Fifi's entry for the Great Boohoo Bake off: Apple Plumble

Great Boohoo Bake Off: Delicious Apple + Plum Crumble dessert recipe


Guys, it's got to be my favourite time of year when the Great British Bake Off is back on telly. As an avid amateur baker, there's nothing I love more than marvelling at the showstopper recipes and - sorry! - laughing at the failures when the mousse doesn't set. It's refreshing when even the most pro bakers make mistakes, eh? 

The team at Boohoo.com are running a blogger competition for the best Boohoo baking creation with their name slapped all over, so I thought I'd throw an apron on (and this rather cute boohoo red dress too) and cook up a storm for a slice of the fun :-)

I went for a red kinda theme, totally unplanned, and had so much fun bringing it all together. Here's the story of how I made my Apple + Plum crumble.

Great Boohoo Bake Off: Delicious Apple + Plum Crumble dessert recipe

Great Boohoo Bake Off: Delicious Apple + Plum Crumble dessert recipe

Great Boohoo Bake Off: Delicious Apple + Plum Crumble dessert recipe

Great Boohoo Bake Off: Delicious Apple + Plum Crumble dessert recipe

The bake started off with me and Neil heading to a nearby Pick Your Own farm in Sussex, where we picked the juiciest apples and plums we could find to fill my crumble - or "plumble" as Neil always calls it. 

It was a scorching hot day, we had to take regular cover in the shade under the blackcurrant bushes and enjoyed a refreshing ice lolly by a nearby pond once our work was complete. 

As soon as I got the fruit back home, after giving it all a thorough wash I lined up my beautiful Tala bakeware for an evening of culinary "plumbling" :)

Great Boohoo Bake Off: Delicious Apple + Plum Crumble dessert recipe

Great Boohoo Bake Off: Delicious Apple + Plum Crumble dessert recipe

Great Boohoo Bake Off: Delicious Apple + Plum Crumble dessert recipe

This recipe is my 'Fifi speciality'. I do it about once a month when I'm in the mood for a therapeutic bake sesh but don't have hours to spare. 

It's super simple and SO delicious, you can mix and match the fruits, use tinned fruit instead of fresh and experiment until you find your favourite. A personal fave it tinned pineapple + apple, wow. 
Plus, it's 100% my own recipe so I'm particularly eager to share it with you :)

Great Boohoo Bake Off: Delicious Apple + Plum Crumble dessert recipe

Great Boohoo Bake Off: Delicious Apple + Plum Crumble dessert recipe

Ingredients

100g caster sugar
100g plain flour
70g butter
1tbsp cinnamon 
Fruit! (I used 2 small apples + 10 teeny plums / 4 supermarket size)

Method

1. Start by preheating your oven to 200degrees (Fan) or 180degrees (normal oven)
2. Cut your fruit into small pieces and line the bottom of an oven dish
3. Sprinkle cinnamon and a tablespoon of caster sugar across the fruit and mix it all together
4. Empty the flour and caster sugar into a separate bowl and combine well with a whisk or fork
5. Rub in the butter and use your hands to form crumbly mix that's light beige in colour
6. Using your hands, grab a handful of the crumble mix, squeeze and release over the fruit. 

Tip: the more crunchy you like the topping of your crumble, the bigger the clusters need to be, so don't separate the mix too much

7. Once all of the fruit is well hidden with crumble mix, place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes
8. Serve warm, with cold custard if you like, and enjoy :-)

Great Boohoo Bake Off: Delicious Apple + Plum Crumble dessert recipe

Great Boohoo Bake Off: Delicious Apple + Plum Crumble dessert recipe

Great Boohoo Bake Off: Delicious Apple + Plum Crumble dessert recipe

I hope you've enjoyed this post. If you bake a crumble soon, tag a photo on twitter and let me see your creations :) I'm @fifimcgeee.

Fingers crossed Boohoo will crown me Fifi star baker, but there are a lot of delicious looking recipes other bloggers are sharing too so competition is high, check out the hashtags #wearebakers & #boohoo to follow along. 

Wish me luck!

