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Showing posts with label drinks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label drinks. Show all posts

Sunday, 19 October 2014

The Mock Turtle - delightful tea rooms in Brighton

best tearoom brighton

Stepping through the door of this traditional tea room in the centre of Brighton has been a complete delight to me for over 20 years now. For as long as I can remember, despite changes in ownership and expansion into the next building over, The Mock Turtle has fulfilled the same role in the Brighton cafe scene - it was doing twee before 'twee' was in style, darling! My parents would take me here when I was little, for a treat of toasted teacakes - I continued to visit through my teenage years, and still make an effort to stop off for a spot of tea whenever I'm in Brighton because it is just such a pleasure to eat here, even now!

twee decor cafe interior
vintage cash register
big vintage mirror brighton
Antique aesthetic decor

The crowded, mismatched decor and super-antique atmosphere in the Mock Turtle should not fool you into thinking that the service and the food are anything less than top notch here. There's a vast array of freshly baked cakes, pastries and scones on the menu, as well as tasty lunch snacks such as Welsh Rarebit (which is a gooey, fonduey cheese mixture on toast, in case you've not heard of it before) and cooked breakfasts.

Dan and I shared a deliciously traditional Welsh Rarebit (which we greedily wolfed down before we had a chance to photograph it) before indulging in a cream tea for dessert. We thought that we'd do a very scientific experiment and decide once and for all, which kind of scone is best, out of the Devonshire and Cornwall styles. There's an age old friendly (I think it's friendly anyway) rivalry between Devon and Cornwall regarding the correct way to assemble a scone with jam and cream. In Devon, they put the clotted cream on the scone first, followed by a dollop of jam, whereas in Cornwall, the jam is spread on the scone first, and then a thick layer of cream is liberally applied on top. Dan prefers the Devon method and I prefer the Cornwall method, so I can't say we came to any particular conclusions in our experiment!

Cream and Jam pots
Devonshire Cream Tea
Cornish Cream Teas

I'd really recommend visiting The Mock Turtle cafe if you're ever in Brighton. I've loved it since I was a child, and I'm clearly not alone, as they've expanded into a much bigger tea room recently. The prices are still incredibly reasonable (doubly so if you're used to sky-high London prices) and you get fantastically generous portions. You can find the Mock Turtle on Pool Valley in Brighton (BN1 1NJ). Let me know if you ever visit this tea room because it'll make me so happy!

Which type of scone do you prefer? Devon or Cornwall? And if you're not from the UK, exactly how ridiculous does this rivalry sound? Is there anything similar where you're from?

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Boozy popsicle cocktails

alcoholic ice lollies

Storms one moment, blazing hot sunshine the next - that’s what we’re dealing with in the UK right now and I’ve come up with the perfect solution - cocktail ice lollies. When it’s sweltering outside, you can cool off with one of your favourite cocktails in a frozen format, and when it turns to storm, you can get tipsy enough to forget it’s raining…! Hurrah!
The main thing to remember when making any kind of frozen alcoholic treat, is that alcohol doesn’t really freeze properly in the average person’s freezer. So these ice pops aren’t actually going to make you drunk. There’s not that much alcohol in them. I’ve not given exact measurements, because I don’t know how big your ice lolly moulds are, but if you use the ratios I’ve given, you’ll be fine! We made Mojito, G&T, and Piña Colada cocktails, but you should get super creative and try your favourite cocktail in popsicle form!

mojito popsicle recipe

Mojito
1 part Rum (whatever type you prefer)
1 part Simple Syrup
4 part Soda Water
1 part fresh lime juice
Several sprigs of mint

gin and tonic ice lolly idea

Gin and tonic
1 part Gin
½ part Syrup
4 parts Tonic Water
Cucumber or lime (depending on what’s your favourite!)

pina colada popsicle

Pina Colada
3 Blended Pineapple
2 Coconut Cream
1 Rum

If you increase the amount of alcohol or syrup it probably won’t freeze and you will have a slushy. The mojito and G&T are about at the limit of what will freeze and they melt pretty fast! We froze ours for about four hours, but I’d recommend freezing them overnight.

So let me know if you give this a try - or if you’ve got any secret frozen cocktail recipes you want to tell me! This is a really simple and fun recipe to prepare for parties, or just to have a fun twist on your evening cocktail! Oh, and if you love ice cream, why not check out my top 5 ice creams in London?!

