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GBBO on catch up

So we are a bit behind on bake off, the baby has been ill and as you will remember from my last post we had a bit of a disaster, this week was no different.

so Saturday I decided to make delicious apple tarts for dessert for our weekend dinner guests.

  I used the recipe from the Lauderee recipe book so it was destined to be tasty.  An almond pastry and apple cooked in two different ways. I spent most of the day making them, ensuring the pastry was well chilled before cooking and  after assembly finished off with an apricot glaze.

You can see from the picture they were quite impressive. I was so pleased I showed my husband, then as moving to put them into the fridge I somehow slipped and they all fell on the floor. In my shock and upset I had a delayed reaction to the dog eating them up. This all ended in a drama. The tarts contained sultanas which are toxic to dogs so we had a rush visit to the vet and ended up eating strawberry tarts from m&s for dinner.

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Baking & Babies: #GBBO cake week

I was so excited to sit down to the first episode of Great British Bake Off this week.

It was cake week, my favourite and so I was all set to share with you a fabulous Gaetaeu. I planned to make an Opera Gateau. Light and airy with delicious layers of buttercream and chocolate ganache.

Now I began this on Thursday, the day after GBBO. And well, it was a great big fail. I began with all the prep, first discovering my square tin wasn’t ideal so deciding to use my loose bottom round tin. 

That was my first mistake. My second mistake was thinking I could make the cake with little baby girl sitting in her high chair watching. Now, it did initially. She sat banging her maracas. I whipped the eggs.

But as I realised I hadn’t prepared my dry ingredients, this diverted my attention, baby started crying and getting restless so when it came to folding all the components together I had baby girl in my arms. Not ideal.

A big learning was on the whipping of eggs and sugar, I had done this nicely but left it too long and it had lost a lot of air, then when I folded in the whipped egg whites it was loosing the air even more.

Then I rushed the adding of butter to my dry ingredients, so suddenly I had lumpy almond amongst the flour. And so I rushed even more and addedmy lumpy mix   to the deflating egg mix.

The result? A flat cake with lumpy cooked egg. It kind of tasted like an omlette.

So this was binned.

Now not wanting to miss out.. I did the next best thing, found a fabulous patisserie which sold Opera Gateau. Not homemade, but very indulgent.



celebrating GBBO cake week ewith Opera Gateau at Jungs



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St Mawes hotel & Cornish cheese

Spending the week in Cornwall with a baby and a dog is slightly different to the glamorous summer holidays of the past in Italy. 

Yesterday we managed to find a little gem which made us feel just a little cool again.

We visited St Mawes, a lovely part of Cornwall. I had planned to have afternoon tea at the Idle Rocks, set right on the harbours edge with a lovely terrace, but unfortunately they did not like furry friends to join. They suggested their sister hotel the St Mawes Hotel so we strolled back down the road.

St Mawes Hotel was a great choice. Friendly, kind of cool, easy going and dog friendly.

The menu was very relaxed, but not all the typical pub choices, I had Calamari and a Panzanella salad. The Panzanella was not quite how the Tuscans do it, but still tasty, with very fresh tasty tomatoes.

To finish, I was convinced to go for the cheese platter. I would have loved to have a sweet, but actually a selection of local Cornish cheeses was the perfect finish.

Still looking for my perfect Cornish cream tea… Maybe tomorrow.





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The Grocer: Lemon poppyseed cake & great coffee

For the eagle eyed among you, you may have started to notice that many of my visits to cafés and afternoon tea outings don’t actually involve tea.  

As I am perpetually tired most of my indulgence occasions require copious amounts of coffee. In fact, most days involve a lot of espresso coffee.

And yesterday was a great example of that. A large flat white, followed by a small flat white. At one of the best coffee spots in bucks.

We are getting ready for a week away and so on my to do list was getting the dog groomed. While Harry was getting preened, I took the chance to enjoy a nice break in my favourite spot in Amersham, The Grocer.

There are two locations in Amersham old town both are great, cozy and always busy. It can be difficult with prams as both venues are small, so it isn’t really suited to a mums lunch date with all the babes but great you want a bit of ‘me’ time. I love having lunch for one. A chance to breathe, relax and read the paper. 



