2 Days in Bucharest

2 days in Bucharest, Romania | Hello Victoria

Way back in June, Richard and I had the opportunity to travel to Romania for a wedding! Man, how time flies! I just got around to going through the photos that we took, and thought I would write up a quick recap of the things we did and places that we went.

We were technically there for 4 days, but since Richard was the best man in the wedding, there was a lot of time spent doing wedding related stuff. Everything we did could be easily crammed into two days.

Architecture in Bucharest, Romania | Hello Victoria

Walking the streets in Bucharest | Hello Victoria

Romania wasn’t exactly a country that was on either of our bucket lists, but we enjoyed the opportunity to check out someplace new. It’s been described as “the new Berlin” (since I’ve never been to Berlin, this didn’t really mean much to me), and definitely has a lot of new bars and coffee shops popping up all over the city. It’s a city that seems ripe for development; I couldn’t stop admiring all the old buildings around town, and kept wishing people were buying them and fixing them up. Buuuut despite the lack of a squeaky clean exterior, there are a lot of new restaurants and ‘hipster-type’ hotspots all over the capital city that are worth a look.

Architecture in Bucharest, Romania | Hello Victoria Architecture in Bucharest, Romania | Hello Victoria

Architecture in Bucharest, Romania | Hello Victoria

The best place to start is definitely the Old Town, which is full of cafes, bars, and plenty of tourist shops if you’re feeling the need to buy some sort of fridge magnet or tacky shot glasses. It’s quite small, so you can walk around it pretty easily and admire all of the buildings. And, if you’re hotel is located a bit outside the old town, why not walk through a park to get there?

Bucharest has plenty of nice old parks all around the city, which are great in the summertime. If we’d had more time I would have wanted to walk through more of them to get to/from Old Town and our hotel. However with the wedding activities, it was often more prudent to simply get an Uber. (Oh, and if you happen to visit Romania, make sure you use Uber! It’s so insanely cheap in Romania, but also incredibly reliable. We used it to get everywhere, including getting to and from the airport.) (more…)

Laura’s Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Pie

Strawberry rhubarb crumble pie | Hello Victoria

Do you have recipes that you associate with a specific person? I grew up with plenty of recipes we always called by the name of the person who introduced us to it – “Heather’s Dip”, “Grandma’s Ammonia Cookies”… or in this case Laura’s strawberry rhubarb pie. So-called because it was my sister-in-law who first discovered the recipe, and introduced me to it. That, and she loves this pie, so I always think of it as hers.

So when we had a glut of rhubarb in the allotment, I could think of one thing I wanted to make with it! Well, I could think of a ton of things I wanted to make, but this was first on my list.

Strawberry rhubarb crumble pie | Hello Victoria

Strawberry rhubarb crumble pie | Hello Victoria

Pies aren’t as big here in the UK as they are in Canada and the US – most people would be quicker to make a crumble with rhubarb. Or maybe even a tart, but not pie. I, for one, love making pies as they leave so much room for creative decoration! Crumbles are good and all, but they leave little to be done artistically. Pies are sooooo much better to play with!

In this instance, I opted to make little strawberries out of excess dough, and added them to some leaves and a braided edge. I love braids on pie crusts! Even though this pie can be made with a single crust, I almost always make a double so that I have more to play with, or sometimes swap the crumble for a lattice top. I love a good lattice…

Strawberry rhubarb crumble pie | Hello Victoria

Strawberry rhubarb crumble pie | Hello Victoria

Of course, you can also make a double batch of the dough to freeze one half, and make another pie later! Since the dough recipe requires a single egg to make a double batch, it’s easier to just make the double batch than divide in two. This recipe was another one that Laura introduced me to, and I’ve used it for every pie I make, ever since. (more…)

The Allotment Garden: June 2018

Allotment updates June 2018 | Hello Victoria

Okay, so many changes here! I’m so excited about our garden this year, and all the things we are hoping to harvest! I took these photos about mid June, and already so much has changed! I can’t wait to see where we end up in August. Or even September!

I recapped our allotment in this post a couple weeks back, and used the following illustration to show the layout of our first plot.

