Bea’s of Bloomsbury

Bea’s of Bloomsbury is a fantastic place to go for Afternoon Tea! A friend and I enjoyed a delicious plate of baguettes, followed by some of the best cakes and scones, I have EVER eaten.

Service was fantastic , we were seen to straight away and given a choice of teas to choose from. The teas are all real leaf teas and more hot water is offered, so there is no need to buy another cup.

A plate of three mini baguettes was then presented to each of, the bread was fantastic quality and each baguette was so tasty, my favourite was the salami and red pepper pesto.

Following this, we were presented with a selection of cakes: blondies, two different types of brownies, scones, a raspberry cupcake, a dark chocolate cupcake and other mini cakes. Everything was delicious, I have no complaints at all, and being a keen baker I usually pick up on a dry cake.

The sponge on the two cupcakes literally fell apart, the raspberry cupcake, actually tasted like raspberry! The dark chocolate frosting was like ganache, it was the kind of thing you eat and then are left speechless for a while….

The brownies were lovely and gooey inside. The scones were not dry but absolutely delicious, by this point we were struggling to finish.

I would definitely recommend Bea’s of Bloomsbury, to anyone wanting a delicious afternoon tea, somewhere that is a little less crowded than the places you might usually think to go. Booking is definitely best!

My one issue was that they did not offer champagne. I am planning to buy the cookbook, so watch this space for the recipes…

Advertisements

Golcar Lily

The Golcar Lily is beautiful pub and restaurant in the rolling hills above the Yorkshire Town of Huddersfield. We were fortunate enough to spend quite some time here this week and enjoyed soaking up the relaxed and tranquil atmosphere the town of Golcar had to offer.

Not to be too distracted by the breathtaking views, the at the Golcar Lily is a local and regional favourite for a good reason. You really cannot beat sitting with a beer and looking over the hills, there are even cows – a rare sight for us Southerners.

Nina went with a fairly standard Beaf in Blackbean sauce stir-fry with rice, but this somehow managed to stand out. Deep oriental flavours came from this seemingly humble dish. Chinease food can so easily be got wrong and be left too bland or too highly flavoured, this was perfect and tasted like a homemade dish.

Mine was Crispy Belly Pork on a bed of Creamy Onion and Sage Sauce. The pork was cooked to near perfection and the sauce was a simple triumph of what can be done to add to the flavours of delicious locally sourced pork belly.

All of this was served up with traditional vegetables and rice for the stir-fry.

What can not be understated is the ambience of this place. In front of me was a delicious plate of food and to my left, the most breathtaking view, looking out over Huddersfield (somewhere down there anyway)

If you in the area, you must pop in to sample some of this local goodness and revel in the atmosphere.

Pick n’ mix cupcakes

I decorated these cupcakes with Pic n’ Mix, hence the name. The icing does not look too great, I was in a rush and did not take much care, but I promise they taste delicious!

Ingredients for the cake mix

  • 200g butter (I use Stork)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 4 eggs
  • Splash of milk
  • Tsp vanilla essence
  • 1tbsp raspberry or strawberry jam

Ingredients for the icing

  • 150g softened butter
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 2tsp raspberry or strawberry jam
  • Pick n’ mix sweets to decorate

Method

  1. Beat the butter and sugar together until combined
  2. Add the eggs one at a time and beat into the mixture
  3. Add the flour and beat well
  4. Add the vanilla essence and jam, add milk if the mixture is too dry
  5. Spoon the mix into cupcake cases and bake for 15 minutes for so at 180 degrees, until the cakes are golden and bounce back when you touch them
  6. Allow the cakes to cool and then for the icing beat the butter and icing sugar until combined well
  7. Add the vanilla essence and jam, this should give the icing a pink colour. Feel free to add food colouring if you wish
  8. Pipe the icing onto the cakes and add the pick n’ mix sweets

Bill’s

Bill’s is a fantastic restaurant café that has expanded from one restaurant in Brighton, to nine restaurants all over the South of England. We visited the restaurant in Soho, and were very impressed with the ambience, quality / value of food and service.

We were drawn to the restaurant because they were giving out free nectarines and I am very conscious of getting my five a day. The restaurant has a fantastic warm feel, almost like walking into someone’s (very rich and expensive) farmhouse.

A bottle of house wine is around £14.50, which we felt was a great price for Central London. The food on the menu was very reasonable, around £4-5 for a starter and £10-12 for a main.

We had enjoyed a big lunch at Pho, so decided to share a starter of hummus, tzatziki, pita and crudities. The hummus was delicious, I loved that they used wholemeal pita (it just makes you feel like you are being healthier) and provided crudities including carrot, cucumber and celery, again adding up to help me to my five a day!

For the main course Toby went for a delicious fish finger sandwich and skinny fries, it was very satisfying! The tartare sauce was delicious and the chips were so salty and moorish!

I went for piri piri chicken on rice and added a green salad. The chicken was well seasoned, not dry but delicious. The rice was basically like paella rice, it was SO good. The portion of chicken was huge, I actually struggled to eat it.

We would definitely recommend Bill’s and look forward to trying more of the menu. The service was fantastic, we even paid the discretionary service charge!

Key Lime Pie

Fruity and zesty deserts are my favourite. So, following a big mexican meal, I decided to try my hand at a Key Lime Pie, I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet, but it was delicious!

Ingredients

  • 200g ginger biscuits
  • 100g butter
  • Zest and juice of 4 limes
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • Can of carnation condensed milk

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees
  2. Crush the biscuits until they resemble breadcrumbs
  3. Melt the butter and add this to the breadcrumbs, mix well and then put this at the bottom of your pie dish to make the biscuit base, bake for 15 minutes and allow to cool
  4. Put the sugar, lime zest, juice and yolks into a mixing bowl and mix well
  5. Add your condensed milk and continue to beat
  6. Pour the mix onto your biscuit base and bake for 20 minutes
  7. The pie should be set, with a slight wobble in the middle
  8. Allow to cool and decorate with lime slices or whipped double cream

It is so quick and easy, but so delicious. The pale green pie colour is beautiful too.

Dartford Greek Taverna Resturaunt

It was a Friday afternoon after the pub and we had a school theatre performance to get to that evening. Time was short and we needed something local to sate us for the evening ahead. A friend of ours had a taste card that that gives her and friends up to 50% discount in many local and independent restaurants, and one of these was the Dartford Greek Taverna restaurant. This is a local place I have passed regularly for many years and heard many good things about, but had never actually been in.

The place is pretty retro, but has a fantastic atmosphere and very friendly staff.

In haste, we opted for a medley of starters of home made Hummus, Tzatziki, Taramasalata and grilled Halloumi, served with toasted pita bread. You might see on the left, a bottle of Retsina, a Greek wine that matures in barrels made of olive wood. It has a distinctive herby and olive taste and is totally delicious. I last had this in Barcelona a few years ago and this was just as good!

For my main, I went for Sheftalia: Home made mince, rolled with herbs & spices, charcoal grilled. Refreshing and satisfying, this tasted just like Greece on a plate!

Nina went for Chicken kebab: Pieces of marinated chicken breast, skewered & grilled. I have it on good authority that this was also very good, however, I was too busy chowing on my own plate of greek grub!

Overall, The Dartford Greek Taverna Restaurant was a great value way of getting a quick fix of delicious Greek grub. We will have to go back there for a more drawn out experience of delicious greek food!