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San Francisco: Being there ;)

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My holidays in San Francisco is coming to an end and I am excited to tell you that I have met some interesting people that I hope to keep in touch ;)

I find it difficult to describe this city in one sentience as it is so diverse  and multi cultured in more defined ways to compare to London. Every part of it looks almost like a different country (literally). However here I picked my favourite point of view…

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As you already know, I love nature and San Francisco greenery is no exception! I have never quite experienced a Beach in the City :D

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I love how succulents and cacti just grow wild outdoors! In London I am limited to Aloe and other similar type of plants indoors.

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I discovered another cute plant! It’s a Tillandsia, otherwise called air plant. It can be used to make those tiny (or large) terrariums as it needs no soil to grow in, just an occasional mist. I am so making one sometime soon!

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I have visited some pretty vintage shops, cafes and bookshops, most of them in the Mission District, my favourite area in San Francisco so far.

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Today I have tried pear and goat cheese tart! I love trying interesting flavour combinations! If you do too, try Berry Crumble Cheesecake (with goat cheese).

My ice-cream tasting went to another level! I tried basil, honey&lavender, balsamic strawberry, plum, fig&amaretto, brown sugar banana, roasted corn, peanut chip, cardamom and finally a cranberry muesli. I can’t wait until I make my own! For now try my very spontaneous ice-cream ;)

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And finally, what I love most is to escape to the beach (just 30min away from the city by bus)….

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Rasa xo

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San Francisco: “Tartine Bread” book

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Guess what! I am off to San Francisco just in next hour… going alone and don’t know anybody out there, hopefully I will make some new friends ;)

Just few months ago I have been given opportunity to pick any place on the world (I mean any) and with no research done I picked San Francisco! Why? Well, thats because I have this book (completely in love with it!)”Tartine Bread” by Chad Robertson and knowing it is from San Francisco I got inspired to sometime visit there, because I really really loved the pictures with lots and lots of country side and some urban lifestyle!… And much later I discovered that this is not quite true, San Francisco is actually a city! Lesson learned not to pick flights when research is not done!

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But, hey, I will make best out of this! I am actually looking forward to the adventure that awaits me! While I am there I promise  to try something that I have never done and travel like I am the local there! Will keep you posted :)

Rasa xo

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Cherry Bakewell Tart

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As I have recently visited Bakewell (little town in Peak district, not a tart), I had a opportunity to taste the real original Bakewell Pudding.

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Surprisingly this pudding doesn’t look nothing like the typical Bakewell tart we know of! The almond paste sits in the puff pastry rather than sweet pastry, which gives salty after taste… yum!

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I baked my own Bakewell Tart version today! Here is the recipe…

CHERRY BAKEWELL TART

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For the sweet pastry:

  • 85g unsalted butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 200g flour

For the filling:

  • 200g cherry jam
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 50g plain flour
  • 50g almond flakes
  1. Place the butter and sugar in mixing bowl and beat them together until they are light and fluffy. Add the egg to the butter mixture and mix it until combined. Then add the flour gradually and mix until it looks like smooth dough.
  2. Place the pastry in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes to rest. (or into freezer if you want it to be used another time)
  3. Meanwhile make the cream. Place the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl and mix them together until they are creamy and light. Mix the eggs in 1 at a time until well combined. Sift the flour and ground almonds together. Slowly add the almond and flour mixture to the butter mixture. Mix the ingredients together until you have a creamy mixture. Set the almond cream aside until ready to use.
  4. Remove the pastry from the fridge. Roll it out on a well floured surface until it is around .5-.75mm thick. Lightly grease 30cm tart tin (or line it with baking paper). Line the tart tin with the pastry. Place the lined tin in the freezer for 15 minutes or in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Pour cherry jam into the tart and spread the almond cream on top of it.
  6. Sprinkle flaked almonds on the top an place the tart in the preheated oven and cook it for 30-40 minutes. The cream will be golden brown, risen and firm when the tart is ready.
  7. Remove the tart from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the tart carefully from the tin.

