Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Butley Orford Oysterage


This past weekend I had one of the best lunches of my life and I'm so excited to rave about it here! It was so good that I didn't pause to take a single food photo before getting stuck in so you'll just have to take my word for it (and enjoy these lovely pictures from the restaurants website!) The Butley Orford Oysterage is a seafood restaurant tucked away in one of the prettiest fishing villages I have ever seen. The vibe is light and airy but also homely - I loved the pale green paintwork and the paper tablecloths which feature some beautiful, inky black illustrations. Most importantly of all the seafood was out of this world fresh and delicious!


We couldn't resist starting with half a dozen oysters each (greedy!) - they arrived fat and fresh, wobbling in their shells. Oysters are my absolute favourite food and I savoured each and every one. They smelled like a clear rockpool on a warm summers day and had a deliciously plump, burst-in-the-mouth texture. Alongside our oysters we ordered the Prawns Pil Pil and dipped warm wholewheat bread in the smoky, spicy oil.


I felt so spoilt to be able to choose from so much fresh seafood - some of which is caught by the restaurant and the rest of which is caught locally. In the end I went for the skate wing with brown butter and capers. The thick white meat of the fish was complimented so beautifully by the rich butter and the capers kept it all light and more-ish. Ciaran went for a piece of grilled salmon the size of my hand and my lovely Aunty Jane (who so kindly introduced us to this wonderful place) went for the Dover Sole. The portions were humongous but when we saw the desert menu I suddenly found I had more room! Room for warm chocolate cake with pistachio ice cream and a good few spoonfulls of Ciaran's raspberry sorbet.


This place is really special and definitely worth a visit if you're ever in the area of Orford, Suffolk - in fact I would probably make a special trip just to eat here again and walk around the pretty town (which we didn't do this time because we were full of fish and wine and it was cold).


If you're an oyster aficionado like me and have just been served up a big plate of food envy by reading this post don't worry! The Butley Orford Oysters are available to buy online along with their other delicious smoked fish! Visit their online shop here.

Monday, February 25, 2013

What's Occouring?...








Here's what life has looked like so far this month. I had loads of fun choosing my wedding shoes and finally settled on a pair so radical I think I'll have a hard time wearing anything else ever again! We visited our good friends Gareth & Marianne in their new neighbourhood of Blackheath. We went for a lovely walk through the pretty village and stopped for coffee and cake at Montpelier's Cafe. Believe it or not it was just about warm enough to sit outside - hard to believe since it snowed on and off for most of last week. Last Sunday we met up with my gorgeous Sisters Florence and Phoebe and had a lovely pub lunch and now, can you believe it, we're nearly at the end of February!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Oranges and lemons say the bells of St. Clements...



Having finally settled on a three tier, rich, moist and booze laden fruit cake for our wedding, I donned my pinny once more and set about making a big batch of candied peel on Sunday afternoon. This is a regular occurrence in my kitchen - I just think that the flavour of home made candied peel is on a whole other level to what you can buy in the shops plus (and this is something that I find myself saying a lot) when you make it yourself you can control exactly what you put in and use the very best of the best ingredients! In this case, delicious organic citrus fruit from Riverford - picked at the very peak of the season and delivered straight to our doorstep. This time round as I was slicing up the pink grapefruit, oranges and lemons it suddenly struck me, these are exactly the colours we have in mind for our wedding! Seeing how well they work together - how bright, and fun and fresh, just made me so full of excitement!






 P.S You can find the recipe plus my own step by step photos for making candied peel here.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Feasting my eyes...

I've been busy gathering inspiration for our wedding cake! I love the idea of having a traditional tiered fruit cake, iced in pure white and topped with little figurines but also think how amazing it would be to have a delicious sponge cake - a different flavour for every layer, decorated with luscious buttercream frosting! On the other hand why have just one cake when you can have a whole dessert table filled with cupcakes, cookies and even mini heart shaped Krispy Kreme doughnuts!

Traditional inspiration...


Sources left to right from top: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Modern inspiration...


Sources left to right from top: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Alternative inspiration...


Sources left to right from top: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

I gathered together these mouthwatering pictures from Pinterest! You can find me on Pinterest and follow my boards here!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy Friday! Why not throw a pancake party this weekend?


Can you believe the weekend is here already? We're excited to be taking the Real Ale Train once again - this time with our friends Gareth & Marianne in celebration of Gareth's 30th Birthday! If you're a real ale, farmhouse cider or steam train enthusiast (I would class myself as all of the above) I really recommend the R.A.T - keep your eyes peeled for a full blog post next week! In the meantime I thought I would leave you with a foolproof recipe for thin and crispy pancakes (perfect for a lazy weekend breakfast!) along with some pretty hilarious photos of my pancake tossing attempts from Tuesday night! Enjoy!





Needless to say, this one ended up on the floor.

This is a Delia Smith recipe and you can find the original here!

Ingredients: 

110g plain flour
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
200ml milk mixed with 75ml water
50g butter

To serve: 

Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Caster sugar

Method: 

1. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and break both eggs into it. Using a whisk start to whisk up the eggs, gradually incorporating flour bit by bit from the edges as you do so.

2. Continue whisking, incorporating more and more flour. As the mixture starts to thicken start adding the milk and water a little splash at a time.

3. Keep whisking until all the liquid has been added and the mixture is the consistency of thin cream (any lumps should disperse as the whisk reaches them).

