Jess Cantoni

Recipes, reviews & lifestyle

Friday, 23 September 2016

Bath and Body Works Autumn Haul


It's that time of year again where the leaves begin to fall and everyone swaps their light summer dresses for cosy, wintery jumpers. It's my favourite month of the year, so this I'm going to try and make it as cosy as possible in my home. 

I've pulled out all the stops this year and ordered some candles and other bits and bobs from Bath and Body Works. I know, I know.. how did I do it!? Well, I used this company called My Mall Box which gives you a US address where you get your parcel delivered to. They then forward the parcel on to you, with a fee of course. They're certainly worth checking out! 

Since I'm not the only person who loves a good candle, I thought i'd share my purchase with you on here, hopefully giving you some inspiration and idea on what to buy.


The candles




I've actually got this one lit whilst writing this post, and I will tell you know, I could trick someone that I have a pecan pie cooking in the oven. It's that real! The smell is of buttery waffles with warm, toasted pecans. This candle really does make me hungry.

Bath and Body Works describe it as: maple syrup, golden waffles, pumpkin spice and brown sugar. This candle costs $22.50 (although I bought them when on an amazing deal of $12.50 each!)


This has got to be one of my favourites as I have been absolutely obsessed with pumpkin lately! With nutmeg, vanilla and pumpkin, 
you cannot go wrong for Autumn. It makes my lounge feel so cosy; 
I just can't wait for the leaves to start falling now. 


B&BW description: Creamy pumpkin, vanilla creme, fresh ground nutmeg and Graham cracker crust. $22.50.



Can I just say how much I adore the packaging of these candles? This one is so cute with its white picket fence and little white pumpkins. The smell of this one is fruitier with a strong hit of spice. Like the pies your mum used to make, I reckon! Another candle that will make you dash out to the super market for something sweet!

B&BW: Sweet blueberry, baked apple, blackberry, pumpkin pie, puff pastry. $22.50.



A lot of peoples favourite and I can see why; a floral smell with hints of spices and crisp leaves. Trust me, I swear I can actually smell the leaves. A perfect Autumn candle.
B&BW: Crisp red apple, golden nectar, warm clove spice. $22.50.



I think this has to be my all-time favourite because of its connotations with cosiness. I like to light this one when reading a book on the sofa, preferably with a hot choc in hand! It really does smell of marshmallow toasting over a fire. 
Also the pumpkin and leaf candle holder is so cute, and really suits well on a fireplace. I can't seem to find this anymore on the B&BW website, despite only just ordering it. If you want to buy it, keep checking as they may bring it back.

B&BW: Toasted marshmallow, smoldering woods, fire roasted vanilla, crystallised amber. $22.50.


A cinnamon-smelling candle perfect for halloween. I really love the design of this candle, especially the lid - those bats are adorable! The perfect addition to any halloween party!

B&BW: Haunted pumpkin, creepy clove,vampire's vanilla, scary brown sugar. $22.50.

Other bits and bobs


This glittery, pumpkin air freshener holder is super cute and very festive for the season! It's had our car smelling of the 'leaves' candle all week, and I love it! $6.50.

Below are the 'scentaportables' I bought: pumpkin apple and leaves. $3.50 each or 2 for $6.



Okay, so I had to get this. Not only for it's scrummy smell of salted caramel and (yet again), pumpkins. It was totally worth it, and I will definitely keep the bottle after because of it's cute little shape! $18.00. (2 in 1 body wash and bubble bath).


I've not used this yet as I'm stowing it away until the approach to Halloween properly starts, but all I know is that it smells of berries, not blood, so no need to panic! $6.50 or 6 for $24. 


I love cats, so much. I couldn't resist this hand wash because of this fact. Oh and also it's pumpkin, so double yes! $6.50 or 6 for $24.


I've had this one in the bathroom recently, and the smell is so good. This one reminds me a lot of Christmas, probably because of the cranberry. The smell lingers on your hands for a good while after washing, and also foams up when you lather. $6.50 or 6 for $24.


Who ever thought to put berry crumble (+ pumpkin for good Autumn- measure!)in a hand wash? Well, whoever did had the right idea because I bet it smells yummy. As you know, I love partaking in a spot of baking.. well now I can transport this into my hand washing too! Dreams have now come true. 


How cute is this? I have brought my love of cats to my love of hand sanitizers, and now they can be as one! This spooky cat sanitizer holder (or PocketBac as B&BW call them) cost $5.50. I've already put mine to good use at work. 


