Month: November 2018

To Fringe or Not to Fringe: Debating Baby Bangs

Baby bangs inspiration | Hello Victoria

Amazing short fringe via

Okay… random post time! So a number of years back (actually, just after I met Richard) I got a fringe (bangs) for the first time since I was a little kid. I had just been traveling for over three months and wanted a drastic change. However, my stylist told me to get bangs first, and then if I still wanted to get a bob, I could come back in a couple months. Man, I miss him… he always gave such great haircuts… I digress…

Back to the fringe! For some reason, allllll the parents in the 80s decided little girls should have bangs, and so my sisters and I spent what felt like years growing them out once we got old enough. I remember clipping them to either side, and braiding them back. Other girls opted for butterfly clips (remember those?!) but I was a total tomboy. After all that agony growing them out, I hated the very idea of a fringe.

Should I get a fringe: Debating bangs | Hello Victoria

Man I love everything in this photo – it just screams early 90s!

Should I get a fringe: Debating bangs | Hello Victoria

For their sake, I blurred out my family – ha! Also, I love my faces in old family portraits – I could never just smile nicely.

But when I first got bangs again at the age of 19, I looooved them! They just gave me such a different look, and set off my cheekbones. However, my skin at that time was quite oily (something I’ve struggled with for years), and I would find that by 3pm they got all greasy, and I would have to wash them and dry them if I was going out that night.

So once my bangs started to become a bit long and get in my eyes, I decided to grow them out rather than trim them. I vowed never to get them again. (ha!) As you can imagine, about four years later I was bored with my hair, and missed my fringe. I remembered how cool it looked, and stylish. I remembered all the good stuff, and forgot the bad. So I got bangs again. (more…)

‘Pumpkin’ S’More Cupcakes – Made With Sweet Potato!

Sweet potato s'more cupcakes | Hello Victoria

One of the many things that is hard to find in the UK is pumpkin purée. Unlike in North America, where “pumpkin spice” is in practically everything come autumn (seriously – it’s insane), the UK doesn’t really do pumpkin desserts. Suuure, you can get a pumpkin spice latte now at Starbucks, but pumpkin desserts are a quintessentially North American thing. Which makes sense – no thanksgiving, no pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin s'more cupcakes | Hello Victoria

So in the past, when I have come across canned pumpkin purée, I would buy a couple just for the future. You never know when you might need it! Update – my local little Waitrose has it in stock right now… whaaaatt?!

And of course, when I got the inclination to try these cupcakes, I was out of pumpkin and with no where to find it. So I thought about it, and realized that spiced sweet potatoes (yams in Canada) taste a whole lot like pumpkin pie. So I figured I could simply use some pureed sweet potato instead of pumpkin! And you know what? I couldn’t tell the difference!

Pumpkin s'more cupcakes | Hello Victoria

The original recipe for these cupcakes called for a graham cracker crust. Again, not something you can find here in the UK. However, my mom had sent me a box a while back, and I had juuuust enough left to crush up. You could substitute with digestive biscuits, but I don’t think it’s worth it. The graham crust is more flavour than texture, and without the honey graham taste, I don’t think it’s necessary. You could just omit that part.

Of course, then they wouldn’t be very “s’more” but hey, you do what you can! After all, s’mores are a very North American thing, just like pumpkin pie. Which makes finding graham crackers nigh impossible. Why do I suddenly get these inclinations to bake things with hard to find ingredients?! (more…)

My Favorite Sourdough Bread Recipe

Basic sourdough recipe | Hello Victoria

A loooong while back, I posted a recipe for making your own sourdough starter. I had intended to post a bread recipe shortly after, but it took me this long to get one that I was completely happy with. Some recipes were too wet, some not enough flavour, and others too dense. I kept trying new ones, and new methods, until I had one that I knew would work every time. And here it is!

