Friday, 11 June 2010

Victoria Sponge - Ocado Recipe

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Saturday, 5 June 2010


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Gullane Beach East Lothian

If you don't have time for Cape
Cod you may have time to get to one of the great British Beaches along our lovely coastline. This is our favourite this week

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Friday, 30 April 2010

Tarts on Thursday: The Hummingbird Bakery Chocolate Brownie

We will never ever accept things for free or payment on this blog. It's all about Passion. Whether its chocolate, cakes, fonts, shoes or olives - its about the best and beyond. We often discuss the merits of different chocolate and whether it adds to the mix or there's no difference when cooking.

We were all pretty neutral about the benefits of Premium or Smart Chocolate for Cooks until we tried Green and Black's Dark Cooks' Chocolate (Organic). This truly does make a difference. It's also worth looking inside the wrapper at the recipes - White Chocolate and Rosemary Panna Cotta. Grown-up version of Willy Wonka Recipes.

We've tried several versions over the past couple of months and this is definitely way and beyond the best. (thank you Zar) This is based on The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook P100 (Published 2009). There are lots of theories about their cakes, more another time but this is the best Brownie we've ever, ever made (and we've made a lot). 

We use a smaller baking tray and bake for 20mins in our ovens it would be burnt to a crisp if we'd baked for the rec time of 30-35 mins. Using a microwave to combine the two main ingredients is our contribution to time-saving.  They also rec dusting with icing sugar at the end. Obviously this is optional. However, for us it's a waste of a good Brownie, it also makes us sneeze.



200g dark chocolate
175g unsalted butter
325g caster sugar
130g plain flour
3 eggs

a 33 x 23x 5 cm baking tray, lined with greaseproof paper

1 Preheat the oven to 170C (325F) Gas 3

Put the Chocolate and butter in two microwave friendly bowls and melt (combine once melted to a smooth consistency).

Add the sugar and stir until well incorporated. Add the flour and stir. Finally, stir in the eggs and mix until thick and smooth.

Spoon the mixture into the baking tray (remember the greaseproof paper) and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes (our experience tells us 20-25 mins if you want the gooey centre). It should be flaky on top but soft in the centre. Be careful, otherwise the edges become hard and crunchy. Leave to cool a bit (preferably completely).

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Tarts On Thursday - Hotel Tresanton

As the seasons shift we still tend to think of cake but travelling too. Especially, if we can fit Afternoon Tea in. There are numerous obvious examples of great or innovative service. Our favourite by far is at the Hotel Tresanton on the edge of St Mawes. There aren't many hotel staff who greet every guest as if they are truly special.

After years of searching we've found one and they deserve to be lauded for it.  Is this what visiting a Four Seasons Hotel is like? We don't know yet, all we know is that the Afternoon Tea is reasonably priced and sitting in such effortlessly chic, serene surroundings is utter BLISS. We travelled miles for this and it was worth every penny or pound in this case (£10.00 - tea, slices of lemon drizzle cake, brownie and scones with jam and clotted cream).

If you go tell us what you think - you won't be disappointed and if the sun is out you may even get to sit on the Terrace. Bellex

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Tarts on Thursday - Coconut and Chocolate Cake

This is easy. So easy a five year old made it. So easy hopefully we can all make it. It's a classic combination of good old Cadbury's Milk Chocolate, lots of coconut wrapped in a simple sponge - delicious. Some call it the cake equivalent of a Bounty Bar. If you hate coconut pass on this but if you like it we suggest you try this. This is from site search chocolate and coconut and it will appear it looks as if it was originally in delicious magazine.

Serves 16
30mins to make, 40 mins to bake plus cooling

350g unsalted butter (plus extra for greasing)
150g desiccated coconut
350g self-raising flour
350g caster sugar
6 eggs lightly beaten
200g Cadbury's Milk Chocolate, broken up

1 Preheat the Oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4, Grease a deep 23cm round cake tin with butter and line the base with baking paper. Put the butter into a bowl and put in the microwave on high for 1 min or until almost melted

2 Put 100g coconut into a large bowl. Add the self-raising flour, sugar, eggs and the almost-melted butter. Mix with a wooden spoon until smooth and combined.

