Tag Archives: cambridge

I’m recruiting the Afternoon Tease dream team…

Recruiting for the dream team...

To me, the atmosphere of a cafe is paramount. I don’t know about you but if I go somewhere and I’m not acknowledged and greeted with a smile I feel like turning around and walking straight back out again! That’s why, in recruiting my dream team a smile and a welcoming, enthusiastic demeanor are a must.

We’re going to be a fairly small team so you’ll need the ability to turn your hand to a range of jobs. You may find yourself as a Barista, making amazing coffees for people in a hurry, poaching eggs for brunch, helping me with cakes, manning the till or clearing tables (this list is not exhaustive)…experience is very welcome but not entirely necessary. I’m more than happy to teach you skills as long as you’re keen and willing to learn.

If you would like to join me on the adventure of opening Afternoon Tease please send me an email to info@afternoontease.co.uk telling me a bit about yourself, your interests and experience along with a CV and I’ll be in touch shortly.

To find out a bit more about Afternoon Tease click here. You can also follow my journey on my blog.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Jo

x

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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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The return of Sweeteasy and a boozy rum soaked fruitcake recipe…

Recently, I hosted my third Sweeteasy…I really love plotting and planning my menus and even though actually making the 3 cocktail inspired cakes and the 3 cake inspired cocktails for 30 people is pretty hard work it’s the kind of hard work I love and when the evening finally rolls around, I get my glad rags on and I begin welcoming my guests it is so worth it!

Here’s the menu that awaited my guests…

Sweeteasy #3 menu

To make the gooseberry and elderflower fool martini I used gooseberries from my parents garden and locally foraged elderflower to make a puree, to which I added gin and some sugar syrup to take the edge off.

From this…

Gooseberry and elderflower

To this…

Gooseberry and elderflower fool martini

These were followed closely by my ‘bramble’ friands, a light almond sponge made with egg whites and blackberries topped with a blackberry and gin glaze…

@daisyduked photo - Bramble friands with blackberry and gin glaze

Next up was a honey bourbon milk punch made with, as you may surmise, Jim Beam honey bourbon, milk, cream, vanilla, sugar and a grating of nutmeg…

@daisyduked photo - Honey bourbon milk punch

Served alongside a very special experiment…stout brownies! But these weren’t made using just any old stout, I used Moonshine Brewery‘s ‘Hot Numbers Stout’ the result of a very exciting collaboration made with coffee roasted in the Hot Numbers Roastery

Stout brownie

At this point, I mixed things up a bit and went off piste on the menu order, serving up the limoncello tiramisu. I made a big batch of homemade limoncello and used some to make a zabaglione, which I stirred into thick, creamy mascarpone along with beaten egg whites to make it floaty light! This was accompanied by homemade ladyfinger biscuits…

@lazygiraffe photo - limoncello tiramisu

and a miniature bottle of chilled limoncello…

Limoncello tiramisu with homemade ladyfinger biscuits and limoncello

Last but not least, guests were served my fruitcake infused rum daquiri…

@suziemakes rum daquiri photo

I made it by pouring Havana Club Anejo 3 Anos rum over a mixture of sultanas, raisins, almonds, sliced orange, a vanilla pod and a couple of cinnamon sticks and leaving it to infuse for a few days…simple but oh so effective…

Rum

IMG_6278

Once the rum was strained and ready, I used it to make a traditional daquiri by adding fresh lemon juice and a dash of sugar syrup. I had a good chinwag with my guests as the evening came to a close and the fruitcake rum daquiri came out on top as the favourite cocktail of the night although the gooseberry and elderflower fool martini was a close contender and some people just couldn’t decide, which I saw as a good sign! 🙂

If you’re interested in hearing about Sweeteasy and my other events you can sign up to receive Afternoon Tease news here. I’d like to thank my guests Deepa (@lazygiraffe), Daisy (@daisyduked) and Suzie (@suziemakes) for allowing me to use their lovely photographs of the evening. You can also read Deepa’s take on Sweeteasy here.

