Friday, 19 September 2014

Dreaming of Avonlea.


I've always appreciated a handmade dress. There's something undeniably lovely about wearing a garment you know has been made by hand, however I've even more appreciation for those who make them since becoming acquainted with a sewing machine myself! Dreaming of Avonlea make and sell delightful clothing that's perfect for ladies who love retro and vintage styles. I opted for this charming collared polka dot number, which I rightly suspected would be perfect for stomping around the city! They altered the dress to my measurements, so it fits like a glove. The neckline is so flattering, and the skirt falls to the ideal short-yet-demure length.

The last thing I wanted to do was drown the dress with unnecessary accessories, so I kept things simple with my adorable cat bag, little white socks, and trusty Dr Martens shoes that have made their annual reappearance for autumn/winter. Dr Martens are my favourite shoes to wear over the chillier months; not only are they 'sensible', but they keep my girlier outfits firmly grounded! Bath now has a Primark (cue mixed cheers and boos) which has been ideal for stocking up on cute socks, tights, and basic tops for the oncoming cold.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Lychee and Rose Religieuse.

Since it's pastry week, I decided to make one of my favourite treats - religieuse. Religieuse is a French pastry, comprised of two balls of choux pastry filled with crème pâtissière. Whilst I love the traditional recipe, I made crème pâtissière last week for my fraisier, so instead I filled these religieuse with rose flavoured chantilly cream, swirled with lychee puree. Rose and lychee are two of my favourite flavours, and they taste delicious with the fresh cream, light pastry and white chocolate topping.

It's my first week of GBBO since moving back up to Bath, and whilst I tried my hardest, things turned out a bit squiffy! It turns out the thermostat on our oven is broken, so it only has one temperature - hot. It's not the end of the world most of the time, but when dealing with delicate pastry it's far from ideal. I made three batches of choux pastry in total, and by the end I was sat on the floor staring mercilessly into the oven as it baked. The first two batches burned on the outside whilst still raw on the inside, however I tinkered with the oven a bit for the final batch and they cooked far more evenly, albeit a bit too brown on the bottom!

To make your own, make up a batch of choux pastry and pipe it evenly into large and small buns. When they come out of the oven, pierce the bottom to release steam and provide a hole for piping the filling. Whip a pot of whipping cream with icing sugar, vanilla extract and rose water to taste, until it stands in stiff peaks. Drain a tin of lychees, and blend well. Gently swirl the lychees through the cream.

Fill a piping bag with the cream, and carefully fill each of the buns, taking care not to overfill. For the topping, make up 120g of pouring fondant with icing sugar and water, then combine with 80g of melted white chocolate, adding a few drop of pink food colouring. Dip each of the buns into the fondant, and top the smaller ones as desired. Assemble the buns whilst still slightly damp, and decorate with white piping.