Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Yet More Cake!

At the risk of turning into a cake making bore, check out these bad boys! These have been created from my new purchase, Rachel Allens BAKE book. If you are a baking goddess then I insist you buy it now, as it is bloomin marvellous, yes it is!
So first up to tantalise you taste buds, we have the delectable Mocha Cake. Oh yes, she is smothered in espresso icing with a touch of chocolate for good measure, and sandwiched together with more of the same. Finished off with a sprinkling of shaved Green and Blacks dark chocolate this is one sophisticated loaf!!

Secondly, Blue Poppy Seed cake with vanilla icing. Not, I would imagine, everyones cup of tea, but it was certainly popular this afternoon. I have a poppy seed cake recipe from Cowboys and Custard that I much prefer, but you have to try these things, don't you? The icing is a touch sickly, so only a small slice is needed at a time.
It also goes particularly well with a lovely cuppa! (although truth be told what I could really do with right now is a LARGE glass of white wine...but tea will have to do, Saturday night is Alcohol night!)

I have finally decided to sign myself up for a sewing course. At last! I now have the sewing machine, the book for beginners, the pile of squares ready for my first ever patchwork quilt, and enthusiasm by the drawstring laundry bag load. But I don't -have-a-clue. Nope, not one. So the lovely Victoria (my new friend who I have plied with tea and soup this week!) and I are off back to college. Hurrah! I am most excited.

This is the sight that greeted us when we finally managed a trip to the allotment last week-a host of golden daffodils. Our plot stood out from far far away due to the abundance of bulbs that Dad put in. The Sweet Williams are coming, as are the irises. The kiwi is spreading across the shed and the rhubarb! Remember when I used to make jam and marmalade? Remember when I used to make things in my very own kitchen, in my own home?! Well I decided to go mad and make some Rhubarb Orange Lemon and Grapefruit Marmalade. It was a recipe I spotted in The Times, called Dalemain Marmalade, after a National Trust place, I believe, in the Lake District. They hold an annual jam and marmalade festival, and the one I made is one of the specialities. It is truly fabulous, and if anyone would like the recipe then do let me know!!
Staying on the subject of Domestic arts, I was given a marvelous present this week from a very special lady. We had a lovely lady called Mary who used to come into the cafe most days for her lunch and we always had a chat and a giggle. For an 80 year old she had a wicked sense of humour and always have me in stitches. I got to know her, and her fabulous sister Gracie really well over the past few months since we opened. Mary sadly died quite quickly a couple of weeks ago now, and Gracie travelled down from her home in Scotland to sort out the funeral and other bits and pieces. She popped in most days to see us and have a cuppa and some lunch. I heard lots of stories about her and Mary when they were younger, and it was lovely to spend time with her. Before she caught her train home Gracie came in to see me with something she thought I might like that belonged to Mary. A very old, very well used (and therefore all the better, in my view) copy of Good Housekeeping's Home Encyclopedia. What a wondeful present. I clutched it (and Gracie!) to my chest and shed a tear or two. It will be so well loved and cherished, and also used! I thought I would show you one of the pictures from it that made me smile..but then Blogger went stupid on me and wouldn't allow me to insert the pictures where I wanted to. Has anyone else had this problem with them? Usually I can move pictures around the page easily by clicking and dragging, but have really struggled with this post for days now. Any helpful suggestions would be gratefully received!
In the meantime, Mary, I miss you massively, but am sure that you are looking down on us from a very lovely place with a ciggie in one hand and a pint in the other. Here's to you, lovely lady, I am delighted to have known you X


Pinkie Cupcake said...

You must make the bagels from that book, they are delicious and fly out of the door. Also the baked cheesecake. The mocha is next on my list! xxx

Cathy said...

What a really lovely gift - I'm sure you will remember Mary every time you look at the book. The cakes look mouthwatering. I love poppy seed cake, but the last time I made it I forgot the sugar! It wasn't a big hit with the family! I wish I'd thought to plant bulbs at the allotment. I usually have Sweet Williams and Snapdragons as they are my favourites and flower for ages, and Andy won't let me have masses of flowers - he says they are a waste of the space, but I beg to differ!
Cathy XX

Lisa said...

That mocha cake looks divine, I can almost smell it!
What a kind gift you were given, one to treasure for sure.
Lisa x

dottycookie said...

How fabulous to have that lovely book with so many memories attached to it!

Your cakes look yummy. Particularly the mocha one. Yum.

Ali said...

What a touching gift. It's a special thing you provide at the cafe, and I don't just mean delicious cakes.

driftwood said...

what a lovely gift and reminder of a dear friend xx
love the sound of those cakes and that jam, Dalemain is near my inlaws but we've never been, I am clearly missing out on something special.
sewing course sounds fab - have fun! can't wait to see/hear all about it xxx

Devon Dumpling said...

Your cakes sound and look so yummy! What a lovely gift you have been entrusted with! x

Kitty said...

Oooh, I do like to bake, so will note down that book. Ta for the tip.

Your makes looked so yummy, and that book will, I'm sure be treasured. What a lovely gesture.

Regarding the photos. I got so piffed off with Blogger messing about with my posts, that I now write them all in html. If you go into the 'edit html' option of your blog-writing, you will clearly see the coding for each of your photos. Merely cut and paste them where you want them ... it's a whole lot easier, and saves vast amounts of frustration!


Vintage Amethyst said...

Oohhh those cakes ~ you naughty thing showing me such yummies when I'm on a diet! I will have to stop coming here you know! (tee hee you know I won't!!!)
I did love watching Rachel Allens Bake on tv, ooohhh I love that woman isn't she just lovely?
Aahh bless Mary & her sister, what a wonderful gift, certianly something to be treasured.
Oh and before I forget pop by as I'm having a giveaway!!!
Have a lovely weekend

Kelly said...

I love the bake book & am slowly working my way through it, i have made the mocha cake twice now as it was so good!

Dragonfly said...

There can never be too much cake, in my opinion!

JuliaB said...

Lovely cake gallery! And lovely story about Mary and Gracie .. and wonderful present. x

Cowboys and Custard said...

Do you do mail order?

Michele xxx
Or Custardo to you!

P.s Haven't forgotten you lovely girl..... just going bonkers with it all over here!

SWEET MARY said...

Love reading your blog - I always look out for your postings.
Could I please have the recipe for the Rhubarb,Orange,Lemon and Grapefruit marmalade please.

April said...

There's an award for you on my blog

April xx

Janette said...

what a lovely gift and a great way to remember Mary. I'm sure she'd be happy to know you've been given such a lovely and useful book.

I love poppy seed cake don't suppose you'd be willing to share the recipe would you?

Hope you're ok. take care, xx

Lucy said...

Oh I love the Rachel Allen Bake! book too!!!!!! I ordered it and was sent a signed copy - a very unexpected but nice surprise! Your cakes look delicious. What a lovely post. Lucy x

wendy said...

I love old people and the wonderful stories they tell ... that and their slightly ... how shall we say?? ... like a bit of an attitude mixed with humor and spunk and feistiness .... man I love that. So fun.

Sorry she's gone but no doubt she is entertaining a new crowd that is happy to see her.

Summer by the sea said...

Oooh you wicked lady - I want cake now! and coffee cake is my fave! - what a lovely gift to receive from Mary, she obviously knew you would appreciate and treasure it - Natalie x

Poshyarns said...

I just discovered you lovely blog and all this cake has me hurrying to the kitchen.