….a little bit more…

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!” 

― Dr. SeussHow the Grinch Stole Christmas!


Richard III

Just because I can, and because Windsor reminded me how beautiful this piece of writing is: here is Gloucester’s speech.
From Richard III, spoken by Gloucester 
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visaged war hath smooth’d his wrinkled front;
And now, instead of mounting barded steeds
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
I, that am rudely stamp’d, and want love’s majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtail’d of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deformed, unfinish’d, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;
Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun
And descant on mine own deformity:
And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
By drunken prophecies, libels and dreams,
To set my brother Clarence and the king
In deadly hate the one against the other:
And if King Edward be as true and just
As I am subtle, false and treacherous,
This day should Clarence closely be mew’d up,
About a prophecy, which says that ‘G’
Of Edward’s heirs the murderer shall be.
Dive, thoughts, down to my soul: here
Clarence comes.

Beesting Elf

Beesting cake or Bienenstich is a yeast based desert that is similar to brioche in its consistency. Some people say the name comes from the bees that are attracted to its honey topping, others say that to be a true beesting it needs to have been stung by a bee!

Anyway, aside from that it is Mr Elf’s favourite and after lots of years without this cake I have decided to take on the challenge and create one for his birthday. I have been researching recipes and there are many variations out there. I have gone for a combination recipe taken from a couple of different sites (BBC good food and Good To Know websites) and combined them to make a recipe that is not to custardy (yuck!) and fingers crossed it will work out.

The recipe is a yeast based cake although if this seems daunting there are non-proofing recipes out there that I am sure would work just as well.

Ingredients for the dough:IMAG2076

250g plain white flour
125g butter (cold ish)
2tsp caster sugar
Pinch of salt
7g easy-bake dried yeast
3 medium eggs

Lightly butter a Medium baking tin. Mix the flour and butter together to make breadcrumbs, by rubbing the butter though the flour with your fingers and thumbs. Next add the sugar, salt, yeast and eggs and knead it in to the mixture until combined (take a little time to do this). Turn out on to a lightly floured surface form the dough into a ball, use a little extra flour if you need. Put the dough into a bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to rise for 1 hour in a warm place until it has doubled in size. Once it has risen knock the dough down, shape it into a ball and put it back into the baking tin you are going to use in the oven. Cover and leave to rise for about 1 hour, until doubled in size







Ingredients for the topping:IMAG2079

50g unsalted butter
50g sugar
4tbsp honey
Pinch of salt
80g sliced almonds
Vanilla extract

Bring the butter, sugar, honey, and salt, together in a non-stick pan on the hob and bring to a gentle boil. (Keep an eye on this or it will boil up over everything and this is very hard to get off!) Let the mixture reduce slightly then remove from the heat, and stir in the almonds, making sure that all the almonds are evenly coated in the honey mixture. (You can add extra almonds if you feel like it). Spoon over the dough making sure you get an even coverage. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for 25 minutes until golden brown.

Ingredients for the filling:IMAG2080

250g Double cream
Vanilla extract
1.5tbs honey

Make sure you allow the cake to cool right down to room temperature before you try to add the filling. Whip up the cream until thick and slowly add the honey and vanilla. Cut the cake in half (extra hands might be needed) and spread a generous layer of cream inside. Sandwich back together serve.

You could use Crème fraiche instead of cream, or you could go the custard based filling and make a thick custard instead. Don’t be afraid of this delish cake. It is remarkably easy and just needs a little bit of extra time and planning to allow for the proofing. (I didn’t remember to do this, and was baking in to the night)

Elf tip: Make sure your eggs are room temperature. Cold eggs make for sad yeast.


Elfing Mud – Glastonbury

Things I wish I knew before going to Glastonbury

The nights are cold

I know, maybe I just wasn’t organised enough.  But it gets cold at night.  If you have the cash for a good hiking sleeping bag get one.  If you are going with your boyfriend/girlfriend/partner take blankets or unzip the sleeping bags so they lie flat like blankets…I know we don’t smell fabulous during Glastonbury but two people’s body heat makes a lot of difference.

