Bread week!

I love it that the wonderful Great British Bake Off season is back! As most of you probably know it was bread week this week.

To honour this momentous occasion I decided to make my favourite banana bread (can you even begin to imagine how good that tent smelt with all the scrumptious breads coming out the oven?!)

This banana bread is from my my preferred cook book of the moment; Hemsley Hemsley; The Art of Eating Well, which is a revelation on clean living (second to Deliciously Ella, see pervious post about that here!) I love the way it’s written and have very much enjoyed making lots of meals under their supervision.

I could go on and on about the wonders of this book, but for now…banana bread!

Hemsley

I was able to find all the ingredients in my local supermarket so there was nothing especially hard to find. It’s worth noting that, as part of their eat heathy ethos the Hemsley sisters often replace flour with ground almonds – much tastier!

banana

Firstly you need to mash the bananas and butter together with a fork then add all other ingredients, mix together then blend together until smooth. I used a hand blender and it worked really well.

Banana bread 1

The next step is to transfer it into a loaf tin with greaseproof paper lining.  I used two as suggested in the book, it makes it more supportive when you take it out of the tin.

banana bread 2

Pop it in the oven on 170°C/ Gas mark 5 for 1 – 1 and a 1/4 hours – it’s literally that easy!  Make sure you run a knife through the middle to make sure it’s cooked through.

When it’s ready it will be nice and golden brown, looks good enough to eat doesn’t it?!

Banana bread 3a

When cooled (or still when hot if you prefer) slice it up, make a quick cup of tea, kick back and enjoy!

I love having this as a snack to help me get through the afternoon. I’m hoping to share a lot more recipes from this marvellous book with you guys.  I wonder if there are any good deserts I can make for Bake Off next week?

In the meantime have a look at these ladies and their wonderful book Hemsley Hemsley; The Art of Eating Well

banana bread fin2

Happy reading and eating!

 

 

Tuesday’s Challenge!

OK so I’ve already made the assumption that everyone spends as much time on Pinterest as I do – too much time for anyone to spend on any website. Ever.  I’m also going to assume that everyone looks at all the wonderful things and thinks, “ooh I’m definitely going to make that”… and then never gets round to it!

Well I am determined to make the time, and this will be my regular Tuesday’s Challenge!

So for the first week I wanted to make something that I’ve had on one of my Pinterest boards for a really long time – delicate paper flower garlands. They look so good at any party or occasion, even just hanging in your office or bedroom. I’ve made paper garlands before but none that are this delicate and hang vertically.

Here are the original pictures from Pinterest that grabbed my attention…

paper flowers P

Doesn’t look that easy, does it?  All fiddly and complicated…but I think you’ll be as surprised as I was by the results.

By clicking here you can get the free PDF printout of the flower shapes. Once you have those printed and cut out you’ll see that there is a small tab on the side of one petal…image1 (6)paper flower2

Now you need to wrap the flower around and secure the tab to the petal on the opposite side.  I used double-sided tape, but you can also use glue. OK, I admit it can be a little tricky at first, but I promise that with a just a little patience, you will begin to see the flower take shape…

paper flower3

Once all my flowers were made I used an embroidery needle and thread (any needle and thread is fine, I just wanted mine to be secure and these work well for me); put a small hole in the top of each flower and thread it through. I also found it helpful to tie a little knot in the tread before putting on each flower to make sure it didn’t slide up and down.

Et Volia! I am very pleased with these and I will most definitely be making more for some of the exciting events I’ve got coming up!

paper flowers6

By the way, I used double-sided wrapping paper from Tiger, find similar here.

paper flowers7

Come on, get making everyone! It may seem daunting but it is really simple and the end result is very effective.

I would also love to know what you’ve been making, or if you have an idea for next Tuesday’s Challenge!

 

Ella’s Chocolate Brownies

So a few months ago I went to BritMum’s Live in London and one of the key speakers was Ella Woodward of the Deliciously Ella cookbook. She talked about her journey to where she is today and how much her diet has changed her life, she was a great speaker and very inspiring. I, like most people, always aspire to eat better but I think I spend more time thinking about it than actually seeing it through!

But Ella was a true inspiration.  The way she spoke made me start to believe that I could make the changes I want, by introducing them slowly; to suit my own needs and to fit around my own life.

Deliciously Ella

My lovely mum saw how much I enjoyed Ella’s talk and bought me her cookbook. I absolutely loved reading through it and learning about all the different ingredients and generally widening my knowledge of food. I wanted to make so many things from her cookbook so I thought I had better get going. Obviously the first thing I made was her chocolate brownies! All of the meals look amazing but I just couldn’t resist trying out a healthy alternative to chocolate! It’s like the holy grail!

