Favourite Tea Time Cakes

Every Christmas I get an array of recipe books, all of which I look through meticulously, dog earring the recipes I MUST try NOW. Many of the recipes on my to-do list remain undone. However, there are 2 brilliant recipes I make over and over again, because, sometimes risking not having that perfect tea and cake combination is just not worth it. I am all about tea and cake. Well, I’m not now that it’s 2014 and I have my new years resolutions to abide by but there is simply nothing better than washing down a slice of cake with a nice cup of tea!

So, without further ado:

1. Paul Hollywood’s chocolate almond cake.

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I love the dense texture of this cake, you only need a small slice so it lasts longer! Before topping the cake with ganache Mr Hollywood requests we lather the it with cherry jam! The combination of jam and dark chocolate is wonderful. This is a chocolate cake with a dash of sophistication (or so I like to think) and so perfect for those Sunday afternoon tea sessions.

This recipe can be found online at: http://www.mumsnet.com/food-content/chocolate-almond-cake

How To Bake (Paul Hollywood)

 

2. Stacie Stewarts salted caramel custard and chocolate cake.

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I am currently a little bit obsessed with salted caramel. I’m up for trying anything if you mention it’s got salted caramel in it… I’m not usually a fan of custard but gimme a bowl of THIS custard and I’ll polish it off. I’m usually a big fan of desserts and sweet things so the saltiness of this cake is ME all over. Usually a packet of crisps would win over any cake but here we have more of a competition. I’m not sure what it is about this cake and Paul Hollywood’s one but they just both go down so well with a cuppa. The tea just cuts through the salty and cherry flavour its so refreshing and DELICIOUS.

Has anyone else tried these recipes and as impressed by them as me? OR are there any wonderful cakes I need to know about. As you are probably aware, I’m partial to a chocolate cake, but I also love a good lemon cake.

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New Years Eve, Antwerp, Belgium

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So this year, or should I say last year, Antwerp was the destination for New Years Eve. I’ve never spent NYE out of the UK and I was unsure whether it was this fact that swayed me to go or the opportunity to gorge myself on frites and waffles. Both lived up to expectations so all in all, a successful trip spent with two great Sarahs.

NYE was, as you would expect full of fireworks, count downs (two- one for Belgium and one for the UK) and drinks so I won’t bore you with all the details.

The food was spot on. Naturally, as you do, I arrived looking for a typical Belgian meal and ended up with Asian… but I’m not complaining (well may be a small complaint, but that’s to come).

I spent the first day with Sarah #1 as Sarah #2 was at work (she was our host). We decided to go to Ghent, a city in the North of Belgium with beautiful architecture, but more importantly a market! We devoured frites (covered in mayo and what I think was a mix of salt and white pepper) and apple gluwein which warmed us through and left us satisfied with our trip.

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That evening we went to Lucy Chang, a restaurant in Marnixplaats, Antwerp. It was reasonably priced, may be a tad on the expensive end. The food came so quickly, it arrived before our drinks which wasn’t an issue other than the fact that my beef chow mein was so salty I was gasping for a drink. The meal was tasty but service on the drinks end was a tad slow and I was thirsty until the next morning! It almost felt like they wanted to get us English lot over and done with and out the way. Nonetheless, I did enjoy the meal and had some great company so I would go back. It was a bit dark in there so photos aren’t great!

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Other treats included a waffel covered in melted chocolate which was wonderful. I could only eat half though and that’s because I don’t really have a sweet tooth. I’m still yet to master the fork with a serrated side to cut the waffle. Cute but requires practice. Also, we had a moochie which isn’t particularly Belgian but it filled the spot. White chocolate and raspberries – what a great combo.

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Finally, New Years Day brought with it a fry up in a sandwich. It was needed and it did the job. The only thing I would say is I prefer British bacon, but everything else, the sausages, egg and bacon were spot on. Plus, when you get an egg like the one I had (in the pic below) you know, for a few short moments, all is right in the world because I HAVE A RUNNY EGG!

ImageSo all in all, I got what I needed from Belgium and I had a great started to 2014. Thank you Belgium, you have made one very hungry girl happy and I will no doubt be back again.

2014 New Years Resolutions HELP

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Well, first of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR.

So after much consideration I have finalised my New Years Resolutions!! Note the plural RESOLUTIONS – oh yes this year I’m going all out? And of course they are to do with food. In order of difficulty, they are as follows:

1. No crisps

2. No starchy food* after 6pm

3. All starchy food prior to 6pm must be wholewheat

4. Low carb dinners

5. Live by the motto: eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a servant and dinner like a pauper

*pasta, potatoes, rice, bread and cereals

Also a small, tiny little exception is that Sundays are exempt to these rules (apart from rule #1). I mean I don’t want to annoy any Sunday Roast providers by rejecting their roast potatoes. I’m pretty sure it’s lent where Sundays are exempt from the rule but c’mon I’m only a few months premature. Also a New Years Resolution (I think anyway) is about testing yourself and making big changes so mine really do fit that description.

Bearing in mind I am a talented crisp eater and like to gorge myself on bowls of pasta and so on after a long day I foresee myself going slightly mental. So if anyone has any suggestions for a New Years Resolution friendly dinner or wholewheat recipes for lunch please do enlighten me!
I’ll miss you crisps but we will be reunited sometime in the future – I hope not anytime soon but time will tell.
A few posts to come include my trip to Belgium and other carb related adventures. Do not fear, they were all consumed in 2013 so I have not failed.. yet. My lack of internet at my parents house in the middle of nowhere means blogging is confined to my phone so hence why some posts are a tad late.