Saturday, 28 November 2020

White chocolate and cranberry homemade cookies

 Its beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.............



Christmas tree and decorations up today and baked some cookies 




The large ones are White chocolate and Cranberry and the others are from Costco and you just bake them yourself

My homemade ones are by far the nicest !!!!!!

They are super easy to make see recipe below 






Cranberry and White chocolate cookies 

Makes approx 12 

125g margarine 

100g light brown sugar 

125g caster sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

225 g self raising flour

pinch of salt

100g white chocolate chips 

100 g dried cranberries 


1.. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy . Then mix in the egg and vanilla extract

2. Add the flour and salt and mix well then add the chocolate chips and dried cranberries. Stir until mixed evenly 

3. Put the cookie dough in fridge for about an hour to firm up 

4. Preheat oven to 180 fan and line baking trays with grease proof paper 

5. Use your hands to make balls about the size of a golf ball or smaller if you want more cookies 

6. Place on a baking tray with a gap between them , you can normally fit  six on each tray 

7. Bake in oven for approx. 12 to 15 minutes until they go slightly brown on the top 

8. Leave on baking tray to cool 

THEN EAT AND ENJOY 

I made double the mixture and have frozen half of the cookie dough balls to bake another day 




Sunday, 1 November 2020

Cafe Concerto Afternoon tea - Green Park , London

Saturday 31st October  

Halloween and  i went to an Afternoon tea at Cafe Concerto Green Park branch. My mum had an afternoon tea voucher which my brother and daughter in law brought her for Christmas. I choose this branch as it was not far for my mum to walk from the station. 

Sadly after yesterdays lockdown news it will be my last Afternoon tea for a while.......



Inside it was large with two seating areas , we was told to choose any table towards the back of the restaurant which was up a few steps. It was very nice inside with a contemporary but grand design. There was some nice background music playing too.

I noticed that on a table in the corner was a  glamorous blonde haired lady who had a very distinctive voice......

It was Gemma Collins from TOWIE




The waiter asked for the voucher and told us we could have two hot drinks and then gave us the full cafe menu. I noticed the coffee was expensive at £3.95 , forgetting we were in Green Park and not my local coffee shop.  



We both ordered a cappuccino each and explained to the waiter that we did not eat salmon and my mum does not like mayonnaise. She said this was fine and they could make the  chicken  one without mayonnaise. 

About 10 minutes later the tea stand arrived . We got  two sandwiches each and two little rolls each. We both got a cucumber and cream cheese and chicken and tomatoes one each which tasted nice a fresh. Two mini rolls were egg mayonnaise and then two which i think were avocado which neither of us liked !!!!!!



 








We got two scones each, plain and fruit plus a pot of jar each and pot of clotted cream to share. As my mum does not like the cream there was extra for me ...Yummy.

The scones were slightly  warm and the plain one was a bit dry compared to the fruit one. 



After eating the scones we ordered an Americano coffee each and then started to tuck into the 6 cakes on the top plate. Unfortunately there was only one cake of each type so we decided to cut them all in half . 
First we had the macaroons which were very nice with lots of flavour. We got a lime green one and i think the other one had caramel flavour filling but a slight rose flavour to the macaroon.....very nice indeed. 
Secondly we had a blueberry tart which had creamy sweet custard inside ......my mum liked this one. 
Next we eat  the chocolate one which was hard to cut as it had a white chocolate disc  on top of a soft velvety chocolate mouse. 
The pink cake had a strawberry flavour and was a mouse on a sponge base topped with jelly. 
Then to finish there was a small pot of lemon cheesecake. 
All the cakes tasted really nice 



After eating all the cakes we both felt rather full. I asked the waiter if there was anything to pay for and she said just two of the coffees.....I queried this as we had been told by another waiter the voucher included two drinks . She said that it only included the first drinks . 

I spoke to the first waiter who said the two drinks were NOT each and for both of us .....so just one drink each. 

I thought this was a bit bad of them as second drink was only an Americano coffee and it would not of cost them much extra to give to us for free. 


