1 February 2016

The Turk's Head | Leeds

The oldest pub in Leeds has just got a new sibling. Next door to Whitlelocks pub (300 years young), Turk's Head opened its doors last week to welcome a new crowd to Turk's Yard, sandwiched between the city centre shopping streets.

The new joint is a hipster's dream. Marble topped tables, rose gold accessories and cabinets full of apothecary bottles. It's visually beautiful, giving off a Gatsby vibe if you can find a spot in the darkened corners. Launch night was absolutely packed, tables and standing space full to capacity, but the quality of drinks and vibes from the new place were great.

Reasons to visit? Aside from the beautiful interiors, Turk's Head are here to provide "beers, spirits and cocktails of note", with the menu frequently changing. There will remain 12 beers on tap, two on cask (my drink of the night was Ilkey Brewery's Tribus IPA - delicious), alongside independent and artisan spirits and a specially created cocktail menu.

This is definitely a place for those who know their favourites to drink, spend time working through the extensive menu, or go in with your order - you'll be getting quality every time.

It's a cosy little nook to while away the hours with a good drink - whether cocktail, spirit or beer - I can see this being a winter haven, the d├ęcor has really grabbed me.

I have to admit that I've never even visited Whitelocks (it's on my list) - but I love the modern coming right next door to the hundreds of years old. So whether you're after the OG or the younger sibling, slip into Turk's Yard (it's off Briggate, a hidden alley opposite Zara) for somewhere a bit different to the usual. If you're loving the Hedonist Project's current pop-up then you'll love Turk's Head.

29 January 2016

Easy Baked Raspberry & White Chocolate Cheesecake

A quiet weekend had me delving into the pages of the recipe books - baking is a real pleasure and I definitely don't make enough time for it.

I have never made a cheesecake in my entire life. For a first timer, this is damn good - own trumpet fully blown. Fresh raspberries, white chocolate and vanilla - here goes the recipe, step by step.

You'll Need -
A round tin (spring clip is a better option, I carved mine out of a lesser option) greased and base-lined with greaseproof paper
Wifey apron is not essential, but definitely helps

The Base
50g unsalted butter, at room temp and diced
25g dark chocolate, broken
235g shortbread biscuits, crushed

The Filling
300g white chocolate, broken
400g full-fat cream cheese
2 medium eggs
150ml soured cream
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
150g fresh raspberries

Optional Decoration
Fresh raspberries
White chocolate for grating
Icing sugar to dust

1. Get your oven pre-heating. 170C/Fan 150C/325F/gas mark 3

2. Melt your butter and dark chocolate together. A bowl over heavily steaming water is the best method to reduce the burning risk, but microwaves do the job if you keep a close eye on them.

3. Stir through your crushed biscuits - the biscuits should be finely crushed, a little grainier than breadcrumbs.

4. Pour the mixture into the pre-lined, pre-greased tin.

5. Pat down the down the mixture with the back of a spoon until compacted. Then whack this in the fridge to chill whilst you tackle the next mixture.
You may now lick the chocolatey spoon. 

6. Boil water ready to set a bowl over, this should be heavily steaming, but not boiling water. Set a bowl of your broken white chocolate on top and melt.
Keep a close eye on it, take off as soon as there are no visible chunks then set aside.

7.Combine your eggs and cream cheese (I went manual labour, but a Kitchen Aid is goals) until smooth, then add in the soured cream and vanilla extract.

8. Stir the white chocolate into the mixture until evenly combined.

9. Pour half of the mixture on top of the chilled biscuit base, smooth out then sprinkle the raspberries on top. Mine covered most of the tin.

10. Pour the rest of the mixture over the raspberries and smooth out. Aim to completely conceal the fruit to avoid burning.

11. Cheesecake in oven - check it at 30 minutes, then keep an eye on it until it's just set in the centre. Mine took around 50 in total, but I'm not convinced that wasn't down to the oven...
Some jiggle is still fine, but aim for a covered set.

Clean up stage - optional (but highly recommended) spoon licking should enter now. Particularly the white chocolate covered spoon.

And once you've got that complete cheesecake set? Or have warn out your waiting period...

12. Take out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin. The brown spots are where I didn't completely cover the raspberries, so for that enviable Instagram-worthy look, do as I say, not as I do.
Once cool, cover and put it in the fridge - ideally overnight or at least until it's set to a firm consistency.

13. The decoration, this is entirely optional and a pretty last minute addition (for Instagram points of course), but you can go classic or creative.
I lined with fresh raspberries, there was just enough sticky grip on the cheesecake to do this, but you can pipe cream or icing on as an adhesive if you need to.
A centrepiece of grated or shaved white chocolate would add a nice touch, and/or finish with a light dusting of icing sugar sieved over the top.

Et voila!

Here completes my first cheesecake journey! So very proud of myself - hence why I'm documenting the evidence. It's got a boyfriend seal of approval, and a very prominent approval from myself. I have high standards.

Who's going to give it ago? Or at least whack out your own recipe to fill the weekend with... Share any baking beauties below!

27 January 2016

9 Things to do When You Need a Break From Your Laptop

No matter how much I love blogging, or how easily I can get lost in the internet, there comes a time when I need a break from the screen. I'm on a computer all day at work, sometimes the last thing I want to do is come home and open my laptop.

But what to do away from the laptop? It seems so much entertainment relies on a digital screen now - even the majority of my reading does - so here's some easy alternatives.

1. Bake up a storm
This past weekend I've delved into the gorgeous Great British Bake Off book I got for Christmas. I may not be into tiered cake territory yet, but tier one went down a storm.

2. Read printed words
If an e-reader does the job, then switch to the alternative screen, but don't forget the pleasure of a real book. Coffee table books are a joy to get lost in when you have the time.

3. Colour in
I dedicated a whole post to colouring in because I find it such a source of relaxation. There are endless pages to discover now, even mini options if you don't want to commit to an intricate master piece. Highly recommended it.

4. Plan your next trip
Granted, most of the wanderlust trail is online now, but if you've got your guide book for your next destination ready to go, read up on the customs, the must-sees and need-to-knows of your next trip. Lonely Planet guides are a must.

5. Learn a new language (or something new)
I'm in the midst of my second try at learning French, switching between the Assimil book and Duolingo on my phone (the latter you can do anywhere - plus you get points. Bonus). I'm determined to get somewhere near fluent!
Pick a language or just pick a new thing, there's plenty out there so find something that appeals and create a new hobby.

6. Organise your self
Put pen to paper and get planning. Jot down all your important upcoming dates (events, birthdays, deadlines etc) or create a list of 'to write' blog posts for when you next hit your keyboard.

7. Get photographing
Good light? Close your laptop and get through a batch of photos. You'll have folders full ready to create a post and it means you're not stuck working around daylight savings.

8. Beautify
A pretty obvious one if you're looking for a destress whilst away from your screen. Face mask, long bath, deep exfoliation or a proper manicure - the list could fill hours if you want to commit.

9. Go outside!
And the final option - get out there! The internet is glorious, as is a heated bed (I've just got an electric blanket and my life is heaps cosier), but the outside is more so. Grab a chum and go for a stroll, or rack up those scenic outfit shots, this is especially great if you're struggling through writer's block. A change of scenery has an immense effect on your mindset and creativity.