Easter Nest Cake

Baking

Here is the perfect recipe to try this weekend… 

It’s our family’s Easter tradition – we have it every year since we were little! 

Have a go and don’t forget to tag me on your bakes on instagram – @mariablackstone


Ingredients 

6 oz stork margarine (could use proper butter) 

6 oz caster sugar

6 oz self raising flour

3 eggs

1 Tsp vanilla 

2-3 tbsp cocoa

1/2 bar Belgian milk choc

1/4 pint double cream 

4 flakes

Bag mini eggs 

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180*c / 160* fan. Grease and line your tin, I used a ring mould but a deep round 8 inch tin would work well. 
2. Cream the margarine and sugar together until pale and fluffy.

3. Add your eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly in between each one. If it curdles, add a spoonful of your flour.

4. Add your vanilla, then fold in your flour until just combined.

4. Spoon half your mixture into the tin in blobs around the base of your tin.

5. Add a couple of tablespoons of cocoa to the rest of the vanilla mix along with a drop of water (about a tablespoon) and mix together until smooth. It should be a nice chocolatey colour.

6. Add this mixture in blobs in between your vanilla mixture in the tin.

7. Using a skewer or knife, swirl the two mixtures together to create a marbled effect.

8. Bake for 20-25 minutes (dependent on which tin you use, it is cooked when springy to touch and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre. 

9. Leave to cool, meanwhile make your glaze.

10. Melt the milk chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl, either in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water (ensure the bowl does not touch the water) or in short bursts in the microwave. 

11. Once fully melted, leave to cool slightly so the mixture thickens up to a nice pouring consistency – it should be thick enough to coat the cake.

12. Place the cooled cake on a cooling rack with a tray underneath and pour over your glaze. 

13. Once covered, chop up your flakes and top the cake to create a nest effect. 

14. Top with mini eggs, and enjoy!


A girl with an appetite for all things creative, 

Maria x

Graduation

Food

Hey!

Hope you all liked my chocolate truffle recipe – please do give it a go and remember to tag me in the results – either on Instagram or Twitter using @mariablackstone (as you can see I’m super original on the name front). Don’t forget to follow me either!

I can’t believe its been two weeks since I graduated, time has flown like my degree did and I thought I’d take this opportunity to tell you about it – what I did over the weekend and show you a few pictures! No recipe this week as I thought I’d talk about the lovely food I ate instead but I will post a recipe for you next week!

Thursday 10th September:

We travelled up on the Thursday morning, I had a doctor’s appointment in the morning then got my stuff together and headed to Lincoln. We arrived around 2pm and checked into the hotel. We were lucky enough to get a beautiful view of the river and were so lucky with the weather! Bright sunshine. Laura (my sister) was quite tired from the drive so we decided to chill out for a bit before heading down the the Starbucks in the hotel, sat outside and had a bite to eat and a drink. It was so lovely to simply sit and watch the world go by. We mustered up the energy to head into town and had a wonder around the shops – why does doing nothing make you so tired?!

I bought a new dress from Fat Face, as if this wasn’t an expensive enough weekend haha! But hey, why not treat myself… right? That’s what I’ll tell myself anyway. We headed back to the hotel and a caught up with good friend Sarah, who’s off to Malta soon for a graduate job… beyond proud and wishing her all the success. We went back to the hotel, got ready and went out to dinner.

I booked a table at Carluccio’s. I had the bruschetta to start – Italian bread topped with a mound of fresh tomato, some garlic and herbs. For main I had my favourite pasta dish – a vegetarian option; which is so unlike me as I always love meat dishes. It’s the pasta dish with courgette, garlic, chilli and fried cheesy spinach balls. I certainly wouldn’t be kissing anyone tonight haha! I have the recipe somewhere in the kitchen, and want to try my hand at making my own version – so one day on here you may see the result! We finished off the meal (greedy I know) with dessert… a berry tiramisu which was creamy but nice and refreshing after a big meal. I won’t lie I was eyeing up my mum, dad and sisters salted caramel sundae though!

We finished the night at the Hilton, in the Electric Bar,, which is just next door to the Holiday Inn we were staying at. This is something I had wanted to do during university but never had the chance. Which is crazy because I spent three years there but it’s amazing how much I didn’t experience but there’s always the opportunity to go back and explore. We had some cocktails and headed back to the hotel for a relatively early night as Friday was going to be a long day! A pornstar martini was my cocktail of choice.

