My sweet tooth has definitely been alerted after reading this BBC article on sweets. It questions the nostalgia/novelty surrounding our most loved sweets and I for one, have a strong craving for sour boiled sweets now!
Therefore for all you chocolate lovers, I thought I would share a recipe that I have perfected. It is really simple and takes about 20 minutes preparation time and 30 minutes cooking in the oven (total time = 50 minutes). Perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon or mid-week treat.
- 2 eggs
- 200g caster sugar
- 130g plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 50g cocoa powder
- 160ml whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 160g unsalted butter
- 70g white chocolate
- 50g milk chocolate (or I use Galaxy Counters)
- 12 hole-muffin tray with paper cases
- Preheat the oven to 170°C
- Mix the egg and sugar until well combined and pale in colour. You can use either a handheld or electric whisk.
- In a different bowl sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and add the pinch of salt.
- In another bowl combine the milk and vanilla extract.
- Gradually add the two mixtures to the egg mixture. Beat until all the ingredients are fully mixed together.
- Stir in the melted butter.
- Chop the white chocolate into small chunks and half the Galaxy Counters (or chop milk chocolate). Then add all the chocolate to the mixture.
- Using an ice cream scoop, add one scoop to each case and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Tip: Ice cream scoops are ideal for ensuring each paper case contains a similar amount of cake/muffin mix. It saves using two or three spoons to scrape the mixture. Simple and easy giving a professional finish to your end baking results.
- After 30 minutes check to see if the sponge bounces back when touched and use a skewer to see if all the mixture is cooked.
- Leave to cool before turning out onto a wire rack.
- Enjoy your sweet, moist muffins avec a cup of tea!
It has been a while since I have last blogged and this is mainly due to the demanding workload of my third and final year at university. However, today marks an important day for the internet that cannot be ignored, with SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act), anti-piracy bills, being considered in the USA.
The legislations are aimed to stop online piracy but many people feel there will be devastating consequences regarding freedom of speech and movement online. If the laws are put into action they can create blacklists of websites to be censored, remove these websites from search engines and cease funding. The DNS (Domain Name System) would be manipulated by these laws and could therefore make websites vanish in the blink of the eye. This might not always be a “bad thing” you may say, but for example, if it were to stumble upon a contaminated blog, instead of discarding of that one, single blog the entire website/company would cease to exist.
Innovation, liberation and freedom would all be squandered by these two movements. If the legislations offered greater fairness and well-thought and developed arbitrary values then perhaps they would be considered more useful to the internet. However, this is not the case.
The BBC (2012) state that
The bills propose that anyone found guilty of streaming copyrighted content without permission 10 or more times within six months should face up to five years in jail.
This will benefit those that are damaged by people committing piracy which is right and just, however as stated above the delivery methods of punishment are not as clear-cut nor effective.
Those in favour include music publishers, film companies, book publishers and television channels and networks. Though PIPA and SOPA have caused a stir amongst large online presences such as Wikipedia whom are feature a black out showing their utmost support against the proposed laws. Others include eBay, LinkedIn and Google.
PIPA is currently being cradled by the Senate whilst SOPA currently remains in the hands of The House of Representatives. The body of the internet is yet to be disfigured but these changes may just be the making of an unattractive global medium.
BBC article discussing sites protesting the legislations
The Guardian- Stop SOPA or the web really will go dark
Downton Abbey returns to our television screens (ITV) this Sunday (18th September 2011) at 9pm. Following the incredible success of series one with 11m viewers for the last episode and eleven nominations at the Emmy’s; Downton Abbey has captured the attention of the entire nation.
The first series followed the lives of the Crawley family and their servants with engrossing storylines of love, betrayal and extreme class division. The series left the audience in suspense with the declaration of the First World War.
The airing of the new series faces rivalry of the new series of the spy drama Spooks. However with the explosive opening of Downton, (shown on BBC today) it will be very hard to move from the edge of your seat. Series two trailer:
So why do we love period dramas?
A blog from The Telegraph helped answer this question. Audiences love the costumes, the architectural setting, the (poetic) use of the English language and all in all the history is what makes the future. Downton Abbey offers audiences escapism, enjoyment and above all entertainment.
Although Julian Fellowes, writer and producer of the show, has come under scrutiny for historical inaccuracies, Downton has earned a renowned status: most popular costume drama since Brideshead Revisited in 1981 and has been sold to more than over one hundred countries.
Fellowes describes the show’s level of popularity as:
‘We were playing to something like a third of the adult population,’ he said. ‘I mean, nobody could expect that level of success, except for Simon Cowell. It was completely mad.’
With a strong cast, well written script and beautiful scenery Downton Abbey is not to be missed. Follow the story unfolding further this Sunday and be part of history. Stay tuned into my blog for a review of episode one next week!