DIY Porg Meringues

Its not May the 4th, and its not any time around a film being released, but I figured I actually didn’t need an excuse to share what I feel like is one of the cutest baking posts I’ve done in a long time. Well, it is actually the first time in ages that I’ve done a baking post, and its my first time baking in my new house, so ok, there’s the excuse!

Like them or loathe them (but seriously, who doesn’t like them?!), Porgs sorta stole the show in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Fun fact: the porgs were actually created as the island that the scenes were filmed on was populated with a whole load of puffins, and it was easier to CGI the porgs over all the puffins than it was to remove the puffins from the shots, so porgs are basically just space puffins. But I digress..

I’ve had the idea for these cute little sweet treats in my head for a little while now, and here they are – they’re a super simple bake and only 4 ingredients too! I always use the BBC Good Food Ultimate Meringue recipe for meringues, as below, but if you have your own go-to meringue recipe you can use that!

You will need:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 115g icing sugar
  • 100g milk or dark chocolate

Preheat your oven to 100C, and line a couple of baking trays with greaseproof paper. On the back of my greaseproof paper I drew a porg template ready for piping later, but you don’t have to do this.

Whisk your egg whites using a hand or stand mixer until they form stiff peaks, then up the speed a little and add the caster sugar one tablespoon at a time, waiting a few seconds between each spoonful. Once the caster sugar has all been added, your mix should look nice and shiny! Sift the icing sugar into the egg mix  one third at a time, and fold in gently using a metal spoon until smooth.

Now how you shape your porg is totally up to you, I used a piping bag but I imagine you could do it no problem using a spoon. Pipe/spoon your porg shapes onto the greaseproof paper leaving a little bit of space between each one – don’t worry about them being too peak-y or being all the same shape, it gives them character! Bake for 1 hour 30 mins, and then leave them to cool on a cooling rack.

To give yourself a nice flat canvas to work on, flip your meringues so that the flat side is the front of your porg, and now you’ve got yourself an army of little meringue porgs, you’re gonna want to melt down your chocolate. As you’re gonna be dipping, I suggest doing this in a fairly small bowl so that you’ve got some depth.

Take a porg, and working from wing to wing, dip and turn your meringue to create a chocolate border around your porg, then place them onto greaseproof paper to dry. You can then use either a piping bag or toothpick dipped in chocolate to add facial features. Pop your porgs in the fridge to allow the chocolate to harden, and you’re all done!

The meringues can be stored in a sealed container for about a week, if they last that long..

My Ultimate Easter Rocky Road Recipe

I haven’t done a baking recipe in what feels like FOREVER (I will bombard you with them after we’ve moved into our new house so enjoy the relative rarity of them while it lasts) and with the Easter weekend upon us, I figured I’d throw as many Easter themed treats into one recipe, and that called for one of my favourite recipes: rocky road.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can add or remove anything you fancy once you’ve got the core mix, so you can totally make this your own and go a little crazy if you want, but here’s how mine turned out..

You will need:

  • 225g chocolate (I personally prefer to use milk, but if you want to do dark, go for it!)
  • 100g butter
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 100g mini marshmallows
  • 100g chocolate chip cookies or digestive biscuits, broken up
  • 100g maltesers (I used slightly less for this recipe because I added mini eggs)
  • 75g Mini Eggs plus extra for decorating
  • 4-5 Creme Eggs

Line an 8-inch square tin with greaseproof paper.

To start off, melt down the chocolate and butter – I do this in a pan over hot water, but you can microwave it if you prefer. Mix in the cocoa powder, caster sugar and cocoa powder until completely smooth.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the marshmallows, cookies/biscuits, Maltesers and Mini Eggs, then pour in the chocolate mix and stir well until everything has a good coating of the chocolate mix, then pour into the tin and squish it down a little bit, but not too much.

Using a sharp knife, cut your Creme Eggs length-ways (along the little join). I then cut them in half again to make them go a little further, but that’s completely up to you! Press the Creme Egg pieces into the top of the mix so that they make their own little indentations to sit in, and chuck a couple of extra Mini Eggs on for good measure, then get this into the fridge for 1-2 hours.

Once set, chop into chunks and be prepared for it all to disappear a lot quicker than you expected..

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Blueberry Pancake Cupcakes

Happy Pancake Day everyone! I mean, its the most important day of the month today, right?

And I know that I know there are some people out there who aren’t totally pancake crazy (weirdos.. I joke) but if that’s the case or not, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share a recipe I’ve been sitting on for a little while now: my blueberry pancake cupcakes!

For the cupcakes, you’ll need 125g butter, 125g caster sugar, 2 eggs, 125g self raising flour, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional), plus a handful of blueberries – you can decide how blueberry crazy you want to be! Oh, and preheat your oven to 190C

  • Cream together the butter and sugar, then whisk in the egg.
  • Add the vanilla extract, then sift together the flour and cinnamon and mix well.
  • Line a cupcake tray with 12 cases, and drop a couple of blueberries into the bottom of each case, then add your remaining blueberries to the cake mix and whisk a little more so that they break up and release some of their yumminess into the mix.
  • Bake for 12-15 mins, then remove and allow to cool

While your cupcakes are baking, you can start on the fun task of making the (optional) tiny pancake toppers for the cupcakes, because these will also need a chance to cool before you compile your cupcakes at the end. This really calls for a classic American style pancake, and if you have your own favourite recipe then you can go ahead and whip that up, or this is the recipe that I use (you may want to make a half batch though!):

  • Sift together 135g plain flour with 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt and 2 tbsp caster sugar.
  • Separately whisk up 130ml milk with an egg and 2 tbsp melted butter, then pour into the flour mixture and whisk well until completely smooth.
  • Then you can go ahead and fry up your pancakes on a hob set at a medium heat – you can judge when its time to flip when little bubbles start to form on the top!

I tend to make a bunch of big pancakes, then use a cookie cutter to get them down to cupcake size, but if you have the patience to make a bunch of teeny tiny cupcakes then I’m all for that too! Pop these to one side, and make the buttercream:

  • Whisk together 175g caster sugar with 500g icing sugar until smooth
  • Optional: add 2 tbsp maple syrup and combine well – you may need to give your icing a chance to chill in the fridge before piping

Once everything is ready, get building! Pipe or spoon a good helping of buttercream onto each cupcake, top with a pancake and drizzle a little golden or maple syrup over the top and enjoy! If you’re making these in advance, don’t add the pancake until right before you serve, otherwise it can dry out a little bit, but the cupcakes themselves will store in a sealed container for up to a week!

You can thank me later!

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Quick and Easy Breakfast Puffs

For me, breakfast just doesn’t get enough attention. On weekdays its always rushed in the rat-race of getting ready for work, and on weekends its often brushed over by the plans of the day, when in reality it has the potential to be the best meal of the day.

Enter my breakfast puffs! These are my go-to when I’m craving something a little more special than a Belvita soft-bake or beans on toast, and they’re a real crowd-pleaser, while also being super easy to throw together.

You’ll need: ready roll puff pastry, eggs (1 per pastry), bacon (1-2 rashers per pastry), grated cheddar cheese, a sprinkling of your favourite herbs and a dash of salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 180C

To start off, roll out the pastry and cut into squares, then carefully fold over the edges to create a little rim. Take a fork and prick a few holes into the centre of the pastries, then pop into the oven for about 10 mins. Meanwhile, grill or fry your bacon.

When the 10 mins are up, remove your pastries from the oven, and if the centres have puffed up, press them back down using the back of a fork, so that the rim is still the highest part of the pastries.

Firstly, place your cooked bacon onto the puff, then crack an egg on top of each pastry. Sprinkle with cheese and herbs, and a dash of salt and pepper, and pop them back into the oven for another 5-8 mins, until the egg is fully cooked.

I normally like to sprinkle a little bit more cheese on top before serving, but that’s completely up to you! You can also mix these up by adding spinach or goats cheese, or whatever you fancy – that’s the beauty of them!

Enjoy!

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Shiny Shoes and Street Food

On Friday, Matthew and I took a semi-spontaneous trip into London, having been in Luton in the morning for a job interview. We caught the train from Luton Airport Parkway into St Pancras, and after going to see Platform 9 3/4 in Kings Cross – rookie mistake during school summer holidays cos it was pretty crazy! – hopped on the tube to one of my favourite places in London: Covent Garden.

It was gone 2:30pm by the time we actually got there, so lunch was really first on the agenda, and we decided to forgo our usual go-to restaurants and instead we went to Wahaca – Matthew had been before and raved about it, and I was up for seeing if it was as good as he said it was. The Covent Garden branch is actually just a few roads outside of the main square, but the restaurant was easy to find and as soon as I stepped inside I was pretty excited by everything going on. The decor was fun, the whole place smelled amazing and the staff were super friendly from the offset which is always a huge plus for me.

The menu consists primarily of ‘street food’ options, which are smaller dishes designed for sharing around the table, and although there are some dishes which are supposed to be more like a main course, I wanted the proper experience. We ordered 6 dishes between the two of us:

  • Frijoles and tortilla chips – a creamy bean dip with crumbled cheese and a bucket of chips for dipping
  • Four cheese empanadas – two crispy, crunchy pastry parcels filled with the creamiest and stringiest cheeses
  • British steak tacos – three small tortilla tacos filled with chunks of steak and salsa
  • Buttermilk chicken baja tacos – two larger soft tortilla tacos filled with crispy fried chicken and salsa
  • Mexican style chorizo and potato quesadillas – two grilled tortilla ‘sandwiches’ filled with chorizo and crushed potato with cheese
  • Chicken club quesadillas – quesadillas filled with grilled chicken, lettuce and spicy salsa

All of the dishes are brought out as soon as they’re ready, so you can just dive into whatever comes first, and it was really fun to be able to pick and choose and share. My absolute favourite dish was the cheese empanadas, which I haven’t stopped thinking about since, but also the buttermilk chicken tacos and the chicken club quesadillas are both dishes that I would order again.

