Category Archives: Review

Wondercat Detectives: The case of the vanishing sugar

Over the weekend we baked a cake, a hazelnut and honey cake topped with spun sugar…or did we?

So, D & D were coming over for dinner and Wondercat was in charge of dessert.  We had a few ideas in mind, after fingering through a few of the new books than Santa brought us, he Maple and Pecan Cake from the Hummingbird Bakery “Cake Days” caught our eye; As we’ve been wanting to investigate their sponge recipe (it includes less budder more milk) for a while it seamed as good a time as any…(oh yeah, we say “budder” now…sounds tastier)

Hazelnut Honey Cake

we do enjoy a sticky nut

So we used the Hummingbird sponge recipe with a nut change, a maple/honey switcharoo and a splash of vanilla extract

  • 120g soft budder (mmm…budder)
  • 400g caster sugar (yes, this seamed a lot to us too)
  • 360g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 360ml whole milk
  • 40ml honey
  • 3 large eggs
  • 100g chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (the good shit)
  1. mix budder, sugar, flour, bp and salt until crumby
  2. separately mix milk, honey, vanilla and eggs
  3. stir the two bowls of stuff together
  4. stir through the nutty nut nuts
  5. the book splits the batter into three 8 inch layers at 170ºC for 20-25 minutes…we whacked everything into a deep 8 inch tin and baked at 160ºC for just over an hour (until our cake probulator reached 210ºf (for some reason we always cook in Celsius but set the probe in Fahrenheit, dunno why, it’s a mystery (well not really))) *Wondercat: master of bracket craft* (but we don’t know what these ones [] or {} are all about)

So cake done, time to throw the book down and free style!

We filled the cake with a loose textured budder-cream *giggles* made with this stuff in place of budder (so is it really a budder-cream after all? *still giggling…no one else probably is*), icing sugar and a bit of whipped double cream to lighten.  We don’t have measurements, we just winged it until it tasted and felt right…there was a lot of tasting.

We covered the cake in a honey cream Chantilly which was pretty much just whipped double cream sweetened with honey and a little icing sugar to stabilise.

a cake with stuff on the inside and different stuff on the outside

Right, the basic cake scaffolding was in place, time for a bit of decoration! Some smashed up hazelnuts to cover the top, a flurry of piped cream around the edges and to finish, a nest of spun sugar (with a touch of honey) encasing caramelised hazelnuts…

like angel hair...if angels had sticky grossness on their heads...and were real

The sugar work was easy enough; we made a ridiculous amount of mess in the kitchen and managed to get a few sugar splinters (whoever thought an injury could be sooooo delicious?) and burns, and hot caramel in our ear????!?!?!!! We put the cake in the fridge as we went about the rest of our day (which is code for “play Skyrim”).  A few hours before dinner we realised a few blog pics should be taken…”That’s funny? I’m sure the sugar work was taller and more impressive before?”.  Snappy snap snap, pics taken, but we were puzzled by the shrinking sugar.  Just before dinner we checked again…IT WAS ALL GONE! GONE!  There was no sign of it! Not even a sticky puddle of remains (oh God! We’ve gone to our bad “The Snowman” place again).

see! all gone! and not even a hat, scarf and nose tangerine left behind

It’s not really a mystery, We bet you all know what actually happened to the sugar in the slightly moist fridge atmosphere… That’s right, it was aliens.  Aliens came down from the sky, got in the kitchen window whilst we were playing Skyrim and stole all our sugar…how fucking rude.

Alien abducted sugar aside, the cake was quite nice.  The sponge was lovely and moist (we think we may run a head to head “Vicky Sponge” vs “Hummingbird Milk Sponge” in the next few weeks), the filing and topping worked well, maybe they were a little on the sweet side TBH.  Slight concern with the crushed un-skinned hazelnuts on top giving a slight bitter taste…next time we’ll use blanched nuts.

hazelnut skins...our flavour nemesis...or maybe that was also extraterrestrial

So that’s the mystery of the vanishing sugar…the strands were demonstrably sharp enough to pierce human skin (splinter ouchies), the aliens saw this and decided to steal them for their nefarious human probing experiments…

the big gash wasn't the aliens, that was us

In your face Benedict Cumberbatch…in. your. face.

