Tuesday, 17 September 2013

London - Cotswolds - Paris

Since my husband and I got married more than a year ago we were yet to take a proper honeymoon or holiday outside of the UAE together. As a ex-flight attendant, I have done more than my fair share of flying, traveling and experiencing a cultural array of cities however I have been longing to do a trip with Osama since the day we met!

This little trip came about when we were invited to a friends wedding in London. Taking full advantage of UK's close European neighbors, we happily decided to also visit Paris whilst away. Although I have been to Paris twice, there is still so much to explore and experience. As Audrey Hepburn once stated "Paris is always a good idea.". I'm sure most women would agree!

We have also planned a 3 day trip to the picturesque English countryside, The Coltswolds. One of the nights away, we are being treated to a night under the stars in a Bamboo Yurt, with our own little piece of English countryside thanks to our sweet friends who gifted us with the Canopy and Stars experience!

We plan to do a lot shopping in London, sightseeing in The Cotswolds and a lot of eating in Paris! I have been researching the best macaroons, hot chocolate, bread and cheese in Paris and have found too many places to try. Lets hope I don't return 10 kilos heavier!

I hope to be back with many stories and beautiful photos to share with you all!

Melanie xo

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Rumless Rum Balls - A taste of childhood

One of my favourite things to come home to after school was my Mum's Rum Balls (minus the rum). They would quickly disappear and my sisters and I would sneak as many as possible into our greedy mouths while no one was watching. Mum would let us help her make them with the rule "Good cooks always clean up their mess." although, I do remember getting out of the washing up more than often!

Its a quick and easy recipe, with no baking needed. Also the crushing of the biscuits can at times be quite therapeutic! I'm sure this is an Australian classic and it must be in a CWA cookbook somewhere. The recipe I've listed below belongs to my mother, although each time I have made it myself, the taste is never the same. The most important thing is to mould with love and stir up some fun childhood memories!

Here is the recipe-

1 x 250g packet of Milk Arrowroot (Australia) biscuits or Tea Biscuits (rest of the world)
1 x 395g tin condensed milk
1 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 C cocoa
1 C desiccated coconut plus extra for coating
- Crush biscuits by hand using a wooden rolling pin or in a food processor, not too fine as you want some larger pieces in the balls.
- Over low heat, melt the butter and condensed milk together.
- In a large bowl, combine the biscuits, coconut and cocoa.
- Add condensed milk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir firmly to combine. Feel free to use your hands to bring mixture together completely. This will help to determine if you need extra butter if mixture is not completely sticking.
- Prepare extra coconut in a bowl for coating
- Using wet hands, roll mixture in tablespoon size balls, drop into the coconut and coat.
- Continue until all mixture has been used up, my batch made around 30 pieces.
- Refrigerate to cool.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Quest of the Best Banana Bread

photo: bbc.co.uk

Delicious and almost healthy, Banana Bread is something that always quickly disappears soon after coming out of the oven. The smell of baking Banana Bread draws everyone closer to the kitchen, eagerly awaiting the first taste.

So, what makes the perfect banana bread? For me, I prefer a loaf that is dense and full of banana-rey goodness, not too sweet and with a generous smear of butter. So, I am on the hunt for my ideal banana bread. 

The first recipe that I have chosen is from Food.com which had raving reviews. It was delicious to say the least and it was completely gone within 2 days. My only comment would be that use 4 medium size bananas and the riper the better. In this batch I used 4 large bananas that weren't as ripe as they should be and found it difficult to tell when the loaf was cooked through. 

The taste develops with age although I'm certain that chances are you will want to gobble it all up straight from the oven (beware of burnt fingers and crumbly slices!). Do as I do and add some slightly salted butter to your slice, it is truly divine! 

Here is the recipe - 


1/2 C butter
1/2 C castor sugar
1/2 C dark brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 bananas, mashed
1 1/2 C plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla 

- Preheat oven to 175C.
- Cream butter and sugar together
- Add eggs and banana & combine well
- Sift in flour, baking soda and salt into mixture, fold to combine.
- Add vanilla 
- Pour into greased and floured loaf pan
- Bake for 50 - 60 mins

Searching for the next banana bread recipe, watch this space!