Yesterday I was delighted to attend a gluten free cakes and tea loaves course at Peterborough City College, hosted by Paul White aka Paul the Baker. This whole GF thing is still very new to me, I was diagnosed as intolerant at the start of the year and am still trying to find my feet a little. Luckily it’s not a complete ‘no’ to gluten, so if I do still fancy a slice of normal cake (or pizza!), I can still have one every now and then, and keep on cooking and baking as I love. The courses at Peterborough are really very reasonable (as they’re subsidised), so when I saw this one advertised at just £20 for 4 hours, it was too good to miss. The course took place at the college’s training kitchen, all industrial ovens and stainless steel, a little intimidating to start with! It was only a small group of us and Paul soon put us all at ease, it was to be a relaxed day and certainly no bake-off style competitions. He had 3 recipes for us, with all ingredients and equipment included in the cost of the course. First up, a gluten free swiss roll. Now I already love swiss roll as is (my original gluten-filled post is still one of the most popular on the blog); it’s simple, straight-forward and fat-free. But this gluten free version takes things to a new level! Amazingly it uses exactly the same quantities, method and ingredients as a normal swiss roll, just substituting regular flour for a gluten free blend (we used Doves Farm throughout the day). My swiss roll before, and after baking (note the light and fluffiness!)… … and then rolled and filled with raspberry jam. The result? Soft, fluffy and sweet swiss roll. Amazing! Back home I finished it with a sprinkle of icing sugar and of course had a few more big slices 🙂 Next on the course, a gluten-free tea bread. Again the recipe is quite similar to a ‘regular’ one – flour, milk, yeast, pre-soaked dried fruit, and a little sugar and butter. Due to the limited time we had in the kitchen, Paul recommended baking these in muffin cases so they’d cook a little easier. The mixture went on for seemingly ever, I ended up with two whole trays full! I added some extra dates to the second batch to fruit them up a little. The one thing I really did learn from the day is that gluten free baking doesn’t look the same when it’s done. Whilst you’d expect normal bread rolls to go a lovely golden brown on top, when they are gluten free they only just start to colour. It’s a bit of a fine art making sure they are cooked inside but not over-done. Nevertheless I was really pleased with the way they turned out – sweet and fruity and perfectly snack size. These bad boys will keep me going for breakfast for the next few weeks! They are great on their own and even better with a smidge of butter 🙂 One slight downside however, I really struggled to get the muffin cases off, even when they were cool. Next time I make these I will just grease the tin and cook them straight in there. Last on our recipe list were gluten free brownies. Even more unusually, these are majority made with sweet potatoes – no butter, no sugar, just a sweet potatoes, GF flour, a little maple syrup, cocoa powder and some chopped dates for added texture. The mix was simple to make and went straight into the oven. Again it was a little tricky to tell when these were done, although the top went crispy they seemed to take forever to cook inside! Finally they came out and had a lovely brownie crust on top. As we were running short on time I finished mine off with a twist at home, cutting into small squares and drizzling with a little dark chocolate. At the college I was a little unsold on these, the texture and taste is not what I’d expected from a brownie, but once they’d cooled and had the chocolate topping my mind was definitely made up. For a cake that’s both gluten free and vegetable based they are amazing! Fudgy and sweet, easy to make and great little treat bites. So overall my day at the college was a pretty big success! Three yummy bakes, some great new acquaintances, and a new zest to go out and try some more GF recipes. Whilst I’ve decided that Peterborough is perhaps a little far to go (200 mile round trip), I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for some more courses soon. A day in someone else’s kitchen is always great fun!
The ingredients and recipe for this cake came in one of the most amazing Christmas presents ever – a baking package all the way from my brother and sister-in-law in New Zealand! You may remember a couple of years ago now, my post on Cakes with the Kiwis, when we were lucky enough over travelling round for a couple of weeks. Of course lolly cake featured – and they were so amazing to remember how much I loved it and send me the kit over.