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Herman – thank you for being a friend…

Travelled down the road and back again;  Your heart is true, your a pal and a confidant. And if you through a party;  Invited everyone you ever knew; You would see the biggest gift would be from me and the card attached would say thank you for being a friend!!!

Sorry, we went to a bad place…this isn’t a Golden Girls post, it’s about German, Herman Friendship Cake…picture it, Sicily, 1912 (We’ll stop now, promise!)

Well, forgive me. But my arthritis is playing me up. My social security check was late. And I realized today I haven't showered with a man in twenty-two years!

Right…picture it, Christmas party, Altrincham, last weekend…Granny Dot gave us a Baby Herman!  If you haven’t heard of Herman he is a version of Amish Friendship Breadthat is currently having a bit of a revival.  It is basically an edible chain letter that we here at Wondercat predict will be the Zombie/Bacon/Angry Birds of 2012.

Herman - the cupcake/macaroon/Kim Kardashian of next year...

 

The easiest way to explain things is to show you the instructions:

Herman

Herman is a friendship cake which you cannot buy but can give away. Herman is alive and grows slowly but surely because of a yeasting process. It takes 10 days before you can eat him.
DO NOT put in the fridge as he grows at room temperature. You do not need a lid, just cover the bowl with a tea towel.
DAY 1:  Today Herman is given to you. Congratulations, you must have a friend. Pour him into a big bow so      
he can grow.
DAY 2:  Stir Herman 2 or 3 times each day using a wooden spoon. You can leave the spoon in the bowl.
DAY 3:  Stir Herman and talk to him.
DAY 4:  Herman is hungry! You must feed him with – 
              200ml of milk
              200g of self raising flour
              250g of sugar
DAY 5:  Stir Herman
DAY 6:  Stir Herman. He really appreciates your visits.
DAY 7:  Stir Herman.
DAY 8:  Stir Herman. Are you still talking to him?
DAY 9:  Herman is hungry again! Feed him as Day 4.
              Having been fed, he now needs to be split into equal little Hermans. Give away 4 of the little 
              Hermans and a copy of these instructions.
DAY 10: Your remaining little Herman is absolutely starving after all that!
              This time feed him with – 
              150g of Self raising flour
              150g of Sugar
              3 Eggs
              2 tsp of cinnamon*
              1 tsp of baking powder
              100g of fine chopped nuts or mixed fruit*
              2 Grated Apples*
              100ml of oil (corn or sunflower)
* = optional
Herman would now like to go to a hot resort, the oven will do. Preheat it to 170 degrees Celsius (which is between 3 and 4 on a gas mark oven). With everything mixed, pour him into a 7” cake tin. Leave him at the resort for about an hour. After all this care, attention and nurturing … eat him!!!

after the trip to the resort...little bit of a tan, smothered in after-sun lotion...this is too twee even for us.

You can pretty much whack anything in him at the end.  Carrot instead of apple? Bit of chocolate? Whatever random crap you have lying around? We went for chocolate (cocoa), candied peel, dried cranberries, sultanas, cinnamon, vanilla, fresh and ground ginger.
It felt a little awful eating the little guy we’d nurtured for the last week or so (we actually cheated and skipped a few days), but hey ho…it was his delicious destiny.

crumbled a bit when cut...tis what happens when you can't wait for Herman to cool down...boy smelt goooood!

Herman, it turns out, is just a milky sourdough starter.  After doing a little bit of research on sourdough it appears you can make your own starter!  Grown from natural yeasts hanging around it will improve and develop with age and you can keep a starter for centuries!
So, a little bit of organic malted flour and some orange juice and we have a new addition to the Bakery…MISS GLORIA BUBBLES IS ALIVE AND FROTHING!  We are going to let her gain some strength over the next few weeks, then we are taking her out for a test drive!!!!  If anyone fancies baking with Gloria Bubbles I’m more than happy to send out baby Glorias!

