Laura Butler-Madden Food Post

Food is something that is really important in our household – both Patrick and I love to cook (he is much more talented than me in this department, but I am enthusiastic and can make a mean roast!). As we are getting closer to Christmas, we are starting to think about things we can make for all our guests and this year we are trying to be creative and make something delicious, but that also has nutritional value.

That’s when I had the idea to collaborate with a wonderfully talented cook, Alex, who runs amzing Dorset vegan café, Feed the Soul. Alex is raw vegan and the café reflects this – I had never realised how delicious cakes without wheat, dairy or sugar could be. A total revelation and Alex has agreed to collaborate with me on the blog over the next few months to share some of these delicious and virtually guilt free treats!

First up is a large raw cacao and caramel cheesecake to share – planned with seasonal entertaining in mind.

I hope you enjoy it – next month I’ll be sharing her brother Nick’s (who runs Feed the Soul with her) hot chocolate, which is insanely good. But for now, below is how to make this beautiful cheesecake.

Laura x

Laura Butler-Madden Food Post

INGREDIENTS

Base and balls for decoration:

1 1 /2 cup dried activated almonds

1 cup cashews

1 1/2 cup dates

1tbsp coconut sugar

2 tbsp cacao nibs

4 tbsp cacao powder

2 Tbsp cacao butter (melted)

Pitch of salt

Laura Butler-Madden Food Post

Filling:

4 cups soaked cashews (soak for at least 2 hours)

1 1/4 cups of plant based milk (I like oat or coconut the best)

1tsp vanilla powder

1/2 cup liquid sweetener (maple, coconut nectar)

1/2 and 3tbsp melted coconut oil

5 tbsp melted cacao butter

1/4 cup cacao powder

4 medjool dates

Pinch of salt

Laura Butler-Madden Food Post

Cacao drizzle

1/2 cup cacao powder

1/2 cup maple syrup

3tbsp melted coconut oil

1 tbsp of walnut oil/sunflower oil/ avocado oil

Pitch of salt

Laura Butler-Madden Food Post

METHOD

To make the base:

Place the almonds, cashews in a food processor and blend until they are the consistency of couscous (we want the base to have a nice texture). Now add the rest of the ingredients and pulse a few times so that the mixture is nice and sticky.

Line a round cake tin. Put most of the mixture into the tin and leave 1/2 a cup to make the balls to decorate. Roll with your hands into small balls and place into the fridge.

Press the base firmly into the cake tin, place into the fridge to set while you are making the filling.

Laura Butler-Madden Food Post

To make the filling:

Blend all the ingredients in a high speed blender (I love to use my vitamix) apart from the dates, cacao powder, coconut oil and cacao butter. Blend until very smooth. Now with the blade running pour in the coconut oil and cacao butter.

Split the mixture into two bowls, make sure they are as even as you can.

Pour one back into the blender. Blend again adding the dates and another pinch of salt.

Keep back 1/2 cup of this mixture to then pipe with and pour the rest on top of the base.set in the freezer for 1/2 hour.  With the 1/2 cup of this vanilla caramel filling place in a pipping bag and pop into the fridge.

With the rest of your filling place in the bender and add the cacao powder, you may want to add a splash of plant based milk if it seems to thick. Once the first layer is set pour over the cacao filling.  Set in the fridge over night.

Laura Butler-Madden Food Post

Cacao drizzle:

Blend all of the ingredients together until nice and smooth.

Carefully take the cake out of the tin and now you can have and decorate.

Drizzle the yummy drizzle randomly onto the cake.

Take out your pipping filling and let it warm up for 15 minuets. Pipe all around the edge of the cake however you feel then place the balls around the cake. Add flowers if you really like why not have fun and make your cake look as good as it tastes.

This cake will be best stored in the fridge for a week. If it lasts that long!

Laura Butler-Madden Food Post

Photography by Patrick Butler-Madden

This post is in collaboration with Feed The Soul

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Laura Butler-Madden's Dorset Home

On Friday, I hosted the first of what will hopefully become an annual tradition, the LBM Christmas Lunch. The plan came about back in the late summer – chatting with a fellow blogger we were discussing the fact that as a blogger (or anyone self-employed without a team working for them), you don’t get to have a Christmas party and you miss out on the opportunity to mingle with other likeminded people, as you’re all working away, dotted around the country on your own!

Social Media (particularly Instagram) has been a great tool for connecting people and I have already met a number of lovely people through it, some of which have become friends in real life too. So I thought hosting a lunch would be the perfect opportunity to get a group of ladies with lots in common, together in the same room, in real life!

We woke on Friday to the most beautiful, sunny morning. Frost on the ground and the excitement of December 1st in the air – even the sheep seemed especially happy!

Laura Butler-Madden's Christmas Lunch

Laura Butler-Madden's Christmas Lunch

Piers from the Kitchen Garden Company, who were catering the event, arrived bright and early to get everything set up. We had a delicious menu planned; to start with there was a choice of mulled wine or cava (Juvee y Camps, which is our favourite and served at our wedding) accompanied by hot-smoked salmon (fresh from the fire), Celeriac soup shots and kitchen garden pigs (see above).

