Sunday, 29 March 2015

10 Favourites // March Edition


Looking back over the last 30(1) days and deciding which have been the best bits to share with you has become one of my favourite things to do. After squashing my Jan/Feb Edition into one post, I've decided 5 things just isn't enough. Too many happy events happen in a whole month - 10 favourites it is!

March has been my best-loved month of 2015 so far. My motivation wasn't at it's highest in February but March has been a whole new ball game... I think it helped having a certain little ball of fluff bumbling around the house for a week… :)

Afternoon tea at Betty's - I felt like a kid in a sweet shop. Thanks to William and his mum, it was a treat-filled afternoon in York and the perfect beginning to March.

Scout staying for a whole week! An entire week! He just makes me beam. Having both him & William to come home to was the most comforting feeling. The fact that every time I sat down he would come and plonk himself on my lap (Scout not William)…gosh darn it he nearly killed me with his cuteness.

A bunch of Ranunculus (Ranunculi?) - I don't know why they made me so happy. Whether it's because they sound like a Harry Potter spell or because they look so darn pretty. They are officially my favourite flower.

Going to watch one of my pupils singing the Rachmaninov Vespers in a church in Holborn. I felt like a proud mother hen, the whole choir was stunning. She did herself and me proud.

Duck and Waffle night with William. It was heaven. The whole evening was indulgent and dreamy, I wish to be back at that night immediately imaginary time machine.

Discovering the deliciously strong happy hour cocktails at Buena Vista, the Cuban bar oh-so-conveniently situated opposite my flat :) Becoming a regular - me thinks so.

Being treated to Reflexology and girly gossip at my beautiful friend Emily's salon. As always, it made my day seeing her and having a well needed catch up whilst she worked wonders on my feet!

Starting most of my days with a fruit-filled smoothie or juice (when I can be bothered to clean the blender). I've been trying to cram more fruit into my diet as I'm usually just a once-in-a-while banana snacker. It's been getting the brain going nicely in the morning! For some of the recipes have a mooch over to my Instagram thebettystamp

My TK Maxx purchases - a Jo Malone looky-like candle which smells good enough to eat, pilates bands, my mum's joy at finding about 6 Emma Bridgewater mugs(!), a tiny Le Creuset pot, Pringle socks with tiny anchors and nautical stripes - chuffed.

Seeing my parents twice in one month!! My favourite people on planet Earth. They came up to London to stay and as my mum calls it 'played house' for the weekend doing DIY jobs and taking us out for yummy meals. I just love seeing them! It puts me in the best mood for the rest of the week.

What have been your highlights of March my friends?

Look out for next week's Easter filled posts - here's one to wet your whistles! There'll be plenty more treats.

Betty x


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Thursday, 26 March 2015

Sticky Hot Cross Buns

The Betty Stamp Lifestyle Sticky Hot Cross bun recipe

Toasted, buttered and stuffed full of currants is how I enjoy my Easter hot cross bun. And what better way to make my (your) Thursday a happier one than to fill your kitchen with the scent of cinnamon and freshly baked buns!

These are a first for me, I'm usually too impatient to bake hot cross buns from scratch as the smell wafting out of the Post Office Bakery (the best bakery on planet earth) is generally enough to make me cave and treat myself to one someone else has baked! Not this year my friends. All my singing & piano pupils will be treated by yours truly this week (if they've done their practise!)

I've used the assistance of Jamie with this one as it's my first attempt. So, grab your aprons and a bag full of sultanas and let's create something mouth wateringly magical!


The Betty Stamp Lifestyle Sticky Hot Cross bun recipe


What you'll need //
200ml milk
55g unsalted butter
2 x 7g sachet dried yeast
455g strong bread flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp ground ginger
1 egg
55g sultanas
30g dried cranberries or apricots
2 tbsp grated orange & lemon peel
runny honey

serves 12 sticky buns!