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Road trip to Peak District: Abstract photo collage

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While we were visiting Cromford, a small town in Peak District, we came across little art gallery by a river cannel. I liked a lot of the paintings there, most of them reflecting Peak District scenery, however I mostly got inspired by J.Margaret Oakes’s photo collage that I tried out today with my own photos that I took at Peak District. Here are the instructions if you would like to have a go ;)

Have fun!

Rasa xo

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Elderflower and poppyseed cake

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As promised here I am sharing the recipes for bakes that I took on my Peak District road trip. To bake Sweet Potato And Pepper Tortilla I used my all time favourite GoodFood website (to get the recipe click here), I added whole roasted peppers into the tortilla instead of making the sauce out of it. For Onion And Bacon Tart I used this really really simple recipe! And finally the Elderflower And Poppyseed Cake was our favourite! It was so light and refreshing (but not too lemony), try it for yourself!

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ELDERFLOWER AND POPPYSEED CAKE  (adopted from Peyton and Byrne “British Baking” book)

  • 165 g butter (softened)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 30g poppyseed
  • finely grated zest of small lemon
  • 1 tbsp elderflower cordal (recipe is here)
  • 1 tsp orange essence
  • 200g flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 140 ml milk

(for decoration)

  • 50g icing sugar
  • 3-4 elderflower cordal
  • poppyseed
  • Elderflower blossoms (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 170C. Butter a 900g loaf tin and line the bottom with baking paper.

2. Beat the softened butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at the time, mixing well after each additions.

3. Add the poppyseed, lemon zest, elderflower cordial and orange essence and mix through. Gently fold in half of the flour, followed by half the milk, and then the remaining flour and milk until it is all incorporated. Spoon the mixture into your prepared loaf tin.

4. Bake in the oven for 40-45min or until the cake is firm to touch and skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave it to cool down.

5. Make the glaze by mixing icing sugar with the Elderflower cordal and brush it on the cooled cake. Sprinkle it with poppyseed and Elderflower blossoms.

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I am sure you will enjoy this cake!

Rasa ;)

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Road trip to Peak District: Being there ;)

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So there we are, sitting on the top of the “peak” at the Peak District (otherwise called Black Rock) adoring the view we have around us. I can really say we really had the most amazing weekend! We took so many pictures and I think if we counted them all it might be close to a 500 or even 600 snap shots. So you can only imagine how difficult it was for me to narrow down and only show these besties!

 

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And guess what! While we were there we even “casually” visited Mr Darcy’s home (Jane Austen “Pride and Pejudice”).

 

 

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I so recommend to visit Peak District if you have not done that yet.

Have a lovely week!

Rasa :)

 

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Road trip to Peak District: Getting Ready!

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Hey, we are off to Peak District! How excited I am! I baked Sweet Potato And Pepper Tortilla, Onion And Bacon Tart & Elderflower And Poppyseed Cake (I am still obsessed with Elderflour) for our 4hour road trip. I am ready to go ;) I will share the recipes for these and pics from Peak District as soon as I come back!

Have a lovelly Weekend yourself ;)

Rasa xo

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Elderflower Cordial

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As mentioned on last post, I made cordal from the Elderflowers I collected by the river Lea. The recipe is bellow.

ELDERFLOWER CORDAL

Ingredients: 20 heads freshly picked elderflowers
1.30kg sugar
1l water
2 lemons
60g citric acid or lemon salt (I bought mine in one of the Turkish shops in London)

1. Cut the flowers and place them in large bowl or saucepan.

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2. Add sliced lemons and citric acid

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3. In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, heat the sugar and water until it boils and then allow to boil for about 5 minutes to form a thin syrup.

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4. When the syrup is ready, remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature before pouring over the flowers. Cover and leave for at least 24 hours before straining (I left it for two days).