While we tried our best to finish, we didn’t quite clear our plates, partly because we wanted room for dessert. Again, we decided to share two options, ordering the churros and chocolate dip, and the salted caramel ice-cream, both of which were absolutely to die for! Fully fuelled for the rest of the day, we went back to Covent Garden and wandered around the shops, including the Moomin Shop where I met Moomin himself!

When we left Covent Garden, we headed for the Natural History Museum to fill a little bit of time, then walked down to another of our London must-dos, Ben’s Cookies, to pick up a selection box of our favourite cookies, then got the tube back to Victoria as that morning we had booked tickets to see Wicked at the Apollo Victoria.

It was Matthew’s first time seeing the show, having only heard Defying Gravity before, and while I had seen it once before, it has been probably about 8 years since I last saw the show. In fact, the first time I saw Wicked in London was when Idina Menzel was still playing Elphaba, and nothing will ever top that for me! That said, the show was amazing, and of course had me in tears on more than one occasion. Wicked was the first musical that I fell in love with, and Defying Gravity and For Good are two of my all time favourite songs from any musical, and back in the days where I was confident enough to sing on stage in front of an audience, I once performed I’m Not That Girl.

I don’t know if it was just the progression and development of the show over time, but I felt that watching it after so many years I found it funnier, but that could just be down to me being a little older and understanding more of the jokes. Honestly though, despite a love of all things musical theatre, Wicked will always have a special place in my heart and I was so happy to see it again after all this time.

While I might not have ruby slippers, my feet were pretty damn comfy in my gorgeous new rose gold trainers from Truffle on Asos. Would you believe I only paid £11 for them?! I took a risk wearing them for the first time ever for a day walking around London but I am blister free and there was not a single complaint all day! I don’t normally go for this sort of style of trainer – I’m a strictly Converses kinda gal – but I’m so glad I bought these, and let’s face it, they’re the ultimate blogger shoe – even Matthew keeps referring to them as my shiny blogger shoes haha! I think they’ve got back up to £14 on Asos now but I still think that’s a bargain for such comfy and pretty shoes!

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Cauliflower Crusted Chicken Nuggets

Do you ever have a real craving for something, decide to make it there and then, and then go to the kitchen and find your missing a vital ingredient? Well that was me last week. I have a homemade chicken nugget recipe that I’ve been using for years, and it was all I wanted to have for dinner.. Until I discovered I hate no breadcrumbs. Gutted.

I mooched over to the fridge to find alternative food options, and was greeted by the tub of cauliflower rice. Lightbulb. Twenty minutes later: happy Lottie with chicken nuggets.

Make them now, thank me later!

You’re gonna need:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 cup cauliflower rice (I used the pre-made stuff you can get from most supermarkets now, but you can just blitz up your own in a food processer!)
  • 1 tbsp fine parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • A pinch of salt and pepper
  • Melted butter or a beaten egg yolk

Preheat your oven to 200C and cover a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

In a small bowl, mix together the cauliflower, cheese, rosemary, salt and pepper, and set to one side. Chop up your chicken breast into small nugget sized pieces, roughly 1 inch cubes!

If you’re using butter, now is the time to melt that, or beat up your egg yolk, then one piece at a time, dip the chicken into the butter/yolk, allow any excess to run off, then roll around in the cauliflower mixture.

Place each piece on the baking tray, leaving a little room between each nugget, and repeat until all of the chicken is covered. If you have any excess mix, you can use this to cover up any patches on any of the nuggets!

Bake in the oven for 12-15 mins, and be sure to check that the chicken is cooked through and juices are running clear.

Et voila – golden nuggets in less than 20 mins! Enjoy!

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Tale As Old As Time Afternoon Tea at The Kensington Hotel

I might be a little late to the party, but on Sunday I finally had my opportunity to go to the Beauty and the Beast themed afternoon tea at The Kensington Hotel in London, having had it booked for months.

We arrived at the hotel about half an hour early, but due to a few cancellations they managed to get a table ready for us well before our set time – although a little miscommunication meant we were sat at our table for quite a while before someone actually came to take our drink orders. I’m not really a tea drinker, so despite a big selection of teas to choose from, I chose one that I knew would be a safe bet: Wild Rooibos.

The tea came out pretty quickly, and was followed with a plate of little appetisers – a mini cheese souffle, a little pie and little breaded ball of beef ragu – all three of which were delicious and I was a little sad to only get one of each because I could have eaten them 10 times over. Once our plates were cleared, the main event was brought out..

The tea stand was accompanied by Lumiere and Mrs Potts (who was filled with cream), and consisted of finger sandwiches, sweet baguettes and the gorgeous themed desserts on top. The sweet baguettes weren’t really my thing, but the sandwiches were good and I was primarily there for the desserts!

Inside the adorable little Chip teacups was the famous Grey Stuff, which was indeed delicious and my favourite of all the desserts. The Cogsworth tart was also incredibly cute but very very rich and had marzipan in it which I’m not a fan of, and having eaten both of the portions of Grey Stuff, I couldn’t quite finish him! There was also a little coconut macaron ‘snowball’, which was a nice light option, and finally a clear jelly containing the last rose petal.

After finishing the tea, we were brought a wrapped biscuit – which was iced to look like Belle’s ballgown – to take home, but with the tea room being fairly quiet, we ended up staying at least an hour after we’d finished eating. We were there for at least 3 hours, so definitely made an effort to get our money’s worth out of it!

Baking Magic – Spinach Puffs

For the first time in forever, I’ve been in the kitchen creating a Disney inspired recipe.. Pull the lever, Kronk!

That’s right, its a little less well known recipe today, but any fans of Emperor’s New Groove will know of Kronk’s famous spinach puffs. Yzma may not be a fan, but having recreated these little beauties for myself, I most certainly am, and I’m pleased to say they’re super easy to do!

You’re gonna need:

  • A sheet of ready-roll puff pastry
  • 1 cup of finely chopped spinach – I used a food processor to save time!
  • 2 tbsp powdered parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • A beaten egg, optional
  • A mini muffin tray sprayed with FryLight oil
This recipe makes 8-10 puffs!

Preheat an oven to 180C.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the spinach, parmesan until evenly mixed. Crush the garlic clove into this mixture, add the oil and combine.

Unroll the pastry, and cut into 2×2 inch squares. Arrange the squares diagonally in the mini muffin holes, pressing them down into the dips, then fill with a teaspoon of the spinach mix.

Fold the corners in, and brush the top with the egg mix. Pop in the oven for 10-12 mins until golden brown.

If you’re feeling a little fancy, you can spread the mix onto the pastry sheet, roll it up like a Swiss roll and slice into spirals before baking!

These bites of deliciousness are best served warm, but will also keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week.

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My Top 15 Most Instagrammable Disney Park Foods

Is a Disney trip really a Disney trip if you didn’t Instagram at least one snack?

If you’re as Insta obsessed as I am, the combination of adorable food and a pretty castle backdrop is just impossible to resist, and its acceptable to be totally basic and refuse to eat until you’ve got the perfect photo.

Well your friendly neighbourhood Disney tripper is here to guide you in finding what I consider to be the most double-tap-able eats and treats from all six Disney parks! Brace yourself, you’re about to get hungry.

Mochi might be one of the strangest foods I’ve ever tried, but seriously these green aliens from Tokyo Disneyland are the business

Tokyo also takes churros to the next level. Yep, its Mickey shaped.

I’m a sucker for any type of steamed bun, but I cannot get over how adorable these little piggy pork buns from Hong Kong Disneyland are.

I was pretty lucky to get a photo of this raspberry ice lolly before it melted in the mid-July Tokyo DisneySea heat

Head over to the Cozy Cone Motel in Disneyland’s California Adventure park for a cone full of deliciousness in the most perfect Pixar themed land.

Who doesn’t love a Rice Krispie treat? These beauties come in all sorts of amazing flavours and designs and are best eaten on Main Street, although a balcony in Polynesian is a pretty good alternative.

I can never say no to a Mickey shaped pretzel, and I can never eat one without snapping it first!

Disneyland Paris is never complete without a Mickey marshmallow or macaron in front of the castle.

And speaking of macarons, how cute is this little Goofy treat from club level Shanghai Disneyland Hotel?!

If you’re an Alice fan, you’ve gotta head over to Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall if you’re in Tokyo Disneyland for this amazing dessert option!

The best way to cool down in Hong Kong Disneyland is with a Lotso lolly in Adventureland!

Mickey shaped muffins are popping up all over different Disney parks, but this beautiful blueberry one was snapped in Shanghai.

When in Tokyo, if you don’t snap a steamed bun burger, were you even there?

Lemon meringue pie PLUS a Mickey macaron? Yes please Shanghai Disneyland!

And who can resist a Mickey waffle?!

Don’t forget I’m heading to Disneyland in less than 2 weeks, and I’m sure I’ll be Instagramming a tonne of food from there so stay tuned!

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My First Time at Five Guys


We all love a good food hype, right?

Well I’m small-town (relatively), and with the exception of on occasional trips to London, I’ve always been miles and miles from one of the latest hypes from the last year or two: Five Guys. Yep, that’s right, I’ve only just been for the first time.

However, on our trip to Manchester last weekend, Matthew promised to take me for my first ever Five Guys at the Trafford Centre, and it went a little something like this..


First up, Matthew advised me to order the ‘little’ options on the menu, so I chose a little bacon cheeseburger and a little fries. Now I’m not a fussy eater, but I often find that in most burger places I end up picking out half of the junk they stuff into the bun, so when I realised that I got to choose exactly what went into my burger, it made my little heart so happy! There are 15 different extras available, from lettuce, onions and tomato to different sauces, so you can build the exact burger that you want without the worry of pickles hidden under the cheese or looking like a fuss-pot when you deconstruct your burger just to remove that pesky tomato. Goodbye unnecessary food waste!

Drink-wise, I had to go for the refillable Coke machine option, and I swear my mission in life from now is to try as many different combinations of fizzy drinks as I possibly can. I settled on a peach flavoured Sprite, quite honestly because I love anything peach flavoured, but it was delicious and I 100% feel like it should be offered as a standard Sprite flavour..