Great Boohoo Bake Off: Delicious Apple + Plum Crumble dessert recipe

Great Boohoo Bake Off: Delicious Apple + Plum Crumble dessert recipe

Dress c/o Boohoo, Tala bakeware c/o Tala

Easter baking | Vanilla & Coconut chick biscuit pops



The long Easter bank holiday is one of my favourite times of the year. The prefect opportunity for relaxing, baking, or hammering your to-do list. 

I've planned to do a complete redecoration of a big bedroom at my Mum's place for her, so my weekend will be pretty full on, sanding, painting, decorating and styling, but I thought I'd share a cute Easter bake if you're planning on a more relaxing spin. This one is fresh from my BBC Good Food Magazine subscription (which I'm loving!) and it's a great one to do with children.

I actually did this bake for Red Nose Day (you can see a chick in there sporting a shiny red nose!) in collaboration with Home Sense but was way too late in sharing it, so saved it for Easter. Big applause is in order for Home Sense a grand total of £4m for charity during RND - how awesome is that? Go team.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Here's the recipe if you fancy trying. First appeared in Good Food magazine




Makes 15-18 biscuits

Ingredients

200g unsalted butter
100g golden caster sugar
1 medium egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
200g icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
yellow food colouring
75g desiccated coconut
50g chocolate chips
25g orange fondant icing (or make your own, like I did)

Tools

15-18 lolly sticks (make sure they're oven proof!)

Recipe

1. Put half the butter and all the sugar in a bowl. Beat together until smooth and creamy. Beat in the egg and half the vanilla extract until thoroughly combined. 

2. Tip the flour into the mixture and mix until it comes together ito form a dough. Gather up into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 20 mins. 

3. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.  Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment. Put the biscuit dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out until about 5mm thick. Cut out the biscuits using a 6cm round cutter. 

4. Transfer the biscuits to their prepared trays and insert the lolly sicks into the sides, just 1/4 of the way through. Bake for 6-7 mins or until golden brown then allow to cool completely before icing. 

5. Meanwhile, make some buttercream frosting. Place the remaining softened butter in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon. Slowly add the icing sugar. 1 tbsp at a time until thoroughly incorporated and you have a smooth, creamy texture.  Add a little milk and the remaining vanilla extract with a few drops of food colouring to give a pale yellow colour. Chill for 5 mins. 

6. Put the desiccated coconut in a small bowl and add a few drops of the yellow food colouring. Mix well until pale yellow or keep white if desired. 

7. Spread the buttercream frosting over one side of the biscuit and sprinkle with the coconut. Add 2 chocolate chips to make the eyes and pinch some orange fondant icing to shape a beak. 



Et voila! Your chick biscuits are complete and ready for devouring. 

If you try making these, don't forget to send me a photo on twitter! I'm @fifimcgeee!



Jelly Belly Rainbow Cupcake recipe

Rainbow cupcake recipe

After watching all episodes of the Comic Relief Great British Bake Off back to back, let's just say I had a few of those "oh, I could totally bake that" moments. 

Abbey Clancy eat your heart out. I've only gone and surprised myself by baking a 'Jelly Belly special' version of her rainbow sponge cupcake idea. They look truly delightful, and were such a joy to cut into. Ok, they caused a few tantrums in the kitchen but for my first go, I think they turned out pretty cool. 

The secret to achieving such strong colours in a rainbow sponge? 

I did my research for this:

Don't opt for natural food colouring. Colours turn brown in the oven. Instead, go for artificial colouring gels or pastes and go wild. I bought these from Amazon, they worked a treat. 

Don't forget to stop by Jelly Belly's website and marvel at the truly incredible flavours they have to offer - it's unimaginable. Strawberry cheesecake is by far my fave. You might notice how there's none in the images. They didn't last long enough. 

Rainbow cupcake recipe

Rainbow cupcake recipe

On to the recipe!