Laura Butler-Madden's Christmas Lunch

Laura Butler-Madden's Christmas Lunch

Piers and his team also set up a lovely fire pit area outside in the sunshine, complete with hay bales and sheepskins for comfortable perching. Lola also loved the smell/warmth coming from the fires!

Laura Butler-Madden's Christmas Lunch

Laura Butler-Madden's Christmas Lunch

Laura Butler-Madden's Christmas Lunch

With the help of some lovely brands, I had put together goody bags for all the guests, housed in these lovely stockings from Sophie Allport. Inside each stocking was a whole selection of treats; a mini scented candle and Christmas mug, also from Sophie Allport, gorgeous homemade mince pies and apple juice from Kitchen Garden Company, a lovely gift from local brand, Bramley, a candle from the gorgeous new range from Medusa Apothecary, a pretty potted succulent from Cherryade Store in Poundbury, beautiful personalised leather bound Wardrobe Notebook from Noble Macmillan, a gorgeous Christmas decoration from Also Home and a personlised notebook from the wonderful Papier, who also did the invitations and the menus for the lunch. Such a treat and I am so grateful to all the brands who got involved and made the wonderful goody bags possible.

Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas

Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas

For the table decor, I wanted to create an elegant and stylish look, with a hint of countryside chic. I will be doing a full post on how to create this look at thome later this week, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Jo Prado, Lindsay (@stylistmum) & Lola

The sun was still beaming down on the courtyard when everyone arrived, so we had our drinks and canapés outside by the fire – such a treat for December, we couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day!

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Antonia (@tinkertailoronline) & Sophie (@sophielindsay)

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Laura Butler-Madden's Christmas Table Design

Plates from John Lewis, Cutlery from La Redoute, Candle stick from Anthropologie and tea light holders from Sophie Allport.

After an hour or so of sunny chats, selfies and silliness, we headed inside to the warmth for the main course; wood-fired winter chicken, rosemary roast potatoes, butternut squash, braised red cabbage and crispy kale, served with Domain des Vigneauz Viognier 2016. Pudding was mulled pears, ginger ice cream and homemade honeycomb served with Domaine l’Ancienne Cure, Monbazillac 2013.

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

A lovely afternoon was had by all – we ate really well, drank lovely wine and had a good catch up about all things blogging, Instagram and Christmas. It’s something that I really hope to make an annual tradition….watch this space!

Laura x

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Photographer, Sophie Lindsay

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Rhiannon (New Life N Style)

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Coco exhausted by all the festive fun!

Photography by Patrick Butler-Madden

 

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Laura Butler-Madden's Evening Ritual

Those who know me well will know two things about me – the first is that I’m a creature of habit and the second it that I love bedtime! At this time of year, with temperatures dropping I always like to start a cosier bedtime ritual and really take the time to wind down and relax before bed. In the summer months it’s light until late and bedtime is something that just happens…either falling into bed after a long, hectic day or collapsing under the duvet after a fun evening with friends!

But now that it’s dark from 4.30pm, it’s definitely time to make the most of cosiness, pampering, bedtime and sleep.

Laura Butler-Madden's Evening Ritual

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My bedside table houses various bits and bobs, all selected to make bedtime a little more luxurious. I always keep a hand cream, a foot cream and my favourite perfume by the bed, as well as a face spray, which is such a treat to spray on before sleep. Oh and I can’t sleep without an eye mask these days. A habit I started last year, but really helps me shut out the outside world, especially if your husband likes to read on his iPad late into the night!

In the winter I also take more time looking after my skin, so this a a key part of my bedtime ritual. But before that, I prepare the bedroom by lighting a candle, fluffing the pillows and changing into my pyjamas. My current favourites are these beautiful silk blue and white striped set from Asceno, that were a birthday present from Patrick.

Laura Butler-Madden's Evening Ritual

I usually take a herbal tea up with me – either chamomile or a Clipper blend – I have a bit of an obsession with their lovely teas! Prior to removing my makeup I sip my tea and depending on my mood, either flick through a magazine or head straight for my book. It’s a lovely way to get away from technology and let my mind calm before actually getting into bed.

Laura Butler-Madden's Evening Ritual

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Laura Butler-Madden's Evening Ritual

Laura Butler-Madden's Evening Ritual

One I’ve finished my tea I then head into the bathroom for take off my make up, cleanse and moisturise before bed. In the winter I find it particularly important to take good care of my skin and give it lots of extra moisture. I’m currently in love with the Pro-Collagen range from Elemis. As a real beauty addict – I always have loved trying new things, but this anti-aging range from Elemis is a classic, and  something that I’ve used on and off since my celebrity PR days, when a number of my clients were addicted to it.

Laura Butler-Madden's Evening Ritual

Laura Butler-Madden's Evening Ritual

For winter I find it perfect – the cream a lovely richness to it that really leaves my skin feeling pampered and hydrated. I start with the award winning Cleansing Balm – the smell is divine and it leaves my skin feeling amazing. With the warm cloth to take it off, it also feels like a lovely, luxurious ritual. I then use the Marine Oil, which is beautifully light on the skin, but very moisturising. In warmer months I find this oil enough on its own, but in the colder months,  I follow it with the Oxygenating Night Cream.

