It was my Mum’s birthday a few weeks ago. We’d just got back from Canada and struggled to quickly come up with a plan of where to take her on a Sunday for a chilled but fancy afternoon meal out that wasn’t going to be just a bog standard Roast. It was also hot, like – even my knees are sweating – blazing hot, so the chance to sit outside instead of crammed into some dark and muggy corner of a restaurant would be a bonus. And so, we booked a table at beautiful Llanerch Vineyard 🙂
Any other year it would seem absolutely ridiculous that there’s fully functional vineyard just outside of Cardiff, but apparently the usually mild and drizzly weather we (usually!) get around here is perfect for making the French and German hybrid wine (labelled “Cariad”) that Llanerch produces. Apparently they fill up to 10,000 bottles of the stuff every year, so there you go! Anyway, as well as offering up vineyard tours and wine tasting classes, it’s a lovely place to go for dinner or afternoon tea – especially on a Sunday when the Cariad Bistro offers up an Al Fresco Sunday lunch.
The way it works is that you can choose from either a two or three course meal with various options for starter, main and dessert. We went for the two course option, forgoing the starters in favour of dessert (obviously!). I went for a good old roast chicken with all the trimmings, which included fresh, seasonal vegetables, with plenty of extra ones on the side, lots of thick gravy and cauliflower cheese. It was yum!
For dessert I went for the coconut panna cotta with mango sorbet, which was gorgeous – and perfect because I was about ready to melt by then, it was so hot outside! But, it was a really lovely afternoon sitting out in the sunshine looking out over the vines – you could almost pretend you were in the South of France or the middle of Tuscany 🙂
I fell head over heels for yoghurt parfait pots on my trip to Canada. We stayed in a tiny log cabin in the middle of the woods run by a lovely English lady and her gorgeous black lab, and the homemade breakfasts they served up were seriously incredible. As well as vanilla pancakes, maple bacon and breakfast quiche, they also served up yoghurt parfait pots – which are simple and healthy, but practically like having dessert for breakfast.
So, when I got back to Cardiff I had to whip up my own little parfait kit so I could scoff them at home. A little prep involved, but once you’ve made up the “kit” these sweet pots with cherry jam and almond granola make a speedy and satisfying breakfast in the week when you’re in a rush. 🙂
Cherry and Almond Parfait
For the Almond Granola:
200g porridge oats
100g shaved almonds
100g dried cherries
1 tbsp almond extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
a pinch of salt
150ml maple syrup
100ml coconut oil
For the Cherry Jam:
100g of fresh pitted cherries
100g jam sugar
100ml lemon juice
A glass jar
To make the granola, mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl and then spread evenly on a lined baking tray. Bake the granola in the oven at 160 for about 45 minutes – making sure you pop in and rearrange it so that the mix bakes evenly.
Once it’s cooked, leave it out to cool and dry out to ensure a good crunch, then transfer into an air tight container.
To make the jam, blitz your pitted cherries (for a smoother jam) and then pour them into a saucepan with the jam sugar and lemon juice. Turn up the heat, allowing the sugar to dissolve and then allow it to hit a roaring boil for around 10 minutes. You can check whether the jam has set by putting a plate in the freezer and then using it to test a blob. If it runs when it hits the plate then it’s not ready, if it sticks, then it’s done! Transfer into a sterilized jar, allowing the jam to cool before you seal it up.
How you make up your parfait pots is entirely up to you – I like to mix a little of the cherry jam into some natural yoghurt and then layer it with some more, plain natural yoghurt. I top that off with another generous blob of jam and plenty of granola and then garnish with some fresh cherries. 🙂
You can catch a video of me whipping up this parfait pots over on Instagram TV. If you’re not following, you can find me right here; just click the IGTV link in my profile to see this recipe and more. Cheers to the weekend! 🙂
There are three things you need to be aware of if you’re ever planning on road tripping through Canada. Number one; Sirius XFM plays A LOT of Eminem (Seriously, after 800km I can confidently say that I’m well-rehearsed enough to stand up and be the real Slim Shady). Number two; Maple Cream Biscuits make for the best road tripping snacks. And Number three; snoozing is impossible and that five hour stretch will quickly turn into a seven hour stretch because the views just keep getting better and better. You’re not going to want to shut your eyes and you’re going want to keep stopping to snap away. 🙂
Our road trip began in Vancouver where we picked up this baby. Our booking was originally going to give us a Volkswagen Golf, but when Sunny saw that there was a Dodge Charger available we decided on a sneaky upgrade (I mean, come on, it’s The General Lee!). It was a lot of fun – especially when it came to whizzing past all those ambling camper vans on the road between Jasper and Banff.
