Berlin | Part Two.

24 Jan 2015

Part Two of mine and Katie's sister trip to Berlin began with the Berlin Wall Memorial. It was a fascinating spot and really showed the true horror that the wall created in Berlin. It may be strange to say, but all this time I don't think I really appreciated how recent this actually was. The wall fell on November 9th 1989, at this point Katie was over a year old. That fact blows my mind. In this day and age, and especially in England, I think we take freedom of speech slightly for granted. To think that in Katie's lifetime there was still this kind of horror taking place, in a country that I (naively) thought was as "free" as ours is shocking.

After looking around the Exhibition, we climbed up to a viewing platform which gave us a gorgeous view across the city. By that point, it was definitely time for lunch so we headed back into the centre of the city. Our next stop was Alexanderplatz as we had plans to take a trip up the famous TV Tower. We managed to go up at the perfect time as we saw the sun set on the horizon, it really was gorgeous! The TV Tower is a must if you visit Berlin, its so cheap and has a really relaxed atmosphere. There is also a restaurant that revolves to give a panoramic view of the city - we didn't opt for it though, as it was a bit pricey! Enjoy the photos!

Finally, we took a walk across Museum Island and down to the Brandenburg Tor to see it at night. We managed to have stumbled upon a demonstration for the recent riots in Paris. We didn't realise at the time, but even the German President was there! The gate looked gorgeous in the night, so it was a great backdrop!

Only one more post left on our Berlin trip, let me know if you like the photos!

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Berlin | Part One.

22 Jan 2015

Last week Katie and I went on a Black-Friday fuelled holiday to Berlin, and it was wonderful. The weather was SO cold and rainy on our first day but we still made the most of it. After a 3am wake-up call to catch our plane, we arrived bleary-eyed in Deutschland. Our first challenge was deciphering the train system to get into the city centre, but after managing to validate our ticket we were safely ensconced on a DOUBLE-DECKER TRAIN. Yep, you heard that right! It was so cool, and occasionally made you feel like you were flying when you couldn't see the track below.

Our hotel was near Friedrichstrasse, which was really handy transport wise. Hats off to Germany, they really do public transport well. Theres SO many ways to get around the city, and to be slightly stereotypical here its super efficient! We mainly spent our first day being shunned by cafe workers for daring to try and use Card to pay for lunch (who knew cash-only cafes were such a thing in Germany!?), getting completely lost in the dark rainy back streets and being inspired by the East Side Gallery. Please now prepare for a bombardment of photos. I couldn't just choose one or two, I loved so many. It was fascinating to see how such a terrible memory has been preserved in such an inspiring way. It definitely made me reflect a lot on the importance of freedom of speech, especially in light of recent events in Paris.

Let me know what you think of the artwork! I'll be back with Part Two of our trip soon :)


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Sunday Bake | Pear and Frangipane Tart

11 Jan 2015

Anyone who knows me well knows that I HATE cooked for me eating a poached pear was a big step! Not just eating too, I actually enjoyed it!! Theres no way I'm gonna go on a hot-fruit eating frenzy but if someone offers me a poached pear - I say as if this happens every week - I won't turn my nose up against it!

I'm not one to brag, but this tart is probably one of the best tarts I've ever made. I'm so proud of it, and it tasted delicious too which is always a plus ;). Frangipane is one of my all time favourite fillings and I just love how moist (apologies!) it is.

I made this for desssert after a Sunday roast, and despite the silly amounts of food already consumed the tart was wholfed down! A success in my book! The recipe is from the amazing Patisserie Made Simple by Edd Kimber (as was last Sunday's bake!). I LOVE this book, I have so many recipes flagged to try and the photography is beautiful.

So, on with the recipe!


For the frangipane:
100g unsalted butter at room temp
100g caster sugar
2 large eggs
100g ground almonds

For the poached pears:
150g caster sugar
1 lemon
2 Conference or Bosc pears

For the pastry:
225g plain flour
pinch of salt
1 tbsp caster sugar
120g unsalted butter, diced and chilled
2 tbsp ice-cold water

For the decoration:
2 tbsp flaked almonds
2 tbsp clear apricot jam


To make the pastry, put the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles small pea-sized pieces. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition. The dough needs just enough water so that it starts coming together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and lightly knead until it forms a uniform dough. Press into a flat round and wrap in clingfilm. Put it in the fridge for at least 1 hour before using.

To make the frangipane, put the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat together for 5 minutes using an electric whisk or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until fully combine before adding the next. Add the ground almonds and mix to combine. Set aside until needed.

To poach the pears, put 500ml water and the caster sugar in a medium pan. Using a sharp knife, cut off 3 strips of lemon zest and add to the pan. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over a medium heat. Squeeze the juice from the lemon into a bowl and set aside. Peel, halve and core the pears, putting them into the bowl of lemon juice as you work to prevent the fruit from browning. Add the pears and lemon juice to the syrup and poach for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside while you prepare the tart.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface into a rectangle about 2-3mm thick. Use to line a 35x11cm loose-based tart tin, then transfer the tart shell to the fridge for 30minutes or until firm. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan oven/gas 4.

Line the pastry with a sheet of baking parchment and fill it with baking beans. Bake for 20 minutes then remove the parchment and baking beans and bake for a further 5 minutes or until the base is a pale golden colour. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes.

To assemble the tart, fill with the frangipane, spreading it into an even layer. Press the pears into the frangipane, cut-side down, and sprinkle the tart with the flaked almonds. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the frangipane is golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. While cooling put the apricot jam in a small pan and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and, while still hot, brush over the tart.

The tart is best served on the day it is made - not too hard an instruction I imagine...;)!

