Saturday, 29 October 2016

A Weekend in Venice

Gosh it's been a long time since I've posted on here! It's been a crazily busy year teaching, but I've made time for plenty of trips away in those long school holidays to relax, unwind and see somewhere new. I thought it was about time to start blogging again and share my thoughts on some of the different places I've explored.

I'll start with the most recent. I've just come back from a lovely long weekend in Venice with some old school friends. I visited several spots in Italy a few summers ago (including Como, Milan, Florence, Siena, Pisa and Rome), which was a fantastic trip! However, I hadn't ever been to Venice, and it was always somewhere I had been interested in seeing.

We flew to Treviso airport, which is further out than Marco Polo and requires a coach rather than a waterbus to take you to Venice. Upon arrival, I was rather shocked (and concerned about my bank balance!) when I saw that a single ticket for travelling around cost €7.50, even though our planned journey to our AirBnB was only 10 minutes! We decided to walk instead, which took us through the maze of Venice's 'roads', which I would only describe as alley ways. We definitely got lost, but it was a great way to see what navigating the city is like.

After being greeted by our AirBnb host, we wandered just 3 minutes from our apartment where we sat down for pizza 1/6 that I enjoyed... (a friendly warning: do not weigh yourself after a trip to Italy).  Our accommodation was in a perfect location, meaning that this restaurant gave us beautiful views of the Rialto Bridge and the Grand Canal. The pizza, Prosecco and ice cream consumed that evening set me up nicely for the rest of the weekend.

Highlights of the trip

  • Going up San Marco Campanile (the Bell Tower of the Basilica), which gives incredible views across Venice, the lagoon and the surrounding area

  • Hotel Danieli Terrazza is a restaurant which is part of the famous 5 star hotel looking over the lagoon. Between 3 and 6:30pm you can enjoy a drink on the roof terrace, offering beautiful views. The drinks are rather £££ but the views made it worth a visit

  • A gondola ride. Obviously a must! We got ours about 5 minutes walk north from San Marco square, and the 45 minute journey took us past Casanova's house, along the lagoon, under the Bridge of Sighs and along many of the beautiful canals showing sights we wouldn't have otherwise seen

  • Burano Island. For this, I was happy to pay to go on the waterbus (we paid €20 for a 24 hour ticket, and later took a trip along the Grand Canal). The trip takes around 40 minutes and the island is the most colourful I've seen. It's small, but a mix of restaurants, lace and glass shops and tourists getting snap happy taking photos of the rainbow houses. The Huffington Post describes it as "The cheeriest little island [which] will lift your soul," and after a few too many Proseccos and Limoncellos the night before, I can vouch that the island fixes hangovers too      

Isn't it beautiful?! I'd recommend Venice to anyone wanting a more chilled out city break. I can't stand just lying on a beach all day, but Venice gives the perfect combination of relaxation and things to see and do. I think the lack of cars really adds to the relaxation, and all you can smell is seafood and pizza. I'll certainly be going back!

Thank you for reading, I'll be posting more soon! X

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Teasecake Time!

I recently finished my job in Exeter and am in the middle of a relaxing 3 weeks between jobs. I came back to Nottinghamshire this weekend after making the most of my last week in the place I've called home for the past 4 years! It's been emotional, but I'm excited about what's to come!

Obviously this has meant lots of goodbyes and get togethers. A friend from work invited me and a few colleagues over for a dinner party. I offered to make dessert, and given my free time I decided to make something a bit different...

I've never made a non-bake cheesecake before and didn't actually think I liked the (I'm a ridiculously picky eater), but after finding a recipe for a Malteaser Cheesecake, I didn't really think I could go wrong...

I wasn't mistaken.

The recipe is taken from BBC Good Food (I changed it a teeny bit but all credit to the genius that came up with this). It doesn't really even take that long to make, but will need 5 hours to chill & set.

I used a 24cm loose bottomed round tin. Remember to line it so you can get the cheesecake free easily!


200g malted milk biscuits
100g unsalted butter, melted (I didn't melt mine, which meant the base was a bit too crumbly so don't miss that!)
5tbsp caster sugar
600g soft cheese
300ml double cream
300g white chocolate, melted
200g milk chocolate, melted
2tbsp malt powder (I used half a sachet of the malteaser hot chocolate drinking powder which then meant there was enough left over for a drink too...)
37g bag malted sees


Bash the biscuits up into crumbs. Putting a lot of effort into this will mean you burn off enough calories to eat a slice of this guilt free...maybe.

Mix together the butter, biscuit crumbs & half the sugar

Push into base, making sure it's level.

Leave this to chill whilst you make the topping.

Melt the two different chocolates separately in glass bowls over a simmering pan, or in the microwave.

Then, add the white chocolate to a bowl with half of the cream cheese and half of the cream.

In another bowl, you need the milk chocolate, malt powder and remaining 3tbsp sugar. Beat both bowls until they are super smoooooth.

Get the biscuit base back from the fridge and spread the milk chocolate mixture over the top, keeping it as even as you can on the top. Wipe round the side of the tin so your layers stay as neat as possible!

On top, add the white chocolate mixture and smooth with a spatula (let's just say I went for a more rustic look...) 

Finally, top with malteasers! The original recipe used white chocolate malteasers but I went for the milk chocolate version to give a bit of a contrast.

Refrigerate for 5 hours (if you can stay away that long!!)

And what you get, with surprisingly little effort (but sshhh) is a pretty impressive looking dessert! 

This goes pretty far, as it is quite rich so a small slice is plenty! Give it a go, you won't be disappointed! 

I'm going away to Suffolk this week so will hopefully have a new post up soon!

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