Allotment plans for 2017 | Hello Victoria

To show all the changes that we’ve made this year so far, and our plans for all the plants, I created a new illustration for 2018. You can see it below.

Allotment Plans 2018 | Hello Victoria

So first big changes up from last year, are the greenhouse and a second plot! Richard is so incredibly proud of the greenhouse. It took a while to build, but mostly because we were doing it in winter and there’s only so much time you want to spend freezing your butt-off outside painting pallets. The frame was built out of pallets that Richard got from his work, and for so long it looked like we were building a pen for animals. 🙂 Then he added some curved plastic pipe for the roof supports, a shelf made of pallet scraps for starting seeds at the back, and everything got covered in plastic! The thing that took the longest was painting it all with the same stain as the shed (Tudor Black Oak) as pallets have so many nooks and crannies.

Allotment updates June 2018 | Hello Victoria

We’ve used it to start all our seeds this year, and made use of both the shelf as well as the bare ground to keep large bins full of seed trays. It was great to not have our windowsills full of little trays, like last year. 🙂 Now that everything has been planted out, it’ll mostly be used to grow all our tomatoes, chili peppers, and cucamelons.

Allotment updates June 2018 | Hello Victoria

Allotment updates June 2018 | Hello Victoria

Outside of the greenhouse I opted to plant some lupins and salvia because I wanted to fill the space a bit, and make it look prettier. On the other side I moved some forget-me-nots that kept showing up on our plot to make it look nicer. Our allotment neighbour has them, and they keep seeding little plants all over our plot. Since I like free flowers I decided to simply move them, rather than get rid of them.

Allotment updates June 2018 | Hello Victoria

Beside the greenhouse we have our shipping-boxes-turned-raised-beds from last year. We’ve moved them to a slightly different spot because of the greenhouse, but they’re in the same part of the plot. Instead of lettuce greens (which we always forgot to pick) we’re growing all of our herbs in two of the boxes, while keeping the third for carrots and radishes like before. Hopefully the nasturtiums, which are planted around the two herb boxes, will really fill out and spill into the middle… so pretty!

Allotment updates June 2018 | Hello Victoria

Over by the greenhouse is our shed! I gave it a couple of fresh coats of stain, as it was looking a bit worn after the winter. And of course, we gave it a much larger patio! If you follow along on Instagram, you will have seen the progress on stories. It’s soooo nice to have enough room now to sit with a few friends for a bbq, which would have been too cramped before. And I can’t stop loving the herringbone brick! We scoured Gumtree to find free bricks in our area, and then cleaned the old mortar off them to add to the existing patio. (more…)

My Perfect Scone Recipe

My perfect scone recipe | Hello Victoria

One of Richard’s childhood memories is coming home after school, to his mom making fresh scones. He would sit at their breakfast bar, with a cup of tea and a scone, and tell her about how hard his day was (he had to colour for hours 🙂 ). When I first heard that, I immediately wanted to find a great scone recipe, so I could do the same for him now. I wanted him to come home from work to fluffy, light, layered scones.

However, the first couple of recipes that I tried never lived up to their pictures. It sort of bummed me out, and I put off finding a good recipe. That is, until I was asked to make scones for someone’s wedding. That sort of put the fire under my butt that I needed!

My perfect scone recipe | Hello Victoria

My perfect scone recipe | Hello Victoria

So I decided to try Mary Berry’s recipe for classic Devonshire scones. Well, they had the same problem as the ones before, but this time, I decided to tweak them until they came out the way I wanted! Scones tend to fall into two camps – slightly dry and crumbly, or softer and layered. The first time I made this recipe, they definitely fell into the first category. And I’m not the biggest fan of the crumbly kind of scones.

