New York, I love you. (part one)

Mr Lovely and I have just returned from seven fantastic nights in the Big Apple. What a city. New York does Christmas like nowhere else. The lights, decorations, shop windows, ice skating and just general Christmas awesome-ness. You can’t help but feel happy there.

This wasn’t our first trip to the city that never sleeps so it was great to visit without the need to do all the usual touristy stuff (though if you’re a first timer, do it all, it’s a must). Anyway, for us, this trip was mostly about eating and shopping so today I thought I would share a few of our gastronomic discoveries with you. Thank goodness we were walking ALOT each day, because healthy diet choices were certainly not high on our agenda.

Snowy Fifth Avenue

Snowy Fifth Avenue

Buvette 42 Grove Street in the West Village
I have no idea how food so delicious can come out of a kitchen so small. We ate breakfast there twice and on the second occasion trudged through a foot of snow to get there. This should tell you how good it was. The homemade waffle sandwich with bacon and egg was a revelation. I’d show you a photo but Mr Lovely ate half of it before he managed to get the camera out (and no one wants to see half eaten food). This is a little slice of Gallic Goodness. They also have a restaurant in Paris.

Murray’s Cheese Bar 264 Bleecker Street in the West Village
A restaurant devoted entirely to cheese?! Our arteries said ‘please God, no’, but our tastebuds screamed ‘get in there immediately’. And with that we’d both ordered the house speciality, Mac ‘n’ Cheese. This is comfort food at its best. The wind outside was bitterly cold, the snow storm was imminent, but within minutes of digging into this hot cheesy delight the feeling started to come back into my fingers and toes and I forgot all about what was happening outside. Bliss.

Mmmm...Mac 'n' Cheese at Murray's.

Mmmm…Mac ‘n’ Cheese at Murray’s.

A word on coffee
It’s no secret that we Australians are coffee snobs. First World Problem, I know. On previous trips to the USA I’ve steered clear of coffee altogether. But on this trip we found a couple of delicious coffee spots, both of which make a great skim flat white (if that’s your thing, it is for me). First up is Stumptown Coffee. These guys have a few cafes across the country and the one we visited was at 18 w.29th Street. It was strong and hot, and served with a dash of Hispter. Secondly, we really loved Ruby’s on Mulberry Street in Nolita. This tiny cafe is owned by Australians so they really knew how we liked it. Plus, it’s very close to fabulous Soho shopping.

There were many other foodie delights on our trip, but we’ll leave it there for now. Stay tuned for our New York shopping post next week.

Have a lovely day. x

Easy peasy gingerbread cookies

Hello lovelies! Today we thought we’d share a super simple, and very delicious gingerbread cookie recipe.

These little goodies couldn’t be easier to make and have a tad more crunch than a traditional gingerbread – perfect for dunking!

We’ve used a couple of different cookie cutters (‘Eat Me’ and ‘Home Made’), but you really can use any shape or size you like. With Christmas around the corner, keep an eye out for festive shapes and remember to leave a few out for Santa.cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

Melted butter, to grease
125g butter, at room temperature
100g (1/2 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
125ml (1/2 cup) golden syrup
1 egg, separated
375g (2 1/2 cups) plain flour
1 tbs ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Plain flour, to dust

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush 2 baking trays with melted butter to lightly grease.
2. Use an electric beater to beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add the golden syrup and egg yolk and beat until combined. Stir in the flour, ginger, mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Press dough into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
3. Place the dough between 2 sheets of baking paper and roll out until about 4mm thick. Use your desired cookie cutter. Place on trays about 3cm apart. Repeat with any excess dough. TIP: We skipped the part about using the two sheets of baking paper and had no problems at all.
4. Bake in oven for 10 minutes or until brown. Remove from oven. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Have a lovely day. x.

Afternoon tea at The Berry Tea Shop

Hello lovelies! On a recent jaunt to the South Coast with Mr Lovely we came across the utterly delightful Berry Tea Shop. Tucked away from the busy main street of Berry, the tea shop proved a relaxing spot for tea and scones following an afternoon of driving.

The store opened almost three years ago and is owned by husband and wife team, Cliff and Paulina Collier. The couple have created a really charming space, serving not only a huge array of teas from around the world but also a delicious assortment of cakes, scones and other baked goodies.

But what we really loved about The Berry Teashop was the vast collection of teapots, cups and saucers and beautiful books that were  for sale. Our favourites were the heart-shaped cup and saucer sets – one in every colour please!

 

Afternoon tea blend and scones with jam and cream

Afternoon tea blend and scones with jam and cream

Heart-shaped cup and saucer sets - LOVE!

Heart-shaped cup and saucer sets – LOVE!

 

The Berry Tea Shop
1/66 Albert Street, Berry NSW 2535

Have a lovely night. x.

