Food Festival Elf

This Saturday was typically British weather for a day planned outside, so I set off with lots of layers and an umbrella to the Surrey Food Festival.

We started with raffle tickets, all for a good cause, and then headed to the produce tents. This was a lot bigger than I had expected, the stalls were wide ranging, with premium olive oil, cakes, sweets, jams, pottery and sushi.  It was a bit overwhelming in here and feeling a bit bedraggled after not too long we ducked back outside in to what had become a pleasant sunny afternoon!

There were all sorts of food and drink on offer, I opted for an oatmeal ale which was delicious and different.  We wandered and each picked different lunches.  I went for a massaman curry and rice which was very tasty but not spicy enough if I am honest, one friend had a paella which was beautifully coloured and filled with exciting ingredients, and my other friend chose a pad thai from a different Thai stall.  The pad Thai defiantly won on the food stakes it was amazing.  Unfortunately , in poor blogger form, we ate before I remembered that I should have taken photos.  Never mind.

Now that the crowd in the tent had thinned out we disappeared back in for some shopping, I chose some baklava from one stand and some gluten free cookies from another.

Without realising we had spent most of the day milling around and sampling food.  So we headed home full and tired.

Definitely on my calendar for next year, fingers crossed for the raffle

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Knitting Elf

A distant time ago I decided to teach myself to knit.  Many, many, many YouTube tutorials later I did actually manage to get going and basic stitch that it might be I was off.  I kept going, it was long going, I dropped more stitches than a cared to count, and certainly more than I had the ability to correct!

Then came the daunting and terrifying task of casting off.  In fear, I lingered, too terrified to actually take the leap I watched more tutorials, read more blogs…. I kept loitering in fear.  It could all so quickly go wrong.  Eventually I did get the courage to cast off and it was not too bad, I did manage it without destroying anything.

I am ridiculously proud of my holey, dropped stitches, wonky scarf! Just in time for summer I know, but oh well!

I am already planning my next project, but given the speed with which I knit please, please, for your own safety do not hold your breath!

 

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Sarastro Restaurant

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Looking for something fun and a bit different for dinner a group of ushead to Sarastro.

This place is dramatic.  The interior is split between two floors the upper being little balconies, it is decorated with velvet, gold paint, draped material and Venetian glass.

We are lucky enough to be given a whole balcony to ourselves.  We IMAG1667take advantage of the set menu, which is a selection of meze which are all delicious.  The spicy sausage is tomato sauce is my favourite, the humus is a favourite and disappears quickly.  There are a few mains to choose from between us we end up with one of each on the table no one had a bad thing to say about any of them.

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The live music was great, the waiters attentive and the food very tasty.  The surroundings are dramatic and the whole evening is a hit.

I definitely recommend this restaurant to everyone.  It is a little more expensive, but given the central location and the beautiful surroundings I think it is worth it.

Baking Elf

In a whole new adventure my sister and I are baking a very special cake for my very special mum and making it edible for the other elf by making it gluten free.

We start with a simple sponge recipe which I have put below for anyone who wants to try it out.  We simply replaced the self raising flour with gluten free self-raising flour, we just used a supermarket home brand for this recipe.IMAG1596

We baked the four sponges in two batches and let them cool down completely before using a cookie cutter to cut a hole in the middle of three of the cakes.  We chose the cake with the smoothest top for the very top layer. IMAG1607

Next we layered up the three cakes with holes in them on top of IMAG1608each other, using low sugar jam and whipped cream to stick them together.  Then we put our surprise filling into the hole, we chose to use strawberries and raspberries, but you could just any fruit that is not too wet.  With one final coating of jam and cream we put the last cake (the one without the hole) on top.

Finally we iced the cake with mascarpone icing which we dyed pink to keep with the red berry theme.  And topped with wafer daises as a final touch!IMAG1614

This was a really pretty cake and a beautiful surprise with the berries hidden inside.  Most importantly it was delicious!  I will definitely be baking this again (maybe with less layers next time…it was very big!) and the gluten free flour worked well.  No one could tell the difference.  It rose nicely and had a lovely spring.

Yum!

 

Recipe

IngredientsIMAG1609

125g butter
125g caster sugar
2 eggs (medium)
125g self raising flour

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c
  2. Line/grease two cake tins (approx 18cm in diameter)
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  4. Slowly beat in the eggs
  5. Divide the mixture between the two tins
  6. Bake for about 20-25 minutes