Saturday, 26 May 2012

Arlington Bluebell Walk

Here's one of my latest commissions - a "thankyou" cake in recognition of the owners of Arlington Bluebell Walk from one of the charities they have supported for several years.

A foodish day in Brighton (well Hove, Actually)

Kitty has been on the receiving end of Mummy-Lite for the last few weeks due to rather a lot of cake related business. So I decided to take her over to Brighton for the day, to do a park/playground crawl and check out some food spots on my "must visit" list on the way. 

First on the list was breakfast at the wonderful veggie/vegan cafeteria in the North Laine called Iydea. It's had rave reviews on tripadvisor and a whole fistful of awards. So it was with eagerness tempered by expectations-of-disappointment that we arrived. It was great - really delicious, inexpensive and innovative food, genuinely friendly staff and a great atmosphere. It's the first time I've eaten a vegan breakfast and wanted more !

We then hopped on the 81B bus up to St Anns Wells Garden where they were holding a Spring Fair. My Mum, who comes from Hove told me later that she and my Aunty used to walk along to the Gardens in their lunchbreak from school in Wilbury Road. We particularly enjoyed the rather odd man to the rear of the photograph on the left - who was engrossed in "conducting" the brass band ! I also enjoyed taking in the eclectic mix of architecture on the way - including the beautiful Art Deco Furze Croft apartment block. 

Next point of call for Food Mecca was the inimitable Audrey's Chocolates in Holland Road. All their chocolates are hand made on the premises - and when I say handmade I mean that they actually make their own chocolate from actual cocoa beans. My parents have been buying chocolates from Audreys for as long as I can remember and in my opinion they are the best chocolates in the UK. One of my favourite children's books "Hetty", written by Brightonian Barbara Willard, features a scene in a Hove chocolate shop with its inspiration firmly in Audrey's. I'd take one small box of Audrey's champagne truffles over 200 boxes of Thorntons any day. They were training a new shop assistant in the finer points of customer service while I was there - down to how to tie a perfect bow in harmonising colours to the chocolates inside. 

The final flourish, as a reward for spending two hours in a magnificent seafront playground by the twisted remains of poor old West Pier, was a gelato in boho gelato. Well, I had Pier Doughnut and Pink Lemonade, Kitty had Chocolate and all I can say is...

Yum, yum and more yum !!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

In which we make Debby's Jumbles

"Then Katy could wait no longer but crept out of bed, crossed the floor on tip-toe, and
raising the lid a little, put in her hand. Something crumbly and sugary met it, and when
she drew it out, there, fitting on her finger like a ring, was a round cake with a hole
in the middle of it. "Oh ! It's one of Debby's jumbles !" she exclaimed.
Thanks to my lovely new Kindle I've been reacquainting myself with the What Katy Did stories and What Katy Did at School in particular. I just love the scene where Katy and Clover open their Christmas box and find myself transported into their little bedroom, full of plum pudding, jumbles, knitted gifts and gorgeous ruby red blooms. I've always been intrigued by Debby's Jumbles and decided to spend our rainy Sunday afternoon baking with my baby. She is always a very willing sous-chef ! Her ecstasy when I let her break the egg into the mixture was quite something to behold !
My happy little sous chef in action. She absolutely loves cooking, proving that the apple does not fall far from the tree.
And she doesn't answer back (yet) !
I'm not sure that they quite matched up to the crumbly sugariness described but they were still pretty good. I had a bag of brandy soaked fruit kicking around in the cupboard as well so, in the interest of marital harmony, I also made David's favourites - Chelsea Buns. They were the epitome of sticky, cinnamony goodness and didn't last very long !