October 31, 2014

Halloween Cakes and Gingerbread

Halloween and everyone seems to be going crazy this year with all manner of Halloween food available in the local cafes and restaurants.

This morning I saw the most amazing Halloween cake - huge, chunky chocolate cake with a special butter cream filling and covered in thick orange/yellow marzipan to make it look like a pumpkin.

There were also special small cakes and buns for children with spooky themes and wonderfully colourful decorations and icing.

We never had anything like that when we were young but then I can't honestly saw I'm sorry. A bowl of homemade pumpkin soup with crusty bread served up for tea on a chilly Halloween evening is a memory (and taste) to treasure. For afters it would usually be homebaked gingerbread. Mmmm!

Gingerbread is one of those things that seems to have been around forever. In fact, I came across a medieval food website where there's a recipe for medieval gingerbread using cloves, pepper and honey. A little different but certainly worth a try if you want something more 'authentic' :)

January 17, 2014

Ice Cream Sundae Specials

Vendee Globe Sundae - a special marine theme
Now who's for an ice cream sundae? Chances are there would be a big show of hands in reply to that question! The truth is that the good old fashioned ice cream sundae, which first became popular in Britain in the 1930's with the Knickerbocker Glory, is never likely to wain in popularity. In fact, if anything it is increasing in popularity Not only is ice cream a perennial favourite for many people but ice cream parlours are becoming ever more adventurous with what they offer.

The photo above is a great example of a 'themed' ice cream sundae. Taking its name from the famous round the world yacht race the Vendee Glob. I just love the wave effect achieved with a simple piece of meringue!

The next photo is a sundae which is very simple to make but looks incredibly colourful and delicious.

Pistachio, Hazelnut & Vanilla Ice Cream Sundae

It's just 3 scoops of different flavoured ice cream - vanilla, hazelnut and pistchio (left to right as you look at the photo) with whipped cream and chocolate sauce and a little piece of meringue on top. The bright pink paper balloon shape stick decoration just adds that extra 'je ne sais quoi' - appropriate to use that description as I ordered this sundae in a French ice cream parlour! Oooh lala!

If you love ice cream sundaes there's a great new Sundae Community on Google+. Join it today and share the passion :)

December 5, 2013

For The Love Of Bengal Cats And Yorkshire Terrier Pups

The British love their pets. It's a fact and in particular they love their cats and dogs. People wax lyrical about their pets whenever they have the chance and nowhere more so than on the worldwide web. To some this might seem odd but to others it's perfectly understandable, given how many pets are faithful and loving companions giving many hours of fun to their owners.

My dear friend Mary has a Bengal cat named Chloe. Apart from being striking looking she is also unusual by virtue of the fact that she is a 'working girl' as Mary proudly says. She earned her award as a Pets For Therapy cat over 2 years ago and regularly pays visits to a nursing home where residents' lives are made all the brighter for her visits. She is always calm and patient and offers every opportunity for people to pet her and talk to her. This calmness should not, however, be all that you imagine her to possess. Oh no, Chloe is definitely an active 'hunter'.

Here is a wonderful story written by Chloe (yes writing is also amongst her many talents!) describing the start of what she deems 'The Hunting Season'. Chloe also has her own Bengal Cat board on Pinterest where you can see her climbing trees, pond hopping and much more. What did Chloe do last year when she saw her first snowman? The photo says it all!

My friend Barbara (a great chef who bakes the most fabulous cakes like this Diamond Jubilee cake) does not have cat. No, she has a Yorkshire Terrier pup named Kili.

Over the last few months I've watched Kili grow from a scrawny ball of fluff to a beautiful 'young lady' with a colourful, soft coat and eyes that positively gleam with love. Everyone Kili meets is captivated by her unbounding affection and sense of fun. Above is Kili in a relaxed pose after a good walk in the fresh air. Just love those fluffy ears!

Did you know that one of the smallest dogs ever recorded was a Yorkshire Terrier who was the size of a fist! Owned by an Englishman the little terrier was just 2.5 inches tall at the shoulder and 3.75 inches long!

Dogs can be incredibly talented too - from skydiving to swimming records and performing amazing tricks. Read about them here.

January 3, 2013

Surfers & Thinking Of Summer

What better way to start the New Year than thinking ahead to summer sunshine! Here's a great little video to get you into the idea ..... surfers on the beautiful coast of The Vendee in SW France.
Click here
to view.

I'm not suggesting you join them in the water but you could do worse than to sit as an onlooker, sipping a cool beer or fruit juice and wallowing in the glorious sunshine :-)