17 October 2013

Very Chocolatey Beetroot Brownies

Hi all,

My mum is currently on the hunt for the ultimate chocolate brownie recipe, and we recon that she has gotten close with the most recent recipe she tried. It has a little ingredient call beetroot in it. I had never had beetroot in a baked good, but I have to tell you...its amazing. The beetroot doesn't bring too much flavour to the brownies, but what it does bring is an intense gooeyness and moistness, which combined with the chocolate just melts in the mouth.

If you want to have a try of these scrummy brownies then follow the recipe below.

Very Gooey Chocolate Beetroot Brownies

  • 275g (10oz) beetroot, leaves removed
  • 250g (9oz) dark chocolate, in drops or broken into pieces. (or more if your a real chocoholic)
  • 250g (9oz) butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 300g (11oz) caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 75g (3oz) plain flour
  • 50g (2oz) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt

You will need a 20cm (8inch) square tin, with 5cm (2inch) sides.


Prepare the beetroot by trimming the stalks back to about 2cm (3/4inch) from the end, was them carefully under a cold tap. Do not scrub them - simply rub off any dirt with your fingers. You don’t want to damage the skin or tails otherwise the beetroot will ‘bleed’ while cooking.

Place the beetroot in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer, then cover with a lid and continue to simmer for between 30 mins and 1 hour, depending on the size and age of the beets. They are cooked when their skin rubs off easily and a knife can easily be inserted into the centre of each beet.

When cooked, rub off the skins and discard, then cut into chunks. Place in a food processor or blender and whiz for a few mins to form a smooth purée. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F), gas mark 4. Butter the sides of the tin and line the tin with baking paper. 

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave till just melted, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cream the butter until soft in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. 

Whisk eggs together in a small bowl for a few seconds until mixed, then gradually add these to the creamed butter mixture, beating all the time. Beat in the purée beetroot and melted chocolate, then sift in the remaining ingredients, fold these in until fully combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin, smooth the top with a palette knife or spatula. Bake in the oven for 30 - 35 minutes, or until the middle of the cake is almost set but still wobbles when you gently shake the tin. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Allow to cool completely in the tin before carefully removing the brownies, and cutting into squares to serve.

They will keep in an airtight container for a few days (if they last that long!)

xox Niamh xox

11 October 2013

Uni Room Tour

Hi all,

So as a few of you may know I am now at University studying fashion design. I thought that I would do a little room tour of my uni room here, as I am quite proud of how it looks now. I have been working so hard at Uni every day from 8.30 till late at night, and it's such a nice feeling to come back to a room that feels really cosy and homely.

A few notes to add. I am in a shared house for uni, so this is not a tour of a university hall bedroom. We share a bathroom between 4, and I do have a double bed. Okay, enough explainations... on with the tour :)
 This is what you see when you walk in. My bed pretty much takes over the whole of the room. I had to get a new bed for the room as the one that was there was broken :( but it meant that I could get this really pretty bed from Ikea. Its so pretty with the ornate metal frame. They are also very useful for hanging bags off.
 On one side of the room I have a dresser and a wardrobe (the wardrobe is actually my old one from home) On top of the wardrobe I have three green Ikea boxes. I find these boxes really useful. I have stationary, art supplies and fabric in these ones. And my room would not be complete without some Ikea faux flowers. They really brighten up the room and I don't have to remember to water them! I brought a small selection of my perfume collection with me.
 More pictures of my bed. I fell in love with this bedding. The duvet cover and pillow cases are from Joules, I got them at House of Fraser in the sale. The quality is really great, but its the print that I love the most. Its covered in bright flowers and the occasional parrot. And its reversible!!! I have a green throw, and another purple furry throw on the bed to make it extra cosy.
 Beside the bed I have a bedside table (also from home) with lamp (also from home, do you see a pattern emerging here?) which I am trying to keep the current issues of fashion magazines on. Winnie my mannequin came with me, so she has pride of place in the corner with a full length mirror behind. The curtains sneaking into the photo are... also from home... but they weren't quite long enough, so I had to cut and sew more fabric from another one onto the bottom. The shelving unit was already here, and I have filled it with books, files, more Ikea boxes, and on top I keep my printer, and a few items from home that make it feel more homely.
And finally this is my desk. I have my desk facing out the window, which gives great light. My desk lamp is from Ikea, and its really great as I can move it closer to my work if I am doing anything detailed (It's also good for when I am using my sewing machine as the bulb in it has died) And there's my laptop, and some more photos

So thats my room tour.
Hope you enjoyed.

xox Niamh xox

2 October 2013

Sammy-Jo Stephenson Bath Spa

Hi all,

I decided to share some really beautiful fashion pieces that I saw this past week. The Bath Spa Masters Fashion and Textiles course has been exhibiting the final collections and I fell in love with Sammy-Jo Stephenson's collection. The information given at the exhibition gives a very good explanation of her work:  "She is a textiles and surface designer specialising in fashion fabrics for Womenswear. Her unique printing aesthetic comes from her passion for the hand-made. Each print design is developed from her meticulous illustrations involving a culmination of techniques, textures and mixed media. Her main theme is rooted in her love of the natural world and the unapologetically vibrant colour palette of botany and wildlife. Sammy-Jo's recent collections focus on mark making and brush stokes, building layers of imagery, which are then refined and developed through digital collage. The resulting collections are an exploration of digital print, screen prints with dye-techniques and hand embroidery"

I really like the delicate nature of the fabrics she has used, and how they drape, which contrasts some of the stronger paint marks in the prints of the fabric.

xox Niamh xox