Monday, 25 July 2011

Weddings, Jewellery and Food Blogging

This post is about something totally lovely. Over the last year or so I have found and met a group of local food bloggers in Cambridge, via the awesomeness that is Twitter. We've been to a Secluded Tea party together, had mulled wine and mince pies, eaten at the best Chinese restaurant in Cambridge (Peking Restaurant) and are planning many more foodie events in the next few months.
One of these lovely people is Nora, or Norathesplorer as she is known by her food blog readers. She was getting married this summer and asked me to make her a pair of Classic Pearl earrings for her special day. I love making bridal jewellery and I especially love making it when I know the bride.

 photography by Lauren McGlynn

She kindly sent me a picture of her on her wedding day, with the earrings on which go so well with her beautiful green dress. She also had a second dress which was a white gown which also went very well with the earrings.

Thank you Nora for making my jewellery part of your day, and for letting me blog a picture of your lovely wedding!


Isn't the Internet a lovely thing?

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Weekend pictures

Lots of pictures from the weekend. A vintage looking Jess, making lavender sugar, coffee and cake at Greens Coffee Co , Jess atop a fence, making catnip 'strawberries' from Mollie Makes tutorial, made a gingham cushion cover, salt and pepper popcorn, found 'Home' old sign in the garden, first garlic harvest.

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Thursday, 21 July 2011

Tomato Salsa from Mexican Food Made Simple

Mexican food is one of my favourite foods, and I have really been enjoying Mexican Food Made Simple on Tuesday nights, and I am a big fan of Wahaca. I gave the salsa recipe a go to stuff in to some burritos because it seemed so simple and quite authentic.

The dry roasting of the tomatoes and garlic is a great idea, much much quicker than roasting in the oven and both come out just as juicy and flavoursome as oven roasting. I was amazed at how well the garlic roasted like this, even in my dodgy frying pan. I blitzed mine the food processor instead of my pestle and mortar so it was a bit more liquid but because it was quite spicy you only needed to use a little anyway!

I subbed half a chipotle in adobo chili instead of a fresh jalapeno, as I'd forgotten to buy fresh chilis. I assume fresh green chilis would work the same as a jalapeno. The chipotle gave it a nice warm smoky finish to add to the charred taste from the tomatoes.

I served it with traditional burrito fillings - spicy black beans, mexican rice, sour cream, cheese and tortillas.
This recipe makes a lot so there will be plenty left over for other things. I am going to use mine to top a steak and jazz up my cous cous at lunchtime.

The next recipes I want to try are the griddled pineapple with rum caramel and the chorizo and potato quesadilla. And I will attempt homemade corn tortillas once I've got the frying pan situation sorted out.

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Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Sweets & Chocolate

I love sweets. I do a lot of baking and whilst I appreciate freshly baked sweet treats there is something inside me that really loves the processed sugary wonderfulness that is sweets. And chocolate, I am a sucker for cheap sugary chocolate whilst also liking dark chocolate too.

Every day after school I used to go to the corner shop and buy a chocolate bar or a bag of 10p (20p if I was feeling rich) penny sweets. There was a brief phase of those sherbet sticks that you could buy for about 3p which everyone in school had and for some reason I remember them being of particular concern to teachers. Maybe because kids were pretending they were cocaine and snorting them, maybe that was it.

If you've read Stephen Fry's Autobiography (the first one) which includes a long section listing all the sweets he loved and loves that is just about how I feel about sweets too. Even though most of the sweets I used to eat still exist now there is always a heap of nostalgia associated with them.

Here comes the list, my favourites include: foam shrimps, lemon bon bons, apple laces, strawberry laces, sherbet dib dab, black jacks, fruit salad, foam mushrooms, foam strawberries, cherry lips, aniseed balls, fizzy cola, chewy cola, giant cola bottles, fizzy blue bottles (not the flies, the drink) coconut rolls, love hearts, foam teeth and toothbrushes, refreshers, drumsticks (one of my teeth came out because of a drumstick lolly), flumps, rhubarb and custard, Wham bars, candy sticks, candy necklaces, fried eggs.... the list is pretty much endless.

Although there are some sweets I don't like. I'm not a big fan of hard sweets save for bon bons and rhubarb and custard. And I never understood why people liked those white mice. I'm not a big chewing gum person although I did used to buy those long packs of bubblegum which were about 15p a tube. They never tasted sweet for very long so I could easily chew a whole pack in a couple of hours.

