Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies

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If your valentine is anything like mine, there's one sure fire way to their heart.  Chocolate!  More specifically, chocolate brownies.  These brownies have to power to melt even the chilliest of hearts, Elsa wouldn't stand a chance against these babies.

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies

Not only are these brownies swirled with creamy cheesecake, I've only gone thrown in a generous helping of raspberry jam.  I swear, marbling cheesecake through brownie batter is one of life's little pleasures. Plus, you get to lick the spoon, bonus!

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies

Instagrammers, fellow food snappers and cocktail capturers; please add me up at Katie_PetLamb so I can see your mouth watering photos.   If you decide to whip these treats up for your honey, which I think you should, I'd just love to see the finished result.  Tag your pics with #iheartkatiecakes so I can perv on your creations.

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies

Ingredients: 
375g unsalted butter 
375g plain chocolate 
6 large, free range eggs 
350g caster sugar 
225g plain flour 
Good quality raspberry jam

For the cheesecake:
150g full fat Philadelphia
100g caster sugar 
1 large egg

Method:
Preheat oven to 170C and line a 33x23 brownie tin with baking parchment.

Make the cheesecake layer.  In the bowl of a stand mixer whisk together the cheese, egg and sugar until thick and creamy.  If it seems a little thin add a teaspoon of flour to thicken the mixture.

In a large heavy bottomed saucepan melt the butter and chocolate together over a low heat. Mix the eggs and sugar together in a large jug and pour into the melted chocolate, mix till combined.  Add in the flour and stir until just combined, take care not to over mix at this point.  

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out.  Take the cheesecake and spoon blobs onto the brownies, do the same thing with half a jar of good quality raspberry jam.  Take a knife and marble the jam and cheesecake through the brownies.  Bake for 35 minutes or until there is just a slight jiggle in the center of the pan.  Leave to cool completely, preferably overnight in the fridge.

Cut into squares or use a heart shaped cutter to stamp out heart shaped brownies.   Enjoy.
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Baileys Flat White Martini

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There's something about Baileys that just screams decadence.  The velvety smoothness is the perfect accompaniment to a special occasion, and with Valentines day just around the corner you'd be crazy not to try your hand at these flat white martinis.

This super simple cocktail not only tastes amazing but gives the illusion that you really know your stuff behind the bar, even if your usual go to drink is a vodka and soda.  Have two of these ready for your honey coming home this Valentines and I promise they'll be putty in your hands, just make sure you don't burn your M&S dine in for two.


Baileys Flat White Martini
Serves 2

Ingredients:

25ml espresso
25ml vodka
50ml Baileys

Method:

Add all of the ingredients with some ice to a cocktail shaker.  Shake and shimmy that thing until it's all nice and cold.  Strain into two chilled martini glasses and enjoy!

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Gingerbread Stained Glass Cookies

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Something about these cookies just screams christmas.  The gingery taste, the glitzy stained glass filling, what more could you need to adorn your Christmas tree?!  Not only do they look spectacular while your fairy lights twinkle behind the 'glass', but they taste great too. Just make sure you make some extras so your tree isn't purged before the big day.

Stained glass cookies perfect for hanging from your Christmas tree





If you'd like to hang these yummy trinkets from your tree, just pop a little hole in the top of the cookie using a straw. Once baked, thread some string through the gap and you're ready to hang.

Stained glass cookies perfect for hanging from your Christmas tree



When filling the festive holes in your cookies, remember the more is more.  The first time I made these I was a little scarce with my sweet filling which left a thin, brittle and dull glass window.  Make sure the little gaps are completely filled with hunks of boiled sweet and you should be fine.  I really love how the childhood sweets melt into these little windows, it's like Christmas alchemy.

Stained glass cookies perfect for hanging from your Christmas tree



Gingerbread Stained Glass Cookies

Ingredients:

350g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
3tsp ground ginger
120g butter
200g light brown sugar
1 large, free range egg
4tbsp black treacle
Multi coloured boiled sweets, crushed keeping colours separate

Method:

Preheat the oven to 170C and line two cookie sheets with baking paper.

Mix the flour, baking powder and ginger together in a bowl and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer whisk together the butter and sugar until light and creamy, add the egg and golden syrup before adding the flour mixture.  Mix until just combined.

Turn the dough out onto your kitchen counter and flatten into a round patty.  Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for an hour.

Once the dough is chilled roll it out to 1/4" thick and stamp out your cookies using festive cutters.  Fill each hole with your crushed sweets and bake for 12 minutes until the biscuits are just beginning to brown.

Allow your biscuits to cool completely.  If you've made a hole in the top to hang from your tree make sure it's still open by pushing a straw through while the cookie is still warm.  Once cool, gentelly remove from the tray and enjoy.





