Archive of ‘Cambridge’ category

Sweeteasy – Cakes and Cocktails

Last Friday we spent a very civilised and yummy evening at Afternoontease’s Sweeteasy event. You may have heard me mention Afternoontease before – who does have a name, her name is Jo and she is a local Cambridge baker supplying her delicious layer cakes to lots of cafes locally, and she is also one half of the Platelickers supperclub duo. Jo also hosts Sweeteasy, which is a simple but excellent concept – cocktails paired with cakes.

Everything is homemade, with the exception of the spirits of course – Jo makes the cakes, brownies and other sweet treats and also concocts purees and infusions from to go into the cocktails.

We started off with a Gooseberry & Elderflower Fool Martini. It was made with gooseberry puree from Jo’s parents garden which was perfumed with locally picked Elderflower, then mixed with gin and served in wide cocktail glasses. Gin is one of my least favourite things but this cocktail was great, the gin was perfumed but in a good way, and the sweet fruit puree worked so well. This was matched with Bramble Friands – light sponge cakes made with ground almonds and whisked eggs whites, they were finished with a blackberry and gin glaze.

Next up was Honey Bourbon Milk Punch – my favourite of the evening – Honey bourbon mixed with a little nutmeg and then milk, served in cute little mini milk bottles. We had these with chunky stout brownies, made with Hot Numbers Coffee Stout, brewed by Moonshine Brewery. These were proper brownies, no messing around, dense and tall with a great crispy top.

After this we had Limoncello Tiramisu, something I clocked immediately when the menu was presented to us, and it didn’t disappointed. It was served as a lemon mascarpone zabaglione in a little teacup with two homemade sponge fingers on the side, dusted with icing sugar. A shot of limoncello served in a cute little wax seal bottle was served with it.

Finally, to round things off, was a warming Fruitcake Infused Rum Daquiri. Jo explained to us that this was a proper daquiri, none of the terrible crushed ice and overly sweet fake fruit. Instead it was made with proper rum (infused with dried fruits and spices), lemon juice and a cube of ice.  This was the Mr’s favourite of the night.

I thoroughly enjoyed Sweeteasy, I’m just getting into cocktail making and Jo’s evening gave me a really good idea of the kind of flavours that work well. None of the cocktails were too overpowering – in sweetness or alcohol and Jo has some amazing ideas for combinations. And I definitely think that cakes should be paired with cocktails more often, why do we always have savoury nibbles when we can have cake?

You can find out more about Jo’s cakes and events on her site here.

The Linton Kitchen

Linton has been crying out for some interesting food options for ages! It’s a pretty village south of Cambridge with lots of chocolate box cottages winding down their high street, and now the street is peppered with some interesting places to eat and shop. First there was Jigsaw Bakery, now there is Linton Kitchen, and soon there will be a new butcher’s shop opening.
I worked very close by about 3 years ago and the only things of note nearby were the greasy spoon around the corner and the fact that the nearest BP garage had an M&S food. You can imagine. 
Linton Kitchen is a coffee shop and local produce shop run by Gemma, which opened in April. It’s a small shop packed with local goodies – Kandula tea, Hot Numbers coffee beans, jams, chutneys, oils, eggs, Saffron Ice Cream Co. ice cream and lots more. She even sells local crafts – tea cosies, little fabric clocks and mugs. 
I’d stopped by soon after opening for a coffee and custard tart, but I was keen to go back with the Mr again and to have brunch. 

There are lots of options – centering around traditional breakfast foods – eggs, mushrooms, sausages and of course bacon – the menu changes daily. There are also a selection of sandwiches for lunch and of course there are sweet treats to be had.
We both had the mushrooms on (Jigsaw Bakery sourdough) toast with creme fraiche, and added bacon for me, washed down with an excellent flat white. The quality of everything really shows in Gemma’s food – the mushrooms taste of something, there is a good whack of garlic and the bacon is excellent. You can tell the produce is fresh and well chosen. 
Cakes are baked by Gemma or provided by the lovely Afternoon Tease. There are also housebaked brownies or flapjacks and muffins. You can also find Norfolk St Bakery’s custard tarts for sale, which is rather nice for a Shire dweller like me who finds it difficult to get into the city. She even made my recipe for Banana Oat Cake and had it for sale last week, and it is very popular (beaming). 