Happy Holidays!

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

Bettys Harrogate: An exercise in cake titillation

So, the boys went to Harrogate for a couple of days with Mr & Mrs Vanilla Duck for Simon’s birthday…you can’t go to Harrogate and not visit Bettys

But before we review, can we check the wrapping on Si’s present!?!  That star? Just a bit of gold and swarovski crystal embellished fimo we threw together…*takes a bow*

Too pretty to upwrap? He was in there like a hair in a biscuit!

Right, back to Bettys…Like stepping back into another time; a time where rivers of cream ran as far as the eye could see and giant pastries roamed the earth…ok not that time, but how good would that time be??!  Bettys epitomises that early 20th century perfection you see in movies where the well-to-do sit around nibbling on small, sweet things and the riff-raff do, well, less appealing things.

Beautifully decorated, everything is pin-neat and perfect; both formal yet relaxed in atmosphere…this place is my dream come true!

tea anyone?

 

As we had indulged in a major belly full of goodness at Rudding Park both that morning and the evening before; we had a light bite from the cake trolley (which is wheeled in by a lovely frilly-aproned waitress who describes each delight in crotch-moisteningly decadent detail) and a speciality coffee…hello Jamaica Blue Mountain, old friend, I have missed you.

After nibbling through an exquisite slice of raspberry frangipane tart, whilst stifling totally inappropriate groans of pleasure…I needed a room alone with the tart (:$) we wandered through to…THE SHOP!

Quick! Turn around! Looting is occurring!

Biscuits, cakes, chocolates, teas, coffees, books…if heaven has a gift shop…

I ended up buying the Bettys cookery book (look out for future posts!) and five speciality coffees (the people in the queue behind me were not best pleased with me getting that much coffee ground…that place was buuuuuuuuusy!).

So, I’ll finish with a link to the Summer Menu and a plea to you all to visit as you will L.O.V.E. (dance to the beat of my drum) it!

MENU

 

One more thing…check out their seaside themed cakes!!!!

are they chocolate starfish?

totally itching for a crab

I've ran out/grown tired of aquatic enuendo

because black and white is cool...and you know it.

 

 

 

 

The Vanilla Duck

We have been designing a logo for new blog The Vanilla Duck!

Quack!

Really cute site with recipes and ideas for gluten/dairy/other stuff free baking.

They have an amazing understanding of the properties of different flours and alternative ingredients which makes it a must for any cake lover with food intolerances!

We may bake some duck cookies as a gift for them! Have a lovely week folks!

Love,

Willow Pool for sweet treats!

I’m writing this from my death bed…I think a bug has me in it’s buggy grip.  I took a total nosedive this evening and have been evacuating from either end…sorry for that.

On Saturday we had scheduled to see Ms Raynos for a catch up. The weather was so delightful we thought we’d go out for an afternoon snack. Where else but Willow Pool Tea Rooms!

Willow Pool is this insane garden centre near Lymm, Cheshire that is part whimsical Victorian salvage yard, part antiques treasure trove and part…acid trip: they have a giant My Little Pony from the Blackpool Illuminations!

They have a tea room and traditionally when we have a guest staying we will ferry them out to Willow Pool for a bite to eat.
Unfortunately I think that popularity has drove down the standard of the fare…
I ordered the “sweet dreams” as I thought “oh, I’ll be good and have something fruity and just pick at the ice cream”.
This is what turned up:

You know the giant teacup pot-plant holders? It’s in one of those! And that drizzle of Baileys on the menu? Let’s talk half a bottle, I had Baileys soup.
It didn’t even taste that great…it was all just cold creamy mush, I think someone else had already eaten it.

