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25 Feb 2015

Afternoon Tea: How Do You Do!

A few years ago I was lucky enough to visit the Sanderson Hotel for one of the infamous Mad Hatters Afternoon Teas and I've simply never stopped thinking about it.  Being a girl from the North East of England; trips to London are sadly few and far between, so I didn't think I'd have the chance to experience something as delightfully quirky again.  Much to my delight I noticed a marketing email from a local establishment How Do You Do advertising their Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea.  I didn't really need to read any more, I was already on the phone booking a table for my next day off.  

I'd already visited this eatery several times before it's charming re-brand, I can vouch that it used to make the best darned Sunday lunches ever. My expectations were high.

I wasn't disappointed.  We were greeted by a super friendly guy who talked us through everything to do with our tea, the service was quick and precise and the food was just delicious!  The Mad Hatters Tea was served with your choice of tea or coffee and also came with a fun tea pot cocktail.  We were told the cocktail is usually served spewing smoke from dry ice but sadly they'd run out after a particularly busy weekend.  Next time, I'm sure.

Every element was homemade from the jam for the scones to the delightful rhubarb soda in the drink me bottles.  The spinach and beetroot bread for the sandwiches was so vibrant and fun, I felt like I was tumbling down the rabbit hole with dear Alice.

The waiter informed us, before leaving, that they were planning on doing a Brighton Beach themed afternoon tea for the Summer months.  I certainly hope they do, I'm already planning on another visit!

How Do You Do
10 East Parade
Whitley Bay
NE26 1AP
0191 2533050

22 Feb 2015

Ultimate Hangover Breakfast - Bloody Mary with Sriracha Bacon and Avocado Toast

I don't know about you, but after a night painting the town red I'll usually wake up with a frightening hunger.  I don't deal with hungry very well, I can't diet and I hate being told no when it comes to food.  I can go from peckish to hangry in alarming speed so if you throw hungover in the mix it can get a little scary.  After many years of dealing with my brattish cravings, I've learned to prepare for my mornings in advance.  Bacon is always a good idea but for those mornings, and when you're feeling particularly delicate the only way to go is some avocado and a Bloody Mary!  

Now I know avocado toast is a bit of a thing, and there are hundreds of variations floating around the internet, but I thought I'd share my favorite method with you lovely lot. It's heavy on the garlic and chilli, not one for the fainthearted, this is for a pro avocado toaster!

Bloody Mary with Sriracha Bacon
Makes 2

4 slices streaky bacon
100g light brown sugar
1tbsp sriracha100ml Vodka
300ml tomato juice
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Worcester sauce
1 tsp sugar
pinch of celery salt
pinch of smoked paprika
a generous dash of tabasco

For the bacon: preheat your grill.  Combine the sugar and sriracha to make a spreadable paste, you may need to add a little water.  Pop the bacon on a baking sheet lined with foil and brush the sugar paste onto the bacon.  Grill for around 5 minutes, remove from the oven and flip the bacon, repeat the process with the sugar and grill for another few minutes or until your bacon is perfectly crispy.  Leave to cool while you create your Bloody Mary.

For the Bloody Mary: Mix all of the ingredients together in a jug, check the seasoning and heat and adjust is necessary.  Pour into glassesfilled with ice and garnish with a stick of celery and sriracha bacon.

Katies Favourite Avocado Toast

2 slices of good bread
1 clove of garlic
1 ripe avocado
1 tomato, chopped in small pieces
3 spring onions, sliced
a good pinch of chilli flakes
a pinch of salt and pepper

Toast your bread under a grill or on a griddle pan, once toasted and slightly cooled rub the top of the toast with a clove of garlic.  Mash the avocado leaving a few lumps and chunks, mix in the chopped tomato, sliced spring onions, chilli flakes and seasoning.  Spread on the bread and dig in.

29 Jan 2015

National Breakfast Week: Homemade Pop Tarts

When I was young Pop Tarts were the fanciest breakfast treat you could imagine.  Fresh from the land of the brave, us northerners were smitten by those little parcels of goodness.  Flash forward to 2015 and you can get flavours you could only have dreamed about as a ten year old girl. Despite this, I never actually buy Pop Tarts any more.  I don't actually own a toaster and the thought of eating them cold is just a step too far in my eyes.  I decided to make my own.

