Cake break @ Zugspitzplatt

So mum and I came down from the windswept summit of Zugspitz by hopping on the cable car again.

Say hi to the climbers!

 

We found out that a return cogwheel train back to Eibsee had just left, therefore, there was another half hour wait for the next one. ‘Shall we have some tea & cake?’ We headed to a cafeteria.

The interior of the cafe was very Tyrolean.

Mmmm, there are so many moreish looking cakes…

I must say that the cost of food and drink up the Zugspitzplatt was rather high. I can’t remember exactly how much we paid for two cakes and two mugs of coffee but it was more than a double we paid normally in Germany. However, transporting all the supplies up the mountain didn’t come cheap and which must have reflected on the prices in the cafeteria.

It was around 11 o’clock when we queued at the till behind a group of workmen with high-visibility jackets and srturdy work boots. Unlike our tray with just coffee and cake, their trays were laden with plates of pasta and meatballs, a proper construction worker’s grub.

Our morning treat after being beaten by the wind.

Can you see how huge their cake was? And they were delicious too.

We chilled out at the cafe much longer than we first intended because their (pricy) coffee was very agreeable.

Now, we must get back to the car and travel to Salem, I urged mum. The place was 194 km away from Eibsee and the journey was expected to take four hours, therefore, we couldn’t do dilly-dally too long.

Bye bye, Zugspitzplatt.

We left the cafe and headed to the cogwheel terminal…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Topping up the Ozone

The 28th was dry but also rather cold. We were a little bored with being stuck at home, and Hubbie needed to buy a new cable release for his Canon. Therefore, we decided to brace the weather and to go out.

First and foremost, we must have some lunch before diving into the swirl of bargain hunters on Oxford Street, hence we made a beeline to Ozone Coffee Roasters on Leonard Street.

My Eggs benedict on autumn bubble ‘n’ squeak cakes with hollandaise. I opted for Kupros halloumi…

Mmmm, I adore the way soft egg yolk cascades down and seeps into the bubble and squeak. The dish was divine.

Our well-behaved Bella, curling up on my Pendleton jacket and having a nap throughout.

For dessert, we shared a piece of Lammington cake…

I have been a huge fan of this Aussie cake ever since I had one at Department of Coffee and Social Affairs off Carnaby Street. Despite the robust and somewhat solid appearance, the cake is surprisingly light and delicate. The one we had at Ozone was rather unconventional because the patissier used raspberry sauce for coating instead of chocolate sauce. The resulting treat was even lighter than a traditional version, and it was a perfect dessert after a hearty main dish.

After we finished our lunch in a leisurely manner, we headed to the West End. As we expected, Oxford Street was mega-busy. The pavements along the thoroughfare were heavily packed with a mass of slow moving shoppers, and they were totally unsuitable for letting an excitable puppy walk on a leash. ‘Ok, I will have to carry her.’ I picked her up and cradled in my arms while we negotiated through the crowd. Bella weighed mere 2.2kg, but holding her, like a guard presenting a rifle vertical in front of the body so Bella’s head would not be knocked by the oncoming traffic, started to feel like carrying a sack of bricks towards the end of our shopping expedition. Oh Bella, I didn’t know you were so heavy…

You mean I should go on diet?

Or you should do more push-ups to beef up your arms, mummy.

Yup, the point taken, Bella the Milkman…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Feeling Most Portly…

2015 has arrived after a raucous firework display, which scared the hell out of poor Mr.B, and I feel most definitely portly this gloomy grey wintery morning.
All those indulgence passed through my lips during the festive season definitely have taken up permanent residences here and there around my body! Eek!! How am I gonna do with this emerging muffin top? Well, I have a strategy – eating less & exercising more. And I must stick to it so my face won’t change into a muffin. Ahh…

These following exhibits were some of the sins consumed since last week.
A crazy cute Battenberg from Albion with my new headphones before disappearing into oblivion…

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And another banana & walnut cake with my copy of Magnum Contact Sheet…

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A gigantic chicken escalope with salad in a bap which was ordered at Shepherdess the greasy spoon. I did order it with salad, not with cheese. A small brownie points to be noted…

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A pan full of homemade meatballs pasta. Mmmmm…

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This murky concoction in the pot was actually lamb stew which I decided to make on impulse in order to keep my sleepiness at bay yesterday afternoon…

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I felt so sluggish and would have succumbed to the temptation of stretching out on a sofa for a leisurely nap. However, there would always be a risk of a short nap turning into a serious slumber and it would sap my will to go out in the evening. I was invited to my neighbour’s party and it would be a mighty shame if I missed it.
As I peeled and chopped carrots, celeries, onions, leeks and parsnips, the smells released from freshly prepared vegetables did help me to perk up.

Look, what I saw at my friend’s New Years’s do…

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Isn’t her headdress fabulous?

And at last, my belated greeting.
A happy new year to everyone! Wish 2015 to be happier, more successful and prosperous for all of us!! XXX

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Best Mince Pie Award (by me)

As Christmas-related paraphernalia starts to invade every corner of our sights, especially November onward, so are mince pies which proliferate on the shelves of every bakery and coffee shop like a bunch of mushrooms in the autumn forests.
I gorge on them every winter not because I am very fond of them but because they are seasonal and the only time they are available is…NOW!

