Thursday, 25 February 2016

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almond Bark

I've recently been creating and writing quite a few sweet treat recipe posts but as I'm doing them and then posting them at different times they're all out of sync in my head! This is actually the second 'bark' recipe I've created but the first one you'll be seeing. The next one is a special one for Easter! This is the more demure of the two - you'll see - but it is nothing short of tasty.

I think I stumbled across this idea on Pinterest but then decided to go at it alone with no recipe, just me, some dark chocolate, almonds, a microwave and some salt! As it's chocolate-covered nut day I thought it was the perfect day to post. Here's what I created...

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almond Bark Recipe

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almond Bark Recipe

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almond Bark Recipe

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almond Bark Recipe

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almond Bark Recipe

If you'd like to make this delicious specimen of life you'll need:

600g dark chocolate (depending on the size of your baking tray)
100g almonds
A baking tray
A large jug
A microwave
A palette knife

First, you are going to want to layout your almonds on the baking tray. If you fancy it, smash a few to create some smaller pieces amongst your whole almonds. Once you've set this up break all your chocolate up into a microwavable jug. Set your microwave up to heat on around 20% power for 6 minutes. Start your chocolate in the microwave, every 20-30 seconds get it out and mix.

On the first minute or two it may not be melting but continue to get it our and stir to distribute the heat evenly. Heating like this will ensure the chocolate remains tempered. When the chocolate is at a nice pouring temperature, this may take longer than 6 minutes but play it by eye, start to pour over your almonds on your baking tray.

When you've poured this all on your tray start to spread it out using your palette knife making sure to keep your almonds spread out evenly. When you've completely filled the tray, sprinkle it with salt and pop it in your fridge to cool. When it is all set you're ready to pop it out and break it up into pieces to share with your friends and family. Or just keep for yourself, that's cool too.

The salt and the dark chocolate work well together being sweet, decadent but also salty and the almonds add a crunch to the bark. Do be careful not to salt your bark too much as you don't want it to be overpowering.

So what do you think? Will you be attempting this?

Keep tuned for more sweet treat recipes, especially my snazzy Easter bark!

Friday, 19 February 2016

Happy Hour Party at Lush Middlesbrough feat. Easter products

Lush is one of my favourite shops. Whenever I visit I always want to buy everything they sell as it's all so colourful, smells amazing and has incredible benefits. I've already been to one Lush blogger event and it was a lot of fun, so when another invite popped into my inbox I was quick to accept. This time the girls in the shop planned to show us their Happy Hour Party. Although Lush has always had parties in its shops, more recently they've made the events more structured and provided packages for different occasions. We were invited down earlier this week to experience the Happy Hour Party and see some of the new Easter products.

Lush Products - Middlesbrough Yummy Mummy Shower Gel

Lush Happy Hour Party Middlesbrough

Lush Knot Wrap Ideas Middlesbrough

Lush Middlesbrough Humpty Dumpty Bath Bomb

Lush Gift Boxes Middlesbrough

Lush Ladybird bubble bar

Lush Knot Wrap Competition Happy Hour Party

Lush Easter 2016 Products Middlesbrough

Lush Bouncy Bunny Shower Jelly

Lush Ultraviolet Bubble Bar Demo Middlesbrough

Which Came First Bath Bomb Easter 2016 Lush

Which Came First Bath Bomb Easter 2016 Lush

Lush Middlesbrough Happy Hour Party Demo

Being in Lush past opening hours is a bloggers dream. We take get to take a billion pictures (as you can see from this post) of the amazingly beautiful products and we get to try them all out with no-one around. It's amazing. So after we'd drooled over the products we got down to the party. The girls had us playing all sorts of fun party games involving shower jelly, their own brand lipstick and knot wraps. 

After all the giggles, the girls had a surprise, we had a sneaky peek at the new Easter range which looks amazing. You can see from my pictures a few of the new releases including Humpty Dumpty Bath Bomb (with a fried egg bath bomb inside) and Bouncy Bunny shower jelly (smells of oranges!) with old favourites such as Bunch of Carrots bubble bars and Keep it Fluffy bath bomb back for another year. I'll definitely be getting my hands on a few of these!

To finish the night off we got to make a Creamy Candy bubble bar. We mushed all the ingredients together and created our own shape bubble bar. I love taking part in things like this as it's great to see what goes into the product and how they're made.

The party lasted around an hour and I had such a good time. The girls at Lush do an amazing job and are so passionate about the products. If you are into Lush products I'd definitely consider having a party there. They can tailor the Happy Hour Party for young children, teenagers, baby showers, hen and birthday parties! It's £15 a head with £5 shopping experience (making products is additional).

Is this something you'd consider? Also what Easter products are you most excited about?

Friday, 5 February 2016

Want to try the best steak of your life? F.X. Buckley Steakhouse, Dublin

Before we went away to Dublin we were told we should visit F.X. Buckley Steakhouse for what was described by Matt's Dad as the best steak he'd ever had. With that glowing of a recommendation and it being located only a stone's throw away from our hotel, it would have been rude not to visit. The night before we flew home it started to rain, so we asked a very lovely Irish taxi driver to run us up the road to the steakhouse and he kindly obliged not even taking a fare for the trip. 