The Betty Stamp Lifestyle Sticky Hot Cross bun recipe


Method
Pour the milk and 50ml water into a pan over a low heat until warm (not boiling just warm!)
Whilst this is warming, add the butter to a separate pan on a low heat until the butter is melted.
Pour the warm milk into a bowl and mix in the yeast.
In a separate large mixing bowl sift the bread flour and add the salt, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon & ginger mmm smells divine.
Make a well in the middle of your flour and pour the melted butter, yeast and a beaten egg.
Mix together until a dough is formed.
Dust a clean work surface with bread flour and knead the dough for about 10 mins until springy! (My arms nearly fell off at this point, jealous of anyone who has a bread kneading machine!)




Place the dough into a lightly floured large bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave in a warm place for about an hour.




In the meantime grease and line a large baking tray.

It's now huge - yay. Beat it with your fists on a lightly floured surface to get rid of the air and knead in the dried fruits & peel for 2 minutes.



The Betty Stamp Lifestyle Sticky Hot Cross bun recipe


Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces, roll into balls and place on the baking tray.
Cover with a tea towel and leave to expand for a further 30 minutes.


The Betty Stamp Lifestyle Sticky Hot Cross bun recipe


Meanwhile, create a thick paste with the plain flour and 2 tbsp of water and preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.

Gently press a cross into the top of your buns with the back of a knife and carefully either pipe or, if you're without piping bag - I rolled mine into long tiny sausages with my hands(!)



The Betty Stamp Lifestyle Sticky Hot Cross bun recipe


Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins until golden brown (texture like sun)
Leave on a cooling rack and brush over a little runny honey.


The Betty Stamp Lifestyle Sticky Hot Cross bun recipe


Slice open your sultana-stuffed buns, spread with butter whilst still warm- maybe a little jam if you're feeling fruity, and tuck into your Easter treat.


The Betty Stamp Lifestyle Sticky Hot Cross bun recipe

Happy Easter my friends (nearly!) Have you tried my Salted Caramel Mini Egg Millionaire Shortbread? Because I advise you do so immediately!

Betty x



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Saturday, 21 March 2015

The Duck and Waffle // London

Duck and Waffle London Restaurant Review The Betty Stamp

I'm quite a vocal eater - if I'm enjoying my food you will definitely know about it and I think every diner in The Duck and Waffle knew about it! I'm not quite sure how many times I said 'nom nom nom' or 'oh my god' with every succulent mouthful of the delectable cuisine that was placed in front of me, but it was verging on too many! It was the only conversation William could get out of me.

I cannot recommend this restaurant enough, it really is the whole package. I'd been looking forward to it for weeks and it really didn't disappoint on any level. With it being situated on the 40th floor and being the Gherkin's next door neighbour, it hosts the most stunning views over London. Although I have to admit, my favourite part of the view was riding the glass elevator up! (Now I know what Charlie must have felt like in the Chocolate Factory)

Duck and Waffle London Restaurant Review The Betty Stamp


We ate quite early at 5pm as it was either then or 11pm, but it ended up being ideal as it meant we got a great table right by the window and the food was served swiftly. I have to say also, our waiter was one of the loveliest people I've ever been waited on by! He made the whole evening so pleasant and relaxing. Thank you!


Duck and Waffle London Restaurant Review The Betty Stamp


So lets get onto the grub! Actually, I can't call it grub because it deserves more than that…the fine feast! That's more apt. We were advised to order 1 or 2 of the 'small plates' to share and 1 main course each, so we did as we were told :) Although in hind sight, the portions were so generous that I would have happily just had the main, but that would have meant missing out on the deliciousness that was the Scotch Bhadji!


Duck and Waffle London Restaurant Review The Betty Stamp

Duck and Waffle London Restaurant Review The Betty Stamp


This sphere of flavour and Cumberland sausage-y yumminess with a crispy Indian onion bhadji twist was out of this world! With a perfectly runny egg inside and a sweet caramelised onion sauce and houmous as an accompaniment, we were in heaven. Dunking our steamy rosemary & garlic bread in as we went.


Duck and Waffle London Restaurant Review The Betty Stamp


Our bellies were content.

