Winter Coat Picks

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I’m on the look out for a new winter coat. Oh yes, I am! Some (Alex) might say that I don’t need another one to add to my collection, but I’m sure they (he) are just saying that because we have a bit of a lack of space in the house. I’ll find room, don’t you worry – there’s always room for more clothes!

Winter coats are in abundance in the shops at the moment, but unfortunately I can’t say that many are grabbing my attention. It’s always a tricky process buying a coat when you are vertically challenged, but it’s particularly tedious when your usual go-to website has such a dismal selection… Have you seen what ASOS have on offer for petites this year? They seriously need to up their fashion game, that’s for sure! The rest aren’t much better either. Sad times.

Faux fur, puffer, parka and camel coats seem to be a keen trend for 2014 – Also XXL coats, which is obviously a complete fail for me. I must say I am often drawn to a fluffy, soft number and have seen a few faux fur coats I quite like. I wore my  Michael Kors Puffer to death last year and it was a godsend – so warm and comfy, for my late nights working outside on the club guest lists. I’ll probably have to rely on it again this year, but I’d love to find a new coat to wear during the day. Now I’m wearing jeans again, I think a bit of re styling needs to be done… good excuse eh?!

Anyway, below are a few of my winter coat picks for 2014 – a mixture of different styles for all occasions. Let me know which is your favourite, or whether you have seen any other winter coats that I should be casting my eyes over.

 

Winter Coats 20141

From left to right – top to bottom.

1: Petite Collarless Blanket Coat – Topshop
2: Capri Textured Coat – French Connection – Use Code OCTF20 for 20% off French Connection
3: Elliot Padded Parka – Whistles
4: Cotton Parka – Zara

Winter Coat Picks

1: Camel Waterfall Coat – Next
2: Waterfall Front Parka  – Topshop
3: Wool Cocoon Coat – M&S
4: Furry Coat  - Zara

 

Oh, and a little word from Charity Hands On London – they need your old winter coats. Read on HERE

La Petite Bouchée in Sydenham

Sunday, October 19, 2014

There’s nothing better than finding new places to eat locally and on Friday night, we were lucky enough to have dined at La Petite Bouchée, somewhere not only very close to our house, but also a spot that serves very tasty food indeed!

La Petite Bouchée is definitely not your average dining spot. It’s a cosy pop-up 4 seat brasserie in a vintage 1970’s Citroën van. Yup, a van. Such a great idea! Our location for the night was Sydenham Wells Park and our lovely hosts were Anita and Caroline, who are two women who really seem to know their stuff. Not only do they serve up delicious grub, but they also write a successful food blog called Lover of Creating Flavours, as well as sell made to order pickles and preserves at Heaven Preserve Us. I’m certainly down for some Strawberry, Lime and Pimms jam sometime soon! Mmm, Pimms…

Anyway, back to the van… You can book a single table for four, but if you come as a threesome, dine alone or as a couple, you simply dine with other guests – A scary thought for some, but it really has been lovely meeting and getting to know new people every time we have been to supper clubs and the like. You tend to find that it’s all like-minded people who enjoy these new and slightly different experiences and they are always friendly.

We were at La Petite Bouchée for Moules Night, which I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about, never having actually eaten more than a few in one sitting. Thankfully, we were served 1kg of the finest mussels you can imagine, as well as frites, bread and of course, plenty of bubbles. Anita had driven all the way to Veasey & Sons fishmongers in Sussex to pick up the fresh shellfish in the morning and boy am I glad she made the trek… They were a-maz-ing, such great quality and I have to say, it was one of my favourite meals, in quite some time.

If mussels aren’t your thing, then there are plenty of other dining options (mainly French), over different days, such as Vacherin Fondue and Brunch. You can also make private bookings from December 1st and I hear there are lots more events coming soon, which I for one am very keen to partake in!

La Petite Bouchée really is something you should try and book, if you get the time.  Feel free to drop me a line if you’d like some company as well. I’m massively keen to return soon!

OK, so we totally failed with the pictures I’m afraid, so I nabbed these from their Facebook page, where there are plenty more. Another reason to book again, I guess!

La Petit Bouchee

ZoeleeAlex

We had a choice of four flavours and opted for Norandie and Thai, which we shared. My favourite was the Thai, which were divine.

Marinière (traditional butter, shallots, wine and parsley)
Normandie (butter, shallots, celery, cider and cream (optional)
Thai (butter, shallots, lemongrass, coriander, ginger, coconut milk, red chilli )
Seafood Bisque (stock made from shellfish and fish,tomato puree,wine, a splash of brandy and cream)

Orange and White Chocolate Loaf Cake

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

No matter what I decide to bake, it always seems that I never have the appropriate sized baking tin! I’ve been meaning to buy a loaf tin for years and stupidly ordered one online that was far too small for me to even bother with… I mean loaf cakes should never be small now, should they?! When I saw this Orange and White Chocolate Loaf Cake, I was once again left with a tin conundrum, but went ahead and baked it in my brownie tin anyway. Such a rebel. I know it didn’t quite get the rise it should have, but my guess is that it still tasted just as amazing.

I’m usually quite partial to a bit a lot of dark chocolate baking, but Alex isn’t quite so keen on eating much of the rich dark chocolate goodness that I churn out, so there really is no point in me baking it… That is unless I want to increase in size tenfold! So, in a bid to bake more that he’ll like, I have recently  been trying out some white chocolate recipes – He definitely hasn’t had a problem with those and this Orange and White Chocolate Loaf (or not quite so loaf) Cake seemed to go down pretty well.

I’m trying to make an effort to actually make some of the magazine recipes that I tear out and pile high in the kitchen. They usually gather dust and then end up in the bin, years later, but this one was spotted in a recent Grazia magazine and is by Ruby Tandoh who appeared in The Great British Bake Off. There are also some tasty looking Dark Choclate Orange Bourbons, which I might just have to make for myself one day…

Enjoy!

 

Orange and White Chocolate Loaf Cake

Orange and White Chocolate Loaf Cake

Ingredients

For the cake:
150g butter, soft
150g caster sugar
Zest of 2 oranges
Zest of ½ lemon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
225g plain flour, plus a little extra
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
75ml milk
150g white chocolate chips, or block chopped into small chunks
For the syrup:
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
50g caster sugar
To decorate:
50-100g white chocolate
2lb (900g) loaf tin / or a brownie ti if you can't find one ;)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C/fan 150°C/gas mark 3-4. Grease and line the loaf tin.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (this takes some elbow grease or a food processor). Beat in the zests and gradually add the eggs. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder, then gently fold this into the butter and egg mixture. Stir in the milk.
  3. Make sure that the white chocolate is in quite small chunks – about 5mm cubes – if chopping it yourself. Toss the chocolate chunks/chips in a couple of tablespoons of extra flour to help ensure that they don’t sink straight to the bottom of the tin. Stir the chocolate into the batter.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the lined tin, smooth over, and bake for about 50mins. When ready, a knife inserted into the middle of the cake should come out with only a few crumbs sticking to it. If using a different shaped tin you may need to check the cake after 30 minutes.
  5. While the cake is in the oven, prepare the syrup by gently heating the orange and lemon juices in a saucepan, and then stirring in the sugar until dissolved. As soon as the cake is out of the oven, pierce all over with a small, sharp knife, cocktail stick or skewer, and spoon the syrup over – you may not need to use all of it, but do be generous. Leave the cake to cool in the tin then remove it.
  6. Heat the white chocolate for the drizzle in 10 second bursts in the microwave, or in a bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water, stirring regularly. Drizzle over the top of the cake, using either a spoon or piping bag.

 

 

 

 

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