Monday, 20 October 2014

Eggs is eggs

A young couple came in to order lunch. They had left a third member of their party at a table outside.
"She's vegan," they said, scanning the menu, "so she's going to have a jacket potato with homemade coleslaw."
The coleslaw, I had to point out, is in mayonnaise. Which isn't vegan. What about baked beans instead?
"That's ok," they said, "she's desperate.
And she doesn't like beans."

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Not a sundae

82 to go.
At this rate I'll be eating it myself...

Friday, 17 October 2014


Ice cream eaters of the world, we need you.
Tubs of chocolate, strawberry, vanilla and mint choc chip await visitors this weekend and I have 92 to get through in the next two weeks.
The temperature is meant to be high (18 degrees tomorrow) which must bode well.
But at this moment it's pouring with rain.
So good luck to us with that one.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

A spoke in the wheel

We've formed a sort of pattern on these quiet, rainy days.
We open up, turn everything on, set everything out, bake and cook as necessary and then we wait.
And we try to decide whether this will be the day when no one comes.
It was like this yesterday.
But I had a plan.
I'd make a batch of witches' brew soup (pumpkin, cumin, cinnamon) and some chocolate fairy cakes which will become spider cakes (red laces for legs, mini marshmallows for eyes) and by the end of the day I'd feel we'd achieved something.
And then the ladies came.
All in pink and black lycra.
From a cycling club.
"There are fourteen of us," said the first cyclist.
"There are only two of us," I answered, hoping they weren't in a hurry.
They all ordered individually and in their wake came more people.

So much for my plan.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Free and Easy

One of the jobs on my winter list is always to try new cake recipes.
This year will be slightly different because one of my sons was diagnosed this year with coeliac disease so I am becoming obsessed with gluten-free baking.
And despite not yet being closed for winter I have begun in earnest.
We've always offered gluten-free cake at the tea rooms and we have a great choice on most days - carrot (with orange and sultana), lemon & poppyseed, banana (which we drizzle with a toffee sauce) and ginger & lemon. Then there's the chocolate & praline cluster which makes an appearance on occasions. Good occasions.
Last week a regular visitor suggested a lemon drizzle cake she'd found which is made with mashed potato. I got over the initial (ridiculous) revulsion and made it at home. Utterly delicious. It's a Good Food recipe easily found online.
Then yesterday I made a gf pumpkin cake with a cream cheese topping. Way too good to be seen as a second-class citizen of the cake world.
And grating pumpkin flesh is rather satisfying.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Season's Greetings

It is wet and dreary.
I almost wish we weren't open at all.
Although we did have a handful of people in for lunch and another handful for tea and cake.
Those who came used the tables closest to the radiators.
We closed up at 3.30 when it was so dull it felt like night was falling.
I had spent much of the day with my hands round a hot mug of tea.

Kate and Gareth, who are getting married next summer, came to talk details and alterations. We're catering their afternoon tea reception in a marquee in the garden and it was really hard to imagine a lovely warm sunny day in July. Their smiles and palpable excitement helped.
As they left they wished me a happy Christmas.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Eat, drink, be merry. And eat again.

A Saturday which felt like a Sunday.
In a good way.
Lots of children around therefore plenty of ice cream sold.
Lots of lovely groups and couples eating cake and drinking tea and quite a lot of hot chocolate.

Customer of the day came early and ordered lunch for him and three others. He asked the size of the panini. He was hungry, he assured me. I assured him they were a good size, and he could always order more later.
He ate his panini (bacon, brie and cranberry) and was back to order quiche of the day (tomato and pecorino). When I took it to him he was devouring the leftovers of his friend's jacket potato (cheese and beans).
I looked at him quizzically. "I've been up a long time," he answered, "and I'm starving."
No kidding.