October 11th, 2013 | | permalink
Inspired by the enchanting scents of the Middle East, Crabtree & Evelyn’s Night Garden fragrance collection has the power to let your mind drift to distant shores and pastures. Test your senses further by exploring the aromatic flavours of the East with our London restaurant guide…
Mixing rustic sun-drenched flavours from Spain with exotic spices of Northern Africa and the Middle East, the food at Moro is wholesome yet tantalizing. The mezze dishes are fun to share on a ‘date night’. Be sure to order the Moroccan bread salad with Argan oil – and for desert, the rosewater and cardamom ice cream is dreamy. Moro is located in Exmouth Market in North London, which is a lovely area to explore for independent fashion and lifestyle boutiques. For more info see: www.moro.co.uk
Wear… Ottoman Rose is like dancing in a storm of rose petals on a dusky exotic evening.
This fresh, modern brassiere is the brainchild of the team behind cult eatery Ottolenghi. The menu is inspired by both Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine and split into fish, meat and vegetarian options. Stand-out dishes are the spiced chickpea pasties, coconut and leaf curry sauce and for desert, the sticky rice, brown coconut jam and caramelised banana. Situated on 21-22 Warwick Street in Soho, NOPI is the perfect place to pick up a pre-theatre bite to eat.
For more info visit: www.nopi-restaurant.com
Wear… Assam Oudh proves opposites attract with a blend of citrus and smoky notes for an eclectic air of elegance.
Inspired by an Indian ‘thieves market’, Chor Bizarre romantically twinkles with coloured glass lanterns, and is choc-a-bloc with interesting antiques. The menu has an emphasis on Kashmiri cuisine and is said to be the only restaurant outside Kashmir offering the legendary 36-course feast ‘Wazwan’. There’s also a tea bar, which serves 30 types of tea from Assam to Kasmiri Kehwa. Located on Albemarie Street in Mayfair, Chor Bizarre is a fabulous establishment to refuel and relax after a hard day shopping. For more info visit: www.chorbizarre.com
Wear… Kashmir Musk is as luxurious as being wrapped up in the finest cashmere jumper on a breezy Arabian night.
If you’re on a mission to sample some of the best Persian cuisine in London, check out the authentic dishes at Alounak. The food is reasonably priced at around £25 per person for a meal, and you can also bring your own bottle. There are branches of the restaurant at 44 Westbourne Grove in Notting Hill and 10 Russell Gardens in Kensington. Alounak is a great place to go for a mid-week treat with a group of friends.
Wear… Persian Thé is like drinking a smoky cup of tea at the top of a cool misty mountain, and watching the clouds float by.
June 18th, 2013 | | permalink
It’s time to practice your backhand and stock up on strawberries and cream, because tennis season is here. Whether you’ll be watching The Wimbledon Championships (24 June – 7 July) from centre court or from your sofa, the London suburb of Wimbledon is well worth a visit. Take a look at our top 5 suggestions of things to see and do in the area…
Visit the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum
Even if you weren’t lucky enough to get tickets to the Wimbledon Championships this year, there’s always the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum. The latest exhibition Tennis on the Riviera features memorabilia depicting tennis on the French Riviera from 1890s – 1930s. The main collection boasts 15,000 tennis related objects from toys to teapots – the oldest artefact dates from 1555.
For further info visit: www.wimbledon.com
Go horse riding
Ditch the tube and saddle up at the Wimbledon Village Stables, which has been a horse riding school for over 100 years.
While Wimbledon is only a short journey from the city, there are more than 3,000 acres of countryside in the surrounding commons and nearby Richmond Park to explore on horseback. The perfect way to make the most of the green space London has to offer.
For further info visit: www.wvstables.com
Go to the theatre
If you’re after a relaxing evening of entertainment away from the hustle and bustle of the city, check out The New Wimbledon Theatre. The Edwardian building is stunning, and it’s only a short walk from Wimbledon Station. Dreamboats and Petticoats the musical will be running from 29 July – 3 August, and promises to be a fun-filled show.