But hang on, I’m not finished yet…

after straining the rum for the daquiri I was left with an awful lot of juicy rum laden fruit. I really didn’t want to see it go to waste and for a while had been thinking that I needed a good fruitcake in my repertoire, so I got researching and flicking through my old cookbooks and decided to use Mary Berry’s boiled fruitcake as a base…if I’m honest the fact that it was called a ‘Quick boiled fruitcake’ and only needed to be cooked for under 2 hours as opposed to 4 and also the fact that it contained condensed milk…one of my favourite sweet-toothed ingredients swung it for me!

It was a very moist and light (in colour) cake and with so much of my 3 day rum soaked fruit in, it really packed a punch!

Rum soaked boiled fruitcake

To make it you need…

397 g tin condensed milk

150 g butter

800 g of dried fruit (Mary suggests 225g raisins, 225g sultanas, 175g currants and 175g chopped glace cherries, however feel free to mix it up and be adventurous with your selection of dried fruit. My addition of figs gave a lovely texture to the cake. Soaking the fruit in booze is optional but I highly recommend it!)

225 g self raising flour

2 tsp ground mixed spice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 130 degrees (150 if not a fan oven) and grease and line a deep 8 inch cake tin.

Simply put the fruit, condensed milk and butter in a large saucepan…

Rum soaked fruit ready to boil

and place over a low heat until the butter has melted. Make sure you stir it well and don’t let it stick to the bottom. Simmer it gently for 5 minutes and then take it off the heat to cool for 10 minutes, stirring it every now and again…

Rum soaked fruit boiled and ready for action

Put the flour and spices into a large bowl, make a well in the centre and add the eggs along with the cooled gloopy fruit mixture and stir together until well combined but try not to overmix it. Pour it into the prepared tin and level the top…

Rum soaked fruit cake ready to go in the oven...

Now pop it in the oven for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. It’s ready when it’s light golden brown on top and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. If you’re not quite happy that it’s ready, just put it back in for 5 minutes at a time and repeat the skewer test until you’re satisfied that it’s cooked to perfection :).

Rum soaked fruit cake fresh out of the oven...

Leave it to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning it out to cool completely on a wire rack.

The chunkiness of my fruit made it a joy to eat but made it a little tricky to slice neatly…

The first slice...

I’ve never been a huge fruit cake fan, but this one has converted me. It also keeps beautifully, so if you haven’t wolfed it down in a couple of days, not to worry…just keep it in a well sealed container and it’ll be fine for a week (or so).

Teatime!

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Plate Lickers is 1…our birthday party!

Last Saturday saw us celebrate the first birthday of Plate Lickers Supper Club!

It’s really hard to believe that it’s been a whole year since Ivana and I joined forces, came up with a name, found a venue, concocted a menu, filled a room with 30 hungry people and….fed them! From that day forward Plate Lickers has been going strong and with the amazing support of our guests has sold out everytime (sometimes in as little as an hour). We still love every minute of preparing for and hosting our supper clubs (ok maybe we don’t like the sleepless nights beforehand) and have met so many lovely people in our 12 month existence. We wanted to mark our anniversary event with a special Birthday party, the menu for which remained secret until the plates were put in front of our guests!

We had decided to return to one of our favourite venues, St Pauls on Hills Road where we had also held our Middle Eastern and the 2nd of our Childhood Memories events…

St Pauls

We welcomed our guests with a retro classic, a snowball, made with Advocaat, lime juice & lemonade…

Snowballs

Everyone helped themselves to a paper bag of olive oil roasted chickpeas and were given a choice of 4 flavoured salts to salt ‘n’ shake into their bags…

Salt 'n' shake chickpeas

Some mingling happened…

Mingling

Mingling

And then we took to the floor to say hello and introduce the first course…

Welcoming our guests

British asparagus, from Peter Elliott, who sells it from the roadside on the A10 near Hauxton, served with purple sprouting broccoli (or ‘psb’ as I like to call it ;)) and a drizzle of homemade hollandaise sauce…

Plating up the starter

Ivana

We called on Delia’s expertise for the hollandaise and it worked a treat, although we both agreed that we could have gone a tad easier on the lemon.