Makes 6 cupcakes

Ingredients

1/4 cup softened butter
1/3 cup caster sugar
2 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup of milk
Food colouring of your choice

350g Royal Icing
1tsp vanilla extract
As many Jelly Belly beans as you can handle :)

Instructions

1. In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar until it's fluffy and kinda lump free.
2. Mix in the eggs one at a time.
3. Add in the vanilla extract & stir.
4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda, and add a pinch of salt. Combine well.
5. Gradually add the milk and flour to the wet mixture, add the flour first and mix, add some of the milk and mix, and take it in turns until it's all well combined and you're left with a smooth batter.
6. Now preheat your oven to 180 C (Fan oven) a little higher for a normal oven.
7. Next, separate the batter into 4 bowls (or however many for the number of colours you're adding to the sponge).
8. Add a trace of your food colourings to each bowl and mix well until you get a strong colour in the batter. Add more food colouring if you think the colour needs to be stronger.
9. Place a small amount of each colour batter into silicon or oven proof cupcake cases. Layer the colours taking extra care not to mix them.
10. Pop in the oven for 18-20mins
11. Allow to cool thoroughly before icing

Icing instructions

1. In a big bowl cream together 350g of royal icing and add a teaspoon of vanilla extract for flavour. 
2. Try to mix your icing well so that it eventually has soft peaks when you lift away the spoon. If it's too runny, add more icing sugar, if it's too stiff add water. 
3. Pop your icing into a bag and pipe away! 

4. Finish the cupcake by topping with Jelly Belly beans in your favourite flavours. Mojito jelly belly, anyone?

Rainbow cupcake recipe

Rainbow cupcake recipe

Oh but wait, what's this? You want to try making your own Jelly Belly cupcakes?

Good job the wonderful folks at Jelly Belly would like to give one of my readers a.... wait for it.... 400G JAR of their Jewel Collection. That's 400g of pure love right there. 

Only open to those with a sweet tooth as big as mine. Enter below and good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The very lucky winner will be chosen at random on the 31st March 2015 12am.

To enter, you must follow my blog via Bloglovin & follow @JellyBellyUK on twitter. A winner will be drawn and I will check for proof of entry. If that person has entered without following or liking I will choose another winner and email you directly to arrange delivery.

Good luck everyone!

Credits // Photography all by Neil W Shaw wedding photography, post in collaboration with Jelly Belly (all content 100% original)

Biscuits & Milk



Happy Valentine's Day one and all. If you haven't seen how I've celebrated, click here (the coolest thing I've ever had done.)

Neil & I had our Valentine's romances on Valentine's Eve this year. We wanted to beat the mad rush in restaurants because we're old like that. So we're celebrating with some home baked heart jammie dodgers I knocked together a few nights ago. 

I found the recipe for these on Borrowed Light's mouthwatering blog after a casual Pinterest stalk (originally featured on Rock My Style) and they're deceivingly easy and quick to put a batch together. 

As you'll probably notice, I improvised when I realised my heart shaped cookie cutter went AWOL. I had to freehand it, but you could carve any shape you like out of the centre; your boyfriend's initials, stars, anchors or festive shapes, whatever shape depending on the season. 

I concur with Catherine, you can't beat the smell of simmering jam.

Hope you're all having a great day :)



Follow Fifi for more adventures // Photography credit: Neil William Shaw 

Who needs icing when you have posh chocolate spread!


Just a little trick I have to save time and effort making chocolate icing from scratch, and it works every bit as good. Use chocolate spread, or in this case "Lindt Crema Nocciola" - posh nutella! 

I baked a basic sponge x 2, let them cool down, used Lindt chocolate spread to combine the two cakes and smothered it in more on top, and hey presto! I had a fairly fancy cake to sprinkle with white chocolate stars in around 30 minutes. 

It turns out I'm not alone on the alternative uses of choccie spread either. After a google around, and a half hour on pinterest, I came up with a whole load of bloomin' amazing ways you can use up a tub of it in no time. Check out my ideas:

- wrap a chunky banana in a chocolate smothered pancake for 1 of your 5 a day

- bake a braided chocolate spread loaf - marble style - like this invention by Inspired by charm

- inject a shot of chocolate spread to your morning coffee and make it a mocha!

- heat up your chocolate spread in the microwave, take a bowl of fresh strawberries and pour the warm chocolate all over with a dusting of icing sugar for another healthy-ish snack (and a great way to wow on Valentine's Day)

The Lindt chocolate spread is definitely a cut above any other choccie spread I've ever tried, so if you're trying to impress, treat yourselves :) At just £5.99 a pot it would also make a fab addition to a homemade hamper, and just generally looks pretty in the cupboard. Who needs excuses.

Right, when can I get my hands on another jar!?






