Tag Archives: cafe

Signing on the dotted line…

In my last blog post (here) I announced the exciting news that I am the proud new tenant of 13 King Street, soon to become my very own ‘Afternoon Tease’ cafe! It was such a relief and a pleasure to share the news that I’d been keeping to myself for so long. The reason for all the secrecy was because I had submitted a planning application to the Council, which if granted would allow me to cook on the premises. My whole plan was hinged around finding a place where I could bake and sell my cakes fresh to the cake loving public, so without the permission ‘Afternoon Tease’ just wouldn’t have been possible. I waited (not so patiently) for 2 months to roll around and on 15th August, got the news I’d been waiting for…application granted!

During that time I had also been negotiating the finer points of the lease, something I luckily know quite a lot about having worked as a PA in the property department of a University. I have to say, reading 60 page pompous lease documents is not something I revel in…I’d rather bake a cake any day! But, read it I did (multiple times just to be sure ;)). I received a call on Wednesday last week saying that the documents were ready for me to sign so I biked over to my Solicitors office, shaking like a leaf and waited…

Waiting

and then signed the most important document of my life!…

Signing

At this point I still couldn’t spill the beans as the Landlords had to do their bit of signing before the deal was complete! I was a nervous wreck for the next 24 hours! But on Thursday 22nd August I received a phone call from Nick, my Solicitor saying ‘Congratulations you have a cafe’…music to my ears!! I sat, just shaking from head to toe with a crazy grin on my face and a tear in my eye! Then called my folks to tell them the good news before unleashing it onto my blog and the realms of social media. The amazing response that ensued brought even more tears to my eyes (yes, I am a tad emotional at the moment :))…you guys are so awesome! It was also really lovely to get messages and responses from friends who have had to endure the years of me banging on about my cafe dream that is now a reality! But anyway, that’s enough of that, before I get all teary again!

I didn’t dither when it came to collecting the keys…

The keys

and popped down to survey my little empire and toast it with a couple of glasses of pink fizz and some friends 🙂

It's all mine!

Here is my blank canvas at number 13 King Street…

My blank canvas

We’ve got a long way to go but us Kruczynski’s don’t hang around…

A lot to do...

Don’t worry…the green isn’t staying! 🙂

It would have been lovely to discover that I had a wonderful parquet floor hiding under the laminate but no such luck! Instead I discovered this jumble of bad flooring…

Terrible flooring

Yesterday I was down there papering up the windows to let people know what’s going to be landing on King Street and how to follow my progress…

Papered up

But don’t worry, you can still take a peek inside…

Take a peak

The next few weeks are going to be pretty mental, it’s all hands on deck…we’ve got some serious clearing to do before starting to install the new extraction system, fitting out and decorating…I can’t wait to see it taking shape!

In the meantime I am also on the hunt for my oven(s)…a vital piece of kit! 🙂 Just one of the many tasks on my ever increasing ‘to do’ list.

Bring it on!

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BREAKING NEWS!…

There’s a brand new Afternoon Tease cafe coming to town!

OPENING OCTOBER 2013!

Afternoon Tease

It may or may not come as a surprise that I am branching out and expanding my cake making business into my very own café!

I’ve been dying to break the news for a while now but have been waiting to have a planning application approved (a long arduous 2 month process) and wanted to wait until the deal was signed and sealed before I spilled the beans. But now, I’m truly ready to shout it from the rooftops!

Setting up a cafe hasn’t been a snap decision, I’ve actually been dedicated to planning and saving for this event for seven years and I’m very excited that the time has finally come!

To give you a bit of background on how I got to this point, after a stint of five years in London I moved back to my hometown of Cambridge in October 2011, but kept up with the commute to the big smoke to continue my job as Marketing Manager for a group of London and Birmingham based restaurants. In October 2012 I finally took the plunge to become a fully self-employed cake baker.

Since being back in Cambridge I’ve been busy scouring the streets and looking for the perfect property for my Afternoon Tease cafe and eventually found it at 13 King Street (map here). The shop used to house a cafe called ‘Cazimir’, where coincidentally, I worked back in the days when I was saving to go travelling around the world. Without wanting to sound like a cliche, it was actually while travelling that I got the idea to start a cafe. Seeing the standard of the coffee, cakes and food in general in New Zealand and Australia made me realise just how behind the UK is in this department. It all seemed like such a simple equation…good quality produce, simply and well prepared and sold in a welcoming, atmospheric environment. But returning from a year of travelling with zero money in the bank and only pure determination to get me there I had a long way to go! However the Antipodean revelation along with five years of enjoying London’s burgeoning cafe scene and my hate of chain cafes sealed the deal and made me even more determined to succeed.

