Tag Archives: sweeteasy

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…



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).



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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.



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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.


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!…


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


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


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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