We split our road trip into three days; on day one, we drove the scenic route through Frazer Canyon from Vancouver to Kamloops, on day two we drove up through Jasper to Hinton, and then on day three we drove Icefields Parkway all the way through Banff to Golden. We only had a few days but managed to cram a hell of a lot in along the way including stopping to see bears at the side of the road (don’t look for the bears, look out for all the other parked cars!), mountains, rivers, four kilometer long freight trains and dip our feet in all of the gorgeous (but freezing!) lakes. It was absolutely nackering, but so worth it!
If there’s anything you want to know about driving in Canada, feel free to fire away! Have a great week! 🙂
We’re stone’s deep into berry season now, and while I love a bowl of strawberries and ice cream as much as the next person, cherries, raspberries and plums for me are where it’s at (although – boring fact – technically plums aren’t botanical berries, they’re actually “drupes”). Plums are so underrated, but I love them for their slightly sour skins and juicy insides, and they’re even better when baked into a cake. Even Bungle loves plums 🙂
Anyway, M&S got in touch recently and asked if I’d like to try baking with some of their berries. They’re a huge fan of the Great British Berry (not to be confused with Mary Berry who is also great) – they’ve had relationships with some of their berry suppliers for over forty years and it absolutely shows; the damson plums they’ve got on offer at the moment are absolutely banging. This plum cake is incredibly simple to make and turned out so well when I served it up at a recent barbecue that I made it again a few days later. It’s a little bit like an upside down cake, except you bake it upright! It also stays lovely and moist for a few days because of the buttermilk and juice from the sliced plums… if you can resist scoffing it all at once, that is! 😉
Buttermilk Plum Cake
100g Plain Flour
125g Caster Sugar
1 Large Egg
1 tsp Baking Powder
50g Ground Almonds
4 Ripe Plums stoned and thinly sliced
(Single Cream to serve)
Heat the oven up to 170°, then grease a 20cm cake tin, dusting it with a little flour.
Hold back 1 tbsp of sugar, then beat the rest with the butter in a large bowl. Beat in egg.
Sift together the dry ingredients and then fold into the buttercream and egg mix along with the ground almonds.
Gently stir in the buttermilk, then pour the mixture into the cake tin.
Arrange the sliced plums over the surface, making sure to overlap them as the cake will rise and expand as it bakes. Sprinkle the surface with the extra sugar, then bake in the oven for 50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Serve up with fresh single cream. 🙂
Thanks to M&S for the ingredients and for sending this recipe my way – it’s a keeper! Have a lovely weekend everyone! ❤
And so the heatwave blazes on here in Cardiff (it’s set to get up to 27° again later on this week – phew!) which is great because it means there’s plenty of chance to get out and enjoy all the summery things on offer in the city in the weather they were actually intended for! Case and point: The Cardiff Bay Beach Festival, which runs every year from July to early September. It’s moved from its usual spot on Plas Roald Dahl right in the heart of The Bay to a bigger, breezier spot up by The Barrage – a genius decision as it means there’s plenty more to see, do and eat! I popped down on Saturday evening for a drink and stroll around the funfair, and thanks to the beautiful weather and even more beautiful sunset it really felt like I was on holiday somewhere far away. Hello Cardiffornia! 🙂
If I hadn’t stuffed my face at Vegetarian Food Studio earlier that day then I’d have absolutely filled up on the Milkshakes, Halloumi Fries, Candifloss and Churros on offer – but I was full, so I had a sunset slushie instead 🙂