NIGELLA LAWSON’S DENSE CHOCOLATE LOAF CAKE WITH BOOZE AND COFFEE

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Oh my, this cake is a blend of the three wonders of the world.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup soft unsalted butter
  • 1⅔ cup (316 g | 11⅛ oz) dark brown sugar
  • 1⅓ cup (170 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, such as Maldon or Fleur de sel (or use ¾ teaspoon kosher salt)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces best bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted (I did this in the microwave at 30 second intervals, but don’t walk away — it will burn quickly)
  • 2 tablespoons brandy or bourbon
  • 1 cup freshly brewed coffee

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Line a 9×5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper — just shove a whole sheet in there (versus cutting to make it fit — this way no batter will seep through the cracks). Also, prepare a smaller loaf pan (or some other vessel such as a muffin tin) in a similar manner — I butter the smaller loaf pan well, and I never have issues getting the cake out.
  1. Cream the butter and sugar, either with a wooden spoon or with an electric hand-held mixer.
  1. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  1. Add the eggs and vanilla to the butter-sugar mixture and beat until combined.
  1. Next, fold in the melted and now slightly cooled chocolate, taking care to blend well but being careful not to overbeat. You want the ingredients combined: You don’t want a light, airy mass. Add the brandy and mix to combine.
  1. Next, gently add the flour mixture alternately spoon by spoon with the coffee until you have a smooth and fairly liquid batter.
  1. Pour into the lined loaf pan, being sure the batter does not come closer than 1 inch from the rim of the cake pan or it risks overflowing. Pour the excess into the smaller prepared pan. Bake 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees and continue to cook for another 15 minutes. (I remove the smaller pan after the first 30 minutes.) The cake will still be a bit squidgy inside, so an inserted cake tester or skewer won’t come out completely clean. Place the loaf pan on a rack, and leave to get completely cold before turning it out. (Leave it for a whole day if you can resist.) Don’t worry if it sinks in the middle — it will do so because it’s such a dense and damp cake.

Source: How to Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson

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Beauty Product Review: White Glo Diamond White Pen and Strips Kit

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Author: Sue Davison

Having bright, sparkly teeth is definitely a confidence booster. When I can smile with confidence I smile more often. I don’t know if it makes me look younger or any more attractive, but it makes me feel it and that’s good enough for me.

My teeth are naturally fairly white as I look after them and visit the dentist and hygienist regularly. I am a tea, coffee and red wine drinker though so they do stain a little between polishes. I have tried various home whitening kits in the past but they’ve been a faff and not especially effective. Technology moves on though so I thought I’d give White Glo Diamond White Pen and Strips Kit a go. I’m glad I did.

If you’re after a Simon Cowell dazzle, then an off the shelf home whitening kit probably won’t cut it. I’m more into the ‘girl next door’ natural smile, so White Glo Diamond’s promise of restoring my teeth to their brilliant original white condition sounded promising.

 

The White Glo Pen doesn’t contain peroxide so I was less nervous about my enamel and gums taking a beating than I have been with other whitening products. I have experienced discomfort with peroxide-based whiteners and I was very pleased to find that I didn’t feel anything with this gel. So far so good but I was still skeptical about performance. White Glo should be painted on to your teeth and left on for 10 – 30 minutes. My biggest concern was that closing my lips over my teeth and salivating would remove the gel. I did the inevitable and held my mouth open in a Wallace and Gromit Style grin whilst sucking saliva away before it reached my teeth – an attractive look. I sustained this for about 5 minutes before my focus lapsed. Surprisingly the treatment seemed to cling onto my pearlies regardless. Half an hour later I rinsed and inspected my gnashers in the mirror. They did look a little whiter, more so than after one application of any other product.

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White Glo Whitening Pen

The White Glo treatment is supposed to be applied three times a day for optimum results. I’m afraid I have a life though. I’m not committed to sparking teeth enough to use the treatment that religiously. I’ve been using it once or twice a day most days for the last two weeks and there have been a few days at a time when I haven’t used it at all. It’s been enough though. My slight staining has gone. Smiley Sue just got a bit smiler.

White Glo has won me over with this product. It’s not a regime that I will carry out routinely but I will use it to boost my smile between hygienist appointments. The kit lasts several weeks too so I feel that I’m getting value for money. I haven’t used the strips yet as I’m not convinced that they’ll reach the nooks and crannies but who knows, they may give surprising results too.

