Eivissa: Exploring Ibiza

I’m sharing a non-food blog post today! I’m back after spending an amazing, relaxing fortnight in Ibiza. I’ve enjoyed a break from blogging to have some well-earned time off after passing my end of year cookery exams and starting a new job. Here is a collection of my favourite photos from our time away. We love nothing more than getting away from the tourist trail and heading further afield to discover the hidden gems – that’s always the best way to set about travelling! My mind keeps drifting back to the stunning island and I cannot wait to plan my next visit sometime soon. I hope you enjoy looking through my pictures from beautiful Eivissa!

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I went and did what every foodie loves to do when they’re in a new place, discover and try some of the local food. We rented a villa and as I’m a chef I wanted to use the kitchen at the villa to cook lots of delicious dishes for my family because it’s often cheaper than going out for a meal at a restaurant. I was super happy to get the chance to try ensaïmadas again, I first had these in Mallorca a few years ago and I love them. The pastry is best eaten freshly baked from a panadería (bakery) and dusted generously with icing/powdered sugar. 

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It wouldn’t be a trip to Spain completed without tasting some churros. Churros con chocolate are Spanish doughnuts served with a rich chocolate sauce. The churros are served freshly fried, then they’re sprinkled with sugar and then you can eat them as they are or dunk into a thick hot chocolate dipping sauce. Spaniards eat churros for breakfast along with café con leche (coffee with steamed milk) or Spanish hot chocolate. We got these churros pictured from Cafeteria Royalty in Santa Eulària des Riu, the café promotes the perfect setting to sit back, soak up the sun and watch the world go by.

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Views of Ibiza Town 

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A visit to the Dalt Vila (Ibiza Old Town) on the South East coast of the island. We braved the sweltering 40 degree heat to walk all the way up to the top to see some breathtaking views looking back down on the town and the deep blue sea.

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Santa Eulària des Riu – a great setting for an evening walk and helado (ice cream) from Miretti which serves delicious Italian-style gelato

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Cala Xarraca

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The villa owner, Toni and his wife Pepita have gorgeous flowers and blooms in the garden area of the villa. So perfect for capturing some flower pictures.

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All images included in this blog post are copyrighted. Please do not use any of the images without prior permission.

jess

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Cheddar Jalapeño Cornbread

Cornbread with a delicious savoury addition of mature Cheddar cheese and spicy jalapeño chilli peppers. Dunk into a warm bowl of chilli con carne, soup or spread with butter. 

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Cornbread is the epitome of summer picnic food for me and I love that it pairs well with so many different dishes, dipped into a bowl of chilli con carne, served alongside barbecue ribs, grilled chicken or simply served as it is.

Cornbread isn’t really that popular where I’m from, but I don’t know why as this classic American quick bread is truly amazing.

I first made this recipe about a year ago, I was enjoying a lazy day watching a Barefoot Contessa marathon and on one of the episodes Ina was preparing cornbread with a twist. The delicious twist was the addition of sharp, mature Cheddar cheese, spicy jalapeño and spring onion (scallions). As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to bake some for myself as I loved the sound of all those flavours combined together.

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I especially love this cornbread served warm with butter. It’s incredibly tasty! 

Even though I’ve said this cornbread is brilliant for packing up for a picnic, it’s also fantastic in the cooler months enjoyed with a bowl of chilli or soup for those times when you’re in need of some comfort food. Cornbread is pretty much perfect for all seasons, which is especially great at the moment as the UK summer seems to have mysteriously disappeared yet again and all I’m craving is warm winter foods.

I’ll have my fingers crossed hoping summer will make a reappearance sometime soon…😉

This cornbread has just the right balance of sweetness and it’s deliciously moist without being too crumbly like some cornbreads tend to be. I’ve spent some extra time with this recipe translating the cup measurements into grams as everyone needs a good, trusty cornbread recipe in their repertoire and it definitely needs to be this one!

