Saturday, 19 April 2014

Cinderella Cake

I felt quite excited when I got my first ever order for a Cinderella cake. I've seen the pictures - the pretty Barbie stood within the iced sponge dress - but I hadn't got round to making one myself.

Until this morning!

It's for a client's daughter who turns 3 years old tomorrow.

The cake itself is chocolate fudge. Poor Cinderella had to be stripped of her original frilly blue dress and wrapped up in cling film in preparation for her placement inside the cake. I achieved the skirt shape using two standard 9" round tins and a bowl for the rounded top. After filling the layers with chocolate buttercream, I completed the shape using a bread knife. The cake was then covered with a 'crumb coat' of buttercream, in went Cinders and the fun bit began - the icing!

I used a Wilton 18 tip to do the blue rosettes and a small petal tip for the white frills.

It took me about 5 hours from start to finish including baking time. Cake decorating can take a lot of patience but this was a really enjoyable cake to do and I was pleased with the results!

I hope Georgia likes it!

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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Fasta - The Fresh & Fast Pasta Bar

I like to do the occasional 'local' post. I know the blog entries with venues located centrally will end up appealing to more people but I think it's nice to support my local area and do my tiny bit to help get the word out. Also, this new little restaurant in Muswell Hill has so got it going on that I reckon it'll be a successful chain before you can say "linguine" at which point I'll be able to say I blogged about the very first one! And, of course, I shall be smug...

The place I speak of is Fasta - a newly opened fresh pasta bar which is located on Muswell Hill Broadway, a fifteen minute walk from Highgate tube. They specialise in authentic, fast, made to order pasta.

Inside it's half homely Italian tavern with its brick wall and knick-knacks dotted around and then half colourful, family-orientated diner. It works though - Fasta already has a very appealing identity.

The service couldn't be more friendly and welcoming. We were seated and the menu was explained: you pick your pasta, you pick your sauce, you pick a topping or any sides if required and then you will be presented with a bowl of Italy's finest before you know it.

There are pasta alternatives on the menu too such as hot sandwiches, salads and shakshuka as well as takeaway options.

I ordered the lunette quattro formaggi pasta with crema funghi sauce. Creamy, tender and absolutely delicious - definitely worth dumping that low-carb diet for! I had it with side dishes of golden gnocchi and tomato & mozzarella salad. 

The freshness of it all leaps from the page, doesn't it?

So if you ever find yourself up the north side of London - perhaps you're going to an event at Alexandra Palace or fancy a Sunday walk in Highgate Woods - Fasta is worth a little visit. 

82 Fortis Green Road
London N10 3HN

In other news, I've finally got round to re-arranging my wardrobe; a job I've been meaning to do for so long. I've ended up with a black sack full of old clothes for the charity shop and a wardrobe organised by colour.

I'm a little bit miffed about how many white, grey and black clothes I have though - I thought I was brighter than that!

A new reason to go shopping perhaps...? 

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Saturday, 12 April 2014

Kaspar's at The Savoy

Fridays for me can often be a little manic. With many of my cupcake-loving clients wanting their goodies in time for a weekend event, it's often the day of the week I most often have cook up a storm in my kitchen. Yesterday, however, was not one of those Fridays. I had a ladies lunch date planned inside the fabulously grand Savoy Hotel.

If you walk straight through the beautiful Thames Foyer, past all the elegant ladies enjoying afternoon tea, you will find yourself at Kaspar's Seafood Bar & Grill - a stunning fish restaurant.

I was here to meet for a chin-wag with Angie of luxury lifestyle blog SilverSpoon London. We've been chatting technologically via Twitter, email and our blogs for months so it was great to finally meet in person. Unfortunately for Angie, my means of getting to the restaurant on time were thwarted and I ended up arriving thirty minutes late, stressed and windswept having run for ten minutes down the Strand in four inch high heels. She was wonderfully understanding about it but not a good start from me!

Fortunately, a glass of champagne was at hand to remedy the situation!

And remedy it did.

Feeling like we had so much to talk about, we ended up sending the waiter away five or six times before we even got round to glancing at the menu. Finally, we made our decisions.

I started with the caramelised goat's cheese, seasonal leaves and walnut dressing. Although it didn't look particularly breathtaking when it arrived at the table, the cheese covered in a crunchy walnut coating was insanely good.

Angie is on her pre-wedding diet so was being very well-behaved with her choices - much more so than I! She had the cured fish which looked very appealing served on a black glass platter.