Egg-cellent Easter Cupcakes

Good afternoon lovelies! This afternoon we have been indulging in a little baking therapy. Easter is well on its way and we thought we’d show you a very cute afternoon idea sure to be a crowd pleaser for both little and big kids.

These vanilla cupcakes are simpler than they look and you can get creative with your colours and Easter decorations. We picked up these mini-chick toppers at our local Lincraft store (already half price and Easter is still a couple of weeks away). Coloured fairy floss from the supermarket creates the perfect ‘nest’ while chocolate covered peanuts are our delicious ‘eggs’.  We also couldn’t resist the felt bunny figurine (you can pick one up at Target). We’ve named him Bugs.

Check out the super simple recipe below these pics.

easter 1

easter 3

easter 2

Hummingbird Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes

For the cakes:

120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
120ml whole milk
1 egg
¼tsp vanilla extract

For the vanilla icing:

250g icing sugar, sifted
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
40ml whole milk
a couple of drops of vanilla extract

For the decorations:

Mini-chicks (from Lincraft, Woolworths or The Reject Shop)
Coloured fairy floss
Chocolate covered peanuts

Method:

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line a 12-hole cupcake tin with cupcake cases.

Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined. Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.

Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not overmix.

Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes, or until light golden and the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the vanilla frosting on top and decorate with with your Easter goodies.

 For the vanilla icing:

Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.

Turn the mixer down to slow speed. Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a separate bowl, then add to the butter mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time. Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed.

Continue beating until the icing is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. The longer the icing is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.

Happy baking lovelies. x.

Sweet wedding style

Hello there lovelies! We recently had the pleasure of creating a lolly bar for a beautiful beach side wedding. Our brief was simple. It had to be pretty, romantic and of course, delicious.

In keeping with the couple’s chic white and gold theme we carefully selected an assortment of goodies like Ferrero Rochers, jersey caramels, milky bars and homemade golden shortbreads to tickle the tastebuds of guests, young and old. Fresh flowers added softness and romance, especially the baby pink peonies we lovingly chose earlier that morning at the Sydney Flower Markets.

It’s such an honour to be asked to be part of a couple’s big day, and we were as pleased as punch to find a completely devoured lolly bar when we turned up the next morning to dismantle the display.

the lovely co.  would love to create a customised lolly bar for your wedding, birthday or celebration event. Please drop us a line to talk about all things sweet, sayhellolovely@gmail.com

Customised wedding lolly bar - white and gold theme.

The ultimate winter comfort food

Hello lovelies. How are you all this afternoon? It’s windy, rainy and altogether unpleasant here in Sydney. Even though it may be gloomy outside, we think we’ve found the perfect antidote. We have a delicious beef and red wine casserole bubbling away gently in the slow cooker. It’s been on for nearly three hours and has at least that again to go until the meat is nice and tender.

Do you have a slow cooker? If there’s one thing we can recommend you buy for your home this winter, it’s one of these nifty kitchen devices. You can of course create your own stews from scratch but today we have cheated and used a sachet containing all the herbs, spices and other yummy things we need to create this easy peasy winter dinner. Aside from that, we have added 1kg of chuck steak, a couple of onions, carrots , celery and half a cup of red wine. And that’s our job done until it’s time to cook the mashed potato! So simple.

Have a lovely night and keep warm. x.

 

 

 

A whole lotta something outta nothing…

Good afternoon lovelies! How are you all this afternoon?

Weekend breakfasts at the lovely co. call for something a tad more snazzy than our usual porridge or peanut butter on toast. Last Saturday was no different, except when we opened the fridge and the pantry they were barer than Old Mother Hubbarb’s kitchen cabinets. We immediately made a mental note to go grocery shopping later that day and decided that in the meantime we would have to see what we could rustle up with the few fresh ingredients we had.

Have you ever tried this lovelies? Getting creative with what you’ve got instead of trekking up to Woolies to restock? We do it every now and then and it’s a great lesson in minimising food wastage.

Anywho, here’s what we had: two small zucchinis (that looked a little past their prime, but still ok for cooking), two eggs, one rasher of bacon, half a tub of sour cream…plus the usual pantry staples like flour, sugar etc. Hmmm…what to make? We decided on Zucchini Fritters with sour cream and sweet chilli and topped with crispy bacon strips.

Fritters are a failsafe weekend breakfast option. Just combine two eggs, 2/3 cup of plain flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder and a dash of milk, along with your star ingredient (in this case grated zucchini, but corn is delicious as well), salt and pepper and whatever herbs and spices you desire. Pour 1/4 cup portions into a hot, oiled pan and cook each side until golden brown.

Here’s a pic of our fritters.

 

Have a lovely day. X.