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5 weeks in…it’s starting to look like a cafe!

It feels like a very long time since I last wrote a progress update on the cafe…time has been flying and not necessarily in a good way! However, today has been a super productive one and when I visited the cafe earlier I took a step back and could see just how far we’ve come!

Progress

It may still look a tad like a construction site to the untrained eye but when I think that I only picked the keys to number 13 up just over 5 weeks ago, it’s pretty incredible what has been achieved! These last couple of weeks have involved a lot of hard work…my whole family have worked their asses off to get us to where we are today and I think all of us have had some sleepless nights worrying about the many things that need to be in place before I can open the doors! But, we are most definitely getting there.

My sister came down this weekend and helped build the beginnings of my counter, where my beautiful La Marzocco Linea coffee machine will be perched…

Ally & the counter

Me and my Mum have been busy painting…trying to banish all signs of the ominous green colour that used to dominate the shop!

From this…

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To this…

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And I had to make another trip to Ikea (who I have now fallen out of love with in quite a major way after finding that what was meant to be in the box, most definitely was NOT in the box, resulting in Ikea trip #3)…

Ikea trip #2

One major hurdle has been getting our 3 phase electricity connected! It’s been an almighty saga that started before we even moved in and involved me having to make multiple phone calls to UK Power Networks, being sent on many wild goose chases and even having to resort to a shedding a few tears to get to speak to someone who knew what they were talking about! However, last Thursday was 3 Phase D Day…we all waited nervously for the workmen to show up…and they did!

UK Power Networks

Big hole

Brand spanking new 3 phase!…

3 phase

In other exciting news…today my lights were installed…

Lights

And I’ve been receiving some very exciting post…

My hot pink coffee tamper…

IMG_7238

My new business/loyalty cards…

Afternoon Tease business cards

A new rubber stamp so I can get branding…

Brand it up

and the makings of my all important music system…

There will be music

Tomorrow, I’m heading to the Big Smoke with a couple of members of my new team (how exciting!) to visit the coffee roastery that we’re sourcing our espresso from. I cant wait to do the big reveal and to tell you all about them…not long to wait now!

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Skimming a ceiling…’just like icing a cake upside down’?

I thought it was about time for another Afternoon Tease progress update! I’m afraid we’re still at the messy construction stage so if you’re expecting pictures of something that resembles a cafe you’ll be sorely disappointed :).

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However uninspiring this shot may appear, I can confirm that there’s been a lot of work going on behind the scenes. The most exciting development for me has been the skimming of the nasty artexed ceiling!

Here’s a before shot of the artex in all of it’s textured glory (bleurgh)…

Ceiling before

and here it is once it had been tackled by my lovely plasterers! They didn’t look too amused when I commented that I thought skimming looked pretty easy…like icing a cake upside down! I was joking of course, there’s no way I could’ve got it that smooth!

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Ceiling after

Internal walls have gone up to make my new kitchen…

Internal walls go up

Internal wall to the kitchen

and the ducting is in for my extraction system (a tad boring perhaps but I said I’d keep you posted :))…

Ducting goes in

More ducting

But now for something a bit more interesting. The other weekend, I rolled up my sleeves, donned a mask and set about sanding a patch of floor so that I could do a trial of what I’ve got in mind for the cafe flooring.

Power tool madness

Masking it out

When I do the real thing, my lines will be straighter and my masking more acurate but all in all I was very happy with the end result!…

Floor trial complete

No project would be complete without a trip or 2 to IKEA. So, along with willing assistant (Miss Igs) I headed off to the big blue and yellow treasure trove! We were feeling quite adventurous with how much we thought we could buy and fit into my car so we loaded up 3 trolleys worth of goodies…

Huge Ikea shop

However, we realised that perhaps we’d been a tad over-optimistic as we neared my little Ford Fiesta in the car park…

Before

But, we are very determined young ladies and (bar the 2 chairs that I had to return but we won’t talk about them) we got it all in and even managed some pic n mix for the journey home!

After

Although I’m not personally at the cafe every day, I have a busy team who are and one morning this week as I was biking towards number 13 at 8am to let my plasterers in, I was really excited to see that (what will be) my outside seating area was bathed in lovely autumnal sunshine. All of the thoughts of paperwork, to do lists and worry flew out of my mind and were replaced by pure excitement! I can’t wait to see my customers sitting here, drinking a coffee and soaking up the rays…

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Not long now!

In the meantime, however, if you would like to get a slice of the action…come and say hello this Saturday (21st September) when I will be selling my cakey wares at the Castle Hill Open Day. I’ll be in the Kettle’s Yard courtyard from 11am-5pm and have got some treats in store for you including gooey chocolate brownies, caramelised fig friands, raspberry and white chocolate blondies, salted caramel millionaires shortbread and lemon drizzle cake. There will also be a selection of my cakes for sale in the Museum of Cambridge tearoom if you fancy taking the weight off your feet.

I hope to see you there!

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A face for radio…

I seem to have been frequenting the Cambridge airwaves a lot of late 😉 But hey, I love chatting all about the plans for my cafe to anyone who will listen…

I chatted to Alan Alder from Cambridge 105’s food and drink show; Flavour. You can listen to the podcast here (it’s all worth a listen to hear of new and exciting things that are happening on the food scene in Cambridge but my dulcet tones get an airing at 31mins).

I also talked about my cafe plans with Maria Brannigan, who also write s a food flog ‘Gluten Free & Gorgeous‘ and is roving reporter for Star Radio’s food and drink show. You can listen again here.

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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

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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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