4. When you're ready to serve the pancakes heat the frying pan up to a hot hot heat. Melt the butter and stir it to the mixing bowl with the pancake batter. Return the pan to the heat and start frying the pancakes one at a time. I find that using a ladle to measure out the batter helps ensure the pancakes are of a uniform thickness. You can tell when the pancake is ready to flip as bubbles will rise up to the surface and it will start to change colour and no longer look so liquid like. Toss if you dare!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day!


Chloë Bakes: Blood Orange & Almond Cupcakes

Blood Orange & Almond Cupcake.
Here's a sneak peek of my latest cake creation - a blood orange and almond flavour cupcake! I was inspired by the Seville Blood Orange Cake I made a couple of weeks ago and used the same method of boiling a whole orange and blending it to a pulp. I kept the ground almonds in as I loved the texture and flavour they provided and incorporated this into a more traditional cupcake recipe using white flour, butter and sugar. The result is a deliciously moist and flavoursome cupcake, spongy and light with a lovely fresh orange flavour! The cupcakes get brushed with a sugar syrup as soon as they're out of the oven and are then topped with a thick swirl of orange buttercream and a slice of candied orange peel! I've entered my recipe into this great competition from the Hummingbird Bakery - keep your fingers crossed for me! It's a win win situation though because if I lose I'll be able to share the recipe with you here! Watch this space.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

There's a party in my pan and everyones invited...

Last year I missed pancake day altogether and only got my frying pan into gear towards the end of February (you can read last years blog post, complete with some extraordinarily dark photos, here). Now it's Shrove Tuesday again and I can't quite believe that a whole year has slipped past without making these crispy little stacks of deliciousness. In need of some pan-spiration? How about whipping up some of these bad boys tonight...

Click for image source - American style pancakes with blueberries and maple syrup.

I absolutely love an American style pancake topped with soft fruit and maple syrup as a decadent weekend brunch.We'll be tucking into my own version on Sunday morning - I add a few dessert spoons of yogurt into the batter along with some chopped and mashed bananas. Want to go one step further? Just add a couple of rashers of free range streaky bacon, cooked to a crisp!

Click for image source - Scotch pancakes with caramelised bananas.
Scotch pancakes are like a smaller version of American pancakes - a little less spongy in the middle, you can still stack them up and they are perfect with maple syrup or even just with butter! I think of these as a Winter teatime treat - like a toasted teacake or crumpet, something you eat by the fire.

Click for image source - Dutch baby.
I've only recently discovered the 'Dutch Baby' pancake - doesn't it look amazing? Instead of making lots of separate pancakes you pour the batter into a cast iron frying pan or skillet and throw the whole thing in the oven. Traditional flavours include vanilla and cinnamon but you can chuck some fruit in there too. This reminds me of a sweet Yorkshire Pudding - amazing!

Click for image source - Thin and crispy English pancakes.
Despite being spoilt for choice when it comes to pancakes for me there is only one style that is permissible on Shrove Tuesday. They have to be very thin and soft with crispy golden edges. The first one will go wrong and you can eat it straight out of the pan and you obviously have to have a go at tossing one (this one will more than likely end up on the floor and can be fed to the cat). Will you be celebrating pan cake day this evening? Do you have a tried and tested recipe that you rely on year after year or will you be whipping up something completely new? Share in the comments!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Paperman

How lovely is this sweet film by Disney? It's set in 1940's New York - I love that it's black and white and the soundtrack is beautiful! It's also up for best animated short at the Oscars! I found it on one of my very favourite blogs A Cup Of Jo and it's made my morning!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Chloe Bakes: Blood Orange Cake




I first tasted this beautiful cake a couple of weekends ago when we visited my lovely Godmother in Brighton - hi Aunty Sue! This is actually an Andalucian recipe for a wheat free orange cake which my Auntie Sue was taught during a cookery course at Annie B's Spanish Kitchen in Vejer, Cadiz, Spain! (Which by the way looks amazing and definitely something to check out if you're planning a trip to Andalucia!) We've been getting these delectable Seville Blood oranges in our Riverford box and I couldn't resist putting them to good use in this recipe - the seasons so short we've got to make hay while the sun shines!

Ingredients...

1 Large orange
3 Medium eggs
175g Sugar
250g Ground almonds
Half a level teaspoon of baking powder


Step 1: Place the orange in a pan of water and bring to the boil. Boil for at least an hour then cover and leave in the fridge overnight.

Tip - If you're planning on making a few of these cakes over the coming weeks (and quite frankly why wouldn't you) you can boil up a few at a time and freeze the pulp!



Step 2: Preheat the oven to 170c and grease & line a springform cake tin.





Step 3: Pick out any pips then place the orange, skin and all, in a liquidiser and whiz to a pulp.




Step 4: Blanche the almonds by placing them in a mixing bowl and covering with freshly boiled water. Leave to stand for 5 minutes then add some cold water then remove the skins by giving them a gentle squeeze - the white almonds should pop right out! I dry mine by placing them in a very low over for a few minutes - keep an eye on them though as they can start to colour in the blink of an eye. Grind them up in a food processor and we're ready to go!

Tip: Yes you can buy ready ground almonds which will have a much more uniform texture however for the purpose of this cake I think it's nicer to have things a little lumpy bumpy.




Step 5: Whisk the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy then carefully fold in the orange pulp and ground almonds.



Step 6: Pour the mixture into your lined cake tin and pop in the oven for around 40 - 50 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.






Step 7: Serve with Creme Fraiche and some delicious fruit of your choosing! This cake is perfect with a cup of tea, for dessert or even with a strong little coffee for Breakfast!