Thursday, 22 November 2012

Our Vampiric Trip to Whitby

A few weeks ago Louis and I felt like we had denied ourselves a little trip away (in 4 years the only trip we have had together was too Ireland with family and Louis proceeded to bite my on the flight due to his fear of flying - as you can tell I've not quite forgive him for that one!)
So we decided to go to Whitby, my firends all rave about the place I had been dying to go to Bats and Broomsticks - which is a vampire themed hotel (I'm a huge lover of all things vampiric..... except Twilight - vampires should NOT glitter)
So we booked it and went on our merry travels.. I say merry travels... it was a horrific 3 hour drive to Whitby from Manchester - arghhhhhh. Anyway we got to the hotel and was greeted by Kev who is a wonderfully welcoming gentlemen with a fabulous sense of humour - he showed us round the hotel and pointed out a few essentials in case the undead came a-knocking....

The room was absolutely stunning, the Victorian four-poster bed came complete with vines and a hanging bat! He showed us the breakfast area which was in the cellar, you get to have breakfast by candelight (aww) and all the tables are adorned with adorable trinkets including a vampire and glamourous victim salt and pepper shaker set - which very nearly got taken with us!(pictued below) We decided to go for a walk (not that we could see much as it was rather misty!) and we went for a bite to eat. We stumbled upon an absolutely gorgeous cafe called Sherlocks Coffee House and was full to the brim with old books, old telephones, record players and many many teapots.
We went for a meal at Bagdale Hall Hotel and Restaurant which had been recommended to us, but to be perfectly honest I was rather deflated at the meal, there were a few touches that I loved however. As an appetiser we were given a warm oatie loaf with a chilli and oil dip, garlic butter and plain butter - which was rather delightful.
For starter Louis and I both chose the crab and lobster fishcakes sitting on a thermidor sauce - there are no pictures of this dish as it did not stand a chance - oh gosh if I could have one of those bad boys right now i'd sell my soul. For main I chose steak that had great flavour but was such a bad cut that I was basically sucking at fat and gristle to get the succulent meat, Louis had beef wellington which he seemed to thoroughly enjoy. The vegetables that came with it were lovely, but nothing to right home about and my steak came with a diane sauce that had nice subtle flavours but I was left wanting more of an impact.
Now dessert, ooooo, dessert... a white chocolate and raspeberry cheesecake practically drowning in a reservoir of cream. It was creamy, sharp, sweet and tangy and satisfied me to no end (well until I got the £70 bill!)
I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Whitby with Louis, because it's important to make time out of your crazy life for the love of your life (cheeeeeeese)
Love you Louis
No Drama xxx

Best cakes I have ever made

Okay so I've been rather busy recently I've had my partners step-dads birthday and also my lovely mums. My mother in law commissioned me to make John (partners step dad) a tractor cake for his 60th birthday. John is an absolute tractor enthusiast and owns several. After looking at some tractor shaped cakes (please feel free to look on google images) I was extremely disheartened most of them are good but were suited to more a 6 year olds birthday and the rest were either perfection or...well... a bit pathetic looking. I hate nothin more than failure and my anxiety meter had gone sky high. I wanted John to be impressed and happy with his grown up tractor cake, but how to achieve the outcome. A few nights of drawings and ripping up drawings and filling my living room with many many swear words I finally came up to a design I felt I could achieve whilst making it impressive- the idea was approved by MIL and the baking began!!

Recently I have discovered a FABULOUS cake supply shop in Prestwich called "Sparkling Sugarcraft Supplies" the shop has everything including cake pan rental. (ingenious!!) Whilst at Sugarcraft supplies I spotted sugarpaste in different colours and I had a spur of the moment idea and I decided I wanted to add little pumpkins on the cake as Johns birthday was in October.

The way I made my pumpkins was I added a few pinches of tylo powder* to a large chuck of the sugarpaste, divided the sugarpaste in to different sized amounts, rolled the sugarpaste into a ball, flattened it slightly, then with a cocktail stick added the grooves by rolling the cocktail stick down the sides (not dragging it). After I had added a green stalk (no tylo powder added) I left the pumpkins to set in the fridge. I made the curly vines by rolling out small amounts of green sugarpaste into thin sausage shapes, wrapping them around a cocktail stick and sliding them off and letting them set in the fridge.

With a cyrly wurly fence, few plastic cows and a fulling working toy tractor, which is now pride of place on John's mantelpiece, we were finished! You can see how the cake turned out and it was safe to say John (and myself) was very pleased with the outcome. (I also made an eggless chocolate cake for Julie to eat as she has an egg allergy and I felt bad creating a cake for her to watch us all eat.)

Now my mums cake. This was a surprise arranged by my dad and he basically gave me free reign. My mum loves simple, clean, classic flavours which is why I chose to make my whisked vanilla sponge I was going to be like a Victoria Sponge, but I wanted to make it a bit more special so I decided to brush each layer with a Disaronno sugar syrup (one of the spirits she likes that is perfect for cakes) and instead of filling it with my usual buttercream filling I made a mascarpone mix of;
  • A tub of double cream
  • A tub of mascarpone
  • 4 tbsp of caster sugar
I spread the mascarpone filling on the bottom layer and dotted it with some raspberries, I added the top layer and piped some leftover mascarpone mixture ontop with some raspberries and some chocolate hearts I have left over, dusted with icing sugar and voila!!

To go with the cake I heated up the leftover disaronno sugar syrup, threw in the left over raspberries and added a glug of lemon juice to make a compote which my dad wanted all to himself!

So I've been a busy little cake-making bee over the past month or so. Have you made any creations recently? Or have you tasted any creations that you need to share? Comment and let me know.

No Drama xx

*Tylo power (CMC) is vital for transforming sugarpaste/fondant into florist paste. This versatile powder will work at firming up your sugarpaste, just sprinkle into sugarpaste and mix. Great for modelling flowers and leaves as your sugarpaste will dry hard.
Also used to make edible glue, just add a teaspoon of tylo powder to cooled boiled water and mix.