OMG these socks are literally the softest ever. They're also shea-infused, which is cool. I did find that they lose a lot of fluff at the beginning, so i've popped them in the wash to see if this helps! I wore these as soon as I opened them, whilst sat on the sofa, nice and cosy in front of the fire. Also them being halloween-y and cat-themed is a win win for me! $8.50.


What is your favourite Bath and Body Works candle? Do you also have a candle obsession like me??












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Sunday, 18 September 2016

Roast Beef and Horseradish Sauce filled Yorkshire Puddings (GBBO Week 4)



So I'm not from up North.. maybe that's why these, what I thought would be easy, yorkshire puds, didn't turn out as expected! Well, that's my excuse anyway! 

This week for the Great British Bloggers challenge, it was batter week. IT was a choice between Yorkshire puddings, which was the signature challenge in the Great British Bake Off, laced pancakes from the technical and churros from the showstopper. 

I chose the Yorkshires because I always end up doing these posts on a Sunday, and thought they'd make a nice addition to our Sunday Roast, obviously!! I didn't fancy the lace pancakes as I don't think anyone would come on my blog searching for those. And churros..well, I just couldn't be bothered with all the deep-fat frying! Haha! 

So puds it was. I think my problem with these is that I put too much oil in the pan, therefore sort of drowning them slightly and hindering them to rise as much as they should. So remember, only add a tiny bit of oil! Also, my oven is crazy, and is always too hot; that's why some of them got a tad burnt!! Oh well.. I'm sure i'd be going home on this round if I was on the show! 

You will notice that I also made one with a roast potato and a carrot - this is just me trying out the 'roast dinner' Yorkshire. You can do this too if you are having a roast when you make them. 

Here's what I did...



Ingredients

Joint of beef
Horseradish sauce

Vegetable oil
2 large eggs
100g plain flour
100ml milk
sea salt
ground black pepper

Method

1. Roast your beef until medium rare and slice into thin slices once left to rest.

2. Pre-heat your oven to 220 degrees/200 fan. 

3. Add a tiny amount of oil into a fairy cake tin and heat in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until sizzling hot.

4. Make the batter in the meantime: mix the eggs, flour, milk and salt and pepper until smooth.

5. Once the oil is hot, pour into the tins evenly, ensuring you don't take too long to do this, and bake in the oven for 12 minutes, or until risen and golden brown. 

6. Once baked, roll up your slices of beef and slot into the Yorkshire. Add a spoonful of horseradish sauce on the side. Serve!


I'm linking these up with Mummy Mishaps for the Great British Bloggers Challenge. 

\
Mummy Mishaps


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Sunday, 11 September 2016

Tear 'n' Share Garlic Bread (GBBO Week 3)


It's bread week! GBBO was back on our screens with another epic episode featuring some scrummy loaves. I've opted this week to bake the signature challenge. The actual signature challenge was to bake a sweet chocolate loaf, however I've chosen savoury as I just really fancied some garlic bread!

This tear n share loaf is from the Jamie Oliver website, which I believe was also featured in his Comfort Foods book too. This is certainly something comforting! Beware, they are also VERY filling! We ate them for dinner tonight along with a roast chicken, and I think I could only manage 4 pieces! They are not light like the usual dough balls. 

The butter in these balls has been infused with garlic, parsley and cayenne pepper to give them a little spice. They are not spicy however, but they certainly are moorish! Perfect to serve at a informal dinner party or on a picnic. 

Makes 35 balls
Ingredients
800g strong bread flour + extra for dusting
7g dried yeast
100g stale breadcrumbs
1/2 bulb of garlic
250g unsalted butter (the original recipe states 500g in order to save part of it for another day, however I decided to half it. Use 500g and double up the rest of the butter ingredients if you wish to save some garlic butter in the freezer for another day)
Half lemon
Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley
1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper

Method

1. Put the flour into a bowl and on one side put the yeast and the other the salt (this stops the salt from affecting the yeast).

2. Make a well in the centre a slowly pour in 550ml of tepid water whilst mixing slowly. 

3. Once a rough dough has formed, continue to mix on the mixer for 10 minutes, at a medium speed. Take out and knead by hand for 5 minutes until springy and smooth. 

4. Place in a bowl and cover with a tea towel. Place in a warm spot for 30 minutes to prove. I usually turn on the oven on a low heat and then turn it off and leave it to cool slightly, then put my bread inside to prove. This usually speeds up the process too. Prove until double in size.