My perfect scone recipe | Hello Victoria

on the left are the scones from the first attempt – and on the right are the scones after I tweaked the recipe
Then I started thinking about it – crumbly is because of a lack of gluten development. Most scone recipes tell you not to work the dough very much – just press it together a couple times and cut them out. But that’ll end up with crumbly scones. If you want them to hold together better, you’ll have to knead the dough briefly – like 10-15 turns of kneading. By working the dough a bit, you’ll end up with a softer, fluffy texture – just the way I like them! Oh, and be sure to roll them out thick! If they’re less than 1/2″ in height, then they won’t rise as much. The thicker you roll it out to, the more they’re grow! (more…)

The Allotment Garden: 2017

Allotment garden 2017 | Hello Victoria

Alright, if you’re not into gardens, then you may want to skip this post! And many of the ones after, ha! I’m becoming a bit obsessed with this allotment, and making it perfect…

So last year we took on our first plot at the allotment (coummunity garden) nearby. It had been left to get a bit overgrown as the previous owner couldn’t take care of it anymore. I talked about what our dreams for the plot were in this first post, as well as what we had done so far in this one. However, that is where my posts stopped! I kept wanting to take photos and post updates, but would think “I need to weed first” becuase I wanted super pretty ‘Instagram-worthy’ pictures. Well, that never seemed to happen, and then our tomatoes all got blight and I just gave up. I just never thought it looked good enough to document.

Buuut… it’s hard to really show how far we’ve come without first posting some photos from last year. They’re mostly just iPhone photos that I took to send to Richard while he was away, so he could see the progress. I apologize for their lack of quality.

So first up, we need to just remember where we started…

Allotment garden before | Hello Victoria

That was how the plot looked when we first signed up for it. It had rows of raspberry canes covering one half of the plot, a few giant woody lavender, a couple of rose bushes, and some fruit trees. Other than that, it was all just grass and weeds – completely overgrown.

Allotment garden 2017 | Hello Victoria

We pulled up all the old landscape fabric, and rotovated the two halves of the plot. Unfortunately, as we learned the hard way, certain weeds etc. just get worse if you rotovate. Richard had broken up and turned the soil on one half by himself, but then while he was doing the second half, the allotment site manager came over and offered to rotovate instead. Turns out they get broken up and churned into the soil – only to pop up later 100 times worse. You can see evidence of that in later photos…

Now, to make things less confusing let’s refer to some diagrams and images – shall we? Last year just after we cleared the site, we drew up some plans of what we wanted to do (this plan was in my post about what we had done so far).

Allotment plans last year | Hello Victoria

And of course, our plans changed as we went, and by the end of the summer, the actual plot looked like this. Oh, and my diagrams got better 🙂

Allotment plans for 2017 | Hello Victoria

Now, our plot essentially has two sides, broken up by the trees and grass in the middle (as shown in the diagram above). Let’s start by talking about everything that we did on Side A.

Allotment garden 2017 | Hello Victoria

the plastic shed base, laid on top of the white weed covering fabric

So one of the first things that we managed to do was create the patio area and shed. We ended up getting our shed assembled, because Richard was away at the time, and I can’t build it by myself (hard to lift and screw things together, simultaneously). The company delivered it and put it together in about 20 minutes! All I had to do was clear the area, level the ground, and install a base. To that end, I put down one of those plastic shed bases. It was super easy to put together, and came with landscape fabric to prevent weeds growing underneath. We could have gone with a wood base, or concrete, but the wood ones are super expensive, and the concrete wasn’t going to work on an allotment. (more…)

Rhubarb + Custard Doughnuts

Rhubarb + custard doughnuts | Hello Victoria

One of the best things about our allotment is that it has rhubarb. Richard and I both love rhubarb in all sorts of things – muffins, cakes, crumbles, pies… etc. (Although, we also love just plain ol’ stewed rhubarb with some yogurt.) However, sometimes it feels like we almost have too much rhubarb (I know – it’s a thing!) and I’m always looking for new ways to use it.

One of the first things that came to my mind was rhubarb doughnuts! Someone at my work had actually tried to make rhubarb and custard doughnuts before, but the acidity in the rhubarb jam he made caused the cream to curdle. Ever since then I’ve always thought that if I were to do it, I would turn the rhubarb into a curd instead, as it would prevent any curd-ling. After all, you can mix lemon curd with cream and it’s fine – and lemon is even more acidic!