British asparagus & psb w/ homemade hollandaise

British asparagus & psb with homemade hollandaise

We decided to pop out and chat a bit about the main course before we served it up as it’s always quite a rush to get the hot food in front of our guests at this point in a supper club and we don’t feel we get to give it the full attention and description is deserves…

Welcoming our guests

We were really proud of this dish, our take on ham, egg and chips…

Ham, egg & chips

We used Dingley Dell gammon, smoked in-house by our favourite local butchers Northrops, who also deserve a special mention (especially Martin) for giving us consistently good advice. On this occassion we wanted to boil the gammon instead of baking it, on seeing just how big a 7kg joint of gammon was, I realised there was no way I was going to fit it in my fridge to soak overnight, so I lugged a huuuge saucepan along to Martin and he very kindly soaked it for me. The next day, we popped back in with a bag of chopped up carrots, celery, onions, a few peppercorns and bay leaves, which Martin placed around the joint of meat before vac packing it for us! We were essentially going to boil our gammon in a bag (or cook it ‘sous vide’ if you want to be posh about it :)) for 5 hours…there’s no way we could end up with anything but the moistest of meat!

We’d decided that we wanted to really push the boat out and challenge ourselves for this event, how better to do that than to poach 36 eggs! Until about a year ago, I had never poached an egg, but a sure fire way to get good at something is to do it en masse! My technique was to get a pan of water to a very light simmer (very small bubbles just breaking the surface), crack an egg into a small bowl or teacup, then using a balloon whisk, spin the water, creating a vortex. Gently pour the egg into the centre and DO NOT TOUCH! just let the vortex work it’s magic for 3 whole minutes. The success of your poached egg has a lot to do with it’s freshness but sometimes, I reckon you just get a stubborn one! All I can say is….persevere 🙂

The ‘chips’ part of our main course was based on the American dish ‘home fries‘, which we made by parboiling, then crushing new potatoes and roasting them in the oven with butter and onions.

We served it all up with our homemade ketchup and not so homemade mustard…

Homemade ketchup

I love the moment when we place the last main course in front of a guest and Ivana & I can take a deep breath and watch everyone tuck in!

Busy eating

The next course was the one that got people chatting the most…peanut butter and jelly popsicles…

Popsicles

Handing out popsicles

Unwrapping the popsicles

A layer of chocolate ganache mixed with salted peanuts and a sandwich of peanut butter swirled vanilla ice cream and blitzed raspberries…

The finished article - pb&j popsicle

Tucking in

After a quick party game of musical chairs to mix things up a bit and to get everyone chatting to people they may not have met yet, we rolled out the piece de resistance!…our giant 12 inch, fade, orange drizzle Birthday cake, which we sandwiched with homemade orange curd and iced with dark chocolate ganache and literally hundreds and thousands of hundreds and thousands…

The cake

This is what it looked like naked…

Decorating

Fade cake

Hundreds and thousands

and here’s the finished article before it was wolfed down…

IMG_5809

Slicing the cake

A slice of the action

Going going...

We offered our guests the choice to eat it now or to have a slice packed away in their party bags :)…

Party bags

and those who ate all of their dinner were awarded a special badge…

He licked his plate!

I think I say it every single time but THIS Plate Lickers was my favourite yet…so much fun! We couldn’t do it without guests who ‘get’ what we’re trying to do and come with an open mind, a sense of fun and are ready to be fed…for that I thank you all!

There’s no stopping us now, we’ll be announcing a June supper club in the next couple of weeks so if you would like to hear about it first, and you haven’t done so already, click here and join our mailing list and follow our #platelickers chatter on Twitter.

Branded

Thanks to Ozzy for the lovely photo’s. The full set can be seen here.

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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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Sweeteasy is back on Friday 12th April…

Sweeteasy logo

On Friday 12th April February Hot Numbers will once again be transformed into a high class drinking den with a twist, hosted by me, Jo Kruczynska of Afternoon Tease

Sweeteasy at Hot Numbers

I have been busy dreaming up exciting ideas and throughout the night will serve a brand new, carefully concocted menu of 3 Prohibition era and cake inspired cocktails…along with an array of cocktail inspired cakes.

The evening will commence under the cover of (semi) darkness at 7.30pm.