Thank you Lindt, for making me the happiest, most chocolate-filled lass in the world and gifting me this little jar of heaven. I love you. 



A Christmas Eve tradition... Mini Gingerbread houses & hot chocolate


Yay. Tomorrow is the big day :) 

I thought I'd share a Christmas Eve tradition we do at Fifi mansions to celebrate the Eve of Christmas. 

Every year I attempt to bake a big gingerbread house. It ends up as smush before it reaches the oven, I start over again and end up having to make mini gingerbread houses instead. I'm not sure why every time I attempt bigger gingerbread houses they end up fallen or too crumbly to bake, but I'm just as content with these mini gingerbread houses to decorate your hot chocolate like a pro. 

I used Cake Time's recipe for this but halved the quantities and still got enough gingerbread to make about 8-10 bite sized houses and extras leftover for Christmassy cookies. 

When the Christmas tunes are on, there's a glass of red wine by your side, making these bad boys are messy but very very fun. If you aren't fully in the mood for festivities yet, commit yourself for a few hours and try making your own before the family call tomorrow. You'll have lots of creative fun :)











Making the royal icing to pack between the walls and glue the house together was a dream with these OXO icing bottles. They come in a pack of two with interchangeable icing nozzles which gave me more freedom decorating the houses in different colours with different icing looks. They're even compatible with Tala nozzles too. 

Other utensils that made this much easier:

Compact food scale - very small but does a nifty job for measuring icing, and amazing for space saving in my small flat.
Silicon spatula - heatproof too! No more melting my spatulas in saucepans. 

Thanks to OXO & Stork for providing me with the utensils to make these :) 

If you're on a diet, look away now | Lindt Lime Chocolate Brownies


Delicious Lindt Lime Chocolate brownie recipe ››

Two days prior to me flying over to Ireland for bridesmaid duties for my fabulous sister's wedding, and I was in the kitchen baking up a storm, scoffing down Lindt's new Dark Lime Intense chocolate like as if I was a size 6 and told to put on weight. I wish

I always seem to catch the baking bug whenever I'm trying to eat healthily, so managed to stop at my third brownie and brought the rest in for the lads at work. They seemed to like them. 

I LOVE baking brownies. If there was any recipe that could be considered my 'speciality' without being laughable, it's this. I followed my old faithful Dark Chocolate & Raspberry recipe only replaced the raspberries for a citrus kick. I ground and smashed the Lindt chocolate into tiny pieces and added it into the mixture before baking, and it was moreish. 

Next time you bake brownies, pick up a few squares of this to spice up the flavour. Next time I'll be using Lindt's delectable Cherry Intense. Now imagine the taste of Cherry brownies and salivate!

Delicious Lindt Lime Chocolate brownie recipe ››


Delicious Lindt Lime Chocolate brownie recipe ››

She's at it again...


Fifi McGee: Baking Dr Oetker edible case cupcakes

I'm fast becoming a self confessed bake-aholic brought on more since getting me this bargainous vintage-esque apron from Amazon. I mean, £3?! I jump at any excuse to wear it.

Don't judge, I'm actually chilling in bed wearing it while I blog. 

It also helps having a super nice kitchen; *sorry for the house brag* our kitchen is the most ideal place to get all creative with icing. It's fairly small, but really nicely lit, has an island sink and just enough wooden worktop space for every "domestic goddess's" baking needs!

I baked these bad boys (my second ever attempt at cupcakes) for the lads at work. I think they got the seal of approval, although I'm not too sure what they thought of the Dr. Oetker edible cases. When I told them they could eat the case too they thought I was kidding around trying to make them eat plastic for the lols.

They look pretty cool though right?

Fifi McGee: Baking Dr Oetker edible case cupcakes

Fifi McGee: Baking Dr Oetker edible case cupcakes

Lucky me, Dr. Oetker gifted me all the ingredients for this post although I was under no obligation to write about them. Who could resist not using all these pretty cakeorations for a post though? Not me! I also followed this recipe (although completely screwed up the icing - best get practicing!) 

Crap at baking? Looking for some inspiration? Have no fear.

Crap at baking? Need some baking inspiration? Have no fear :)

I absolutely adore baking, I do. But lets not fool anyone here - I certainly ain't an expert. In fact, I've had more baking mishaps while creating recipe posts for this blog than those I've given the green light. Remember my first go at making a sandwich layer sponge? It's laughable.