The wait for the food to be ready was a little longer than some fast-food places, but I’ve waited longer in McDonalds at times, and trust me when I say its well worth it. A brown paper bag and foil wrapped burger may seem humble as its passed over the counter, but don’t be fooled by a plain appearance.


It was so nice to eat a burger that not only was perfect in terms of its contents, but the bun didn’t go soggy or disintegrate in the time it took me to eat it, and the fries weren’t cold by the time I got to them. While its a little pricier than a Maccys or BK, I’ve paid more for burgers I’ve liked less, and compared to these ‘gourmet’ burger places out there, I’d say my little bacon cheeseburger shone out above these. Not a single chip was soggy, or burnt, and they too were delicious. Also, despite all my portion sizes being ‘little’, I was STUFFED at the end of it, and actually left some fries behind because I couldn’t manage them all.

I’m not gonna lie, I actually haven’t stopped thinking about Five Guys since, and now I have to wait an agonising few months because Five Guys is coming to Bournemouth, but not until the summer, waaa! However I’ve heard a rumour that they’ll be on Deliveroo when they do open, so that could get dangerous.. Also I’m dying to try one of their milkshakes!

I can’t wait for another brown bag of burger goodness, bring on the Bournemouth opening!

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Ferrero Rocher Brownies

It has felt like FOREVER since I’ve done a baking post, or any recipe post at all to be honest, so I dedicated a whole day last week to baking yummy stuff so I can share a few of my favourites sweet treats over the coming weeks, yay!

Today, I’m gonna be sharing a variation on my famous brownie recipe (and when I say famous, I mean among the few people in my life who have eaten my brownies, haha), featuring my boyfriend’s favourite chocolates: Ferrero Rochers.

You will need:

  • 115g butter
  • 115g milk chocolate
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 115g plain flour
  • 8 Ferrero Rocher
  • 4 tbsp Nutella (optional)
  • 4 tbsp hazelnuts, finely chopped (optional)

Preheat your oven to 180C

First, melt together the chocolate and butter. I do this in a pan over boiling water, but you can also do this in the microwave! While this is melting down, line an 8 inch square pan with greaseproof paper, and chop the Ferrero Rochers in half.

Once the chocolate mix is fully melted (don’t worry if the butter and chocolate is a little bit separated!), pour it into a large mixing bowl, add the caster sugar and stir together, then beat in the eggs until smooth. Sift in the cocoa powder and flour, and mix together. You can add the hazelnuts now if you want!

Pour half of the brownie mix into the pan and let it settle evenly. In a microwave safe bowl, microwave the Nutella in 10-20 second intervals until its runny enough to pour, and drizzle it over the first layer of brownie mix, then pour the remaining mix on top.

Arrange your Ferrero Rocher halfs on the top of the brownie, pushing them down into the mix slightly, then bake for 30-35 mins. Allow the brownie to cool in the pan for 5-10 mins, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Slice and enjoy!

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Meringue Roses for Mothers Day

In case you’d forgotten, its Mothers Day this Sunday!

If you do something a little different this year, why not forgo the regular flowers, and treat her to a sweeter treat.. Enter, meringue roses!

To make these, I used the BBC Good Food Ultimate Meringue recipe, which goes a little something like this:

  • Preheat your oven to 100C
  • Whisk 4 egg whites until fluffy and stiff peaks form – you can do this with a hand or stand mixer
  • Add 115g of caster sugar a spoonful at a time, up the speed and continue to whisk until thick and glossy!
  • Sift in 115g of icing sugar, 1/3 at a time, and fold into the mix with a metal spoon until smooth

Cover a baking tray with a non-slip mat, or greaseproof paper. Spoon the mix into a piping bag with a star nozzle, then starting in the middle, pipe spirals to make roses with a diameter of 2-3 inches, and bake for 1.5 hours. Once done, turn the oven off and let the meringues cool inside the oven for about half an hour, then take them out and transfer to a cooling rack.

You can serve these as they are, or sandwich two together with cream – or any other way you fancy! You don’t even have to make them for your mum if you don’t want to.. 😉

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Bathing Gingerbread Men

Its gingerbread time of year – THIS IS NOT A DRILL

I love making gingerbread, but something I really fail at is gingerbread houses – I don’t know whether its all the construction involved or what, but they just always fail or look rubbish and I find it all too stressful, so I tend to stick to regular cookie cutter shapes. Sounds kinda boring right? NOPE.

Dunking Gingerbread Men

My absolute favourite gingerbread creations are these little bathing dudes that hang out in your tea/coffee/hot chocolate; they’re a real crowd-pleaser!

All you need is a batch of your favourite gingerbread recipe (mine is here!), a rolling pin, large gingerbread man cookie cutter and a cupcake tray or two!

  • Preheat your oven to 180C (or whatever your recipe requires!)
  • Whip up your gingerbread, and roll out onto a floured surface and cut out your little gingerbread men
  • Dust your cupcake trays with a little bit of flour, or use non-stick spray over the tray
  • Place your gingerbread man onto the tray, with their bodies in the bottom of the dip, and their arms, legs and head over the edge – you may need to space them out quite a bit, and maybe bake in batches if you don’t have multiple trays!
  • Bake as per your recipe, then let them cool in the tray to make sure they retain their shape

Once cooled, make yourself a nice hot drink to celebrate, and let one of them go for a swim!

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Hidden Mickey Fudge

I don’t know about anyone else, but something I always have to to when I visit Disneyland Paris is stop off on Main Street and buy some fudge, and when I say some, I mean a lot. Its tradition.

So I decided to make some fudge, but if you know anything about me and my baking habits, I like to throw a little surprise into my creations, so I present to you.. Hidden Mickey fudge!

Hidden Mickey fudge

First up, make the chocolate fudge:

  • In a saucepan, mix together 400g chocolate (I used half dark and half milk, but either or any combo will do!), a tin of condensed milk (a standard one is 397g) and 25g butter.
  • Melt this all together over a low-medium heat, then sift in 100g icing sugar and stir in
  • Pour this mix into a lined 8 inch square tin, then pop in the fridge for at least an hour

Hidden Mickey fudge

Once the chocolate fudge is set, turn it out onto a fresh sheet of greaseproof paper, and using a Mickey Mouse cookie cutter, cut out as many mice as you can. Line a standard sized loaf tin with paper, and stack the cut-outs into a sort-of Mickey sausage from one end of the tin to the other.

Hidden Mickey fudge

Now, the vanilla fudge (this one takes a little longer!):

  • In a larger saucepan – the bigger, the better – combine another tin of condensed milk with 450g demerara sugar, 150ml milk and 115g butter.
  • Heat this until its all melted and combined, then ramp up the heat, and simmer for about 15 mins, stirring continuously. This will get super hot and bubbly, so keep children well away in case it spits out.
  • Boil until the temperature reaches 118C on a candy thermometer, or the mix starts to form a sort-of soft ball in the pan, then remove from the heat, and keep stirring quickly until the mixture thickens
  • Pour this mix over your Mickeys, then pop the pan in the fridge for at least 90 mins.

Hidden Mickey fudge

Ready, set, slice!

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Chocolate Orange and Baobab Dip with PandaVita*

If you think that Baobab is the weirdest part of this recipe, just you wait.. It is as yummy as it looks though, promise!

Chocolate orange baobab dip

Ok, so you’re wondering what baobab is though, right?

PandaVita Baobab Recipe

Baobab is a tree native to Africa, and the Disney fans among you would recognise it as the tree that Rafiki hangs out in during The Lion King, and its also what Animal Kingdom’s Tree of Life is based on. Its an extraordinary looking tree, often describe as being upside-down, as when its not covered in leaves, the branches resemble roots, spanning out from the enormous trunk, so it looks like someone’s just flipped it in the ground!

Baobab is one of the latest superfoods, full of Vitamin C, fibre and anti-oxidants, and the guys at PandaVita challenged me to come up with a yummy recipe using their new organic baobab powder.

I wanted to make it healthy-ish, and the citrus taste of the powder lead me to a decision that it had to be chocolate orange, but the secret – and strange! – ingredient? Chickpeas.

Try it and see, its super easy!

  • In a food processor, blitz together 200g cooked chickpeas, 4 tbsp cocoa powder, 3 tbsp honey (or maple syrup), and 2 tbsp orange juice, with a teaspoon of baobab powder
  • You may need to add a little water, depending on the consistency, and you might also want to add a little more honey to sweeten it to your taste. Also, if you don’t want chocolate orange, you can substitute the orange juice for 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 2 tbsp water!

Store it in the fridge, and you’ve got a yummy dip that’s perfect for rice cakes or apple slices!

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Matcha Crepes with PureChimp*

PureChimp Matcha Green Tea Recipe

Its no secret that I’m a huge lover of matcha, but I will admit to the fact that I tend to be very boring with how I use it – normally its a scoop in my morning juice and that’s that, so when I got my packet of PureChimp last month, I was looking forward to having the opportunity to experiment for a change!

As matcha is normally part of my morning routine, I knew I wanted to come up with a yummy way of having an antioxidant filled breakfast, and what is more perfect on a Sunday morning than a stack of pancakes?

PureChimp Matcha Green Tea Recipe

Whether you call them pancakes or crepes, this light and delicious stack will get you feeling happy and ready to start any day, and they’re really easy to make:

  • Whisk together 300ml skimmed milk (or a dairy-free substitute!), 100g plain flour and 2 eggs
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of Matcha Super Tea and whisk until smooth
  • In a frying pan, heat coconut oil (any other cooking oil will also work), ensure the pan is well oiled then pour any excess off
  • Pour the mix into the frying pan and tip it around to get a nice even spread, cook for a minute on a medium heat, until you can easily flip the pancake, then cook the other side!

This mix will also keep in the fridge for 3 days, so you can whip up a big batch and make just a few pancakes at a time – hello quick and easy breakfast! You can serve with lemon and sugar, chocolate sauce or even ice-cream, because you’re an adult and that’s ok.