Rhubarb + custard doughnuts | Hello Victoria

So I went back to my tried and true recipe for crème patissière, which is the same recipe I use for making lemon curd! I simply swap the milk amount for lemon juice, and add as much zest as the amount of lemons I juice. I figured I could do the same with rhubarb purée! However, once I had stewed the rhubarb, and blitzed it – it wouldn’t press through a seive like raspberry or some other kind of puree. Too much fibre. In the end I didn’t seive it, and simply reduced the amount of cornstarch in the recipe to account for how thick the puree is to start with. I figured that the rhubarb purée was about halfway between how thin milk is, and how thick I wanted the final curd – so I halved the amount of thickener (cornstarch) to just 10g.

Rhubarb + custard doughnuts | Hello Victoria

The rhubarb taste is there, but subtler than I was expecting. I’m debating trying to make these without the custard next time. I would double the amount of rhubarb puree, and just flavour the whipping cream with vanilla and fold them together. I think the flavour would be amazing – but then I love rhubarb, and it might be too strong for some. But even without the strong rhubarb flavour – these still taste great!

Rhubarb + custard doughnuts | Hello Victoria

For the doughnut itself, I used the same recipe from Justin Gellatly’s book Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding, that I used in the paska doughnuts. Except, as these weren’t paska doughnuts, I used his traditional recipe with water instead of citrus juice. If you want a few tips on how to fry them, check out the paska recipe! My key tip is always to prove the doughnuts on parchment paper, rather than trying to lift them off a floured surface. You can even pre-cut the squares before shaping, so that you don’t have to try and cut around the doughnuts once proven.

When I was trying to decide how to garnish these (all doughnuts need a garnish, IMHO), I was torn between poached rhubarb, and rhubarb curls! In the end, I think the poached stuff works better, as it looks more like rhubarb at first glance. It has better colour. However, the fact that you can make ribbons out of rhubarb is always fun. 🙂 I used this recipe to make them.

Rhubarb + custard doughnuts | Hello Victoria

Rhubarb + custard doughnuts | Hello Victoria

Which garnish do you think looks better?

Rhubarb + custard doughnuts | Hello Victoria

Either way, if you happen to have a glut of rhubarb from your garden, or just love doughnuts, why not try these? You could even try reducing the amount of creme patissiere in the recipe to see if the stronger flavour is better? Taste is always a personal preference. Or, you can just eat the rhubarb curd straight – ha! Pipe it into tart shells, or make a rhubarb meringue pie! Enjoy!

Rhubarb + Custard Doughnuts

Ingredients

  • Doughnut Dough:
  • 500g white bread flour (strong white)
  • 60g caster sugar (berry sugar), plus extra for coating
  • 10g salt
  • 5g instant yeast (15g fresh, 7.5 active dry*)
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 150ml water
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2ltrs neutral vegetable oil, for frying
  • Rhubarb Puree:
  • 225g rhubarb, chopped
  • 0.5 orange, zest and juice
  • 50g + 2 tsp sugar
  • 25ml lemon juice
  • 10g cornstarch
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Creme Patissiere:
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 50g sugar
  • 20g cornstarch
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 0.25 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out (or 0.25 tsp vanilla paste/extract)
  • 250ml double cream (whipping)
  • 40g caster sugar

