ROLO BLONDIES

Rolo Chocolate Blondies

I’m a massive brownies fan but never really tried blondies, I mean what’s the point if they don’t have chocolate right!?  Well I decided to branch out and try out some blondies and added some rolos for a chocolate caramel hit.

These rolo brownies were super easy to make, require just one bowl which means less washing up and you don’t even need a mixer so you can just whip up a batch super quickly!

Rolo Chocolate Blondies

Top tips:

  • You can substitute the rolos for any chocolate of choice
  • Make sure that the chocolate isn’t too small as it will melt and just burn
  • Don’t overcook your brownies, as soon as they look like they’re getting a crispy top take them out of the oven.  They tend to continue cooking when you take them out and they’re also brownies so should be gooey in the middle
  • They keep really well for up to a week (that’s if you have any left after a day!!) so pop them in a tin to keep them fresh

Rolo Chocolate Blondies

 

Recipe

Makes 16 rolo blondies

115g (4oz) butter

150g (7oz) soft light brown sugar

50G (2oz) caster sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

200g rolos (approx 4 packets)

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) and line a brownie or rectangular tin (approx 15cm x 10cm)
  2. In a bowl melt the butter and then add the sugars and egg and mix together until smooth and there are no lumps
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until fully combined
  4. Pour the mixture into the tin and cook for 20-25 minutes until the top begins to form a crust, the centre should be slightly gooey
  5. Allow to cool and then cut into squares, perfect with a cup of tea or glass of milk!

 

PREPARING YOURSELF FINANCIALLY FOR MATERNITY LEAVE

Preparing Financially For A Baby

If you’re self employed or freelance although the news of pregnancy is brilliant, there is that moment when you think ‘what am I going to do about work?’!  I will have had my business four years when baby is born and I’ve worked so hard to grow it and get it to the point it is now that I can’t afford (both financially and business) to just stop working for 6 months or a year!

Yes I’m a little envious of my friends who will be taking a year off work with maternity pay and safe in the knowledge that their job will more than likely be there when they go back (or another option).  Would I change my work position with my friends? Not in a million years so I’ll just deal with the issues that self employment and maternity brings.

As I mentioned in my other post, I’ve started the process of being prepared and planning for the business to survive without me for a little break.  However, I still need the business to be profitable even if I’m not earning so the biggest step I’ve taken is employed some contract tutors who have started to do some of my classes.  I’ll admit it’s scary handing over your classes and the results of your business to someone else but I’ve found some brilliant tutors who I can really trust and who are brilliant at their jobs.  By starting the process of handing over and introducing new tutors and classes with them, it’s making the transition much easier.

In terms of finances and being prepared when you’re not earning a salary here are my top tips:

  • Get a separate account early on in the pregnancy and start putting money in there every month.  Put as much or as little as you want but remember it’s 9 months so even if you just put aside £50 a month that’s £450 and if you can save some more even better
  • Apply for statutory maternity pay.  Unlike self employed men who don’t get any paid paternity leave we get 39 weeks of statutory maternity pay.  Log on to the website and download the forms.  In a nutshell as long as you’ve been paying your NI contributions continually for 26 weeks within the test period (you can find this on the website and the downloadable form) and won’t be getting maternity pay for anyone else
  • If you’re eligible for the full amount you’ll get just over £500 a month for 39 weeks (£139.58 per week).  During this time you can’t work with the exception of few ‘keeping in touch days’
  • Don’t go crazy with buying lots of unnecessary bits and pieces for the baby.  Speak to friends (if they have babies) for advice on what they bought and what they think is a waste of time
  • Borrow as much as you can, if your friends have had babies they’ll probably be happy to offload some of their baby stuff like moses baskets, bouncers, play mats for you to borrow
  • Try and cut out unnecessary purchases to save a bit of extra cash.  You won’t be drinking alcohol so nights out will be cheaper and you’ll probably be swapping some of your daily coffees and teas for other drinks so all that extra money all helps in your baby account
  • Revise all your household suppliers e.g. internet, sky, gas etc.  Call them up and find out if they can do a better deal or threaten to leave and see if you can get any deals or money off

Have you got any other tips for preparing for baby?  Share them below!

BREAD AHEAD DOUGHNUTS BOROUGH MARKET LONDON

Bread Ahead Doughnuts London

I LOVE a doughnut!  There aren’t many cakes and bakes that I don’t like but I do LOVE a doughnut!  I started following Bread Ahead bakery on Instagram and was always drooling over the pictures of their doughnuts and had contemplated doing a course at the bakery but instead I decided to head to Borough Market to taste them for myself.

The stall is near the entrance by the Borough Market tube exit and was piled high with breads, cakes and speciality breads like topped focacias.  There were a few doughnut flavours out including lemon, classic vanilla, hazelnut and almond praline, chocolate and creme caramel and salted honeycomb.  At £2.50 each they were the same price as standard cupcake in any shop and were a decent size.

Bread Ahead Doughnuts London

I decided that after making the trip it would be rude to not to buy a selection to try out so I bought a classic vanilla, a velvet chocolate and a creme caramel and salted honeycomb.  I also bought a sourdough to have for lunch.

Bread Ahead Borough Market London

Bread Ahead Borough Market London

 

Bread Ahead Borough Market London

After enjoying a few slices of the sourdough with cold meats and cheeses for lunch we dived straight into the doughnuts.  Splitting the velvet chocolate in half straight through the middle we were welcomed by the generously filled centre.  Unlike lots of doughnuts where it’s pot luck whether you get any filling with the dough part but these were oozing full of filling.  The chocolate filling was a creamy custard with a rich chocolate flavour and the doughnut was soft and dough like the way a proper doughnut should be.  Great Start!

Bread Ahead Doughnuts London

We then moved onto the classic vanilla.  Speckled with vanilla pod the filling was like a thick rich creme patisserie with a hint of creme anglaise feel to it.  It was absolutely delicious and was beating the chocolate for first place.

Bread Ahead Doughnuts London

Finally the creme caramel and salted honeycomb.  The honeycomb has melted on the way home so that was a shame but the inside was again very rich and creamy with a sweet caramel taste.  Personally I was happy with just the half of this one (the ones I could have eaten more than one in a sitting!) but it was delicious all the same!

Bread Ahead Doughnuts London

Sooooooo after waiting for long I’m so pleased that the doughnuts lived up to expectations, I would definitely recommend making a trip to the market just for these!