Monday, 30 November 2009

Cyber Monday Special!

Today Only!

15% off PLUS Free Shipping to all Countries!

Listings in my Etsy shop already have free shipping applied, your 15% discount will be refunded via PayPal after payment.

Thanks for shopping with me this festive season!


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Monday, 23 November 2009

Alimentum, Cambridge

Lately it seems like we've been dining out a lot, I can assure you this is not a very regular occurence but I'm pleased we've been out more recently.

One place that we've had our eye on for a while is Alimentum, its been open since 2007 and has recently recruited the chef from Midsummer house, the two Michelin starred restaurant in Cambridge. Since he joined in April this year Alimentum has been enjoying a lot more press and is steadily gaining a very good reputation for excellent food.

If you live in Cambridge you'll know that there is very little choice of restaurants unless you like chains - because of high rents (mainly caused by the University owning 90% of the land and buildings) not many independent restaurants pop up in central Cambridge.

Alimentum prides itself of local and seasonal food (the waiting staff emphasise this greatly) as well as an ethical approach to running their business. They also offer a great deal of good value options as well as their a la carte menu.

We booked for the fixed price pre theatre menu which was very good value, £15.50 for two courses or £18.50 for three.

I started with the artichoke barigoule with goats cheese, I wasn't exactly sure what this was but I thought I'd try it as I'm terrible at preparing artichokes myself. It turned out to be a stew of artichoke hearts with baby vegetables in a light white wine and mustard sauce. The goats cheese was perfect alongside it and it was beautifully presented.

Mr had Tilbury Meadows rib eye of beef- it was prepared by very thinly slicing rare roast beef with parmesan crisps and a light horseradish cream - a very nice alternative to a carpaccio.

For main I opted for the roast fillet of cod with mussels. Both were extremely fresh and the cod was cooked perfectly, it was served with a delicious spinach and garlic sauce which didn't taste as iron-y as you would think from a spinach sauce. Mr opted for the confit duck which was cooked to perfection, falling off the bone with a lovely crisp skin.

I again had already chosen my dessert before my starter or main, I went for the chocolate mousse with praline and mascarpone sorbet. I loved the presentation, the mousse was layered on top of a crispy biscuit base and finished with another layer of dark chocolate. The handmade praline was beautiful, the highlight of the pudding. The sorbet was a wonderful idea, it wasn't as rich as ice cream but still had a nice creamy taste but with the freshness of mascarpone.

Mr had the mulled wine poached pear which was completely christmassy in every way, the wine was spiced just right. It was served with ice cream, a pear crisp and pear puree.

We had a great experience at Alimentum, there are lots of good value options for dining which is something Cambridge badly needs. Alimentum already has 3 AA rosettes and I expect it will gain a few more accolades quite soon.

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Friday, 20 November 2009

a packaging update...

I'm always playing around with packaging and I do like Christmas time because it gives me a chance to update my packaging.

My orders will be going out in the same lovely black boxes but this time tied with luscious purple ribbon. Lovely!


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True blue...

I recently bought a new camera after having many problems capturing colours properly on my old (and quite cheap) samsung - namely blue, some greens and red. I've been really pleased with my new Canon Ixus, the colours are so true and my pictures have such a lot more depth to them.

These 'Minerva Earrings' are new and in my etsy shop today.

PSST ...
I'm also having a SECRET SALE this weekend!
20% off on your whole order (excl. shipping) when you use the code 'SECRET' during checkout.
I'll refund via Paypal once you've paid. Thanks for visiting this weekend!


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Thursday, 19 November 2009


Prague Cathedral, Strahov Monastry, Charles Bridge, Astronomical Clock

Despite ALL THE RAIN we saw all the sights in Prague, we particularly like the castle and the cathedral. One of the most interesting places was the Monastry, the buildings were lovely and we had a great meal of goulash in their restaurant.

Unfortunately places on the other side of Charles Bridge - Wenceslas square in particular - have become so touristy and tacky that we didn't enjoy them very much. There were a lot of czech glass beads for sale but the same hanks of cheap and tacky glass in every other shop spoiled it a bit - and they were more expensive than over here!

The National Museum is worth a visit, they have a great minerology section (for all of you that like gemstones!) and some interesting fossil finds.


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Wednesday, 18 November 2009

a humble stew

Now that autumn is coming to an end I am pleased to be able to spend a Sunday afternoon cooking a roast dinner, and then come home on a Monday evening to a big bowl of stew and dumplings.

