Happy World Nutella Day!
Sara from Ms. Adventures in Italy and Michelle from Bleeding Espresso declare Saturday, February 5th World Nutella Day 2011 – a day to celebrate, to get creative with, and most importantly, to EAT Nutella.This day makes me very happy as Nutella is my favourite spread in the world (sorry peanut butter). My boyfriend usually has a large jar stashed at his house that I attack regularly with a spoon.
I couldn’t decide what to bake for Nutella Day (cupcakes? brownies? cake? slice?) and in the end I decided to bake cookies. I wanted a nice buttery biscuit that wasn’t too sweet to contrast with the decadently sweet and fudgey Nutella. And boy were they a success! My family and I can’t stop eating them :)
- 225g butter, softened
- ½ cup caster sugar
- 2¼ cups plain flour
- 200g Nutella (approx, add as much or as little as you like!)
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
- Cream the butter and sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Sift in the flour and bring the mixture together to form a dough (don’t overbeat).
- Roll the dough into balls and place them a few centimeters apart on a lined baking tray.
- Gently flatten the balls out slightly with your hand. Using your thumb make a dent in the middle of each cookie (don’t make a hole through to the bottom though!)
- Fill each hole with Nutella.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until light golden brown.
Get creative with the Nutella! I also flattened out 2 balls into discs, put a huge dollop of Nutella in the middle of one and placed the second on top. Then I gently pinched around the sides and finished it off with impressions from a fork like they often do with ravioli. A buttery cookie filled with Nutella is amazing.
I hope you enjoy World Nutella Day and perhaps participate next year!
I just realised I never showed you pictures of the cupcakes I made for a dear friend’s engagement party. I made in excess of 100 cupcakes over a few days and for a while there never wanted to see one again! But the cupcakes were an overwhelming success and I look forward to catering to another party in a few weeks.
The colour scheme of the engagement party was blue and purple so I wanted to make cupcakes that complemented this theme. The top row are vanilla cupcakes with blue icing, the middle row are lemon cupcakes and the bottom row are purple velvet cupcakes (my take on red velvet!) with cream cheese frosting. The bride-to-be selected the gorgeous cupcake wrappers herself from Cakes Around Town.
I was thrilled my cupcakes were such a success, with random children and adults approaching me throughout the party to tell me how delicious they were, aw :)
One of my fans ;)
And before you ask, yes I will be sharing all these recipes and more pictures with you in weeks to come!
Take some time out to relax like I did here in Norway, it can make a world of difference on your trip
As wonderful as it is to cram in as many cities as possible (2 nights Paris, then 2 nights Rome, then dash to Vienna for a night etc etc…) you will burn out if it’s a long trip. Sure if you only have a few weeks overseas then go nuts. But for longer trips don’t underestimate the power of rest and downtime.
I learned this the hard way after completely burning out at the 2 month mark of a long trip – I actually nearly came home! I made the mistake of over planning my trip and was literally in a different place every few days, either sightseeing or getting from A to B. I was then a travel agent with the time and resources at my finger tips to plan the biggest, bestest and (as it turns out) the most exhausting trip ever. Don’t get me wrong, I had the most amazing time. Months exploring through Scandinavia, Iceland and Eastern Europe still remains one of my best holidays to date. But I distinctly remember the feeling I got when I arrived at roughly the 2 month mark. I was exhausted. I was sick of living out of a suitcase, I was sick of being on the move, I was sick of sightseeing. I was even sick of churches! I came so close to canceling the remainder of the trip with the intent to do it some other time.
But I pushed through. Instead of spending the next few days exploring Frankfurt I had some down time. I slept in, I washed all my clothes (in a proper washing machine! Not in the bath with bar soap!) I watched TV and I RELAXED. Sure I felt guilty about potentially missing out on all the wonderful sights and experiences Frankfurt had to offer but I knew I’d regret it more if I threw in the towel and went home. After my few days of “me” time I got back my travel mojo and thoroughly enjoyed the remainder of the trip.
From this experience I now know:
♥ Always schedule in downtime on a trip longer than 2 weeks. Even if it’s only a day.
♥ Don’t over plan. You should have seen my schedule, every day had notes scribbled on all the things I plan on doing. There was no room for getting sick or just feeling like some down time. It was strictly regimented. Remember this is a holiday! Do you really want to wake up at 6am every day?
♥ Know your limits and personal preferences – Is a 6 month solo voyage really suitable for you considering you are shy when meeting strangers and are prone to homesickness? Or is your idea of a holiday less of culture and churches and more of relaxing on a beach with a cocktail in one hand and good book in the other? Tailor it to suit YOUR wants and needs.
I love cooking shows. In fact it’s all I watch on television these days and I learn so much! Here are my favourites that I highly recommend you check out for visual pleasure, recipe inspiration and awesome tips!
