vegan chocolate fudge cake
When the launch of Flora Freedom and The Boy’s birthday came along at the same time, it only seemed serendipitous to make the most gloriously gooey vegan chocolate fudge cake you’ll ever lay lips on.

I’ve made a non-vegan version of this bad boy a few times but as I’ve started eating mostly vegan and vegetarian food at home, I thought I’d challenge myself to make a vegan alternative. The good news? It is better than its non-vegan counterpart.

This is thanks in large part to Flora Freedom; the brand’s new plant-based butter alternative is completely free from artificial preservatives, colours and flavours, has 60% less saturated fat than butter, and is Vegan & Vegetarian Society approved.

Whether you’re swapping dairy out for a day or a lifetime, this spread (and this cake!) are essentially vegan squad goals.

Ingredients:
For the icing and filling
75g Flora Freedom
175g icing sugar
3 tbsp cacao powder
1 tbsp of soya or coconut milk

For the cakes
175g self-raising flour
2 tbsp cacao powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
150g caster sugar
2 tbsp ground flaxseed + 6 tbsp water mixture (works as an egg replacement)
150 ml (1/4 pint) sunflower oil
150 ml (1/4 pint) soya or coconut milk
2 tbsp golden syrup

To garnish
Vegan/dairy-free chocolate of your choice, grated (I adore the Artisan du Chocolat Orchid & Orange Blossom Dark Bar, for flavour, but it is completely up to you!)

How-to make the best dairy-free chocolate fudge cake, ever:
1. Pre-heat your oven to 180ΒΊC/350F then grease two 18cm (7-inch) cake tins.

2. Sieve the flour, cacao and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl, followed by the sugar. Mix well.

3. Make a well in the centre of the bowl and add the syrup, egg replacement mixture, oil and ‘milk’ of your choice. Beat well with an electric whisk until smooth.

4. Spoon the mixture into the two tins and bake for 25-30 minutes until risen and firm to the touch.

5. Remove from oven and leave to cool before turning upside down onto a cooling rack.

6. To make your icing, place Flora Freedom in a bowl and beat until soft. Gradually sift and beat in the icing sugar and cocoa powder then add enough of your chosen milk (a splash tends to be enough) to make the icing soft and spreadable.

7. When cool, ice the top of one cake with your icing and sandwich the other cake on top. Then cover the sandwich’s sides and top with the rest of the icing.

8. To ‘jazz it up’, use a knife to carve a light swirl into the top of the icing (it’s not easy – as my mistakes show! – but perfection isn’t necessary) and garnish the sides with your grated chocolate pieces.

vegan chocolate fudge cake
vegan chocolate fudge cake
View Full Post

missoni blogger
It only seems fair to pair an afternoon off at the Missoni Art Colour exhibition with a scarf-led homage to Ottavio and Rosita.

Last week, I finally made it down to the Fashion and Textile Museum with Farfetch and a few blogging loves to view the designers’ showcase and left completely charmed.

From the 1970s, Ottavio Missoni chose large wall hangings – made with knitted patchwork – as the focus for his artistic expression and all things artistic (the exhibit features pieces from Gianni Monnet and Sonia Delaunay) and tactile (just wait until you see the triangle of archived pieces) tell the couple’s sartorial story beautifully.

We chased the excursion with a trip to the 31st floor of The Shard for afternoon tea at Aqua which, though brilliant, paled in comparison to the viewss and reiterated just how powerful art and architecture influence our concepts of beauty.

What I Wore:
Missoni scarf (from Farfetch, natch)
Mint Asymmetric Pencil Skirt from Lavish Alice
Chelsea boots from Daniel
Smith & Canova Mint blue leather handbag
White top (similar here)

missoni blogger
missoni blogger
View Full Post

santa monica skylounge
Montezuma:
Shortly after being awarded Club of The Month by GQ Magazine, Kensington’s new luxe underground haunt – Montezuma – was named Best Boutique Club at The London Club & Bar Awards 2016. Naturally, I had to check it out. I booked a table through Velvet PR (their communication is second-to-none and they have the connections to book tables that seem otherwise unbookable), donned my highest heels, and spent the evening dancing until we quite literally got thrown out.

last days of shoreditch
Rooftop pop-ups: Last Days of Shoreditch and Santa Monica at SkyLounge:
Until August 27th, The Last Days of Shoreditch – seen above – plays host to rooftop crazy golf, fifteen rotating street food vendors, five bars, and an incredible general atmosphere every Thursday to Saturday. It is an absolutely delirious ruckus of fun.