So now we’re up to the present day and I’ve just signed the lease and collected the keys for number 13! I’ve got some hard work ahead of me but my aim is to open Afternoon Tease in mid October 2013.

I’ll be selling my homemade cakes, exceptional coffee, breakfasts and light lunches and not forgetting my favourite meal…brunch, which I’ll serve all day Saturday and Sunday. The quality of the food and drink are amazingly important to me but my other main aim is to serve it up with a large slice of ‘feel good’ welcoming atmosphere. Bringing an exciting and lively ‘extension to your living room’ environment and an experience of London’s café culture to Cambridge.

Afternoon Tease won’t be your ordinary 9-5 cafe, expect events, pop ups, music and collaborations and even the occasional Plate Lickers Supper Club, which I host with Miss Igs (www.missigs.com).

I’m going to be blogging the whole adventure of setting up my cafe, even the tough bits. This idea was inspired by a blog I read a fair few years ago called Scrambling Eggs by Shelagh Ryan who is the owner of 3 very successful cafes in London, which I blogged here Lantana, Salvation Jane and newly opened Ruby Dock. I read Shelagh’s blog from the very beginning as she documented the opening of Lantana and was inspired to start writing my blog with the hope that someday I too would be blogging my cafe opening experience and here I am doing just that!

I’m in need a bit of technical help but I am somehow going to link up my blog so that when I write a new blog post it will let everyone who has signed up for my newsletter know about it. So, if you don’t want to miss a thing, sign up for my Afternoon Tease News.

Over and out for now!

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A round up of Sweeteasy #2…

Last Friday I hosted my 2nd Sweeteasy at Hot Numbers. Once the doors of the cafe closed for the day I got busy transforming it into a prohibition era style drinking den, where I would be serving a set menu of cake inspired cocktails and cocktail inspired cakes and sweets. At dusk my guests started arriving accompanied by the sound of tinkling ivories courtesy of the very talented Adam, co-host of The First Rule Supper Club

Tinkling the ivories

Sweeteasy 4

Some guests had really got into the 1920’s spirit and  were looking gorgeously glam…

Sweeteasy 5

20's glam

glamorous ladies

My glamorous assistant

I’m so bad at keeping exciting things to myself but I had somehow managed to keep the menu totally secret and really enjoyed watching and listening to my guests reactions to its unveiling…

Sweeteasy Menu

First up was Turkish delight martinis in teacups made with gin, a splash of brandy and homemade rose syrup and served with a square of homemade Turkish delight…

Turkish delight martini

Followed closely by eggnog custard tarts…puff pastry with brandy custard and nutmeg…

Eggnog custard tarts

The next drink was definitely my favourite and something I’d been dreaming up for a while…behold my rhubarb crumble martini…

Rhubarb crumble martini

Rhubarb crumble martini

The seed of the idea for the rhubarb crumble martini was planted by Aoife Maxwell who is the font of all knowledge on booze and who along with her friend Rachel writes the Gastronomic Girls blog. I’d seen her blog about making rhubarb vodka and she very kindly presented me with a sample secreted in a brown paper bag at my first Sweeteasy event :). It was absolutely divine so I decided to make my own, which was surprisingly easy and very rewarding. You can find Aoife’s rhubarb vodka recipe here.

I loved the process and was amazed to watch all of the colour gradually drain out of the rhubarb and transfer itself to the vodka…magic!

 

I knew very early on that what I wanted to do with my rhubarb vodka was to create a rhubarb crumble in liquid form and after much taste testing (it’s a hardship I know) decided on the following recipe…

3 parts homemade rhubarb vodka

1 part amaretto (I used Disaronno)

Simply shake with ice before straining into a glass.

