This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the amazing wedding of my lovely friends Katie and James. Of course there are many photos of the stunning bride and handsome groom, but I couldn’t resist giving the incredibly talented Hannah of Beaumont’s Bakes a mention for her delicious funfair themed wedding cake tiered with carrot, lemon drizzle and red velvet. Hannah kept the theme going with vanilla ice-cream cone cakes and toffee-fudge popcorn cupcakes.
All guests at the wedding were spoilt with delicious food throughout the day, but despite being stuffed people were making sure they had their share of these phenomenal cakes. I was completely shocked when I read on Hannah’s page this was her first wedding cake. I know who I’ll be using if I ever tie the knot!
Have you ever been out for brunch and seen eggy crumpets, with maple syrup, streaky bacon and tomatoes on the menu? I’ve only had it once at Cabbages and Kings, a converted old post office, in Halstead Kent. How was it? A dream – and I can’t wait to go back for more. In fact, I absolutely loved the variety and pure classics on their brunch menu..I must say it definitely beats the lunch experience I had there once before.
As you may know I am adamant that brunch isn’t over until you’ve had dessert and Cabbages and Kings is PERFECT for this with a wide selection of cakes on display. The lemon, blueberry and elderflower cake is a must. You can also have a little browse in their charming shop afterwards. I left full of cake and armed with a gorgeous blush pink vase for my new home. All in all a pretty successful Saturday morning (even if I did spend 3 hours of it gossiping and drinking tea).
The downside? You absolutely must book in advance and it’s not open on Sundays.
Finally, this Alice in Wonderland fanatic got to spend an afternoon down the rabbit hole at the Sanderson Hotel London.
I’ve seen so many pictures of this afternoon tea I thought I wouldn’t find it that exciting – been there, done that, seen the Instagram – but I was wrong. I loved it and it definitely lived up to the hype.
The theme is top notch with special Alice in Wonderland flavoured teas (the green tea with mango Mad Hatter was my favourite), red velvet ladybird cakes and chocolate caterpillars.
The savoury bites were unusual, and delicious, with a white crab éclair, salmon scotch egg with caviar and crowd pleaser goat cheese croque-monsieur. Round it off with a surprise passionfruit ice-cream served in a flower pot and you have some very happy guests who are glad they weren’t ‘late for tea’.
I loved sitting outside by the water fountain in the conservatory too. We were bold enough to delve further into Wonderland, exploring glass walled bars, a space themed lift and various wacky chairs around the hotel. Seemed a shame to grow back into the real world…
The search is over! I’ve finally found it – the recipe for my dream Brownie in all its gooey, chewy glory. Brownies are a pretty big deal so I wanted to make sure I felt super confident before I posted a recipe on here. After 2 months of searching, here it is – ‘the one’.
You will need:
- Deep, square cake tin
- Electric whisk/ mixer
- Baking paper
- A saucepan and heatproof bowl for melting the chocolate and butter
- A teaspoon and large tablespoon
For the base:
- 150g digestive biscuits
- 150g walnuts
- 125g unsalted butter, melted
For the brownie:
- 125g dark chocolate
- 200g white chocolate chips
- 175g unsalted butter, softened
- 400g caster sugar
- 150g plain flour
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Line the baking tray with the baking paper
- Put the biscuits and walnuts in a large sandwich bag and crush with a rolling pin. Don’t bash them so hard there’s only dust left; you’re aiming for a mix of crumbs and slightly bigger chunks.
- Melt the butter for the base and stir in the crushed walnut and biscuit until evenly coated. Spread the mixture to cover the base of the tin. Put the tray in the fridge for around 20 minutes so the mixture can set.Top tip: if you’re feeling lazy, melt the butter in the microwave! Alternatively, you can melt in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water.
- Gently melt the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of hot water on the hob. Top tip: careful the water doesn’t touch the bowl or mix with the chocolate.
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Top tip: a whisk usually helps here!
