Monday, 20 February 2012

What mother makes best

Some things our mothers make simply can’t be beaten. For us, it’s our beloved mum’s Banana Bread – loaded with juicy fruit and topped with a sweet syrupy dusting of caramelised sugar. We think it tastes best still warm from the oven, but it lasts – if stored in a cake tin – for up to a week.

Here’s how to make it (and what it should roughly look like, too).

2 or 3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar (can easily reduce to 3/4 cup)
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius.
2. Mash the bananas in a mixing bowl, then add the melted butter, vanilla essence, sugar and egg. Mix well.
3. Sprinkle the baking soda, then salt, over the mixture and stir. Add chopped walnuts if you wish.
4. Add the flour last, mix all the ingredients well and then pour into a greased loaf tin
5. Pop in the oven and bake for one hour, sprinkling with demerara sugar about half way through.

Top tip: after an hour, slide a knife into the middle of the bread – if it comes out as clean as it was originally – your loaf is ready!

What’s recipe of your mother’s do you love?

Thursday, 16 February 2012

A week told through coffee art

Flat White, The Expresso Room, Great Ormond Street WC1

Tuesday (Valentine's Day)
Skinny Latte, Milk Bar, Bateman Street WC1

Latte, Nude, Hanbury Street E1

Skinny Flat White, Notes, St. Martin's Lane WC2

Flat White, Kaffiene, Great Titchfield Street

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Easy home décor updates

As spring approaches, it’s natural to think about ushering in the new at home. Time (and cashflow) can cause constraints on our creativeness (oh, if money was no object!), but with these simple and inexpensive ideas, it’s never been easier to transform your abode almost instantly. Here’s how:

Spell it out
Look for oversized letters at antiques markets, car boot sales, or on Etsy and Ebay. If you’re lucky, you may even come across some beautiful marquee designs. Pin your finds up to create a cluster of interest (don’t worry if they don’t spell anything; mixing and matching designs and sizes will make your creation all the more interesting).

Create a feature wall
Update a tired room with a bold wall - you only need to focus on one, and if you already have spare paper or paint to hand, even better.

Swap soft furnishings
Renew cushions with a fresh colour scheme - if yours are colour-blocked, try switching them for printed designs.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

A little bit of love

The day devoted to amore is rapidly approaching, and whether you plan on showering your other half with affection, or would just like to say "thank you", our five gift ideas offer plenty of ways to express your love this Valentine’s Day.
1. Top of our list: this adorable '51 Love Stories’ print by photographer and designer Paul Octavious.

2. Delicious Handmade chocolates from Creighton's.
Say it with chocolate...or better still make your own Valentine's chocolates at one of their classes.

3. Fliff’s ‘Bird on a Wire’ vase - to beautifully display our fourth pick...

4. A Stunning bunch of flowers from Absolute Flowers

5. Afternoon tea at Claridges. Finger sandwiches, sweet pastries and scones in the most romantic of settings - bliss!