Get yours here

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Lessons in Life – Mental Health

Let’s talk about mental health. I know that I am extremely fortunate to be surrounded by incredible, amazing, intelligent, successful, talented people. Friends and colleagues, colleagues who are now friends. People I’ve met through events, conferences, friends I’ve made through being a parent, coaching clients, and so on. Don’t get me wrong, I am choosy in those who I keep close and there is a wide circle. Some who have been with me for always, some more recent and still it grows, what we all bring to the table are our different qualities, topics for discussion, insights and life journeys, yet we are all united in our ability to communicate.

Donna Coulling shot at her home in Belsize Park, London. NW3

Photo credit: Dave Willis

What I’ve come to notice in recent times is how much more we are all searching for someone else to speak to. Someone of a more professional nature.
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Berlin Hotel Review – Das Stue

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At the end of the summer holidays, Minx and I took a trip to Berlin and stayed in the beautiful property that is Das Stue. 

Originally built in the 1930’s, Das Stue’s diplomatic legacy is evident in the heritage building’s stately architecture and modernist façade, designed by German architect Johann Emil Schaudt (1871-1957) and inspired by Danish classicism. 

Das Stue really does invoke a calming ambience, with its open spaces and contemporary minimalist design. It is classy, unfussy elegance.

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The two restaurants are headed up by Paco Perez, who has earned 4 Michelin stars in his two restaurants in Spain, and “Cinco” the fine dining restaurant at Das Stue gained its first Michelin star within its year of opening. The breakfast selection at Das Stue was the best I’ve ever experienced in any hotel. Every dietary requirement was catered for be it vegetarian, kosher, gluten free, dairy free and more. There was no limit to how well we felt looked after there.

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Lessons in Life – Dating

So, I went to Le Pain Quotidien as is my usual Sunday breakfast spot, to be seated “just the one thanks” on the large table in the middle where I’ve come to find all the “just the one thanks” people are sat. Me with my book, a girl with her paper, a guy on his phone, you get the picture. A sweet waitress asks if she can take the spider out of my hair, I now feel like one of the Twits and struck with the realisation that perhaps the future me is destined to be the lady with the whiskers sat in the corner with her shopping trolley.

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Apple, Ginger and Cranberry Vodka Cocktail

vodka-cocktail-picIt’s National Vodka Day in the United States today! Embrace the autumn evenings with this warming and ever so simple cocktail.

Serves 8

Ingredients

2 cups (500 ml) apple juice (use the cloudy type if you can)

2 cups (500 ml) cranberry juice

100 ml vodka

2 cups (500 ml) ginger ale

Ice, to serve

Instructions

Place the apple juice, cranberry juice and vodka in a blender and whizz until pale pink and frothy. Pour into a large serving jug, add the ginger ale and a good handful of ice. Serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy of What Katie Ate

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Beauty Review – Embryolisse Crème Anti-Age Raffermissante

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I don’t know about you but as summer fades so does the condition of my skin. My face looks visibly dry and fine lines don’t look so fine. Finding the right daily anti-aging and firming cream is an expensive business but when you do find it you won’t want to be without it.

Embryolisse Crème Anti-Age Raffermissante is that cream for me. It works on the premise that to reduce wrinkles you need to firm up the skin. Packed full of collagen and hyaluronic acid, this little miracle in a pot firms your skin as soon as you apply it.

On first contact it has the feel of a high-end cream. My face felt refreshed and nourished. For me though, the test is how long that feeling lasts. I’ve tried many products that feel wonderful at first but I’m dry again within an hour. Embryolisse kept me hydrated throughout the day and took away the tiredness from my eyes that comes with being a poor sleeper. Brownie points earned.

So what about those fine lines and wrinkles? I’ve been using the product morning and night for just a week and there is a visible difference already. My skin appears brighter and smoother. The early signs of crow’s feet are now barely noticeable. I’m impressed.

The ultimate test of any high-end beauty product is value for money. I’d say that Embryolisse delivers. It provides all the benefits that I expect from an anti-aging cream, suited my sensitive skin and you only need to use the tiniest amount.

http://embryolisseusa.com

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