Chocolate wise the list is quite a lot smaller than the sweet side of things. At the moment I am favouring Galaxy over Cadburys - have Cadburys changed their recipe? I am inclined to blame Kraft Foods for the less chocolatey nature of their Dairy Milk lately. My favourites at the moment (which changes often!) are Galaxy Caramel, Galaxy Ripple, Wispa, Milky Bar and Crunchie. I am still mourning the loss of Kit Kat Peanut Butter which has been replaced by the rubbish Kit Kat Caramel - which isn't really caramel inside at all is it? Do we not get peanut butter as much in the UK as our American counterparts. There should be more peanut butter in confectionary in my opinion.

My favourite chocolate bar ever was the Cadburys Fuse bar, which was discontinued around the late 90s. It had basically everything going for it - chocolate, raisins, nuts, FUDGE PIECES and crispies. And the packet design was pretty cool too. I miss those.

So there you are, an essay from a sugar addict. I still do need to have at least one bar of chocolate a day, and it is a need, I think. I get a bit crabby otherwise. And you have no idea how glad I am that retro sweet shops have become popular again, Mr Simms Olde sweet shop in Cambridge is one of the best places to go for all kinds of sweets.

Now I am off to the shop for some sweets. I hope you enjoyed reading my post!

Sweetie images from Handy Candy - and google image search

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Sunday, 17 July 2011

20% off on Etsy

This blog post is a bit late but just to let you know I have 20% off in my Etsy shop, ends tomorrow evening.

Happy Shopping! :)

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Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Summer Fruit Drizzle Cake

It hasn't been all bad on the eating front lately.
It was the husbands birthday yesterday so on Monday I baked up this lovely cake, the recipe is in this months BBC Good Food magazine. I love the idea of sweet berries mixed in with lemon and sugar, very decadent but also feels healthy. The cake is studded with fruit inside too.

If you do make it I have a tip! The recipe says to chuck everything (minus berries) in the bowl and whisk, Don't do this! You will end up with mix EVERYWHERE. I would use the normal cake method of creaming sugar and butter and then adding the rest, unless you have a food processor or a stand mixer.

I think I will be trying this again with different fruits, maybe peaches and raspberries.

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Tuesday, 12 July 2011

back from holiday


I am back from what was a bit of a disastrous holiday in Scotland. Scotland itself was lovely but we both caught a stomach bug, and then made the mistake of soldiering on and going to T in the Park festival too (camping and being ill, oh dear!) even though we were still recovering.

Anyway...... I am back now and so pleased to be home!
We are planning a weekend away SOON to make up for last week. Something with luxury and NO camping.

Thanks to everyone who ordered jewellery whilst I was away, everything will be shipped on Friday. I also finally hit 600 sales on Etsy whilst I was away. Yay!

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Monday, 4 July 2011

Bill's Restaurant & Store, Cambridge

I find it very hard to think of a good place for breakfast in Cambridge, and upon asking other people it would seem that no one else really knows either. You can pop along to the Black Cat cafe for some french toast, or maybe Giraffe for one of their breakfasts but nowhere really sticks out as being amazing.

Bill's Restaurant and Store opened last week, at the site of the old (and not very good) Slug and Lettuce pub. The first thing that really drew me in was the breakfasts, it has a good selection of traditional 'fry up', french toast, eggs benedict/florentine/royale and some interesting inclusions like bubble & squeak and grill vine tomatoes with basil on toast.

As the name suggests you can also shop here, they sell jams and marmalades, fancy French lemonade, pasta, chocolate, beer, the list is endless. Everything is arranged in shelves around the tables so you can shop whilst you eat.
I ordered the Bill's breakfast which was two fried eggs on sourdough toast with bacon, sausage, mushrooms and grilled tomatoes. Mr had the veggie breakfast which was really well put together, poached eggs on toast spread with houmous and guacamole, tomatoes, mushrooms and sweet chilli. He also tried the bubble and squeak which the real star, crispy on the outside and pillowy soft inside with a good kick of mustard.
The coffee here is also excellent, as are the freshly made smoothies.

We arrived at about 11 and the restaurant was quite busy, it is obviously very popular already, only a few days after opening. The food seems very fresh with attention to detail.

It is a small chain and in a place full of chains I can be wary but Bill's does have personality. I'm looking forward to coming back, mainly to give the puddings a go, which look very naughty!

Bill's Restaurant and Store
Green Street, Cambridge

Update: We've been back a few times since 2011 to Bill's and I'm afraid to report that the quality has gone down a lot. Portions seem to be smaller, food blander and greasier. It's disappointing and I don't think just a blip. If anyone else has given it a try lately do let me know if it has improved.

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Friday, 1 July 2011


I like round numbers, and having shops means you can count the sales and get worked up about milestones.
I am very nearly at 600 sales on Etsy. 
It has been at 597 for what seems like a million years!

Please help me out!
I have 25% off for the next 3 purchases, use the code 600SALES - the 600th gets extra things too!
So if you buy three things you get 25% off and freebies!

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