Friday, 23 January 2015

Recipe: Carrot Cake Muffins

For the muffins
175g light brown muscovado sugar
200g self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
200g carrots (roughly 3 medium carrots - you don't need to be too precise!)
2 eggs
150ml sunflower oil (or vegetable oil)
3tsp mixed spice
a lemon

For the frosting:
300g icing sugar
125g cream cheese
50g butter

You can buy jars of mixed spice, but if  you don't have any then it's easy enough to make yourself by just combining a teaspoon of each of the following spices;

Cloves - just a couple

And just grind it all together.

Now, on to the muffins! To start, preheat your oven to 180C.
Measure out your sugar and flour into a mixing bowl.
Add the zest of one lemon.

In a separate jug measure out your oil, add both eggs, and whisk together.

Grate the carrots and add them to the mixing bowl and, while gradually pouring in your oil/egg mix, start beating everything together.

Spoon your mixture into muffin cases - you want them to be roughly 3/4 full. 
We found our mixture made about 20 muffins, but it may vary depending on how big your cases are!
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

While the muffins are cooling you can make the cream cheese frosting.
To do this simply beat the icing sugar, butter, and cream cheese together until smooth.
If you sift the icing sugar first then it makes it much easier to get the desired consistency.

Once your muffins are cool then go ahead and frost. We had fun using piping bags to decorate, however you can always swirl on the frosting with a knife to get the "Hummingbird Bakery" look. Remember not to add the frosting until the muffins are completely cool or else it will melt!

Once your cupcakes are frosted feel free to add any extra decorations, and enjoy!


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Mockingjay Part One Review


Not going to lie we were tempted just to put that and be done with the post.. We loved this film. Really loved it. A lot. We came out the cinema and basically just flapped and said omg for a good hour. We've tried to make this review as spoiler free as possible!

Fellow lovers of the books would probably have felt the same way as we did, it stuck so closely to the novel and some of the dialogue was word for word to the book. We feel that if you hadn't read the book it would have been a bit slow as there is a lot of detail that went into the film. However, the pacing is deliberate; a very gradual build up to the next film where everything will kick off. The second part of the book was incredibly action packed so we're so excited to see that come to life on screen. We liked that from the film we see a perspective that isn't just Katniss', as fantastic a narrator as she is, it's interesting to see those few scenes that don't involve her.  One thing we were immensely happy with was the portrayal of Finnick. The development of his character transferred SO well from the book to screen, we're so happy they kept his key scenes in as it's so important to the story and we just love his character. His backstory really emphasises the dark nature of these novels, and these films are getting progressively darker, so it was always a nice reprieve to see Effie and Haymitch on screen and to be provided with some much needed comic relief! There's no other way to describe the films, they are war films. They are dark and brutal in some aspects which is brought to screen so well.

Jennifer Lawrence absolutely slays in this film. I mean really, really well acted and she even briefly shows off her singing skills. We also loved Phillip Seymour Hoffman, his character's quietly manipulative behaviour was portrayed perfectly, coming across as though he believed his actions were for the greater good . It was convincing and real. Julianne Moore was good as President Coin, leader of District 13, however she did make us like the character more than we did in the book, perhaps it's because we just love Julianne. It may all change in the next film! And finally, although Josh Hutchinson doesn't have a huge amount of screentime in this film, what we saw was incredible. His performance and the costuming, hair and makeup were brilliant. The visual portrayal of his deterioration both mentally and physically was harrowing to watch. 

We called where it was going to cut off ready for the next film, it was a good place to stop.
(Did anyone else have that moment where the screen went black and you thought it was the end???) Some aspects of the film weren't how we pictured them, such as district 12 which we'd both imagined different than what we saw, but there was nothing major we could find fault in. We also imagine Panem to be in a straight line with one district after another and the Capital at the end, clearly not the case!

These novels are complicated and dark and contain scary parallels to the society we live in. We're so happy they're being brought to screen so well and we're so excited for the next film! (and a little annoyed we have to wait so long!)

Have you seen Mockingjay: Part 1 yet? If you have, let us know what you thought of it!

Monday, 17 November 2014

Recipe: Hot Toddy

Winter is fast approaching and we're fully in hot drink season. This classic recipe filled with warmth and winter spices is guaranteed to make you feel better if you have a cold. We've found that it helps you breathe a lot easier and clears up any sniffles. Funny how whisky has that affect!

Any whiskey
Cinnamon Stick

Firstly, boil a kettle and add a measure of whiskey to a heat proof glass or mug. A measure is usually plenty, but if you fancy a bit extra, go for it. 

Whilst the kettle is boiling, add the cinnamon stick and a couple of cloves to the whiskey, try not to overdo the cloves as it's a strong flavour! If you have ground cinnamon as opposed to sticks then just add a sprinkle to taste. 

 Place a metal spoon into the glass (this stops it cracking apparently) then pour the hot water into the glass and stir. We'd recommend letting it sit for five to let the flavours blend in. Squeeze a wedge of lemon into glass according to taste, then chuck the wedge in! 

We like this drink for it's warming and medicinal flavours, perfect for a cosy Saturday night!
It warms you through after a day of being out in the cold. 

Let us know if you try it, or comment with your favourite hot drinks for cold days!