Monthly Archives: September 2011

Mocha Maple Marble Cake

Mr Simon has a new job! His wig has got a lot bigger…we’re talking Dolly Parton full on bouffant! Go Simon!

this isn't Simon, it is a teddy bear

As a congratulations treat, The Wondercat Bakery made him a little cake.

that damn bee has been noshing on my cake

We’ve been wanting to play about with ring marbling for a while and with the arrival of my order of Lorann flavour oils (OMG! Amazing BTW!) it was time to get mixing those colours and flavours!

oh, swirly! you may be wondering about the too.

I still have a huge selection of speciality coffee beans around so I went for a Java Kalibaru based coffee syrup and butter cream to add some pizazz (did I just say pizazz?). 

Mocha Maple Marble Cake with Java Karibaru

  • 110g SR flour
  • 110g butter (at room temperature)
  • 110g golden caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch o’ salt
  • 10g cocoa powder
  • a few drops vanilla extract
  • a few drops of maple flavour oil

straight from the oven...swirly as a piggy tail

  1. Throw everything apart from the cocoa and flavouring in a bowl and whisk until light and fluffy
  2. Separate mix into two
  3. Mix cocoa and vanilla into one half
  4. Mix maple into the other half
  5. Put mixes into piping bags
  6. Pipe alternate blobs on top of each other into lined cake tin
  7. Tap tin on work-surface to settle and remove air bubbles
  8. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 170ºC or until about 98ºC internal temperature (my probe was out of batteries so I had to wing it!)
  9. Leave to cool 
  10. Level cake and cut in half…chow down on the off-cuts (Mmmmmm spoils of baking)!

    it appears the piggy tail was mine...I got all oinker on that bowl of cake spoils

  11. Brush bottom layer with coffee syrup
  12. Spread a thin layer of coffee butter cream
  13. Plonk on the top layer
  14. Spread with coffee butter cream
  15. Decorate (we used chocolate piping gels we had lying around)
  16. Present to loved one
  17. Indulge in sexytimes

Coffee Syrup

  • 100ml of coffee of your choice (I used Java Kalibaru which has a nummy dark roasted chocolatey taste)
  • 50g brown sugar
  1. Heat in a little pan until sugar disolves
  2. Leave to cool

Coffee Butter Cream

  • 50g softened butter
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp coffee syrup
  1. Whisk together until light and fluffy (do not eat…or make double and have a total lickfest with the bowl)

where is the cake fork? my hand, ready to strike

So the marble effect looked less ringy and more marbley but the colours contrasted well and the flavours were scrumptious (I have been putting maple oil in EVERYTHING!).  The coffee butter cream was nicely flavoured so don’t go too wild with the joe as it’d be soooo easy to get all coffee overkill.

The most important things was Simy liked it and was very grateful (if you know what I’m saying ;P).

this is Simon, not a teddy sexycute is my husband?!

I’m going to be making more versions of this I think but with different sponges to see what’ll happen…maybe angel food cake with a red velvet?  It could all end in disaster…silver lining; we get to eat the evidence of our failures!

I want more plates that are shaped like stuff

no cake for me...I was happy with the wine...

Happy Baking!


The demonic possession of Granny Chadong: a cautionary tale

Why you should never always NEVER add mini-marshmallows to cookies…

the light? that'll be the glow of hell fire

So this was going to be a Granny Chadong biscuit post as I was making a batch for Si for work this week…but, I found a big bag of mini-marshmallows…they wouldn’t hurt, would they?

The power of Christ compels eat you.

I knew marshmallows do funky things in biscuits, like go crazy melty and burn to a crisp; so, I whacked the bag in the freezer to tame the little buggers (BTW, frozen marshmallows=D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S!).  Granny C’s recipe also calls for a double bake which I thought I’d have to skip for the same reason.

Well, they came out the oven like the off-spring of Satan.  I had taken a treasured recipe, incubated it in the fiery womb of hell, creating a grotesque biscuit abomination.

the napkin was intended to match the mashmallows :$

The pink and white pillows of marshmallow had transformed to caramel boils, bubbling and oozing from the innocently oaty biscuits.  What had I done!  I was about to call a priest for an exorcism, but, then something wonderful happened…I tasted one…

then another…

then another…

UNHOLY DEMON! don't worry, I ate him.