For further info visit: www.agttickets.com
Visit the Windmill Museum
Wimbledon Common isn’t just a great spot for a picnic or taking the dog for a walk, it’s also home to the fascinating Windmill Museum. Built in 1871, the windmill was fully operational until 1864 and the building now houses a museum of windmills and exhibits on local history and the Scouting movement. Look out for the Womble memorabilia in the gift shop.
For further info visit: www.wimbledinwindmill.org
Shop until you drop
If you’re after unusual gifts, explore the delights of Wimbledon Village, from eclectic homeware to unique dresses there’s something for everyone. Every Saturday from 9am-1pm you can pick up fresh fruit and veg at Wimbledon Farmers’ Market at Wimbledon Park Primary School. Also, pop into the Crabtree & Evelyn store at the Centre Court Shopping Centre to stock up on goodies. Our Strawberry & Cream biscuits are a must-try!
What are your favourite Wimbledon hot spots? Tell us in the comments box below…
May 14th, 2013 | | permalink
Dig out your favourite apron, dust off those scales and raid your store cupboard. World Baking Day is almost here (19 May) and encourages people to step out of their comfort zone, by choosing to bake one of the 100 cakes on the event’s website, which have been submitted by cooks from all over the globe. At no. 1 on the list, Banana Muffins are for the kitchen novices, while the show-stopping Cream Puff Cake at no. 100 is for those very brave bakers.
The Vanilla, Strawberry & Rose Victoria Sponge took my fancy (level 66), but I decided to add my own take on it. Yes, I have baked many sponge cakes in my time. However, I must confess that recently I’ve been suffering from the curse of the dreaded soggy bottom! That’s why I wanted to go back to basics. For ease, I did an all-in-one recipe and my unique twist on the cake involves a blueberry jam filling and drizzle.
I’m proud to say my Blueberry Jam & Drizzle Victoria Sponge was a resounding success (next stop Cream Puff Cake?). Here’s how to make it…
4 eggs (weighed in their shells)
Soft margarine (same weight as the eggs)
Caster sugar (same weight as the eggs)
Self-raising (same weight as the eggs)
Drizzle and filling
Half a jar of Crabtree & Evelyn Blueberry Preserve
1 tbs margarine
2 tbs Belvoir Blueberry & Blackcurrant Cordial
50g icing sugar
A handful of rose petals (or you could use fresh blueberries)
1. Set the oven to Gas Mark 4, 160C (fan oven), 180C or 360F. Grease and line 2 x 8inch sandwich tins.
2. All the cake ingredients need to weigh the same amount. First weigh the eggs in their shells. I used duck eggs fresh from the farm and they weighed 8oz, so I made sure the margarine, sugar and flower weighed 8oz, too. The beauty of using duck eggs is that they have bigger yolks and make for a delicious golden sponge.
3. Make life easy for yourself by doing an all-in-one cake mixture. Crack the first egg in to a small bowl to make sure it’s a good egg, and add it to a food processor, KitchenAid, or a large bowl (you’ll need an electric whisk to beat the ingredients together). Repeat until all four eggs are cracked, then add the margarine, the sugar and sieve in the flour.
4. Mix all the ingredients together until they are pale, light and fluffy as a day old chick!
5. Using a large spoon dollop the cake mixture into the tins so it’s equally distributed. Smooth over with a spatula.
6. Bake the cakes for 20-25 minutes until they are golden and spring back to touch.
7. Leave the cakes to cool in their tins and then press them out onto a wire rack for further cooling.
8. Once the cakes have reached room temperature, put one half on a lovely large plate and spread half a jar of C&E Blueberry Preserve on to it (use more if you’re feeling lavish). Place the other half of the sponge on top.
9. Now for the really fun part, the drizzle! Pop the margarine, icing sugar and cordial into a bowl and whisk until all of the ingredients are combined. Pour onto the center of the cake and let the drizzle work its magic. To make the Victoria sponge look super-pretty and fit for a queen, scatter rose petals on top and dust with icing sugar.
Will you be taking part in World Baking Day? If so, tell us all about your cakey creations in the comments box below or on Crabtree & Evelyn’s Facebook page.