Crempog

As The Boy is out on Valentine’s night (I know, right?!) we decided to combine Pancake Day and Valentine’s into a sort of Pancake-Valentines-Date Night. Luckily enough the lovely folk at La Crêperie de Sophie were having a Crêpes and Cider Night as well as a Valentine’s evening thingy. How convenient!

On with the food – 3 courses of pancakes. NOM! I didn’t get a photo of the first plate – a savoury taster platter – because we ate them far too quickly. That’s always a risk when lovely food is put before you, you might eat it. I had a savoury crêpe called Sweet Billy for my main. It was filled with goats cheese, walnuts and onion chutney. I’ve never had a savoury crêpe before. I will be eating more savoury crêpes as it was AMAZING. Ant had The Paysan which was filled with garlic mushrooms, cheese and red onion. That was also lovely.wpid-DSC_1635.jpg

Dessert was, funnily enough, also crêpes! I had a chocolate one (it should have been Chocolat-Banane but I hate bananas so it was just chocolate and crumbled biscuits) and Ant had The Sophie’s which was milk and white Belgian chocolate, fresh strawberries, cream and roasted almonds.

wpid-DSC_1636.jpgwpid-DSC_1637.jpgLoic, the owner, gave a little talk on the history of crêpes and of the company and then we had a quiz. Which we won.wpid-DSC_1639.jpgI also made a proper crepe on the big griddle. It was a good one too, even if I was a bit stuffed to eat it all (Pickle shared when we got home)! We had a great night, really recommend it to anyone who loves pancakes and/or cider.

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Brownies!

I made brownies. IMG_20130112_214202They’re Lorraine Pascale’s Cookies and Cream Fudge Brownies from this recipe. They are gooooood. Mine look really pale because I used milk chocolate, but inside they’re proper brownie colour. Mmmm. Oreos and chocolate cake, what’s not to like??!

I forgot to post last week’s bake which was Simon Rimmer’s Blondies. Something wasn’t quite right about them, they seemed greasy to me, but Simon himself assured me that it was normal!

Cool, eh? Nicki got complemented by Nigel Slater on her bread that day too so the TV chefs were obviously in a helpful mood.

Stupidly though I didn’t photograph the blondies, and then Pickle ate the lot (with disasterous and vile consequences) so I made some more today. They worked better today, think I whisked the eggs for longer (they were VERY fluffy) and left them in a few minutes longer than before. The chocolate all sunk tot the bottom of the tin though so there’s a bit of a bite to each one which is quite nice actually. IMG_20130113_141737

They are a lot cakier (is that a word?) than the Oreo ones which were fudgey like brownies should be. Might try replacing the chocolate and cocoa with white chocolate and see if they come out more like brownies, only not brown. Obviously.

in which Bethy wants to drive a DB5 across the Scottish Highlands

Taking advantage of a rare evening where neither of us had anything on we had date night (yay!). All good date nights start with milkshake. Not that milkshake, though this milkshake brings all the Bethys to the yard.

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Damn right it’s better than yours! I love the butterscotch shakes from Ed’s Easy Diner. Sooooo good. I had 2 jugs of them. That’s a lot of milkshake. We then had a wander around John Lewis before going to the cinema. I fell in love with a sofa. It’s one of the new GPlan ones by Wayne Hemingway.

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It’s £1,200. Which is obscene really. But I want it. I’ll just add it to the list of things I’ll never be able to afford and go cry over there.

Then we watched Skyfall. Oh my word. I have not shut up about just how beautiful Skyfall was since we left the cinema. I didn’t like Casino Royale and wasn’t fussed on Quantum of Solace but this blew me away. It’s so visually beautiful, it feels like a proper Bond film. It’s got a proper Bond opening title sequence. It’s got Javier Bardem, who is a proper villain. Not just your run-of-the-mill terrorist that films seem to like these days. You actually half expected him to say “no, Mr Bond, I expect you to die”. There’s a lot of half-naked Daniel Craig (if you like that sort of thing, I think he looks like a lizard) and an absolutely adorable new Q (way hotter than Daniel Craig). Oh, and no invisible car. Just a beautiful old DB5. The fact that the film itself was so stunning allowed me to see [hear] past Adele’s terrible annunciation on the title song and not hear it in the Vic Reeves club style. (I actually like the song. It’s a good Bond theme. She just can’t speak properly. “Skyfall” is not pronounced “skyfowww”)

Also, I managed to successfully avoid Bonfire Night which, other than Halloween, is my most hated night of the year. Stupid fireworks.

in which Bethy gets her first Red Cup

Got my Red Cup. We were late for work because I wanted my Red Cup.