5. Whilst waiting, make the butter mix: place the room temperature butter in a bowl and add: garlic crushed, cayenne pepper, chopped parsley, zest of the lemon and pinch of salt. Mix together. 

6. Spread a third of the butter on the bottom of a 25cm x 35cm tray. Scatter the breadcrumbs evenly in the tray. 

7. Divide the dough into 35 pieces and shape into balls. Place 5 across and 7 down, in the tray. Place pieces of another third of the butter, on top of the dough balls. Leave to prove again until doubled in size. 

Pre-prove



After proving



8. Pre-heat oven to 190 degrees. Sprinkle with a little salt and bake for 30 minutes. 

9. Before serving, glaze with the last of the butter to give a shiny gloss. 




I'm baking along GBBO with the Great Bloggers Bake Off over at Mummy Mishaps - join in too if you want! 

Mummy Mishaps

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Sunday, 4 September 2016

Spiced Viennese Whirls with Pumpkin Buttercream (GBBO Week 2)



Week 2 of the GBBO (Great Bloggers Bake Off) has arrived and this week is biscuit week. I would say that biscuits are not what I usually bake, and having never made a Viennese Whirl before, I had to give them a try! The technical bakes in Bake Off are usually quite difficult, however I found this one rather easy!

As I'm a little obsessed with Autumn, and since it's just round the corner, I was determined to make these whirls as Autumn-y as poss!

I found the whirl recipe on BBC Food, which is Mary Berry's biscuit recipe, however I added the additional spices to make it my own. The pumpkin buttercream recipe was adapted and trialled using also Mary's buttercream recipe.

These whirls are flatter than the normal whirls. This is down to the star nozzle that I used for the piping - I used a D7 Star Nozzle. 
They are however melt-in-the-mouth and lovely and spicy. The pumpkin buttercream is sweet, but also not too over-powering with the pumpkin. The spices and sugar help balance out the slight bitterness I sometimes find with pumpkin. 

I hope you enjoy my Autumn recipe!

Makes 12
Ingredients

Biscuits
250g very soft unsalted butter
50g icing sugar
225g plain flour
25g cornflour
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Pumpkin spiced buttercream
100g unsalted butter, softened
100g pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
280g icing sugar

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees fan/190 degrees C. Line two baking trays with either baking paper or a rubber mat (this is what I used). You can draw a guide on the paper - circles about 5cm wide, however I just did mine free-hand. It's useful to remember the same pattern you are piping (how many times you go round) and it's easy to get them the same size this way. Just keep repeating the same motion with your hand.

2. Make sure the butter is VERY soft. I melted mine slightly in the microwave. It needs to be almost on the verge of melting. Place in a bowl and sift in the icing sugar and beat until pale and fluffy.

3. Sift in the flour, cornflour and spices and beat well. 

4. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle (I used a D7 star nozzle). Pipe 24 swirled rounds onto the paper or mat. I managed to make some extra, which I of course ate! 



5. Bake in the centre of the oven for 13 minutes or until golden brown. Watch carefully, as my oven is very hot usually and bit funny, they were brown and baked in 10 minutes.

6. Cool on the tray for 5 minutes and then carefully remove with a spatula onto a wire rack, to cool further. 



7. Now for the buttercream. Weigh the buttercream into a bowl and pour in the pumpkin puree. Beat until all combined. 

8. Add the vanilla and spices and mix again to combine. 

9. Sift in the icing sugar gradually, and mix well until at the right consistency. If your buttercream looks like it has split (mine did this!), fear not - just beat with the mixer on a the highest speed, and it'll combine well and will be split no more! You can add some more icing sugar if you prefer, as this will also help. 

10. Spoon into a piping bag, and lay the biscuits with the pairs, onto a mat. Pipe swirls of cream on one biscuit (right to the edge) and sandwich with the other half. Finish with a dusting of icing sugar.




Do you have any pumpkin recipes you love? Who else is getting excited for Autumn?

I'm linking this up with Mummy Mishaps who is hosting GBBO 2016.


Mummy Mishaps

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Saturday, 3 September 2016

Focaccia di Formaggio (Cheese Focaccia)


Holidays have passed and autumn is upon us, much to my delight. With the changing of the season, this blog will hopefully try and move with it, however there are always those summer recipes you can't help but make, even during winter! This is one of them. Despite it being perfect for autumn and winter too (win win), this cheesy focaccia brings memories of sunny days in Italy. 

