• A rolling stone gathers no Moss

    Okay, so I am not sure where the time has gone since I last wrote other than work, Christmas preparations and trying to complete the last miles of my 1000 Mile Challenge have taken up my time.  You will be glad to hear (I certainly am) that I managed to complete my Challenge and the pressure of doing a certain number of miles a week is now over.

    On the cake front, the cherry Bakewell traybake, courtesy of the recipe from Marsha’s Bake Blog is now on the menu.  It is a bit of a labour of love, but seems to be going down well, as well as gives a pop of colour to cake cabinet, thanks to the icing, toasted flaked almonds and the glace cherries.  I recently tried a orange and cranberry loaf, which despite taking a lot longer than suggested to bake, is very tasty indeed, as confirmed by the Big Boss, who pinched the bit of the cake I was testing as he walked passed it in the kitchen and then proceeded to cut himself a rather large slice, which he proceeded to eat as well (okay, he did give me a bit of his second slice as compensation for his earlier theft).  A more even distribution of cranberries is in order next time around.

    On another note, my muffin fan, has ordered 12 orange and chocolate muffins for the 30 December, which I am going into to work on my day off to make.  Speaking of muffins, I did make the 4 orange and chocolate muffins for the customer as requested on the 11 December, but she didn’t come in to collect them.  It was a bit disappointing, but such is life.  We did manage to sell them in the cafe, so all ended well.

    Speaking of customer orders, a week or so back, I was responsible for making four quiches for customer orders, all with different fillings.  All went well, except for the pea, pancetta and ricotta quiche, which didn’t seem to want to cook.  I left the quiche in longer than the recipe suggested and it looked okay, except that the top of the quiche was a little browner than I would have liked, but once I took it out of the oven, the filling shrunk away from the pastry.  In my attempt to ensure that the quiche was cooked, I had unintentionally overcooked it.  I had to redo the quiche, within two hours of the customer collecting it.  My second attempt was much better and worthy of customer consumption – phew.

    It is now 4.45 am and I am going to have to leave writing this blog for a few hours as I want to get into work early today to start the pre-Christmas preparations.  I will make a concerted effort to finish this later before Christmas mayhem descends in the Upton household.  Okay, so I didn’t get back to my blog after work on Saturday.  When I got home, Christmas star biscuits for a biscuit Christmas tree took precedence, as did making pizza dough for dinner.

    Entry on 24 December: It is now 5.27 am on Christmas Eve morning.  My chipolatas with plum jam and sesame seeds are cooking in the oven and my puff pastry is thawing.  I had a bit of an oops moment this morning when I discovered that my husband had forgotten to buy chilled, ready rolled puff pastry yesterday.  My lunch menu revolves around puff pastry so I can’t do much until my puff pastry thaws.  If it hasn’t thawed by 7 am, we will need to visit the local Londis to purchase alternative puff pastry.

    Update on 25 December: Good news, the puff pastry thawed and I managed to make everything I had planned for our Christmas Eve lunch: goat’s cheese, honey and thyme bites; cranberry and Camenbert puffs; turkey and brie rolls; mandarin, spinach and pomegranate salad; Christmas salad; roasted turkey crown; butternut squash and halloumi salad and chipolata sausages in plum jam and sesame seeds.  I should mention that I had a few more oops moments before everything was prepared.  We couldn’t find the cranberry jelly so I had to make some from scratch (thank goodness I had purchased two bags of frozen cranberries as a just in case) – Jo later found the missing cranberry jelly in our car which had been parked at the car hire place, after I had made my own homemade cranberry jelly.  I also ran out of carrots (I accidentally used the carrots for my salad as a base to cook my turkey) and walnuts, so Jo had to rush to the next village to purchase some, just as our guests were arriving.  With all of my oops moments, my lunch was served some 50 minutes late.

    Talking of Christmas, and further to my previous post, Jo and I did go into Bath to do our Christmas shopping. as planned.  In fact, we ran 9 plus miles into Bath from my in-laws house to do our shopping, which helped me to complete my 1000 Miles Challenge.  You will be glad to hear that we did not run back – we were very grateful to my Father-in-Laws offer of a lift, especially considering the number of parcels that we had.  Christmas baking at Lynwood & Co wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped as baking the regular cakes took most of my baking time.  I did try a paneforte, lots and lots of mince pies and some star shaped biscuits.