Sweet Baby Jesus! Well, screw the Baby Jee!  I’m moving over to the dark side!  The repulsive puddles of molten mallow had hardened to a firm yet supple caramel webbing!  They had added a chewy fudginess to the already delicious biscuit that was positively irresistible!

the web of the damned

Usually I can take or leave a cookie; I’ll snap one in half and it’d last me all day…these bastardised biscuits of Beelzebub had taken me mind, body and soul…and cradled in their warm, sweet bosom, I feasted.

who knew the fire of hell had delightful Victorian tile work?

Demonic Chadongs

  • 120g butter
  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 80g SR Flour
  • 20g rice flour
  • pinch o’ salt
  • 150g sultanas soaked overnight in liquor (we use port or sherry but go nuts, totally your call)
  • 150g rolled oats
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100g mini marshmallows
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. whisk butter and sugar until light
  2. whisk in egg
  3. stir in everything else
  4. spoon into balls on a baking tray leaving spreading room
  5. bake 170ºC for 15-20 minutes or however long it takes for the Hell Mouth to open
  6. revel in orgasmic damnation

Beelzebub's biscuity bosom...with raisin nipples

It is too late for me, I am too far gone, there is no redemption.  Please, save yourselves!  Unless you want to be eternally and deliciously damned…DO NOT ADD MINI MARSHMALLOWS TO BAKED GOODS!

Cinnastroop Swirl Bread

Two things we heart soooo hard: Cinnamon and Stroopen Gloopen…

sticky, sweet, long and erm...yeasty

Ok, I don’t think it’s called Stroopen Gloopen. It is some sort of Belgian, jammy, delicious wonderstuff made from only apples and pears! Apples and pears! But probably like a million of them per spoon! Granny Dot introduced us to this heavenly goo a few years ago and she kindly brought us some back from Belgium last week (when the boys went to Belgium they literally filled a small suitcase with magical stroop which lasted for…oh, about a week).

loaf giving "blue steel"

What was I saying? Yes, so we have marvellous, sweet supplies and we’re still elbow deep in a bread obsession…say hello to Cinnastroop Swirl Bread!
Our plan was to bake this Friday evening then slice and toast it for breakfast on Saturday…what happened is it was baked and mostly devoured before it had even cooled…it’s called gluttony, we’re guilty and proud of it (did we just get totally meta with my 7 deadlys?).

Any who, I told Mykie to go get supplies on the way home from work and some crazy supermarket parking attendant had a big rant at him! So, maaaaaybe he didn’t get a ticket for the free hour parking, but he was there like 10 minutes…

  • Parking douche: is this your car?! *shouty shouty*
  • Poor Mykie: well, I have the keys and I’m getting inside so yup, I think it is.
  • Parking douche: don’t give my any BACK-SASS!

Back-sass?! What the hell is back-sass?! Who talks like this?! What does that even mean?! Shouldn’t it be followed by a finger snap and a side to side head jerk? We are definitely stealing “Back-sass” as the phrase du jour so thank you cranky parking man.

Focus now, back to bread…

obey the hypno-loaf

  • 350g strong bread flour
  • 300ml whey or water
  • 5g salt
  • 3g yeast (half a packet)
  • Stroopen Gloopen or something similar*
  • Sultanas
  • Cinnamon
  • nob of butter
  • bit of sugar
  1. mix whey/water and flour
  2. cover and leave for 20 minutes
  3. kneed in salt and yeast for 10 minutes
  4. cover and leave for 1 hour
  5. knock back, roll flat , roll like a carpet and roll ends to centre
  6. cover and leave for 1 hour
  7. knock back, roll flat , roll like a carpet and roll ends to centre
  8. cover and leave for 1 hour…are you loving my copy/paste instructions?
  9. mix Stroopen Gloopen with cinnamon to taste
  10. roll dough into rectangle spread with Cinnastroop mix and sprinkle with sultanas
  11. roll up like a carpet and pop into a greased and floured loaf tin
  12. cover and leave for 20 minutes
  13. pre-heat the oven to 220C with a bowl of water at the bottom
  14. melt butter with some cinnamon spread on loaf, sprinkle with sugar
  15. bake for about 30 minutes
  16. DEVOUR!