We both had our hearts set on the signature Duck and Waffle main ever since we made the reservation, although we were almost swayed by the Whole Roasted Shropshire Chicken to share with ratte potatoes, wild mushrooms and Umbrian truffles. I'm chuffed that we stuck to our guns though because I can honestly say the Duck and Waffle was the most exquisite dish of food I have ever devoured. And devour it I did. I coated my crispy duck, fried duck egg and waffle in the sweet maple mustard sauce provided and happily chomped away at each succulent mouthful with a 'nom nom' in-between each.


Duck and Waffle London Restaurant Review The Betty Stamp

Duck and Waffle London Restaurant Review The Betty Stamp


The only way I can describe it is like a breakfast and dinner in one. I would never have put this food combination together myself but it worked wonderfully! My tummy and taste buds were as happy as can be!

I tried to resist the urge of a pudding, but as Raphael the waiter rightly said - everyone has two stomachs, one of them especially reserved for pudding! So we caved, just in time for the twinkly night lights of London to begin emerging in the darkness, and tucked into our trio of sorbets - toffee apple, raspberry and white peach…mmm. I honestly don't know where I fitted it.







I've lived in London since 2009 now and The Duck and Waffle has got to be up there as one of my top 3 restaurants I've been to in the big smoke. I'll be back again soon with my eating trousers on!

Have you been to The Duck and Waffle before? What do you recommend me ordering next time? (Although I would happily order the same) Next time I want the dates wrapped in bacon!

Enjoy your weekends lovely people and if you missed my last post on how to make a Chocolate Guinness Mud Cake then WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN, but don't panic - it's still there :) !

Betty x

|| What I'm wearing || Bottle Green Playsuit - Zara || (Now in the sale for £5.99 can't believe it!)


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Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Guinness Mud Cake

Chocolate Guinness Cake Recipe The Betty Stamp

Just like a puppy, a chocolate Guinness mud cake isn't just for  Christmas St Patrick's Day. I would happily devour the entirety of this dreamy cake on any occasion. A few friends and I road tested this devil of a cake last night accompanied by a great big dollop of vanilla bean ice cream…heaven on a plate.

Chocolate Guinness Cake Recipe The Betty Stamp


I tell you what would have been a perfect accompaniment to a hunk of this gooey Guinness gloriousness though which I'm only just thinking of now…a shot of baby guinness…mmm nom nom in my TUM! 

*baby guinness shooter- half coffee liquor (kahlua, tia maria) topped with irish cream (baileys) resulting in a miniature guinness stout look-a-like.

Whether you're from the Emerald Isle or purely celebrating the feast day with other paddy lovers, wear your shamrocks with pride and tuck into some glorious chocolate guinness cake! It's quite a dense cake with a brownie like quality, the Guinness isn't over powering at all, so if you're a fan of the Irish stout then splash in a bit extra!

!!!{I made my chocolately delight in a smaller tin which was 18cm in diameter so be sure to double check ingredient measurements in comparison to your tin! I based my recipe on The Hummingbird Bakery recipe so if your tin is the same size as their's - use their measurements!}


Chocolate Guinness Cake Recipe The Betty Stamp

What You'll Need//

200ml Guinness
200g unsalted butter
60g cocoa powder
300g caster sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
100ml buttermilk
240g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
½ tsp baking powder

30g unsalted butter
200g icing sugar
100g cream cheese

one 18cm spring-form cake tin

Chocolate Guinness Cake Recipe The Betty Stamp

Method
Preheat oven to 170 degrees C & line cake tin with greaseproof paper.
Pour the Guinness and butter into a large saucepan and turn onto a low heat until butter is melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa powder & sugar.
In a separate bowl, mix the egg, vanilla & buttermilk together.
Add to saucepan mixture and stir.
Sift your flour, bicarb & baking powder into an electric mixer before adding your main mixture and whizz on a low speed until nice and smooth.
Pour mixture into your lined cake tin and bake in the oven for 45 minutes
Leave to cool on cooling rack before icing.

Icing time!  Soften your butter and mix with the icing sugar until there are no lumps. Add your cream cheese and give a whizz in the mixer until light and fluffy.
Frost away!
Give a light dusting of cocoa powder for decoration (this is where mine went wrong as the powder came out too fast and I threw a hissy fit (sorry William) :) so I ended up smoothing it over the top of the frosting - hence the brown roof.


