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While my cousins from New Zealand have been staying with us, they have brought some unusual recipes. Baked beans Toastie – yep baked beans in a toasted sandwich. Nice but a little messy to eat with all that sauce oozing out.

With time running out, before they fly back home, Sheetal promised to make Afghans Cookies – a Kiwi favourite. A chocolate and cornflake cookie topped with chocolate icing and a walnut. You’ll only be able to eat one at a time, because they are incredibly rich but absolutely divine.

The best thing was that they were so easy to make. I’ll quote Sheetal on one thing – “You have to use Kellogg’s , they have the perfect crispy-ness”

While the origin of the name is uncertain, there is one thing for sure, the biscuits are delicious and really easy to make. Just remember that it’s important to use unsweetened corn flakes otherwise the biscuits will be too sweet. I use the Kellogg’s brand.

Ingredients:
• 200 grams of butter, at room temperature
• 1/2 cup of castor sugar
• 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
• 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened corn flakes (Kellogg’s)
• ICING
• 1 cup of icing sugar
• 2 Tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder
• 3 Tbsp water
• Walnut halves

Preparation:
1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 (180C). Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Set aside.
2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Sift together the flour and cocoa powder and mix into butter mixture with a wooden spoon. Fold in cornflakes and don’t worry if they crumble.
4. Roll or press 1 1/2 teaspoonfuls of the dough into balls and flatten them slightly. Place them about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
5. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
6. Prepare the icing by combining the icing sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder and water in a bowl. Mix well until the mixture is free of lumps and of a creamy consistency.
7. Spoon a little icing on each cookie and then decorate with walnut halves

Enjoy!

The past week my body has definitely got its sweet daily doses, so I thought I’d share my latest antics with you.

PATISSERIE VALERIE
Patisserie Valerie is a café is just off Tottenham Court Road, about a two minute walk from Goodge Street. Perfect for taking a break in the hustle and bustle of London it specialises in cakes. Wedding cakes, celebration cakes or just a small slice of cake to keep you coming back for more.

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I did a little research into Patisserie Valerie after visiting it on Friday and found the company has been running for over 80 years and has about 26 stores in the UK. That’s lots of experience to perfect the cake recipe. So did it live up to its history? Simple answer, Yes. I ordered the chocolate gateau and it was delicious. The cake was light and fluffy squeezed together by chocolate cream. And just to add that extra sweetness, a little profiterole sat on the top waiting for me.

Nikhil had a simple chocolate sponge fresh cream cake. But with one difference. Instead of jam in the middle it had grapes. Quite peculiar you might say, but it worked. It was rather refreshing, and without being too sweet it was satisfying.

FLIRTEASE
Flirtease is a cocktail lounge and desert bar in Northwest London, Preston Road to be precise. I’ve been there on several occasions and each time, it’s been the perfect venue to just hang out. Its relaxed atmosphere welcomes a range of people, so if you hate loud music drowning out your conversations or pubs which are just way too crowded, Flirtease is ideal.

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Lets talk desert. Where do I start? On every occasion, I’ve ordered something different, and I’ve never been let down. The Make Your Own Sundae takes mouth-watering to another level. Chocolate and Vanilla ice cream sandwiched with a warm, soft brownie and lots of banana. Not to forget whipped cream and chocolate sauce! This combo is warm, cold, sweet, creamy, everything you need in a dessert.

I also tried the Chip of the Old Choc last week and let me tell you, this cheesecake is the best I’ve had. The menu description does no justice. I’ll talk you through it. A warm chocolate biscuit base, layers of vanilla and chocolate, topped off with chocolate chips and a drizzle of chocolate sauce. Taste even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

THE WAFFLE HOUSE
A little further in distance yet me, Kavita, Mum and Dad still travelled to taste everything waffle related. Sweet waffles, Savoury waffle, even breakfast waffles – though we weren’t in time for them!

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Located is St Albans, The Waffle House used to be stables, surrounded by a water mill. So you can imagine the location is beautiful. River Ver and Verulam Park just across the road it’s the perfect place to relax and take a walk. That’s if you don’t mind ducks, birds, swans and any other water creatures we encountered.