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the flour and yeast. In a large bowl**, combine the water, citrus zest, sugar, eggs, flour mixed with yeast, and salt (layered in that order). Using a wooden spoon, stir until the dough starts to come together, then turn out onto a clean work surface.
  2. Knead the dough at a medium pace, for about 8 minutes, being careful not to add any extra flour. This dough will be very sticky, so use a bench scraper to help you knead.
  3. Allow the dough to rest for one minute.
  4. Start kneading again, and add the butter in small amounts - kneading in each one before adding the next. Once you have added all the butter, knead at a fast pace for 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic. It'll still be very very sticky.
  5. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with cling film, and allow to prove for 1-1.5 hours. Punch the dough down, recover, and place in the fridge overnight.
  6. While the dough is resting in the fridge, make your rhubarb curd and pastry cream.
  7. Place the chopped rhubarb, orange zest, juice, and 2 tsp sugar in a bowl. Allow the rhubarb to macerate while you make the crème patissière, drawing out the water.
  8. For the pastry cream: In a medium bowl, mix together your egg yolk, cornstarch, and enough of the milk to thin it out a little.
  9. Heat the remaining milk, sugar, and vanilla in a saucepan, over medium heat, until just simmering. Turn off the heat, cover, and allow to infuse for 20-30 minutes.
  10. Bring the milk back up to a low boil, and slowly pour it into the egg yolk mixture, whisking the whole time to prevent the egg cooking.
  11. Return the whole mixture to the pot, and cook over a medium heat, whisking constantly.
  12. Once the mixture begins to thicken, remove from the heat for 10 seconds, and whisk vigorously. Return to the heat and allow to come to a full boil, for 10-15 seconds - keep whisking.
  13. Strain mixture onto a large piece of cling film, and wrap to make a little pillow. Chill in the fridge until cold.
  14. For the rhubarb curd: in a small pot over low heat, cook the rhubarb mixture until soft and broken down. Remove from heat, allow to cool, and puree in a food processor.
  15. In a medium bowl, mix together your egg yolk, cornstarch, and enough of the lemon juice to thin it out a little.
  16. Heat the remaining lemon juice, rhubarb purée, and sugar in a saucepan, over medium heat to a low boil, and slowly pour it into the egg yolk mixture, whisking the whole time to prevent the egg cooking.
  17. Return the whole mixture to the pot, and cook over a medium heat, whisking constantly.
  18. Once the mixture begins to thicken, remove from the heat for 10 seconds, and whisk vigorously. Return to the heat and allow to come to a full boil, for 10-15 seconds - keep whisking.
  19. Strain mixture onto a large piece of cling film, and wrap to make a little pillow. Chill in the fridge until cold.
  20. The next day, remove the dough from the fridge, and divide into 50g pieces. You should get 20. Shape each of them on a table (you may want to lightly flour your hand) into a tight bun shape. Do this by cupping your hand over the piece, and moving your hand circles.
  21. Place the rounds on parchment lined trays, and lightly cover with cling film sprayed with cooking oil to prevent sticking. Allow to prove in a warm place for 1.5-3 hours, or until doubled in size.
  22. When the dough is almost ready, begin heating the oil in a large pot over medium heat, until the temperature reads 180°C (356°F). You will need to be very careful working with the oil (it's hot!), and try and check the temp. between each batch. Cut the parchment paper around each doughnut.
  23. Fry the doughnuts in groups of 2 or three, for about 1.5-2 minutes on each side. Place them in the oil gently, by the parchment paper, and remove it once you have flipped the doughnuts.
  24. Remove the doughnuts to a paper towel lined plate, to soak up any excess oil. While still warm, toss the doughnuts in a bowl of caster sugar.
  25. Once all the doughnuts are fried, allow them to cool while you finish the filling.
  26. Remove the pastry cream and curd from the fridge, and beat until smooth.
  27. Whip the double cream, and 40g caster sugar until stiff, then divide in two and fold each half into the rhubarb and pastry cream. Gently swirl the two together. Fill a piping bag, fitted with a small round nozzle, with the mixture, or a ziplock bag with a small hole cut in the corner.
  28. Using a paring knife, cut a small hold in the side of each of the doughnuts, to allow you to fill them.
  29. Stick your piping bag in the hole, and fill the doughnut, then pipe a small amount to cover the hole. Decorate with poached rhubarb, or whatever garnish you like!

Notes

*If using active dry yeast, you will need to warm the water to about 46°C (115°F) and allow to dissolve. If using either active dry or fresh, add to the water instead of flour. **Feel free to make in a stand mixer if you have one, using your dough hook. Simply mix on medium speed for the time shown. It's much easier to use a machine with such a sticky dough.

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Fresh Garden Pea + Kale Pesto Pasta

Garden pea and kale pesto pasta | Hello Victoria

Now, I think it’s pretty safe to assume that everyone likes pasta. (I mean, unless you’re celiac that is.) It’s always so warm and delicious… but often leaves me feeling a bit guilty. It’s not exactly health food, is it?

So when I saw this recipe from Waitrose, it felt like the perfect marriage of guilty pasta and veggies! This pesto is so vibrant and fresh tasting, with the garden peas… while also still feeling like a traditional pesto, with garlic and basil. It’s delicious, but also feels almost healthy.