Truth is you really don't have to be an expert to bash out some brownies and impress your pals at the next barbie. I've rounded up my 10 fail safe recipes that if I can do, SO CAN YOU.

Dust off your mixing bowls, roll up your sleeves and start crackin' some eggs. Here's Fifi's recipe round up:

1) Raspberry & double chocolate brownies

10 easy baking recipes ›› Raspberry & Double Chocolate brownies

The perfect balance of bitter and sweet, these brownies with a twist might look impressive but they're the easiest bites you'll ever bake. The perfect recipe all year round, and taste even better served with ice cream in the summer, or heated in the microwave for winter.

2) Golden syrup & honey flapjacks (in a blender!)

10 simple baking recipes ›› Golden syrup & honey flapjacks (in a blender!)

Don't let that processor sit collecting dust in the back of the cupboard, it's a lazy bakers dream for mixing coarse ingredients - no elbow grease necessary. These flapjacks are easily my favourite recipe. And guess what? It's only 6 ingredients you need to make 'em.


10 simple baking recipes ›› All butter shortbread biscuits

Best thing about this recipe is that the crunchy shortbread biscuits last up to a week in the biscuit tin (provide you don't have biscuit thieves like me living in your house!) They provide the perfect accompaniment to whip out with a cuppa tea and Stylist magazine :)

4) Apple & blackberry pie (fresh from the apple tree!)

10 simple baking recipes ›› Apple & Blackberry pie

Before I tried this I thought it was going to be really challenging baking an apple & blackberry pie from scratch but on reflection, it was the simplest and probably the most satisfying recipe I've ever baked. If you're looking for something a tiny bit more challenging than your regular cupcake. Try baking a pie. You'll love it.


10 simple baking recipes ›› Chocolate dipped bananas

Ok so this is more of a 'no bake' recipe. It's an ideal challenge to do with kiddies and ain't so calorific either :)

6) Fresh wholemeal loaves

10 simple baking recipes ›› Fresh wholemeal loaves

Another recipe that surprisingly turned out looking like something artisan, but in reality it took me about 20 mins to whip together and I had enough bread to last me 4 soup lunches. Love anything that's 1) easy and 2) cost efficient!


10 simple baking recipes ›› Delicious vanilla cupcakes

This was one of the first recipes I learned. I baked these just before starting this blog and the batch turned out so delish I had to bake them again to photograph them and tell the world how easy they are to rustle up. They'd look even yummier with sprinkles. Must do another batch!


10 simple baking recipes ›› Easy peasy double chocolate brownies

 If raspberries aren't really your bag a la the option above, replace with white chocolate chunks for an even chocolatier slice of heaven. YUM.


10 simple baking recipes ›› Delicious Ginger Cake

You'll never buy another Jamaica Ginger cake again once you see how simple and cheap it is to make your own. Served with custard, this might possibly be one of my favourite puddings ever.

10) Yorkshire parkin bites

10 simple recipes ›› Yummy Yorkshire Parkin

Last but not least, Yorkshire Parkin. A subtly crunchy, packed with flavour slab of goodness that will remind you of Christmas :). Anything ginger & nutmeg related wins points from me, and this is such a perfect recipe for those chilly nights we seem to get more and more of in the UK.

Well I hope this gave you some inspiration to over come your kitchen fears, bite the bullet and start baking one simple recipe at a time. You know what they say, practice makes perfect :)


The Maille Culinary Challenge: Grilled Garlic Butter Chicken with Peppered Sweet Potato Chips and Maille Aioli dip (plus a bonus recipe!)



Ah, Maille. What a treasured brand you are. Just look how special the seductive black, gold letterpress packaging is. And their regal logo that adorns every one of their mustard pots makes me go a little weak at the knees (now I know where Nigella Lawson gets her sex appeal in the kitchen!)

I thoroughly enjoyed cooking up this recipe for the Maille Culinary Challenge us foodie bloggers have been invited to enter. The products are such a joy to use in the kitchen, so versatile. Neil was my Chief Taster so he wasn't complaining either ;)



I decided to cook up a starter and main using two of Maille's finest products - the Cider Vinegar with Honey, and the Aioli with Crushed Black Pepper Sauce. Here's how I got on:

To start, thick cut bruschetta.