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Friday 11th September

Got up at 6am, curled my hair – which in the end seemed like a pointless waste of time as it fell out before I had even managed to graduate but hey, you can’t blame a girl for trying. I got gowned up, had pictures taken and caught up with friends before heading into the cathedral for the ceremony. It was absolutely amazing. I hadn’t quite anticipated the length of the walk I had to do – heres me thinking I’d walk across the stage and it would be over. Little did I know I had to do a whole lap of the cathedral afterwards – struggled with this in my heels but I made the ceremony without falling over AND didn’t twist my ankles on the cobbles so I was winning all round. I felt such a sense of pride and achievement – especially at the end when we all got up and gave a round of applause. The atmosphere was amazing and I really had that ‘we did it’ moment. I don’t really remember much of the stage stuff, but that bit will stay with me forever.

We had a scone and jam after the obligatory throw your hat up in the air photo and after that I had a prize giving as I won the prize for Best Contemporary Lens Media student joint with Lucy Bick, my fellow course rep and friend. This was a nice small ceremony and it was nice to catch up with tutors after.

We ended the day with a meal at my favourite place the Horse & Groom. I had BBQ ribs – slightly regretted it as I was way too full and all I wanted to do was nap after. However, I left my parents and sister at this point and they had the journey home. I got back to the hotel and started to get ready for grad ball with my partner in crime Daisy. We met up with my housemates and had a few drinks before heading there. My feet were ruined and grad ball was a bit disappointing to be honest but I had a good time with my friends who I’ve spent the last few years of my life with and quite frankly I’m glad I didn’t spend it any other way!

Saturday, it was time to come home, after a big breakfast I chilled in my favourite cafe which I will miss dearly! How sad does that sound, but they do the best coffee, and the vibe is so chilled and lovely. It was then time to catch my train … bye bye Lincoln.

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Sorry for this rambley post, hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I did. Some of them are only my phone ones so please forgive me that they aren’t the best quality. It’s times like these where I think how on earth did I gain a First Class Honours in photography ha!

Next week I’ll post you a lovely recipe for you to try out. Not decided if it will be sweet or savoury yet, but it will be delicious regardless!

A girl with an appetite for all things creative,

Maria x

Sarah’s Broccoli, Chilli & Lemon Pasta

Food, Photography, Recipes

Hello lovely readers,

First of all I’d like to thank everyone for their kind responses to last weeks post. I am aiming to be more open and honest on this blog, and just be me, as that’s what it’s all about right? This was the first time I received so many comments from people that actually know me in person, and it was so lovely to know that I have your support and to all the graduates out their, knowing we are in the same boat is tough, and like Daisy said, it’s like being in the middle of a stormy ocean, which is on fire haha but I promise you if we stick it out we will get to where we want to be! So thank you, I’m more positive this week and know that good things will come.

A quote springs to mind of a card I have siting in a frame in my room that my best friend Ally gave me, it says “She waited patiently until happiness surrounded her and good luck lay in piles at her feet. Help yourself she said kindly, good things come to those who wait.”

Last weekend as you know I decided to go and visit my friend Daisy in Nottingham, and I had a lovely time. It was just what I needed to get away from the stress, clear my head and come back to London fighting. It was certainly filled with food & alcohol, so this weeks recipe is a lighter one. On the saturday, we went for lunch at The Pudding Pantry, and then out for dinner to Annie’s a burger joint, then out for cocktails. Sunday we went to the Nottingham Food Festival at Wollaton.We were extremely lucky with the weather and saw John Whaite, and Lisa Faulkner do a cookery demonstration, ate lots of lovely food including BBQ slow cooked brisket, pulled pork, mac and cheese, and churros, washed down with some Pimm’s! This week I have been applying for jobs & internships, keeping fit to burn off all those calories and keeping positive.

As promised, this weeks recipe is inspired by one of my close friends, Sarah. Through university, particularly in our third year we shared a love of healthy, tasty and experimental dishes. I taught her a few things, as did she, and we also learnt that you can’t make icing for chocolate protein cookies from hot chocolate powder, out of date margarine, milk and water. It doesn’t work, don’t even try it. Ha! Sarah is one of those people who has such a positive outlook on life, really wants the best for herself, and others. She really drives me, and understands my ambitions and helps me to be the best I can. She constantly shares these posts to her friends and circles, and for that I am extremely grateful, so without further ado, here is the recipe…

Recipe Card Final

To keep up to date with my foodie adventures and the occasional selfie please follow my instagram @mariablackstone and for pointless tweets follow me on twitter @mariablackstone (obviously extremely original on the user name front).

I hope you like this recipe, its light and fairly healthy with the half fat creme fraiche, and brown pasta. I couldn’t resist a bit of naughty bacon, plus it looks nice. It makes a change from my love of everything indulgent, and I sure do need it after the weekend I’ve had. If you have any ideas for future recipes, please do drop me a message! I am off out to Prezzo’s tonight for dinner with the girls and will then be back on my job applications at full speed!

Speak to you all next week,

A girl with an appetite for all things creative,

Maria x