Friday, 27 June 2014

Fool Proof Macarons

Here is a fool proof step by step recipe for french macarons. Macarons are sweet, light meringue style  cookies which are sandwiched together with a creamy filling. Macarons have become a fashionable snack which are ideal to have with afternoon tea.

Macrons can be notoriously hard to make but having tried and tested a few recipes I have created this recipe which I find to be the most effective.

1 medium free-range egg white
20g caster sugar
50g ground almonds
65g icing sugar
1tsp food colouring
1/2 tsp food flavouring (optional)

150ml double cream
1 tbs jam

1 or 2 mixing bowls
Measuring Spoons
Scales (Digital are the best as accuracy is key)
Electric Whisk
2 Piping bags
Circular Piping Nozzle 
Baking Tray
Grease Proof Paper

1. Preheat the oven to 140°C/ 275°F/ gas 1

2. Measure out all your ingredients before you start to assemble the recipe. This makes making them a lot easier and you won't forget anything.

3. To ensure you get a smooth macaron sieve the ground almonds and icing sugar into a bowl ready for later.

You will be left with some bigger pieces of almond in the sieve. These you don't want to use so place them aside.

4. Separate out your egg white and yolk.

5. Whisk your egg whites till they form soft peaks.

6. Add in your caster sugar and continue to whisk. Until its fully incorporated. 

7. If you want to add some food flavouring this is the point to do it. I found a good quality food flavouring in the Lakeland.

8. Also add your food colouring at this point. Depending on how vibrant you want your macrons colour to be will be dependant on how much colouring you put in. 1/2 tsp will give you a suitable colour. 1 to 2 tsp will give you a bold colour.

9. Whisk in your food colour and flavouring, till totally incorporated. 

10. Once you eggs, sugar and colouring are thoroughly mixed you can start to fold in the ground almonds and icing sugar. Add half at a time, sieving the ingredients for a second time.

11. Fold in the ground almonds and icing sugar gently with a spatular. Fold from the outside inwards.

12. Fold in all the remaining ground almonds and icing sugar until the mixture is smooth with no lumps. It is a thick mixture.

13. Prepare you baking sheet with a sheet of greaseproof paper.

14. Now you need to fill your piping bag with the mixture, ready to pipe onto your baking sheet.

Quick Tip:
If you struggle with filling your icing bag an easy way to do it is to put the bag over a large glass and this gives you a large opening to spoon the mixture into.

15. Pipe your macrons onto the baking sheet. To make a standard sized macaron pipe out a 1 1/2 inch wide circle.

16. Place the baking sheet onto a tea towel and gently tap the baking tray down onto the surface. This will bring any air bubbles to the top. Simply prick the bubbles with a tooth pick and this will make sure your macarons remain smooth and will rise evenly.

17. Allow them to stand on the side for at least 30mins as you want a skin to form on the macarons. This will ensure they rise up and not outwards.

Quick Tip:
Lightly touch the side of the macaron and if it springs back the skin is firm enough. I find it is always better to leave them to sit as long as possible but they won't need more then 45mins.

18. Finally bake in the oven for between 10-15mins before checking to see if they are cooked. To check they are done lightly touch the top, if they are firm they can be removed from the oven.

19. Allow to cool.

20. Make the filling. Simply whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks and then add the jam.

21. Place filling into an icing bag ready to pipe onto the macarons.

22. Pull all macaron halves off the greaseproof paper so they are ready for assembly.

23. Pipe the filling onto half a macrons and then sandwich with the remaining halves.

Now your macarons are complete so enjoy.

Here are my finished macarons. I also made some miniature strawberry macrons to accompany the raspberry ones. To make miniature macarons simply pipe smaller circles and cook for 7-10mins.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Summer Style Inspiration

As the weather has been pretty spot on lately I've been inspired to think about my summer style. I could spend hours on Pinterest searching though the images and I have started to build a Summer Style pin board. I thought I would share a few of my favourite outfit inspirations with you here. 

Starting with some summer city style. I think going for a classic loose fitted shirt paired with a pair of shorts (or jeans on cooler days), is a great way to pull of a casually sophisticated outfit. 

Here is another outfit which would be ideal for a day in the city. A fitted t-shirt paired with tailored shorts is a super outfit that can be transformed easily from a day to night outfit. Team the outfit with some sandals or pumps for a relaxed day time look, or wear with heels to dress it up. Adding a statement necklace can also change the feel of your outfit.