Basic sourdough recipe | Hello Victoria

This recipe started out as a San Fransisco sourdough recipe from my old school text book, On Baking: A Textbook of Baking and Pastry Fundamentals. It’s a great book that teaches the science and fundamentals of all manner of pastry and baking techniques, and includes recipes for almost anything you could think of! I often think that I need to really work through my recipe books, and this one is definitely high up on the list. It’s got such a wide variety of recipes, and explains them in full detail.

My favourite sourdough recipe | Hello Victoria

I tried making the sourdough recipe, as it’s described in the book, and it was okay, but not quite sour enough for my taste. That could be simply because of the unique wild yeast that lives in San Fransisco (L. Sanfranciscensis), or because this particular recipe was too ‘quick’ to develop a sour flavour. It actually used a small amount of commercial yeast in the dough, so that you could bake the loaf the same day you make it. Great if you’re strapped for time, but it leaves a bit to be desired in taste. However it did explain one thing I had been wondering in the past – how to acheive what I consider a San Fransisco sourdough crust. (more…)

Richard’s Favourite Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut butter cookies | Hello Victoria Blog

Okay, it’s time for a really simple recipe. I’ve meant to post this for ages, but haven’t made them often enough, and keep forgetting to take a photo. These are one of Richard’s favourite things that I make – they’re a softer cookie (unlike the crisp biscuits that people tend to make here in the UK), with lots of peanut flavour.

Now, the most important part of the recipe, is the peanut butter that you use. If it’s one of those cheaper brands, with tons of added sugar and palm oil, then you won’t get as strong of a peanut taste. I only ever buy 100 percent peanut, peanut butter. Suprisingly, Morrisons has a really good one, which is waaaay cheaper than all the health-food ones, but still tastes great. Trust me, I love this stuff. It’s great in a banana smoothie too!

Peanut butter cookies | Hello Victoria Blog

These are a really simple cookie, where you just have to cream together the butters and sugar, add some eggs, and then mix in the dry ingredients. Nothing fancy or complicated here! (more…)

Healthy Jerusalem Artichoke + Celeriac Soup: Feed Your Gut

Jerusalem Artichoke + Celeriac Soup | Hello Victoria Blog

Well, it’s finally November, and the weather here in southeast London certainly feels like it. We’ve got the old electric radiator out again, hot water bottles in the bed, and a duvet on the sofa for snuggling. If we only had a fireplace, I think we’d be quite cozy!

But what this weather does for me is make me crave all kinds of warm hearty things… and above all soup! I almost never want to make soup during the summer, when all I want is a salad. But now, I want to tuck into something that feels just as cozy as the hot water bottle currently residing somewhere near my toes… which are covered in thick socks.

Now, this soup isn’t just warm and cozy, but it’s actually good for you! As I mentioned in a previous post about cooking with these bad boys, Jerusalem artichokes are full of inulin, which is amazing for your gut bacteria… just not for your dignity. They call them fartichokes after all. And that’s not the only part of this soup which is healthy – celeriac is too! I mean, it’s definintely not the prettiest vegetable to look at (seriously, it’s not winning any vegetable beauty contests) but celeriac is full of dietary fibre, minerals, and vitamins! With these two as the main ingredients in a soup, you’ll feel better in more ways than one. And seeing as how they are both currently in season, why not try this recipe this weekend?

Healthy Soup for Your Gut: Jerusalem Artichoke + Celeriac Soup | Hello Victoria Blog

Fun fact, we actually grew Jerusalem artichokes this summer, by accident. Turns out we missed some of the plant we dug up last year, and covered it with our new composter. Now we can’t properly dig the rest up, and so we will forever have Jerusalem artichokes growing by our composter. Which is great news for me, but not so for Richard. His gut seems to go particularely crazy when he has Jerusalem artichokes… which isn’t something he likes too much.

Now I really liked the flavour of this soup, as it’s very different from anything else I’ve ever had. Celeriac has a definitely celery taste (obviously), and combined with the nutty Jerusalem artichoke, it was quite unique. I seasoned it a bit less than most things I make, as I really wanted those two flavours to shine through. Normally I go crazy with tons of garlic… mmm garlic… **insert drooling here** (more…)