Ticket price £25.

Places for ‘Sweeteasy’ are limited and sold out super quickly last time, so to secure yours, email info@afternoontease.co.uk and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible to confirm.

You can read my blog about the inaugural Sweeteasy here and if you’re on Twitter feel free to follow me @afternoontease and join in the #sweeteasy chatter.

Cheers!

Cheers

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Tea tasting with Kandula and a recipe for leek and smoked Camembert filo tarts…

After a strenuously indulgent weekend as part of my annual family ‘Easter Eat Fest’, I thought it was the perfect time to finish off a well overdue blog post about an event I did as part of the EAT Cambridge festival at the beginning of March. I was invited by Liz from local boutique B&B, Duke House and local tea company, Kandula to come up with an afternoon tea menu to complement 5 teas from their range for a tasting event for a lucky few guests at Duke House. It was a great chance for me to experiment with new dishes and cakes and to (hopefully) come up with the perfect match for the teas that had been chosen. I spoke at length with the Gail and Jane from Kandula, and they advised me of the flavours that would bring the best out in their teas. The final menu looked like this…

Kandula Tea and Afternoon Tease Menu

With the Ebony Ceylon I matched homemade wholemeal and white soda bread scones topped with delicate cream cheese and cucumber and smoked salmon, creme fraiche and dill. It’s a delicate tea that needed a delicate but savoury food to set it off perfectly…

Homemade soda bread scones

The guests really got into the event and spent time (in between mouthfuls) discussing how successful they felt each food and tea combination was…

Tea tasting guests

Next up we matched the English Breakfast with a new invention of mine…leek and smoked Camembert filo tarts. I was told that the English Breakfast tea was robust enough for a more strongly flavoured savoury dish and had recently been introduced to the existence of smoked Camembert so decided this was the perfect chance to put it into action. The combination of a light filo tart, leek, a creamy filling and melted, lightly smoked Camembert was an absolute winner! (see below for the recipe)…

Leek and smoked Camembert filo tarts

Kandula English Breakfast Tea

Kandula’s signature tea is their Pink Ceylon, a unique green tea with a beautiful pink colour, which won a gold star in the Great taste Awards 2011. It’s a wondefully delicate tea, perfect with Portuguese style custard tarts…

Portuguese style custard tarts

Custard tart matched with Kandula's Pink Ceylon

The next tea, was definitely my favourite, the Earl Grey, which is complemented by anything fruity or citrussy. I had opted for my lemon drizzle cakes topped with lemon curd cream and blueberries…

Lemon drizzle cupcakes with lemon curd cream and blueberries

Lemon drizzle cupcake with lemon curd cream and blueberries

and finally we matched the spicy Ebony Chai with my ginger chocolate shortbread topped with dark chocolate ganache and cristallized ginger…

Ginger and chocolate shortbread with dark chocolate ganache

It was a real treat for me to work on this event and in such a lovely location. I hope to do more in the future.

Now, without further ado, here’s the recipe for my delicious leek and smoked Camembert filo tarts…

You will need…

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 leeks, finely sliced (I always make sure I wash them well in a colander once sliced in case there is any dirt or grit trapped between the layers. Be sure to pat them dry with some kitchen towel though or your tarts will be soggy)

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves only

3 free range medium eggs

200ml double cream

100ml milk

1 packet ready made filo pastry

60g butter, melted

1 smoked Camembert* (you won’t need all of this but it’s so delicious I’m sure there are many other ways you can find to enjoy it! 🙂

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

This recipe will make 12 small tarts using a 12 hole muffin tin but it can also be used to make 1 large tart using a 20cm (8inch) pie tin.

To make the filling…

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the leeks over a medium heat for 10 minutes until soft (but not too brown). Then add the garlic and thyme and cook for a few more minutes before removing from the heat and setting aside for later.

Mix together the eggs, cream and milk in a jug and season with salt and pepper.

Now to prepare the filo cases for the filling…

Brush each hole of the muffin tin with a thin coating of melted butter.