The recipe is from my favourite two greedy Italian's book, Two Greedy Italians Eat Italy. My version has turned out very different from theirs, as it seemed to rise A LOT and theirs was more like pizza. Although, focaccia is usually more like the appearance of mine, so I don't mind! I've also used two types of cheese.. i'm greedy like that! Sono golosa!

Ingredients

1kg plain flour
500ml water
100ml olive oil + extra 
10g yeast (I used the fast acting kind - they suggest fresh)
20g salt
400g taleggio cheese and comte, roughly chopped(both can be found in Waitrose)

Method

1. Put the flour into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. 

2. Add the oil, yeast and salt and mix to form a rough dough. Knead in a mixer with the dough hook for 5 minutes (hand 20 minutes) until smooth and elastic. You can do the window test to see if it's ready, by taking a piece of dough, stretching it and seeing if you can see through the thinnest part without it breaking. 

3. Cover with a cloth and leave to rise. I put mine in a warm oven that I turned off, as I don't have many places in my kitchen that seems to work for dough. It didn't take long to rise in their, but in a normal warm place, it should take 30 minutes. 

4. Pre-heat oven to 240 degrees. 

5. Grease a round pizza tray with a small bit of olive oil. 

6. Roll half the dough on a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin. By hand, stretch the dough to a thickness of 3mm. Imagine you are making pizza!

7. Place on the tray and top with the cheese pieces


8. Roll and stretch the other half of the dough to the same size and thickness, and place over the other half with the cheese. Press down the sides like you're crimping a pasty. Drizzle over some oil.

9. Bake in a hot oven for 15 minutes or until nice and brown. Best served straight away.




Do you have a favourite recipe that is great for all seasons?


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Monday, 29 August 2016

Gateau au Citron (A.K.A Lemon Drizzle Cake) GBBO Week 1



It's that time of year again when everyone gets their bake on! It's Great British Bake Off season... with Paul Hollywood's sarcastic quips, Mary's facial expressions and a group of amateur bakers put under tremendous pressure, you can't go wrong 

This week, in order to join in with the GBBO (Great Bloggers Bake Off), I've decided to bake a good old lemon drizzle. Now worry to disappoint, but this isn't any fancy watermelon infused, candy-popping extravaganza; it's just a simple lemon cake. I was going to attempt a mirror cake for this week's bake, but I was at a wedding on Saturday, recovering yesterday and today I've had visitors, so the lemon cake was perfectly easy to knock-up before they arrived, and went down wonderfully with a cup of coffee. 

The bakes to choose from are always the same as the bakes that are shown on tv, so essentially we are baking a long with them. 
If you want to join in, head on over to Mummy Mishaps where she'll be doing the linky each week.

My recipe this week for the lemon cake has come from my days at pastry school. I can never go wrong with this recipe as I always have Chef Julie (the head of patisserie at LCB) speaking in my ear when I bake it; I can always hear her witty remarks and sarcastic laughs as I bake it, as she was the one who supervised us over this bake, and gave us a really detailed break down as to why our cake has a certain crumb etc at the end... Really wish I could remember why now!




Ingredients

Cake

115g butter
175g caster sugar
100g egg (about 2)
1 lemon, zested
175g plain flour
2.5g baking poweder
85ml milk (you may not need all this)

Glacage 

90g icing sugar
2 lemons, juiced

Method 

1. Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees/150 degrees fan. Cream the butter in a kitchen aid when at room temperature.

2. Add all the sugar into the mixer and mix until creamy and combined.

3. Whisk eggs and add gradually to the batter mix until incorporated.

4. Zest the lemon into the batter and mix in.

5. Sieve flour and baking powder and fold in gradually to the batter mix. Make sure there are no flour traces in the mix as this will show up in the cooked cake. 

6. Add milk gradually. You may not need all the milk, so it's best to pour in gradually until the batter is at dropping consistency. 

7. Line a loaf tin (lb loaf tin) with baking paper or use a loaf liner like I did. Pour in batter and level out. 

8. Bake in the oven for about 45 mins, until a skewer comes out clean when poked in the middle. 

Now for the glacage (to be ready as soon as the cake comes out)

9. Weight out the icing sugar and squeeze the lemon juice into a bowl and take out any pips that fall in. Pour the lemon juice into the icing gradually, and mix to combine. You want it to be a quite runny consistency. 

10. Pour over the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. Leave to cool. 




Do let me know if you also plan to join in with the GBBO! Until next week!



Mummy Mishaps


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