The Linton Kitchen has only been open for just over 6 weeks but Gemma has already done so much, there is always something new available (which she tweets about each day) whether it is a new cake or some fresh produce that has just come in. There are local strawberries in this week, the first batch of the summer.
If you’re a little bit further afield it is definitely worth making the trip out to Linton – there is Jigsaw Bakery, Linton Kitchen and then you can go and visit the Zoo as well! And if that isn’t enough you can make lots of Alan Partridge jokes whilst you are there (sadly there isn’t a travel tavern). 
I’m looking forward to being a regular customer, it’s a lovely spot to chill with a coffee and it’s nice to have a proper breakfast / brunch option in the area.
Linton Kitchen
30 High Street 
Linton
Cambridgeshire
CB21 4HS
Open Tues – Saturday (8-6) and Sunday (10-3)

Cambridge Coffee – My 5 Favourite Cafes

I thought up this blog post the other day after pondering just how often I go out for coffee – whether it is a passing caffeine fix on the way to work, a catch up with a friend or a weekend treat for me and the Mr. I think the cafe culture has finally come to the UK, and in a big way, yes a lot of it is Starbucks and Costa (which I do visit, I’m not going to lie) but thankfully there are also lots and lots of great independent cafes doing their thing. I’ve got lots of spots in Cambridge that I love, and these are my five favourites, and regular stops.

1. Gog Magog Hills Cafe

Gog Magog Hills Cafe Farm SHop Cambridge

I think this is the place we frequent the most, usually at the weekend. Their (Monmouth) coffee is excellent, tea is served in lovely sunny yellow teapots, they have a vast and amazing array of cakes. The thing to really mention here are their towering scones, specifically the cheese scones. They are maybe more cheese than scone and this is a most excellent thing. The shop and deli on site are also my favourite places to go for food shopping – whether it be a chunk of cheese, something from the butchers (the merguez lamb sausages), fruit, veg or a little treat from the bakery section. They are also brilliant on Twitter, follow them!

2. Teacake at Shepreth

Teacake at Shepreth

I dedicated a whole blog post to Teacake recently! They are just around the corner from my office so I regularly visit them. They too serve Monmouth coffee, expertly made by Maurice along with loose leaf tea and lcoal fruit juice from Cam Valley Orchards. Christine bakes all their cakes and sweet treats – everything from a traditional Victoria sponge, brownies, flapjacks to something different like chocolate beetroot cake or sticky date cake. They also do sandwiches, soups and salads – they sometimes even smoke their own salmon or ham which is such a change from the usual sad lunch you get when you work 9-5. Their crayfish and mayo sandwich is my favourite lunch choice, and if my to do list is particularly long that day I have a slice of sticky date cake for afters.

3. Hot Numbers

Hot Numbers Cambridge Coffee

A lovely chilled out place to meet with a friend or work if you fancy a change of scenery. They roast their own coffee beans in their ‘Roastery’ and have lots of different options for your coffee – from the traditional espresso machine to their impressive siphon. They also serve tea from my favourite local tea company, Kandula Tea. Cakes are provided by the fantastic Afternoon Tease and there are lots of sweet treats from Fitzbillies, including their legendary Chelsea buns. A truly local cafe! They’ve recently expanded by combining the neighbouring Williams Art gallery with the cafe, so you can sip your coffee amongst some lovely artwork.

4. Waterstones Cafe

Waterstones Cafe Cambridge 2nd View Cafe

So you’re thinking what is Waterstones doing in here amongst the independents? Well, their 2nd view cafe is the perfect super central Cambridge spot for a break from shopping. It’s huge so there is always space and the coffee is great, the WiFi fast and the staff are lovely. It’s so hard to find a good place to go for a decent coffee slap bang in the middle of the shopping area so I’m pleased Waterstones are doing a good job here. Their cakes and sandwiches are ok, nothing to write home about, but the coffee is good so that is the main thing!

