October 29, 2010

Friday Food - Brilliant Blondies

I've always been a fan of making brownies - I normally use the Nigella recipe which is totally delicious but I've never made blondies.  I don't think I really know what they were until my good friend Gemma bought me this fabulous cook book.

And they were totally worth it - They are white chocolate, pecan pieces of total yumminess!

So here's the recipe and I took some photos along the way so I hope you like them!

Blondie recipe courtesy of The Hummingbird Bakery cookbook (Published by Ryland Peters. )

150g white chocolate roughly chopped
125g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
200g plain flour
Pinch of salt
120g shelled pecan nuts , chopped

A 33x23x5cm baking tray lined with greaseproof paper


Preheat the oven to 170C (325F) or gas mark 3.

Put the chocolate and butter in a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the base of the bowl touch the water) Leave until melted and smooth.

Remove from the heat. Add the sugar, and stir until well incorporated. Add the eggs and vanilla extract, stirring briskly so you don't allow the eggs time to scramble. Don't worry if the mixture looks like it is starting to split.

Add the flour, salt and pecan nuts and stir until well incorporated and the nuts are evenly dispersed.

Spoon the mixture into the pre-prepared baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for 35-40mins or until golden brown and the centre is still soft. Leave to cool completely.

Note: Mine actually only took 25mins so make sure you check it regularly! 

And look how they turned out! They were totally yummy and disappeared in about 10 mins!

Happy Weekend all!

Rachie xo

October 28, 2010

Perfect Printables!

I found these adorable printable bunting cards over at The Green Gal and they include a free template to print them out!  How cool is that?

They would be perfect for a thank you card.

To quote Gabrielle "The four postcards of two designs fit on an A4 page so simply print out (on recycled card if possible), cut along the dotted lines, write a lovely message on the reverse and post to a friend. Snail mail – it still has a place in the world!"

Download them here

Hope you can brighten someones day with these!

Rachie xo

October 27, 2010

Time for a coffee...

I love the décor over at Ca'puccino at Westfield, London. Its sets such a cosy scene and I often go there with my friends for a late night latte after dinner.

Courtesy of http://www.kkretail.co.uk/

Courtesy of http://kimprint.wordpress.com/2010/02/
I am also in love with the stripy china and the books piled up giving it an almost old school industrial feel. The menus are like little notebooks too.- so cute!

Do you have a favourite café?  Would love to hear!
Rachie xo

October 26, 2010

A Halloween Wedding

I've got to say if anyone had ever told me that a Halloween inspired wedding would be stylish I would have thought them insane, however this Halloween wedding from Blue Moon Events over at The Sweetest Occasion shows how to do scary very chicly! With a palate of golden yellow, navy and silver as well as earthy outdoor materials, this wedding is a fresh take on the darker colours normally used at Halloween occasions.

This sweetie /children's table is so cute! The bags filled with treats really fit with the theme and that yellow against the white really pops! Such a gorgeous colour.

The escort cards displayed using apples just look so effective - and those streamer colours are stunning!

I'm a real fan of long tables at weddings as I love the way you can display the flowers as a runner going down the middle. The flower containers are beautiful too.

Some lovely inspiration here

Rachie xo

October 25, 2010

The Big Driveway Reveal

Hi everyone!

Hope you are ready for a good week.

Well the driveway is now pretty much finished, its taken a week which seemed really quick but we are super happy with the result - its such an improvement on the old one (which had been there for 75 years!)  We have used what's called imprinted concrete which means they basically stamp a pattern on the concrete so its pretty hard wearing - Hopefully it will last for another 75 years!

I'll be posting more pics when we have done a bit more gardening and got those borders in order. We'll also be chopping down the hedge to make it a bit neater too.

Rachie xo

October 22, 2010

Friday recipe - Caprese Salad

Yay! Its Friday and I'm ending the week with a recipe  that I made for my good friend Michael a couple of months ago - Michael was the first proper dinner party guest at our new house and we had a great time!

I actually cant remember where I found this recipe so I cant credit anyone but here it is...  Its super easy!

Ingredients (serves 4)
4 large buffalo mozarella balls
4 medium size vine tomatoes
Packet of Pancetta
Handful of Basil leaves
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea salt
Balsamic vingear
Black pepper

Wash your tomatoes but leave the stalks on and put them in a roasting dish. Wind the pancetta rashers around the tomatoes, then rub with sea salt and drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven for around 20 mins at 200C.

When done place on the plate with the mozarella and basil leaves, Season with salt and pepper, olive oil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.   Serve straight away!

Happy Weekend All !
Rachie xo

October 21, 2010

Cute styling ideas for your table...

I love hosting dinner parties, but one of the most fun things about it for me is decorating the table. I always try and think of a colour theme and use existing vases, tea light holders from around the house to decorate, and make sure I have some fresh flowers in.  Our table is however quite small and I'm looking forward to getting a bigger one so I can make more of a statement!

I go back to this book time and time again, My bestie Rosie had it when I went to visit her in Australia and I knew when I got home I had to get one for myself too...

Courtesy of Harper Collins Publishing via Amazon
  The best thing about this book is the styling ideas - not just centre pieces but also how to actually style the food. I've already done this antipasto plate (below) as a starter - its so easy and looks great.

Courtesy of Harper Collins Publishing
Old wine glasses of different heights and shapes make great vases. Group them together for a low tiered centre piece.

For a more formal meal make a places setting for each person using wooden pegs...