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5. Sterilise your jars by heating them in 180C oven for 5 minutes. Pour strained cordal into the jars. This should keep for up to a year. Serve with water or anything else that you come up with. I dropped some strawberries into mine!

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There are so many uses for Elderflower cordal such as jelly or poppyseed cake. I am defiantly trying baking with it sometime soon! Let me know if you tried anything interesting with it yet ;)

Rasa xo

 

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Walk by the river Lea

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Last Sunday was quite spontaneous for me. In afternoon I popped in to my neighbour’s who suggested we go for a walk. What? For a walk? I know no parks around here in London where I live! However I went along and took Sarah (my new flatmate) with me. After 20min we reached a river Lea surrounded by nature and filled with cute residential boats. Such a quick scenery change!

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I love how people living in the boats grow herbs and veg on their roofs. Such a dainty little garden!

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And the names for the boats are super amazing!

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Sarah found her own ;)

 

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And we were so lucky as Collin, who lives in one of those boats gave us a tour on living such a lifestyle.

 

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I love his artistic style, especially his desk that he made himself from upcycled scrap wood!

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And small, but practical kitchen that seems to fit everything….

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Including cookery books! Collin said he likes cooking for people and that we are invited for dinner some time soon… Thanks, Collin, for your hospitality ;-)

 

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On the way back I collected some Elderflower, maybe I will make some cordial tomorrow…

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Have you walked around your neighbourhood recently?

Rasa xo

 

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Our first knitting meet!

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We had our first knitting group meet at my house today which was fun. Hopefully I managed to teach how to cast on and knit stitch. Next meet will be on Monday 1st of July (Tottenham). Let me know if you interested, beginners are welcome!

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The sweet treats are to be had off course! The recipe is bellow

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RHUBARB  TART
I had lots of rhubarb in my garden (the only thing that does not get eaten by snails) so I baked my mum’s favourite apple tart with rhubarb (of course) instead of apples.
Ingredients: 200g unsalted butter
                   6-8 tbsp sugar
                   2 egg yolks
                   15-20 tbsp flour
                   8 chopped rhubarb stalks
                   6 tbs brown sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 170C.
2. Cream butter with sugar and mix it together with egg yolks.
3. Gradually add flour (I usually start with 15 tbsp and then see how the dough is reacting to it). The goal is to get the dough soft but not too sticky. So the less flour you can handle the better!
4. Roll out the dough flat on floured surface. Line  baking tin with the dough (line baking tin with baking paper first if needed or just a butter is enough).
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5. In the pan, melt sugar and cook chopper rhubarb stalks for few minutes.
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6. Add the “rhubarb” contents into the tart.
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7. Bake for 30min until the top looks slightly golden.
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8. I Added meringue and baked for further 30min, but it should be nice on its own too or couple of scoops of vanilla ice-cream… hmmm
Enjoy!
Rasa xo

 

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Happy Father’s Day!

Today we were celebrating Father’s Day, so we baked (and eaten) so many delicious cakes for this beautiful occasion.

I am especially pleased with the table setting! Marked roads on brown paper, traffic signs on toothpick and cars worked really well together as a theme. Although I must say that the kids loved this more than their dads :-)

I baked these lovelies,”Rolo” peanut-butter cupcakes! The recipe is bellow.

“ROLO” PEANUT-BUTTER CUPCAKES

Makes 12

For the base (adopted from Peyton and Byrne “British Baking” book)

