Sunday, 31 July 2011

Last night I dreamt Will Allen gave me...

Last night I dreamt Will Allen gave me a clapped out racing green mini cooper (old style)- I took it to Aubrey Wilson (mechanic) to get it fixed up

Last night I dreamt I was at work....

I was at work trying to finalize the netskills end of year accounts, but Ursula was feeling sick, so I couldn't

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Mini Cheesecakes

I like making mini-cakes, not buns or muffins but a cake like a proper chocolate cake and then make it 50% smaller.
I quite enjoy eating a slice of cake over the weekend, and during the week will do without.


So I often feel guilty when I make a regular 8-10 slice cake, eat my weekend slice and wonder what to do with the rest.  Mr Lisa would prefer me to keep it, but then the temptation is in the house and I will *have* to have more.  I sometimes take it to work, but I'd rather make a cake that provided me with 'just enough'.


When my friend Gemma said she was having a party for her son's 2nd birthday I offered to make 'something' and so I made mini cheesecakes, raspberry ones and strawberry ones. And because they're small you can have 1 of each and not feel guilty!



My cheesecake mixture is: double cream, marscapone, a tablespoon of icing sugar (or faster) and fresh fruit, and the base was just crushed digestive biscuits & butter.


I actually made them in 2 big rectangular trays (lined with clingfilm) chilled it, lifted the cheesecakes out and cut circles out with a pastry cutter, there was some waste but I left that for my mum and dad to eat (i made them at theirs).
I'm quite please with how they turned out and they tasted great, 2 bites & they were gone!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

FIRST Clandestine Cake Club Meeting: Newcastle, Wed 13th July, 5-7pm

I'd been following @Clandestinecake on twitter for sometime, had registered on the website since April and waited for someone to organise and advertise a Newcastle event....and I waited...and I waited.


Then June came along, and I'd already booked myself to make my niece's birthday cake and Bamburgh Castle for EAT! Festival Cakebook North and I felt that I had enough cakery to be going on with for June, but began secretly planning my next cake project....

Set up the First Clandestine Cake Club for Newcastle, sometime in July???

No one had stepped up so far, so I thought I'd give it a go.  There'd be nothing to lose if it didn't work out.  I wanted to see how much interest there was in Newcastle for this sort of thing, I wanted to see how difficult it was to set up, organise, publicise, run and if I could find a venue to host it.

People who know me, will probably say I'm an extrovert, but in situations when I'm meeting people for the first time I'm pretty shy, will often sit back, think, observe and chip in and out with conversation.  So, running an event like this, to strangers was well out of my comfort zone.  I felt the fear, but did it anyway, and it was great!!!

So, on a very sunny Wednesday in Newcastle we held the first Clandestine Cake Club meeting.

It just so happened that it was the birthday of  Lynn Hill, founder of Clandestine Cake Clubs (to whom I owe a lot of thanks for her help, support and patience) and the day after Kate (aka Cake Poppins) one of our bakers' birthday.

We rendez-vous'd in a hip and trendy cafe in Newcastle, 5mins walk from central station - where could it be?

The lovely people at Settle Down cafe, kindly agreed to host our event, and attendees were only notified of the venue a few days beforehand (we didn't want any cake-crashers did we?)

Four cakes, four bakers and four non-bakers booked in for the event!

The theme for the event was 'School Holidays' -so cakes needed to reflect the kind of things you did during your school holidays, and our cakes certainly reflected that!

We had a raspberry, almond and white chocolate cake made by Val, a banana, date and walnut cake, made by Carol, a strawberry layer cake, made by me, and a lemon carousel cake made by Kate.  What's a lemon carousel cake???

Raspberry, Almond & White Chocolate Cake, made by Val

Cakebaker Val, acompanied by Liz brought along this Raspberry, Almond & White Chocolate Cake.
The raspberries were really tangy, zingy and melt in the mouth, the white chocolate smooth and subtle, and the almonds provided that soft texture.  We likened it to a bakewell tart, but a cake, because we all know that tarts are not allowed at these gatherings!

Banana, Date & Walnut Cake, made by Carol

Cakebaker Carol, acompanied by Jackie brought along this picnic-friendly Banana, Date & Walnut Cake.

A tasty loaf cake, bursting with succulent fruit and nuts, and topped with a cinnamon frosting.  We all agreed that loaf cakes always seem like they're healthier.

 
Strawberry Layer Cake, made by Lisa


I brought along my recently tried & tested Strawberry Layer cake, made with strawberries picked from my allotment the previous evening.

It was a pretty decadent treat: offering double cream, mascarpone and an amaretto syrup drenched sponge.





And then Kate and Helen arrived, and presented us with a lemon carousel cake....
Lemon Carousel Cake, made by Kate

Ahh, I see, a lemon carousel cake - to reflect happy times spent at The Hoppings.

It did seem an awful shame to cut into this work of art, but it's all about the cake and we scoffed it, with the others!!

This cake looked amazing and scored top points for originality!

It was true to it's description in every way; a carousel and a lemon cake.  The cake was light and spongy with a subtle lemony taste, not too overpowering.  We didn't eat the horses, we all took one home!






We all agreed that having a slice of each cake probably constituted one of our five a day, as each cake contained fruit (Carol's actually provided 2).

We were the envy of ALL passers-by
We discussed future meet-ups, suggested dates, themes and the merits of potential venues across Newcastle, laying down the foundations for future gatherings of Clandestine Cake Club, Newcastle!

4 slices of cake (each) later and we were full to bursting.  The cafe closed at 7pm and we divvied up the leftovers, made provisional plans for the next one, and said our 'see you laters'

The leftovers (which we shared out & took home)
All in all, it was well worth it.
The cakesmiths of Newcastle have spoken - they want to have their cake (club) and eat it. 
And who can blame them?

Tips for next time:
  1. Give myself more time to organise the venue, publicity etc. I think I only gave myself 2 and a bit weeks during a busy time at work.
  2. Change the start time, I received about 4 emails from people saying that they couldn't do 5pm, because of traffic, families, work etc.  Next one is going to be a 6 or 6.30pm start.
  3. Stop worrying about asking for help, I had plans to do more leaflet drops with cafes and shops, but I chickened out.  Remember - shy bairns & all that.
Thank yous
All of our guests: Val & Liz, Kate & Helen, Carol & Jackie, Alison
Our venue: Settle Down Cafe, Thornton Street, Newcastle upon Tyne
Clandestine Cake Club founder Lynn Hill

Next get-together....TBC -register on http://clandestinecakeclub.co.uk/ to find out FIRST

Here's what happens when I have a glut of strawberries

This is what happens when I get a glut of strawberries on my allotment...
   



These are minature strawberry gateaux - 2 for me and 2 for Mr Lisa!
A bit fiddly to make, but really tasty and there's no waste. 
However, they don't use up many strawberries.

Moving on to: Strawberry Layer Cake

I actually made 2 of these in the space of a week, 1 a test-run for Clandestine Cake Club, which I had 1 slice of before it was taken in to work (& polished off very quickly), and the second was the one for Clandestine Cake Club - which was a great success again.

Easy to make, and added to my recipes for surplus garden produce!