(Makes 12-16 large pieces)

Ingredients:

360g (3 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour

125g (1 cup) cornmeal or polenta

2 tablespoons baking powder

2 teaspoons salt

50g (1/4 cup) caster or granulated sugar

480ml (2 cups) milk

3 large free-range eggs

225g (2 sticks/1 cup) butter, melted and cooled slightly

225g (8 ounces) mature Cheddar cheese, grated

4 or 1/3 cup spring onions (scallions), chopped – use both white and green parts

1-2 large jalapeños, seeds removed and minced (you can add more if you’d like)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160 Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking tray with parchment paper then set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, cornmeal/polenta, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  2. In another bowl whisk together the milk, eggs and melted butter until thoroughly combined.
  3. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until no lumps of flour remain. Be careful not to over mix.
  4. Fold through 2/3 of the grated cheese along with the spring onion (scallion) and jalapeño. Leave the cornbread batter to rest for 20 minutes.
  5. After resting spread the cornbread batter into the baking tray and top with the rest of the grated cheese. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean without any uncooked batter remaining. Leave to cool completely in the baking tray, then slice up into 12-16 large pieces or alternatively pieces of any size you like. Cornbread will keep in an airtight container for 2-3 days. Serve cold or warm.

Recipe from Barefoot Contessa at Home

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Looking for more bread recipes? Try this Rosemary Sea Salt Focaccia next!

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Enjoy!

jess

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecakes

This blog post was created in collaboration with Magnum Ice Cream. All views and opinions expressed are entirely my own.

These mini cheesecakes are for all peanut butter fans out there! Chocolate biscuit base topped with a layer of peanut butter cheesecake, followed by a drizzle of double chocolate ganache and a sprinkle of chopped roasted peanuts. 

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They’re any peanut butter lover’s dream dessert. It’s a mix of sweet and salty flavours and the perfect treat for anybody who loves cheesecake.

This year Magnum has launched the new Magnum Double. It’s available in 3 flavours, Magnum Double Chocolate, Magnum Double Caramel and Magnum Double Peanut Butter.

These delicious cheesecakes are based on the distinct layers included in the Magnum Double Peanut Butter. This truly decadent dessert combines and captures all the things I love about the Magnum Double Peanut Butter ice cream into a simple dessert that’s easy to make and delicious.

It’s no lie that I am a big fan of sharing cheesecake recipes on my site and I am currently having a lot of fun creating mini cheesecakes. Because they’re mini, it means you can indulge in more than one cheesecake.

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The mini cheesecakes consist of a buttery chocolate biscuit base that is followed by a layer of sweet peanut butter cheesecake. They take just 10 minutes to prepare and only 20 minutes to bake. Once they are completely chilled each cheesecake is topped with a generous spoonful of double chocolate ganache.

When I am in need of a yummy reminder of these cheesecakes, I like to have a pack of the Magnum Double Peanut Butter in my freezer ready for when a peanut butter craving strikes! My family and I have been fans of Magnum ice creams since I was very little. I remember warm summer days and hearing the jingle from an ice cream van arriving down the road where we live. I would beg my mum and dad for ice cream and a Magnum would always be what I would pick.

Are you a fan of Magnums? If so, what is your favourite flavour and why?

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I love the layers in the new Magnum Double Peanut Butter ice cream. I can’t think of a better treat to enjoy on a hot summer day! 

(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

Biscuit Base –

9 (approx. 150g) chocolate biscuits (mine were coated in chocolate)

60g (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

Peanut Butter Cheesecake –

450g/1lb (16 ounces) cream cheese, softened

125g (1/2 cup) smooth peanut butter

130g (2/3 cup) caster or granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

Double Chocolate Ganache –

175g (1 cup) mix of milk and dark chocolate

120ml (1/2 cup) double (heavy) cream

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C / 150 Fan / 325°F / Gas Mark 3. Line a 12-hole cupcake/muffin tin with paper cases and set to one side.
  2. To make the biscuit base: Crush the biscuits until they’re fine crumbs. In a small bowl, mix together with the melted butter until coated. Divide the crumbs between the paper cases – approx. 1 tablespoon in each. Press down slightly until firm, then bake for 5 minutes until toasted. Leave to cool whilst you make the filling.
  3. To make the cheesecake filling: Beat the softened cream cheese, peanut butter and sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla and the eggs and mix until incorporated. Divide the cheesecake filling over the top of the prepared biscuit bases. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until set. Leave to cool in tin completely, then remove and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.
  4. To make the ganache: Finely chop the chocolate and place in a medium sized bowl. Gently heat the cream in a small saucepan then take off the heat once it’s boiling. Pour the hot cream over the top of the chocolate and leave for 5 minutes. Now stir until smooth and no lumps of chocolate remain.
  5. Spoon the ganache over the top of each cheesecake. Sprinkle with peanuts and chocolate chips if you desire before serving.

