Easter Treats 2014

chocolate raspberry hazelnut paella recipe easter

If you’re after something a little different this Easter holiday here is my round-up of a few favourite alternative Easter treats (don’t worry, chocolate is still very much on the list!)

1. OK so call me crazy but I really like the sound of this Chocolate Paella recipe. It’s like a chocolatey rice pudding with hazelnuts, raspberries, chocolate (obvs) and white chocolate buttons. What’s not to love?!

chocolate raspberry hazelnut paella recipe easter

Paella de Chocolate: Chocolate, raspberry and hazelnut paella

Serves 6 – 8 people because it’s really chocolaty!!

Cooking time: 25 minutes

INGREDIENTS

300g of Spanish paella rice such as bomba or calasparra

2 tsp granulated sugar

20 ml vanilla essence

10g of extra brute chocolate powder

25g white chocolate callets (mini buttons)

1 orange (for peel and zest)

160g of dark chocolate (I use 53% for this recipe)

25g raisins

25g chopped toasted hazelnuts

200g fresh raspberries

650 ml water

CROCKERY/KITCHENWARE

1 paella pan or a 30cm large heavy bottom frying pan

1 small saucepan

1 microplain or small box grater

METHOD:

Place the rice into a heavy based saucepan with the cocoa powder and half the vanilla essence.

Add in 500ml of water with the orange peel and give it a quick stir. Place the pan onto the stove and turn the heat up in the pan to a rolling boil and then down to simmer for 14 minutes, stirring a couple of times to make sure the rice doesn’t stick.

All you are looking to do here is infuse the rice with a little orange and vanilla, open up the pours, inject the cocoa rouge colour into the rice but you are not playing with the starches of the rice. After 14 minutes the rice should still be firm.

Remove the rice from the pan immediately and spoon it out onto a big plate, or tray or anything you can find to halt the cooking process. Spread it out really thin so it can cool almost instantly. Then remove the orange peel. I refer to the rice as ‘par-boiled’.

Place the paella pan onto the stove and add in the sugar, raisins and the rest of the vanilla extract and the remaining water then bring to the boil, turn down to a medium heat.

Taste it, this is your Caldo – your broth, and this has to be spot on… if you want to add a dash more vanilla, then now’s your chance… Get ready the next stage is full on and you cannot leave the stove!!

Quickly throw in the par-boiled paella rice.

Then give it a good stir through to spread the par cooked rice out evenly. Leave it to gently bubble away for about 4 minutes so the caldo can get to work with the rice, remember this is the first time the rice has had chance to absorb the sugar.

Then drop in the dark chocolate. And give it one more stir, just one swoop through the pan and then that’s it

From now on remember this rule…move the pan, do not stir the paella.

Turn the heat to low, let the rest of the broth be absorbed by the rice, this takes about 1 minute. Once the broth has totally disappeared, check that the rice is al dente – cooked but with a slight bite, then remove from the heat.

Bring the hot pan out of the kitchen and into your serving area, I like to get everyone involved at this point, all those little fingers going to work

As a family you can sprinkle over the white chocolate (you can either use callets as I have, or chips or you can even snap and shave off from a block. Just let it melt on the top.

Then add the hazlenuts and a good grating of orange zest, plus a little squeeze of a wedge or 2 for good measure!

A Rest is so important: about 2 or 3 minutes is my golden rule,

Well if you can stop the kids delving in….
(Recipe courtesy of Antony Bennett – www.latasca.co.uk).

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2. This caramel tea is super delicious. You know me, I love tea so I’m easily pleased! But this truly is so nice as a sweet treat or a posh Easter gift.

caramel tea east india company easter

Caramel Tea for Easter, £10.00
(Available at The East India Company flagship store on Conduit Street, or online at www.eicfinefoods.com)

This smooth blend of pure Ceylon black tea with rich notes of caramel offers a full-bodied decadent cup with a sweet aftertaste. With its distinct aroma of caramel, this tea is the perfect way to awaken the senses on Easter morning.

Brew time : 2g tea in 200ml water for 4 minutes

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3. For low (no) calorie easter treats, I love the range of Lush easter products. Typically I buy Fluffy Egg bath bombs this time of year (as all the easter products are limited edition) and it smells like sweet pink candyfloss and produces many many bubbles!

This year the new products include Golden Egg (I think they may have had this last year too?), Carrot Cone and Funny Bunny Knot Wrap – the latter two being full of lovely little bath and body treats, giving the perfect excuse to have a little pampering over the bank holiday weekend.

Golden Egg bath melt ballistic


A brand new invention… this egg is a bath bomb coated in bath melt mixture. It will unexpectedly sink to the bottom of the bathtub while the outer layer dissolves, popping to the surface as the fizzing centre is revealed.
Ingredients The outer bath melt mix is made using our beautiful fair trade, organic Colombian Peace Village cocoa butter and olive oil from a brand new permaculture project we’re working with in Palestine. Scented with the best selling Honey I Washed the Kids fragrance, it’s coated with PET free golden lustre.
Inspired by chocolate cream eggs, we reverse it and coat the hard bath bomb centre with a creamy bath melt shell. £3.50 each

Carrot!