What do those pot-plant holders have in the bottom? A HOLE! They had cunningly plugged in with a melted coconut mushroom sweet; Willow Pool, don’t put things in my bowl and expect me to not chow down. If it’s in there, it’s fair game.
Soooooooo, the litre of Baileys drained out of my giant cup, into my giant saucer, then onto the modestly size table. I stand by my resolve that this was in no way my fault…and I didn’t break anything…and technically, I didn’t eat the crockery.

So apart from the new quantity over quality policy, it’s still one of the most wonderful places to visit. Cute waitresses in frilly aprons, mishmash (giant) crockery, quirky little booths…


Go visit! Just maybe stick to the savoury food!

Carro-nana-nut Cakes

So, Simon munched through his healthy snacks; this combined with my love of the Flipboard App has called for a mid-week bake (I was building a motorbike engine out of gum-paste anyway so I may as well have had something going on behind the scenes in the kitchen).

So from my blog feed I ran across this recipe from Scrambled Megs for “the best carrot cake”!  The best ever you say *raises eyebrow*? Carrot cake you say *raises other eyebrow*.

I am always intrigued and slightly skeptical of superlative recipes but I thought I’d give it a read through…

The more I read the more excited I became!  This recipe has NO SUGAR! Let’s not get all pedantic about natural fruit sugars and other sweet things, let’s be happy to say there is nothing I’d stir into my Darjeeling.

The recipe also has NO BUTTER! OK, OK there is oil in there but this gives the option of picking which oil you want to use, vegetable? almond? perhaps coconut?! (ooooh, coconut)

Was this the recipe I had been waiting for; something built on a back bone of banana and carrot? Sweetened with dates and raisins? A cake I wouldn’t feel too bad about  munching through the whole thing sat on the sofa watching The Glee Project?

AND, IT IS DESCRIBED AS THE BEST?!?! (The post has since been changed and it’s now not titled “the best”)

It must be made and made right now!

As usual I made a few minor tweaks:

  • I switched the wholemeal flour for this malted stone ground because it looked lovely (I’m a sucker for a pretty package) and it was on offer (I’m a supermarket raccoon):
  • I used 1 tbsn sesame oil and 5 of ground nut.
  • I decided it would be easier for Simon to take small cakes to work than it would be to have a nine-incher poking out his Mulberry satchel…out come the cupcake cases.
First things first, they took about 20-25 minutes; You know the drill, they’re done when a skewer (erm, who has a skewer?) toothpick comes out clean.  I got 12 cupcake size and 6 big muffins…I’d halve the recipe next time (yes, half 3 eggs, you heard me).
These are not cupcake cakes!  I knew it from the start of the mixture, too thick and full of stuff.  You expect a cupcake to be light and fluffy and well risen…we are definitely in muffin country here!
The edible equivalent of the hippo in the tutu from Fantasia,  but with a drizzle of the honey/cream cheese icing (NO SUGAR! I’M SO IMPRESSED) I think they were partially salvaged.
They may not be winning any beauty pageants but sweet baby Jesus they are GOOOOOOOOD!
Not like the cranberry loaf  which was “healthy” good, these are MARVELLOUS and surprisingly quite sweet!
They are dense and moist like a proper muffin should be and they have a great spice to them.  It’s the crunch of a walnut piece combined with the slight resistance of coconut and grated carrot, accented by the occasional burst of raisin…makes me totally colon capital “d”…DIVINE! Total cake heaven!
This carrot cake isn’t the soggy brick of uniform colour and texture you find in most places; it is a cornucopia of interest…textures, flavours a total Thai full body massage for the mouth.
“Carrot Cake” sells this recipe short as there are so many flavours working together I’d rather call it…erm, Carro-nana-nut cakes (making names up, not my thing).
Let’s also not forget that THESE ARE HEALTHY! PRACTICALLY A VEGATABLE DISH!
I’m making them again very soon…I may add a handful of the cranberry mountain stored in the freezer and I’ll do a nutritional break down to check just how healthy they are.
Our feline overlord approved…

Healthy, really tasty, I’m not sure why Scrambled Megs changed the name as I would agree with the first title:  BEST CARROT CAKE!