Enjoy!

jess

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Oven Roasted Corn

Buttery baked sweet corn roasted in the oven until tender. Easy and delicious – this will make a great BBQ side dish. 

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I love food that transports me back to holidays. I first tried this corn in Cyprus last summer and I’ve been hooked on it ever since. I remember seeing street vendors selling corn and one evening I couldn’t wait any longer and I decided to try some out for myself because it seemed so popular with the locals.

The experience of watching the corn be prepared was not like any way I’d seen it done before. I watched as the man removed the cooked corn from a large pot of water then he started to charr it on a grill. The next step is what left me completely puzzled, the man started to use a hairdryer! Presumably this is used to help speed up the cooking process and make the corn crisp?

So after all that malarkey I finally got a chance to try it and it was love at first bite. I adored the sweet and salty flavour and the caramelised butter. We enjoyed it so much that every time we headed to the supermarket to get groceries I would pick up some sweet corn and recreate the corn I had from the street vendor. Even my sister who used to dislike corn now can’t get enough of it, that’s why I knew this recipe was a winner and one I wanted to share in time for the summer.

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To prepare it take each corn and place in a piece of aluminium foil, season generously with salt and pepper and then top with a tablespoon of butter. Wrap it all up and then bake for 20 minutes in the foil, then uncover and cook for a further 5-10 minutes until it’s starting to colour slightly.

My corn recipe is a much easier and simpler version of the original. It doesn’t require much effort to make and the oven does all of the work, which means you can spend more time outside enjoying the weather rather than being stuck inside a hot kitchen. If you want you can cook it on the barbecue, it will be equally as delicious.

This corn makes a great side dish for the upcoming BBQ season. It goes brilliantly with burgers, chicken and ribs. I love this simple and inexpensive recipe and so will you – you’ll be making it all summer long!:)

Ingredients:

4 sweetcorn or 8 cobettes

4 tablespoons butter

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C / 180 Fan / 400°F / Gas Mark 6.
  2. Line a baking dish with aluminium foil and evenly spread out the corn. Top with butter and season well with salt and black pepper. Cover and seal the corn in the foil, then roast for 20 minutes. Uncover the corn and continue to cook for a further 5-10 minutes until the corn is lightly coloured and the butter is starting to caramelise.
  3. Before serving brush corn with excess melted butter. Serve immediately. The corn is delicious served both hot or cold.

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Enjoy!

jess

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This blog post is in conjunction with a project FourWalls have set-up to celebrate National BBQ Week.

Raspberry Smoothie

Only 3 ingredients are required to make this creamy raspberry smoothie! It’s the perfect healthy breakfast or snack! 

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I’m a really big smoothie fan and I always have lots of fun trying out new smoothie flavour combinations. I’ve previously shared this super healthy Green Detox Smoothie, but now I wanted to create a smoothie that showcased one of my favourite berries.

I’m beyond excited for berry season. Blueberries, raspberries and strawberries are pretty much the main reason I love spring and summer as much as I do. That as well as sunny weather, light evenings and the excuse to eat copious amounts of ice cream…😉

But let’s get real, I cannot eat ice cream or decadent desserts all the time and be healthy, even though I’d love to. So that’s why I’ve put my favourite flavours into a healthier treat that I can still enjoy without any guilt.

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This creamy raspberry smoothie has a beautiful natural sweetness and tartness released from the raspberries. Every summer we love picking our own raspberries, usually we eat them all in one go, but sometimes we’ll freeze them ready for later use in smoothies or cakes and cupcakes.

I love having frozen fruit in my freezer ready for whenever I’m fancying a smoothie for breakfast or for a snack. I’ve always enjoyed smoothies because they’re super easy to prepare and this smoothie recipe in particular requires just 3 ingredients and will take you less than 5 minutes to prepare. My preference is to use frozen raspberries over fresh because then the smoothie is really well chilled and you can serve it right away!