The name might be a bit confusing to UK readers – it doesn’t have anything to do with lollipops on sticks, or even ice lollies. Over on the other side of the world, ‘lolly’ is the kiwi word for sweets, much as the US call it candy. The lollies in question, the main part of the cake, are these Eskimos.
They’re not readily available in the UK, I understand there is a similar version called Fruit Puffs, also not available here! The closest thing I would describe them too are foam fruits – you know the pink shrimps, yellow bananas etc? I’ll be sure to try a version with these soon and post the results, watch this space.
Once you’ve got hold of the sweets, the most difficult bit is out of the way! Other ingredients are simply crushed biscuits, melted butter, condensed milk, and a little desiccated coconut to roll on the edges. This would be a great recipe to make with kids – supervising the lolly cutting of course, the rest is all hands-on stickiness with no baking required.
The original recipe (as sent to me) can be found on the Griffin’s website. They make an amazing malt biscuit which adds that certain something to the cake. I’m hoping the same effect can be made with a malted milk biscuit or similar over here when I attempt a UK version….
The cake is made as simply as crushing the biscuits, cutting up the lollies, then mixing with condensed milk and butter.
The mixture needs to be rolled into a log shape and chilled for several hours before I eating, which was a bit sticky to start with but made infinitely easier using a big sheet of greaseproof paper.
Likewise, to coat the edges in coconut, another roll around in the greaseproof paper saved my kitchen from an otherwise nutty mess!
Once chilled the log is inconspicuously ordinary as a cake…
… until you cut in and reveal the amazing brightly coloured lollies!
This is one seriously addictive cake, I just cannot describe. The malty warmth of the biscuits melts into the creamy condensed milk, and the lollies come through with a squishy tangy marshmallow like texture. Sooo good!
Unsurprisingly this batch didn’t last long at all in our house, and hence the hunt begins to track down an Eskimo lolly alternative in the UK. More here as it happens!
Back in the summer, as part of a hen weekend in the wonderful city of York, 5 lovely ladies and I brunched at Bettys tea rooms and cafe. After spending the previous day at York races, we were very excited to go to one of Yorkshire’s finest and fill up on all the yummy wares we’d heard so much about.
Luckily the great British weather was on our side, and a heavy summer downpour had meant the streets were almost clear, and we only had a short wait for a table. I have it on good authority that the queues often stretch right round the building!
Of course this gave us a great excuse to have a peek around the shop and take-away cakes, and my goodness what a selection!
From macarons in all colours and flavours…
… to fresh fruit cakes, tarts and slices…
And gifts for the baker (or eater!) in your life:
It still being breakfast time, it only seemed right that we start with something a little more savoury though. The summer menu was absolutely full of delights, and so difficult to choose!
I eventually settled for a Swiss Breakfast Rosti – and was certainly not disappointed. A giant cheese, cream and potato rosti, topped with bacon, eggs, and mushrooms – it was absolutely delicious.
One of the best things about Bettys for me was the silver service – in every way. From the silver tea pots and fine china, to the immaculately dressed and wonderfully polite hostesses. It was all wonderfully British and very proper!
Breakfast washed down with some tea, well, it was now 11am, so… elevenses? We couldn’t come to Bettys and not have cake!
There was so much choice – everything from the shop and more besides. From a fantastic display to the famed cake trolley, we were literally spoilt for choice.
And a great selection I think we made:
I opted for a strawberry Paris-Brest – a wheel-shaped choux pastry filled to the brim with strawberries and cream, and topped with chocolate shavings. Delicious!
Tummies completely full of breakfast and cake – we paid another quick trip to the shop for some souvenirs. What would the boys say if we returned home cake-less!
I went for one of Bettys classics – a Yorkshire Fat Rascal. This little devil is a plump, fruit filled scone, with a cheeky little face made out of almonds and cherries.
And of course I couldn’t resist his younger other – a delicious sounding chocolate and orange rascal.