Ingredients (feeds 2)

Preparation time: 10 minutes

2 large vine tomatoes 
1 small red onion
A small handful of fresh basil leaves
Salt & Black Pepper
3 tbsp Maille Cider Vinegar with Honey
1 medium baguette

1. First, roughly chop your tomatoes and red onion so they're thick and tasty. Toss them into a large bowl and then finely chop your fresh basil leaves to add to the mix.

2. Season your tomatoes, onion and basil leaves with black pepper and salt and give the whole mixture a juicy stir!

3. Cut up the baguette into diagonal slices, pop them in the toaster so they're lightly toasted.

4. Drizzle the cider vinegar with honey across the mixture and give the whole thing another good stir. Keep tasting as you go and add more cider vinegar with honey for a sweeter kick.

5. Once the bread is nicely toasted, plate up by pouring the mixture on top of the bread, et voilà!





For mains, Grilled Garlic Butter Chicken with Peppered Sweet Potato Chips and Maille Aioli dip


Ingredients (feeds 2)

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

500g chicken breasts
50g salted butter
3 cloves crushed garlic
1 slice of thick bread blended to crumbs (or 1 cup of bread crumbs)
Lemon zest
3 tbsp parmesan
500g sweet potatoes
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt & Pepper
2 vine tomatoes 
3 tbsp Maille Aioli with Basil & Crushed Black Pepper sauce 
Fresh basil to garnish

For the Grilled garlic Butter Chicken:

1. Preheat the grill to 200 degrees celsius. In a small bowl add the butter and crushed garlic and stir well. Separate half of the mixture into a separate bowl and put to one side.

2. Next, place your chicken breasts on a baking tray and using one of the pots of garlic butter, spread roughly over both sides of each breast. Make up more garlic butter depending on how big your breasts are. Lols.

3. Pop the tray under the grill for 15-20 minutes turning once. Whilst they're cooking, prepare the breadcrumb topping.

4. Grab the remaining garlic butter and mix in your cup of bread crumbs. Season with black pepper and salt and add your parmesan and a sprinkle of lemon zest. Don't be afraid to use your fingers to make a fluffy, lumpy breadcrumb topping.

5. Once the 15-20 minutes is up, put the bread crumb mix on top of the chicken breasts and grill for a further 5 minutes or until brown.

For the Peppered sweet potato chips:

N.B I have a fan assisted oven where you can opt for a 'grill and oven' combo on your cooker and do both these in sync.

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Chop your sweet potatoes into large wedges and toss them onto a baking tray, covering in vegetable oil.

2. Generously crack black peppercorns across the wedges and season with some salt.

3. Stick them in the oven for about 20 minutes or until soft in the inside.

Slice a tomato and garnish with basil leaves, and pour some delicious Aioli sauce into a dipping pot to serve with the potatoes and there ya have it!





This meal was pretty delicious and really not that challenging to make, it's perfect for rookie cooks like me. The parmesan, garlic and lemon crumb topping on the tender chicken was some proper complimenting layered taste for a non professional! I particularly liked the juxtaposition of the sweet potatoes, black pepper and beautifully creamy aioli dip - mouth watering. 

And as for the bruschetta, I thought the slight hint of honey from the cider vinegar dressing brought it to life. I can't wait to use it in salads this summer.

Hope you like!


Follow me on Bloglovin' or GFC and come get social with me on my other channels...

    

Valentine's chocolate brownie fun (and a special package for you)

Fifi McGee / A cheaper way to spend Valentine's day in Brighton

Two things I love about Valentine's Day. Chocolate, and the excuse to wear the brightest red that's ever entered your wardrobe. Last year, Neil and I celebrated by ordering in a fat Chilli Pickle take away (only the most delicious and worth every penny restaurant in Brighton) Two king thali's and a bottle o' wine later and I was one smitten kitten. Neil surprised me with a dozen red roses to the office earlier in the day, and I spent the day as red as that dress. 

Fifi McGee / Primark red dress for Valentine's day


This year we're keeping costs to a minimum. We're saving for the big move, so we'll have plenty more Valentine's days together in the coming years - probably spent rowing about how one of us forgot, quick nip down the offie for a cheap bottle of prosecco and everything's peachy again. I can't wait. 