- Lightly beat the eggs in a separate bowl and gradually pour into the sugar and butter mix; beat together before mixing in the melted chocolate and vanilla extract.
- Fold in the flour and half the white chocolate chips. Spoon the mixture evenly over the biscuit and nut base, before sprinkling the remaining white chocolate chips on top.
- Cook in the oven for 35 minutes.Top tip: the mixture is done when you poke the centre with a metal skewer and a fair few brownie crumbs come out on the stick along with some melted chocolate. Careful not to over bake and ruin the charm of this chocolate beast.
The brownies make a delicious (slightly messy!) dessert when still slightly warm, or a great gooey brownie any time of day when completely cool. We were taking our tray over to relatives, so served straight out the tin for a chocolatey treat to rival the Easter eggs.
If you’re planning to tip the bake out of the tray, make sure they’re completely cool first and gently peel the lining paper off the back.
Easter is officially my favourite bank holiday. The first few months of the year are usually pretty exhausting so I really need the extra days off, and it’s just so chilled out!
I was away this Easter and a little short on time, but wanted to bake some cakes for the family I was visiting. There are loads of fancy recipes on Pintrest with intricate baskets and huge cakes, which unfortunately would take more time than I had. Cereal nest cakes a lovely, but I wanted proper cake. The conclusion was some chocolate chip cupcakes with belgian chocolate butter-icing. Spread the icing with a knife then spike up with fork to make a nest effect. Pop on some mini-eggs and then you’re done. Ready for the holidays!
Happy Easter everyone!
Hally’s advertises itself as ‘a Californian-inspired hangout’; a description that came to life for me on entering the cute little cafe decorated with blue and yellow accessories and white painted wood and brickwork. Service is chilled, and vibes are what the old lady in me would call ‘trendy’. It just oozes summer, even on the wet, miserable January Saturday on which I visited. Parsons Green is really pretty too.
The breakfast menu is on until 11.30am or weekend brunch is all day. You can’t book, so be prepared to wait a while. The good news is you can kill time drinking coffee at ‘Little H’ across the street, and Hally’s will call you when your table is ready. It’s worth waiting for a table round the corner to avoid the crowds waiting hungrily by the door.
The menus are varied offering all you can ask for from pancakes to porridge, to pastries, fritters, eggs and full breakfasts (depending on what time you go). We opted for poached eggs, avocado and halloumi, but I’ve heard the bagels are amazing. Of course my favourite thing was the abundance of freshly baked cakes and pastries available. Not wanting to miss out we shared a selection, with the orange and almond cake coming up tops. It’s a thumbs up for Hally’s from me.
When having dinner at Brasserie 108 in Marylebone, I was thrilled to pass through the curtains and discover what felt like a ‘secret room’ – the gorgeous 108 Pantry at The Marylebone Hotel. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to come back for a little treat.
Unfortunately, with a hectic start to the year I did not have time for their full afternoon tea (which looks amazing and even manages to include a curious ‘healthy option’), but was able to pop in for their £5.50 tea and cake combo during my lunch break. Boy am I glad I did. If you’re ever looking for somewhere special to unwind with a warm pot and nice slice of cake, I cannot recommend the Pantry at 108 Marylebone enough. Make sure you do order cake though, as the tea alone is £4.00 so it’s not to be missed for the extra £1.50.
The room is modern yet homely, with large brightly coloured chairs making the open space comfortable and welcoming. We didn’t have to ask for a ‘nice table’ as you do in some places, and weren’t sat by other customers for convenience, but placed in the beautiful bay window looking out on the red brick of Marylebone.
They have a large selection of cakes, including gluten free, displayed in beautiful glass cases so there’s no shame in eyeing them all up to make your selection while staff recommend their favourites. I opted for the Strawberry Cheesecake Sponge which was perfect. The tea is also delicious, served loose leaf of course, and accompanied by a lovely striped tea set I would want to buy for myself. I can’t wait to return.