In similar temporary fashion, the Santa Monica Tourism Board has taken over the rooftop bar of the DoubleTree Hilton to create Santa Monica at SkyLounge – a Summer residency that brings all things vibrant and beachside to the sky, alongside incredible views of The Gherkin and The Shard (seen at the top of this post). Don’t miss out on the frozen margaritas or fish tacos – they’re only there until September 30th.

little nans rio bar
Little Nan’s Rio Bar:
Little Nan’s newest launch – The Rio Bar – lives in the multi-roomed basement of Dalston’s Rio Cinema and may, in fact, be the coolest place I’ve been in years (making it brutally devastating that it closes August 14th). Upon entering the ‘secret vaults’, you grab a few teacups from the wall and settle in to a kitschy 90s den for a two-hour slot of bottomless teapot cocktail (alongside unlimited Pic ‘n’ Mix and popcorn, should you fancy it). The time-travelling menus are hilarious, vibe is infectious, and music is, well, infamous.

You’ll see what I mean.

Bone Daddies Old Street:
Though it only opened only yesterday, Bone Daddies’ new Old Street branch combines all the things I love: incredible food (if you have yet to taste their Kushikatsu skewers or signature ramen, you’re missed a trick), cocktails (served from a shiny new open kitchen and bar), and floor-to-ceiling glass to trap the Summer sun. I will be holding up the bar here for months to come.

Competition: Win a VIP table at Montezuma for you and your friends (worth Β£500!)

As mentioned above, Montezuma is 2016’s ‘place to be seen’ so I have teamed up with Velvet PR to give one lucky reader the chance to spend a night at their own VIP table – with all of your friends! The prize includes bottle service and an exclusive area to drink, dance, and celebrate (making it perfect for special occasions). See below for the terms & conditions. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

montezuma london
View Full Post

lower mill estate
As a travel blogger, I spend very little time in London – let alone the rest of the UK – so find it an absolute thrill to discover the the best of my home soil’s best.

Lower Mill Estate will now be added to that category.

Earlier this month, I travelled to the heart of the Cotswolds to take part in an exploration of the private community of lakeside second-homes and rental homes with a few blogging beauties and left with an unexpected appreciation of all things Lower Mill.

But you’ll see that very clearly in the photography and video, below…

What I Wore:
Breton-stripe boat neck silk and cotton jumper from Wool Overs (I bought mine oversized, but this makes it perfect to wear between seasons and is ridiculously comfortable)
Gold shorts (similar here)
Chelsea boots from Daniel

lower mill estate 2

A video posted by Lela London (@lelalondon) on

View Full Post

mustard london
I was not sure how well I’d get on with an all-day British Brasserie concept (“…so, pub food with nicer cutlery?“), but Joe Allen owners Lawrence Hartley and Tim Healy piqued my interest by launching exactly that – Mustard in Brook Green.

The concept – which they plan to grow – dedicates itself to sourcing ingredients from the nation’s finest suppliers and producers before turning them into flavourful and mostly-healthy brunch, lunch and dinner dishes. Transparently trendy but alluring all the same.

I booked in for an early mid-week dinner and was fortunate to arrive in time to nab a sun-trapped window table.

Studying the menu over a glass of Furleigh sparkling wine (toasty peach aromatics from Devon), my dinner date and I decided to split our dishes equally across land and sea. To start, we shared the lightly-fried Cornish squid and crispy free range pork belly straws (served with spiced crab apple sauce) – the latter of which was so delicious I attempted to swap the remaining school of squid.

Gluttony prevailing, we paused to inhale a basket of freshly-baked fennel & linseed bread between courses. A bad move, in retrospect of the meal’s volume, but completely worth the food baby.

The real culinary expertise arrived with our mains; the ale-braised Scotch beef cheek (served with horseradish, glazed carrots & creamed potatoes) for myself and coastally-sourced natural smoked haddock (with potatoes and a ham & chive sauce) alongside crisp chips and raw shaved vegetables for my gentleman friend.

One too-tempting-to-resist flourless chocolate cakeΒ later, we licked the clotted cream from our lips and accepted defeat.

Albeit still in its infancy, Mustard cuts the eponymous.

mustard london
mustard london
View Full Post