Wednesday, 31 March 2010

A Little Tea Break

Japanese drinks vending machine

I am currently in Japan - a country so obsessed with tea, there are vending machines selling iced versions every 100 metres. So please excuse my lack of posts over the coming weeks.
I will be back with tales of tea nirvana soon!

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Lavender & Chocolate Chip Cookies

Homemade lavender chocolate chip cookiesMuch as I love cupcakes – and in fact cakes in general – there are times when biscuits are called for; one such time was the other day. I had arranged to go to Miss O's for lunch and it wasn't until about an hour before I was due to leave that it hit me – I hadn't made anything sweet to take along. Never one to let an opportunity for baking pass me by I started searching for a recipe. What did I have in the cupboard? All of the usual basics: flour, butter, sugar etc. But what could give these biscuits a taste of the unexpected..? Chocolate – never wrong but hardly a shocking choice. And then it hit me: my old favourite, lavender. Perfect. I could make a sweet biscuit with lavender and chocolate chips.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Little Blog Awards

I just wanted to post a little note to say thank you so much to everyone who has voted for me in the Dorset Cereals Little Blog Awards: I am currently in second place - which is very exciting! If you haven't voted yet and would like a chance to win a case of lovely Dorset Cereals - not to mention making me very happy in the process - please click on the link below.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Last Impressions Count


I like to think I've got pretty good instincts. If I meet someone and don't warm to them I rarely find that we end up becoming good friends. Likewise, if I go into a shop, restaurant or cafe and get a bad vibe there's not much hope it's going to become a favourite. But sometimes first impressions can be misleading.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Review: J&A Café, Clerkenwell

J and A cafe Clerkenwell cakesThe other day I had agreed to meet the lovely Miss O for a little afternoon get-together. She was coming from Islington and I offered to find us a delightful spot to have afternoon tea in the area. I was determined to cycle as it had been so long since I'd strapped on my rather chic helmet (yes, that's right I said chic!) so I started to do some research. I had a vague memory of a cafe I'd heard about in Clerkenwell, incidentally my favourite bit of town and the area that contains my familial roots (perhaps the two things are connected..?), and after a little bit of research I found it and arranged to meet Miss O there.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla & Rose

Chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream and rose fondantI was giving a dinner party recently and wanted to be all thoroughly planned and organised. But in my more typical style it wasn't until a couple of days before that I got a chance to sit down and plan the menu. I quickly settled on the starter and main course but couldn't make up my mind about dessert until I stumbled upon Maison Cupcake's recipe for Chocolate & Raspberry Trifle: it sounded perfect as it could be prepared in advance thereby taking the pressure off on the day itself. The other big bonus was that the base of the trifle required chocolate sponge. I had an old friend coming for tea that day and hadn't made anything yet - chocolate cupcakes would offer a double whammy of delight!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Review: BagCo, Charlottenburg

Kantstrasse and Fasanenstrasse from BagCo Charlottenburg

Whenever I am in Berlin I rarely venture to the west of the city. I'm not necessarily talking about the part of the city that used to be on the "right side" of the wall as I do hang out in Kreuzberg quite a bit - although I'm not sure that really counts. It's become something of a standing joke amongst my friends and family, and my Berlin-loving friend K likes to remind me that I no longer need to obtain a special pass to visit.