Rachel Allen Bake
I adore Rachel Allen- her passion for baking, soft Irish accent and shiny enthusiasm makes me wish I was her best friend. I have made several of her recipes (all delicious) and she is constantly providing helpful tips throughout the show. She regularly visits bakeries and patisseries to meet the masters, as well as lets us into her cooking school.
Nigella Lawson (all of her shows!)
I must admit I look up to Nigella like some kind of god. Well, goddess – a domestic goddess! Whilst her shows don’t just focus on baking, she nearly always has at least one delicious dessert per episode. And it’s almost always decadently sinful and involves her seductively licking a wooden spoon. I love Nigella’s unpretentious attitude towards food, she is not ashamed to take short cuts and provides helpful tips with her easy to follow recipes.
Anna Olson Sugar
Whilst this show can seem a little dated and dare I say “daggy”, Anna Olson is an amazing pastry chef and knows her stuff! I have made several of her recipes which all turned out beautifully and I have learnt so much from her. Each episode she provides a simple weekday recipe (like a slice or scones) and then a fancier dessert (like something for a dinner party) so it suits all skill levels. She also does a “switch up” where she takes the simple weekday recipe and makes a few alterations to make it a more gourmet dessert.
Giada De Laurentiis – Everyday Italian and Giada at Home
I love both Giada’s shows which have given me a better understanding of Italian food and most importantly Italian desserts! Whilst Giada’s recipes aren’t strictly authentic Italian, they are delicious and easy to make and often feature my favourite NUTELLA. Her giant smile and breasts can be a little distracting but she is always fun to watch. (and super! enthusiastic!)
♥ Ace of Cakes – Whilst this show doesn’t give you any cake making tips (boooo) I love watching Duff and his hilarious staff making the most amazing cake creations you will ever see. It makes me wanna throw away this whole graphic design business and become a cake maker!
♥ Huey’s Cooking Adventures – He is an overweight, moustached, suspender wearing Kiwi who often stuffs up on TV and I LOVE HIM. Whilst he doesn’t make a lot of desserts, I pick up loads of tips for cooking normal everyday food.
♥ Barefoot Contessa – I know Liz Lemon from 30 Rock wants to be just like her. Whilst her beloved rich husband Jefferey jets around the world on business trips, Ina stays at home in her fabulous Hamptons mansion cooking food for her fabulous gay friends. Everyone is fabulous on this show and I am addicted.
What’s your favourite cooking show?
I love nothing more than a relaxing and uplifting cup of English Breakfast tea during the day and a cup of SleepyTime tea before bed. And packaging for tea has never been better!
My dad is currently working his way through this tin of Wedgwood Orange Pekoe tea and I get to keep it when he’s done, yay! I love the contrast of the pale blue and orange.
I adore these illustrations by Stuart Kolakovic for Marks & Spencers new range of caffeine free tea boxes.
I love the minimalism of this packaging for department store Selfridges in London by Noreen Khan. I think it takes great confidence to use such a simple design and I find it the most eye catching.
Now go bake some biscuits and enjoy a cup of tea with them!
To be perfectly honest this fudge is so easy to make it’s almost embarrassing! If I need to make a treat that is super easy and delicious this recipe is always high on my list. The hardest part is waiting for it to set!
- 450g dark chocolate melts (you can try milk or white chocolate if you wish)
- 400g can sweetened condensed milk
- 50g butter
- Line a 20cm square tin with baking paper.
- Put the chocolate, condensed milk and butter into a medium saucepan. Stir over a low heat until the mixture combines and is smooth.
- Pour the mixture into your tin and allow to set in the fridge for around 3 hours.
- Once set, remove the fudge from it’s tin and cut into squares or triangles.
Store in the fridge in an air tight container.
After an amazing holiday I am now home. I have so much to tell you, I’ve seen and eaten and experienced so many wonderful things!
Coming to Love Swah this year:
♥ City Guides – I am super excited about this, I am madly working on guides for fabulous cities all around the world! Forget Lonely Planet, these are unbiased guides on where a girl wants to stay, party and shop around the world! All from my personal experience of course. And if you happen to live in any of these cities then I am more than interested in hearing your tips as well! These guides are continually evolving.
♥ More tempting recipes and photos – I am baking up a storm and sharing it with you. I am trying to mix it up even more this year, from super simple treats for an afternoon treat to a fancy dessert to impress your friends – and everything in between!
♥ More helpful travel articles including travelling alone as a woman, the importance of down time on a big trip and what to do when everything goes wrong!
♥ More delicious design to stimulate your senses from the world of graphics, interior, fashion and more.
I hope you’re looking forward to 2011 as much as I am :)
Baking is becoming more fashionable and so are its accessories! Here are some baking-related items I am currently lusting after.
I have been lusting over this KitchenAid mixer for a while now. As a student with a serious travel habit, I don’t often have much spare cash lying around. This baby is RRP$795 so I think it’s going to be a long and slow process before I acquire her… but one day!