3 Spoon the mixture into the lined tin and bake for 45-50mins or until risen. No special heart-tin is required use a standard circular one and cut the heart shape when coooled. It should have risen and be pale and golden on top and firm on the surface. A skewer should be inserted to make sure its cooked i.e. it should come out clean. However if in doubt bake a little longer and cut the burnt bits off - noone will know and all the best chefs do this. We know - we've seen them do it!

4 First time, cut a heart template out of paper and follow the shape as you cut the outside of the cake. Second time and more, don't bother you'll manage fine

5 Put the Chocolate in the bowl and melt pour over the top of the cake letting it drip and run down the sides before using a knife to coat any obvious gaps. Sprinkle over the remaining coconut and voila you have a great cake that keeps for several days in an airtight container (if you don't manage to eat it all at once)!

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Tarts on Thursday - Chocolate Mousse

Never met anyone who didn't like Chocolate Mousse. This is the best! Made by Laura from The Dessert Deli you can purchase them from Harvey Nichol's, Selfridges and Partridges. You can see more of Laura's amazing cakes, tarts and cookies at and if you're ever near the Northcote Road SW11 weekends only you can pick up the same produce in a slightly more relaxed setting.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Tarts On Thursday - Chocolate Cheerios

You know sometimes you have to make something quickly but you don't know what it is. Here is one solution. Melt lots of Cadbury's Choc, pour Cheerios in and mix before adding small clusters in cake cases. For some extra sophistication use Smarties and you're all done.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Burns' Night - 25 January

25th January – Happy Burns' Night

Throughout the land from Aid Worker’s in Somalia, Kenyans in Glasgow  and visiting Professor's in the US untold numbers will raise a glass of something malty to the great poet Robert Burns. We raise our glass (although it might not contain whisky) at 9pm GMT and invite you to join us wherever you are to celebrate the birth of this grand poet.

Gerard Butler, the Scots Actor will shortly play Burns in a new feature directed by Jean Vadim. Until then, get ahead of the crowd and remind yourself of his beautiful poetry before the frenzy starts once the film is releasedWe love poetry and often depending where we are google our local or national poetry society.  They usually have inspiring prose on the home page. If you are ever travelling through Covent Garden, WC2 its worth going to The Poetry Society.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Tarts On Thursday - Emma Bridgewater's Queen of Cakes

 Words can't describe how good this cake truly is. Good cakes are hard to find and often the pleasure making your own is that you don't have to justify how much you eat. Well, I think so. This recipe is from Emma Bridgewater's Spring 2009 Brochure and sadly it seemed  to be a one-off. It is quite foolproof and yes, it really does benefit from Cadbury's Bournville Chocolate. If you don't have any lovely local stores selling Cadbury's Bournville head for your local 99p store who usually stock it. Don't bother with expensive, finest chocolate. It doesn't add anything I've tried. It is crucially for some people wheat-free. With thanks to Gillian at Emma Bridgewater's Press Office who kindly typed this out for me.  Bettyx

Queen of Sheba Cake

The best CHOCOLATE CAKE, that uses

no flour and everyone will love. It's

called Queen of Sheba because it's the

queen of cakes. Line a 23cm springform

cake tin with baking paper, and turn

your oven on at 180° C or gas mark 4.

Melt 250g of dark chocolate (and forget

the idea that it HAS to be the most

expensive, high cocoa content –

Bournville Red Label has a retro chic

and will work perfectly) in a double

boiler. When it’s soft and molten, melt

125g of butter in the chocolate. While

this buttery, chocolatey concoction is

melting, beat 2 whole eggs and 4 egg

yolks (keeping the whites aside) with

75g of caster sugar. Add the melted

chocolate. Mix. If you like a tang, add the

grated zest of an orange. Try not to lick

the stirring spoon too often. In another

bowl, whisk the 4 egg whites until they

are forming cloudy peaks. Add a big

spoon of the chocolate mixture and fold

it in, then another, and then another,

until both are mixed together. Pour the

mixture into the cake tin, and bake it for

about 35–40 minutes. The top of the

cake will look a bit cracked but don't

worry about this. When the cake is cool,

take it out of the tin, but don't panic if

the cake sinks as this is supposed to

happen. You can add a lot of whipped

cream to the top of the cake if you want

a bit of drama and a handful of

raspberries on top of that too. There will

be happy faces. We promise.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Family Friendly Theatre - James and the Giant Peach