Nearest Station  : Green Park-  about 6 minute walk    
Best bits : I think the flavourful macaroons and sandwiches which were nice and fresh 
Worst bits : Charge for extra coffee each 
Value for money :Menu price £36.95 for two. Yes if they were to offer at least two hot drinks each !!!!!
would I go back?  :  Yes probably at some point 






 



Sunday, 25 October 2020

Morrisons food boxes - Afternoon tea box £15

 Sunday 25th October 

As i was so impressed with the afternoon tea in the Morrison's cafe i decided to try their Afternoon tea food box which you order online and get delivered at a date that suits you. There are lots of different food boxes to choose from and you can get them delivered to a different address as a gift . Another reason for ordering this was as there was an offer  code to get £5 off so only cost me £10 !!!!!

 I got a text to confirm the time slot and it arrived well packaged with the fridge items wrapped up with two cool bags. 


As you can see from the photo the box contained everything you would need for an Afternoon tea at home I added up the estimated value of each items to see if it was good value. It added up to about £12.50 in total so i guess the £2.50 extra is for delivery. As I only paid £10 it was good value to me. 


Morrisons The Best All Butter Sultana Scone 4 Pack
Rodda's Classic Cornish Clotted Cream 227g
Mini Tiptree Strawberry Jam 42g X 4 mini jars 
Morrisons Lemon Bakewells 6 per pack (I GOT APPLE PIES INSTEAD) 
Morrisons The Best Chocolate Cake
Egg Mayo Sandwich Filler 250g
Cheese & Onion Sandwich Filler 250g
Medium White Loaf 800g
Morrisons Red Label Tea Bags 40's 125g
Cravendale Semi skimmed Milk ltr

The only thing i was disappointed by was that on the website it listed lemon bakewell tarts but I got apple pies instead.....would of much preferred the bakewell tarts. Not sure if they swap the cakes often or just that I was unlucky !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We sat down this afternoon and enjoyed the food  along with a bottle of English sparkling wine instead of the tea which was included.



I still have lots of food left including chocolate cake, bread and sandwich fillings . Also we only needed two mini pots of jam and have half a tub of clotted cream left. Perhaps they should include a pack of 6 scones as it could easily feed six  6 people then. 

Would I order this again  ?  

Yes I think I would as it was exciting opening the box and then getting it all ready . Also the scones were really nice from the Morrison Best range as was the chocolate cake







Saturday, 24 October 2020

24% off Buyagift -ends midnight Tuesday 27th October

 Just seen that buyagift are offering 24% off vouchers..... Just enter code MAGIC at checkout. Grab yourself a afternoon tea voucher or buy one as a Christmas present for a friend or loved one. 

Friday, 16 October 2020

Superb science themed afternoon tea - Ampersand Hotel - South Kensington London

 Wednesday 14th October 

I went to the Science themed afternoon tea at the Ampersand Hotel as a post Birthday treat from my mum which was so lovely in every way. 



I booked it via afternoontea.co.uk as they were doing special half price offer Tuesday to Thursdays up to end of October. It was priced at £22.25 each and worth every penny of that !!!!! 






SCIENCE AFTERNOON TEA

Savouries
Smoked salmon & avocado buckwheat blinis
Brioche with roast beef, watercress, cornichons
Chicken with sundried tomato & lemon mayonnaise bun
Seasonal quiche 

Homemade white chocolate and cranberry & plain scones
Served with Cornish clotted cream and homemade strawberry preserve
Passion fruit curd in a squeeze tube
Toppings: freeze dried raspberry, freeze dried pineapple, crunchy caramel

Pastries
Pear, ginger & mixed berries jelly in a petri dish
Dark chocolate & caramel planet mousse
Chocolate spaceman 
Plum & lime macaron
Coconut & orange half-moon cake 
Mini dinosaur biscuit & milk chocolate fossil hidden within chocolate "soil" 

It was served in The Drawing room which was small and cosy with lovely velvet and patterned fabric armchairs and sofas. It was a bright and modern decorated room. The tables were nicely laid out with China plates from Villeroy and Boch. My mum always likes to look at the bottom of the plates  to see what brand they are. 





Once seated the waiter handed us the menu and checked for any allergies. They seemed very accommodating and offered us alternative sandwiches and also made my mums without mayonnaise. We both ordered a cappuccino and glass of tap water. I noticed that there was only one other table in use......so not busy at all. This is surprising as it is such a good deal at half price!! 




The waiter brought out a little kidney dish with glass jugs and syringes ... He gave as a little card with instructions on how to make our own lemonade. It was a bit confusing but we managed to make a little jug each with the fruit flavours..... It did not taste that nice but was fun to do. I think if you had children with you they would love making it




After about 15 minutes the afternoon tea stand arrived and we got a whole stand each. I think this was only because we had different sandwiches each as I noticed the other table only got one stand between the two of them. 