Stopping for a few more pictures on the way – the queues had already started to build up outside. It’s apparently not unusual for people to queue all the way round the front of the tearoom, for an hour or even more!
When we were there, in mid-July, the Tour de France decorations were still adorning the streets in force. How cute is the bunting made from little yellow, green, and patterned t-shirts?
And I couldn’t leave without some snaps of the wonderful window displays in Bettys – it truly is a great institution and one I hope to go back to soon!
Yesterday I was privileged to be a part of the Clandestine Cake Club stall at Cake and Bake Manchester 2014. CCC founder Lynn Hill had wanted us organisers to be a part, spending the day explaining to fellow cake-fans our simple concept of baking, sharing and eating cakes. Simple and very social, needless to say we had a lot of interest!
After a gruelling 6am start, Julia, organiser of CCC Derby and I, soon perked up once we were on the stall!
And it wasn’t long before the crowds started to arrive.
Each day CCC was hosting a ‘Taste on the Table’ competition, for members of near and far clubs to enter their best bakes, to win fab baking prizes from Renshaw and Nordicware. And they did not disappoint – before long we had a fantastic array of cakes adorning the stall.
And the icing on the cake as you may put it… I was kindly volunteered by the rest of the team to judge the competition with none other than Peter Sidwell from Britain’s Best Bakery. Nerve-wracking doesn’t even describe it – tasting 10 cakes sounds like a lot of fun, but surround by crowds of eager bakers was a little over-whelming! Thankfully the girls were on hand to snap me at my most flattering…
Peter was a real pro, and between us (conferring with me hidden behind the banner!) we chose a Chocolate Porter Cake with Baileys icing as the winner – baked by Heidi from N. Yorkshire & Tees Valley CCC. She too was rather overwhelmed but a very worthy winner, for a great combination of flavours and lovely light texture.
Judging duties out the way, I had plenty of time to wander round, sample and shop!
Of course I had to try this fantastic cupcake dress, made of 800 cupcakes and over 5000 sugar flowers – simply stunning.
And some fantastic things to see at the other stalls – Nielsen-Massey were making cocktails with their extracts…
… and Billingtons had created a brilliant Sugar Market, with lots of fudge made from their different varieties. Handily placed very close to our CCC stand, we stopped by there more than a few times!
Around the show there were some absolutely fantastic display cakes, of Disney, Pixar, and other famous ‘faces’:
I just loved this tray of ‘savouries’ – how great an idea to have the scotch eggs with creme eggs inside!
At the heart of the show was a giant jungle-themed installation, with the show’s main competition inviting bakers to create everything animalistic and evergreen. Some more absolutely outstanding cakes – they must have taken days if not weeks!
Back at the CCC stall we were thrilled to have some familiar faces drop by. Glenn, Christine and Kimberley from 2013’s Great British Bake-Off – all of whom were absolutely lovely and only too happy to chat everything cake.
And the delightful GBBO Series 4 winner Frances Quinn. She was such a sweetie, genuinely a lovely person, although seeming a little rushed off her feet!
Over by the Bakery we bumped into (ok stalked a little), Eric Lanlard of Cake Boy fame. He is a huge CCC supporter and so enthusiastic about everything baking related.
After a hard days cake-chatting I made it home a little after 9 – rather weary after a 14 hour day but delighted to have met so many fantastic people on the stall. Here’s to spreading the Clandestine Cake word!
And of course I didn’t come back empty handed – a combination of shopping with free samples from Dr. Oetker, Rainbow Dust and Sugar & Crumbs – plenty to keep me in the kitchen trying new things over the next few weeks.
A few weeks back I learnt that one of my favourite tea rooms in Nottingham had been taken over and reopened – of course I had to go and see for myself!
Located on Bridlesmith Walk, the cafe is right in the centre of town, but tucked away in an unassumingly serene little arcade, providing welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Heading up Bridlesmith Walk, from Bridlesmith Gate:
And arriving at The Walk Cafe!
On walking through the door a host of delicious delights greeted us, the choice was not an easy one.