slice, eat, slice, eat, pick up loaf, eat

You probably only really need to knock back once but I always repeat and find the bread is so soft and beautiful.  Treat your bread like your shampoo-lather, rinse, REPEAT(?)…if you are pushed for time, why the hell are you making bread? (now THAT is some back-sass)

*(hello! here I am! don’t you enjoy a good game of hunt the asterisk note? No? Just me then?)
So Stroopen Gloopen isn’t easy to find if you’re not in Belgium (are you in Belgium? If you are then send me Stroop!) you can maybe use honey or golden syrup or agave nectar.  I think Holland and Barrat maybe do a kind of Stroop-stitute, hold on *runs to Google*, yes! This will do pseudo-stroop.

Stroopen you sweet European temptress

The bread is really soft and with the filling still oven warm…oh, oh, sex squirt (bread lust? sin number 3).  I do adore a butter glaze as the glistening sheen it provides is so inviting I may as well have scribbled “eat me NOW” across the loaf.  I think I needed to roll it into a shorter, thicker log as one end got smunched into the tin so the dough didn’t touch the sides *smirks*; this lead to a bit of unfurling during baking…hey ho, it’s not like I won’t be making many variations of this until Christmas!

a slightly baggy swirl...that sounds gross

A small amount was somehow reserved for a lazy Saturday morning and was toasted with butter…OMG! Delish!(major sloth time…sin number 4!)

hell yeah! butter me up!

I’m going to save you the pain of me trying to shoe-horn Wrath, Greed and Envy into the post and suggest you go and make some delicious sweet bread.

Gourmet protein power pancake cake with fig…num and grrr!

Getting enough protein is majorly important especially if you’re doing any sort of exercise regime…ps. I think we all are supposed to be BTW.

Getting food with protein and low carbs is easy enough; getting food that is sweet is easy enough; getting both together and you are usually talking a claggy mess that is not that nice to eat.

There are recipes for protein pancakes floating about but TBH, they just don’t do it for me…I don’t want a stack I want a big old cakey munch munch!

I tinker with this recipe often and this weekend I added some AMAZING figs I found in Waitrose…delicious, but I always think figs look like badly bruised scrota…oh, and some almonds, because I love them.

brunch or high tea of big gay champions

Protein Power Pancake Cake

  • 200g egg stuff (I use 1 whole egg and make the rest up with egg white – go Two Chicks!!)
  • 50g low fat cottage cheese (try and scoop the less runny bits from the tub and use that)
  • 12.5g coconut flour
  • 15g vanilla whey powder
  • 12.5g wheatgerm
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Splenda to taste (I use LOADS!)
  1. smoosh everything together with a hand blender
  2. whisk until it has lightened and increased in volume (it won’t be meringuey but it’ll get a bit lighter)
  3. pour into a heated greased pan (I use a little 8 inch frying pan) and cook over medium heat (and pre-heat the grill)
  4. this is when you can throw on some fruit or nuts or other stuff
  5. when bubbles start making their way to the surface whack under the grill until golden
  6. chow down whilst feeling healthy and virtuous!

Here’s how I see the basic mixture breaking down nutritionally:

how often do you think I actually slice and eat this thing with an ounce of decorum?

Good huh? Obviously you’ll have to add up any extra goodness you throw in like fruit, nuts a bar of chocolate chips (healthy good? not so much) but it’s super delicious, doesn’t taste like health food and feels like eating a whole cake thing and how often can you do THAT and not feel like queen of the piggies?!

slice of scrotum anyone? they even have little "seeds" in them

This sort of thing makes up a large proportion of my diet as I could totally miss out savoury food and not be at all bothered…living for the sweetness, oh the sweetness, SWEETNESS! This can get a little challenging when you’re trying to eat low calorie and low carb!

a knife, folk and a napkin...because this is how you eat when you're sweaty after working out(?)

This SHOULD fill you up for AGES…but it is so nummy I have been known to trot right back to the kitchen and get all pancake deja vu…I am HRH Princess Snowterlina of Oinkerville.