However, what is a crumble without the yummy topping? hence the addition of the piece de resistance…the crumble topping rim! I made a basic crumble topping by blitzing 50g butter with 100g flour in the food processor (this can also be done by rubbing the butter into the flour by hand) before stirring in 50g sugar. I baked it on a tray at 180 degrees until golden brown and left it to cool. To make it stick to the rim of the glass I used a simple sugar syrup, which is sooo easy to make. Simply dissolve 1 cup of sugar in 1/2 cup water over a low heat and leave to cool.

Finally to assemble the rhubarb crumble martini, I poured some sugar syrup onto a shallow dish and tipped some of the crumble topping onto a similar receptacle. Then dipped the rim of the glass in the syrup, allowing any excess to drip off before dipping in in the crumble topping…tadaaa…

Crumble topping rim

Then it was time to pour in the rhubarb vodka and amaretto concoction…

Rhubarb crumble martini

I was so chuffed with the creation of my dream drink…rhubarb crumble in a glass!

It was closely followed by my White Russian 3 milk cake, based on a traditional Mexican Tres Leches cake but with added Kahlua…

White Russian 3 milks cake

White Russian 3 milk cake

The 3rd and final cocktail was a chocolate and spiced rum old fashioned made using 70% dark chocolate liqueur, Sailor Jerrys spiced rum, angostura bitters and a dash of sugar syrup, stirred with a couple of cubes of ice, potent but divine…

Old fashioned

When I was taste testing this beauty I felt that it really needed to be paired with something chocolatey, hence the rum and raisin slice made using rum soaked raisins and 70% dark chocolate and I couldn’t resist throwing in a retro classic, my pina colada coconut ice made using homemade pineapple jam…

Coconut ice and rum and raisin slice

And that, ladies and gentlemen is, as they say, a wrap! The evening sadly had to come to an end but it turns out my guests are people of great taste as I ended up bumping into most of them afterwards in 196 on Mill Road, a very fine local cocktail establishment!

Another thoroughly enjoyable evening, thankyou to all who came, to Adam for being an amazing piano man and to Sarah and Val for letting me use  use some of their photos for this blog and to  Tom and Carri for being my glamorous assistants for the night!

Sweeteasy 2

I’m already plotting the next Sweeteasy, the date is in the diary but in true Afternoon Tease fashion, I’m going to keep you waiting a bit longer before I divulge the details! 🙂 But if you’d like to sign up to my new mailing list you’ll be amongst the first to be in the know.

Sweeteasy 17You can read more about Sweeteasy from the guests perspective in these lovely blogs from Miss Sue Flay of The Secluded Tea Party and from Heidi on The Moving Foodie Blog.

Sweeteasy 8

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A whirlwind trip to Biarritz…

Last weekend I managed to escape the grey onset of winter for warmer climes, boarding a plane to Biarritz! I’ve been to Northern Spain quite a few times in the last couple of years, which as the crow flies isn’t far from Biarritz, however I felt the difference in atmosphere, architecture and food was noticeable. As usual when I go on holiday, I was drawn to all things food related and took loads of photos so thought I’d share them with you. 

I stumbled upon many a foodie treasure trove, annoying the proprietors by ooh-ing and aah-ing and snapping away :)…

On our first night we struggled to find the restaurant epicentre of Biarritz but eventually stumbled on a street of tapas style bars and chose to dine at Bleue de Toi. It was an unassuming little place but it soon became obvious that we’d made the right choice, the food was exceptional…

and our waiter, who we later found out was in a soul band called Aylé, was amazingly very attentive and ended the evening by plying us with Pacharan a delicious local liquor made with sloe berries…

This trip gave me the chance to try Airbnb for the first time. It’s a website, well more of a community, where people can list either a room or whole property, more often than not their own home. All you have to do is join up, write a short profile and get searching…I discovered a lovely looking 2 bedroom flat for my friends and I to share. It was huge and really central and more importantly was owned by the loveliest landlady, who after discovering my love of cake, presented me with a list of cafe recommendations, free bus tickets to the local food market and had even stocked the fridge with a bottle of champagne to help celebrate my birthday! 

I decided that visiting a food market was the perfect way to spend my birthday so we hot footed it down to Les Halles to stock up on yummy food and pay a visit to Milwaukee Cafe

The kooky little cafe run by an American Mother and Daughter combo (I assume from Milwaukee) felt slightly incongruous nestle amongst the cheese, cured meat and fish stalls at Les Halles…

but after trying their coffee I wasn’t complaining!