Garden pea and kale pesto pasta | Hello Victoria

The perfect recipe to enjoy after spending the day gardening in the allotment 🙂 Which is pretty much what we do every weekend!

So if you’re looking for a quick meal on a weeknight, this is the jam! And you can easily swap out the kale for spinach, or another similar green. In fact, I actually prefer the flavor with the spinach as opposed to kale. It’s subtler, which allows the pea and basil to really shine.

If you’re the type to keep frozen peas on hand, it’s an easy fridge meal. That is, if you’re the type who keeps spinach or kale on hand. 😉 Enjoy!

Garden pea and kale pesto pasta | Hello Victoria

Fresh Garden Pea + Kale Pesto Pasta

Ingredients

  • 320g frozen peas
  • 150g kale, stems removed (or spinach)
  • large handful basil
  • 30g toasted pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp grated parmesan, plus more to serve
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 300-500g pasta
  • chilli flakes, lemon juice, salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Place the peas in a bowl, and cover with just boiled water. Let sit for 30 seconds, then drain and rinse in cold water.
  2. Blanche the kale/spinach in boiling, salted water for 1 minute. Drain, and pat dry.
  3. Transfer the peas, kale, garlic, nuts, parmesan cheese, and a healthy pinch of salt to a food processor. Mix until everything is chopped, and drizzle in just enough oil to keep it moving.
  4. Add a splash of lemon juice and a sprinkle of chilli flakes, to taste. Add any more salt if desired.
  5. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, and drain, reserving a ladle of the pasta water.
  6. Add a splash of the pasta water into the pesto, and whizz to combine. Stir together the pasta, and pesto, adding more water to give it a silky texture. Taste, and serve with extra parmesan or chilli flakes.
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Vegan Veggie Muffins

Vegan Veggie Muffins | Hello VIctoria

Is this a healthy muffin? Is there such a thing as a healthy muffin if it contains sugar?

I mean sure, you can make all sorts of paleo “blah-blah-naturally-sweetened-with-bananas” type things… but those aren’t reeaaallly muffins. Muffins are fluffy, slightly sweet, with a delicious crusty top. They’re basically cupcakes without the frosting, if we’re being honest with ourselves. They’re cupcakes we can feel better about eating.

Vegan Veggie Muffins | Hello VIctoria

Buuut, if there was such a thing as a healthy muffin – this would be it! It does contain sugar, but also has pumpkin purée, apple, carrot, and zucchini (courgette) inside. Not to mention pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.

Vegan Veggie Muffins | Hello VIctoria

It might not seem like the kind of recipe for the beautiful sunny weather we’ve been having, but I think it works. The flavours may feel like fall (with the pumpkin, cinnamon, and cloves) but the fact that it’s healthy makes it feel like summer to me! I can’t be the only one who craves salad and other healthy foods once the weather heats up? Goodbye hearty and rich stews – hello BBQ!

Vegan Veggie Muffins | Hello VIctoria

Vegan Veggie Muffins | Hello VIctoria

In my humble opinion, if carrot cake is acceptable all year round, why not these?

So if you’d like a morning treat, or something to bring the office, and are looking for healthier options – why not try these? I can guarantee you that you won’t be disappointed.

Vegan Veggie Muffins | Hello VIctoria

Vegan Veggie Muffins

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 24 regular size muffins (20 large tulip case ones)

Ingredients

  • 450g all-purpose flour
  • 300g whole-wheat flour
  • 14g baking soda (bicarbonate)
  • 26g baking powder
  • 10g ground cinnamon (plus extra for sprinkling)
  • 6g ground ginger
  • 6g salt
  • large pinch all-spice
  • large pinch ground cloves
  • pinch ground cardamon (optional)
  • 74g sunflower seeds
  • 74g pumpkin seeds (plus extra for topping)
  • 450g sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)
  • 284g pumpkin purée
  • 224ml neutral oil (sunflower)
  • 116ml apple juice
  • 6ml vanilla extract
  • 134g grated zucchini (courgette)
  • 100g grated carrot
  • 92g grated apple

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C convection (340°F). Line 2 muffins trays with paper cases (24 total).
  2. In a large bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients except for the sugar, and seeds. Mix in the seeds, and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar, along with all the wet ingredients. Stir in the grated veggies and fruit.
  4. Mix the wet into the dry, until no flour remains. (The mixture will be thick)
  5. Mix together a tablespoon of extra sugar with a sprinkling of cinnamon to dust the muffins with.
  6. Spoon the mixture evenly into 24 muffin cases, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and top with a few extra pumpkin seeds.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 30+ minutes, turning partway through. Check with a toothpick to see if done.
  8. Cool on baking racks, then store in an airtight container.

