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Thursday, 28 February 2013

Recipe : Chocolate Crater Cakes (with a gooey middle)

Oh my. We may have created the BEST cupcake EVER. Alright, that sounds a bit arrogant, apologies. But we have become ADDICTED. And the weirdest thing? They're not even cupcakes, they're cookies. But shaped like cupcakes, who's keeping track? So may I introduce to you, under their official title... Gooey Chocolate Cookie Crater Cakes.




It's best to make a round of these for a group as if you make them when home alone, you risk adding a few extra pounds to the scales within a few hours. It's so much wiser to share the calories with your loved ones. The best bit? The soft butter cream surprise in the middle. And if served straight away? The molten chocolate that will inevitably land on your chin.


 
 
 

These were invented late at night with a glass of wine in hand. Looking back I foolishly put the other half in charge of measuring out the ingredients for a basic cookie mix. As I whisked it all up in the bowl I mentioned 'Cor, our pals on the other side of the pond love eating this stuff raw, but I'm not too sure about raw eggs.' His response? 'What eggs?' My point is this (other than to ease up on topping up the other half's glass whilst he needs to concentrate), is that the eggs make little difference to the recipe. And we used soya butter so these could very well be made vegan friendly. Whichever way, they are DELICIOUS!


 

 
 

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Enthused Monkey is on Pinterest!

How have I missed out for so long? Oh, wait, it's because I get stuck on those glorious pages for hours and then crawl to bed as my eyelids close. And then can't sleep because I feel so inspired. However having admired Pinterest from afar, I have finally taken the leap and set up my own inspiration boards! Check out (and follow if you fancy) http://pinterest.com/enthusedmonkey/diy-projects/ for a growing collection of wonderful DIY ideas. Yep, that's right. The list just got majorly bigger - I need more hours in the day!!!


Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Healthy Meal Ideas

Generally, we like to lead quite a healthy lifestyle. We take healthy packed lunches to work (although I'm fairly certain the other half sneaks in a few biscuuits between 9 to 5) and enjoy a nutritious meal each evening with lots fresh veggies, lean meat or fish, pulses and seeds. Since the hospital scare last year, I’m a little nervous to stray to the unhealthy treats too regularly, but inevitably I cave occasionally. Who doesn't? In fact we may have just invented the best cupcake EVER! This weekend is case and point too. Lots of scrummy treats at a fun family buffet (some healthy, some ridiculously naughty) that I awoke the following day with a food hangover. It was completely worth it though.


 

To hopefully inspire others to introduce a few healthy meals a week, I am keen to post something like this every now and then. I find that planning makes eating well so much more feasible. Friends and family may enjoy taking the Michael, however I find planning ahead for a month means you are more likely to stick to a healthy lifestyle and save time and money too. We do a food shop only once a month and top up with fresh veg and fruit half way through.

This last week, we enjoyed (from left, going clockwise) minted quinoa with crispy onions, pan fried salmon steak and green beans in this tasty dressing; bacon and rocket salad with puy lentils, parmesan cheese and four-minute boiled eggs; prosciutto and avocado salad with balsamic drizzle; and a ginger and chilli Asian rice noodles dish with turkey mince, seeds, mange tout and babycorn. Our favourite? Probably the Asian broth as it was a new recipe for us and was super quick too. Post any favourites of your own in the comments below - we're always looking for tasty new dishes.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Camera is BACK!


So a package arrives on my desk at work. I'm mid conversation on the phone. I casually glance at the box continuing  to talk, wondering what it might be. My eyes skim the label and time slows. All I see are the words 'Nikon' and 'Replacement'.  I calmly make my excuses, offering to phone back shortly. Then jump from my chair and proceed to dance like a crazy (and frighten my colleagues, bonus) - my faulty camera has been replaced!!! Deep inside the wads of packaging, I unearthed a brand new and fully functioning and still gleaming stunner of a camera. It was a joyous moment. As though you hadn't guessed.

 
 


In anticipation of all the crafty homemade goodness about to flood these here pages again, here is a celebration of all those wonderful little moments from the last couple of weeks that make life so enjoyable:

Driving home at night in a blizzard with the snow so very thick, yet strangely fine so there was no need for the windscreen wipers. The effect was like warp speed as the flakes came towards us but simply disappeared. It was also akin to being trapped in the relentless original Windows screen saver. I preferred to think of it as warp speed to make the journey go by faster.

Flipping pancakes with our favourite 87 year old. But she had difficulty getting to grips with why we were having pancakes for dinner (pesto and bacon and onion, mmmmm) and yet more pancakes for pudding (lemon and sugar, mmmmm).

Writing by candlelight tucked up in the caravan with the rain pelting the roof, snuggled under a cheery lime green blanket and wearing ridiculously large woolly socks.

Leaning out a steam train carriage with the blustery rain misting up my goggles and soot pelting my face.

Starting a 'photo a day' challenge. The results range vastly from the serious arty shots to the more questionable nonsense you might find on a child's camera.

A moonlit walk round the block with only my new bright red wellies and a lame wind up torch to light the way. The wellies actually surpassed the torch hands down.

Creating a red/heart themed dinner for valentines. Think pink cava, heart shaped toast with roastedonion houmous for starters, red wine pasta (yum) with roasted red peppers and tomatoes for main and a raspberry surprise for dessert.

Three trips around Ikea in one night (after forgetting things each time). Thank you Ikea, without those meatballs, I would never be allowed to lap your wonderful world).

Rediscovering rava kesari (a traditional Indian semolina pudding). Oh. My. Goodness. I actually became grumpy after I ate the last spoonful. Don't worry, I'll be posting the recipe soon so that you too can get your grump on.

Honing our skills at catching ducklings with makeshift fishing rods in the lounge as a practice run for one of the games to be expected at our wedding celebrations later this year.

Pulling up weeds in our little garden in the blazing sunshine. Alright, blazing may be a little south of the correct term, but it was mildly warming and certainly a welcome taster of the months to come. Oh, ok, I don't normally enjoy pulling weeds up either but it felt so good just spending time outside without the need to race in and make a hottie bottie to defrost my limbs.

Here's to another fun filled week and lots more crafting. And I cannot wait to post the recipe for homemade Orangina! Oh, and stringy caramelised onion chutney. Delish!