Why I love Pop Up!!

I know it is probably one of the best marketing ploys of the 21st Century but I love going to a pop up. Firstly, 90% of the ones I go to are in London, I don’t live there now but I read and follow so many other people which publicise these events. I know London has a lot of them, and with so many to choose from, they don’t tend to get as horribly crowded. And they really do try to outdo each other which is great for us consumers!

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The reasons why…

They are always different! I love to travel (if you hadn’t guessed!) and I find a pop up in an area I know and love, can give me that same sort of feeling when I find a cool bar, or a great place to eat in a new city. Even if they are in the same location as ones I’ve been to before, the set up always makes it feel so special. It always helps that they tend to be on roof tops and therefore we go when it’s sunny. And sunshine will make even the worst day that much better.

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Everyone is always so happy – because it’s new and you have to want to go (and stick out the queues sometimes!) people are always so happy and bubbly. Even the servers that have probably worked 12 hour shifts for the last 5 days are loving life and so excited, which let’s be honest makes me way more excited.

The effort that some of these guys go to just amazes me, they can work months for just a few days or weeks of an event. It’s incredible the details they think of, from an idea they create themes, ensuring all of it flows, from the to the hall way leading to it to the tables you sit at, to the outfits for the staff to the colour scheme to compliment them.

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Food – yes it tends to be a little pricey but it’s always great! These hard workers bosh out perfect snacks every time. And I love when a pop up is based entirely on food – I went to Bloodies Kitchen pop up in Selfridges for some cookies and milk (yes you read that right!). It was a little expensive but it was worth it. Going with a couple of friends for a pure sugar high is such fun. It has now changed to someone making roll up ice cream right in front of you; and yes it’s also AMAZING!

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If you have food you must have drinks…and much like food it can be expensive. But it’s always so much fun getting something I wouldn’t normally get – frozen margaritas anyone? Small side note and slightly annoying thing is 90% of these places serve their drinks in plastic! It’s a pet hate of mine, I understand why they do but either way would be nice to have glass.

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The views you get are always unique. Whether you are on a roof top or a boat the views are always a drawing point of the event. Rainbow Afternoon Tea on the Thames, passing some iconic buildings while munching my way food so incredible food will go down as one of the best experiences ever! Oh and with bubbles!!

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There are two down sides –

Sometimes they just aren’t done well. I’ve recently had this, where the event was just poorly organised and we ended up missing the sun on the roof. That reason we came!

You wish they would stay like that forever! Sometimes a day, a week, or even a summer just isn’t enough! But that’s the beauty they will always make you want more…

 

Have you been to any this Summer? Did you enjoy them? Or just find them over priced?

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Homemade Brownies – the ultimate treat!

Having a good baking week, marshmallows last week and now brownies!

So with winter seem to be wanting to stick around you can’t go wrong with lots of baking!! I’m sure you’ve just realised I am not good with the cold, and I’m very much a summer baby. I think in a previous life I could have been a bear, they seem to have the right idea of hiding from the winter cold and hibernating until spring. Everyone knows when I think it’s time to hide as the space boots (aka winter, furry, warm boots) come out and the brogues go into hibernation too!

My go to sweet treat is Brownies…the soft gooey, just holding their shape ones! That with a cup of tea is my perfect evening, oh and I guess the boy being there makes it nice too. This is my favourite recipe for brownies; they are versatile so you can add a topping or ingredients in them if you want to jazz them up. They make a great dessert for dinner parties too. Cut them into smaller squares and layer them with cream and berries in a nice glass!

I know a lot of people will see this and go “No real chocolate! These can’t be that good!” but trust me they are. Good quality cocoa powder can work wonders. Don’t use drinking powders as that has additional sugar in which won’t give the same depth as a rich good quality powder.

I did these ones in an 8”x12” Riess enamel tray! Depending how thick/big you want them you can do them in anything from an 8” square tin to 9”x13” just adjust the cooking time – thick ones will take a lot longer!

Ingredients

4 Eggs

450g Caster Sugar

Add to Sugar

150g Plain Flour

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

135g Cocoa Powder

150g Butter

 

Method

Pre heat the oven to 160°C (fan)/180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and line an 8”x12” tin.

Melt the butter and stir into the cocoa until it forms a paste and set aside. Whisk the eggs and sugar until it is pale and ribbons form. Add in the vanilla extract and whisk again. Add the flour and whisk until smooth followed by the cocoa paste.

Bake in the oven for around 30-35 minutes. They should be soft to touch and when a skewer is inserted it won’t come out completely clean as you want them to stay gooey.

Either serve straight away or cold later on. If you decide later on you want them warm, you can wrap individual pieces in cling film and place in the microwave for 30-1 minute, until warm and gooey again.

 

You can top with the following if you fancy it –

Marshmallows – nicely sprinkle over evenly about half way through your baking time

Salted Caramel– swirl and drizzle onto the brownie before baking

Nutella – melt approx. 150g so its thinner and drizzle over the top

Crunch Peanut Butter – 100-150g chopped roasted salted peanuts, mix some into the mixture and sprinkle some on top!

 

Almond and Vanilla Marshmallows

It’s cold and dreary outside which has meant a lot of hot beverages in the Young-Isard household. I’m currently addicted to almond milk hot chocolates! I was sat on the sofa and was getting annoyed that we never had marshmallows in the house to accompany my lovely hot chocolates. So instead of buying some (way too easy an option!) I ran to the shops and picked up some gelatine to make my own!! So here are my Almond and Vanilla Marshmallows…

If you don’t like almonds, don’t be put off, just replace the extract with another flavour of your choice or do all vanilla!

