Four Winters – London

When you’re friend loves ice cream you obviously have to find a new place to take her each time! Thankfully for me the Meringue Girls, who I’m absolutely in love with, where doing a collaboration with Four Winters. So my mind was made for me – Meringues and Ice Cream, with a Christmas theme, perfect!

 

Four Winters have just opened a new store in Soho, London which made the perfect location for a stop before the theatre! So a bit about them…they use the best ingredients they can and change their flavours seasonally. I believe they started in the Jordan and their first store in the U.K. was Kensington! They use liquid nitrogen to freeze the cream right in front of you whisking it to a smooth ice cream in the beautiful KitchenAid.

The Soho store was great, the lady was so friendly and didn’t mind my one hundred photos and questions! I obviously went for the Meringue Girl’s mince pie colab and my friend went for a smore. It was amazing! So smooth! And with a whole mince pie in you couldn’t wish for more! I highly recommend going before it becomes too popular as I can see it taking a while to make each one!

Sorry this was short, been getting ready for Christmas and holiday! Off to Cuba now (literally on the plane!) have a great Christmas!

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Meet me in the Morning – Yet another great cafe in Dublin 8

As you walk down Pleasants Street you can be forgiven for thinking img_20161002_110157that there was so no café and it was just a row of houses but keep an eye out for the A-Board outside! Head in and wait to be seated. I advise to try to get one upstairs, which has been newly done due to demand, if its cold out, people don’t seem to want to close the door when they come in. Neither do the staff for that matter! It’s bright with a large window at the front and gives that simplistic home feeling with about half a dozen tables downstairs. As I’m sure you worked out I didn’t go upstairs so can’t tell you what it’s like up there! Head over repetitively early if you’re hoping to have breakfast in, it gets pretty busy, especially at the weekend.
20161206_104104Order your coffee and peruse the menu, it changes depending on what’s in season. It’s relatively small but I think that’s brilliant! Why does a menu need to be massive, surely fewer options are better cooked and prepared than a massive menu where a lot of it will have been precooked or pre-packaged!?! Where possible they seem to use organic, Irish produce which is always good to see. I love when companies, big or small, support each other when they can.

 

The first time we went it was glorious sunshine making it super warm next to the window (perfect in my eyes!). I had pancakes, this year I seem to be obsessed with them, I think I’ve eaten more this year than I have in the past 5 years! I used to only have them on Shrove Tuesday, now it’s every time they are on the menu. They were almost like an apple crumble pancake and it was amazing, though not for those who don’t 20161203_102525like sweet treats. They were so filling which is great way to set yourself up for a day of walking! The Boy went for potato hash with two poached eggs. He didn’t share, which meant when I took my parents there recently I had to get it to see what it was like. Though this might have just been because the pancakes had been taken off the menu, devastated!! The Potato Hash I had was made with pumpkin, potato hash, TWO poached eggs and pickled onion. It was delicious! The two men, also had the potato hash, added salami to theirs for an extra €2.50 while my mother went for the “Gubbean Chorizo Hot Pot” – a spicy chorizo “stew” for want of a better word, with peppers, tomatoes and rustic bread! They were all beautifully presented which is always great to see, even when the place is busy the chef seems to take pride in each dish he makes. It’s safe to say we all completely cleared our bowls and were all stuffed after. They also have delicious looking baked goods on the counter, take one away if you’re going for a walk after!

I wouldn’t say it was super expensive, but it wasn’t cheap either…I guess what I mean is they had the pricing exactly right for what they are serving – good, well prepared Irish independent food. You can see the care in every aspect of the café, every detail seemed to have been thought about!

Meet Me in the Morning was a perfect start to my parents time over here in Dublin and it kept us going until well into the afternoon which is exactly what you need when you’re having a tour of Dublin by your daughter. By the end of their time here they were still saying this was their favourite breakfast spot, maybe even their favourite meal…

I highly recommend heading over here! And I know will definitely be heading back again…whether on my own or with more visitors!

