Monday, 24 July 2017

Ice Cream & Flowers

Two weeks ago I moved up to the Highlands to start my new job at a friends B&B.  Although the past two weeks have been busy, they've been fulfilling and I've been enjoying a different summer than what I have been used to.  There have been so many things that have made me smile over the past few weeks, so I thought I would share some of them with you. 

Ice Cream. 
I love ice cream.  I have had so much ice cream these past two weeks, and I've found a lovely little ice cream shop on the Isle of Skye that I'll probably be visiting as often as I can. 

Road trips.
I love going for long drives.  A couple of friends and I drove to Skye to visit the Fairy Pools last week, and at the weekend we had a three hour drive down to Perth.  It was amazing to drive through incredible scenery and really appreciate what will be my home for the next few months.  Also, on our drive to Perth we listened to a couple of sermons together which is something I don't do enough, it was really lovely. 

This past week has been so beautiful weather-wise.  The sun has been shining and I've been able to spend some time outside and enjoy this little snapshot of British summer.  The weather has a big affect on my mood, so the sunshine has resulted in a lot of general happiness for me. 

Growth in my faith. 
I was quite worried about moving up north a couple of weeks ago.  Although I knew I was going to be staying with a wonderful family, I was worried about fitting in with the community and adjusting to a different job.  But God has been showing me that He plants us with purpose.  He moves us so that we can grow and flourish in our faith, and although it is challenging, He has been working in and disciplining my heart in unexpected and inspiring ways. 

Holiday Club.
I had the blessing this past week of helping at the local church holiday club.  It was so wonderful to be able to serve God in this way.  I've never really thought that I'm good with young kids, but I found myself getting alongside them, learning their favourite colours, their favourite animals, and having excitement fill my heart when they remembered what they were learning about Jesus. Getting to work with an amazing team was so helpful and encouraging in what we did each day. 

Gardens & Flowers.
I absolutely love flowers.  I'm back at my parents for a little while and I love spending time in their garden, and this afternoon I went to the local garden centre with them.  I love all the beautiful colours and the delicacy and elegance of various flowers.

I'm looking forward to the rest of summer; a job that I'm really enjoying, hopefully some more sunshine, and learning what else God has to teach me.  What have you been enjoying about summer so far? 



Friday, 7 July 2017

Strawberries & Cream Cupcakes | Wimbledon Baking

I'm not usually one for watching sports on TV, it's just something I'm not that interested in.  But almost every year without fail I find myself becoming quite invested in watching Wimbledon.  I've kept it no secret on my blog that I love to bake, I'm quite happy to blast my music and potter about in the kitchen for an hour or two. 

So, when my mum asked me to bake some cupcakes for a family meal this week, I immediately said yes and started looking for a recipe to use.  Seen as we are more than likely to watch some of Wimbledon together, I figured adapting Jane's recipe for strawberry cupcakes would be perfect, of course I wanted to share the recipe with all of you. 

Ingredients for the cupcakes:

150g of unsalted butter (softened)
150g of castor sugar
3 medium eggs
150g of self raising flour
150g of seedless strawberry jam

Ingredients for the frosting:

150g of unsalted butter (softened)
350g of icing sugar
2-4tbsp of double cream
1/2tsp of vanilla extract

Ingredients for the decoration:

12 fresh strawberries
Strawberry sauce


1.  First, you need to preheat your oven to 170°C.  Then line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases. 

2.  Then cream together your butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  It's best to use either a Kitchen Aid or an electric hand whisk to do this. 

3.  Next, beat your eggs in a separate bowl and measure out your flour.  Add these ingredients to your butter and sugar mixture, then beat on a medium speed until combined. 

4.  Measure out your jam and add this to your cake batter.  Beat the mixture until the jam is fully incorporated and your mixture is smooth. 

5.  Divide your mixture evenly amongst your cupcake cases.  Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes, or until a cake skewer comes out clean and they are golden brown on top. 

6.  Place your cakes are on a cooling rack and whilst they are cooling you can make a start on the icing, or washing the dishes! 

7.  Measure out your butter and beat it on a high speed until it is smooth and almost white. 

8.  Sieve your icing sugar into the butter a little at a time and beat in gradually.  Make sure your icing sugar is beaten in well before adding the next amount. 

9.  Continue to beat the frosting, gradually adding the vanilla, then the cream a tablespoon at a time.  Keep adding the cream until your icing is at the desired consistency.  You don't want your icing to be too runny that it won't set, but also too solid that it won't pipe.  I found that 4 tablespoons of double cream was a good amount.

10.  Now for my favourite part, time to ice the cupcakes!  I used a plastic disposable piping bag and a large, star tip nozzle to pipe a swirl around the cupcake, then bringing it into the centre with a flick at the end. 

11.  To decorate, loosely drizzle the strawberry sauce over the cupcakes and then place a fresh strawberry in the middle. 

These cupcakes were both super easy to make, and really fun to make!  And it was fun to add the Wimbledon tradition of strawberries and cream into my summer baking.  You can have a look through my other baking recipes by clicking here