My main course was a gorgeous fillet of Dover sole with brown butter caper sauce (the sauce was served on the side which I liked) and garlic chilli fried sprouting broccoli. 

Angie had the Kaspar's chopped salad with added grilled prawns. Sadly, the chef had been a little frugal with the prawns of which there were only three hidden in a sea of greenery. She wanted healthy but not that healthy! Understandably, she ordered a few more!

Now I'm not one to resist a dessert; it's not in my DNA (and I'd already allocated Friday as a 'treat day'). It was time for sticky toffee pudding served with blackberries and whisky ice cream!

It wasn't the best sticky toffee pudding I'd ever tasted - the sponge wasn't as moist as I'd have liked - but it was still very nice and satisfied my sweet tooth.

Then along came a  little surprise for Angie! Having overheard our excited wedding talk, the waitress had organised a little chocolate treat for the gorgeous bride-to-be.

And guess who ended up eating the entire thing?  I really need to get myself in the gym this weekend...

It was such a lovely champagne lunch and the time absolutely flew by! I'm looking forward to seeing Angie again in a week or so for a very exciting restaurant launch...

...but now it was 5pm and I had to jump in a cab and head to the city.

That was until I became distracted by some very cute little chicks staring at me in the hotel foyer.

I was tempted into the shop. It was a chocolate lover's dream and the little chick eggs were everywhere! The Savoy make their chocolate in-house and I watched, dribbling, as the chef created the adorable Easter eggs.

This little fella was coming home with me!

Then it was off to the city I went to enjoy a bottle of wine with this reprobate! 

Two and a half weeks 'til Vegas!!

Have a fantastic weekend everyone x

Kaspar's Seafood Bar & Grill
The Savoy Hotel
London, WC2R 0EU

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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

It's All About Texture

Texture is one of those established London restaurants that it's taken me ages to get round to visiting. I've heard such good things about it so it's been on my hit list for quite some time. Finally, on Saturday afternoon, I walked through the doors for a ladies lunch with Angela. As we don't get to see each other as much as we'd like to, we tend to do something a little bit special when we get together. Texture, complete with champagne bar, seemed to fit the bill nicely.

As an apéritif before lunch, we enjoyed some gorgeous pink champagne - served with some very moreish olive crisp bread (top picture) - as a belated birthday celebration for Angela. The ultimate way to start proceedings!

Texture is a sophisticated Modern European restaurant set inside a grand Georgian building. The décor is very classic yet some striking modern art and elegant floral arrangements make it stylish. As the name would suggest, the food here focuses on combining and emphasising different consistencies. The Scandinavian influence of Icelandic head chef Aggi Sverrisson is apparent throughout the menu: Icelandic Cod, Norwegian King Crab, Skyr...

It's got a Michelin star too, don't y'know?

After a glass or two of the bubbles we headed through to the spacious restaurant area. We were sat just to the side of the kitchen prep area so I could spy on the chefs putting the all-important finishing touches to the plates.

Angela begun with the asparagus served with pea shoots, hazelnuts, parmesan snow and crispy parmesan bread.

Mine was slightly less veggie-friendly but just as artistic; Anjou pigeon served with bacon popcorn, sweetcorn and red wine essence. The intact pigeon leg - claw and all - was somewhat unexpected!

The leg may have come as a bit of a surprise but the dish was certainly delicious. The little slabs of meat were soft and succulent, working so well with the crispness of the sweetcorn and the intense jus. But I do apologise to any vegetarians or pigeon fanciers out there!

We both chose the Cornish brill with shellfish, fregola, pickled vegetables and herbs as our main course.

A flawlessly cooked fillet in such a delicate and fragrant soup. I polished off every little bit of that sauce with a teaspoon. It tasted so fresh and I would eat it every day if only I knew how to create it!

Our desserts were works of art too. My chocolate mouse served with beetroot, creamy milk ice cream and a crunchy chocolate soil was stunning. It certainly ticked all the boxes when it came to their texture concept. I just wish there had been more of it! 

Angela's dessert was the Icelandic Skyr*, Gariguette strawberries, vanilla ice cream and rye breadcrumbs. The colour of the strawberries was remarkable.

*a dairy product similar to yoghurt

In between courses we were also spoilt with the odd tasty amuse-bouche. 

And some petit fours to round off. The amazing madeleines were warm, clearly just whipped straight out of the oven! 

We had a wonderful lunch at Texture. As well as being delicious, I found the food inventive, beautiful and fascinating. The service we received was exceptional. Certainly a great choice for a special occasion.

34 Portman Street
London W1H 7BY

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