Adventure


We're heading off on an Italian Adventure today for a couple of weeks. We're going off the grid, and won't have wifi, so it will be a little quiet here. I have scheduled a couple of posts for you to enjoy while I am eating my body weight in pizza and pasta. I'll be back soon with a memory card full of photos to share.
Ciao for now!

Sunday, 2 August 2015

The 52 Project: 31/52

'A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week in 2015.'

Dear Ruby,
I took this photo of you just as Daddy sprayed a mist of water in your face. I love that you didn't blink, wince or change your expression. Your hair goes through phases in the day of wild bed hair to calm and tamed, and then back to wild again after your nap. We haven't cut it yet - I wanted to avoid giving you a fringe if possible, but it's now at this slightly awkward length where it's too short to tie back, and too long to wear without a hair clip. 
Tomorrow we are going on our greatest adventure to date - we're taking you on your very first flight on an aeroplane! Daddy and I are very excited about this. We both love flying, and hope you do too. I am well prepared with snacks and new books and games to play on the flight. I am imagining that you will be quite happy to run up and down the aisle of the plane for most of the time. We're going to Italy and it is seriously hot there. Here's to hoping you can cope with the heat. You talk a lot about planes and notice almost every plane and helicopter that flies over our house. I wonder if you will be as excited about flying on one as you are about spotting them in the sky.
All my love,
Mama xxx