The waiter explained what was on the stands and then poured water onto a China dish on the top stand to create smoke from dry ice...... Great effect 



Once the smoke had stopped we tucked into the sandwiches. I had two chicken ones , a mini quiche and a little brioche beef roll which was lovely . My Mum enjoyed her sandwich choices too . We both thought the quiche was a bit bland however the pastry was nice. I think it would of been nicer if it was warm. We were surprised to be offered more sandwiches which we turned down as wanted to save room for the scones and cakes. 


The scones were still slightly warm and we got a white chocolate and cranberry one each plus a plain one. There was a small pot of jam , plenty of clotted cream and a tube of mango puree, This looked like a toothpaste tube and it even had the silver foil seal which you had to piece with the top of the lid. 
As if that does not sound nice enough we also got 3 glass test tubes which contained dried raspberry , dried pineapple and salted caramel balls . We sprinkled these on top of the cream and jam on our scones, it gave them a lovely crunch and extra flavour....Delicious and such a good idea !!!!!!!

The white chocolate and cranberry scone was so nice I asked the waiter if we could have another one. He said yes but we had to wait about 15 minutes as they had to bake them fresh for us. It was well worth waiting for and we got some  more cream and jam to go with them. 

We were now feeling rather full but this did not stop us tucking into the cakes....


    First we had the coconut orange moon cake which was nice and had a crumbly texture . The green spaceman was made out of white chocolate. Then we had the jelly in the Petra dish which was OK and went well with the science theme. The macaroon looked and tasted amazing. I loved the little pipette of lemon syrup which you squeezed onto it ...this changed the flavour and went well with the plum and lime flavour . Lastly we had the chocolate ball which looked like a planet with the chocolate ring around it. I thought it was just a hollow ball on a circle of cake but was i wrong......it was a soft creamy chocolate mouse which was really nice. 




Once the cakes were gone the waiter placed a small wooden box on our table and informed us that we needed to use the paintbrush to dig inside to find a surprise....
This was a lovely end to a great afternoon tea 



We were both very impressed with this afternoon tea . The food was excellent  as was the service 




Nearest Station  : South Kensington High Street-  about 4 minute walk    
Best bits : The venue , service and the food  - basically everything 
Worst bits : None it was excellent 
Value for money :Yes and even at full price it was good for the quality of food and service  
would I go back?  :  Yes defiantly  















Sunday, 11 October 2020

Amazing sweet treats at Cake and Bubbles - Cafe Royal , Regent Street London



Saturday 10th October 2020 - MY BIRTHDAY

I booked this months ago as a special treat for my birthday. I had seen the restaurant on Masterchef and knew i wanted to go there as the desserts looked amazing and so different. The dessert are the creation of Albert Adrià ,voted The World’s Best Pastry Chef by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

The restaurant is attached to the side of Cafe Royal and is small in size and clad with Siena marble and has large windows looking onto Regent Street. It has an elegant and sophisticated feel yet relaxed and ideal to watch the world on Regent Street go by. It was very busy when we got there and all the tables were full . Our reserved table was in the window perfect for people watching.








The menu was small in the choices but sounded amazing and very different . We decided to have a bottle of champagne with the afternoon tea as it was my birthday after all !!!!!! Having already spent over £70 in the wine bar at Fortnum and Mason prior I decided to go for the cheapest bottle on the menu which was still £65. It was called N.V. Sophie Baron, Grande Réserve and very nice too.

The first course on the menu was Cakes & Bubbles Chocolate Cork, Baklava pistachio pillows, Golden Egg Flan and “After Eight” strawberry and chocolate marshmallow








First we both had the pistachio pillow .....OMG it was amazing. Light crispy pastry filled with a sweet cream and chopped pistachios. We both were blown away at how delicious it tasted. 





Next we had the golden egg which contained a creamy mouse with caramel in the bottom. Unfortunately the egg shell was not edible










Third came the chocolate cork which contained a hazelnut praline covered in a thin layer of chocolate sponge. It had the cake and bubbles name stamped into it which was cute and made it look more like a cork



THe last thing of this first course was the chocolate and mint marshmallow which was a strange shape


It was soft , light and fluffy in the centre with a slight rose taste and then at the end the mild taste of mint hits you . Very clever play on flavours and most enjoyable.