Green is good, embrace the super tea!

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PureChimp were kind enough to send me the matcha for this post. All views are my own.

October Favourites!

Happy Halloween everyone! As of tomorrow the world will be ditching it’s pumpkins and donning its Santa hats as we head towards my favourite time of year! Yes November is way too early to be thinking about Christmas, but its undeniable folks..

But what have I been loving this month?

October Favourites

Ready, Steady, Glow by Madeleine Shaw

I bought this cookbook months ago, but have only really just had a chance to have a proper look at it in the last few weeks. Its packed of amazing recipes, all really fresh and healthy and easy to prepare, and I can see myself reaching for it more and more going into the colder months.

Lush Autumn Leaf bath bomb

This month has been very Lush-y, but while I’m still a little disappointed about not getting the job I interviewed for, my huge Lush haul made me so much happier, especially this beautiful autumn bath bomb! Super super pretty and relaxing, oh so relaxing..

Podcasts

I have featured in not one, but two podcasts this month! Ok, so one was just a tweet of mine that got mentioned on The Florida Project podcast (still counts though!), but more importantly I sat in the DLP Hot Seat! I had the most fun recording with Mitch, and you can listen to it here!

Hula-hooping

Yes, actual hula-hooping.. Having never been able to hula-hoop, I was curious when I came across weighted hula-hoops on Amazon to see if I would stand any better chance with a heftier hoop, and guess what.. I CAN DO IT! I have suddenly become a hula-hooping sensation, and its a pretty killer workout actually.

Disney trip updates

So I’m really excited to tell you all that Sarah and I are extended our WDW trip in February by a day for very exciting reasons! I’ve also finally booked my flights for Feb, and I’ve passed the 200 day mark to my trip to Disneyland in May, eek!

What have you been loving this month?

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Pumpkin Macaroni Cheese

Before you read on and think ‘hang on, there’s no pumpkin here’, I’ll explain.

Butternut squash patch

I had every intention of doing this post using pumpkin, but this Cinderella has a butternut squash patch in her back garden, and I decided to pick one of them instead! The recipe works exactly the same, yay winter mac and cheese!

Pumpkin macaroni cheese

Pumpkin macaroni cheese

Pumpkin macaroni cheese

Pumpkin macaroni cheese

  • Cook 250g macaroni (or any pasta!), drain and set to one side
  • While the pasta is boiling, chop 400g pumpkin (or squash!) into chunks, and boil for 10-15 mins until soft.
  • Once drained, put the pumpkin back into the saucepan, add 3 tbsp butter and 150ml milk and using a stick blender, blitz until smooth. You can also do this in a food processor.
  • Add 100g cheddar and 1 tsp paprika and blend again, then stir in another 50g cheese.
  • Add the pasta to the sauce, and stir to combine

This can be stored in the fridge and reheated either in a saucepan or microwave, and is such a great winter warmer recipe! Its also a good way to get kids to eat veggies without noticing!

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Homemade Sweet Potato Hash Browns

Who doesn’t love a hash brown? As a child, it was all I’d ever eat from a McDonalds breakfast and I’d probably polish off 4 or 5 of them while my family chowed down on McMuffins.

What I don’t eat a lot of these days is regular potatoes, so when I had the brainwave that there must be a way of producing a healthier version of a fast food favourite, I couldn’t wait to give it a try! If you’re not so certain, how’s this:

5 hash browns = roughly 250 calories

Sweet potato hash browns

Better yet, they’re super easy to make! I used 2 medium sized sweet potatoes, which produced 5 good sized hash browns, but you can use as many or few as you like as its all done on proportions.

Sweet potato hash browns

Sweet potato hash browns

  • Take half of your SPs and chop them into chunks, then boil for 10 mins or until soft
  • While the chunks are boiling, grate the other half into a large bowl
  • Once soft, drain the chunks, add a tbsp of butter/margarine/whatever spread you like and mash until smooth
  • Add the mashed potato to the bowl of grated SP and using a fork, mix to combine, ensuring all the grated stuff is stuck together

Sweet potato hash browns

  • In a frying pan, heat coconut oil (you can use other oil if you like!) until its hot enough that it hisses a little
  • Using a spoon or your hands, take a lump of the potato mix and squash into a pattie, then drop into the oil
  • Fry for about 2 minutes on each size, or until golden brown – you can use more oil if you’d prefer a deep fried effect, or less if you don’t, but you’ll probably need to re-oil the pan between each batch.

Sweet potato hash browns

Ta-dah! I love serving them on a bed of spinach with a poached egg for a fancy-ish brunch, but how you eat them is entirely up to you!

You can also batch prepare these to freeze, then reheat under a grill or in the oven for about 10 mins!

Hello not-so-guilty pleasure!

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Jack Skellington Candy Apples

I think I must be fairly odd as Halloween doesn’t get me all that excited; I love carving pumpkins but other than that I’m always just way to pre-occupied with the thought of Christmas coming to really get into a spooky spirit. I do, however, love making Halloween-y themed food, so I thought it would be the perfect time to post my third candy apple post!

Jack Skellington Candy Apples

You’ll need 12-15 apples (I think green works best!), 5 cups of caster sugar and 1 1/2 cups of water, plus some black food colouring (gel or paste), lollipop sticks, and black and white chocolate or candy melts. You’ll also need a candy thermometer!

  • Start by mixing together the sugar and water in a saucepan, and get it boiling away. It needs to reach 150C, which will take a little while but you can use this time to get the apples cleaned and on their sticks.
  • Once the sugar hits temperature, stir in the black food colouring, dip the apples and swirl them around to cover in the candy, then place on a tray covered in greaseproof paper to set – which will happen quickly!

Now I can’t stress this enough: the sugar is HOT. We’re talking hotter than boiling water, so please please please be careful! This is definitely not an activity that children should be doing, even under supervision; its just not worth the risk of burning.

  • Once the candy has set hard, you can start melting the white chocolate, and either dip the apples into it or spoon it on, and pop these into the fridge to set.
  • When the white layer is hard, melt the black candy, and using a piping/ziploc bag with the corner cut off, pipe a spooky (or smiley!) face onto the apples and pop back in the fridge to let it set.

Jack Skellington Candy Apples

These can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for up to a week, so you can get them ready a few days before its time to get spooky! And if Jack doesn’t take your fancy, why not try my original Poison Candy Apples?

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Happy Birthday Me!

It’s my birthday! (Yes, I know its also the day from that Mean Girls quote)

Birthday cake

Now I’m not sure if I’m feeling like Taylor Swift just yet, but I definitely am 22, despite my birthday celebrations beginning yesterday with a family dinner and a healthy-sized chunk of this incredible Banoffee and Nutella cake, made by yours truly, please feel free to drool over your screen..

Birthday Boomf

I also decided (or was pushed) to open a few of my birthday presents from the boyfriend a day early, because technically it was already my birthday in New Zealand.. I got my main birthday presents while I was out there last month, but I still got an adorable little parcel of goodies from Boomf, yay!

As for today though, I started with breakfast in bed – although I had to get out of bed to make it – which was chocolate chip brioche and Nutella, and is it really your birthday if you don’t eat cake for breakfast?

birthday breakfast in bed

boomf cake

With my family at work, I spent my morning FaceTiming New Zealand in bed; I’ve got a stinker of a cold coming on so I wrapped myself up in my new cosy jumper from French Connection and ordered Wagamamas for lunch thanks to Deliveroo!


Wagamamas deliveroo

I’ve been spoilt rotten by my family, with the absolute greatest surprise being what will no doubt be my birthday and Christmas present for the rest of my life: the Lego Disney Cinderella Castle!

Birthday presents 2016

Also a huge thank you to everyone who has wished me a happy birthday on social media, and especially to those that gave me the amazing present of 150 followers on Bloglovin and 1000 followers on Instagram, both of which I hit yesterday! Big love to you all ❤

Here’s to another year!

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Garlic and Rosemary Potato Spirals

You know those 30 second recipe videos you see on your Facebook news feed on a daily basis? Well this post is sorta inspired by one of those, and while I definitely didn’t find it as easy as those videos make it look, these were pretty straightforward and extremely delicious!

Garlic and Rosemary potatoes

You’ll need potatoes (large-ish ones work best!), butter, garlic and dried rosemary, a sharp knife and some kebab skewers.

Get your oven pre-heating at 180C, and stick each one of potatoes onto a skewer. Now this is the tricky bit.. Starting at one end of the potato, start to slice while turning the potato so you get one continuous cut all the way down the potato – don’t be afraid to cut all the way down to the skewer, this will make it easier to spread apart in a minute! Give the potato a little twist, and tug it so it stretches out down the skewer leaving the cuts open.

garlic and rosemary potatoes

In a separate bowl, crush a garlic clove, and mash it with some butter – about 2-3 tbsp butter and half a clove per potato – then using a butter knife, slather the butter over the potato, getting into all the nooks. Top with a generous sprinkle of rosemary, then pop onto a baking tray.

Garlic and rosemary potatoes

Bake for 35-40 mins until golden and crispy, then slide the potatoes off the skewers and enjoy!

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Homemade Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream

Marshmallows are life.

Ice-cream is also not just for summer, so now we’re heading into the autumn months its time for a few warmer flavours, and I think this is my new favourite. Move over Ben and Jerry, Lottie is on the scene right now.

Toasted Marshmallow Icecream

And d’you know what? This was so easy.

Are you ready?

1. Preheat an oven to 220C.

2. Whisk 500ml of whipping cream until its stiff enough to hold peaks, but not overwhipped.

3. Cover a baking tray with greaseproof paper, spread out 2 cups of mini marshmallows, and bake for 4 minutes

4. While the marshmallows are baking, pour a can of sweetened condensed milk (397ml is the standard size) into the cream, and fold in carefully with a metal spoon.

5. Once the marshmallows have baked, quickly scrape all the melted marshmallow goop into the cream mixture and stir through the mix. Don’t worry about larger lumps or more toasted bits, they add great texture!