We got talking to one of the owners, Laura, who told us that the kitchens were too tiny to bake everything onsite, instead she roped in on of her neighbours, who makes makes all the cakes from scratch each week. As well as classics like lemon, chocolate, coffee, etc., she likes to try something different every week, such as this seasonal apple and elderflower cake.
And those with special requirements needn’t miss out! These gluten free cakes looked equally as delicious.
Aside from the cakes, The Walk also offers a range of other sweet and savoury items, and we pored (and drooled) over the wonders in the big glass fridge. Macarons! Cupcakes! A chocolate SHOE! What more could a girl want?
Finally for us to dote on, a beautiful range of cake stands and loose leaf teas.
The tea menu is no less extensive, there are some wonderful blends and flowering teas to choose from.
Eventually making our way to sit down, we were pleasantly surprised to find the decor has been brightened up a little, with fantastic hand=painted floral artwork on the walls:
Whilst still maintaining the quirky with beautifully mis-matched furniture, a mix of old and new.
I opted for some coffee and walnut cake (later followed up with a toasted tea cake, what a greedy pig!), both of which were well-portioned and very tasty.
Everything was served in vintage china – cups, teapots, and plates.
As you can tell we had a lovely time – I for one am very glad this great venue has finally re-opened and restored to its former glory, and beyond! Laura and her staff were friendly and attentive, despite a busy Saturday rush. They’ve only been back open for a couple of months but I’m hopeful many more to come, and am already looking forward to going back.
A couple of weeks back we were very kindly invited to spend the weekend in a holiday cottage Rob’s parents had rented. Never one to turn down a free holiday, we kindly accepted, and I set thinking about a cake that would survive the 4 hour drive (as if I could turn up empty handed!)
Rob’s dad is diabetic, although this never seems to stop him eating huge slices of my latest creation, I wanted to try something that would be a little healthier, and perhaps he could eat even more of 🙂
The recipe came from Diabetes UK originally (the link for which keeps changing, so I’m adding this UKTV one as a backup). I won’t lie, it was an instant yes when I found it because I could finally use some of the cognac that’s been sat in the cupboard for over a year!
As for the recipe itself, I’m afraid I wasn’t very sold on the taste when I did a taste bake of a little of the batter. The squidgy texture was definitely there, but the sweetness was definitely lacking. Not wanting to completely undo my diabetic-friendly work, I amended the recipe slightly with the use of some Tate & Lyle light at Heart, which is 50% sugar and 50% sweetener – it is sweeter than normal sugar so if you’re baking using regular brown sugar I’d added about a third more. For those on a really strict diet you could just use sweetener.
Oh and my other minor amend? More alcohol! 2 tablespoons didn’t seem like nearly enough cognac, especially to soak the pound of prunes I’d chopped. The batter does taste strong, but by the time it’s baked into the cake it’s quite a subtle tangy kick.
125g chopped prunes
50ml cognac (approx. 3 tablespoons)
225g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
40g cocoa powder
200ml buttermilk (or normal milk + 2 teaspoons lemon juice, see below)
150g light at heart brown sugar, or alternative equivalent in sweetener
3 large or 4 medium eggs
You’ll note from above I didn’t have any buttermilk to use, but normal milk is perfectly fine as you just need to add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice to get it to curdle and thicken as required.
– Soak the chopped prunes in the cognac for a couple of hours. If you’re short of time pop them in the microwave for a few 10 second bursts and you’ll soon find they plump up
– Cream together the butter and sugar until soft and fluffy, before beating in the eggs and prune mixture, with two tablespoon of the flour
– Sieve in the rest of the flour, along with the cocoa and baking powder, adding alternately with the buttermilk, and folding in with a metal spoon between additions
– Spoon into a tin, minimum of 20cm square / 8 inch round, or equivalent, and bake for 35 – 50 minutes at 180 degrees. Test to see if it’s done by inserting a skewer or the handle of a thin teaspoon. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready, if not, return to the oven for 5 more minutes and check again
I chose to bake mine in my Ikea Sockerkaka cake tins – I have big plans to use them stacked up but haven’t found the right occasion yet. One day…
In any case the big silicon mould was a dream to work with, it held the cake perfectly and was easy to release when ready.
