Breakfast at Le Chalet

Christmas spirit is something that can be easily lost when you work in a hospital, so I make extra effort to go and find it. The issue is, I'm not a big fan of the cold. I end up wrapped inside massive coats clutching hot drinks constantly. 

Le Chalet was the perfect place to get some festive cheer, a Ski-Lodge themed pop up restaurant on the 5th floor of Selfridges and so I booked a birthday breakfast for P.  Travelling up a private elevator (which apparently used to be used by Mr Selfridges to transport his wife and later his other dalliances to his offices) you'll find a beautiful, fairy light covered walkway leading into the restaurant. 

We were shown to our seats and quickly ordered some choctails. Alcoholic hot chocolates, could you dream of better breakfast drinks? P ordered the choc-work orange which tasted like a melted Terry's chocolate orange with a kick, and I ordered the Hazelnut, which had a much more subtle nutty flavour! Have a look at the crystallised orange peel on the top, the attention to detail!
 The restaurant was designed brilliantly, from the blankets draped over chairs to keep you warm and the twinkling lights to the open kitchen which filled the place with the smell of cooking food. Our waiter - who you can see in the background of the picture below was wonderful.  Extremely polite and gave excellent recommendations when we were struggling which drinks to pick.

We quickly moved onto the food, and started with a Blue Cheese Fondue. Deliciously salty, it came with a serving of garlicy bread and was demolished in about 5 minutes. This was my favourite dish by far.
We then shared a plate of woodland mushrooms and a ducks egg. Almost cooked to perfection, the salt did start to become a bit too much, but nevertheless the plate was spotless when we finished.

Dessert came in the form of a waffle, topped with caramelised bananas. I've only recently started eating bananas, and I'm still on the fence as to whether or not I actually like them, but dressed in caramel I most certainly do. 

They say breakfast is your most important meal of the day and I can't think of a better way to enjoy it! Le Chalet is running until mid January hurry up and book a table, with its massive windows looking out onto the roofs of Mayfair, it's a meal I won't forget in a hurry. You'll find them here.

Oreo Cookie Cupcakes

Last week was my sisters birthday, which meant for me, I had an excuse to get out my baking gloves once again.

The cake recipe was taken from an incredible cook book, The Great British Bake Off - How to Bake and the icing was my own invention. I cannot recommend this book more! Every recipe works perfectly and I've made a fair few.

I started by making the cupcake itself, following the recipe for chocolate velvet cupcakes. You need: 175ml milk
100g dark chocolate
125g of caster sugar
60g of unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 large egg - pre beaten
150g of self raising flour

Get all your ingredients together and your ready to begin

Start by preheating your oven to 180 degrees and then melt your chocolate in your milk on a low heat - stir it every so often to speed up the process.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add your egg and vanilla extract(I like to add a tablespoon of flour at this point to prevent any curdling from happening).

Next slowly mix in a third of your chocolate, then a third of your flour, then a third of your chocolate (I'm sure you get the gist) until it's all mixed in.

Once it's all mixed in, spoon your mixture into cupcake cases and pop in your oven to bake for 15-20 minutes (mine came out perfect at 17 minutes exactly). They came out, beautiful and domed, smelling delicious. 

Next comes the fun part, or the not so fun part depending on how you view it. I actually mixed up a batch of icing and spend a good two hours practicing to be able to create a swirl I was happy with. It's still not perfect, and I definitely need more practice. 

To make your Oreo icing, you need:
600g of icing sugar
300g of butter
a dash of vanilla extract
12 oreos - middle removed
Put your oreo cookies in a bag and bash them till they're crumbed, then pop all the ingredients into a bowl and cream it until its all light and fluffy. Spoon into your piping bag, and ice away. 

Finally I added half an Oreo to each one and stuck a candle in the middle. My sister loved them and we took them to a friends house where they were promptly devoured, but those photos will be kept to myself. 

Let me know if you make these, I'd love to know how you got on!


The Butterfly House

Although the weathers taken a funny turn the past couple of days, I'm trying to soak up as much of London as I possibly can before I move again. This time, my travels led me to a large tent at the Natural History Museum. Back for it's 6th year, the tropical greenhouse was in full swing. 

Buy your tickets, walk through a set of heavy doors and enter into an indoor woodland. Filled with hundreds of beautiful, fluttering butterflies that are truly captivating to look at. The greenhouse contains nearly 50 different species of moths and butterflies, but depending on how far into the summer you are, you'll see an abundance of some more than others.  All the photos here were taken on the boyfriends incredible camera. He just bought a macro lens and had a wonderful time testing it out. Also, I'm getting a little tired from calling him the boyfriend, from henceforth he shall also be known as P.

You can watch the butterflies in their natural habitat, and if your patient enough you can even watch them clamber out of their cocoons. Curly haired girls be warned, its incredibly humid in there! Be prepared for frizz.

 And some very pretty flowers too.

It's not all butterflies though. Check out some of these creepy crawlies. We managed to get talking to some of the volunteers working that day. Wonderfully knowledgable and helpful, they showed us where to find eggs and caterpillars, and even lifted up leaves so P could get some photos.  I learnt that I was very lucky to have a butterfly land on me; only 2 breeds will, as the food receptors(incredibly technical term there) can be found in the feet of many, and can be damaged by the oils in your skin. 

I think the second one was a very hungry caterpillar 

The Butterfly House is open from 10am to 5pm until mid 
September. It's a photographers heaven, the perfect place for little kids or even to go for a date.