Take breakfast with you

There is nothing worse than getting up, changed, facing the inevitable toilet line on an empty stomach before heading in to the festival to get breakfast.  Take some instant coffee and a little stove at least.

There will be mud

We’ve all seen the photos and we all know there will be mud.  But as I discovered there are many types of mud that you need to be aware of at Glastonbury:

  1. Slushy mud – this looks like chocolate custard and must be treated with care, it is one of the easiest muds to walk in and therefore we get over confident – don’t you will fall over.
  2. Sticky mud – this appeared on about day two.  Once this mud appears add 20 minutes to any time you think you will need to get anywhere.  Make sure you pull your foot up with the whole foot not just the heel otherwise you’ll be barefoot before you realise it, and it’s not nice putting that foot back in the boot….
  3. Secret mud – looks like solid ground hurray! Nope it’s not, its mud.
  4. Crusty mud – looks safe – it’s really not.

Its noisy

If you want to get any sleep during Glastonbury make sure you pack some ear plugs. Even if you plan on being up all night, you will need them to get sleep during the day.  I know it sounds like something your mum would tell you to pack, but believe me when you are lying awake listing to your tent neighbors get to know each other much…much better you will want the ear plugs!


I’m ready to do it all again! 🙂




Elf goes arty

The Urban Art festival is back in Brixton.  The weather is sunny and so we head off to the buzz of Brixton.

The walk is lovely and we arrive on the corner of Josephine street where the festival opens up in front of us.  There are many more exhibitions that we had anticipated.  The paintings are hung along the fences of the streets in the area.  The colours are lovely.  All sorts of art is available here, some are priced in the thousands and some are no more that £20.

I enjoy the photography in motion stall and the dynamic movements that the photographer has managed to capture.  There are modern paintings and beautiful bold prints as well as abstract landscapes.



Elf’s a baking

It’s a quiet afternoon so we are trying out a new recipe. IMAG1827 This one is for lemon cupcakes…but I have decided last minute to make two cakes instead.  To achieve this I have doubled the recipe and split between two small tins.  I have also picked up these nifty big cupcake patty pans.  They fit straight into the big tins and saves all the faffing with baking paper, very neat!

So, I mess up almost straight away and add the flour straight into the warmed butter!  Then decide just to chuck all the ingredients in and go for it any way.  I do add the eggs slowly at the end and try to whip these up a bit to get some air into the batter.

The cakes turn out quite airy and fluffy but not very lemony, I would definitely recommend about double the recipe.

I decorate with an extra lemony icing to compensate.


ingredients (remember I doubled this to make the two cakes)

  • 100 grams unsalted butter soften for 10 seconds in the microwave
  • 100 grams self-raising flour sift for maximum smoothness
  • 100 grams golden caster sugar superfine is best
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice OR (see above)
  • 2 medium eggs

For the icing

  • 75 grams unsalted butter soften in the microwave
  • 175 grams icing sugar siftedIMAG1828
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Proper instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC
  • In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together.
  • Add the lemon juice
  • Gradually add the eggs, one by one.
  • Carefully fold in the flour
  • Bake in the oven for 10 – 20 minutes.

Elf instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºCIMAG1826
  • In a clean mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together then add lemon juice
  • Gradually add the eggs, try to whip the mixture up a bit to get some air into the batter
  • Bake in the oven for 10 – 20 minutes.


Support our arts

Do something fabulous this week, support new and emerging artists or all types head along to the Camberwell School of Art.  This week the brilliant students of Camberwell have their degree show.  This is an amazing demonstration of will, determinationand talent.

You will be taken back, awed, maybe even shocked.  It is free and in Peckham, easy to get to so no excuses.

Let’s support our artists and art in London and the world.

Click here for more information