Wondercat’s Big Baton

This weekend was time to batten down the hatches for the approach of autumn… 

bread, both terrible and carby devil.

If we had to pick a favourite season, it would definitely be autumn! Snuggling up next to a warm fire/man-friend, the opportunity to wear/buy layers and gloves and hats and scarves…so nice.

The boys concerned themselves with sorting out autumn-winter wardrobes (Mykie disposed of 3 sack loads (erm, gross) of clothes in a vicious wardrobe edit…R.I.P. bobbly sweaters and inappropriately short shorts) and getting the house suitably nest-like. I, on the other hand, got the Wondercat Bakery to fix up a nice French baton to accompany the hearty chicken provencalé the boys were making for dinner…



slice that bread, slice it good



Baton for hatch battening

  • 425g bread flour (we used a mix of white and wholemeal)
  • 225ml luke warm water or whey
  • 3.5g yeast (half a packet)
  • 7g salt
  • bit o’ milk
  • bit o’ wheat-germ

have a nice snugly warm place to leave the dough in, like an oven on super low with the door ajar, or an airing cupboard or maybe even  an ample bosom(?)

  1. stir water into flour
  2. leave for 20 mins
  3. knead in yeast and salt for 10 mins
  4. cover and leave for 1 hour
  5. punch flat and roll into rectangle, roll up like a carpet and roll the ends to the middle
  6. cover and leave for 1 hour
  7. punch, roll, roll and roll again 😉
  8. cover and leave for one hour
  9. shape into a thick doughy rod and put on a lined baking tray
  10. pre-heat oven to 220ºC and stick a bowl of water in the bottom
  11. brush swollen baton with milk, slash with a sharp knife and sprinkle with wheat-germ
  12. bake for 30 mins turning half way through
  13. revel in the comforting joy of baking bread aroma…nose hug.

Well to share a little secret with you dear reader, we were aiming for a baguette but the dough had a really good rise in it…we all know that girth tops length anyway so happy days!


well hello sailor!


that empty chair?...Si was commanded to move for photo time









We achieved (achieved? odd choice of word but we’re going with it) a crisp, satisfying crust and a beautiful crumb that sprang back like a tempur foam mattress when poked (poke, poke,poke, etc.)…speaking of which…my Dragons Den idea…Bread Bed©!
Bread is really cheep to make, lovely and soft, smells delicious…how good would a Bread Bed© be!! Picture it, a big roll or bun with a hole ripped into it and a sleeping cave hollowed out…OMG! so damn perfect in every way! If you make it big enough it could be used as shelter/food for army folk or refugees…this could be delicious and LIFESAVING! and who doesn’t love a thing that’s a something/something else?!…we are all about the multifunction…say hello to the real reason for the girthy bread baton 😉 (kidding, ew)).
Ok, ok, I know dirty Debbie Meaden will bring up the little issue of baking giant bread and to be honest, I dunno how this would be work…but I’m just the ideas man, someone else needs to come and sort the practicalities (anyone interested in joining Bread Bed©? I’ll cut you in for 15%).


imagine this but bigger, think how soft, HOW SOFT!!


That was slightly tangential but we’re back now…
Baton=good! The extra proving stage may or may not have been necessary but we got a damn fine Bread Bed© for Barbie (branching out already, that burning smell? my brain cogs not bread BTW) out of it so if time isn’t a problem I’m on board with some extra inflating.


delicious futon for Tinkerbell? Mr Disney, get in touch.


So, we are going to be all about the bruschetta/jam on toast tomorrow and maybe starting small and creating Wondercat Bread Pillows©…oh, oh, how about, Wondercat Edible Breast Augmentation©

Home is where the heart is; but not the ingredients! Macgyver Bake!

Mykie’s folks have moved house in the last week so he popped around this evening…

not at all attractive but I'd still have a slice...the Dr Christian of cakes

So, my parents have left my childhood home!  I went around to the old house the other day and got all upset remembering great times…like when mum and I smashed down a big brick fireplace with a sledge hammer when dad was away…and the time I threw a giant stuffed turtle down the stairs and knocked my sister flying through the door…oh the door…the door Kimberley and I shattered a Wily Kit action figure on when we couldn’t find a tennis ball so used the first thing we could find…memories!

