Friday, 11 July 2014

Friday Feline

Spotty Cushion / Smile / Ugh / Roar / Meow / Stripes  

A bit late in the day this week ... but I made it before Friday's over at that's what counts!!

These Feline Friday kitties are a monochrome, graphic bunch. I feel quite a lot like the 'UGH' cat this evening... might have to sellotape that smiling chap at the top to my face for a bit ;)


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Blog Banner Design | Jessthetics Commission

I was recently commissioned to create a banner for Jess' lifestyle blog, Jessthetics as part of her website update.

Jess gave me lots of great inspiration to get started with and this calligraphy inspired, floral banner was the outcome. I think it looks great with her clean new aesthetic - make sure you pop over and have a look at the Jessthetics blog!

If you want to commission me to create a blog banner or website banner for you they are listed in the STACIE SWIFT Etsy shop, or feel free to email me to discuss your requirements.


Monday, 7 July 2014

Recipes: Crunchie Cheesecake + Choc Orange Brownies

We went to a barbecue on Saturday evening and were tasked with bringing some dessert along. I decided to whip up a couple of homemade puddings instead of taking the easy route and going to Tesco - I'm glad I did because these two treats got so much good feedback from our friends! As always, they were pretty simple to make too!

The Chocolate Orange Brownie is quite dense and fudgey, but really delicious. I would imaging if I'd left it to cool a little longer before adding the egg whites in it would have been a bit lighter... next time I will try to have a bit more patience :)
The original recipe also called for normal cream cheese for the frosting but I decided to go with a tub of Cadbury's Philadelphia spread (double chocolate was a very good choice!!!).

Here's what you will need to make your own Brownies:

  • 200g plain chocolate, broken up
  • 200g dark muscovado sugar
  • 175g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 140g plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest 1 orange

And for the frosting:
  • 200g tub soft cheese (definitely consider Cadbury's Philadelphia for this!)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 50g icing sugar
  • Some of the zest put aside from the brownie mix above

How to:
  1. Pop the oven on to 180C and get your cake tin greased and ready - I always use a silicone tin which makes things about a zillion times easier once cakes are cooked.
  2. Put the chocolate, sugar and butter in a pan, put on a low heat for a few minutes and keep stirring so it doesn't burn! Keep going until the butter and chocolate have melted. 
  3. Leave to cool down then beaat in the egg yolks, flour, vanilla and half the orange zest. (This is where I wasn't quite as patient as I should have been, I think!)
  4. You'll need a large, clean bowl to put your egg whites into... then whisk until they make pretty peaks. Stir ¼ of the whites into the chocolate mix to loosen it, then carefully fold in the rest with a metal spoon. 
  5. The mix is now ready for the tin, stick it in the oven and bake for around 25 mins. When it's done, cool in the tin.
  6. Beat together the cheese, vanilla, sugar and remaining zest until smooth and then spread over your brownies and you're done!

If cheesecake is more your thing this one could not be easier. Seriously easy. I adapted this from a recipe for Malteser cheesecake as a bit of an experiment. Next time I will make the honeycomb pieces inside the cheesecake mix a little bigger as tiny bits don't keep their crunchiness as well. Still really tasty nonetheless!

To make your own you will need:

  • 200g digestive biscuits - I used chocolate chip ones this time
  • 75g butter
  • 400g full-fat cream cheese
  • 300g mascarpone
  • 200gicing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • A multipack of small Crunchie bars (or other chocolate of your choice) 
How to:
  1. Crush up your biscuits, I used a mixer to do this but a rolling pin and a freezer bag works just as well!
  2. Melt the butter in a larger saucepan and then tip the biscuit crumbs in and combine well. Put the crumby mix into the bottom of a tin (a loose bottom or springform one is best) and press down well - I rolled a tumbler across mine to really pack the base in well. Pop into the fridge and chill while you get on with the rest.
  3. Combine the cream cheese and mascarpone by whisking together until they are fluffy. Add the icing sugar in a bit at a time until it's all blended into a light, airy mixture.
  4. Crush up your crunchie bars (not too much!!) and fold about three quarters into the cheese mix until well combined.
  5. Put your cheesey chocolatey mixture onto your chilled biscuit base and smooth over the top. Next put it all back in the fridge covered with cling film for at least 4 hours (this is a good one to make the night before)
  6. When you are ready for dessert decorate your cheesecake with the remaining smashed up Crunchies, pop out of the tin and slice!