Due to a lack of ingredients in my new-house cupboards, sadly I struggled to keep up the low-sugar ethos when it came to the icing. Suggestions are rife to top with coconut, low-sugar jam glazes, or even eat plain with ice cream. I caved to a simple chocolate icing (175g icing sugar, 25g cocoa, water to form a stiff paste), complete with chocolate sugar strands/sprinkles.
And as for our weekend in Norfolk? Sunny, relaxing and far too busy to capture any pictures of the cake’s inside (which, by the way, was beautifully moist and chocolately, and highly recommended).
Walks with Tammy the dog on Walcott beach:
A couple of weeks ago we finally managed a summer break, albeit a short one, and took a mini-cruise around Europe. We stopped at Le Havre in France, Bruges, and then Amsterdam – I love travelling so waking up in a different place each morning is my idea of heaven!
When in Bruges I had to get Rob to try some of the local cuisine. Having spent a fair bit of time in Brussels with work I was already au fait on their delicacies, but he was in for a real treat. We had to take a coach in from the port at Zeebrugge, and on the way the guide advised us that for the best waffles, we should go to one of the many Tea Houses that scatter the streets of Bruges. I didn’t have to be told twice!
The main square, the Markt, or Market Square, has cafes and tea rooms all along two sides. An amazing spot for sightseeing, the downside is that you pay for it. A lot. A couple of drinks on the square cost us over 10 Euros. For food… well, we took a wander.
And we didn’t have to go very far! Mere steps away, down the pedestrian street of Sint-Amandstraat, we stumbled across this lovely little place.
Complete with outdoor setting perfect for people-watching, we chose to head inside and received a warm greeting from the owners.
I do just love the Belgian hospitality. All the members of staff served us at some point and they were all so friendly, laughing and joking with us. And giving us the time we needed to chose from the vast menu…
…. was it really ever going to be anything other than waffles!
Other than the service one thing I absolutely loved about this place was the decor. Perhaps because it was pink! But quite subtly so – lots of kitsch patterns, cute knickknacks, all very well done, creating a lovely ambiance in the tea room.
And then came the waffles… Safe to say we weren’t disappointed! I opted for cream and chocolate, whilst Rob had ice cream and chocolate. And plenty of chocolate there was too. When in Belgium…
Everything was served on a beautiful matching vintage tea set. How lovely are the plates?!
A ludicrously short amount of time later…
If I’d been able to get away with it there would have been some plate-licking… but on a thriving Sunday afternoon I just about managed to restrain myself 🙂
Safe to say Ginger Bread Tea Room gets a hearty thumbs up from us – Rob certainly enjoyed his first Belgian waffles, and if we’re ever back in Bruges a return trip will definitely be on the cards.
You can find them on facebook – GingerBread Tea Room – – they don’t open every day of the week so be sure to check before you go to avoid disappointment.
This weekend marked the marvellous return of cake club, after its all-too-long summer break. The event on Sunday was part of Derby Clandestine Cake Club, themed as ‘Summer’s Last Cocktail Party’. Well, where to start with a cocktail cake!
I’d been thinking about a marble cake for a while, and the different ingredients of a cocktail seemed like the perfect opportunity to do this. A little light research later (and a rather sore head), I settled on a mojito. A simple mix of rum, lime, and mint – the drink version (recipe here) is muddled with sugar and topped up with soda, but obviously these are not required in the cocktail version. A couple of friends had suggested carving it into a cocktail glass shape, but there was a new bundt tin in my kitchen awaiting its first use…
As I’ve not made a bundt cake before, I wanted to stick with quite a basic recipe to ensure the consistency and bake was right, and Nigella’s vanilla bundt recipe seemed to fit the bill perfectly, minus the vanilla of course. I was dubious when it wanted a four pint bundt tin, but after a quick check with some pints of water that’s what mine held! It’s a lot of cake mixture but is padded out a lot and lightened by the addition of the yoghurt, so it’s not as bad as it sounds 🙂 I added a little extra flour and sugar to balance out the flavour and texture of the mint, rum and lime.