There are 7 ingredients and there was only one that I couldn’t find at my local supermarket. The brown rice flour was easy to find at Holland and Barrett so no stress there, you can even order it online HERE. At the beginning of her book Ella says that although some ingredients are a little harder to find once you have them in your cupboards you’ll be able to whip up healthy snacks all the time. Sounds appealing doesn’t it?

ing2

So the only slight problem I had was blending the dates and the softened sweet potato. I don’t have a very expensive, fancy blender so I’m guessing if you do this stage is easier. I just needed to push the mixture down a few times so it turned out ok.

Brownie 3

Once I had the mixture at the right consistency I put it into a lined baking tray, popped it in the oven and hoped for the best! I wish I could have got the top smoothed out more to make it look better, I have since found out that if you put an icing spatular in boiling water then use it to smooth out your mixture, none of it will get stuck and should just glide right off. I will be trying this out next time!

Brownie 6

I am so happy to say that this recipe worked out great and the brownies were so yummy they only stayed in out fridge for 24 hours! I will definitely be making these again and they will probably be my staple to take round to my friends’ houses for tea and a treat!

Brownies 8

I hope you all get Ella’s book and try out this recipe. It really is amazing and who doesn’t need an excuse to eat more healthy chocolate! If you want to try out some of Ella’s fantastic recipes you can buy her book HERE, send me some photos and let me know how you get on!

Happy baking everyone!!

 

My First Post!

Ok. Here it is. A little bit about me so that you can get to know the ‘Leigh’ in LoveLeigh Events – and I’m looking forward to getting to know you too!

I have a very a large family, and until I was a teenager I thought that everyone had multiple cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents, but it turns out they don’t so I feel very lucky, and although it can be manic sometimes I love my family and how many of us there are! We all love any excuse to throw a party – more often than not with a theme. It’s something I’ve grown up around and love to get involved in – so much so that after living in America for two years I decided to take a degree in costume. This only seemed to add fuel to that fire and enabled me to develop my creativity. Below is a great example of the kind of family parties we’ve thrown over the years…

Last year my little cousin Lucy was expecting her first child with her fiance Jack. Her older sister Emma wanted to throw her a baby shower and I offered to help. In actual fact what happened was I kind of took over and didn’t give anyone much of a choice! Fortunately for me Emma was very busy with her business and so I was given free rein. I really did love planning, making props and setting everything up; from buying and creating the decorations, to putting together the gift bags and assembling the games on the morning of the party – it was all great fun!

Emma said to me; “You should do this for a living”! and I thought ‘yeah, why not?!’ Here are a few photos of the big day…

baby shower

Baby shower 2

We played a few games at the baby shower too, one favourite was the chocolate game. It is the best game to be played at any party, with any theme, at any time.

There are two teams. Each is given a large bar of chocolate on a tray, a knife and fork, dice and clothing items. Everyone sits in a circle and takes a turn to roll the dice, the first person to roll a six has to put on all the items of clothing (for the baby shower theme we dressed a doll),  grab the knife and fork and start cutting and eating chocolate as quickly as they can. The hilarity of the game is that the person cannot stop cutting and eating until someone else in the team rolls a six! The clothing and cutlery is then passed on and the cycle begins all over again. The first team to eat their whole bar of chocolate wins. This game will bring out a very competitive side to most people, loud screams can be heard from both teams almost throughout and someone will definitely feel very sick by the end. As I said, it is the best game!

We also played other games like, Guess the Celebrity Baby, Make a Baby From Playdough and Pin the Nappy on the Baby. We gave out prizes to everyone……

dummies

And those who didn’t get a prize went home with a little something to remember the day!

popcorn

Also for Lucy I did a little something special. I took a photo of her with everyone who came to the party. Emma and I had spent a while (well, a lot more than a while) in Paperchase and got a lovely notebook/scrapbook. One the day everyone wrote a lovely message for Lucy and Jack and their little bun in the oven. Lucy knew people were writing something but she didn’t know what. Once the printed photos had arrived I stuck them all in with people’s comments and presented Lucy with the book. She loved it. It’s such a special time and I wanted her to remember the lovely day we’d all had.

 

Baby shower book

 

Since then I have been planning, organising and designing parties and events alongside my costume work. I hope you enjoy this blog as much as I like writing it and I look forward to sharing more tips and tricks with you soon!

Happy reading everyone!

Love Leigh x