Original recipes from +

Friday, 4 July 2014

Friday Feline

Purple Crown / Cat Planter / Pet Portrait / Succulent Crown / Thistle Crown / Fleur
Another Friday, another cat themed post! Lots of flowery cat related goodness for this week as the sun is shining and roses are blooming in my front garden and it's a happy kind of day :)

Happy Friday xx

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

DIY: Upcycled Office Chair

The STACIE SWIFT studio is still very much a work in progress, we're moving to a bigger space later this year so in the meantime I have been trying to find ways to make the best of what I've got!

...Cue this super gross, old and very dirty, orange chair... Jon spotted it being thrown out by one of the neighbours so I hot footed it to their house in my pyjamas and rescued it from being thrown away.
 At the time I wasn't entirely sure how I was going to salvage it, but this gorgeous Cath Kidston Royal Rose fabric was the inspiration I needed:  Big Rose Pattern. Clashing Brights. Bargain Price. PERFECT.

Armed with a staple gun, a screwdriver and some scissors I dismantled (and then cleaned!!) the grotty chair and spent a pleasant afternoon in the sunshine recovering it in this gorgeous print. It took a bit of brute force and some patience but it was definitely worth it. Even baby Beans is impressed!

My next project is going to be either a blind or a curtain I think. Any tips?


Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Recipe: Chocolate Chunk Cookies

It has been a little while since I baked anything - though I'm always trying new savoury recipes! For a friend's birthday I wanted to rustle up a little treat and so settled on these Chocolate Chunk Cookies because I had the ingredients to hand...

I've never baked cookies before and rarely bake biscuits but this recipe has definitely won me round! It was so quick and super tasty... in fact the raw cookie dough was tempting enough on it's own... am going to have to whip a bowl up to have with ice cream one day (who needs Ben + Jerry's!?).

These take about 10 minutes to weigh, mix and portion and then another 10 minutes to cook so couldn't be simpler.

For the dough you will need:
  • 150g salted butter, softened
  • 80g light brown muscovado sugar (I accindentally used demerera and they turned out fine!)
  • 80g granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 225g plain flour
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 200g plain chocolate chips or a bar of chocolate smashed up!

How to:
  1. Stick the oven on to 190C. Then line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper - or if you're like me and you've run out of baking paper then greased tin foil did the trick!
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl then beat in the vanilla extract and the egg. Next, sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into the bowl and mix it all together with a wooden spoon.
  3.  Add the chocolate chips or smooshed up chocolate bar and stir in well. This is a very good time to taste your mix... make sure not to eat it all ;)
  4. Place small mounds of the mixture on to your trays, the mix will spread so be careful to leave lots of room between each cookie. Use a teaspoon to portion them out,  you don't want your blobs too big! . Bake in the oven around 10 minutes until they go golden and crisp on the edges. The middle will still be a bit soft and gooey...


Do you have any cookie or biscuit recipes I can try? Let me know your favourites!


Friday, 27 June 2014

Friday Feline

Image Sources: Peeking Cat / Yellow Umbrella / Mimi / Cat Pattern / Balloons / Black White Yellow

It's Friday! Hurrah! Here's some kitty treats to end your working week :) Loving the Mimi book cover in this week's pick!

You can follow STACIE SWIFT on Pinterest where I have a whole board of feline fabulousness if you think you might need a midweek dose of cat photos too!