325g white sugar
380g plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
250ml low-fat natural yoghurt
75ml white rum or 1 1/2 teaspoons rum flavouring
Grated rind & juice of 2 limes or 1 tablespoon of lime juice
Good handful of fresh mint leaves of 1 1/2 teaspoons of mint flavouring
Gel food colours as required
Icing as desired – I used 250g icing sugar mixed with a pack of mojito flavouring
Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the yoghurt, and beat in with a tablespoon of flour each to prevent curdling
Sieve and fold in the remainder of the flour and baking powder
Divide the mixture into three parts, ready for flavouring and colouring
For the mint section, I’d ended up with a whole mint plant as it was the same price in the supermarket as a few sprigs! In just a week it’s grown like wildfire, I’ll have to find it a bigger pot and some recipes to use it in.
Using a good handful of leaves, I put them through the blender so they were finely chopped, and mixed in with some green and black gel food colourings.
For the lime batter, I was quite uninspired by the size and quality of limes in the supermarket, so ended up using just the juice and zest of one, substituted with some bottled lime juice. I coloured this part using a mixture of green and yellow gels, to give it a really zingy lime colour.
And last but by absolutely no means least – the alcohol! I had a couple of bacardi miniatures in the cupboard and these were perfect, about 1 1/2 bottles (5cl each) gave a great rum kick to the batter. There was no colour in this part as I wanted to keep it white like the rum.
The three batters ready:
With the bundt tin well-greased, simply spoon in alternate mixes in and around. I used a mixture of spoonful dollops and some swirls and drizzles; don’t actually mix the cakes together as it’ll do this well enough and marble itself. I wish I’d taken more pictures of this stage but it was getting a little sticky!
Bake at 180 degrees for 45 – 60 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean, i.e. there’s no raw cake mix on it.
Allow to cool in the tin and carefully turn out:
I wanted to keep the icing simple and white to offset the marble of the cake. To keep up the flavour I used some pre-mixed mojito mixer – the Funkin brand is quite new to me but you can find them in most supermarkets now, they really are a great idea and all the ones I’ve tried really do taste like the cocktails (even if you don’t add the alochol!)
I added the mixer to some white icing sugar to get a good thick paste, and simply drizzled this all around the top of the cake, topping with a good layer of mixed green and white non-pareils (sugar sprinkles), and a little edible glitter.
I’m totally in love with bundt cakes now and want to make more already! The shape lends itself to such easy decoration but looks stunning with little effort.
Onto cake club I trotted, and the selection of cakes was fab! One of the things I love about CCC (Clandestine Cake Club) is that the themes can be anything and everything, and all the bakers come up with such different ideas. From a Rusty Nail to a Shirley Temple – we had such a great afternoon devouring all of these 🙂
And I was so happy to see the marble effect when my cake was cut into! The mojito flavours came out brilliant and I was absolutely delighted with the colours:
In some parts the batter had curled itself down and then risen into a swirl during baking – entirely intentional of course!
Powered by Linky Tools
Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…
Last week, I finally got round to going with a much-promised retirement afternoon tea with my mum (her, not me, sadly!), and decided that one of my favourite restaurants, Perkins in Plumtree, was a perfect fit to start our celebration of her new-found free time. We’ve vowed to go for afternoon tea many more times so watch this space!
Perkins Restaurant is set just outside the village of Plumtree in Nottinghamshire, and is housed in an old railway station. The railway line is no longer in use and it’s a lovely peaceful setting where you can while away many hours before you know it.
Inside the décor is quite simple and classic but with a few well done twists. Vintage prints and posters adorn the walls, a light and bright colour scheme runs through out, and a large conservatory on the back gives the whole space a spacious and airy feel.