Another versatile outfit which can be transformed easily from day to night is a bold printed skirt and paired with a light weight white tank top. Wearing with a denim jacket and flats in the day with give you a soft feminine look. Then at night with some strappy heels and clutch bag you have a perfect date night outfit.

Finally a look ideal for a day at the beach. In the UK the sun doesn't stay around for long so it's a great idea to wear a lightweight jumper to the beach. A slouchy lightweight knit and washed out denim shorts are a great cover up for when traveling to the beach. 

Thursday, 19 June 2014

My June Lust List

Being a keen blog reader I am constantly seeing new products which I want to try out. This month I am mildly obsessed with base make up. The brands which have caught my eye this month are totally new to me and I haven't had a chance to try any of them yet. All the brands have received rave reviews online and they look worth the hype.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation

Tarte is a new brand to the UK and is currently only available on QVC. They only have a limited selection of products available but the good news is the price is pretty comparable to buying the products in America. 

The product I'm most interested in trying out is the Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Cover Airbrush Powder Foundation and Brush. This is a mineral foundation which claims to give you full coverage whilst also being weightless on the skin. I think this foundation will be ideal for summer when you don't want to feel weighed down with heavy makeup but do still want coverage for your skin.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation

Tarte is not the cheapest foundation brand but if you are interested in natural make up brand which is cruelty free it is worth a try. The Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Cover Airbrush Powder Foundation and Brush is available for £34.00 + £3.95 P&P and the Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation with Brush is available for £32.50 + £3.95 P&P both from QVC. If however you wanted to buy from a larger range of Tarte products you can order them from Sephora as they now ship to the UK on orders over £75.

The next brand I'm excited to get my hands on and try is Hourglass. They have recently become available from John Lewis which is great because it means you can order the products online and get free next day delivery to your local Waitrose or John Lewis store, meaning no long wait for the post to arrive. 

Hourglass Ambient Lightening Blusher - Diffused Heat

These blushes come in stunning rose gold packaging. The blush itself is presented in a marble effect of the bold colour with a soft highlight shade. These together create beautiful glowing cheeks. The shade range is pretty good ranging from suitable light pink to bold coral. 

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Palette

Another Hourglass product which Im drawn to is this Hourglass trio palette. It features three shades Dim Light, Incandescent Light (Which is only available in this palette) and Radiant Light. These shades will allow you to create soft glowing skin and would be ideal to create a summer glow. 

Hourglass again is not a cheap brand but if you feel like treating yourself I think it would be worth it. The Hourglass Ambient Lightening Blusher - Diffused Heat is £28.00 and the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Palette is £56.00

I know I won't be able to get everything from this months lust list but a girl can dream! If you have tried any of these products yourself let me know if they really are worth it or if I should save my money.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate

There has been a lot of hype around this product online in both blogs and YouTube videos. I wanted to see for myself if it really would make a difference to my skin. My skin type is fairly dehydrated  with some very dry patches but I do get the odd blemish as well. Using an oil based product on my skin felt like an odd concept as I didn't want my skin to go to the opposite extreme and become really oily.

The Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate claims to replenish 99.8% of skins moisture and its naturally derived ingredients help to recover skins radiance.

My bottle with limited edition packaging

I have been using this product for several weeks now and have to say I have really noticed a difference in the way my skin looks and feels. This is the only thing I have changed to my usual night time skincare routine so I know it is making a real difference to my skin.

I use only a few drops of the product after cleansing and before applying my moisturiser. It sinks easily into my skin without leaving it feeling oily. It has defiantly evened out my skin clearing most of my dry patches and I have had less blemishes. 

 I went away for a few days a didn't take it with me and it started to show instantly. After the second night of not using it, my skin felt dry again when I woke up and didn't look as naturally radiant. 

The original packaging

This product is defiantly a staple in my skincare routine now. I was initially sceptical but am now a massive fan. The initial price seems high at £36.00 however because you only need 2-3 drops of it a night the bottle will last a very long time. 

I bought my bottle when it was on a Brand Match offer from John Lewis so managed to save an extra 10%. There isn't currently a Brand Match offer on however they do have them regularly so it may be worth waiting for one if your interested in buying this product. 

You may notice my bottle looks a little different to the standard Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate bottle, this is because I chose to buy the limited edition version as Kiehl's have teamed up with Alicia Keys and the Keep a Child Alive. Kiehl's is donating $200,000 to the Keep a Child Alive foundation which helps children all around the world.