    On a completely different note, the holiday season is starting to bring celebrities back to Lynwood & Co.   Our sighting of Kate Moss on two occasions in one week has been our highlight, hence inspiring the title for my blog.  She was kind enough to sign the wall in our cafe and complement our coffee at the same time.

    Anyway, I had better sign off as it is now Christmas day and I am being a bit rude writing my blog with my whole family around me.  Merry Christmas.  It is likely now that my next post will be written in the New Year.

  • Christmas trees and jelly tots

    Same old, same old but with a little bit of variation.  As before, the last week or so has flown by; I have good and bad days health wise and I am slowly reducing the miles on my 1000 mile challenge (50 miles to go).   I even managed a trip to the gym on Tuesday morning.  I thoroughly enjoyed doing a bit of OCR gym training again – tyre flipping, TRX, grip strength etc.

    Last time I wrote I had been catering for 50 people at a wine tasting session.  Last week, as suggested in my previous post, I spent a bit of Friday and the whole of Saturday baking Christmas delights for a private function for our customers as part of the turning of the Christmas lights in Lechlade.  I made nutty Florentine bites; countless mince pies and some Christmas tree cookies with jelly tot ‘decorations’, which went down a treat.   There wasn’t anything left at the end of the night.

    Since last I wrote, I can confirm that the lemon, almond and olive oil cake and gingerbread loaf continue to go down well.  I seem to be on a continued roller coaster of making these two cakes.   I did try to zhoosh up the gingerbread with a clementine glaze topped with pistachios and pomegranate seeds but it wasn’t sensible given that the cake is not always eaten immediately.  The gingerbread has gone back to being plain.

    Today, when I visited the Fairford branch of Lynwood for a quick bite to eat in between appointments, I did a little survey of what cakes were selling well.  Carrot cake still seems to be a firm favourite.  But the gingerbread loaf and bread and butter pudding also sold whilst I was there.  I was listening to a customer who was tucking into a piece of carrot cake with her partner (I wasn’t eavesdropping, l promise, I was doing a bit of market research).  Not long after they started eating the carrot cake, they called time on the sharing.  A bread and butter pudding with all the trimmings was ordered.  The lady continued eating the carrot cake, declaring that it was ‘too good to share’ and the gentlemen devoured the bread and butter pudding.

    Although the muffins went down well with some customers, they have been taken off the menu for a while as they weren’t selling as quickly as we had hoped. That being said, the gentleman who has complemented me on my muffins before, not only complemented me on the lightness of my muffins after tasting my latest offering, orange and chocolate muffins, but also suggested that he liked the cherry Bakewell muffins.  Despite all this choice, hIs favourite is still the orange and cranberry muffins.  Also, no sooner than the muffins had been taken off the menu, did one of our regular customers ask for four of the orange and chocolate muffins  for the 11th December.  I will make these as a special for her.   Although the cherry Bakewell muffins have been taken off the menu, it is likely that cherry Bakewell will appear in another guise shortly, a cherry Bakewell traybake.  I tried out an Allrecipe recipe yesterday and although it was delicious to taste, it didn’t have any raising agent in it and as such did not have much height.

    I am planning on trying out an alternative recipe from  Marsha’s Bake Blog, which substitutes half of the ground almonds with self raising flour.   This substitution should give the bake the height it needs to compete with the other cakes in the display case.  Subject of course to the Head Chef’s approval.

    Other than this,  I haven’t much else to tell you.  I need to knuckle down and get my Christmas shopping done.  In fact as I write my final words on this post, Jo is packing the car for a trip to Bath to see the in laws and to do our Christmas shopping tomorrow.  Although I say that I need to knuckle down, I have actually wrapped up all the Christmas presents I have bought to date, bar one.   On the subject of Christmas, I am looking forward to putting some Christmas bakes on the menu for the next 23 days.