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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!

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Harry looking smart , haircut at Leo’s Pet Spa



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Wendover: Woods & Cheese

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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

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Lemon lavender drizzle cake

I have been working on my garden this summer and planted a lot of lavender and it smells amazing! I’m going to harvest it at the end of summer to make little smelly sachets. Well – it is on my list of things to do – but we will see!

light and fluffy.. perfect combination of two great flavours

light and fluffy.. perfect combination of two great flavours

Anyway, it inspired me today to make a little twist on the lemon drizzle cake with lavender. Lemon and lavender are both strong flavours so what better than a Lemon lavender drizzle cake.

Ingredients:

175gm butter

175gm golden caster sugar

3 eggs

175gm self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cooking lavender

2 tbsp lemon zest

2 tbsp lemon juice

Syrup:

4 tbsp caster sugar

Juice of one lemon

1 tsp lavender

Instructions:

Cream butter and sugar

Gradually add egg, careful not to split the butter mix

Add the lemon, mix in

Sieve flour, baking powder and mix lavender with dry ingredients, mix into butter mix with metal spoon.

Add a little water (tbsp) to loosen batter and pour into greased/lined tin.

Bake at 180 for 30-35min.

Let cool and pour syrup over top.

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Cinnamon Square: The best tea and cake in Rickmansworth

I’ve been living in Chorleywood for 3 years now and feel a bit embarrassed that I have never been to this place. I have always been a bit diss appointed with Rickmansworth, a town dominated by Cafe Nero and Costa.

But yesterday, after our Baby Sensory class I went to Cinammon Square looking for a little afternoon treat.

I had the Bruschetta first, because if you have your Veges then it’s ok to have dessert.

The bread was a little hard, but that is what you get with sourdough, but the flavouring was lovely, really tasty tomatoes and fresh basil. It didn’t feel too oily either which often is what Bruschetta can be.

For my sweet treat, I was tempted by the red velvet cupcake. It was lovely. Really light and fluffy and the cream cheese icing was gorgeous, not too sickly which they sometimes can be.

Their selection of cakes and pastries could rival any French patisserie, it is all made by them and they have fresh bread too.

I definitely recommend for lunch or afternoon tea and cake.

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Making the most of blackberries

Today I decided it was time to do something with the tonnes of blackberries I picked on Friday afternoon.

I have two big blackberry bushes in my garden, one is a wild thorny one which has beautiful big round blackberries and the other produces the type of blackberries you normally find in the supermarket.

I made a classic blackberry jam, 450gm blackberries to 450gm of sugar, lemon juice and pectin. I love to make small batches of jam, it means that you can make different flavours and you never get bored of the same jam over and over.

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I used the rest to make this fabulous upside down cake. The recipe is here upside down blackberry cake

The changes I made to make it gluten free was a swap of the plain flour for 150gm gluten free flour and 50gm rice flour. I added an extra tablespoon of milk to ensure it was moist enough.

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Dreaming of the rain and rhubarb preserves…

Alice’s Kitchen has been closed for 12-months and things are about to heat up!  As I sat in an airconditioned conference room in Chicago this morning, looking out at the dreary wet weather I began to scheme …and dream of the rhubarb growing in the vege patch.

I am in Chicago for work, well for my day job.  I am feeling desperately homesick and can’t wait to get home.  Spending a week with strangers takes it’s toll and as i sit now in the hotel bar with a glass of Savignon Blanc, I am planning Alice’s return.

Those of you who have followed Alice’s Tea Garden from the beginning know that my main focus was on the Tea Parties, but as life has changed, I have moved out of London, I am going to spend more time on helping others to create the best tea parties.  This will mean I am going to start posting more details about recipes, menu suggestions, matching teas with your menus and quirky themes to consider for your afternoon tea parties.

I am going to do more of the ‘pop up’ event style parties as it is easier for me to plan and manage these events around my calendar.

So for those people of Chorleywood and the  Chalfonts… look out soon for summer parties… a great way to meet some new local people and an alternative weekend afternoon in the garden.

Now i digressed.  What i was telling you all was that i was dreaming of my Rhubarb, and then out pops Hugh today with a great article on preserves… what better way for me to use my rhurbarb than a Rhubarb chutney.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/jun/21/preserve-recipes-fearnley-whittingstall

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's gooseberry curd

Image courtesy of the Guardian…http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/jun/21/preserve-recipes-fearnley-whittingstall

 

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Alice is leaving London!

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Sadly, I am moving out of London so this is the last for a while. Alice’s last tea party was wonderful, and you will see the wonderful cake (M&S cake & Alice’s Macarons) for the lovely Jane.

We have decided to sell up our London home and buying a great big chocolate box style Victorian house in the lovely village of chorleywood

There is a lot of work to completely renovate this place, we are talking major remodel and revamp but by the end we will have a beautiful big family home. Perfectly located by the tube and in the village with half an acre, what more could a baking mad gal and a sweet tooth guy want!!

What is in it for you? Do not fear, tea party planning and macaron production will only be on hold… Once settled it will be the perfect venue for glamorous pop up tea parties!

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