17 October 2011

My blog has moved...

Hello everyone,
Just to let you know I have moved my blog to a new one. 
So I would be very grateful if you'd resubscribe to see my new posts on the new blog.

My archive is over on the new blog so you can find all the recipes (and pictures of cats) on there too.
I'll be posting news about my jewellery making on my new website from now on, which is here (and very shiny) www.lazygiraffe.com
Thank you!

12 October 2011

Little Chef, Kettering

I think that has to be the least glamorous sounding blog title I've ever written.

But some of you may know that Little Chef has been undergoing something of  makeover. I watched Heston's Little Chef back in 2009 and from the looks of it there didn't seem to be much hope for Little Chef changing beyond the few restaurants they made over, but now there are 10 new Little Chefs with the updated menu and new diner style decor.

We visited the Kettering West branch just off the A14 on our way down to Shropshire a couple of weeks ago, something I've been meaning to do after Ino at Kitchen 22 blogged about it. The interior is fantastic, booths and diner style furniture with the famous 'blue sky' on the ceiling. Service was fast and friendly and the menu had so much choice. Breakfasts, little light bites, proper mains, puds and a great selection of tea and coffee with reasonable prices.

We were just stopping for a light lunch so I ordered the starter scampi, Mr Giraffe had a mushroom and pepper cheese toastie and we also got a side of chips to share. Oh my were we glad we got chips. If you don't get anything else here, make sure you get the chips. They are the triple cooked affair which Heston Blumenthal has made famous, ridiculously crispy on the outside and fluffy inside. I want to go back now and get some.

The scampi was brilliant, under the batter was proper crayfish instead of the reconstituted seafood mush you normally find, I think this is the first time I've had proper scampi. The toastie was filled with proper mature cheese and a rich mushroom and pepper rattoutile with a tomato base.

This is good food, done properly - everything tastes very fresh and it is clearly made onsite. It is very simple to get food right if you make it right. Well done Little Chef!

For 2 light lunches, a coke, cappucino and a side of chips it was £17, probably more than you'd spend on a motorway lunch but much nicer than anything else you can get off the A14.

If you love chips, go. I think that is my main message.

7 October 2011

A weekend away in a nice little place

Last weekend we stayed at the beautiful Brook Farm B&B in Berrington, just on the border of Shropshire and Worcestershire. It was so lovely, the B&B was so homely and the owner Sarah was so friendly, accommodating and and excellent cook!
We ate yummy breakfasts, walked around the beautiful cottage garden, played with the cats, patted the donkeys and ate in the many lovely pubs in the area. Just what we needed.

I didn't take any pictures of our meals out but I recommend the Rose & Crown in Tenbury Wells, The Queens pub in Ludlow and Chang Thai in Ludlow. The food market on a Saturday in Ludlow is so yummy, and they have a craft section too. And then the market is opened up on a Sunday for antiques and flea, so many interesting finds!

27 September 2011

Changes at Lazy Giraffe Jewellery

There will be some changes afoot at Lazy Giraffe. I will have a shiny new website soon with a shop built in. This blog will be changing to a food only blog, possibly still here or on Wordpress, I haven't quite decided yet.

Whilst I ummm and aaah (and add all of my 90+ listings to my new shop!) here is a sneak preview of it (click to make it larger).

I'm really looking forward to what you all think of the whole site once it is ready, I love how simple it looks and I think it is quite easy to navigate.

More coming soon!

8 September 2011

German Apple Cake

I love apple cake, it is a very autumnal thing and being as it has felt autumnal for about 3 weeks now I think it is the perfect cake to be baking at the moment. I'll start off with a little disclaimer, I didn't bake this cake, Mr Giraffe did, but it was so yummy that it needed to be blogged about.

This recipe is from Honey & Jam - it is a very simple sponge with none of the usual spicing that most apple cakes have, the sponge is very buttery and light and the apples really stand out. The apples aren't peeled which works suprisingly well, especially if you have good quality apples.

I think we/I will be making this again soon!

5 September 2011

Jewellery update

A couple of new things in my shops this week.

A simple pair of textured studs made from recycled silver...

Twisted silver necklace, something I've been working on getting right for a while. Pleased with this effect!

I am having fits and starts of inspiration, hoping to include some new gemstone designs for the autumn soon.

Thanks for looking :)


1 September 2011

Cambridge Clandestine Cake Club & Banana Oat Cake

Yesterday I went to the 2nd Clandestine Cake Club for Cambridge held at the fantastic Greens Coffee Co. in Cambourne. You really have to love cake to go to one of these, and fortunately I do. Everyone brings a cake along and then you spend the evening drinking tea and eating your away around all the sugary offerings.

There we over 20 cakes this time and every one looked amazing. I didn't try all of them but I managed 4 slices whilst I was there and took some home - much to Mr Giraffe's delight.

My offering was a Banana and Oat Cake with Elderflower Cream Cheese icing. The cake was originally meant to be vanilla sponge but it came out of the oven dense and flat, and my buttercream failed too. Luckily I'd also made banana bread so I jazzed that up with the icing (made at work the next day, before the club!) which worked really well.


The evening is organised by Miss Sue Flay of tea party fame. I'm really looking forward to the next one.
There are lots of Clandestine Cake Clubs being held by other people around the country - check the website to see if there is one in your town. 

The banana loaf recipe started off wanting to be the one from the Hummingbird Bakery book but I edited it so much it pretty much is a different recipe now. I subbed out a lot of the sugar, used less flour and added oats.

Banana Oat Cake

140g sugar
2 eggs
2 bananas (about 200g peeled weight), peeled and mashed.
140g plain flour
40g porridge oats
1tsp baking powder
1tsp ground cinamonn
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp ground ginger
100g unsalted butter, melted and cooled.

Preheat oven to 170c / gas mark 3. Grease and line a loaf tin. 

Whisk the eggs and sugar together until well combined. Then add in the mashed bananas and mix well again. Fold in the dry ingredients carefully, and then pour in the melted butter and fold again. Pour into the prepared loaf tin. Bake for 35 - 45 minutes until cooked through.

Elderflower Cream Cheese Icing

I really struggle with buttercream, it tends to split very easily for me. I love cream cheese icing because it is just as decadent but so so much easier to make. This recipe is based on the Jamie Oliver recipe that goes with his carrot cake.

100g mascarpone cheese
200g full fat cream cheese
2 tbsp of elderflower cordial
85g of icing sugar

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and then spread all over your (cooled) cake.