Enjoy!

 

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Ingredients

60g Icing Sugar

60g Cornstarch (or potato starch)


Pink Almond Layer

60ml water

½ tsp almond extract

2 sachets of gelatine (26g)

¼ tsp red food dye

170g caster sugar

175g golden syrup

Pinch of salt

60ml Water

 

White Vanilla Layer

15ml water

½ tsp vanilla paste

1 sachets of gelatine (13g)

85g caster sugar

90g golden syrup

Pinch of salt

30ml Water

 

Optional…

100g dark chocolate

50g flaked almonds, finely chopped

 

Method

In a small bowl sift the sugar and cornstarch together. Using a pastry brush coat a 28x18cm tin with vegetable oil (or an oil with no flavour) and sprinkle over the icing sugar. Tip the left overs back into the bowl and save for later.

Start with the almond layer. In a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer!) add the 60ml water, ½ tsp almond extract, 2 gelatine sachets and ¼ tsp food dye and leave to stand. While this is setting, in a saucepan add the 170g sugar, 175g golden syrup, pinch of salt and 60ml water. Place on a medium heat and give a quick stir. Place in a thermometer; I’ve got a digital one it makes life so much easier. Though it is not essential a normal sugar thermometer will do the job. Heat the mixture to 115°C (240°F), remove from the heat immediately. Turn on your mixer (carefully if you’re using a hand mixer) and slowly drizzle the sugar mixture into the gelatine gradually. Once it is all in turn the speed up and whisk for about 10 minutes until the mixture is fluffy and still slightly warm. Grease up your spatula with vegetable oil and spoon the marshmallow into your tin.  Spread it out evenly. Once it’s all flat, tap the tin on the surface. It will release the air bubbles.

Clean your equipment ready to make the white vanilla layer.

Repeat the process with the Vanilla ingredients.

In your bowl add the 30ml water, ¼ tsp vanilla paste, and 1 gelatine sachet and leave to stand. While this is setting, in a saucepan add the 85g sugar, 90g golden syrup, pinch of salt and 30ml water. Place on a medium heat and give a quick stir. Place in your thermometer. Heat the mixture to 115°C (240°F), remove from the heat immediately. This will happen a lot quicker than your almond layer as there is a lot less mixture. Turn on your mixer and slowly drizzle the sugar mixture into the gelatine gradually. Once it is all in turn the speed up and whisk for about 7 minutes until the mixture is fluffy and still slightly warm. Grease up your spatula with vegetable oil and spoon the marshmallow over the pink layer.  Spread it out evenly. Once it’s all flat, again tap the tin on the surface.

Dust will your icing sugar/cornstarch mixture. Leave to set for at least 1 hour!

You now have options! Either cut them into small or large squares, covering in the icing/starch mixture and leave them plain. Or if you cut them into larger squares you can dip them in dark chocolate and then into chopped almond flakes or just leave them as dark chocolate! To do this, melt the dark chocolate with in a glass bowl over simmering water in a pan or in the microwave on 15 second bursts. Chop the nuts and place in a small bowl. First dunk the marshmallows into the melted chocolate, about 1/3 up. Either place onto some baking parchment to harden or into the almonds. Leave to set.

Now snuggle down with a hot chocolate and your marshmallows and watch the world go by!

 

The Fat Fox Cafe, Dublin

img_20161018_154641The Fat Fox (http://www.thefatfox.ie/), what a brilliant name, is located on Camden Row, one of the many streets in the area that doesn’t look like much until you walk down it. This lovely café opened in September and is already doing incredibly well. And you can see why – friendly staff, baked goods and GREAT Baobab coffee!! I had a lovely little chat with the staff and they make you feel so welcome. The decor is a green/blue combo with lots of palm type leaves as the wallpaper, giving the café a topical and cosy feel. It’s open Monday – Friday 7.00-16.00 so really working the office crowd. A bit of a shame if you don’t live nearby or work too far away. Though this is pretty common in Dublin with many cafes at least closed on Sundays. The baguettes always sell well with a mixture of veggie and meat options. They also have some lovely more breakfast options such as their overnight oats. All of their img_20161018_154510products seem reasonably priced too which is always nice to see in Dublin. I think we will see great things coming from this kitchen and I look forward to seeing what they come up with! You can also peek through to the kitchen while you wait for you coffee. There isn’t any seating but I don’t see this being a problem for them as there are lots of nice areas to walk around with your coffee. I do recommend to take your coffee for a walk a lot but I just love having a hot drink while I mosey around. Saying this on some days, presumably if the weather is good enough, they have a few stools outside. I fell in love with the Fox picture they had propped up by the till! Though I do have a soft spot for foxes…or fox if you’re my sister in law. And they are right, they are FANTASTIC!

Travel, Food, and ME

Lets start with a little about me…
So I’m Felicity. I love food, travel and talking. That’s pretty much all you need to know.

Chatting to my friend he recommended I start this blog having just moved to Dublin. It’s mainly going to be a mixture of where to get coffee, cake, and beer in Dublin (as well as other cities I go to), what to do’s and some recipes I do. I might also slip in some other things I love, you’ll just have to keep reading to find out what it’s about that day!

Now to go get some coffee and cake to start this blog off…

Have a great Monday!