Laura Butler-Madden's Evening Ritual

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Laura Butler-Madden's Evening Ritual

After I’ve taken care of my skincare, I head back into the bedroom, climb into bed with my book and blow out the candle, before reading for as long as I can manage before sleep takes over! Do you have a winter bedtime routine? I would love to hear about it!

Laura

x

Laura Butler-Madden's Evening Ritual

Photography by Sophie Lindsay & Patrick Butler-Madden

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Laura Butler-Madden's October Moments

I’m still struggling to believe that we are in November – the 5th already no less! A little late in coming, but here are my October moments…

A month that really seemed to pass in a blur, we had two mini trips abroad, the first to review a beautiful hotel in Provence for Mr & Mrs Smith (full review coming later in the week) and the second to try and buy our next project in Menorca.

As those of you who follow me on Instagram will already know, the signing couldn’t go ahead on the day it was planned as the seller’s lawyer didn’t arrive! There were ten of us waiting a the notary in Mahon (having flown in from all across Europe to be there) and he missed his plane from Alicante, so we all had to head home with the deal not done.

The hope is that this week our lawyer will meet his elusive counterpart and all will go through ok. Fingers crossed, as we are booked to spend a week at the house later this month, sorting it for next summer’s rental season. Ultimately we will renovate the property, but we need to save up a bit first, so the plan is to rent it as it is for next year and hopefully spend next winter updating it. I can’t wait to share some images with you soon!

Back in the UK and the lovely mild Autumn definitely dropped into winter when the clocks changed last weekend. Time to get cosy at home. It’s not long at all now until Christmas and I am feeling much more excited, much earlier than normal this year. It might be because we have already decorated the house once – the results can be seen in this month’s Homes & Gardens. If you want to see the full house tour then do grab a copy (I will also being doing more room tours on the blog soon, but in the meantime a lot of them are in there, all be it a little darker than normal, as the magazine favours a cosy look at this time of year.)

I hope you’ve all had a good month and I wish you a lovely cosy November!

Laura x

Fox & Ivy, exclusively for Tesco

Laura Butler-Madden's October Moments

Laura Butler-Madden's October Moments

Laura Butler-Madden's October Moments

Laura Butler-Madden's October MomentsLaura Butler-Madden's October MomentsLaura Butler-Madden's October MomentsLaura Butler-Madden's October Moments

Fox & Ivy, exclusively for Tesco

Photography by Patrick Butler-Madden

Fox & Ivy, exclusively for Tesco
With the clocks going back today, winter is approaching and it is definitely the time for getting cosy at home. Whether you buy into the hugely popular Hygge trend or not, everyone loves some candlelight, cushions and cosy rugs at this time of year!

This year I decided to dress our sitting room for winter with Patrick in mind. All too often us girls take the lead (or total control!) when it comes to interiors, so I decided for a change to make the focus on him relaxing and feeling cosy after a long day’s work.

Fox & Ivy, exclusively for Tesco

Vase from Fox & Ivy, exclusively for Tesco.

I was thrilled to discover the stylish new homeware range Fox & Ivy, exclusively at Tesco. A beautiful collection of affordable accessories for the home and a number of items that work perfectly in our dark blue sitting room to enhance the cosiness and create a perfectly Hygge winter hideaway.

Fox & Ivy, exclusively for Tesco

Fox & Ivy, exclusively for Tesco

Fox & Ivy, exclusively for Tesco

Candle & Picture Frame from Fox & Ivy, exclusively for Tesco.

The first items I chose were candles! I have a small addiction to scented candle (can you ever have too many?!) and this collection didn’t disappoint. With a wonderful range of designs and scents, I opted for the Rose Gold & Pomelo luxury scented bell jar and a lovely striped candle with the same scent to create atmosphere and fully scent the room.

I also fell in love with these vases – again regular readers will know how I feel about flowers and this gorgeous teal vase was perfect for my newly dried soft green hydrangeas. I paired it with this larger teal and rose gold vase, which beautifully compliments the colour scheme in the room.

Fox & Ivy, exclusively for Tesco

Candle, Picture Frame and Vase all from the Fox & Ivy range, for Tesco.

Finally I chose this pretty art deco style frame – we never frame enough photos (it’s an ongoing saga and just something we never seem to get round to!), so I wanted to frame one of Patrick’s favourite pictures of Coco and I when we were first together and living in Mallorca.

Combined with come cosy rugs, a couple of fluffy dogs and his whisky collection, I think this it now the perfect space for him to relax in the evening during the long winter months – and I think I might quite enjoy it too!

Fox & Ivy, exclusively for Tesco

Fox & Ivy, exclusively for Tesco

Candles & Vase from Fox & Ivy.

This post was in collaboration with the Fox & Ivy Range, exclusively for Tesco.

All styling, thoughts and opinions are my own.

Photography by Patrick Butler-Madden

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