Notes

If you are using the larger tulip paper cases, then you'll only get about 18-20 muffins, and may have to bake longer.

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Saturday in Brick Lane + A Cat Café*

Cat cafe near Old Street, London | Hello Victoria

*Technically, they specify that they are not a cat café, but it’s hard to describe the place without calling it that…

This past weekend, Richard and I decided that we just had to get out and do something. Too often when we have a day together, we waste it by relaxing around the flat all day. Now, I say wasted loosely here, as a day spent sleeping in, eating brunch, and watching a movie on the sofa is not a wasted day per se. It’s just that we often look back at months at a time, and feel like we haven’t really done anything.

Visiting the Brick Lane market | Hello Victoria

I always seem to take photos of Richard on trains – he hates it. I’m thinking of starting a series… or a coffee table book. 😉

So we considered our options and settled on visiting the market at Brick Lane! We had both been to Brick Lane on different occasions, but never on the weekend, when their markets are open.

To be honest, I was a bit disappointed. It was kind of small despite how much space there actually was. We’re both more into antiques than handmade stuff, and the market seemed full of screen printed clothing, or similar items. Not quite what we were looking for.

Visiting the Brick Lane market | Hello Victoria

Vintage cameras at the Brick Lane market | Hello Victoria

Vintage typewriters at the Brick Lane market | Hello Victoria

What they didn’t have in terms of stuff to buy, however, they made up for in stuff to eat! Nowhere near the options at Camden or Borough Markets, but they had momos! After living in Nepal, Richard has quite the affinity for those little Tibetan dumplings… so to say that he was ‘chuffed’ to see that stall, would be an understatement. And of course we had to share a sampling! We tried all the varieties except for vegetarian, and enjoyed them all. The spicy dip had quite the kick!

Momos at the Brick Lane market | Hello Victoria

Now, sharing a few dumplings isn’t quite enough for a full meal. There were some other amazing options available in the Brick Lane market, but we had another lunch in mind… salt beef bagels!

I had heard about the bagels here at Beigel Bake, as being the best salt beef in London. I’m a huge fan of spicy mustard and pickles… so these seemed right up my alley! But, if I’m being honest, I think the ones at Borough Market are better (controversial, I know). Maybe it’s the better pickles, but a lot of it is probably due to the fact that Beigel Bake cranks out like a bazillion of them each day, and they sort of just slap them together. Seriously, the lines there for bagels are mental. I like a bit more care with my food. (more…)

Visiting Camden Market, London

Camden Market, London | Hello Victoria

The other day, I happened to be near Camden Market for work, and thought I would wander the shops a while. If you live in London, then you’ll already be quite familiar with Camden Market, but for those who haven’t been, let me explain. Camden Market used to be this hub of alternative fashion, music, etc. The main street has tattoo shops and piercings aplenty, but lately tends to have become overrun with tourist traps. Once word got out about Camden, it got less alternative, and suddenly has 30 shops selling tourist kitsch along with the tattoos.

Camden Market, London | Hello VictoriaCamden Market, London | Hello Victoria

The main street is the kind of place to head if you’re in the market for a cheap pair of sunglasses, or phone case. But it’s the market itself that draws me in! Part food market, with open air stalls, and part handmade/antique sellers hawking scarves, jewelry, and the like. In the fall, it’s the perfect place to find a new scarf, or toque, and in the summer it’s a great place to find a new pair of sunnies, or a new bag! But in my case, it was the perfect excuse to try a fancy hot chocolate I had heard about.

Camden Market, London | Hello VictoriaCamden Market, London | Hello Victoria (more…)

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