We were of course dead set on having afternoon tea, and I’d called ahead to see if they’d be able to do it early evening for us, so I could head over straight after work (3 week trips to New Zealand haven’t left me with much annual leave this year… 🙂 ), they were more than happy to oblige, and certainly did not disappoint!
From four kinds of finger sandwiches…
… to chocolate tart and cream-filled meringues:
…and scones and almond cakes inbetween!
We chatted and munched for actual hours, all the pieces were full of flavour and beautifully baked.
Just when we couldn’t manage another bite, only the chocolate tart was left, and it looked quite heavy. Would we make it? One bite and it was an instant hit! This was no ordinary chocolate tart. This was SALTED CARAMEL CHOCOLATE TART. I’m sure I say this a lot but it was honestly one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. Words can really not describe, the crunchy nut base, smooth but salty caramel, and creamy, sticky chocolate topping, mmm…. Even now, writing this a week and half later, my mouth is literally watering at the thought. A recipe I will definitely have to hunt down!
Of course we had an absolutely wonderful time. The food was delicious, service excellent, and, well, the company wasn’t bad either 😉
There’s no date in the diary yet, but stay tuned for our next afternoon tea adventure, coming soon I’m sure!
A sunny Saturday afternoon in Leicester, I met up with some fellow Midlands bloggers, all with a great love for cake! A repeat of last years lovely trip to White Rabbit in Nottingham, this year with an extra guest in the form of Liana from Swirls Bakery, who blogs over at My Sugar Coated Life. And not forgetting E & B from Make, Do and Spend, and Kerry from Kerry Cooks.
As many female outings start, we caught up over a wander around The Lanes, a collection of little streets and squares, all with a great mix of vintage shops and individual retailers. We even found a bakeware sale!
And of course our afternoon wouldn’t be complete without cake! Kerry had booked us into Mrs. Bridges Tea Rooms, a fantastic find just off the lanes; a tea room has been in the same location since 1890! Wouldn’t you love to see what it was like full of Victorian ladies?
Perfect for the summer, they also have a lovely little courtyard out the back, complete with pink parasols:
Inside the decor is simple, with a deli sandwich & cake counter downstairs, and lots of little tables upstairs.
We’d booked in advance, but even on a Saturday afternoon could have found a corner if we’d just turned up. We bagged a spot right by these beautiful stained glass windows, perfect for people-watching of those outside!
And the menu? Well I wish I taken a picture! It was so extensive, the 5 of us took rather a long time to decide! From a wealth of savoury items – scrambled eggs, bagels, jacket potatoes, sandwiches, salads… to the most amazing selection of sweets, it was a tough choice.
We started off savoury and weren’t disappointed – sandwiches and salads alike came in huge portions, overflowing with fresh produce:
And onto the desserts! Kerry went for some sweet cinnamon French toast, on basis that most of us had never had it before. She was absolutely delighted when it came out!
And who could blame her, it looked, smelled, and tasted absolutely divine. Expect to see this featuring on some of the aforementioned blogs soon 🙂
Liana chose this absolutely stunning white chocolate and pistachio delice, with strawberry topping. From the soft sponge base to the creamy, chocolatey mousse, this delice was delicious! Definitely a recipe I’m going to hunt down and try.
E and I went for blackcurrant cheesecake, with apple macaron and sorbet.
An equally enthusiastic wow! The cheesecake was creamy and fruity, the sorbet so refreshing, and that apple macaron….
I didn’t manage to get a photo of B’s chocolate brownie and toffee sauce, but managed the important bit – the tasting! Another amazing dish 🙂
Safe to say us bloggers had an absolutely brilliant time at Mrs. Bridges. We left with big smiles and full tummies, and a return visit is definitely on the cards if I’m in Leicester again. It’s a very well run tea-room, friendly staff, a great menu, brilliant location, good prices, and all-round yummy food. A big thumbs up!