When we arrived, we were directed upstairs to the steakhouse and swiftly seated. For a Sunday night, it was quite busy with a huge group at the back of the room celebrating a birthday. The restaurant had a very classy feel to it without being too pretentious. The walls were adorned with navy and white stripes which reminded me of a butchers apron which is very apt in a restaurant serving only the top quality meats. 

Although we were there for the steaks, I couldn't sway myself from getting anything from the menu other than the Beef and Guinness pie. When you're in the home of Guinness its a must. Matt chose a sirloin steak and we also ordered some sides of creamed spinach with parmesan and baked creamed cauliflower gratin.

Ryans F.X. Huxley Steakhouse Dublin Restaurant Review

Ryans F.X. Huxley Steakhouse Dublin Restaurant Review

Ryans F.X. Huxley Steakhouse Dublin Restaurant Review

Ryans F.X. Huxley Steakhouse Dublin Restaurant Review

Ryans F.X. Huxley Steakhouse Dublin Restaurant Review

Ryans F.X. Huxley Steakhouse Dublin Restaurant Review

Ryans F.X. Huxley Steakhouse Dublin Restaurant Review

Ryans F.X. Huxley Steakhouse Dublin Restaurant Review

The pie was absolutely stunning. Filled with juicy wholesome pieces of beef, covered in flaky pastry accompanied by mashed potato with spring onion and a delicious drizzle of gravy, it was divine. I also tried a slither of the steak and could see what all the fuss was about. Even though Matt prefers his steak a little more red than me, I could get past that and appreciate the great piece of meat.

I was extremely pleased with my selection and chowed down on as much as I could handle, ultimately having to leave some or else I would have exploded. We decided after our food that that was all we'd have, only for a moment later to be thinking about desserts. We gave ourselves a good-sized break before we chose a cheeky dessert. As this was a weekend of firsts, having had our first Thai food the night before, I selected a vanilla creme brûlée as I'd always wanted to try it. It wasn't what I was expecting but it was lovely, a little too sweet for me to be able to finish it but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Matt went with his usual of sticky toffee pudding and he enjoyed it but found the slate a little hard to eat from.

We had a brilliant night in F.X. Buckley, despite there being a very rowdy birthday crowd in for the duration of our visit. The food was delicious and the vibe was suitably chilled. If you are a meat lover and heading to Dublin, this is certainly one for you. There are a number of F.X Buckley restaurants in Dublin, we visited the restaurant above Ryan's on Parkgate Street.

Monday, 1 February 2016

January Favourites.

Another month has gone by and I've got another round of favourites to tell you about. I've really enjoyed penning my favourites in these posts as it's great to be able to look back and get a snapshot of the months that have passed.

Puppy Love. This month my Mum decided it was time to get a new puppy. She chose another Chihuahua, as you can see in the picture she is a little dot. Her name is Peggy and she is a little sweetie. All she wants to do is snuggle up and sleep or bite your finger, there's no in between!

Trying Thai. Myself and Matt tried Thai for the first time this month in Dublin and it was delicious. So many great flavours, I can't wait to have more now that we're back in Teesside.

Breaking TV. This month we've exhausted our Sky planner and have literally nothing to watch. So rather than watching rubbish, we decided to download Prison Break and start a new obsession. We're only just into season one but we're really enjoying it. It's edge of your seat stuff.

The Emerald Isle. We took a trip to Dublin this month. It was only a weekend away but it was nice to go there and do some exploring. We ate some lovely food and definitely got our steps in wandering the beautiful city.

Snazzy Sneakers. Before I went to Dublin I decided it was time for a new pair of trainers for all the walking we'd be doing. I was really after something with a bit of colour that wasn't too outrageous like my multicoloured Nike Rosche trainers. These really stood out to me as I loved the colouring. They are a Nike Free Distance Running Shoe and although quite expensive, I know I'll get my wear out of them as they are so comfy!

The Biebs. Well, who wouldn't put Justin on their favourites this month? I finally decided it was time to download some of his songs and I've not stopped listening to them!

Grease Lightning. I had a need to buy something new for an engagement party we attended this month and for some reason, I was really after a jumpsuit. I'm not one to wear anything tight but I thought I'd be able to find something strapless that didn't show off my stomach and I did just that. This jumpsuit from Miss Selfridge has a bandeau top with waist pleat detailing at the front which covers any lumps and bumps you may have. I'm absolutely in love with it and feel like Sandy from Grease when I'm wearing it!

Murder Mystery. I had seen a lot of people this month talking about a new series on BBC called 'And Then There Were None'. It intrigued me so we downloaded it. It is an Agatha Christie novel that has been made into a three-part series and its brilliant. Based in the 1940s, ten strangers get invited to an island and then the mystery begins. Although it's a 'period drama' I definitely recommend it to anyone regardless of if they think they like this genre or not.

Into the Blue. Lastly, I've been loving my new bedding. How cute is it? I've been after some new bedding for a while and when I saw this in BHS I knew I had to snap it up. I'm always after cute blue and white bedding so if you know of any please send me links!

So that's January's favourites, let's see what February brings!
© this Northerner.

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