What better way to save cash this v-day than to bake some mini double chocolate brownie bites to tuck into ready for an evening of Boardwalk Empire (the less epic substitute for Breaking Bad) and copious amounts of rioja?

Easy chocolate brownie recipe for valentine's day

Lindt Lindor chocolates - Fifi McGee's favourites!


I usually do all my baking alone. Mainly because I can't talk and cook at the same time. Is any one else this dopey? Multi tasking gets me all in a flush. But tonight in the spirit of Valentine's day, I kept as cool as a cucumber while Neil and I teamed up to produce these delicious little slabs of joy to accompany my favourite chocolates in the world - the classic Lindt Lindor. Now that's love, right there in a tin.

God I'm still salivating writing this post and there's a whole pile of chocolate beside me. 

Fifi McGee - chocolate brownies for valentines day



I have a whole box of blogging props to use from Style My Party so I had so much fun dressing up my brownies ready for Neil to do his thing. I decided to make you guys a little bundle as a thanks for reading about my ramblings this long. If you've read this far down the post, you're crazy :)

Can you guess what's inside?

Fifi McGee's valentine's day DIY

Fifi McGee's valentine's day DIY

Hope you're all having a wonderful Valentine's day. I'm off to read what you've all been up to on my blog reader with a glass of red in hand.

Talk soon :)

Dress: £5, Primark sale 
Recipe: My easy-peasy double chocolate brownies 
Props: All from Style My Party

**I was super lucky to be gifted all these lovely props from Style My Party, and I think I have a secret admirer at Lindt because they posted me these chocolates. Yum. 

Don't forget to follow me on Bloglovin' or GFC if you like what you see :) or come get social on all my other channels...

    

Must have props for your blogs

Those "

Sorry we missed you

"cards the postman drops in your door are usually a mega nuisance, until you get about a whole year's supply of baking, crafting and party props that makes you run around the house squealing like a little girl.

Stacy runs

Style My Party

, an online little store and inspiring blog jam packed full with tutorials, free design printables and party-amazingness. I've been a loyal reader of Stacy's for a long time now, and was delighted when she asked me to trial run some of her beautiful collection of props she sells online. I just HAD to share with you a fraction of the crafty bits and pieces she posted me, I can't wait to feature more on my blog in the months to come.

When I finally got round to collecting this bundle of fun from the post office, I was previously in such a blog rut. It was the turn of a new year, I was feeling uninspired with lots of routine uproar for various reasons. Then as soon as I opened up this box, my blogging mo-jo was instantly regained. I found handfuls of buttons, shells and ribbons for crafting, the cutest retro paper straws, bunting, candy bags and cool cocktail sticks for hosting my own get togethers, and so many lovely things for me to add in compositions when Neil and I take photos for this blog.

All of the props featured in this post and more (and even more to come, watch out for my future posts!) are available to purchase on

Style My Party

. I'm sure if you have a party coming up soon, Stacy will prepare a surprise bundle of vintage/childrens/retro props that will make it an extra special occasion, or if like me you're in need of a wee blog inspiration boost... maybe she'll make you up a package of photogenic little items to base your posts around. Take a look at more of

Style My Party's lovely collections

, there's tonnes of stuff for Valentine's day to get your creative juices a-flowin :)

Back soon with some cute Valentine's ideas thanks to Stacy!

D

on't forget to

f

ollow me on Bloglovin'

 or GFC if you like what you see :) or come get social on all my other channels...

How to bake yum golden syrup & honey flapjacks (in a blender!)


So these bad boys don't essentially look the part, but I think I found another Fifi special. I was once famed for my dark chocolate and raspberry brownies, but my new speciality this year is a cupboard-cocktail of golden syrup, honey and porridge oat flapjacks. They're absolutely delectable, I kid you not. And better, the recipe is completely fool proof, costs a fraction of the price (and tastes every bit as nice) as Marks & Sparks flapjacks, taking the best part o' 20 minutes.