I have to admit that I didn’t manage to try any of their cake after having overdone the Pacharan the night before, but it all looked divine…

When the reviving effect of the coffee had kicked in we set about exploring and gathering a delicious picnic together (note: we didn’t buy the fish but they looked impressive enough to be papped)…

On wandering the streets of Biarritz, I discovered a little gem of an ice cream shop called Jerome

where I sampled a flavour I’d never heard of called byzance…milk chocolate, nut and fleur de sel…

Earlier in the day my friends had seen me staring lustily at a patisserie called Miremont and unbeknownst to me had popped in and bought me this amazingly extravagant but slightly alien looking concoction as a birthday treat…

I don’t know what it was but I inhaled it in a matter of seconds  🙂

The week before my holiday I’d asked Twitter for restaurant and cafe recommendations and was told to visit Chez Albert in the port for seafood, so I did…

We enjoyed a lavish looking platter of fruit de mer, delicious but with perhaps a few too many sea snails for my liking (I’m a bit of a mollusc wuss)…

and followed Rick Furzer, self confessed ‘booze pimp’s’ wine recommendation with a bottle of Pacherenc

Me and my sweet tooth couldn’t resist the house dessert…

By happy accident, we saved the best ‘til last, my favourite meal of the whole holiday was on our last day at a tiny back street bar/restaurant called Bar Jean

The service was quintessentially French and surly and the food was simple and exquisite, the photos speak for themselves…

I would highly recommend Biarritz as a weekend destination. I was extremely well fed and watered and even managed to get in a bit of surfing…good times!

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If you ever happen to be in Tunbridge Wells, I highly recommend that you visit Juliets. It’s a gorgeous cafe with a great savoury menu consisting of a daily changing selection of salads and sandwiches as well as a vast selection of tempting cakes!

I was won over by their baked squid stuffed with parmesan, sourdough breadcrumbs and basil pesto, which I had with bulghar wheat pilaf with perry marinated sultanas, roasted carrot, onion, coriander and pink peppercorns and tricalore bell pepper chop salad with spring onion, rocket, sesame, Dijon and cider vinegar and of course I finished my meal off with a huuuge slice of carrot cake! 🙂

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21/06/2012 · 1:54 pm

Just over a week ago I was invited to the opening party of ‘Hunt & Darton Cafe’ a pop-up cafe and live installation performance art project. It’s one of eight commissions thought up by members of  Live Art Collective East, taking advantage of unusual spaces and places in East Anglia as part of the Cultural Olympiad. I didn’t know what to expect but was very tickled by the whole project…Hunt & Darton are extremely funny ladies. I took a few photo’s of the things that had me chuckling…

It’s a fully functioning cafe with a witty, tongue in cheek twist, definitely worth a visit. 

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13/05/2012 · 4:39 pm

Today I’m celebrating the resurrection of a Cambridge institutionFitzbillies is (un)officially open!

This morning I hot-footed it down to Trumpington Street to purchase some of their infamous sticky chelsea buns.

Thanks have to got to Tim Hayward and his family for bringing back a much loved place and….doing it so well! mmmm

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20/08/2011 · 12:00 pm

Delicious lunch at Massaro’s, Regent Street, Cambridge…ciabatta filled with fennel salami, fresh tomato, rocket and chunky homemade basil pesto!

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10/08/2011 · 12:18 pm

This weekend I finally fulfilled my ambition to visit the Towpath Cafe (Regent’s Canal towpath, between Whitmore Bridge and Kingsland Road Bridge, N1 5SB). My sunny Sunday brunch consisted of zingy runner bean, red onion and Berkswell cheese salad and a plate of the most deliciously creamy mozzarella, drizzled with olive oil and a freshly sliced pile of melt in the mouth proscuitto with some sourdough bread to mop it all up with…I’m happy to confirm that the hype is well earned!

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10/07/2011 · 6:50 pm

If you haven’t visited St. Ali, the new coffee shop that’s opened on the junction of Clerkenwell Road and St John Street….you should! I popped in on the way to work earlier this week and have developed a little bit of a crush on it! Gorgeous, old,  battered communal tables, a green wall, a magic coffee roasting machine standing up on a pedestal for all to see, very friendly attentive service and above all…bloody good coffee!

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26/05/2011 · 9:00 am