Now back to The Waffle House. I’ve got to admit, I wasn’t that impressed. Though the waffles were baked to get the light and crispy texture and overall dish was lacking the extra touch. Mum’s banoffe waffle had no toffee. Saying that, Kavita’s chocolate sauce waffle was a lot nicer. I think at the Waffle House you need to pick a classic. Keep your choice simple and you’ll like it.

So there you have it. Heena’s adventure in all things sweet. And I’ll warn you, it’s far from over. Me and Nikhil are forever hunting out new places, and at home me and the family are always creating our own sensational endings to dinner.

Got three days to spare? Here in London we can get so caught up in day to day life we don’t realise the months fly by.

Two weeks ago me and Nikhil headed out to Belgium. A short two hours on the Eurostar we were in central Brussels before we knew it. It was seriously quick!

Two cities in three days you can imagine the amount we squeezed in. We were proper stereotypical tourists, with me stopping to take a photo at every chance.

Really, there is so much I can share with you, but I could be here for a very long time. So instead I will give you a snapshot of Belgium from our eyes.

Heading out to Bruges from Brussels was quick. Catching a train, of which the ticket was included in the Eurostar ticket it took around 45 minutes. This was much quicker than finding our hotel. Street after streets, valleys, town squares each corner unveils history and culture. It’s beautiful. So untouched, with canals, bridges, horse rides, the beauty of Bruges can be captured within minutes. Getting lost wasn’t so bad in the end.

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Next, climbing the 366 steps of Belfort Tower, the view remained me of a play set town. Lines of terracotta roofs, floating boats on the winding canals and a perfect blue sky, it was definitely worth the climb. (Note to all those who know me, I did climb all 366 steps, there was no lift.)

Next came the all important chocolate shopping. First of all, lets just say, every other shop is a chocolate shop. You can smell the chocolate fountains. It was until we entered Dumons, a cottage-like store filled with homemade chocolate we knew we had found the one. Row of cute shaped chocolates. All ready to melt in our mouths. E bought a selection and took a walk in the park where we short listed our favourites. Then we went back for more! No not for us, to bring home!

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When heading to Brussels, we were already tired from the walking, so enjoyed the air-conditioned train. Arriving in the city, wow! It was like entering another country. The hustle and bustle of Brussels strangely remained us of New York. (You probably think we’re mad) Jumping on the Metro, the hotel was much easier to find with some French directions. Tout droit, tout droit. Straight on, straight on.

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Later we visited Grand Place, and Mannequin Pis. Yes that’s a little boy doing his business. Quite funny really, because the crowd around the sculpture is incredible. Eating some classic Belgium waffles and ice cream was next on the list. One word: Yum.

The following day we began the comic strip walk. This was fascinating! Walking up and down the streets of Brussels we discovered comic strips on sides of buildings. They were so random, but so fun to find. Yes, I did get us lost a fair few times, but once we got on a roll we found 18 of the 34 comics in the city. Was a bit like a treasure hunt whilst also taking us on a scenic walk around Brussels.

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Bypassing the cathedral and taking a break in the Park, we recouped some energy and headed out of the city to see the Atomium, a sculpture of an atom. Doesn’t sound too interesting, and it wasn’t really. Plus we got super lost there too. We were hungry and hot, so headed back into the city for dinner. Not forgetting desert, which is a must-have, we had some Australian ice cream which made us feel like we were five years old again. Quickly eating the ice cream before it melts and gets our fingers sticky it was more than delicious!

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Then it was back to the hotel to pick our bags up and off we went on the metro to catch our train home. I was tired. Nikhil was tired. Don’t think we’ve walked that much in ages. Well, I haven’t for sure! But it was definitely all worth it. All 500 photos!

I mean, honestly if you thinking of travelling to Belgium you can do each city in a day. Their vicinities are small, and everything is walking distance. If you are a vegetarian, food is pretty easy to find in Bruges, little harder in Brussels. That’s were a French phrase book could come in handy. But all in all, it’s all good fun. Although there isn’t much to do, you can uncover the beauties of each city your own way!

Eat your heart out!

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June 2017
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Random fact of the week…

In the average lifetime, a person will walk the equivalent of 5 times around the equator.

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