I went to the Grocer at 91 (91 the high st) they have one large communal table and then a few small tables, but the vibe is great, and the coffee is even better.

Being an Aucklander, I like my coffee and the flat whites here are amazing.

I started with a Chicken and peanut dressing sandwich – delish! 

As Harry’s haircut was taking a while, and the little one was still sleeping, I took the opportunity to have another flat white and a piece of the lemon poppyseed cake. I normally go for their chocolate or carrot cake, but the lemon poppyseed cake was fab. It had a lovely glaze and was double layered with a lemon curd and thick icing filling. Definitely worth the calories. I worked extra hard at the gym this morning to make up for it!

Edit

Harry looking smart , haircut at Leo’s Pet Spa



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Chocolate Cake and Chapel Down

Most chocolate cakes these days are heavy and rich.  This one is rich, but the cake is light, the richness is in the glazing.  This cake recipe works really well as a double layered cake, but I made it as just one layer and made a rich chocolate glaze. But if you want a double layer cake you could fill it either with a chocolate ganache or a fresh cream and sprinkle with icing sugar.  Or if you really are a chocolate lover make double layer, fill with ganache and coat in the glaze…

Ingredients:thumb_IMG_3534_1024

110gms Self raising flour

3 Tbsp Cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

110gms butter

2 eggs

110gms Sugar

Method:

Grease a small round cake tin and line tin in baking parchment paper.  Heat oven to 180degrees on fan bake.

Cream butter and sugar, beat eggs and gradually mix in to butter and sugar to make sure you don’t split the butter.

Sieve together flour, baking powder and Cocoa and fold into butter mix.  Add 2 tbsp of boiling water and mix gently.  Pour into cake tin and spread  evenly.

Cook for 25-30min – until top bounces back and skewer is clean.

Chocolate Glaze:

1. Mix together: 2 Tbsp Sugar & 110mls thick double cream, Boil sugar and double cream in a pan.

2. cut finely 100 gm dark chocolate and put in a bowl with 20gms of butter

3. Add boiled cream mixture to dark chocolate and butter and mix until smooth

4. Let it cool slightly and then pour over the cake and spread evenly over top and around sides.

Decorate however you like!

XX

Chocolate cake and Chapel Down

Chocolate cake and Chapel Down

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The Squirrel Penn St: babies and dogs.

The Squirrel in Penn Street was the location for today.  My friend and I were celebrating our last lunch together with the babies before she returns to work next week so I chose The Squirrel, just a short drive from Chorleywood and a promise of child friendly and dog friendly with great food.

Being a Wednesday lunch it was relatively quiet, however it certainly did deliver on the promise.  Really tasty classic pub food.  I had the Burger (naughty) and my friend had the Chicken Asparagus salad (good girl) both were really fresh and tasty.  Salads in pubs are so often tasteless but it looked really fresh and I will definitely choose it next time (if I’m feeling good).

the squirrelLila was of course asleep and enjoyed her milk on waking, while the other little one enjoyed a squirrel burger and peas.  The kids menu was really flexible and I did see Lila eyeing up the burger and am sure she will be happy to dig in on the next visit.  The babies weren’t big enough and the weather also was not great for enjoying the garden and playground, but this does look like fun for the kids!

We had a lovely afternoon, finished off by a nice walk in the woods.. thankfully it stopped raining long enough for Harry to have a good run around.

thesquirrel2

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Wendover: Woods & Cheese

IMG_3488

Today was another beautiful summers day so what better way to spend it than a walk in the woods, finished off with some fabulous cheese.

Today, we headed to Wendover Woods, a fantastic spot in the Chilterns for walking the dog and baby.  The paths are wide and relatively flat surface (not too bumpy for the little one), the walk loops around the woods and finishes off walking through the great picnic spaces.  We are thinking of heading back in a few weeks with our NCT group for a Picnic!

No2 Pound St

So after a brisk walk in the woods, we were starving, Lila was due her feed so we headed into Wendover village for a bite to eat.  We went to No2 Pound St, it is a great deli, really amazing selection of cakes, pastries and sandwiches. But what I really love is their cheese.  They do great cheese boards and mixed cheese and cold meats – I will be heading here for supplies for our party in a few weeks!

Cheese at No2 Pound St

Enjoying a cheese platter and giggles in Wendover