Take the filo pastry out of it’s wrapping and cut it into squares large enough to fit into the hole of a muffin tin and come right up the sides. Once you have a stack of small squares of pastry, take 1, brush it with melted butter and lay another square on top of it at a 45 degree angle. Repeat this again with another sheet and another until you have 4 squares lying on top of each other but slightly offset to create a spiky edge. Gently take the stack of pastry and push it into a hole of the muffin tin, being careful to push it into the edges without  ripping it. Do this until you have filled all 12 holes.

Spoon some of the leek mixture into the bottom of each pastry case and then divide the liquid mixture between the tarts. Finally place a small square of smoked Camembert on top of each one and pop them in the oven for 25-30 minutes, keeping an eye on them to make sure the pastry doesn’t burn.

When they are done the pastry should be golden brown and the egg mixture set. Remove them from the oven. These can be enjoyed straight away or can be left to cool for a few minutes before removing them from the tin and leaving them to cool completely on a wire rack so they can be eaten cold…the perfect picnic food! I decided to warm mine through slightly just before serving.

*A quick note on smoked Camembert…if you’re Cambridge based, I know you can get smoked Camembert from River Farm Smokery, it’s also stocked in The Larder at Burwash Manor. If you are unable to find smoked, them normal Camembert would be delicious too or perhaps some Dolcelatte or Gorgonzola if you like a cheese that packs a punch!

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My Afternoon Tease Cake Mobile…

I’ve spent the last week recovering from the fun and excitement, not to mention hard work, that was EAT Cambridge, hence the delay in this blog post…I’m hoping the ‘better late than never’ rule applies!

I thought it was time to reveal the identity of the mystery cake wagon for those of you who didn’t manage to make it down for a visit or see one of the #caketracker tweets. I’d already revealed my route (blog post here) and had been busy building up to my pop up cake shop on the penultimate day of the festival with great excitement. At 5am on the Saturday morning whilst making dough and frying 60 doughnuts the nerves finally kicked in!

But bang on schedule, at 10.30am, in the pouring rain, my Dad arrived in the cake mobile, we loaded it up with tasty treats and a menu (of course)…

Afternoon Tease Menu by @HeidiSladen

and set off…

Cake Mobile Teaser

We parked up at my 1st stop, Riverside, and set up shop…

Cake wagon by Charlie McRiethoff

The Afternoon Tease Cake Mobile

For those of you more into cars than cakes…he’s a 1960 Buick Invicta, shipped over from the States and he makes the perfect cake wagon! don’t you think?

The cake mobile by @HeidiSladen

Despite the less than perfect weather conditions, the cake lovers of Cambridge arrived for their fix…

Queueing at the cake mobile by @HeidiSladen

The goodies on offer were (left to right) chocolate Guinness cake with cream cheese icing, paczki (Polish doughnuts with plum jam in the middle and a sugar glaze), peanut butter and white chocolate blondies, chocolate brownies and maple and pecan cake with maple syrup buttercream icing…

Cake shop all set & ready for action...

Afternoon Tease Pop Up Cake Shop

Bang on schedule we packed up shop and moved onto our 2nd location…the Gog Magog Hills Farm Shop. The weather had taken a turn for the worse but the lovely team at the Gogs let us pull up under the cover of their barn…

Afternoon Tease Pop Up Cake Shop

After another hour, and a quick pit stop for one of their gorgeous sausage rolls, we left the Gogs and headed to stop 3 in Hope Street Yard pulling up opposite Romsey Retro. By this time we’d had some practice and were pretty slick at setting up shop…
3rd stop...Hope Street Yard

The pictures don’t show it but the sun even came out for us just before we moved onto our final stop in Newnham at the start of the walk across the fields to Grantchester Meadows.

It was an absolutely fantastic day and I’d like to say a huge thankyou to everyone who braved the weather, came and said hello and bought cake…it was great to meet so many cake lovers!

Another massive thankyou goes to my parents…my Dad, AKA my chauffeur for the day, Buick owner and amazing cake shop assistant paid purely in cake 🙂

My amazing Dad.

And my Mum, who was called on for doughnut shaping and frying duty! It was a slightly fraught and emotional process but we nailed it together! 🙂

Also I’d like to thank the Gog Magog Hills Farm Shop team for letting me infiltrate their car park and Warren at Hope Street Yard for housing the cake mobile.

