Bakewell Tarts

Bakewell Tarts remind me of a time in University when a friend of mine stepped in to help another friend out with a photography project that involved posing topless with nothing but a couple of cherry bakewells to hide her nips.  Naming no names, but to this day I can’t eat a cherry bakewell without thinking about her 🙂

Anyway, I’ve scoffed a lot of bakewell tarts in my time – my favourite tart by a long way – but never tried making one myself.  I always thought frangipane was a bit of a nightmare.  But, they’re actually not that difficult – especially if you cheat by buying ready-made pastry and don’t bother making the jam yourself.  Pfft!  Who’s got the time for that?

Bakewell Tart (from Mary Berry’s recipe)

Ingredients

  • 1 pack of ready-made sweet shortcrust pastry
  • Seedless raspberry jam
  • 150g butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • Ready to roll royal icing
  • Piped pink fondant icing
  1. Set the oven to 180 (fan) and line a fluted tart tin (preferably with a removable bottom – easy) with the shortcrust pastry.  Pop it into the fridge to cool for half an hour.  Line with non stick paper and fill with baking beans.  Bake blind for 15 minutes, then remove the beads and bake for a further 5 minutes.  Set it aside and allow it cool (very important!).
  2. To make the frangipane filling cream together the butter and sugar, then add the ground almonds, egg and almond extract. 
  3. Spread the bottom of your cooled pastry case with raspberry jam and then spoon in the frangipane mix on top.
  4. Turn down the oven to 160 and then bake the tart for 35 minutes (or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.  Leave the tart to cool.
  5. Remove the tart from its tin and then use a tin as a cutter to get the right size and shape of rolled out icing.  Decorate with loops or lines of piped pink fondant.

Have a lovely weekend everyone!  ♡

*Bill’s Summer of Music

I can’t remember the last time Sunny and I had a date night.  We’ll be celebrating our fourth (wait…is that right?) wedding anniversary at the end of August (…is it the 26th or 27th…?) and we’ve never really done the whole date thing, even BC (Before Canine!).

Anyway, a few weeks ago Bill’s got in touch and asked if I’d like to come along and sample their new summer menu.  They also said I could bring along a guest – so, I said, “Yes please!” and brought along Sunny for a little pre-wedding anniversary date night 🙂


Throughout June, July and August, Bill’s has been celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love with live music events in its restaurants up and down the country, and on the 27th of July it arrived at their Cardiff Bay Restaurant – which not only meant a lovely meal for us but also an evening of live music.  They had Malaika (above), who sang some of her jazz and blues songs, as well as some covers, as well as Millie Jane Franks, who sung a beautiful cover of Fix You by Coldplay.


I’d never been to Bill’s before – but have no idea why, because the food was absolutely lush from the first course (these breaded halloumi sticks and pork dumplings) right through to dessert (by which time I completely stuffed and had to waddle back to the car – and we’d parked all the way up by the Norweigan Church too, pfft!).






Thanks to Bill’s for such a lovely night of food and music! ♡

Nash Point

When I lived in London, I lived in a flat overlooking the Thames near Dartford Bridge (believe me, not as glamorous as it sounds – although it did mean that when I sang along to London Calling by the Clash I could actually mean the words “I live by the river!”  Which I thought was stupidly cool).  Anyway, even though I loved watching the ships going up and down the Thames while I was doing the washing up, in winter – when the London fog arrived – it was a pain.  We’d be woken up in the middle of the night by the fog horn warning ships off the mud.  A sporadic – but annoyingly predictable – double honk every thirty seconds or so.

Anyway, when we went for a walk along the cliffs at Nash Point and came face to face with the fog horn it brought all those memories back.  Lucky for everyone sleeping nearby (the cottages around the lighthouse are available to rent), the fog horn isn’t in use anymore – and only sounds for tourists on the first Saturday and third Sunday of every month.  The Lighthouse itself at Trwyn yr As – or Nash Point – was actually the last manned lighthouse in Wales, but is still used to warn ships away from Nash Sands.

It’s a lovely place for a cup of coffee (there’s a small cafe opposite the car park) and a short walk over the cliffs, or – if you’re up for it – a long walk to Llantwit Major along the coast.  🙂






The Vegetarian Food Studio

In case you didn’t know, my mother-in-law is Indian (…Gotta be careful what I write next, I know she’s reading!  Hey Mum!).  Before I met Sunny, I could probably count on one hand how many times I’d eaten Indian Food.  I just didn’t get it, but then my only experience of the stuff was sloppy school dinner curry (Which had raisins in it…?  What even?  That still wrecks my head!) and the tinned curry my Dad used to buy.  Fast-forward ten years and it’s hand on heart some of my favourite food (…not that I had much choice in the matter!).

My mother-in-law knows good Indian Food (particularly Vegetarian Indian Food as a strict veggie herself) and isn’t afraid to speak up when she’s served something that isn’t up to snuff.  So, when she came down to visit a few weeks ago and we decided to take her to one of the top-rated Vegetarian restaurants in Cardiff, I was a little nervous.  Also, as a meat eater who’d never set foot in a Vegetarian Restaurant before, I wasn’t sure what I’d even order.

