For most of us, exams are finally over. It is such a relief, not just because I can throw out the ridiculous amount of useless dates, facts and quotes I had attempted to cram into my brain for a week but mainly because I had completely run out of clean clothes. The end of exam season means a return to sanity (to some extent). I no longer have to spend every waking moment, and a disturbing number of sleeping moments, reading or noting or listing everything I have ever leant over and over in my head until I go insane. I can wash my clothes, my bathroom no longer looks like a scene out of a horror film and best of all I have time to cook!
When you are attempting to procrastinate, as all good third year students with dissertations currently are, the best thing to do is bake a cake. It takes a good long time, requires minimum concentration and allows for the spontaneous appearance of delicious baked goods. Unfortunately I am pretty rubbish at baking cakes but this recipe below is fool proof and the end result is delicious. Proof of this is in the lack of photographs of the whole cake; I couldn’t wait long enough to take a photo before I had some. It is a bit pricey with the polenta and ground almonds so I would only suggest making it if you already have one or both of these items or you are feeling particularly flush! Continue reading
Sorry I haven’t been very active on the stratosphere lately. I have been busy turning twenty-one and trying to work out why, in England, we chose to channel all our resources into celebrating a birthday after which, nothing in particular happens. Yet the Americans choose not to celebrate the long awaited moment when at last their parched lips can taste the first legal drops of sweet alcoholic nectar, no they get their parents to spend thousands of dollars on a party when they are 16… madness!
Anyway this is a blog about food, not my fairly mediocre life so I will make it quick. Here is a summary of my birthday celebrations including food and most importantly drink!!
I had a smallish party at my house which included much merriment. The catering was done by Humdingers of Hoxton, we had delicious little canapés to start with, particularly good were mini scotch eggs served with piccalilli, mini haddock filled fishcakes and little morsels of soda bread topped with a sharp beetroot chutney and flakes of tea smoked salmon. The mushroom arancini (i.e. deep fried risotto balls) left a lot to be desired though, they were far too big for canapés and were a little bland. For mains we had rib eye steak with roasted vegetables and bernaise sauce. Steak and bernaise is one of my absolute favourites and it was very well done, if a little over done on the cooking side for me. Also the waiting staff weren’t really up to scratch meaning my dinner was cold! Having said this the food was all very nice and the chef was delightful, I would definitely use them again. Not least because of the fabulous cocktail waiter they brought with them who kept us drowning in gin for the whole night. His twist on a Tom Collins was honestly on of the best I have ever had and I drink a lot of gin (not in a victorian street walker way but still).
Undoubtedly the biggest success was the cake from Lady Luck’s House of Cakes run by the lovely Stacey who is a friend of my sister’s. She makes the most amazing bespoke cakes, all by hand. The designs are amazing, her Pinterest is the ultimate food porn! I did think it might be a little bit style over substance as I don’t always love cakes with a lot of marzipan and decoration but it was unbelievable delicious, the cake itself was moist and fluffy and the marzipan was not overpowering as right underneath it was a seriously naughty layer of white chocolate ganache. Her cakes may seem a bit on the pricey side at £85 but, considering that catered desserts would normal cost around £3 per head and this cake easily serves 30, you are actually saving money.