This is a very easy and adaptable recipe but you do need a the remnants of a roast chicken to help you along - this is where the flavour is. The day before I'd made the Zuni Cafe roast chicken recipe with the usual trimmings and most importantly a lovely gravy from the roasting tray.

We had lots of chicken leftover and also lots of gravy, the chicken was stuffed with thyme so there was lots and lots of flavour there. also the Zuni Cafe method (which is extremely popular, as you will see when you google it) ensures a chicken that is roasted with perfectly crisp skin and incredibly moist and tender meat - the latter very important for a stew.

Firstly I should apologise for the pictures, my new camera is doing a good job in artificial light but chicken stew is hard to make photogenic!

You will need:

Leftover chicken -shredded up
About 100ml of gravy
Approx 50ml chicken stock (I also made my own stock before making the stew rather than using a cube)
Carrots - about 2 medium ones
1/2 large white onion
1-2 cloves of garlic

Finely dice the carrot and onion and fry with olive oil in a casserole dish (or ovenproof dish with a lid) until the onions are nice and soft. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or so.
Add in the chicken and then the gravy and the stock - make sure the chicken is well covered.
Season and add a sprig or two of thyme - use less if you had a lot of herbs in the chicken when you originally roasted it.

Bring to the boil and then put in a medium oven with the lid on, cook for 20 minutes whilst you make the dumplings.

For the Dumplings

I've never really been a fan of dumplings, I always thought of them as being stodgy and cloying - this recipe is much different. It doesn't use a lot of flour and no suet - instead milk and cream are used to make light and fluffy dumplings with an almost mashed potato like quality. It is adapted from this recipe on Bread and Honey.

approx 60grams plain flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
pinch of salt
thyme, sage, rosemary or any other herb you think goes!
100ml double cream
50mls semi skimmed milk.

Mix dry ingredients and herbs together and then slowly add in the cream and then the milk. You aren't aiming for a dough but a wet mixture that keeps its shape - does that make sense? You may find you need more or less milk, cream or flour - just add more or less to get your mixture right. If you add more flour make sure to add a little more baking powder.

When the stew has been cooking for 20mins take it out and spoon the dumplings over the top. Put the lid back on and cook for 20mins again. Take the lid off after 20mins and cook for another 5-10 to crisp up the dumplings slightly.

Serve in big bowls and try not to think about the wind and rain outside.


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Tuesday, 17 November 2009

new toys

I've just realised you can see the reflection of the garlic I was using for dinner in the coffee maker!

We received this thing of wonder as a wedding present. Expect me to be more productive on the jewellery front soon, this will definitely be of use during the busy Christmas period...

I'd love any recommendations for good coffee beans, so far I've heard Monmouth Coffee Co. are a good place to go.


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Monday, 16 November 2009

a festive shop update...

Some new festive earrings for my etsy shop...

Look out for another suitably Christmassy green glass necklace coming soon.

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Sunday, 15 November 2009

fish and chips..

But in a more civilised way....

We stopped by one of the newest restaurant additions to Cambridge yesterday, The Sea Tree on Mill Road. An 'alternative' fish bar providing the usual favourites as well as some other interesting additions. I'd spotted a good review over on Not Another Food Blog, so after a mornings shopping/elbowing through the crowds we went along to rest our weary feet.

I opted for the battered calamari with salsa verde and the hubby (still getting used to saying that!) had cod and chips. Both were great, the chips especially - handcut with skins on! Everything is made to order and there is lots of choice. I particularly like the fact that they do a range of freshly made sauces - things like tartare sauce, aioli, sweet chili and the aformentioned salsa verde.

They also have a little fishmongers section with the seasons fish on offer, things like salmon, rainbow trout, sea bream and haddock. I think they do shellfish on occasion too.

Will definitely be stopping by again, this is a great addition to Mill Road and its good to have some kind of fishmongers option that isn't the local supermarket.

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Saturday, 14 November 2009

A bunny - Daily!

I really love this blog. Simple and cute. And it normally arrives in my reader at the end of the day, a bit of cute fluffyness is a good way to round off the day.

I can't pick my favourite one, they are all cute but how about this one for ohmygodhowcuteijustwanttoswishitscheeks ....
Image courtesy of Daily Bunny -

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Friday, 13 November 2009


The first leg of our honeymoon was Amsterdam, somewhere I've wanted to visit for a while.
The city was lovely, the buildings very much what I had imagined and very picturesque indeed. We took a boat tour and saw lots of the sights and learnt about the history.