I’ve been a little afraid that the new house wouldn’t feel like a family home so I went over today as I knew both my sisters would be there for dinner…

I also thought I’d christen (or since I’m an atheist, have an, erm, naming ceremony?)  the oven and throw something together for dessert…seriously difficult when what little baking supplies that have been brought over are still in boxes;  Here’s what I found:

  • half a small bag of old SR flour
  • a small bag of marshmallows from inside an Easter egg
  • a bag of white chocolate chips
  • a tin of strawberries
  • a box of icing sugar
  • luckily my folks had eggs and butter in the fridge

I found a microwave steamer to use as a mixing bowl and had no kitchen scales…the only baking tins I could find were a shallow frying pan and a loaf tin.

Some how I managed to throw together a white chocolate and marshmallow strawberry upside-down cake with strawberry glaze!

who knew you could take a handful of ingredients and make a scabby brick?

surprisingly nice crumb for a thrown together mess of crap

Not the prettiest but it OMG it was good!  Strawberry and white chocolate are the Brad and Angelina of desserts and marshmallows are the bonus Jolie-Pitt children.

jammy splash down

Today was the first time we have sat down and had a casual weekday meal together in as long as I can remember!  No special occasion, no husbands, just me, my mum, my dad and my sisters…and how we laughed!

I completely forgot how much fun we have just hanging out together as a family!  So, I’m not worried about the new house any more because it’s not what you leave behind that’s important (but saying that, we have left DOZENS of long dead pets buried in the garden…surprise new people!).

happy new home...have a what I call "cake"

I am slightly concerned I may have poisoned everyone as that flour was OLD! 😉

Two colour icing/The very hungry caterpillar: the dark side of extreme makeovers

Right then, two colour icing, as defined as Aquafresh, not as good for the teeth but much tastier!

we have many pink things...surprise

Really simple, mix up two batches of butter icing:

  • butter = x
  • icing sugar = 2x
  • milk = x/10
  • flavourings
  • colourings
  1. whisk until light, and fluffy

all Gok'd up

Look at the butterfly, after her extreme makeover from gluttonous green slob to svelte, zippy, glamour-puss everyone told her how great she was looking, how hard she must have worked, how good the new boobs looked…she felt on top of the world. The gastric bypass, the lipo, the veneers, totally worth it!
She got to hang out with all the pretty butterflies, all the celebrities, the flutterati…

She got artsy editorial spreads in glossy magazines to celebrate her total transformation...

is it cake, is it art, is it betcha

With all the praise and compliments it was easy to keep up motivation and resist temptation. But, sooner rather than later, the flashbulbs, the glitz, the interviews with Lorraine Kelly the workout DVD…all went away. She was back to her normal life with her usual problems her usual cravings and habits…and when back to the harsh light of reality; “Is that a cake I see?”

please check the two colour swirl...mighty fine pipe work if we do say so

Well yes, it is a cake. You like cake don’t you? Two colour/flavour icing; do you wonder what that tastes like?

  1. put each colour icing in its own piping bag and snip off the pointy ends
  2. put both piping bags inside another piping bag fitted with a nozzle
  3. practice squeezing on paper until you get both colours flowing
  4. pipe away!

So, does a quick-fix diet, extreme make over work?

Well this is where the very hungry butterfly found herself…

nom nom nom! what a moist sponge, a bite or twelve won't hurt

Right back to her old habits and knee deep in icing…LIFE STYLE CHANGE PEOPLE! THERE IS NO QUICK FIX FOR WIEGHT LOSS!

For two great podcasts on how to change your lifestyle and become a thinner person see FAT 2 FIT RADIO or CUT THE FAT

tomorrow I am totally going to Zumba

I know, right? Going on about a healthy lifestyle on a baking blog in the the middle of a post on icing made entirely of butter and sugar…

Finlaystein; or, the modern Prometheus

A Bakery and a B movie

This weekend at The Wondercat Bakery Laboratory, we endeavoured to create buns LIFE!

“I had worked hard for nearly two years hours, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body dough. For this I have deprived myself of rest and health consumed much Gewürztraminer and Jelly Belly beans.”

