Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Eggs is eggs

In December new food labelling regulations were introduced.
Which mean that my most important winter job is to find a way of telling customers exactly what's in our food. Or rather whether any ingredients from a list of allergens are involved anywhere.
I gave myself a deadline to do this.
End of January.
I started today.
I do have a question, though.
Do I need to write "contains eggs" after "Egg Mayonnaise"?
The law now demands it, but is there a better way of doing it?
Perhaps I should just insert the word "obviously".

Monday, 12 January 2015

Present and correct.

Yesterday I set out on a new path.
I have been thinking for a while that we should stock gift items at the tea rooms. Not souvenirs, but pretty tea towels, scented candles, boxed soaps - that sort of thing.
For when you're sitting having a cuppa with a friend, realise that it's your sister's birthday tomorrow and the options are a) leave the lovely surroundings and your cup of tea and your friend to drive into town to trawl the shops for a present or b) buy a perfectly lovely thing right here and pick up a card while you're at it.
Yesterday I went to the Top Drawer show at Olympia with a friend who fortunately knows about such things. Whilst my husband is keen to help, his knowledge ("noone buys those diffuser things, do they?") could be improved.
Now I'm sitting at the kitchen table (with a cup of tea) surrounded by brochures, catalogues, leaflets and price lists trying to make decisions.
I am enjoying myself thoroughly.

Monday, 10 November 2014


My dad turned 80 this weekend.
He doesn't do cake, never eats puddings, thinks fudge is just awful (I must get the sweet tooth from the other side of the family).
He does, however, like red wine.
Since I don't believe one should have a birthday without cake I made a red wine cake.
I used cream cheese instead of mascarpone and a mix of ground almonds and 
gluten free flour so that my son could eat it. 
It worked.
Even my dad had a slice.

Monday, 3 November 2014

It's a wrap.

So that's it for season five.
It's been a lovely, mainly dry seven months - so different from 2012. The garden really came into its own after so much work was done (not by me) throughout last winter. There are still flowers in bloom as visitors enter the gate and more work is planned for the garden.

We'll reopen on 27th March 2015 which is less than five months away and I have a long list of things to do before then.
Better get started.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Not a piece of cake.

November. Bright, sunny November.
Who'd have thought?
We've defrosted the ice cream freezer and one other ahead of tomorrow's final day of the season and we're well on the way to selling out of all sorts of menu items. Great news for us, not so great for tomorrow's late arrivals.
I spent most of the afternoon at Clifton Village Hall judging the local baking competition - Swiss rolls, Victoria Sponges, Halloween themed showstoppers and fairy cakes, bread and canap├ęs.
I thought it would be easy.
I was so wrong.
I hope I am not volunteered again.

Friday, 31 October 2014


Ice cream all gone.
Now for the euro millions lottery....


It's Halloween.
The tearooms are decorated. There's a pumpkin on a cake stand on the counter and a cauldron full of sweets. There's a witch on the dresser and small bats on the windows. And "Happy Halloween" bunting in case anyone needs it spelled out. Literally.
All but one of the spider cakes have gone so I'm going in to make more this morning. The Witches' Brew soup is made.

Apparently it's going to be 19 degrees today which will make the kitchen like a cauldron.
That's a July temperature and may also make the conservatory tricky to bear. The conservatory was where I was going to set up for the group of 21 dressed-up children and adults who are arriving for lunch at 12 but I fear the heat may make their make-up run. Not a pretty sight. Although that's the point, isn't it?

I only have 16 ice creams left which is great news as we close for the season on Sunday.
But if it were July, 19 degrees and I only had 16 ice creams left I'd be panicking.