Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Weather is sweet

I was re-organising my photos on Flickr yesterday when I stumbled across these snaps I took last spring of the florists outside Liberty. They seemed appropriate for a sunny day like today where it feels like Spring could be just around the corner...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Weekend Roundup - in pictures

The sun came out on Saturday so we went for a bike ride round Battersea Park. The structure you see above is the 'Peace Pagoda'.

On Saturday afternoon I baked this Lemon Meringue Pie. I used my mixer for all three stages - the pastry the filling and the meringue. I'm so pleased I can make meringues without developing some kind of body builder arm from beating the egg whites.

Afternoon Tea at the Dorchester - complete with Singapore Slings, a pianist, pink champagne and a red rose (now being attractively displayed in a demijohn for lack of a vase).

Friday, February 11, 2011

Battersea Beer Festival

Last night we made an appearance at the Battersea Beer Festival. Conveniently located about 30 seconds from our front door, we rounded the corner to discover a queue wrapping round the sides of the Battersea Arts Centre. An hours wait later and we were inside sampling some of the delicious Ales and Ciders on offer.

I began the evening with Ale in the following order:

Allendale Brewery - Golden Plover 'Light refreshing blonde beer 4%'
This was gorgeous and hardly touched the sides, not too bitter either.

Ilkley Brewery - Sunset 'Mild amber, light perfumed aroma, balance of malt, fruit and hops with a plesant dry finish 4.4%'
This was really good too - a bit bolder than the Golden Plover with a nice aftertaste.

Saltaire Brewery - Blackberry Cascade 'Hoppy (cascade hops) beer infused with blackberries 4.8%'
Saltaire had a few fruit beers on and I was a bit nervous about trying it as I thought it might be a bit sweet and sickly (like how fruit wine can sometimes be? Not ours obviously). This was a lovely beer with a blackberry after taste that tasted like actual opposed to blackberry flavoured sweets you know?

Then we moved into the cider room. And that is where my commentary ends. I sampled quite a few, which is probably why I can't remember any names other than 'Gwynt y Ddraig Farmhouse - Medium' (ok I didn't 'remember' it as such, but recognised it when I looked at the programme). This for me was everything a cider should be - strong and dryish, smokey with an aftertaste that I fondly think of as a 'farmyard' taste but I'm not sure if this paints the correct picture in the minds of others. You can learn more about the Gwynt y Ddraig Brewery here. I've just learnt that their Farmhouse Scrumpy is available from Tesco's in a 3 litre box, so that's my summer sorted.

We came straight from work (as did many others, hence the hours queue) but next year I would like to come earlier to have more time to browse the ales and get some food (they had a good selection of hot snacks, mostly with an Indian influence.) Although the queue was a pain, it was worthwhile as inside it wasn't too crowded and there was plenty of room to stand and get served at the bar quickly. Well done Battersea Beer Festival, I will see you next year!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tea & Cake

Vanilla Sponge Cake - The Hummingbird Bakery
Iced biscuits (cupcakes mini collection) - Biscuiteers
Lemon Meringue Cupcakes - Cupcakes and Cashmere
Cupcake - Ella's Bakehouse

1) Pink rose print jug by Pip Studios - Available at Liberty
2) Cow creamer - Burleigh
3) Spray flowers cake stand - Cath Kidston
4) LSA Glass gourmet cake stand - Available at John Lewis
5) Vintage tea party milk jug - Orchard Home and Gifts
6) Pink bird print cup and saucer - Pip studios - Available at Liberty
7) Provence rose medium jug - Cath Kidston
8) V&A Brompton rose cake stand - Available at John Lewis
9) Spray flowers cup and saucer - Cath Kidston

Aren't these cakes pretty! I love the idea of taking afternoon tea with a home made cake and lots of pretty china. For baking and eating at home I prefer more robust cakes to the ones pictured above - which can sometimes look pretty on the outside but be bland on the inside. I like to make carrot cakes and date and walnut cakes - things with lots of dried fruit and brown sugar. I've been inspired by the lemon meringue cupcakes pictured above and am planning to make a lemon meringue pie this weekend.

Thinking about lemon meringue pie reminded me of Toast - a drama about Nigel Slater's childhood and what inspired his love of cooking. Did you see it when it was on the telly at Christmas? Helena Bonham Carter is fantastic as his antagonistic stepmother.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Happy New Year!

I popped into China Town this afternoon to have a look at the lanterns up for Chinese New Year (year of the rabbit!) and came back with this paper dragon. I haven't had one of these since I was little, the colours are so vibrant, it looks like a tattoo.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dirty Old Town

I''ve been reading The Cherry Blossom Girl for years and was delighted when she did this brilliant tutorial on how to get vintage style 'half moon' nails. I treated myself to a new red nail varnish (OPI - Vodka & Caviar) and had a go myself. I just went for a plain base but am desperate to get my hands on some gold nail varnish and have a go with two colours. What do you reckon?