My assistant Igor helped me fashion bodies from dough and fruit:

dough is much less gross than body parts

Water Roux

  • 25g plain flour
  • 125ml milk or whey
  1. mix and heat together (microwave for about 35 sec) until a smooth and thickened
  2. leave to cool


  • 375g bread flour
  • 100g plain flour
  • 75g sugar
  • tsp salt
  • 1 packet yeast
  • tbsp sesame oil
  • tbsp butter
  • 150ml warm milk or whey
  • 2 eggs
  1. mix flours sugar and salt in a bowl then mix in yeast
  2. add water roux and 1 beaten egg and mix together
  3. add the milk and kneed to a nice elastic dough (about 10 mins)
  4. kneed in butter and oil (about 10 minutes)
  5. put in a bowl, cover with cling and leave in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1-1/12 hour)
  6. knock the down back and kneed again (about 10 mins)
  7. divide into blobs (about 70g) keeping a bit for ears and tails
  8. roll each blob into a flat circle, put a tbsp of FILLING in the middle
  9. pull edges up over filling and twist together
  10. turn blob seam side down, shape smooth and put on lined baking sheet
  11. add small pointy blobs for ears and a little sausage for a tail
  12. brush with beaten egg mixed with water
  13. leave in a warm place for 30 mins
  14. bake 175C for 15-20 minutes or until nice and golden (turn down oven if ears are cremating)
  15. leave to cool then pipe a face with ROYAL ICING

“It was already one in the morning afternoon; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle silk cut super-slim was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow tasty sugary eye of the creature open…”


Mwah ha ha ha ha!!!

Actually, forget the galvanism, we totally went the “Death Becomes Her” route; we used a potion and wore this delightful outfit:

I already have tops with deeper "v"s


All was going well, my creations were satisfactory.

Then they started running amok! Climbing over each other, setting sky+ to record X Factor…What a fucking liberty! Enough is enough!

I knew free-range children were a mistake

We needed to find out what went wrong and put an end to their mischief.

We sent Igor to befriend them and gain their trust…

hiya, whatcha doin?

Then when their back was turned…

when they started re-enacting the "mama mia" video I knew it was time to put and end to the madness

We captured one and began the vivisection!

Igor is totally useless with blood, guts and raisins

It appears the problem was caused by moist filling creating quite a heavy, doughy crumb (which we found deliciously pleasing TBH) and over browning of ears and tails due to their small size.

Igor pushed through his fears and got all tauntaun on it's ass

The main problem with my creations was piping their features too soon.  The warm dough made them “cry” and get a bit melty in the face region…WE HAD CREATED MONSTERS!

runny visage

After learning of their inner-workings we were able to capture and contain the rest of them for further study.

a domed cake stand, the carbonite of bread monsters

So it was a hard journey but finally we learned: Only play God if you can pull off this ensemble:

this must be HELL on the teets

Mini Naanana…

Saturday naan Saturday naan

Saturday night you know the curry’s gettin’ hot…like you baby!

I’ll make you naan so you can eat the spicy slop…I’ll drive you crazy!

Did I just rewrite Whigfield?

It's carby time! oh! It's carby time! oooooh! oooooooh!

Anyways, I was going out to Greater Manchester Skeptics so Si needed dinner that would be ready when he fiiiiinally got home.

Home made chicken curry with basmati rice and…home made mini naan!

I worked out I could make the naan in the 30 minutes the curry would take (and with the ingredients I had lying around)…Jamie/Macgyver…eatcha heart out.

Super Quick Mini Naan

  • 125g plain flour
  • 60ml milk or liquid whey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp some other liquid fat (I used some olive oil)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • flavour spices and things (I had sesame seeds, cumin seeds and ground coriander but nigella seeds, poppy seeds, dried onion bits etc would work great too…just throw in anything you feel like)
  • bit of oil/fat for cooking (ghee would probably be good, I used groundnut oil)
  1. mix the liquids
  2. mix the dry
  3. add liquids to dry and need together for about 5 minutes
  4. leave in a bowl covered in a tea towel for 15 minutes
  5. either split into small blobs and roll out or roll and cut out shapes
  6. heat a griddle pan that you’ve brushed with oil
  7. cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side over a medium heat until golden

pan of naan

Generally naan should be tear-drop shaped which I find rolling out free hand to be annoyingly difficult to get consistent (I have been known to stamp my feet and throw dough across the room in a big hissy fit).  I didn’t have a tear-drop cutter but, I have so many round ones I sacrificed one to erm, Vishnu(???) and stretched it at one end (really Richard Dean Anderson, I’m gunning for you).