5. Greens Coffee, Cambourne

Greens Cafe Cambourne Cappuccino

A little hop out of town this unassuming cafe is quite lovely. They are a cafe during the day and then a cocktail bar at night, perfect! Their cinnamon cappuccino is one of my favourite things ever and they do a lovely spiced apple drink during the Winter months. And of course the cocktails, gorgeous, especially the espresso martini.

So there you have it, I’d love to know of other spots that I can try, I’m always on the lookout. I should also give some honourable mentions to Savino’s (shabby but fab), Le Gros Franck (for mornings), Shelford Deli and Cafe CouCou in Saffron Walden.

My first speaking role – Secluded Blogfest 2013

Blogfest Miss Sue Flay

I’ve agreed to do some public speaking – eek! If you know me then you’ll know public speaking is one of my least favourite things – up there with spiders, other people’s feet, celery and business speak. But whilst the others are clearly good things to loathe, public speaking is actually quite good – I am learning this slowly.

So with this comes the news that I am speaking a the Secluded Blogfest 2013, a fabulous event being run by Miss Sue Flay this Saturday 11th May. I’ll be talking about my journey as a blogger, finding your blogging niche and then passing on some tips for being a great blogger. I’ll be in great company too, here’s who else is talking:

– From Blog to Book; Lynn Hill founder of the Clandestine Cake Club
– Creating Your Social Media Strategy; Ree Ree Rockette from Rockalily Cuts
– Tea and Cake by Mr Cake
– Photography;  the good, the bad and the not so ugly with Lina & Tom of Liquid Photo

The day will also include lunch from Clandestine Gourmet, supperclub hosts who make the most delicious modern European food, I can’t wait. There will also be lots of time for chatting to fellow bloggers, the speakers so it promises to be a really inspirational day. I am also hoping to pick up some tips!

There are just a couple of tickets left, so come along and see my make my speaking debut, I hope I’ll be good! Buy your ticket here.

Jigsaw Bakery – Linton, Cambridgeshire

jigsaw bakery linton

Real bread has come to Cambridge! Since my first visit to the Jigsaw Bakery in Linton a month or so ago I’ve been going along pretty much every weekend for my fix of Matthew’s wonderful bread. The kind of brilliant bread that makes you want to run home as fast as you can and tell your husband about it because it is so good (yes I do always have a nibble of it as I am leaving the shop, naturally). I visited the bakery first during CamShopLocal so here is my promised post, dedicated to it!

currant loaf jigsaw bakery

Matthew Whitby opened the bakery back in November, and I spotted the bakery Facebook page go up just before and watched the progress of the shop being fitted out. He’s part of the Real Bread Campaign – campaigning to bring back proper bread to the UK – handmade without additives or improvers. I’ve heard lots of people compare our bread to the continent and we are lagging behind, has the popularity of the soft white slice made us forget what proper bread is?

jigsaw bakery linton sourdough

Matthew sells a huge variety of bread from his tiny bakery – sourdough, flavoured sourdough, fruit breads, pain de campagne, ryes, wholemeal, breadsticks and even more – plus cakes, puddings and meringues. He also stocks and makes coffee, olive oil, bread flours, chutney and aprons from the lovely Cooking Gorgeous.

We’ve so far tasted the sourdough, pain de campagne, tomato and cheese focaccia, currant malthouse and wild garlic focaccia. The focaccias are mega, and don’t last more than 24 hours in our house. The currant bread and the sourdough keep so well in an airtight container and see us through breakfasts and alongside meals during the week. We’ve yet to try the sweets but I’m sure we will do soon.

Linton is about 10 -15 minutes drive from Central Cambridge, a lovely little village which has some exciting things going on. The Linton Kitchen has recently opened – a beautiful cafe which also sells local produce, and there is a butchers opening soon too. The Crown Inn is a great pub (good pies!) and they even have a little zoo!

If you’re hoping to get some of Matthew’s bread do arrive around opening time (11am) because he does sell out quick. Also, if you drop him a note on Facebook he is happy to reserve a loaf for you, great service!

Jigsaw Bakery
113 High Street
Linton
CB21 4JT
Open Tuesday 11-6, Thursday – Friday 11-6 and Saturday 11 – 4

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