The Little Box of Treats!

Stockton Heath, the epitome of Cheshire suburbia…now home to a Chinese bakery and tea house!

Yes, I know there’s Wong Wong’s and things in Manchester so I shouldn’t wet myself too hard but still…awesome!

The Little Box of Treats is sort of a hybrid little English tea and cake shop/Chinese bakery:

It’s all about the oriental sweet goodness, less about the techno-orientals and Asian-grandmas in flip-flops (yes, racial stereotyping, but give me a break, I grew up being the only oriental in a big Caucasian school). No to the austere Victoria Sandwiches and raisin laden scones, but yes to WI ladies and middle-class couples with small obnoxious off-spring.

L>O>V>E>>>>IT!

The lovely gal who served us was a total sweetheart…it got a bit busy when we were there and she’d sent some staff home as it was fairly quiet before hand; we had to wait like two whole minutes more for our order (yes, I chatted to her at the till, I chat to everyone at a till, I chat to anyone anywhere)…so, back to my point, oh yeah, she threw in some mango and some coconut pudding as an apology! SO SWEET…I plan to make her my new BFF.

Now, right, I was reviewing a bakery, so food…

Dreamy! Tasty good, super quality and really reasonably priced!

They do all kinds of goodness:

  • Sweet buns
  • Savoury buns
  • Puddings
  • Chinese sponges/cupcakes
  • Dim sum
  • Speciality Teas
  • Bubble Tea
They also do some great offers like Chinese afternoon tea for two that comes on little three tier cake stands (I told you, total fusion!) and little meal deals, like tea and dim sum for just under £5.
Simon had the dim sum and tea; pot o’ tea and 4 steamed dim sum either Har-Kau or Siu-Mei (he got two of each). Sweet Baby Jesus! The Har-Kau were huge and amazing (I stole a bite…all for the review of course). Really well steamed with two lobster sized prawns cuddled up inside a duvet of glutinous pastry heaven! The Siu-Mei were of equal size, quality and gorgeousness but I can’t think of any great way of describing a ball of meat that won’t make you feel disgusted with me of slightly misty in the nethers.
I had a Char-Siu Bao…my all time favourite food BTW if you wanted to at some point mail me goodies? If you are used to the little white “fluffy towel” kind, it wasn’t like that…more like a sweet, white, milk-roll (but huge and looked a bit like a boob) glazed on top and encasing the glistening, ruby chunks of char-siu pork that feature heavily in my sexy food dreams…divine! They were exactly what you’d pick up from a bustling bakery down Nathan Road in Hong Kong for a pick-me-up betwixt shopping malls.
I also tried one of the speciality teas, Fairy Blooming Jasmine (jokes to yourselves people…low hanging fruit). It came in a glass teapot and is a ball of leaves and things that unfurls into a beautiful blossom with nano jasmine flowers that float around the rest of the pot (and breathe, long sentence, could not or should not be shortened)! Nectar scented, flowery and delicately sweet like liquid floral candy floss; the perfect accompaniment to my buxom bun.
This is where there would probably be pictures of the food…but no, we noshed down before taking pictures so here are empty plates…

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You will have to be satisfied with a few snaps of the food counters…

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and here’s some things you can buy!

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They sell samples of the speciality teas, I got a bag of five Fairy Blooming Jasmine for £7.50! You get four in a box from Fortnum & Mason for £12.50! I also got a sample of Rose Tea which is just a bag of teeny tiny little rose buds…again with the total Anglo-Asian greatness!

I’m totally planning to live in this shop for the foreseeable future as I want to support local business (we are planning to move to Stockton Heath), I want to promote the greatness of Asian bakeries, I want to big up those brave enough to take the plunge and earn a living selling baked goods…erm, ok, I just want to eat cake.
Next plan is to sample one of the Chinese cakes which I just get giddy over, so light, so bright, so creamy…remember the movie Hook and the imaginary feast? Live the dream!
My only slight sad face is that the bubble tea has small tapioca pearls not the frogspawn on ‘roids that you need a special extra girthy straw to suck up (minds, gutters, hang your head)

If anyone wishes to join me for tea and cake Asian style…I will pay, I will drive and chauffeur you, I will even carry you from the car to the bakery…ring me…NOW!