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To serve, pour into glasses then you can sprinkle over chia or linseeds and top with a few extra raspberries. Grab a straw, these pretty pink straws are from my friend Carly at The Shire Bakery for those wondering, then all that’s left to do is enjoy your gorgeous homemade smoothie and satisfy your sweet cravings!:)

(Makes 1)

Ingredients:

150g (1 and 1/2 cups) fresh or frozen raspberries (if using frozen allow to thaw slightly)

100g (3.5 ounces) raspberry yoghurt

125ml (1/2 cup) milk, plus extra if needed

Method:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender. Process until smooth and frothy and then pour and serve in a glass. The recipe can easily be doubled to make more smoothies.

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Enjoy!

jess

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Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Pasta

Creamy roasted red pepper tomato sauce served with fusilli pasta. A simple, flavourful pasta dish you will make time and time again! 

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I think my obsession with pasta is almost as big, maybe even bigger than my cheesecake obsession?😉

How you can blame me? Pasta is such a versatile ingredient and the choices are endless. I could eat pasta every night of the week and not get bored. I kid you not, when we holidayed in Italy a couple of summers back we ate pasta nearly every single night.

I particularly love sharing these kinds of recipes because being a student I’m always on the lookout for easy and cheap meals that don’t lack flavour or require me to spend hours standing over a hot stove. Sometimes all I want is a dinner that’s both comforting and good for me. And yes, it is possible!

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I’ve been planning to make this sauce for a long time now. I’ve based the recipe on my marinara and arrabbiata sauces, but I changed my classic tomato sauce by adding roasted red bell pepper and double cream. I really love roasted peppers, as the peppers roast they get sweeter and charr and the charring adds incredible intense flavour to the sauce.

To prepare the sauce, I roasted 3 large red bell peppers with a red onion, a few cloves of garlic, olive oil, dried thyme, oregano, chilli flakes for 30 minutes until all the vegetables were soft and the peppers were starting to caramelise and charr slightly. Once the vegetables were roasted I added them to a saucepan along with a can of chopped tomatoes and a pinch of sugar to add extra sweetness to the tomatoes. Then I left the sauce to gently simmer for about 15-20 minutes, then I took it off of the heat and blitzed it until it was smooth. Finally, I added double cream, which brings a delicious creaminess to the sauce.

The final step is to put a pot of salted water onto boil and cook your pasta to packet instructions. I went for fusilli (we have a 3kg bag in the store-cupboard waiting to be cooked with < can you tell we’re a family of pasta lovers?), but really this sauce suits all kinds of pasta shapes, linguine, spaghetti or even penne, so use whatever you have in.

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

3 large red bell peppers

1 red onion

3 large cloves of garlic

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and black pepper, to taste

400g (14 ounce) can chopped tomatoes

Generous pinch of sugar

4 tablespoons double cream

To serve – 

400g dried fusilli or any other pasta shape

Freshly grated Parmesan

Fresh chopped basil or parsley

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160 Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Slice the red pepper and onion up into medium sized chunks and half each garlic clove. Evenly spread the vegetables out onto a large baking tray. Scatter over the herbs (dried thyme, oregano and chilli flakes) and drizzle over the olive oil. Season well with salt and black pepper and roast for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  2. Once the vegetables are roasted, place them in a large saucepan and add the can of chopped tomatoes and a generous pinch of sugar. Stir and then bring the sauce up to the boil. Once boiling, simmer the sauce for 15-20 minutes. Blitz the sauce in a food processor or with a hand blender until smooth and no chunks remain. Stir through the cream and add any extra seasoning if needed.
  3. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the sauce. Toss to coat all the pasta in the sauce. Serve immediately with grated Parmesan, crumbled goat’s cheese or feta cheese. Garnish with chopped basil or parsley if you desire.

Recipe Notes:

  • Omit the double cream for almond milk and leave the Parmesan out to make this dish suitable for vegans. Omit the Parmesan for a vegetarian substitute to make this dish suitable for vegetarians.

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I served this tasty pasta for my family with a couple of slices of homemade focaccia and a side salad, but it would be equally delicious served with garlic bread. If you’re a fan of pasta then this recipe is definitely one to bookmark!

Enjoy!

jess

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Mini Lemon Cheesecakes

Mini lemon cheesecakes are the perfect treat paired with whipped cream, berries and homemade blueberry sauce! 