sacrificial circle...offering to the curry gods

They looked a little rigidly uniform but being so tiny I think it works.  I was quite happy with the griddle lines and they tasted gooood.  When I got home Si said the naan were tasty and gave his blessing for them to be made again;  This is very positive as many things get the “they were nice but, maybe try something else next time” comment or occasionally the “why would you replace ALL the tomatoes in bolognese with oranges?!  Did you honestly think it would be a good idea?” speech.

fan of naan

man with naan

So if your making a curry it’s really no extra time to throw together some naan…get baking curryphiles!

21212 Edinburgh…and two douches in a spacesuit…

So, the boys sneaked off to Edinburgh for their second wedding anniversary, leaving me once again to hold down the fort…let’s see what they got up to!

First things first, Edinburgh is one hilly mofo! Do not wear Prada trainers (Simon) or Vivienne Westwood pirate boots and expect to get home with ankles and knees intact…totally pretty though(the city, not the footwear…but the shoes did kick fashion ass)! Beautiful stone buildings, elaborate monuments all placed within rolling hills of green…from the North Bridge the view is so “OMG! I’m in Rivendell! Bilbo?”.   Talking hairy hobbits btw, it is a little bit tacky touristy as you’d expect. Think tartan hats with ginger wigs attached, wool, kilts and whiskey…now double it and you’re about a quarter of the way to the volume of crazy tat.

A hobbit and an elf...something inappropriate about being lord of a ring.

Anyways, back to 21212!

So, the genius who owns the place (Paul Kitching) is well known from his old Michelin starred restaurant, Juniper, which is…down the road from our house! Paul unfortunately moved from Juniper a couple of months after we moved in and before we got our act together and went for a meal…we so didn’t know this before we booked! Fate? Erm, no…but a nice surprise to finally be sampling his wares!
21212 refers to the menu structure, so 2 choices for first course, 1 for the second (I’. Sure you can work the rest out); it’s located in a grand Georgian terrace on a very steep road (cue the whining). Beautifully and opulently renovated, we are talking heavy damasks, wall murals, ceiling roses from the wettest of dreams (I have an interior design fetish, don’t judge, I’m sure you secretly do too); but, manages to incorporate modern design elements, primary coloured perspex, butterfly chandeliers, rooms with names like “pod” and “ate” without being “oh, aren’t we quirky, look at us being all eclectic”…No, totally not “tried too hard and failed” like when your dad says “chillax”, it just all works and flows effortlessly.

I promise I’ll talk food soon, but the bedrooms first, (only four of them, 1, 2, 12 & 21), delightful!
Our bathroom, almost bigger than our room (a shower, almost bigger than our home bathroom) containing a massive egg shaped bath; remember Mork’s egg ship? it would be a sink by comparison(really showing my age there, *note to self: replace Mork with Gaga*). Underfloor heating, Elemis products, a bed wider than it is long, top-spec furnishings…why we left this haven of luxury and traipsed up and down big old hilly streets is beyond me (though we did manage spend a good hour in the bath for hot sweaty action…it was our anniversary after all, but not what you’re thinking…I had a copy of Vanity Fair jewellery edition…total sparkly sexytimes)!

this thing needs it's own coastguard

Soooooo, finally, the food!  Well there are two main types of fine dining chef, fashion designers and film directors.  In the first the chef takes exquisite specimens, dresses them, then presents them to you on the catwalk that is your plate.  The second the chef takes the ingredients and directs them to create gastronomic theatre.  21212 is all about the drama! Paul Kitching is less Michael Bay and more Christopher Nolan…we are talking brain hurting Inception for the mouth (yes, I freely admit Inception was amazing and my little brain blew a little fuse)!  It is a blessing that the 21212 menu is so simple to follow as any more choice would be major overload! Like a big budget movie, there are killer A-list stars, an army of supporting cast and wet-yourself-cameos…the menu only hints at what treats are in store…this is no Snakes on a Plane.