6. Pour the mix into a large loaf tin or container, and freeze for 6-8 hours, then scoop and serve!

Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream

Toasted Marshmallow Icecream

You could turn this into a s’mores sundae by adding warm chocolate sauce and cookie crumbs and enjoy by a bonfire while toasting more marshmallows..

You are welcome.

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Homemade Turkey Burgers

Just because its September first doesn’t mean barbecue season has to be over just yet, especially as the weather has only just started picking up!

That being said, burgers aren’t just for BBQing, and these turkey burgers are a particular favourite of mine, and super easy to make!

Homemade turkey burgers

For about 6 burgers, you’ll need 500g turkey mince, 1 tsp oregano, 2 tbsp breadcrumbs and salt and pepper to season.

  • Tip your mince into a bowl, and using either your hands or a wooden spoon, break up the mince until even
  • Add the oregano and breadcrumbs to the mince and knead the mixture to ensure and even spread throughout. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and combine.
  • Using your hands, make the patties – the more you knead the mixture, the easier you’ll find this is to do, otherwise they can break up a little!
  • If you’re making these to eat another time, you can freeze the patties at this point, keeping them separate using greaseproof paper.
  • If not, these are good to go straight under the grill or onto the BBQ! Cook on each side for about 5 minutes, then pierce each side with a kebab skewer before continuing to cook. Just like chicken, you want the juices to be running clear!

Homemade turkey burgers

Now I’m a sucker for classic burger cheese, but if you’re feeling a little fancier then halloumi would also be great on these burgers, and I like to add a smear of green pesto for extra yumminess!

Homemade turkey burgers

Have I tempted you with this recipe, or are you a classic beef burger kinda person?

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Homemade Pastel Swirl Ice Cream

Did you read my Summer Bucket List? Well one of the things on there was making my own ice-cream, and while I could have made any old plain vanilla or chocolate, I went a little more colourful..

Pastel Ice Cream

It doesn’t involve a stand mixer, it doesn’t take hours of prep, and it looks and tastes amazing! You know, if I do say so myself..

1. Before you start on your ice cream mix, get yourself set up with 4-5 bowls, each containing a drop or two of gel/paste food colouring in your chosen colours – liquid colouring will not work with this recipe! Have spoons ready in each bowl, and a large loaf tin or 8 inch square tin ready too.

2. In a glass or metal bowl, whisk 500ml whipping cream until it holds peaks, but is still smooth.

3. Using a metal spoon, fold in 1 can of sweetened condensed milk – 14oz/397ml – until combined, then quickly split the mixture between the bowls with food colouring in.

4. Working fairly quickly – but without beating all the air out! – mix in the colouring until fully combined.

5. Scoop the different colours into the pan – you can layer them or dot them randomly, then use a skewer to swirl them together!

Pastel Ice Cream

6. Freeze the mixture for 6-8 hours, then scoop!

Pastel Ice Cream

You know that this would go great with? My Pastel Dreams Cheesecake!

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Baking Magic – Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

When it comes to snacks and desserts at Disney parks, everyone’s got their favourites, right?

Out of those favourites, we tend to have the favourites that you can get everywhere – popcorn, churros etc – and the ones that you savour in certain locations. Today’s recipe is one of the latter.

Sunshine Seasons inside The Land at Epcot ranks pretty high in my favourite quick service restaurants, and if its not the Mongolian beef that gets my taste buds excited (YUM), its the red velvet whoopie pies that keep me coming back again and again, so today I decided to make them!

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt 1 oz dark chocolate and 1/2 oz milk chocolate together, and mix to combine the two.
  2. In a separate bowl, melt 3/4 cups butter, then whisk in 1/2 cup sour cream, 2 eggs, 1 1/2 tsps white wine vinegar and a splash of vanilla extract. Add red gel or paste food colouring until the mix is a nice shade of reddy-pink.
  3. In another bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups plain flour, 1 cup caster sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, 2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp baking soda. Pour in the red mix bit by bit and whisk until smooth, then stir in the melted chocolate mix.
  4. Cover a baking tray in greaseproof paper, and spoon the mix into 2 inch round circles, about 1 inch apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

  1. While the whoopies are cooling, make the cream cheese filling by whisking together 125g cream cheese and 50g butter, then sift in 300g icing sugar and mix until smooth, then refrigerate until ready for sandwiching.
  2. Once cooled, pair up the whoopies and stick them together with a good helping of the frosting, then roll the edges in chocolate chips to finish!

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

What are your favourite park treats?

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Baking Magic – Churro Bites

Churros are a park snacking favourite, but they’re something I’ve only myself come around to in recent years – my favourite being these adorable Mickey shaped treats from Tokyo Disney:

Tokyo Disney churros

So I decided to give them a shot, and I’ll tell you something right now: those perfectly straight churros you get in the park are damn near impossible to make in a little pan, ha! Hence, I’m calling these churro bites, cos they’re a little bit smaller and a little bit more random looking!

Making the dough is pretty easy:

  • Sift 250g plain flour with 1 tsp baking powder
  • Melt 50g butter and pour into a jug of 350ml boiling water. This is gonna look a little weird, don’t worry about it though! Also add a splash of vanilla extract
  • Make a little hole in the middle of your flour mix, and pour in the water/butter mix, then stir quickly into a sticky dough.

Baking Magic Churro Bites

Let this sit for 10-15 minutes while you prepare the oil for frying.

Prepare a tray by covering with greaseproof paper, and sprinkling this with caster sugar and a light layer of cinnamon.

Fill a large saucepan with oil, at least 1 inch deep, but not less than 2 inches from the top of the pan. You may need up to about a litre! Start to heat the oil over a high flame; it’ll take a little while, but you’ll know its ready when lots of little bubbles start appearing.

Add a large star nozzle to a piping bag, and fill with the rested dough. I recommend doing this in batches as the dough is a tad runny so will leak out of the end if too full.

Squeeze strips of dough directly into the oil, and use a pair of scissors to cut it clean from the piping bag. The dough will probably curl up and make fun little shapes, but that’s ok!

Baking Magic Churro Bites

PLEASE BE REALLY CAREFUL HERE. The oil is so hot and will bubble quite violently once the mix is in, so please mind your hands, and keep any children well away while you’re doing this.

The bites will start off at the bottom of the pan and float to the top after a little while. Once they’re brown and crisping up nicely, flip them over using tongs to give them an even fry. Once cooked, lift out using a slotted spoon or tongs, let the excess oil drip off for a second or two then pop onto your tray of sugar. Repeat the cooking in small batches of two of three bites.

Baking Magic Churro Bites

The churros will actually cool pretty quickly, so you can serve them almost immediately, but if not then let them cool completely before storing in an airtight container, and enjoy for days, yay!

What’s your favourite park treat?

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Baking Magic – Mickey Steamed Buns

With looking forward to my trips to Shanghai and Hong Kong Disneylands, it seems a little crazy that its almost been a year since I visited Tokyo!

Tokyo Disneyland was the most unique experience, and I would thoroughly recommend a trip if you get the chance – I’m dying to go back already! – and one of the many unique features of the parks was definitely the food. Forget corn dogs and fries, the cuisine is almost entirely suited to the Japanese culture, and we didn’t have a single bad meal there!

While you may not be in the Western parks, there are a couple of burger options for you, but before you go searching for a cheeseburger, even these have an adorable Japanese twist: steamed buns, and a touch of Disney magic! Today, I’m re-creating the most internet famous of these..


These buns are available at Tomorrowland Terrace in Tokyo Disneyland park, but other variations include a Donald equivalent in Toon Town, and a seashell bun in Calypso Kitchen in Tokyo DisneySea, and now I’m so excited that I can make my own!

Being totally clueless on where to even start, I stuck pretty close to the steamed bao bun recipe on BBC Good Food:

  • Mix 525g plain flour with 1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar and 1/2 tsp salt in a large bowl
  • Dissolve 1 tsp fast-action dried yeast and a pinch of salt in 1 tbsp warm water, then add to the dry mix with 50 ml milk, 200 ml water, 1 tbsp sunflower (I used olive) oil and 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar and mix into a dough, using either your hands or a dough hook attachment on a food mixer < so much easier than your hands! Knead for 10-15 minutes
  • Put the dough into a lightly oiled dough and cover with a damp cloth, then leave for 2 hours to rise. It should double in size, but don’t worry too much if it doesn’t!
  • Tip it out onto a floured work surface and flatten it out, then sprinkle 1 tsp baking powder over it and knead for 5 minutes.

This is where I deviated a little from the method of the recipe.

  • Roll out the dough until its about 1cm thick. I found this easier by cutting the dough in half and doing one half at a time!

Mickey steamed buns

  • Using a big flower shaped cutter, preferably a five petal design, cut out shapes from the dough. Using your hands, stretch these out slightly, dab with a bit of oil and fold them over a chopstick so that three of the petals are on top (see that Mickey hand shape?) and repeat with all the dough.
  • Cover the buns with a clean tea towel or oiled cling film, then leave somewhere warm to prove for 1 hr 30 mins.
  • The buns should double in size, but again, don’t worry about this too much – mine didn’t!

Mickey steamed buns

  • Before cooking, use black food colouring and a paintbrush or toothpick to add Mickey’s glove markings!
  • Cook the buns in a steamer for 8 minutes, then unfold, fill and close back up!

Mickey Steamed Buns

The buns are best served still warm, but still delicious once cooled! I personally recommend filling with pulled pork or teryaki chicken!

Love the look of these? Have a look at my favourite crazy Tokyo foods!

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Friday Favourite Five – Disneyland Paris Restaurants

Today I’m sharing five of my favourite places to eat in Disneyland Paris! There’s a mixture of table and counter service, all of which serve some incredibly delicious food, because what is a Disney trip without way too much food?

Bistrot Chez Remy

1. Blue Lagoon

I love everything about Blue Lagoon: the setting, the food, the ambience.. Pirates of the Caribbean is always one of my favourite rides and I love that Disneyland Paris has a restaurant inside it like there is in Disneyland California, and the food is SO GOOD!