 

 

Andrew’s Mars Bar Crispies

So it’s coming up to Christmas which means I start to get requests from the family what to bake when I come home. This isn’t a Christmas recipe at all, it just happens to be my brother-in-law’s all-time favourite thing I make. At every opportunity possible he asks for it – I think it might even make it into his Wedding Dessert Table! It makes me smile how the thing he likes most in the simplest thing in my “cookbook”! It shows that things don’t always have to have all the frills on to be considered a great recipe. I enjoy making it and I love how excited he gets. So for me these Mars Bar Cakes have become all about him and without fail whenever I make them I send him a photo! So this great recipe is dedicated to my Brother-in-Law…

They are best eaten on the day they are made but do last a few days in an air sealed container (well that’s if there are any left!). Now pop the kettle on and get baking!

img_20160124_133601Andrew’s Mars Bar Crispies –

Ingredients

7 Mars Bars

170g Butter

170g Rice Crispies

300g Milk Chocolate, Melted

Method

Line a L34.5 x W24.4 x D2cm baking tray. You can use a smaller one if you want them a little thicker. Cut the mars bars into small chunks and place into a saucepan with the butter. Melt on a low heat continually stir so that it doesn’t catch and burn. This is actually why my brother-in-law gets me to make them, my sister is too impatient and has burnt the mars bars on many occasions! So remember really slow and steady wins this race!

In a large mixing bowl, pour in the rice crispies and make a well in the middle. Pour in the melted mars bars mix. Using a metal spoon, mix it together until the rice crispies are completely coated. Spoon the mixture into the baking tray and lightly press it down, insuring you get it into the corners. While this is cooling, melt the chocolate until it is silky smooth with no lumps.This can be done either in the microwave in 30 second intervals or in a glass/heat proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water ensuring the bowl does not touch the water. Pour the chocolate over the mars bar crispies. Leave to set before cutting into squares, either bit size or bigger if you’re feeling a little greedy.

The Cake Cafe, Dublin 

​The Cake Café (http://www.thecakecafe.ie/) has the cutest sun trap court yard with a lot colourful tables which is why I was drawn to go here. I found myself a table inside next to the window thinking outside might may be too chilly. I promptly spent the next 30 minutes melting in the sun! But it was nice regardless. Better too warm than too cold in my world. They have all there cakes and sweet treats displayed up on the counter making it impossible to say no to something. I follow them on Instagram and saw they made meringues with lemon curd in the morning, I had to try them. I have to say it was a little pricy. It was €7.05 for the meringue and an oolong tea. Don’t get me wrong it was beautiful but felt that it was a bit much. I do understand why, they make all there cakes in their bakery with Irish ingredients but yes, a bit much this time. The lemon curd was perfectly sharp which complimented the sweetness of the meringue. And I always love fresh fruit with my meringue, it reminds me of my Nanna at Christmas time. The oolong tea was nice, nothing really to report it was just nice. With all the beautiful crockery it was shame that the tea pot was just plain white. It felt as if they almost forgot that people would order anything other than their cakes and just picked a random teapot with no thought or feeling. I felt this took away from the rest of the café. Even if it had just been one block colour it would have been better than the plain white. It would have felt as if they wanted everything to be pretty instead of just the one plate. 

A definite plus side of the bakery is that it’s environmentally friendly! They use rain water to flush there toilets. Its might not seem like much but it’s great seeing cafes make an effort because in the end a small thing is always better than nothing. 

The plate that it was served on was gorgeous. As soon as I finished I had to flip it over to see who it was made by! I was curious if you could buy it from them. Designed by Pony Ltd (http://www.ponybox.co.uk/words/) for the café I knew I was on to something. The design, “A tale of city-crossed lovers”, is available to buy from the cake café online store for €16. When I’m rich I might have to get myself one. They also do a lovely range of other bits such as tea towels, aprons and cushions. They do whole cakes in a range of sizes and flavours as well as savoury platters. They even do prosecco if you’re feeling a bit fancy.

In all, it was nice…and I’ve used that and lot I feel while writing this, it’s just because it was exactly that – nice. There wasn’t anything wrong with it, there just wasn’t anything amazing about it either…