Monday, 3 March 2014

Gluten free buttermilk pancakes.

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As it is Shrove Tuesday tomorrow, I thought I would share my go-to, gluten free pancake recipe. Now don't be put off by the whole 'gluten free' thing, these pancakes are delicious as they are (you can't even tell that they are gluten free!) and can be easily adapted to a gluten eating diet by changing the flour type.
This mixture works for me every time and is a lovely, quick treat especially for birthday breakfasts!

- 1 cup/120g plain flour, I'm using Doves Farm Plain White gluten free flour blend.
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (if you're making gluten free pancakes, check that your baking powder is gluten free too).
- 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tablespoons of caster sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup/240ml buttermilk (alternatively, I tend to use 1 cup of semi skimmed milk mixed with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, left for 5-10mins).
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (can be substituted for vanilla extract).
- 3 tablespoons of melted butter
I tend to use cup measurements for this recipe as it makes it easier.

Firstly, I add my butter into my frying pan and set it on a low heat to melt. I also combine my milk and lemon juice at this time, skip this step if you're using buttermilk.

From there, I incorporate all of my dry ingredients together in a bowl and give it a quick whisk to mix them all together. Then, I add the wet ingredients one at a time (including the milk & lemon mixture and the melted butter), stirring between each addition.

You should be left with a nice, slightly bubbly batter. I go back to the same pan in which I melted the butter and turn the heat up to a medium temperature and carefully wipe out any excess butter with a bit of kitchen paper.

Once the pan is hot enough (you can test this by putting a small blob of batter into the pan and seeing how it cooks), go ahead and make your pancakes. As they cook you should see some hollow bubbles develop in the center of your pancake this means that you are ready to flip them over (depending on your hob, this can take anywhere from 30secs-2 mins). After they have been flipped, the pancakes should only take a short amount time to slightly brown on the other side and then they are ready to eat!

You can use any toppings you like, I used Nutella with strawberries and a dusting of icing sugar (confectioners sugar) & a small knob of butter with golden syrup.

If you make these, please leave me a comment or send me a photo on Instagram!  

Happy Pancake Day!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Some tips for dressing/packing for cold climates...

So I just got back from a surprise birthday trip to Lapland... Crazy, I know right!! I only had approximately 3 days notice to get everything ready and packed - it was a challenge but I somehow managed it. When I usually go on holiday, I like to get really excited and research (a bit about the area we're headed to, the climate, local attractions etc) before we go but this time I didn't get a chance to look so it was a kind of figure-it-out-as-you-go type thing. It was a steep learning curve, let me tell you!
Here are some things I found out and would like to pass on so you can learn from my mistakes/be prepared:
 photo 5ef42317-d438-423b-b678-a865227d6877_zps3089b0e5.jpg- Don't wear mascara. I know, I know - I wanted my lashes to look all fluttery and alluring too (especially as that is like the only part of your body that won't be covered up by 3 million layers). But when your eyelashes freeze and you feel like you have conjunctivitis you'll be sorry. You'll also regret it when you walk back into the warm and the icicles melt and your mascara drips onto your face. Such a beautiful look, honestly...

- Your nostrils freeze. Yep. Not sure how, but without grossing everyone out too much, your nasal hairs seem to freeze together with any water residue up there. I'll leave it at that, however if you do want to avoid this - put a little bit of Vaseline on a cotton bud and just run it around the inside of your nostrils. Gross, I know but a frozen nose is annoying and uncomfortable.
- There is no such thing as over packing. Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration but it is very easy to underestimate the cold - I know I did. Minus 25 degrees Celsius... Pfft! I ended wearing most of my clothes every day. My feet HATED me on the first day. I honestly thought they'd dropped off and I'd left them behind in the snow somewhere. I couldn't feel them, it was awful. Another helpful tip that I learnt was the saying 'cotton is rotten'. What this basically means is don't wear cotton socks, as we were at an altitude of 1000ft our feet would sweat despite the cold. Sweat freezes in cotton socks. Wool socks were an absolute life saver, I wore about 3 pairs at all times each day and my feet were still cold.
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See what I mean about melty mascara? Haha!
- Mittens are better than gloves. Especially wool mittens and then waterproof mittens over the top. Gloves separate your fingers therefore making them colder, by wearing mittens, you are keeping the warmth of each finger together.
- Layers, layers, layers! I cannot stress this enough. If you are going as part of package, you will most likely be supplied with a sexy all-in-one thermal suit and thermal boots to keep you warm and dry. Don't assume you can just wear normal clothes underneath these. You will be cold. Very cold.  
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Each day I wore *cracks fingers*: underwear, full thermal under layers, at least one long sleeve top, a jumper, a thick cardigan, sometimes a hoodie, jeans, jogging bottoms, three pairs of wool socks, thermal boots, thermal suit, neck gaiter, giant woolly snood, woolly gloves, ski gloves, ear muffs and a giant Superdry woolly hat. This kept my core at a comfortable temperature most of the time but my hands or feet were never really more than chilly.
- Moisturise. Despite all the snow, the arctic circle is as dry as a desert. To keep your skin hydrated, make sure you use good moisturisers that aren't water based as they can freeze. Also, don't forget your lips - apply a good lip balm before you go outside (I used my Nuxe Reve de Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm, it worked wonders).
-Don't stop moving. S Club 7 probably weren't referring to keeping warm when they sang this but it works well for Lapland. On our first day, we retreated to a little wood hut with a fire to warm up after getting so cold. But once you stop moving around, the cold feeling really sets in and becomes painful.
- Don't shower in the morning. Any water residue in your hair will cause it to freeze and it can potentially snap off (even after a good session with the hair dryer). Need I say anymore?
I hope that helps anyone who is shortly heading off to somewhere cold! If not, I hope you had a little chuckle at my expense :).




Last Friday I flew back into London from an amazing surprise trip to Lapland courtesy of James's lovely parents (what an awesome birthday present eh!). It was such an unforgettable experience, we got to mush with our own husky dog team, I got a kiss from a super cute husky called Bruno, we rode in a reindeer sleigh, went for late night treks into the arctic wilderness, searched for the elusive Aurora Borealis and I even got to drive a snowmobile (which I promptly crashed into two trees. Well done, Jess)! My favourite bit by far was playing with the husky dogs, the day we visited them was actually my birthday and it was just so magical. I got really homesick though after all the fluffy cuddles and missed my own dogs, I am so soppy when it comes to our furry best friends haha! Where we stayed was 250km into the arctic circle and was literally in the middle of nowhere, it was a 2.5 hour drive to the nearest hospital let alone any restaurants or shops. It was really nice being so secluded although it did feel a tad ominous at times, like a empty frozen landscape! One thing which surprised me was how much I liked the cold, it ranged from a mild(ish) -7C to a rather chilly (BLOODY FREEZING) -25C. Once you get used to constantly being icy, it's not so bad at all. Saying that, the locals said that in the depths of arctic winter, they regularly hit -45C... WOW, I can't even imagine how they cope with that. A particularly strange thing that I couldn't get my head around was the lack of daylight, the sun rose at 10:30am then set again at around 2:30am while we were there, it was so easy to lose track of the time and think that it was bedtime at 4 o'clock in the afternoon!
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High five if you noticed the funny photobomb in the top right photo... Safe to say we had a giggle when we noticed it!

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