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 110g softened butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 140g plain flour
  • 1.5tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 100ml buttermilk (or 50ml milk mixed with 50ml yogurt)
For the deco (used basic buttercream mixed with peanut butter)
  • 85g softened butter
  • 120g icing
  • 0.5tsp vanilla extract
  • 65g peanut butter
  • 12 “Rolo” chocolates
1. Preheat the oven to 170C and line 12-hole muffin tin with baking cases.
2. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, then remove from heat and set aside.
3. In the bawl, cream the butter and sugars together until pale and fluffy. Incorporate eggs, chocolate melted chocolate, flour, baking powder, vanilla extract and buttercream together. Mix well after each addition,  however if you are using electric mixer (so glad I have it!) you can mix everything in one go. 4. Divide the mixture into 12 baking cases. Bake the cakes for about 15min or until they are springy to touch.
5. To make peanut-butter frosting cream butter and icing sugar together. Mix in peanut-butter and vanilla extract. Spoon the icing into a piping bag fitted with round tip (or other shape if you prefer) and pipe swirls onto the cupcakes. Top it with the “Rolo”.
All the dads out there (including mine), Happy Father’s Day!
Rasa :)
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My trip to Kuršių Nerija National Park

I just came back from Lithuania where I took short trip to Kuršių Nerija National Park (my favourite place in the world) with my friends and Vickie’s parents. The cool thing about Kuršių Nerija is that it is situated on Curonian Spit surrounded by Baltic Sea on one side and Curonian Lagoon on the other. I especially like nature there. Subtle seaside colours have been inspiration to me for years and it still amazes me every time! However… I will start with the village which is quite cute too xx

Because of so much water around the villages, local cousine is mainly based on fish. The most popular is smoked fish (all kinds) and my favourite is fish soup ;-b

Sandy Dunes are other cool things to visit!

So many fun activities at the beach!

My summer read is Anna Karenina! I like to read the book before watching the movie :)

Not forgetting to knit of course! Vickie’s mum showed me how to knit lace. I wonder where shall I use  my new still? New summery slippers or a jumper? I will let you know once I decide!

Good things come to an end. I had to take a bus home :(
I am wishing you a wonderful Summer Holiday season! xx
Rasa xo
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Quick Jewellery

As Vickie was moving away from London to Twickenham (she has started there her new job with children) there was lots unwanted items to give away. Jewellery was one of them. Do you have any unwanted jewellery that you no longer wear? If yes, this post is for you. That’s because here I will share how I have made some simple jewellery by reusing Vickie’s beaded accessories! I started by breaking some necklaces down and then just playing around with ribbons and other beads that I had. That was quite fun, which kept me occupied for couple of days.

This necklace was one of the first. I made it by incorporating large beads with ribbon and some elasticated see-trough string.

The other necklace I made after seeing this on Pinterest.
Have fun with beads!
Rasa xo
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Special guest in my garden!

I get many guests visiting my little city garden (welcomed and unwelcome). However I am impressed that many of these urban animals aren’t scared of humans! This cute squirrel for instance did not mind picking nuts from my hands…
I quite enjoyed sharing my walnuts and hazelnuts with squirrel! But if you prefer, bake carrot cupcakes with walnuts.
Or when the weather seems more promising, this ice-cream recipe is great way to use up all those nuts and seeds.
Or even better! These healthy dried fruit and nut truffles taste great ;-)
Rasa xo
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Cat pillow DIY

I don’t know about you but having a pet in London is quite a difficulty, especially if you are renting. I once wanted a cat, but came across other issues. This is quite a long story… ok, ok, I will say it quick: I wanted to adopt, but RSPCA was so concerned about me not working full time that they did not even bother to visit my place. I am still confused if I wasn’t adopting a child instead of pet, because part time job = can’t support a cat financially! Really? Anyways, I am happy I was not considered, because I don’t know how I would be baking now? Imagine all those hair all over the place. Maybe next time! 
Vickie’s flatmate, Fränzel would also like a cat, but can’t have it in rented place :-(. So as a gift (Vickie is leaving the house, so she wanted to give something nice to remember), we decided to make a stuffed cat! I know I know this might not replace a real cat, but look at those extra uses for it. You can have it as a cushion or a decoration, or a neck pillow! So don’t be sad if you are not able to keep a pet, make a stuffed one to cheer you up! ;-)  
Here are the instructions!
When your stuffed cat is finished, you can….
Are you relaxed?
Rasa ;)
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