The second course was a surprise as the waiter handed us a real red rose each which had shiny sphere on top in the middle resting on the rose petals. It looked like a rain drop. The idea was to eat the sphere off the rose.......it burst in my mouth releasing a liquid flavoured with lychee, raspberry & rosewater. Amazing and so clever. We get to keep the roses  and take them home.

Last course was the one I was most looking forward to trying



The cheesecake which is for the adventurous: A new concept of the cheesecake, with Baron Bigod cheese, hazelnut and white chocolate. We got one each with a tray of little round biscuits which I guess are supposed to be like the biscuit base on a traditional cheesecake. It was so clever how the white chocolate coating looked just like the wax coating on a cheese. I excitedly dug my spoon into the chocolate shell and out oozed a soft velvety cream. This was defiantly worth waiting for as it was so creamy and not too sweet with a tiny hint of cheese. We used the crunchy biscuits to mop up the creamy cheesecake filling ...delicious . I wish I could of had another one I liked it that much.

AMAZING EXPERIENCE AND SO DIFFERENT TO A NORMAL AFTERNOON TEA


Nearest Station : Piccadilly Circus - about 4 minute walk
Best bits : The cheesecake however all the desserts were amazing
Worst bits :None
Value for money : The afternoon tea was priced at £34 per person which I guess is OK considering how different and amazing the food tasted and looked. However it was only sweet stuff and no sandwiches .
would I go back? : It was very different and special but now I have been I probably would not go back unless the menu changed.



Local Afternoon tea disapointing No homemade cakes or variety - Helen's Cafe , Chingford E4

 Friday 9th October 

I am a great believer in supporting local shops so as a pre birthday treat booked an afternoon tea with my mum and friends at a local coffee shop. Unfortunately it was rather disappointing as we was expecting some homemade cakes or scones. Instead we got supermarket loaf cakes sliced up.

I hate to give a negative review but want to be truthful as that is the whole reason for doing my blog. True honest personal reviews and unedited  photos. Do not get me wrong the sandwiches were OK and there was plenty of food on the plates so not completely bad 

I booked the afternoon tea a week in advance and was informed it would cost £16 each and we could have our own  little room at the back of the cafe. This sounded perfect as there was 4 of us plus my friends two young grandchildren. I mentioned that none of us eat fish and we wanted coffee instead of tea. 




When we arrived our table in the back room  was already laid out with the cake and sandwich stands. They were piled high with sandwiches garnished with cucumber slices and rocket leaves. The cakes stand had fresh strawberries on which was nice and dusted with icing sugar. 

We got a large pot of coffee which just tasted like instant coffee plus a jug of milk so we could help ourselves. Unfortunately we did not get a choice of coffee as a cappuccino would of been nice instead We also got a jug of water and some homemade lemonade in a jug. I did not have this but my friend said it tasted nice. 

We had three different types of sandwiches consisting of egg mayonnaise plus she did a special plain egg one for my mum . There was also plain cheese and a smoked ham sandwiches. They were nice and fresh but just a bit boring ......some pickle or tomato inside them would of been nicer. 

For the cakes we had a plain shop brought scone each and individual dishes or cream and jam each. The scones was not that nice as just tasted like a cheap basic shop one. As you know scones are my favourite part and to not have a fruit one was disappointing. We also got a coconut macaroon each. The cakes were just slices of shop brought loaf cakes which were all pretty similar in taste !!!!!!!!!!!!  Madeira lemon , coffee, plain madeira and angel cake.......No variety. 




Ok i get if that some cafes may not have the resources to offer homemade cakes however I noticed when paying that they did have some lovely looking homemade type cakes on  the counter. It would of been nice with the afternoon tea to have had more variety of cakes such as a chocolate one like a brownie or millionaires slice and some pretty coloured macaroons would of been nice too. I know you can get these in most shops as I had all the above when I did my own afternoon tea at home for Mothers Day. 

There is no excuse as i gave a weeks notice  so there was plenty of time to prepare it. 


We could not eat all the food so i must of took about 10 slices of cake home as shame to waste it 

I think Helen's cafe have let itself down of the afternoon tea as i will not be coming back for one in the near future.  


    
Best bits : Having the back room to ourselves and the fresh strawberries  
Worst bits : Lack of variety and fact that it was all shop brought cakes and scones  
Value for money : No for a local cafe it was expensive and defiantly not worth £16 each for what we got 
would I go back?  :  No  I would not    sorry Helen