A much more affordable baking item are these gorgeous Babushka doll measuring cups by Fred. Yes I already have measuring cups BUT THEY AREN’T IN DOLL FORM.
Fred also makes matching Matrryoshka measuring spoons!
Two of my favourite things in the world are tea and cupcakes, now they have joined forces to make yet another amazing baking accessory by Fred. I LOVE FRED.
Cupcake wrappers come in all shapes, sizes and colours these days. I love this filigree one (I used some for engagement cupcakes I made, pics soon). As a graphic designer with an obsession for laser cutting, don’t be surprised if you see me making some of these in the near future.
P.S I am currently in Japan so I don’t have much internet time to update at the moment, sorry peeps! I will try and upload some pics soon :)
There are many things to take care of before you leave for a trip, some are obvious and some maybe not so much.
Month(s) before you leave:
♥ Immunisations. If you are visiting a country in the developing world it is best to get your shots/pills well before you leave. Do NOT leave it to 3 days prior to leaving (my friend did this… not a great idea. She flew into Thailand sans immunisations). It’s wise to see the doctor at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for your vaccines to take effect and to start taking medicine to prevent malaria.
♥ Travel insurance. Buy this the second you book your travel. NOT just as you are about to leave. The same friend visited Thailand during the Bangkok riots and didn’t purchase travel insurance until right before she left. The insurance company would not cover costs related to changing plans to avoid the riots as it was HER choice to go to Thailand during this period of uncertainty.
♥ Visas. Countries like China and Russia require a visa to enter. Some countries need to issue the visa prior to you leaving home, others will issue upon arrival. Do your research! A travel agent can help you with finding out visa information and organising the visa.
♥ Passport. Many countries require travellers to have at least six months validity remaining on their passports. Immigration authorities may refuse entry if you arrive with less than this. Check your passport and get it renewed if necessary.
Weeks before you leave:
♥ Bills. Set up all your bills to be either direct debited from your account (so you don’t even have to think about it whilst your away) OR at least have online billing capabilities.
♥ Pets. Make sure your pets are booked into kennels or you have found someone to look after them.
♥ Banking. It’s often wise to advise your bank you are going overseas (Commonwealth Bank called my friend whilst we were shopping up a storm in Paris, assuming her card had been stolen!)
♥ Phone. Check you are set up for roaming with your mobile provider. Consider buying a local SIM card when you arrive at your destination, as roaming fees are killer!
Days before you leave:
♥ Travel documents. If you have booked anything through a travel agent make sure you call/email them to check everything is ready and arrange to pick them up. If you have booked everything yourself online, print out all accommodation/flight/rail/tour vouchers and file in a folder to take with you.
♥ Beauty treatments. Waxing, tinting, hair cuts – get all your primping done right before you leave
♥ Medications. Make sure you have enough of your medications (e.g. The Pill) to last you whilst you’re away, otherwise get to your doctor pronto.
♥ Itinerary. Type up your itinerary (where you will be staying and when, contact details of the hotel etc) and give to family members/close friends. Not only do they get a kick out of knowing where you are (I often receive texts from Mum whilst away saying things like “You are in Reykjavik today! How exciting! Must be chilly!) but IF something happens, they know exactly where you are or where you should be. Sorry to put a downer on that. If you are Australian I also recommend registering with The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (to help them find you in an emergency).
Do you have any more tips on preparation before you leave?
Here is a stupid tourist pointing to where she SHOULD be on the map and where she actually is. It is of course the maps fault. Not the 6 champagnes I consumed the night before combined with the sweltering heat!
I believe some people should just not travel. Too mean perhaps? Maybe, but read this list of hilarious travel complaints compiled by the Association of British Travel Agents and Thomas Cook and then decide for yourself.
* My fiance and I booked a twin-bedded room, but we were placed in a double-bedded room. We now hold you responsible for the fact that I find myself pregnant.
* A British tourist found their holidays were spoiled because “the beach was too sandy” and “no one told us there would be fish in the sea; the children were startled”.
* We bought Ray-Ban sunglasses for five euros ($9) from a street trader, only to find out they were fake.
* The brochure stated: “No hairdressers at the accommodation.” We’re trainee hairdressers — will we be OK staying here?
* There are too many Spanish people. The receptionist speaks Spanish. The food is Spanish. Too many foreigners.
* We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as yellow but it was white.
* We had to queue outside with no air-conditioning.
* I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts.
* It’s lazy of the local shopkeepers to close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during “siesta” time — this should be banned.
* I was bitten by a mosquito — no one said they could bite.
* We booked an excursion to a water park but no one told us we had to bring our swimming costumes and towels.
What stupid tourist situations have you experienced? Were you perhaps guilty of being a stupid tourist yourself?
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