Homemade Pop Tarts can be as difficult as you like.  If you're looking for a project you can make the pie dough and filling from scratch; or if you're looking for a quick fix, ready rolled pastry and a jar of Bonne Maman will do the trick.  Obviously I chose the latter but I am looking forward to experimenting with the fully homemade versions soon.  Just watch this space.

Homemade Pop Tarts

1 sheet of ready rolled shortcrust pastry
1 egg, beaten with a tsp of milk
Bonne Maman raspberry jam (I'm a jam snob)
250g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla 
2 tbs whole milk 
cute sprinkles

Preheat the oven to  175°C and line a baking sheet with parchment.

Unroll your pastry and using a sharp knife cut 8 rectangles, you'll need two for each tart.  Place four of the pastry rectangles on your prepared baking sheet and pop a heaped teaspoon of jam in the middle of each tart.  Sandwich with the tops and using a fork press your edges together to form a seal.

Pain each tart with a thin layer of the egg wash and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.  Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Once cool make your frosting.  Combine the icing sugar with the milk and vanilla and mix to form a thick, spreadable paste.  If it's too thin or thick at this point, add a little more sugar or milk.  Spread each tart with the frosting and scatter with sprinkles.  Enjoy!

28 Jan 2015

National Breakfast Week: Peanut Butter Breakfast Bars

I'm aware that most of the time I go a bit overboard with breakfast posts.  Not everyone is as into pancakes and french toast as I am.  Sometimes you just want something you can grab on your way out the door, that's where these peanut butter breakfast bars come in.  They're quick and easy to make and the best thing is a batch will last two of you a whole week!

Peanut Butter Breakfast Bars

270g rolled oats
270g rice krispies cereal
375g smooth peanut butter
100g plain chocolate chips
200g runny honey
75g light brown sugar
1tsp vanilla extract

Grease and line a 20x30 brownie pan with baking paper or use a disposable foil tray (like this).  Place a large saucepan over a low heat and melt the honey, peanut butter and sugar until combined and runny before adding the vanilla extract.

In a large bowl combine the oats and rice krispies, pour over the wet ingredients and mix together until everything is coated evenly.  Pour into your prepared pan and press down with the back of a spoon to form a lovely even layer.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top and refrigerate until set.

Cut into bars and keep in an airtight tin for a quick and easy breakfast.

27 Jan 2015

National Breakfast Week: Toffee Nut Pancakes

Pancakes, need I say more?  In my eyes there is no breakfast better than the mighty pancake.  I'm always on the lookout for a new and delicious variety, this is my number one Sunday morning treat.

This is a mega indulgent and ridiculously delicious stack of pancakes.  Hooked yet? They're a bit strange as the batter doesn't contain any sugar, instead gaining that super sweet taste from the pulverized toffee pieces.  If you're not much of a morning person you could always make the batter the night before and rest it in the fridge, that way you can have delicious pancakes without the hassle of weighing, cracking and mixing.

Toffee Pecan Pancakes
First posted to Pet Lamb Girls Blog
150g plain flour
50g Ovaltine
1.5tsp baking powder
200ml milk
3tbsp sunflower oil
1 large, free range egg
75g English toffee
75g pecans, toasted
1tbsp butter, melted for frying
Place a large, none stick frying pan over a medium heat and melt 1tbsp of butter.
Put the toffee and pecans in the bowl of a food processor and grind them down till the resemble large breadcrumbs.  Don't worry if you have a few larger chunks of toffee, they'll melt into an ooey gooey treat while cooking the pancakes.
In a large bowl mix all of the dry ingredients together.  Whisk the milk and the egg together in a jug and add to the dry ingredients, mixing until just incorporated.  Add the oil and mix to combine.  If using right away rest the batter for 5 minutes, if making in advance cover the batter with clingfilm and place in the fridge till you are ready for pancakey goodness.
Using a ladle scoop a small portion of batter onto your heated frying pan and cook over a medium heat for around 3 minutes per side.  Look out for bubbles rising to the surface of the batter and  bursting, this is usually a good indication of when to flip your pancake. 
Serve with a scattering of pecans and a drizzle of caramel sauce.

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