And we did go for pancakes too at the Pancake Bakery! Absolutely huge dinner plate size pancakes topped with anything you can imagine.

Foodie wise the Pancake Bakery was excellent but you must also visit Tempo Doeloe, an Indoniesian restaurant in Amsterdam, brilliant food and very popular - we had the goat!

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Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Review: Trinity Restaurant, London

I've never written a restaurant review before, so there seems is better place to start than with the restaurant we ate at for our wedding.

The Trinity Restaurant situated in the Clapham Old Town area of south west London and has a focus on seasonal produce, the tables were even decorated with little autumn squashes of various shapes and sizes.

We opted for the set lunch menu which is very good value at £20 for three courses. And of course champagne to start!

The champagne was served in beautiful painted floral flutes, lovely for a special ocassion such as this.
The menu was varied, with three options for each course (a larger menu is also available for smaller parties). The starter options were Jerusalem Artichoke Soup, Potted Foie Gras and Liver Pate and Grilled Sardines on Toast with Piperade and Toasted Pinenuts.

I opted for the Grilled Sardines on Toast, mainly because I have wanted to try proper fresh sardines for a while after only being offered horribled tinned sardines by most shops! They were beautifully fresh, not overcooked. I must admit I didn't know what 'Piperade' was when I ordered. It was a mixture of peppers, caramelised onions and possibly tomatoes, almost like a chutney, but made fresh.
Others on our table ordered the Potted Foie Gras and Chicken Liver Pate, which was served in a little La Parfait kilner jar on a small wooden board - nice little details to make the dish unique.

Main course options were the boldly named 'Trinity Fish Pie', Roast Fillet of Cod with Taramasalata or Roast Anglian Beef with Triple Cooked Chips and Bone Marrow and horseradish cream.

Well of course I couldn't pass up the last option. I'm pretty sure most of my decision was based on the prospect of triple cooked chips, and I was not disappointed. The chips were thick, crisp and incredibly fluffy inside - I think they may have been cooked in duck or goose fat because they were very flavoursome. The beef was tender and cooked pink, as it should be.
The bone marrow was a brilliant inclusion and went down extremely well with everyone who ordered the dish, it was nice to see a restaurant using 'cuts' that aren't always used and cooking them well. I think the horseradish cream could have done with a bit more of a kick to it, which would have cut through the richness of the beef and bone marrow more.

Others had the Roast Fillet of Cod, which was also served with fresh mussels - something which probably should have been included on the menu, but wasn't, the suprise addition of mussels was well received, although I'm not sure how well it would be if someone had an allergy.

I chose my pudding before I had decided on my starter, being the chocoholic that I am. It was a Valhrona Chocolate Pot with Salt Caramel Ice Cream - perfect for me. With the description 'Chocolate Pot' I was expecting more of a rich set chocolate mousse but it was in fact closer to a fondant or a chocolate sponge, which is actually what I preferred. Extremely rich, the salt caramel was a lovely addition. The pudding was a little crisp on the outside and meltingly soft inside. This is definitely a pudding for someone that can cope with a lot of chocolate, be warned!

They were also kind enough to decorate mine and my new husbands plates with the words 'Congratulations' - very thoughtful and a wonderful touch.

All in all our experience at Trinity was brilliant, the service was attentive but not pushy and the staff were knowledgeable and friendly. This is a restaurant that is obviously working up to a Michelin Star and I do hope they achieve it.

We'll be back!

Trinity on Urbanspoon

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Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Handm@de Cambridge - 5th December 2009

I'm doing another Handm@de Craft Fair!

Its under a month away and will be held on the 5th December from 11am to 5pm at the Cambridge Guildhall - right in the centre of this lovely city.

More information on the website - and over on the blog

Please come and say hi! I'll have lots of new pieces and jewellery that will only be available at the craft fair.

In the meantime I am getting prepared, this may include an obligatory trip to ikea for random table decorations ;)


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Monday, 9 November 2009

We're back!

We are back from the honeymoon :)

The wedding day was lovely and all the places we visited on our honeymoon were great, Amsterdam was by far my favourite - which is handy because its the closest, will definitely be going back!

Check back for holiday snaps later, my little camera started to fade a little on the way round but it lasted the whole trip.

Things are up and running again in all my shops (Etsy and All Things Original) and I am thinking towards Christmas now - lots of new jewellery coming soon!


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