You’ll have to forgive the lack of memory when it comes to the menu but if you look at the sample one you’ll see why.  We managed to both chose opposites on the 2 sections so we got to see all the offerings!

So first course (a 2 course) I had the “breakfast risotto” and it was the highlight of my dinner.  Imagine trying to summarise a full English breakfast in flavours…I got them all and more!  Every mouthful uncovered another sensory explosion of morning perfection executed with surgical precision.  A cube of egg white and a splash of hollandaise providing everything essential from an egg, tiny morels for the required fried mushrooms…the list goes on, and on! Three little beans, a micro crumpet, a whiff of brown sauce, a hint of fried onion!  There was black pudding and bacon and sausage even a touch of cheese (not part of my F.E.B. but will be from now on)! All this served in a tiny little bowl…this was food focused to a pin prick and so fun to experience.  Si had the “halibut pizza” which again bared little resemblance to what your mind would conjure up.  All the best pizza toppings loaded onto a baby halibut!  No bread at all! Oh, talking of bread…the bread rolls are crazy good!  Yellow, curried, fruity and satisfyingly doughy…I could have eaten them for every course…unfortunately, the serving lady only came round twice despite me giving her the glad eye every time she strolled by with the platter.

The rest of the meal continued in the same vein, the “soup” was layer upon layer of flavours and cubes and crunchy bits and foamy num nums.  I started to feel like a child in “Honey I shrank the Kids” (but more “oooh! giant cookie” than “help! giant bowl of cereal!”) as a pine kernel became the focus of my whole spoonful and a Brazil nut nestled next to my beautifully tender pork loin resembled a buttery boulder to be chiselled and ingested over multiple delicious mouthfuls.  My tiny plate of precision gastronomy a veritable cave of wonders; delicious gems tucked into every corner (whilst I’m making an Aladdin reference, I should mention my dinner ensemble was gayer than Princess Jasmine’s turquoise hammer pants and crop top…I’m talking Westwood shirt cut to navel and a Tiffany & co. silk neck scarf…It WAS the anniversary of my big gay wedding after all)!

If you can’t tell, I liked the food quite a bit ;P…I liked the cutlery even more (check the steak fork! though it was rather difficult to eat lentils with…I got a few down my inappropriately low cut top)!  The restaurant is stunning, richly decorated with organza draped damask walls and the coving of dreams (again with the interior design porn); but, it doesn’t feel formal;  Everyone sits on sweeping, curved sofas so none of the usual face to face dining; great for snuggling up and even better for snaffling a bite of your fellow diners food (yes, I’m that person, go the bathroom and you’ll be returning to an empty plate…licked clean).  A glass opening gives a full view into the kitchen so you can watch the army of chefs beavering away all so calm and efficient…no shouty, Ramsey-esque nonsense here!

too many cooks? I guess not!

After a post-dinner coffee served in a paper Nespresso cup (still felt quirky good and not forced incongruity) and some of the smoothest truffles I’ve ever shovelled into my mouth, it was off to the huge bed to turn my delicious meal into man titties and love handles…I still wolfed down breakfast the next day, smoked salmon, caviar and chive oil…I mean come on! what’s a gal to do?!?

So 21212? Marvellous! A total culinary adventure! A magic show where the magician saws a carrot in half and pulls a turnip out of a hat whilst simultaneously giving you a Thai full body massage (my parents took me to some dubious magic shows…”show me on the dolly where he put his wand”);  you will be ooooh-ing and aaaah-ing all evening.

If you want to experience food that gives you a wink then pinches your arse and runs away, leaving you slightly shocked, but highly amused then book yourself in…NOW!

I’ll finish with a few shots from our stroll around Edinburgh Museum…we saw Dolly the sheep! DOLLY THE SHEEP! *Nerdgasms*

Hello Dolly! Well, Hello Dolly! It's so nice to have you back where you belong...

Acting Ensign Mykie...but my trousers fasten all the way up at the back.

what you can't see is under the helmet is a total Janeway bouffant