Inside this carrot-shaped cone you’ll find a rabbit hidden within a slice of Carrot soap; a Bunch of Carrots for the rabbit to enjoy; and a Golden
Egg, a reward for the bunny for eating all of his carrots! You’ll discover the contents as a story, along with a maze game for the lucky recipient to play as they search for the Golden Egg! Vegan 
£16.95.

Funny Bunny



Tied up inside this organic cotton Knot-Wrap is a selection of limited edition Easter treats. The organic cotton Knot-Wrap is from re-wrap, a women’s co-operative in India. By choosing the Lush Knot-Wrap gift options, instead of traditional paper wrap, you are helping us save 11.6 tonnes of waste per year. Especially relevant at times like Easter when excess packaging is so prevalent.
CONTAINS: two Bunny bubble bars; A Bunch of Carrots reusable bubble bars and a Fluffy Egg bath bomb. Vegan
 £19.95.

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4. For a grown up Easter treat try this recipe for Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes by Eric Lanlard. They are a combination of chocolate and spicy ingredients, such as cinnamon and nutmeg. Omit the chilli and cayenne pepper for a result more akin to a chocolate hot cross bun!

eric lanlard mexican cupcakes

Makes: 12 Cupcakes
Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients:
175g (6oz) plain flour
225g (7.5 oz)caster sugar
4 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract
1 tsp white wine vinegar
5 tsp sunflower oil
chili pepper cake decorations, to
decorate

For the Frosting:
100g (3.5 oz) dark chocolate, broken into
pieces
150g (5oz) unsalted butter
150g (5oz) icing sugar
¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Line a cupcake tin with paper cases. Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, bicarbonate
of soda, cinnamon and nutmeg into a bowl. In a large bowl, blend together the Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract,
vinegar, oil and 250 ml cold water. Mix the dry ingredients into this mixture until the batter is smooth.

2. Divide the mixture between the paper cases (it will be fairly liquid) and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a
skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

3. To make the frosting: melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of barely simmering water,
making sure the bowl does not touch the surface of the water. When melted leave to cool. Whisk the butter and
icing sugar together until pale and fluffy, then whisk in the cooled melted chocolate and the cayenne pepper. Pipe
the frosting onto the cooled cakes and top with chilli pepper cake decorations to finish.

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5. There’s still time to enter my Easter Fashion Competition which finishes on Easter Sunday! Follow the link and you could win yourself your favourite fashion item for spring summer.

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I hope you all have a lovely Easter weekend and enjoy the bank holiday (fingers crossed for good weather) and don’t eat all your chocolatey treats in one go!

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If you love baking check out my new book ‘How to Start a Successful Cake Business‘ – now available on Etsy and Amazon Kindle Store

New Season Key Pieces (+ COMPETITION)

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I wanted to share with you some of the transitional pieces I recently picked up for Spring. I am totally loving pastel colours at the moment including yellow and mint green (two colours I would normally shy away from in all circumstances!) and they make me feel happy knowing that winter is finally over and I can look forward to the warmer months. However summer is a long way off and it’s still not swimsuit weather so I’ve chosen some key pieces in pretty pastel colours which are great for layering on colder days with tights, leggings and cardi’s but will be easy to wear on warmer days too.

Pastel T-Shirts (Peacocks)
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These are great to throw on to brighten up an otherwise boring outfit and super easy to wear dressed up or down.

A Transitional Cami (Peacocks)
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I love the print of this cami top and it works equally well teamed with jeans and a cardigan and tucked into shorts and skirts.

The Vintage Style Scarf (Peacocks)
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I love this colour and texture combination so much. This is a great staple to have as it’s pretty and practical for chilly mornings.

The Dainty Tea Dress (Not On the High Street)


This dress is so pretty – it’s great over tights and worn with a blazer on colder days or on it’s own as a day dress when it’s sunnier.

Colourful Trainers (Shoezone)
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These pumps are so comfy and an absolute bargain to create a pop of spring colour.

The Statement Necklace (Cord And Bar Collar – Miss Selfridge)

Chunky jewellery is a must this season and looks really fab with collared and lower cut tops alike.

Milkshake Nails – (Ciaté Paint Pots, Strawberry Milkshake, Ciaté Paint Pots, Pepperminty, Ciaté Paint Pots, Cookies & Cream, Ciaté Paint Pots, Doll’s House)

These pastel polishes from Ciaté are an easy way to update to a spring look – subtle, pastel and nude, I can’t decide which is my favourite colour but they are super easy to wear and apply.

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If you want to win one of these lovely spring pieces, comment below with your favourite item for a chance to win it!