UK ice lolly moulds

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Last-minute Champagne Chic

Quick Champagne Party
Sometimes, you've just got to be a bit decadent, am I right? I mean, whatever decadence means to you in particular, I don't think there's anything wrong with doing something for the sake of it from time to time. Even if decadence is just a bar of chocolate or putting on an old party dress to do the dishes, frivolity is important, if you ask me. Which you didn't. But there you go - I'm telling you anyway.
This weekend just gone, Dan and I took a last-minute trip to Cambridge for a lunch at my old college at university. We met up with lots of dear friends and it was lovely to catch up with everyone in a familiar but somehow alien setting... I feel odd being in Cambridge without feeling STRESSED! Anyway, as well as catching up with friends, we spent the night at Dan's parents' house because they live in the middle of the beautiful countryside nearby, and we fancied crashing the garden party they were holding in the village. I hadn't really brought any appropriate party clothes with me, but I found that I actually had some clothes that I'd left at their house, including this black pencil dress that I bought for a funeral many years ago. Since the theme of the garden party was 'Champagne and Jazz', it seemed vaguely appropriate in a sort of "last minute Champagne chic" kind of way... And really, there are few events where a 'little black dress' would be wildly inappropriate, don't you think?
Little Black Dress Cambridge
Sunny Cambridge Party
When we arrived at the house, it was only about twenty minutes before the beginning of the party, so as soon as I found the black dress in the wardrobe amongst Dan's childhood clothes, I chucked some gold eyeshadow at my eyes and hoped for the best. I find that as a glasses-wearer, you can get away with a fair amount of error, especially if you have really enormous nerd glasses with thick ol' lenses in them like I do! Sometimes, I put on eye makeup that I think is really bold and statementy, and then when I put my glasses back on, it barely looks like I'm wearing any at all. Do any of you have this problem?
Gold Makeup ideas
English country garden
No party would be complete without some little nibbles on sticks. I can claim no credit for these, as they were all made by my mother-in-law, whose philosophy on cooking emphasises flavour over fuss - an excellent food philosophy if you ask me. These simple canapés are made of little cubes of good quality feta cheese, topped with a generous sliver of sun-dried tomato, all skewered together on a dainty little cocktail stick. There was another plate with olives instead of tomatoes, and they were delicious too. Everyone at the party thought they were great, and what with the glorious weather and the Champagne flowing, it seemed that the party was a real success.
Easy Canape Idea
Bourgeois ridiculous
Have you ever been to a party unexpectedly? It's a lot of fun to embrace some unexpected decadence, and to feel fancy with limited resources. I think it's really important to remind yourself every once in a while that you are capable of being a classy mofo if you need to be. Life lessons, guys.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

How to make: Strawberry & Basil Drinks!

Strawberry basil Mojito
There's nothing more summery than a fruity drink, am I right? I've been wanting to try a Strawberry and Basil Mojito since I found out they were a thing, and since we were invited to a summer party yesterday, I thought it was the perfect time to make a Strawberry and Basil syrup. It's not difficult at all, and I'm just about to show you how I did it!
Summer Punch Ingredients
You will need:
- Strawberries (I used 2 400g punnets, but kept back about four strawberries for decoration)
- One lemon
- A cup of FRESH basil (or a couple of handfuls).
- A cup of sugar
In addition to this, you'll need a blender, a sieve or muslin cloth, a couple of bowls and a saucepan.

The first thing you need to do is to remove all the little green hats from the strawberries, and discard them. Then, transfer all the strawberries (except for some pretty ones you've kept back for decoration) into a blender. If you don't have a blender, I think you could probably get away with mashing them all up with a fork, but it will take a while!
Blended Strawberries
Once you've blended the strawbs, pour all the goop into a sieve, or even better, a sieve with a muslin cloth placed into it, and press all the juice through with the back of a spoon. Make sure you've got a bowl underneath the sieve, otherwise you're just straining strawberry juice onto your kitchen counter for no reason...
Sieve the strawberry smoothie
Set your strawberry juice aside, and squeeze the juice out of a whole lemon. You can pour the lemon juice straight into the bowl with your strawberry juice at this stage. If some pips make it in, don't worry too much because you'll be straining it all again in the end anyway.
cute lemon squeezer
Sugar cup
Basil leaves on kitchen counter
Measure out your sugar, and plop it in with the strawberry and lemon juice mixture, along with a load of basil leaves. Decant it into a saucepan (non-stick is easiest for cleanup) on a medium kinda heat, and stir it until it's been boiling for about five minutes, until it becomes sticky and... well... syrupy! Once it has reached that stage, turn off the heat and leave it to cool, before straining it through the sieve again, to get the basil out. This recipe makes a lot of syrup, but you can halve the recipe to make a more manageable amount of surup. That said, you can store it in a jar or a bottle in the fridge and it'll last a week or two, so if you end up with tons, NEVER FEAR.
Summer strawberry alcoholic
If you mix this syrup with rum and soda water, it makes an excellent 'Mojito-style' drink. It also works really well on its own with fizzy water, and some of my friends at the party tried it with sparkling wine and said it was super tasty, so it's a pretty versatile little syrup. The strawberries are sweet and delicious, and the lemon and basil give it a bit more of a grown-up, earthy taste.
If you'd like me to do more drinks recipes, let me know. I really enjoyed making this tutorial for you - let me know in the comments if you've got any questions, if you've made the drink, and if you've got any suggestions for other drinks you'd like me to make!