Courtesy of Harper Collins Publishing
After a BBQ or with seafood serve a finger bowl with a slice of lemon.

Egg cups make great vases for single blooms, group them together on a plate with a daisy or rose in each one, or put an egg cup in front of every place setting.

Courtesy of Harper Collins Publishing
Instead of cooking dessert, have some fun and serve DIY mocha. Give everyone a shot of espresso, a bowl of dark chocolate shavings, a cup of steamed milk and a spoon to they can add just the right amounts for their taste.

Give plain water a lift by delicately flavouring it - Place slices of green apple, mint leaves, or raspberries an hour before your guests are due to arrive so it will have just a hint of flavour.

Courtesy of Harper Collins Publishing
I hope I have given you some inspiring ideas.

Rachie xo

October 20, 2010

Stunning Stationery

I'm a big fan of stationery - like huge! I love sending cards and often hunt for days for the perfect one.

Courtesy of Fraser and Parsley
  I came across Fraser and Parsley a few months ago and their classic, simple designs really appealed to me. I recently purchased some personalised note paper as a gift for a friends 30th and she loved them!  What can be more decadent than having your own stationery? And they came beautifully wrapped too!

Courtesy of Fraser and Parsley
 Fraser and Parsley also do a whole range of stationery such as save the dates, thank you cards and birth announcements but I particularly love their bespoke gift tags which would be perfect for this years Christmas presents!

Courtesy of Fraser and Parsley

I'll be posting more stationery (including those I have made) in the coming weeks!
Rachie xo

October 19, 2010

We are renovating...

The best blogs for me are the ones that are personal so I thought I would share with you what is going on at Casa R&J at the moment.

When we bought this house a few months ago we always knew it was a bit ugly and the one thing we wanted to do was to repave the driveway. The house was built in 1935 and still has the original paving so a revamp was long overdue....

We're going for whats called Inprinted concrete which is a kind of grey cobblestone, No one else on the street has got it so its hard to say exactly what it will look like but I'm hoping we're going to like it

Here is our house before....

And here it is yesterday morning!

I'll post another pic when its all done !

And I also need to redo those hanging baskets - they are too high to water and so have died, I need to find some other more hardy plants to fill them with to get me through the winter!  I need to pick my mums brains...

Happy Tuesday!
Rachie xo

October 18, 2010

Stylish Soho

I often get inspiration from staying at different hotels and one of the most lovely and most stylish I have stayed in recent years is The Soho in London.

The Soho is part of The Firmdale chain of hotels and these hotels are my absolute favourite in terms of design, I love the contemporary English style and the designer Kit Kemp's use of bold colour and pattern.

Here are my absolute favourite rooms...

I love the white washed floor boards in this one.

The black and white wall paper against those stripy colours is just divine!

That fabric bedhead is just stunning.

We were lucky enough to stay in the pent house suite and I took these photos (below) The wall paper is so amazing and I love the hot pink - I'm thinking about how to incorporate this in my house!

Let me know your favourite hotels - would love to hear!
Rachie xo

October 15, 2010

Fabulous and Free!!

I have really enjoyed all about autumn week, I hope you have too and I'm ending it with these amazing printables I found over at one of my favourite blogs hostess with the mostess and best of all they are free!!

Courtesy of Hostess blog
The collection includes Fill-in Invitations, Napkin Rings/Vase Wraps, Place Cards, Square Favour Tags, Cupcake Toppers/Party Circles, Bottle Labels, Drink Tags, and Party Embellishments! Basically everything you need for your autumn party! Arent they just lovely? I think I might use these for a guy fawkes party in a few weeks!

You can download them from here; They are all in aid of Operation Give thanks so please do stop by the website and make a donation. Its a great cause.
I hope you have enjoyed autumn week - Thanks so much for posting your comments, I really appreciate each and every one.

Have a great weekend all!

Rachie xo

October 14, 2010

Recipe for Autumn week!

I want to try and post at least one recipe a week as I really enjoy cooking but I'll be sticking with easy ones as I'm not the best cook!

This Earl Grey hot chocolate is an interesting spin on an old favourite for those nights that are drawing in - doesn’t it look yummy? Get the recipe here.

Courtsey of Fisher and Paykel Our Kitchen
 And how about having a go at making these little marshmallow bones - perfect for Halloween!
Courtesy of Marthastewart.com
These heart marshmallows are super simple and look oh so sweet… Make them in advance and keep them in an air tight container as a cute touch serving drinks to guests. They would be so lovely as an accompaniment to hot chocolate or as a welcome drink/goodbye drink at your wedding…


Happy Thursday all!

Rachie xo

October 13, 2010

An Apple a Day...

I'm actually quite a fan of non flower centre pieces, its not that I don't like flowers it's just that when the garden is bare or I haven't had chance to get to the shops, fruit can be a cheap and cheerful alternative!

Here is my current display of apples shown here with my new mug from anthropologie and a home made lemon muffin. Unfortunately I wont be sharing the recipe as they went a bit wrong - I think I over mixed!! Oops!

Rachie xo

October 12, 2010

Bonfire bites...

I love dessert tables and when I found this amazing party over at Frilly Milly Events, it got me thinking how a dessert table could be transformed to cater for a whole event. I think this would be totally perfect for a bonfire or halloween party.

I'm especially loving the corn on the cob on sticks and the chip cones which would be so easy to do and the red gingham fabric backing really ties the whole theme together. Totally inspiring!

Trish from Frilly Milly events also has an etsy shop where you can buy her printables - they are really great so please pay her a visit.

Rachie xo