Extra entries available:
Follow me on twitter (@liz_randell) and tweet me with your favourite item and the hashtag #SpringTG

Like the facebook page and leave a comment of your favourite item on the competition post.

Open to UK residents only.

Competition ends 10pm Easter Sunday (20th April) when one winner will be selected at random from all valid entries and contacted shortly afterwards to arrange delivery of their prize.

Prize will be one item unless the favourite item is ‘pastel t-shirts’ whereby the prize is all three colours – yellow, mint and pink. Nail colours are individual and only one will be given as a prize. Please state favourite COLOUR if this is your favourite item you would like to win.

**At time of posting the transitional cami top and vintage scarf from Peacocks are both unavailable. In the event you choose one of these items as your favourite and the item is still unavailable at end of competition, a £10 Love2shop gift voucher will be given in it’s place.**

Maximum 3 entries per person, (1x each blog comment, twitter and facebook entries).

Good Luck!

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If you love baking check out my new book ‘How to Start a Successful Cake Business‘ – now available on Etsy and Amazon Kindle Store

May Favourites 2013 and Beauty Giveaway!

h&m lipstick comptition

It’s June again – it means it’s half way through the year, the summer is almost here and it’s my birthday month so there’s lots to be happy about :)

Throughout May I have been using a lot of new beauty products as the weather is crazy weird – one minute scorching hot meaning my make-up has been sliding off my face and the next minute so cloudy, cold and wintry I’ve been back wearing fluffy jumpers and curled up with a blanket and a hot cup of tea. I mention the weather as it seems to really affect my skin, let alone my mood, so on warm summery days I’ve been playing with more colourful eyeshadows and make-up items and on cooler days really making an effort with skincare and haircare instead.

This month I’ve been loving:
Michael van clarke 3 more inches pre-wash treatment
Michael Van Clarke 3 More Inches Pre-Wash Treatment

This has been a fabulous treatment to use when I’ve been out in the sun and has left my hair feeling much more manageable and in better condition after only a few uses. I can’t comment on whether I think it’s making my hair grow faster (which it claims to do) as I haven’t been using it long enough yet. I’m not keen on the fact it doesn’t really have a scent but my hair was left much smoother and softer after use.

carmex
Carmex Lip Balm

I’m normally a big advocate of vaseline but find my lips still dry out as I use it frequently and think my lips are used to the formulation so this little tube of mentholated balm is a treat. It’s very moisturising and I can feel it actually working (maybe that’s just me but I swear I can as it’s sinking in!) and it’s good for dry parched lips in the winter and dry, sun exposed lips in the summer.

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mac face and body foundation
I’m absolutely loving this at the moment as this gives a light creamy coverage and isn’t too heavy so when the weather is warmer it doesn’t slide or melt off too much! It’s buildable if you have any areas that need more coverage but I’m finding this to be just perfect for my skin at the moment and it gives me a really healthy natural complexion.

H and M Lipstick Dare to Bare
h&m lipstick
I’d love to hear if you’ve tried any H&M make-up, particularly the lipsticks. Dare to Bare is a neutral nude colour with a hint of golden shimmer. It’s a light, creamy formulation and swatches completely differently from the colour in the stick! It’s a really pretty colour and I think it’s such a good colour to wear in the summer. If you like the look of this lippy scroll down to see how you can win one of your own :)

It swatches like this:
H and M Dare to Bare Swatchhm lip swatch dare to bare

 

Re-Gen Cream
Re-Gen Cream

I have started using re-gen cream as I’d heard it is good for reducing scarring and for brightening the skin. I’ve been using this in conjunction with Alpha-H Liquid Gold and it has made a big difference to the look of my skin and I really notice a difference in the morning if I’ve applied this before bed. It’s quite a cheap product too so a good complexion booster for sallow or dull skin.

Tangle Teezer Pink
Tangle Teezer

Now I’ve got a tangle teezer I’ll never go back to brushing my hair with a regular hairbrush! It’s really gentle on my hair and I also use it on wet hair and it’s completely pain free to use. I have been using a lot of new and nourishing haircare products recently but I feel using this has really helped improve the texture and condition of my hair for the better.

I’ve also been loving this month -
Music: Flaws by Bastille, Liquid Lunch by Caro Emerald, La La La by Naughty Boy
TV and Film: The Aviator, Fresh Meat, Waking the Dead
Food and Drink: Rocky road, Cocoa Orange Nak’d Bars, Bellevue Teas

h&m lipstick comptition

How to win a lipstick!
If you fancy getting your hands on the gorgeous Dare to Bare lipstick send an email to
e.randell@gmail.com with the SubjectDare to Bare” along with your name, address and email address which we will use to notify you if you win.

Competition is open to UK residents only.
Competition closes on Sunday 23rd June at 10pm (my birthday!!!).
One entry per household only.

Good Luck!!