I hope you like this tart as much as I do, and please do let me know if you try it!

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Sunday Bake | Milk Chocolate & Hazelnut Praline Buche de Noel

4 Jan 2015

I'm aware a Buche de Noel is a very Christmassy dessert, but while Winter is still in full force I thought it still deserved a feature! I made this first for my Flat Christmas with the guys, and then again for actual Christmas Day as it really is that good!!

The recipe is from Edd Kimber's Patisserie Made Simple which is SUCH a good book for amazing bakes. I highly recommend it! This recipe in particular is quite lengthy, but the steps are all actually quite simple. Everyone loved this dessert, as although it looks quite decadent it tastes so light! Perfect for Christmas Day when you're already stuffed with food....or any food-filled occasion really!

On with the recipe!


For the chocolate sponge:
butter, for greasing
70g plain flour 
4 large eggs
100g caster sugar
30g cocoa powder

For the decoration:
125g hazelnuts, roughly chopped

For the praline buttercream:
50g milk chocolate 
125g caster sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
225g unsalted butter, at room temperature diced
4 tablespoons hazelnut praline paste 

For the hazelnut syrup:
40g caster sugar
2 tablespoons Frangelico (I just used Brandy though!)


Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan oven/gas 4) and grease a 33x23cm rimmed baking tray and line with a sheet of baking parchment. Grease the parchment and then dust with a little flour, tipping out any excess. 

To make the sponge, put the eggs and sugar in a large bowl and, using an electric whisk, beat until pale and thick, so that when the beaters are lifted from the bowl the batter leaves a trail. Put the flour and cocoa powder in a bowl and mix together. In three additions, sift this mixture over the egg mixture, gently folding together with a spatula until fully combined. Pour this batter into the prepared baking tray and gently level out. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cake springs back to the touch. 

Meanwhile, put a tea towel on a work surface and cover with a piece of baking parchment. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately turn it out onto the parchment. Peel off the parchment from the base of the cake, and then carefully roll the cake tightly, with the parchment and tea towel inside. Leave to cool, wrapped inside the tea towel, for 20 minutes. This will help the cake to unroll and re-roll later without cracking.

Put the hazelnuts for decoration on a baking tray and toast them in the oven for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.

To make the buttercream, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Leave to cool slightly. 

Meanwhile, put the sugar and 75ml water in a small pan over a medium high heat and bring to the boil. When the sugar has dissolved, cook until the syrup reaches 120C on an instant-read thermometer. When the syrup is around 115C, put the egg and yolks in a bowl and using an electric whisk, whisk until pale and thickened. Once the syrup reaches 120C, and with the whisk still running, carefully pour the syrup into the egg mixture. Continue whisking until the egg mixture has cooled to room temperature. 

Add the butter, a few pieces at a time, beating until you have a silky smooth buttercream. Once all the butter has been added, add the praline paste and the melted milk chocolate, mixing to combine. 

To make the syrup, put the sugar and 40ml water in a small pan and bring to the boil over a medium heat, then cook for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the Frangelico...or brandy! 

To assemble, unroll the sponge and remove the baking parchment, then brush liberally with the syrup. Spread three-quarters of the buttercream evenly across the sponge, then carefully roll it up tightly. Carefully lift the roll onto a serving plate and spread the remaining buttercream in a thin layer over the outside of the cake. To make the decoration, press the nuts into the buttercream, coating the cake. 

And voila! 

Let me know if you give it a try! Whats your favourite Christmassy dessert?


Recipe adapted from Patisserie Made Simple, by Edd Kimber
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5 Goals, 5 Years.

2 Jan 2015

In 5 years time, I'll be 28. Thats a scary number! When I was a little girl and I used to plan out my ideal life; by the age of 28 I was married with kids on the way. Its laughable how "old" I thought 28 was. Now, I'm pushing the idea of settling down with kids to my mid-30's!

But, little Aimee did have one thing right - by the time I turn I turn 28 I would love to be settled into a career I love, with a lovely home and confidence in myself. With this in mind, I've devised 5 goals to be achieved in the next 5 years. Some will be easier than others, but with 5 years to complete I'm fairly confident!

To: Take more photos.

Out of all my friends, I am one of the more snap-happy. I love looking at old photos and being reminded of the memories they evoke. But I still don't take enough to satisfy my passion - especially when I have such a lovely DSLR. I want to get out and explore more with camera in hand, and if I have to force my friends to pose for me then so be it! I love the thought of showing my life to my children when I'm older.

To: Craft more. 

I've always been a creative person. My whole family is really - from Dad's wood skills, mum's sewing creations and Katie's artistic flair. The dream would be to have a designated craft room in my house where I could hide away for hours. Every Christmas I'll make a load of DIY gifts from Jam to knitting a scarf this year! But from now on I'd like to craft throughout the year. Not having the space or time is usually my excuse, but as something I love to do I want to make the time and space from now on.

To: Spend more time with family and friends. 

A simple but overlooked one now. I often feel very lucky to have such amazing family and friends and I don't see near enough any of them. I need to get off my arse and plan trips to see my further-afield friends and outings for the ones close by. Stat.

To: Love where I live. 

As the years have passed I've become more and more of a homebody and my OBSESSION for homeware has taken full force. It thrills me far more than new clothes do now. I got excited by placemats the other month! I'm literally 23 going on 80 over here. Myself and Craig will be moving out together this year, which I'm SUPER excited about! We just need to find the flat of our dreams to house all my pretty kitchenware now...

To: Be myself always. 

Finally, one to abide by. As with most people, the older you get the more comfortable you become in your own skin. I'd like to be my true self always, starting now, and live my life on my own terms.

5 goals for 5 years. Let's hope I stick to them!

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