Chocolate Guinness Cake Recipe The Betty Stamp

Chocolate Guinness Cake Recipe The Betty Stamp


 Cue Scout patrol…


Chocolate Guinness Cake Recipe The Betty Stamp


''hey lads! come check out what my human made!!''


Chocolate Guinness Cake Recipe The Betty Stamp


''mmm human food…''


Chocolate Guinness Cake Recipe The Betty Stamp


I'm sat chomping on a slice whilst writing this post before dinner time claiming that it's giving me 'inspiration' when actually, I'm just a piglet who loves cake!

Whether you're boozing, caking, or having a movie night in, have the happiest St Patrick's day. Who am I kidding- I'm probably going to make this cake on most special occasions now.

If you give the recipe a whirl do let me know how you get on in the comments below or give me a tweet!

Betty x


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Wednesday, 11 March 2015

A Blissful Afternoon Tea at Betty's

bettys afternoon tea the betty stamp

If you love all things quintessentially British and you're familiar with the north of England, then you've most likely been well acquainted with Betty's Tearooms. I spent my weekend being thoroughly spoilt by William and his family in York and treated to the most beautiful afternoon tea, jam-packed full of clotted cream scones, (pronounced 's-gones' not 'sg-owns' as I'm a southern softy) mini macarons and generously stuffed sarnies.

bettys afternoon tea macaron the betty stamp


Side note : I noted to myself that I must tell you(!) - whilst in Kings Cross I accidentally fell into Oliver Bonas…oops, and found this little beauty I didn't have time to try it on but luckily there's an OB round the corner from my humble abode. Look at the little Frenchies!

So we arrived in York! And filled our evening with a long country walk, duck spotting, William running away from angry geese and a shed load of chish'n'fips. Heaven. A night snuggled in front of a log fire with William's mum's home baked goodies, combined with all the fresh air, sent me into the deepest sleep in preparation for a cream tea filled day!


bettys afternoon tea the betty stamp



Walking into Betty's is like walking into a treasure chest full of decadent delights - a feast on the eyes and in the tummys! Cake counters full of colourful macarons, glossy fruit tartlets, stuffed currant buns and Betty's tea bags galore!


bettys afternoon tea the betty stamp

bettys afternoon tea the betty stamp

bettys afternoon tea the betty stamp

bettys afternoon tea the betty stamp

bettys afternoon tea the betty stamp


William and his mama chose from the delicious Autumn-Winter menu - a Bacon & Raclette Rosti which looked and smelt divine, a Smoked Salmon & Prawn open sandwich (with chips - naughty) and a teapot fit for a king full of Betty's tea! 


bettys afternoon tea the betty stamp

bettys afternoon tea the betty stamp


William's mum had treated me to an afternoon tea voucher for my birthday and boy was it worth the wait! Even the voucher itself is beautiful. It was a perfect girly way to spend an afternoon (William was honorary girl for the day) and I'm definitely going to start doing it more with the girls in London. It's happiness on a cake stand - a guaranteed mood enhancer. If anyone has any favourite afternoon tea haunts in London then please do share below!


bettys afternoon tea the betty stamp

bettys afternoon tea the betty stamp


My next trip to Betty's is without doubt going to involve some of these rhubarby refreshments. Rhubarb Champagne Cocktail? -yes please and thank you very much.


bettys afternoon tea the betty stamp

bettys afternoon tea the betty stamp

bettys afternoon tea the betty stamp


We had a little spuddle around the cake counters before choosing a big box of Betty's tea for me and a fruit tart to take home for Granny :) Although I was very tempted by the Easter eggs looking all glorious and regal!...


bettys afternoon tea the betty stamp


bettys afternoon tea the betty stamp


A stroll along the famous Shambles and a bit of window shopping…it'd be rude not to


bettys afternoon tea the betty stamp

bettys afternoon tea the betty stamp

whip ma whop ma gate the betty stamp


The shortest street in York with the longest name!




Home time. The perfect sunset to end the most perfect day. Thank you my York family :)

Betty x


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