2. Bistrot Chez Remy

This is the absolute cutest restaurant ever. It really feels like you’ve been transported into Ratatouille, with every detail of the decor being so well thought out!

3. Walt’s

There is so much to love about Walt’s. Firstly, you’re on Main Street USA and if you’re sat by a window you can watch the world go by below you, and even catch the parades if you time it right! I also adore the decor; each room is themed to a different land of the park, but in such a classic way that its not glaringly obvious, but the little details really make it! Oh, and the food is to die for!

4. Earl of Sandwich

Ok, so this is in Disney Village and isn’t specifically a Disney restaurant, but OH SO GOOD

5. Hakuna Matata

We all love chicken nuggets, right? For a counter service restaurant, its a great size and there’s always seating available, and I love that there are healthy options available – even if I don’t always choose them!

Where are your favourite places to eat in Disneyland Paris?

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The Skinny Kitchen

You know when a place is really hyped up and you worry that it won’t live up to the expectations?

Well that was me with The Skinny Kitchen. I’d made three attempts to eat there before I was actually successful due to it being so busy, so when we finally managed to squeeze ourselves in for lunch, I was praying that it was worth the amount time I’d spent hoping to eat there!

The Skinny Kitchen Bournemouth

The Skinny Kitchen originated in Ibiza, and as the name suggests, is all about providing clean, healthy and delicious food; eating and feeling great about it. The menu ranges from protein shakes and smoothies to pancakes to burgers, with all the nutritional information carefully calculated, and has its own key to highlight dishes that low carb, GF, veggie friendly and vegan friendly to help customers make an informed decision about their meal.

But you want to know what I thought about the place, right?

The Skinny Kitchen Bournemouth

The Bournemouth restaurant is actually pretty small – part of why its always packed! – but is fairly minimalist in design so it doesn’t feel crowded. I loved the lighting features, including the neon sign ‘Pancakes, Weights & Protein Shakes’ and the natural wood effect tables pleased the blogger in me so much!

So I ordered the Pumpin Iron protein bowl; just reading the contents from the menu made me happy so I couldn’t resist – so many of my favourite foods in one dish! To save myself for the food, I just asked for tap water, which came with a lemon slice, but Jess had the Super Skin smoothie which looked amazing; shame I’m not an avocado fan! The wait for the food was torture because I was so excited, and I worried that because it was busy that we’d have to wait some time, but it soon arrived and I can honestly say I squealed a little – such a pretty bowl of food!

The Skinny Kitchen Bournemouth Pumpin Iron

Photos taken, and it was time to dive in, and oh my gosh.. All that over-hype and anticipation disappeared, and instead I just got to enjoy possibly my favourite dish of food ever (once I’d ditched the tomatoes onto Jess’s plate). I feel like I’m gushing but it was all just perfect, from the chicken to the sweet potato cake and pesto dressing, and can you believe its only 260 calories, and under £10?!

The Skinny Kitchen Bournemouth

The staff were also so lovely and friendly, which always goes a long way for me, and the whole experience has had me totally overlooking the three failed attempts! I can’t wait to go back and try more of the incredible sounding food on the menu!

Bring on the protein pancakes!

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Baking Magic – The Grey Stuff

If you’re in the know on Walt Disney World secrets, you’ll know that if you dine at Be Our Guest, you can order the infamous Grey Stuff from the song itself.

Photo courtesy of Amy from http://www.paintpotted.co.uk

You also might know that there’s already a whole bunch of copycat recipes for it on the internet, but if, like me, you’ve read them all, you’ll notice that a) they’re pretty much all exactly the same and b) they all involve ‘instant vanilla pudding mix’ which is prevalent in the US, but something that we don’t really have here in the UK, so this is where this recipe has come from today; a UK friendly, real ingredient version!

The Grey Stuff Recipe

1. Melt 175g white chocolate in a bowl over hot water, or in the microwave. While its melting, crush up 4-5 oreo cookies into a fine powdery crumb, then stir half of this into the melted chocolate. Pour this into a glass bowl and set aside.

The Grey Stuff Recipe

2. In another glass bowl, whisk 2 egg whites until they’re stiff, and fold this into the chocolate mix with a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Be fairly gentle so as not to beat out all the air!

The Grey Stuff Recipe

3. Whisk 225ml double or whipping cream until fluffy and firm, then fold this into the mix and add the remaining oreo crumbs in. Looking pretty grey-t, right? (I’m hilarious)

The Grey Stuff Recipe

4. Put the mix into the fridge for about an hour to set, then scoop into a piping bag with a wide star nozzle, and pipe out onto your serving plates. Once you’re happy, get the plates back into the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

The Grey Stuff Recipe

Try it, it’s delicious!

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Baking Magic – Mac and Cheese Bread Cones

THIS IS THE MOST EXCITING BAKING MAGIC POST FOR ME

Bacon Mac and Cheese Cone

If you’re not lucky enough to have tasted the glory that is a bacon mac and cheese bread cone from Disneyland’s Cozy Cone Motel, then you’re in for a real treat today. If you have, then I bring you the amazing news that you can make them at home!

Ready?

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Ok, for the cones you’re gonna need the ready-roll croissant dough that you can get from most supermarkets (one roll will make 4-5 cones), and a load of tin foil. Roll out the dough onto greaseproof paper, and using a knife or pizza cutter, cut it into strips. Pre-heat your oven to 180C

Scrunch up your foil into a cone shape, then wrap it in another layer of foil to give a smooth outer finish, then spray it with cooking oil. Take your first strip of dough, and working from the bottom of the cone, start to wrap it round and round, with a slight overlap with each layer, and keep adding strips until you’re happy with the size.

Grease a baking tray, and pop the cones on their side on the tray. Bake for 5 minutes, then turn the cone and bake for another five. Once nice and golden brown, place the cones onto a cooling rack and let them cool before removing the foil support from the middle.

Croissant cones

Ta-dah! You can make these a day in advance and keep them in a sealed container.

If you have a favourite mac and cheese recipe, whip up a batch, load your cone and sprinkle with some bacon chunks, and you’re all done! If not, here’s my favourite:

  • Cook 400g macaroni normally and drain.
  • Melt 50g butter in a saucepan, and gradually add in 50g flour until a thick paste forms.
  • Whisk in 250ml milk and be sure to beat out any lumps, then add 250g grated cheddar/mozzarella – if you’re gonna use mozzarella, mix it with cheddar otherwise its gonna be crazy stringy – and let it melt in.
  • Stir in 50g cream cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper, then add your drained pasta to your cheesy concoction.

Let your mac and cheese cool a little before loading up your cone, then top with bacon bits and devour in the sunshine!

Bacon Mac and Cheese cone

Have you visited the Cozy Cone?

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Baking Magic – Hunny Pot Candy Apples

I am always amazed with the candy apples you can buy in the Disney parks, and I love watching the cast members making them, so when I tried my hand at them at the beginning with last year with my Candy Poison Apples, I was so happy to find how easy they were, and decided to bring them back in this new series!

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Ok, so you’re gonna need: 12-15 medium sized green apples, 5 cups caster sugar, 1 cup water, white and yellow food colouring (optional), 300g milk chocolate and orange coloured chocolate or candy melts.

Equipment wise, you’ll need a candy thermometer, a saucepan and lollipop sticks

1. Mix together the sugar and water in a saucepan, and start to heat. Pop in the candy thermometer and let it bubble away – it’s got to reach 150C before its ready.

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2. While your sugar mix is cooking away, clean and de-stem the apples and push the lollipop sticks into the tops so they’re firmly in place.

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3. When you’re sugar is close to temperature, add the white food colouring to make the mix more opaque, then add yellow to give it a golden honey colour.

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4. Once it hits 150C, turn off the heat and remove the thermometer. Working quickly but carefully – this mix is HOT, please keep children away – dip the apples into the liquid sugar and swirl around to give it a good coating, then place them onto greaseproof paper. Its going to set hard pretty quickly, so if you’ve still got sugar left over once you’ve coated all your apples, pour it out into a little puddle on greaseproof paper and get your saucepan soaking in hot water to save yourself a tough cleaning job!

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5. Melt down the milk chocolate, then you can either dunk the apples or spoon the chocolate over them, and give them a little shake to get off the excess, then pop them in the fridge for a little while.

6. Once the chocolate has set, take them out of the fridge – otherwise the candy gets super sticky – and melt down the orange chocolate/candy melts. Pour this into a piping bag and get misspelling the word honey – otherwise Pooh might not know what it is!

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What’s your favourite candy apple design?

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Baking Magic – Mickey Cake Balls

I was gonna start off this post by saying its a great way to use up leftover cake, but seriously, who ever has leftover cake? Like, is that even a thing?

So you might need to bake a cake in preparation for this; I think its a pretty good excuse. Personally, whenever I make a cake and I need to cut it down so its level, my offcuts are always destined for cake pop mix, saves waste! As well as pop mix, all you need is candy melts in black and red, and you’re good to go!

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Now you will find making these cute little Mickeys SO much easier to make if you use traditional cake pop mix, rather than just baking cakes using a ‘cake pop’ mould. Never made it before? Its the easiest thing: crumble up cake into a fine crumb, then mix with buttercream until it combines into a semi-sticky, mouldable dough of deliciousness.

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Ok, so get rolling the dough into little balls, place onto greaseproof paper and get them into the fridge to chill nicely while you start melting down your Candy Melts, starting with black. I recommend melting the buttons down with a splash of oil (I use a lump of Trex) to give it a better consistency and shine.

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Once you’re happy with the consistency, take the balls out of the fridge, and dip the top of the balls into the candy so it covers about half. Place the half dipped balls, dipped side up, back onto your greaseproof paper, then use two more candy buttons to create Mickey ears – do this one at a time, otherwise the candy could harden before you get the ears in!

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Back into the fridge with the balls, and onto melting the red candy. I always melt my candy on a double boiler rather than a microwave so that I can keep the mix warm while I’m working with it, but its probably 5x quicker to microwave them – just preference I guess! Once melted, grab onto those nicely hardened Mickey ears and dip the remaining half of the cake ball into the red to create Mickey’s trousers. At this point, you could pop the balls onto sticks and let them cool standing up, but I like to smush them back onto the greaseproof paper to make little feet!