Family Friendly Theatre is a bit of a contradiction i.e. mainstream theatre has lots of Panto with lots of innuendo. Is this what people really want? Best Panto this year was in Inverness, at Eden Court. Jack and the Beanstalk at Eden Court was directed by Ian Laughlin and Karl Woolley the guys responsible for The Tweenies. It does make sense specialists in children's TV writing and producing family shows. Click on the link to see some lovely pics of what most of us will have missed here

Alternatively, if you are in the mood for some beautiful, stylish uplifting theatre that you can take the whole family along get to the Polka Theatre in Wimbledon . Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach is running until 13 Feb 2010. This isn't a Panto, its incredibly stylish, incredibly fun and I hate saying this gets everyone involved by literally pushing a giant peach overhead.  They have a range of ticket prices and our favourites are - the cheapest, the £10 Saver Shows. Next one is 6 Feb at 5:30pm. You can book online or call the box office on 020 8543 4888. Bellex

Friday, 15 January 2010

Somerset House - Best Outdoor Skating in London

Love Skating and love Somerset House. One of the best cultural hot-spots in London hosting live music and films and contemporary art. This week you could Skate to classical music or more upbeat dj's after 8pm sponsored by Tiffany's, visit the Tiffany Tuck Shop (I know what you're thinking but it was beautiful a la Rob Ryan, but it wasn't him someone else styled it), Sit in the outdoor cafe and watch the world (or skaters go by), catch the Norman Parkinson Exhibition (until 31 Jan 2010 and its FREE). Alternatively, you could also catch the Courtauld Talks and Tours, Contemporary Ceramics and Exhibitionism Exhibition. Worth looking at the link if you want to see and experience great culture in central London and retain some dignity instead of people pushing you along. One of our favourite Arts Venues. Before I forget the cafe overlooking the Thames is a tourist’s dream. Open from late Spring.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Tarts on Thursday - Tiffany's Cupcake

Far too many to choose from this week. So, for sheer aesthetic appeal it has to be the cupcakes sold at The Tiffany Cafe at Somerset House for the Skate season. Little bit heavy on the quantity of icing, but for embracing the spirit of the event this gets our vote this week. Bellex

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Best Urban Art in Balham, London SW12

Triangle Boxing Club, Triangle Park SW12
Love  this

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Tarts On Thursday - The Queen of Tarts

Discerning, informed, luxury-lovers on a budget -  this is for you. Manuel's Custard Tarts or Pastel De Nata are the very, very best. He travels all over Portugal in his quest to refine, reflect and improve on these really special delicacies. These are truly affordable at £1.50 and are a little slice of heaven. Apparently the cinnamon makes all the difference. We've all tried numerous others and these are way beyond best and beyond Bellexxx

You can find them at The Northcote Patisserie, 148 Northcote Road, London SW11 6RD tel: +44 (0) 20 7228 1377

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Has It Snowed Yet?

Has it snowed yet? In anticipation of some of the best Snow in the UK since last week a reminder its really quite unusual and we may not have any more till the end of the week. Make the most of it Bertie

Best Shop Windows in Oxford Street

Doesn't take much imagination to work out the best window displays by far were in Selfridges. Reinterpreting traditional fairy tales with a sweepingly, large vision.  Just beautiful. Who is the Art Director? We'd love to know. We did have a good look at the other large flagship stores was interesting but not on the same scale. was lovely but who are they trying to attract?  You've missed it now but they were by far the best and beyond in W1.  Images courtesy Selfridges. Happy New Year Love Belle, Betty and the