Finally, the biggest shout out goes to the coolest cake mobile in town…

Cake Wagon by Steak and Honour

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Sweeteasy…my high class drinking den with a twist

On Friday I hosted my first ever Sweeteasy, an idea I’d dreamt up to combine two of my favourite things…booze and cake! What better way to say goodbye to dry January and get February off to a flying start than being plied with a carefully devised set menu of prohibition era and cake inspired cocktails and cocktail inspired cakes, all in the wonderful setting of Hot Numbers on Gwydir Street, which we transformed into a high class drinking den for the evening…

Sweeteasy at Hot Numbers

Sweeteasy - tables all set.

Sweeteasy

Getting readyThe tables were laid, the 1st cocktail was mixed and I’d even managed to get out of my pinny for once, all that was left to do was nervously await the arrival of my guests…

Waiting for the guests to arrive

Now, keeping exciting secrets is not one of my strong points and I found it unbelievably difficult to keep the contents of the menu to myself, but somehow I managed it, my guests had no idea what treats awaited them until they arrived…

Sweeteasy menu

First on the menu was a marmalade martini, made using gin, which I had infused with my homemade 3 fruits marmalade and mixed with cointreau and fresh lemon juice…

Marmalade martini

Marmalade martini

The first sweet treat was my amaretto sour inspired macaron, sandwiched with zingy homemade lemon curd and served with cocktail cherries (one of my guilty pleasures)…

Amaretto sour macaron

I would cite my inspiration for this dessert to be the amaretto sour cocktail made by the guys at 196 on Mill Road…I highly recommend you pay them a visit and try one for yourself!

Amaretto sour macaron

The next cocktail on the menu was a hot gingerbread punch, made by infusing stout with cloves, cardamom, sugar, orange zest and fresh ginger before adding Havana Club 7yo and serving warm…in teapots and teacups natch!…

Teapots

My wonderful helpers...

Hot Gingerbread punch

Pouring the hot gingerbread punch

Followed by my piece de resistance…mojito doughnuts. I used my family’s paczki (polish doughnut) recipe with a few very special twists…rum and lime zest flavoured dough, a lime filling and a rum and mint glaze…

Mojito doughnuts

Mojito doughnut

Watching my guests bite into these little beauties was the highlight of Sweeteasy for me…I looked around the room and saw everyone savouring each and every bite and nodding in approval…it absolutely made my night! They may not be the most perfect looking creations but I can vouch for the fact that they were light as air and melted in the mouth. Ozzy (@karohemd), who I would like to thank for taking such amazing photos, said that they looked and tasted exactly like the ones his Granny used to make…praise indeed!

Whilst preparing the final cocktail we brought out these plates of chocolatey goodness. Chocolate brownies with cream and a kirsch soaked cherry on the top…

Brownies & truffles

and margarita truffles made with 70% dark chocolate, tequila, lime zest and sea salt…

Margarita truffles

Brownies & truffles

which went perfectly with the Hot Numbers espresso martini…

3147_SweeteasyServing espresso martinis

Espresso martini

Cheers

Vocal chords well lubricated, the conversation flowed and we were serenaded by the very talented James Brotherston on piano…

JB

with a guest appearance from my friend Phil…

The talented Mr Phil

I’d just like to say a few special thank you’s to…

My Sweeteasy helpers Adam Shaw of Adam Shaw Couture and Carri of Pavitt’s Pies

My awesome team

Hot Numbers owner Simon Fraser for allowing me to take over his wonderful cafe for the evening, James Brotherston for tinkling those ivories, Ozzy for papping away all evening and taking such fantastic photo’s. You can see more of Ozzy’s pictures on Flickr and on his blog Karohemd’s World. And last but not least, a huge thank you to all of my lovely guests for coming along, eating and drinking with passion, getting into the spirit of Sweeteasy and making it a fantastic evening!

I’m very happy to say that I’m already plotting the next Sweeteasy for a couple of months time, so keep your eyes peeled on my blog and Twitter (#sweeteasy) for future announcements!

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