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You could even go the extra mile and use a bit of white or yellow to add buttons or shoe details if you were really trying to impress!

Who’s the leader of the pack who’s made for you and me? M-I-C-K-E-Y-M-O-U-S-E

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Baking Magic – Marshmallow Pop Treats

Don’t you just hate it when you’ve spent so much time in the parks eating your favourite treats, only to come home and live without them? Yep, me too 😦

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BUT this series is about bringing some of your park favourites to life in your everyday kitchen, and today is a combination of two of my favourite things: marshmallows and caramel! Marshmallow pops are available in so many designs and flavours in a bunch of locations in the parks, and today I’m gonna share how easy they are to create!

Ingredients wise, you’ll need: regular sized marshmallows, classic toffee sweets, condensed milk, chocolate/candy melts and whatever kind of sprinkles and sweetie decorations you like.

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1. First up, you need to melt down your toffees. I seriously recommend you do this in a metal bowl over boiling water – it’ll take a while, but will save you a burnt disaster! It’ll basically become one huge toffee lump, which while delicious, would be a nightmare to work with, so I add condensed milk to smooth it down; about 3tbsp for every 20 toffee sweets.

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2. While your toffee is melting into a caramel goop, get sticking your marshmallows onto whatever you fancy: lollipop sticks, straws, etc.. Squeeze them nice and close together into a column of squishy goodness.

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3. Once you’re happy with the consistency of your caramel, using a rubber spatula, scoop and smooth it all over the marshmallows. You can try and dip them, but may find they get stuck.. Give each stick a twirl to cool it off a little – it’ll dry quite quickly – then place onto greaseproof paper or tin foil, and get them into the fridge for half an hour or so.

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4. While the pops cool down, you can start to prepare your decorations. If you want colourful pops, I recommend Wilton Candy Melts as they’re really easy to work with – just melt down and mix with a little bit of vegetable oil to give it a shine – and you can also get different flavours (peanut butter!!!). Now you can let your imagination go wild; recreating your favourite designs from the parks or imagineering your own spectacular creations – just be sure to have fun with it!

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5. Once you’re done decorating, get the pops back into the fridge to fully cool and set, and voila!

What’s your favourite Disney park treat?

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Baking Magic – Lost Princess Loaf Cake

I’M SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS SERIES!

Something I don’t talk about on my blog very much is that while I’m not busy blogging away, I have my own cake business, and there’s nothing I love more than baking and developing new recipes. Something I talk about almost every day on the blog is how much I love Disney, so this series is sharing my two great loves in order to create some food magic by recreating some Disney park favourites, and also sharing some fun Disney-inspired baking creations! Are you as excited as I am for this?!

Today I’m making one of my favourite basic-but-impressive cakes – the hidden centre loaf cake! You might have seen my Mickey Mouse one a while back, but today I’m taking inspiration from my favourite girl Punz as it seems so fitting!

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You’re gonna need: 250g butter (today I’m using dairy free!), 250g sugar, 5 eggs, 250g self-raising flour and vanilla extract, as well as some food colouring (I used yellow, its totally your choice though), a Swiss roll tin, a standard loaf tin, a crown cookie cutter and any icing or decoration of your choosing!

You’re also gonna want to preheat your oven to 180°C

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1. First up, mix together 150g of the butter and sugar, beat in 3 of the eggs and a splash of vanilla, then stir in the flour. Once you’re happy with it, add your food colouring – I would always recommend a professional gel or paste colouring, either Wilton or Sugarflair, because you get much better colours with minimal colourant added! Line your swiss roll tin with greaseproof paper, and spread this mix out across it – its gonna look pretty thin, but its gonna rise up nicely in the oven. Pop it in for 10 minutes, then let it cool on a cooling rack.

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2. Once cooled, take your cookie cutter and go to town, but be sure to get as many crowns out as you can.

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3. Mix together your remaining ingredients in the same way as Step 1, just no more food colouring this time! Its up to you whether you want to grease or line your loaf tin, or even use loaf liners, but do that now, then pour about half of this new cake mix into the bottom and spread it out evenly.

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4. Now take those pretty little crowns and line them up in the tin; squish them together nicely, but don’t overpack – if you’ve got some crowns leftover then lucky you!

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5. Pour your remaining mix over the top of the crown-sausage and spread it out – again, don’t worry if it looks thin or your crowns are poking up a little, it’ll be fine! Back in the oven with the cake, for about 20-25 minutes, then let it cool in the tin a little before turning it out onto a cooling rack.

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6. Now its time to get creative! Decorate your cake however you wish (you can use this as an opportunity to cover up any crowns that are peaking out), and then watch your friends faces as you slice to reveal the secret within..

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Who’s your favourite Disney princess?

Friday Favourite Five: Tastes of Christmas

Aside from the joy of giving and all that jazz, Christmas is about stuffing yourself with food until you feel like you’re going to burst, then falling asleep, waking up the next morning and doing it all over again!

With that in mind, here are the foods that always bring me back to festive memories:

1. Orange and Lemon Slices

Yep, those little jelly sweets that you can probably get all year round, but in our house they’re Christmas tradition – as is fighting over the middle bit!

2. Costa hot chocolate

Yes, I’m gutted that the seasonal flavours aren’t as good this year, but a plain old Costa hot chocolate is still a perfect treat on cold days out Christmas shopping.

3. After Eights

I’m not a dark chocolate person in the slightest, but can anyone ever resist an After Eight at this time of year? PS they normally taste better before 8pm.

4. Peppermint everything

Whether its my peppermint Eos balm, or sucking on a candy cane, peppermint is a Christmas staple!

5. Buck’s Fizz!

Now I’m really not big on champagne, or orange juice really for that matter, but you can’t start a Christmas party, or Christmas morning, without a glass of this bubbly stuff!

What are your favourite Christmas treats?

xoxo

Pink Rice Krispie Bites

Taking more inspiration from the lovely Marie, I’ve made pink and white Rice Krispie treats!

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These are super easy to make, and make great snacks for lunch boxes.

You’ll need:

Rice Krispies, marshmallows, butter, pink food colouring, white chocolate chips, flavouring oil (optional).

1. Chuck your marshmallows into a pan, add a knob of butter and melt it all down into a nice sticky mush.

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2. Add the pink food colouring, and any flavouring if you choose. I wanted mine to me white chocolate and raspberry, so I added raspberry oil.

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3. Pour in your Rice Krispies; as many as you like really, personal preference! Stir in any additional goodies you might like: mini marshmallows, chocolate chips etc.

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4. Scoop the now very sticky mix into a tray lined with greaseproof paper, smooth it down and pop it into the fridge to set.

5. Slice up and enjoy!

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These bad boys can be stored in a sealed container (best kept in the fridge to avoid stickiness) or you can wrap them individually in greaseproof paper or foil ready to pop in lunch boxes!

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Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Cupcakes

I’m afraid to say that DIY Wednesday this week was a bit of a disaster, so I’ll be posting a make-up one at a later date! I’ve also been really busy with an upcoming project, so today’s food post is a little on the lazy side..

When I think of Alice in Wonderland, the first thing that really springs to mind is the Mad Hatter’s tea party, and the whimsy that goes along with it. Now personally, a tea party isn’t proper without cake, so here are my top tips for wonderfully wacky tea party cupcakes, featuring some cupcakes and a cake I made a little while back!

1. Don’t be afraid of colour

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Bright blue, pinks, oranges and greens aren’t your everyday colours, but I bet they’ll be everyone’s favourites!

2. Wonky is absolutely fine

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Don’t worry about precision even cakes, topsy turvy is the new black!

3. Throw off the tastebuds

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Mix up flavours and colours eg. pink is lemon, green is strawberry etc.

4. Its all in the details

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It’ll take a bit more time, but its worth it!

5. Display them beautifully

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Even the simplest cakes look incredible on the right stand.

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Top Disney Cakes

So I think this is the first Foodie Thursday I’ve actually managed, wahey! That being said though, its a slight cheat post as last week I managed to fall up some stairs (yes, UP the stairs..) at work and now my wrist is in a temporary cast as I wait t0 find out if clumsy old me actually broke it!

And while a broken wrist makes for a poor blogger, that’s not the only part of my life is makes more difficult..

What you may not know about me is that I am fortunate enough to be blessed with an incredible day job as a cake decorator, so with a right hand out of order, I’m feeling a little blue.. So I thought I’d share my favourite Disney themed cakes with you!

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1. R2D2

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2. Alice in Wonderland

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3.

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4. Up

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5. Toy Story

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6. Tangled

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7. Olaf’s beach

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8. Mad hatter tea party cupcakes

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9. 360° Disney Dreams (full view here)

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All cakes made by yours truly, more info and pictures of my cakes can be found on http://www.facebook.com/LottiesCupcakesBournemouth

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DIY Hidden Mickey Loaf Cake

Not everyone is aware of the hidden Mickey, which is part of the beauty of it really.

But the clever folks over at Disney HQ have managed to sneak thousands of the little guys into pretty much every aspect of Disney life; you can find them all over the Disney parks and snuck into the films in the strangest of places.

And while artsy stuff isn’t my strong point, cake is. So I made this:

 

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Hidden Mickey cake!

And you can do it to 🙂

You will need:

250g butter, 250g caster sugar, 5 eggs, 30g cocoa powder, 220g self raising flour, vanilla extract and your favourite frosting

a loaf tin and a swiss roll tin, both greased and lined with baking paper

a mickey mouse shaped cookie cutter

an oven preheated to 180C

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First things first, cream together 150g butter, 150g caster sugar, then beat in 3 eggs. Stir together the 30g cocoa powder and 120g self-raising flour and whisk into the mix. Boom, chocolate cake batter!

Pour this into your pre-prepared swiss roll tin, and spread to the edges using a spatula, making sure it is smooth all over.