Firstly, I tried the one by Duchy of Cornwall, a brand created by Prince Charles. They were available in upmarket supermarkets and sold at £4.00 for a box of six. While their counterparts were priced at between £1.00 to £2.50, the Duchy’s pastry was significantly more expensive. Was their price tag justified? I am afraid not. The amount of the filling was much less than I expected and also it was consisted of too much sultana. The pastry casing was ok but also nothing remarkable. I don’t think I will buy them in future.
Another posh one I tried was from Fortnum & Mason. I tried it when I visited Somerset House with Hubbie. At their tea room within the Christmas Market, a pair of mince pies were offered with brandy butter. So I tried them with a mug of mulled cider. My verdict? Mmmm…, the shortbread crust was too thick and the filling was, how should I put it…, “gluey”. I really don’t think it will be worth parting with my precious £12.95 for six of this.
Then, I came across my winner by chance the other day.
I was sauntering around Shoreditch and decided to have a latte break at SCP on Curtain Road. There was a mince pie by St.John on display and I was intrigued by its rather rustic appearance. The top of the pastry was shiny and plump. I had had enough of the false pretence produced by de luxe brands by then. So I resolved to give another try to this artisan mince pie before going back to buying more down-to-earth cakes…

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I had my first mouthful and I loved it! The filling was fresh and crunchy in a good way. I could feel the texture of the filling – apple, sultanas, currants, lemon, orange, almond mixed exquisitely with cinnamon and nutmeg. The pastry casing was robust enough to hold the generous filling without being too hard nor heavy. It was probably one of the best mince pies I had ever tasted!
If you happen to be around Shoreditch, Clerkenwell or Bermonsey this winter, pay a visit to St.John’s bakery and try their pastry. And let me know what you think…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Flat White Face-off @ Old Street

It was the biggest dismay and disappointment of my recent days! A wholesaler who had been supplying yarns for my work informed me that one of the particular yarns I loved to work with was discontinued. It was Rowan’s Drift range and they were gorgeous! How could this happen?! The phone call left me speechless. I still don’t know what the range is replaced with nor what they look like. I am just praying they will not be garish and bilious…

I am still cowering behind closely shut windows and doors most days of the recent weeks due to pesky pollens drifting in full force. Even though I am limiting the time I spend outside when it’s sunny and taking antihistamine diligently every morning. my nose is still partially blocked and my eyes are easily irritated. I am very sorry to moan incessantly like this but I do hate spring & early summer!!! Next year, I will give a local honey therapy a shot instead of dosing myself with drugs, sprays & drops…

By the way, a cup of exquisitely brewed flat white is one thing which lures me out of this self-imposed seasonal exile. If a tasty treat is ensured to accompany the palm-size velvety froth with brown ripple, I am willing to come out of my den, clutching a pair of sunglasses!
Since the area around Old Street is reputed to be the Silicone Valley of Britain, the number of coffee shops, with well-trained baristas, aiming to cater for those tech-savvy folks have surged like islets of daffodils in the springtime. Shoreditch Grind, OZone, Salvation Jane, Look Mum No Hand, Timberyard, Fix…etc, you name it. There is a cluster of seriously good coffee places in my neighbourhood. And amongst them, my particular favourites are Shoreditch Grind and Timberyard.

Flat white at Shoreditch Grind

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I must say, Shoreditch Grind’s flat white is the smoothest and the tastiest for me. Rich yet devoid of bitterness. The aroma envelopes my nose like a dream. I just love it.

As I savoured this amber coloured concoction, Old Street Roundabout was jettisoning cars like a pinball machine…

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I also enjoyed a small pastry filled with chocolate….

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The flavour of the filling was intense without being too fatty or sugary. The right amount of bitterness was there to complement the sweetness of the biscuit.

Can I taste it too?

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I am afraid not, sweetie. Chocolate is no-no for doggie.

A coffee break at Timberyard with Hubbie. I had flat white and a giant cookie…

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Hubbie & I both agree that our favourite flat white has to be Shoreditch Grind’s,. A counterpart at Timberyard comes very close but the aftertaste of each swig leaves a touch of bitterness on our tongues which we don’t find favourable. Therefore, it has to be our runner-up. However, their cakes, which are piled up around the serving counter, are absolutely divine though….

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A slab of their breakfast cookie. I used to be not so keen on cookies. However, their scrumptious discs have swept aside my lifelong reservation.

Another coffee & cake moment at Timberyard one Saturday afternoon. We had flat white with raspberry almond slice and chocolate cherry square…

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As usual, Hubbie grumbled that he was not a big fan of chocolaty treat but he was obviously lying. Because his fork was constantly landing on my chocolate cherry square and curving out a substantial morsel each time! Oh, the cake was delicious. The tangy cherry bits helped to enhance the flavour of the dark rich chocolate batter, creating this disarmingly regular-looking cake an absolute star.
I don’t think they bake their sweets on site but must have a very good supplier.

Can I have a bit of almond slice?

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I shall remind Hubbie to leave some for you before he cleans the plate…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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