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A Typical Sunday with Travelodge

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When Travelodge got in contact asking me to share my favorite things about Newcastle, my mind went into overdrive.  There are so many awesome aspects of the city that I call home, I had the hardest time narrowing my favorite parts down.  Saying that, I've cheated a little bit and shimmied out of Newcastle to one of my most loved destinations, Tynemouth.  



I'd say about eight out of ten Sundays (depending of severity of hangover) I can be found elbow deep in boxes of junk at the beloved Tynemouth Market.  Located in the Tynemouth Metro Station it's a very simple hop and jump from Newcastle City Centre, just one short train ride and you'll be stepping out onto a platform filled with eager bargain hunters and a plethora of adorable dogs.




You can find anything from vintage records to handmade sausages to antique trinkets, the market is a treasure hunters dream come true.  I can lose hours among the bric a brac, happily hunting out the perfect addition to my ever growing collections of 'old tat' as my boyfriend like to call it.




There's always a bit of nostalgia at Tynemouth Market, no matter what your age is. I had to drag myself away from the selection of 1980's My Little Ponies, and I may have found myself ferreting around in a box of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figures.  The 80s man, what a time to be alive!

Tynemouth Market

Tynemouth Market

Tynemouth Market

Tynemouth Market

Tynemouth Market

If you're a bit of a dog person you won't be disappointed.  The amount of adorable hounds, big and small, is just unbelievable.  You won't get more than two steps without a scarf wearing whippet snuffling at your feet, or a pampered Chihuahua all wrapped up in a fur lined parka giving you the eye. I always leave with the overwhelming urge to run to the dog shelter and rescue a Jack Russell, then I remember I have two cats who will simply pack their bags and move out if I dared turn up with a new canine addition to the family.

Tynemouth Market

Tynemouth Market

Tynemouth Market

Tynemouth Market

Once we're finished with our bargain hunting there's only one place I want to go, Longsands Fish Kitchen.  I first discovered this place when we couldn't get a table in nearby café Dil and the Bear, and I couldn't be happier that I did.  These are the best fish and chips that I've had in my life, but the real star of the show is the curry sauce.  Oh man, that stuff could end wars. I have intense cravings which  have to be fulfilled on the weekly.  My usual order is fish chips and mushy peas (side order of curry sauce, obvs) but today I went a bit fancy and opted for the tiger prawns with chilli jam. 

Longsands Fish Kitchen, Tynemouth

Longsands Fish Kitchen Tiger Prawns

Finally, no day out is complete without us heading back into Newcastle and straight to our favorite cafe, The Wild Trapeze.  Located in the heart of Heaton, this is the only place I'll frequent for tea and cake, other than my own shop of course.  Family run and so damned adorable I cannot recommend this place highly enough, I just love it.  If you do decide to go, order the London Fog Latte, there really is nothing better.

Wild Trapeze Carrot Cake


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Rum and Raisin Cupcakes

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Rum and raisin is one of those flavours that comes with age, much like olives and blue cheese.  Things you physically couldn't let near your mouth as a child are relished as an adult.  I remember a time I despised all three of these things, now I'm dangerously close to getting gout from over indulgence.

Rum & Raisin Cupcakes. A fabulous adult treat for the festive season.

So what do I do, I take some raisins that I've let soak in spiced rum overnight and ram 'em in some fluffy cupcakes.  Who can't get behind this? You'd have to be some kind of monster to refuse such a treat.  Remember this is a no kids allowed treat, unless you're anything like my mother who'd dip my dummy in whiskey so I'd sleep soundly.   But hey, I turned out OK *glances over at my heaving booze trolley*. 

Rum & Raisin Cupcakes. A fabulous adult treat for the festive season.

Rum & Raisin Cupcakes
Makes 14

Ingredients:
200g raisins
100ml spiced rum
250g unsalted butter, softened
200g caster sugar
150g light brown sugar
4 large free range eggs
350g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
3tbsp whole milk

125g unsalted butter, softened
500g icing sugar
2tbsp spiced rum
2-3tbsp whole milk (you may need slightly more or less)

Method:
The night before you want to make you cupcakes pop the raisins in a bowl and cover with the rum.  Leave to infuse overnight.

Preheat oven to 170C and line two cupcake trays with 14 cases (you may have slightly more or less batter)

In the bowl of a stand mixer cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, around five minutes mixing should do it.  slowly beat in the eggs, mixing well after each addition.  Add the flour and baking powder to the bowl and mix carefully till combined followed by the raisins, any remaining rum and the milk.  Stir through till evenly distributed.

Using an ice cream scoop fill each cupcake case to 2/3 full and bake for 22 minutes, till golden on top and springy to the touch.  Allow to cool in the tins for five minutes before transferring to a rack.

Once cool beat together the icing sugar, butter and rum.  Add the milk a tablespoon at a time until you reach a good piping consistency.  Fill a piping bag with a closed star nozzle and pipe a swirl atop each cake. Top wth sprinkles and enjoy. 


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