Stuff you'll need (bakes 8 hefty flapjacks):

250g porridge oats
50g butter
2tbsp vegetable oil
125g brown/caster sugar
3/4tbsp golden syrup (the more the juicier)
2tbsp honey

Get this. Whack all of the above in a blender in any order, pump the power button for a bit (don't over mix) scoop it out into a deep tray that's been greased or lined and bung it in a pre-heated oven at 180degrees for 20-25mins. Then bobs your uncle. Warm flapjacks ready to eat with a big cuppa tea.

They really are that simple, cheap, and yum. Just don't go telling everyone my secret recipe ;)






Any ideas on what I should bake next? I need some baking inspo!

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Blog 'n' bake: Messy Strawberry Plumble

Fifi McGee // Brighton blogger: Plum crumble recipe

Can this be classed as healthy? Enough plums so everyone hits 8-a-day, and the odd strawberry here and there - I think so. But that's coming from a girl who depends on fruit and nut chocolate for a balanced diet.

Fruity crumble is our most baked recipe at Neil's place. I know I say it every time but, this is THE easiest recipe to knock together. And you can use pretty much any fruit you like. Apples, plums, strawberries, peaches, blackberries, or all of 'em mixed together. Why not.

Gather your fruit together, chop it up as wild as you like, sprinkle some cinnamon into the mix, spread over some crumble mix (I used this recipe to make the crumble, God bless BBC) and bob's your aunty. Stick it in the oven for 40 minutes then serve it up with ice-cream or custard.

Yum. Such wintery baking. 

We had a big group roast dinner on Sunday with all the housemates and this went down a treat. Neil cooks everyone a roast every last Sunday of the month, while I usually provide dancing entertainment in his kitchen as we wait for the chicken to cook. He looks at me disapprovingly so I stick to something I'm good at - baking up a storm for pudding.

I'm running out of ideas for next months gathering though! Help!

Fifi McGee // Brighton blogger: Plum crumble recipe

Fifi McGee // Brighton blogger: Plum crumble recipe

Fifi McGee // Brighton blogger: Plum crumble recipe

Fifi McGee // Brighton blogger: Plum crumble recipe

Fifi McGee // Brighton blogger: Plum crumble recipe

Any ideas?

Photos by Neil


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Blog 'n' bake: delicious and easy shortbread biscuits

Shortbread bites recipe // Fifi McGee: Brighton baking blog

I'm really not messing around when I say these biscuits were the easiest thing anyone could ever make. The cupboards were bare one rainy weekend, all we had in the house were tea bags and milk that were crying out for some biscuit dunking. So I went on a mission to find the most simple recipe online for some home cookin'.

With just 3 ingredients, you can have warm, fresh-from-the oven shortbread bites to serve with a cuppa in under an hour. Heaven.

I've been thinking about making up a few jam jars full of shortbread bites, with some nice tartan ribbon to give as gifts during the festive period. The cheapest, simplest and most thoughtful gift. I'll have to share photos on here. 

Oh. Here's the basic recipe I used. No more discovering a delicious recipe online only to find you're missing about 4 of the ingredients - this one's plain sailing. Hoorah!

Shortbread bites recipe // Fifi McGee: Brighton baking blog

Shortbread bites recipe // Fifi McGee: Brighton baking blog

Photos by Neil 

I'm doing something crazy. I'm blogging every day in November (or trying to!) Follow me to see what else is in store throughout the next few weeks.

#BEDN // #BLOGVEMBER 


Home made apple & blackberry pie fresh from the apple tree!




YUP. I've gone all Delia Smith on your asses and baked my very first apple and blackberry pie. I took a wee visit to my Nan's house in Brighton the other week and spied her apple tree in full bloom. The thrifty side of me jumped at the opportunity to pick some apples to make a fruit salad or somethin' exotic like that, but with the cold weather creeping in, I thought it was more autumnal to cook up my very own shortcrust pastry and filling - something my inner granny has been dying to try out.

Me, Neil & his housemates ate it fresh from the oven after a roast dinner last Sunday and served it up with Ben & Jerry's cookie dough ice cream - yeeeeah, the best accompaniment for any dessert. Someone please tell Neil to marry me quick. I'm about to make someone the best housewife ;) (he'll kill me for writing that).

Pretty damn proud of this though, and I think his housemate guinea pigs were too :)







 Salivation-central. Drop me an email if you want the recipe ;)