My Red Cup

It’s amazing just how sweet the syrups are when you’ve been drinking coffee with sugar-free syrup for the best part of a year. Also – sprinkles. Oh the sprinkles. I was the first to have a Toffee Nut Latte from Starbucks in Llanishen so they had to open the sprinkles especially for me!

in which Bethy looks at food and dogs.

I need to do something about this. There actually is no reason for me not to have written anything for 5 weeks again. Aside from having nothing to write about seeing as I’ve done sweet FA recently. I could write about procrastinating and general malaise, but what’s the point, maybe later.

We went to the Food Festival in the bay earlier.  We bought cheese (including one with chocolate in), coffee and various sausages. We did want sticky toffee pudding but alas could not find the one we desired. The sun stayed out while we were there which was nice. I would have enjoyed it more if there weren’t rampant children on micro-scooters and idiot people with pushchairs getting in the way all the time. Seriously – the tents had 4 stalls each in, so not a lot of room for manoeuvre when unemcumbered, let alone with wheeled child-beasts. And the little blighters more often than not were wearing Crocs. Ugh! So much wrongness in such confined spaces.

There was however a much lighter side to being at the bay today. That side is of course – dogs. There are ALWAYS loads of dogs down the bay, whether it’s an ideal place for them to be or not. I love dogs.  This guy had totally the right idea:The dog being carried was called Roxy.  She was quite content (and yes, I did ask the man if I could take a picture). We also met this lovely girl by the boat ride ticket booth.She’d evidently had enough of all the people too, but she was quite happy for me to scratch her head and even gave my hand a gentle lick. Ant loved her, because he wants a Golden Retriever.

in which Bethy has a baking fail, and then a baking redemption

Apologies to my Twitter-friends who already know about my cake escapades today. You should try live-tweeting baking. Great stuff.

You may know that I do very much enjoy cake, both making them and eating them. Today I decided to make some coffee cake. my Grandma used to make coffee cake (well, the icing was coffee flavoured even though the cake was just cake) and coffee cake reminds me of her. Also drop-scones but I didn’t make any of those today.

So I found a specific coffee cake recipe on the BBC site and set about making them. All was well until 15 minutes into baking when this happened:

What the cuss??

What the actual..??? Yes, they look like cheese. They grew and then imploded. I tried a bit of one and it didn’t even taste of coffee, let alone cake. Even Monty didn’t like them! So I tried again, with my normal cake recipe – 4oz butter/margarine, 4oz caster sugar, 2 eggs, 4oz self-raising flour (makes at least 12 cakes depending on their size) but used 1/2oz cocoa powder instead of some of the flour and dissolved some instant coffee in a tablespoon of hot water before adding to the mix, which looked like this:

Nom. I also didn’t over-fill the cases this time – I’d rather have cake left inside the case to ice!

Yes, those are Christmas cake cases. I don’t have any others at the moment. One day I’ll use my silicone ones.

Monty helped with washing up while the cakes were baking:

25 minutes later and the cakes were done. I can’t help but think that they look like chocolate Angel Delight (other instant puddings are available):

Notice how the bottom-right cake had decided to come away from the case. This meant that the cake didn’t make it to the icing stage due to me eating it. It was a very nice cake anyway, lovely mocha flavour and still warm!

The icing was a simple butter icing (4oz butter, 4oz icing sugar) with 1bsp coffee added. Well, techinically 1 tablespoon. More like 3. That was one caffeinated icing! Lovely though. I think next time I’ll chill the icing before putting it on the cakes as when I dusted them with cocoa they went a bit peculiar. Still very edible though.

I’m not allowed to eat these cakes though, I have 4lbs to lose.