Honestly?  The only criticism we had was of ourselves – that we hadn’t visited sooner!  Sometimes it’s hit and miss with Indian Restaurants, a bit of a balancing act; the food can sometimes be too spicy, or not spicy enough, or too oily, or too expensive, or lacking flavour.  But the food at Vegetarian Food Studio was spot on and very reasonably priced – and the service friendly.  The menu was absolutely massive, with plenty of choices and meal options.  I quickly picked out a couple of favourites (Channa – chickpeas – and Aloo Parantha – a potato stuffed flatbread), while Sunny picked out a couple of childhood favourites and when they came we weren’t disappointed in either the portion size or the flavour.  Yum!  No wonder this place takes evening bookings for four weeks in advance!

They also offer takeaway food – including Indian sweets and light bites.  Definitely worth checking out if you’re Vegetarian or a fan of Indian Food. 🙂




Vegetarian Food Studio
115-117 Penarth Rd, Cardiff CF11 6JU

July Favourites

I feel like this might as well be a November Favourites post because honestly? What a wash-out July has been!  I wore my wellies more this month than any other so far this year, have cwtched up on the sofa under blankets with candles burning, and have had some seriously miserable morning walks with Bungle.  I suppose we shouldn’t really be surprised, the good old British Summertime is has well and truly lived up to its reputation this year, and now that we’re into August, it doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of getting better.  So I’ve decided that I’m moving on to Autumn and have started to get well and truly stuck into browsing AW17 fashion – scarves, boots, coats – which I guarantee will spark a heatwave.  😉

FOOD

I ate some seriously great food in July, not limited to Aloo Parantha, Bubble Waffles and these Breaded Halloumi Sticks at Bill’s in Cardiff Bay.  Yum!

BOOKS

This month I picked up Kerry Egan’s ‘On Living’, which not only has the most beautiful cover but was a lovely read during those dismal July evenings (honestly, what the hell happened to summer?!).  On Living is a book about death.  Kerry Egan – for many years – worked as a Hospice Chaplain, working with patients who were close to or about to die.  The book is basically all the lessons, stories and truths Egan learned from her patients – lessons about “Dancing more, working less and other last thoughts”.  A beautiful book.

CARDIFF

Unfortunately I didn’t get around much this month because the weather’s been so rubbish!  But I’ve got a couple of favourite spots this month.  Number one involves some of the best Indian (and Vegetarian) Food I’ve eaten in a while – The Vegetarian Food Studio in Grangetown (watch out for my blog post on Monday), and number two is K9 Plus 1 in Barry – a cafe for dogs and their owners.


FASHION

The summer sales trump the January ones in my opinion; I always seem to pick up so many great bargains this time of year including these spotted, wide leg trousers from Marks and Spencer which were a total bargain at £5.50 (similar ones here).  I’m going to be wearing them all through Autumn and Winter with t shirts and jumpers.  Another fashion fave this month were these tassle earrings from H&M.  I’ve been after a pair for a while but didn’t want the same red and white ones everyone seems to be wearing.  I spotted these ones and fell in love – even if Sunny called them dodgy and said they looked like they belonged on the end of a curtain tie.

TV

“The North remembers…”  When I heard that the new Season of Game of Thrones had been pushed back until July, to say I was miffed is a bit of an understatement.  But day-am, so far it’s been worth the extra wait.  In our house we wait for Game of Thrones all year and then when it arrives we end up whinging that not enough happens quickly enough and the middle of season drags – but so far it’s been my favourite season yet.  🙂

Also, Poldark.  Always stunning to look at, but… this year it feels like every episode has just been a hour of simpering gazes and soft sighs (I’m looking at you Morwenna).  And now that  *SPOILER* Agatha’s gone, I’m a bit… meh about it all.

ONLINE

We bought my Mum an Amazon Echo Dot for her birthday because she’s gadget mad and constantly wondering what’s happening with the news/weather/traffic.  Anyway, it arrived and Sunny and I were so impressed with it when we set it up for her that when Amazon Prime Day swung around and we picked one up for ourselves.  You can do so much more with it than just check out the latest headlines and whether you’ll need an umbrella (It’s Wales, it’s July – the answer as it turns out is; is yes, yes you do).  You can tune into any Radio Station, check out Trump’s latest Tweet, get a random Blackadder Quote, and we’ve synced our Spotify with it so we can play our favourite music through it’s – pretty decent – speaker.  My favourite addition though has to be the game ‘Yes Sire’ – which you basically have to keep balance in your kingdom by answering simple yes or no questions which increase/decrease your wealth and power (it’s a bit Game of Thrones).  If either goes too high or too low then the King either has you exiled or executed.  Great fun while you’re cooking or doing the washing up 🙂

Hello August!  What have you been loving this July?  Obviously not the weather…  😉