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If you don’t own a swiss roll tin, you can always bake a chocolate cake in a regular cake tin, it just may need leveling off before the next step.

Bake for 10 mins until the cake springs back when lightly poked 🙂

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Once cooled, take your Mickey cutter and go to town on it!

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Depending on the thickness of your cake, you may find you get enough Mickeys out of it for a second loaf.

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Now for the slightly trickier bit.. Line up your Mickeys in the centre of your prepared loaf tin so that they are tightly packed and less likely to slip out of place.

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You’re aiming for a sort of Mickey sausage!

Then cream together the remaining 100g butter, 100g sugar, a tsp or so of vanilla extract and 2 eggs, and mix in the 100g self-raising flour to make the surrounding batter.

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Slowly pour the mix over the Mickeys and spread evenly across the tin. You’ll probably find the Mickey ears are a little taller than the rest, but this will be fine once the cake has risen!

Bake for approx. 20 mins, until the cake springs bake when touched or a skewer inserted down the sides comes out clean.

Once cooled decorate as you wish 🙂 I always like to decorate my hidden surprise cakes so they hint at the centre, but don’t give it away just yet!

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When the time comes.. Slice!

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And ta-da!

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A Mickey for everyone 🙂

Stay tuned for the matching cupcakes!

180 Days to Go!

With 180 days to go til our trip, any seasoned Disney World tripper knows it’s ADR time!

‘What’s an ADR?’ I hear you ask. Well at certain restaurants in Disney World, it’s fairly crucial you make Advanced Dining Reservations, and these can be made up to 180 days before your trip.

Now while these shouldn’t be wasted, I definitely wouldn’t recommend overdoing it for a few reasons.

Firstly, while I’m a big fan of planning and timetables, you don’t want to be tied down to meal commitments, especially when enjoying yourself in the parks. This does depend on your holiday though – if you’re only spending a short time at Disney and want to get everything done, or you’re travelling with small children who don’t like long waits, timetabling your trip can be a real godsend (there are some fab websites designed specifically to produce timetables for you that minimise your wait times on rides), and if that’s how you want to go then daily ADRs could work in your favour. If, like me however, you’re going to be in the happiest place on Earth for a good length of time (2 weeks in my case!), time isn’t of the essence – you’re on holiday, you can afford to chill out a little, eat when you feel like it and not worry about having to wait a little while for a table.

My second reason for not going nuts with ADRs is that you have to give credit card details in order to place a reservation, and depending on the restaurant, if you don’t show up you may be charged. You can cancel any ADRs without being charged until 11.59pm Eastern Time on the night before you’re arrival, but any later than that may result in your credit card being billed. Although this may not seem like such a big deal, you’ll be on time for your meal no problem, you never know if you’ll be trapped in the queue for a broken down ride, or caught up in parade traffic, and if you have ADRs every night, you increase the risk of losing money.

All this considered though, you shouldn’t waste the opportunities for fabulous meals your family will remember forever, so plan carefully. So here’s how to play it:

1. Decide what restaurants you really want to go to – www.disneyfoodblog.com has a full list of all the places to eat at Walt Disney World, with reviews, menus and dining advice for each. There are hundreds, but the majority of them are counter service or snack vendors which don’t require reservations. Flick through them all, and make a note of those that require reservations.

2. Think about what meal you want to book for – if you want to watch a parade on a certain night, you may decide to make lunchtime reservations so that in the evening you can grab a snack and make your way to a prime viewing spot.

3. Where will you be?- If you want to go to a certain park on a certain day, maybe if there are Extra Magic Hours, then booking lunch in another park could make you lose hours from your day by travelling between parks.

4. Think kids first – if your little ones are used to having their meals at specific times, or having a big lunch/dinner, plan to what they’re used to most. The last thing you need is over-tired, over-excited children upset because they’ve missed their main meal of the day.

5. Consider your dining plan – if you have the Quick-Service dining plan, you’ll be paying extra for all of your Table-Service meals, and therefore you might not want to go too crazy with bookings; it could end up being more expensive than upgrading your dining plan.

6. Friends and family experiences – it may be, like us, that someone you know has recently come back from their trip. Find out what they did, what they thought and what they recommend; our friends sung great praises of Coral Reef (Epcot) which is somewhere I hadn’t considered before.

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Now I’ve put great thought into our ADRs. There are plenty of restaurants I’d like to visit, but overall I’m not fussed about when specifically we go to them. There are, however a few must-dos..

1. Crystal Palace – You can book for breakfast at Crystal Palace before the Magic Kingdom opens, meaning first access to the park (you can get some great empty park photos and avoid the early queues). Book this for your first proper morning at Disney World (we arrive at Disney late afternoon/early evening, so won’t be venturing into the park straight away due to jet-lag) so that on your first steps into the Magic Kingdom – especially if you’re a first-timer – are completely clear, and you can enjoy the park in all its glory before the masses descend. My girls who have never been to Disney World before will love this!

2. Chef Mickey’s – I last visited Disney World when I was 5, so most memories are fairly foggy, but one of my few clearer memories is Chef Mickey’s. Mickey, Minnie and the gang come to the tables, pose for photos, and perform the famous napkin dance!

3. Spirit of Aloha Polynesian Luau – probably the best dinner show at Disney.

4. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall – located in Norway at Epcot, if travelling with little girls who love the princesses, this is one for you. Not only do all the princesses hang out here, but of all the princess meals in Disney World, this is the best value for money.

5. Sci-Fi Dine In – set up like an old fashioned drive-in movie theatre, you eat your dinner in car booths while classic Disney plays on the big screen.

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I have a load of dining myths to test on our trip, so we’ll be eating at all of these plus many more, but for now.. Get booking!

WDW Dining Plans for Beginners

With our 180 day countdown fast approaching, we’re starting to consider our dining plan options for our trip.

Dining plans are essentially your meal tickets: depending on what you have, you can get certain meals, simple.

Now you don’t have to have a dining plan. Some people prefer to just pay for all their meals as and when, it all depends on your budget (and appetite!).

Before I get into the nitty-gritty, here are some basics for Disney beginners:

1. There are two types of meals, Quick-Service (QS) and Table Service (TS). Quick Service, aka Counter Service, is what it is says on the label: anywhere where you serve yourself or order fast-food style, whereas Table Service is anywhere with a proper restaurant format: waiters take your order etc.

2. ‘Snacks’ can be found everywhere, and cover a tonne of things from coffee to ice-cream to popcorn to cupcakes.

3. Credits rollover – if you don’t use your snack credit one day, get two the next day! Some TS restaurants require 2 TS credits, so depending on your dining plan, you may skip a big meal one day to save your credits, or if like us you’re planning on taking a day or two out of the park, the credits from those days can be used later in your stay.

4. At breakfast, QS credits cover an entree and a non-alcoholic beverage, and TS credits give you an entree and non-alcoholic beverage OR a buffet (if available)

5. For lunch or dinner, QS credits get you and entree, a dessert and a non-alcoholic drink, and TS credits cover an entree, dessert and non-alcoholic drink OR a buffet (if available)

6. Kids aged 3-9 have to order kids meals, but there is nothing to stop anyone over 10 ordering a kids meal.

7. Children under 3 are not covered by Dining Plans, but they can share from an adult meal at no additional cost, or order their own meal for the regular price.

8. Depending on which resort you stay at, you can have in-room dining or pizza delivery!

9. At any counter service restaurant you can ask for a cup of ice water for no charge.

10. Like a particular meal? You can ask for the recipe!

11. To be in with the best chances of having the best meals, make sure you make ADRs (Advanced Dining Reservations).

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There are 3 main dining plans – Quick Service Dining Plan, Disney Dining Plan and Deluxe Dining Plan.

Quick-Service:

2 x Q-S meal credits, 1 x Snack Credit and 1 Refillable Resort mug per person per day

Disney Dining:

1 x Q-S meal credit, 1 x T-S meal credit, 1 x Snack Credit and 1 Refillable Resort mug per person per day

Deluxe Dining:

3 x T-S meal credits, 2 x Snack Credits and 1 Refillable Resort mug per person per day.

When choosing a dining plan, think about whether or not you’ll save money by upgrading. If you are on the Quick Service dining plan, but plan to pay for a TS meal daily, it may be cheaper for you to move to the Disney Dining plan. Alternatively, if you fork out for Deluxe Dining but your kids prefer to eat counter service, you might find you’ve wasted a lot of money on food you didn’t have. Visit the Disney World Official website to find menus and prices, work out what you might end up spending, then compare it to what your considered dining plan might cost. Disney Food Blog have a list of all the places to eat in the parks, along with menus, reviews, and details of what dining plans they accept.

For our party, we’ll be using the Disney Dining Plan. This gives us the option of a table-service meal everyday, and as we’ll be spending a few days out of the park, the rollover credits give us the opportunity to have some of the better meals that require two credits.

My best piece of advice to you is to do your research – it’s fun, I promise! 🙂

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DIY Mickey Pizza

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Now this is a saying I live by, and pizza is no exception.

There is, however, a major lack of Mickey Mouse shaped pizza in local supermarkets, so I thought why not combine a love of Mickey-shaped grub with a love of cooking and make it even more fun by getting the girls involved!

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You will need:

Pizza bases (homemade or store-bought) – 2 small and one medium/large

Pizza toppings – tomato sauce, cheese, ham, pepperoni, anything you fancy!

Mickey Mouse cookie cutter

Large baking tray

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Depending on just how Mickey-themed you’re feeling, use the cookie cutter to make shapes from your chosen toppings.

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With 3 girls, sharing the shape of Mickey was relatively easy (one for each circle). Once the basic tomato base is down, let the kids go nuts with their own toppings.

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And then arrange the pizzas on the baking tray! If you don’t have a large enough tray, you can always bake each mini pizza separately and save arranging the shape before serving.

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Bake as required (depends on your pizza base), around 10-15 mins in a medium oven.

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And voila! Quick, easy, fun and delicious, and a fab way to keep that Disney excitement going!

Why not save this for the day before you leave? 🙂