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These mini lemon baked cheesecakes a deliciously indulgent without being overly sweet. They’re a few bites of pure cheesecake heaven.

It’s safe to say that I love cheesecake. I think that is pretty evident with the amount of cheesecake recipes I share. But as much as I love those cheesecake recipes they often make really big cheesecakes, which is way too much for us to eat so I often end up slicing up pieces to a give to my family to help out!

These mini cheesecakes are a little less intimidating to make than regular cheesecakes. They don’t need to be cooled in the oven and are less likely to crack. Plus, mini bakes are cuter and because they’re smaller that means you can eat more than one and they’re even easier to share.

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To make these cheesecakes, start by lining a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases. The cheesecakes start off with a buttery digestive biscuit base, which is made by combining biscuit crumbs with melted butter to bind it.

The lemon cheesecake is made by beating cream cheese with lemon sugar. The lemon sugar is made by rubbing the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips. Sounds weird, but it helps release the natural oil from the lemon, which flavours the sugar beautifully. After beating the cream cheese and sugar until fluffy add a tablespoon of lemon juice and a couple of eggs and drop of vanilla extract. That’s the cheesecake topping ready to go!

Scoop a few tablespoons of the cheesecake mixture onto the pre-baked biscuit bases and then pop the tray in the oven and bake for 22-24 minutes or until the cheesecakes are almost set in the centre.

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(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

Biscuit Base –

150g or 10 digestive biscuits, crushed – this is 1 and 3/4 cups of graham cracker crumbs

70g unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Lemon Cheesecake –

450g (1lb) cream cheese, softened

130g (2/3 cup) caster or granulated sugar

Zest from 1 large lemon

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Blueberry Sauce –

150g (1 and 1/2 cups) fresh or frozen blueberries

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons icing (confectioners’) sugar

Method:

1.  Preheat oven to 170°C / 150 Fan / 325°F/ Gas Mark 3. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases. Set aside.

2. To make the biscuit base: Combine the biscuit crumbs and melted butter until combined. Evenly distribute the biscuit crumbs between the paper cases – approx. 1 tablespoon or so in each. Press down slightly into an even layer. Bake for 5 minutes until toasted slightly then remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly.

3. To make the cheesecake: Beat the softened cream cheese for about a minute until smooth. In a small bowl combine the sugar and lemon zest. Using your fingertips rub the lemon zest into the sugar until it’s fragrant. Add the lemon sugar to the cream cheese and beat again for another minute or two until the mixture is fluffy. Add the lemon juice, eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth and all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Spoon the cheesecake on top of the pre-baked biscuit bases. Bake for 22-24 minutes or until the cheesecakes completely set in the centre. Once the cheesecakes are baked place the tray on top of a wire rack and leave to cool completely to room temperature. Once cool chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.

4. To make the blueberry sauce: Place the blueberries, lemon juice and icing sugar in a small saucepan. Heat gently and cook for a few minutes until the blueberries break down and the sauce has thickened. You can leave the sauce with chunks of blueberry in it or you can strain it through a sieve like I did. Chill the sauce until cool – I usually make mine ahead of time and chill it overnight.

5. To serve, remove the cheesecakes from the paper cases. Top with whipped cream, fresh berries and a drizzle of homemade blueberry sauce.

Cheesecake filling from here

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Topped with a drizzle of my homemade blueberry sauce (recipe above), these cheesecakes combine my favourite flavour combo lemon and berries. They’re fresh and the perfect cheesecake for spring and summer. I know you’re going to love these as much as we did!:)

A Virtual Bridal Shower for Meriem of CulinaryCoutureBlog.com!

Thank you to Nora of A Clean Bake for organising the bridal shower and getting us all together to celebrate Meriem. 5 bloggers and myself are sharing recipes including flavour combos that are made for each other. Check out the menu below and enjoy all the delicious recipes from my friends!

A Virtual Bridal Shower Menu:

Paleo Brookies from A Clean Bake

Yellow Cake Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream for Two from An Edible Mosaic

Mocha Cupcakes  from Baking a Moment

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cupcakes from Blahnik Baker

Cheese and Charcuterie Board from Hall Nesting

Mini Lemon Cheesecakes from What Jessica Baked Next

Enjoy! Congratulations Meriem!

jess

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