Saturday, 25 October 2014

Brush with the past.

Just over a week until the end of the 2014 season.
Sweepings from the conservatory floor can tell the story of the year.
Obviously we sweep up a good deal (promise) but the floor is paved and there are plenty of grooves for things to get stuck. So most sweepings gather a piece or two of confetti from the wedding in August, a shiny cut out "50" from a party in early October, a similar cut out "Congratulations" from a wedding anniversary. We've held children's parties, U3A lunches, gardening group teas, 21st, 50th, 80th & 90th birthday gatherings.
Next year we have a wedding and a Golden Wedding anniversary party already booked in.
More confetti? More little shiny 50s to sweep up?

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Taking the biscuit.

Twelve members of Oxford Probus group came for lunch and tea today with a visit to the church and crypt squeezed in between.
I went in early to make oatmeal and raisin cookies to go with their tea and to serve tomorrow morning. Tomorrow morning we'll be opening early to make SIXTY hot chocolates for a visiting school group.
SIXTY hot chocolates with marshmallows.
Deep breath...

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.