Biscuit Combat…FIGHT!

Following on from the last post concerning the traumatic loss (then finding) of Granny Chadong’s biscuit recipe; we are getting greased up and violent…

Here’s a quick summary:

  1. Lost best recipe
  2. Found another recipe
  3. Found best recipe
  4. Fight to the death of the old champion and newcomer
Let’s start with the equivalent of the boxer weigh-in thing…were they stand in their little nundie pants on a scale while people take pictures.  I’ll replace the scale with a white plate and I can’t find little cookie Speedos so there are raisins on display NSFW!
OK, let’s ring the bell and get it on (did I say that? I’m trying to use fight talk, I don’t know fight talk.)!
Si and I will be judging so once again I’m going to be hiding from my evil mistress: Dailyburn Calorie Counter.

Granny Chadong’s

  • Taste:4.25
  • Texture:4.75
  • Overall:4.25

Treacle & Honey

  • Taste:4
  • Texture:3.5
  • Overall:3.75

The Winner!

Granny Chadong’s wins with a last second dodge of the Spinning-bird Kick and finishes off Treacle & Honey with Yoga Fire! FATALITY! (I know I’m mixing my fight game metaphors, if you’re injured by this you have many issues to work through)
Granny C’s weren’t how I remember them, they were a lot softer; maybe it was because I put them straight into a tin? maybe they needed  a few minutes longer in the oven? maybe I just forgot what they were really like.
They are still so, so good though!
I may tinker again with the recipe as T&H did have some good qualities I may try and incorporate.

In reality the real winners were Mykie and Simon who got to chow down on a plate of cookies.

Final Thought: If we ever open a strip club it is going to be called Treacle & Honey.

Jam, Jam, Jam…

We went to the Harvey Nichols Jam Master Class this evening!

Hosted by   (who was adorable BTW) it was a pleasant evening swathed in wafts of sweet, jammy aromas…yum! Clippy made two damn tasty jams for us and talked through the jam making process.  Many jam expert tips were shared along the way *insert “evil laugh of secret knowledge” .mp3* and the class came to a creamy climax with scones as tasty vectors for sampling Clippy’s fresh cooked wares!

So the jams Clippy demonstrated were “Strawberry Petal Fizz”; a decadent, saccharine spread of strawberry, rose petal and champagne; and then “Pimped Cherry Jam” created by HN’s head chef and featured this amazing stuff !

Strawberry Petal Fizz and Pimped Cherry

 

If I could marry jam I would marry the Strawberry Petal Fizz, Pimped Cherry would be the maid of honour…they were THAT tasty!

A highlight of the evening was meeting the lovely ladies from LOLLICAKES who provided these amazing hand-painted treats…

It's a pot of jam! It's a cake!

Run people! Order yourself some cakes on sticks!!!

Mine is currently sat on the dining table…I am resisting and plan to give it to Simon (as I’ve trashed the kitchen trying to make jam).

SO…as I’ve eluded to, on the way home I felt inspired to get my jam on! I threw caution (and anything I’d learned this evening) to the wind and decided to make a sugar-free banana jam!  Eating low-carb and tracking calories on Daily Burn totally murdered by jam…hence the sugar-free idea!

It doesn’t look the prettiest, but Mykie’s Monkey Mash tastes great!

Mykie's Monkey Mash

 

I flavoured it with cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon…I don’t think it’ll keep long as I guess it’s usually the sugar that keeps the bugs at bay.  I have three jars full so I think the low-carb thing is totally screwed for the next couple of days!

 

I’m planning to spend the next few weeks getting my jam on…any ideas on fruits/combinations etc. let me know…if banana was the first thing to pop into my head I shouldn’t be in charge of picking flavours! TO THE JAMMING ROOM!