Review: East Side, Caterham

When I heard that East Side and independent artisan delicatessen and organic coffee house was opening near us, I was excited.  Finally, a coffee house that was not part of an ever-growing chain.  I was also delighted to hear that it was being opened by one of the teaching assistants from my daughter’s school.  Isn’t it inspiring to hear that people are following their dreams?

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My daughter and I visited East Side on 31st of October and to be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  From following the progress of the shop fitting, I knew that East Side was a deli/coffee house inspired by a New York deli.  Having never been to New York I was delighted to find that it was just like the Big Apple Deli’s of my imagination.

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Decorated in what I would consider an industrial chic style with a mixture of vintage inspired and modern pieces it felt inviting and just a little bit posh.  Rather than pandering to a coffee shop chain, it felt as if each piece of furniture and decoration had been loving chosen with much consideration.   The brick wall look wallpaper and canvases depicting scenes of yellow taxi cabs and city views sparked the imagination and I felt as if I could indeed be in New York.   Add in old blue eye, Frank Sinatra himself crooning in the background and just walking in felt special.  I was also pleased to see that the Halloween decorations were carefully selected and fitted the scheme well.

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East Side is proud of its Ethos which includes providing good quality British produce and fairer than fair trade organic coffee, while being mindful of farm to fork miles and using recyclable packaging wherever possible.  It’s lovely to see so much thought go into an independent enterprise.

15049597_10154469442715659_544774393_nAlthough there were no menus on the tables, was so much on offer via the old-fashioned chalk board and at the counter.  Everything from slices of cake to caramelised onions and goats cheese pies.  Even a few homemade pork pies.   On offer were also a selection of American style sandwiches on bread of your choice.

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Since my daughter is on a dairy free diet, I asked about dairy free options and was delighted to find the owners were very knowledgeable about what was in their products.  They even offered vegan spread for the sandwich.  Gluten free bread options were also available, those with intolerances and allergies will be happy to know.

My daughter enjoyed a malted bread ham sandwich and a blackcurrant cordial.  The ham was thankfully not one of those horrible reconstituted loaves but looked rather like a slice of ham cut straight from a ham joint. It was thick and meaty and tasted delicious.

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I didn’t fancy any of the options on the menu that day and asked if I could have a custom sandwich of bacon, brie and caramelised onion toasted on ciabatta bread and was happily accommodated. It was utterly delicious!  I also had the nicest latte I have possibly ever had.  The coffee had such a smooth flavour and left no bitter after taste like some large coffee chains. The owners informed me that they had tried this coffee blend two years ago and had been so impressed with it they knew they had to serve it in their deli.

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In the fridges, a large selection of local charcuterie and cheeses to buy all of which the owners were happy to talk about and recommend.  There was also local honey and jams.  The fridge by the counter had a large selection of pork pies, pasties, pastries and cakes as well as some gluten free options either to eat in or take away for later.  What a lovely idea to stop in for a coffee but take home a dinner of charcuterie and cheese.  Add a bottle of wine and some crackers and you’ve got a low fuss dinner.

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The only down side I could see is that East Side might not be the best place to take small children.  Being on the snug side, the tables that are perfect for adult dining would not be able to accommodate buggies and there is limited space on the floor for little ones to play.  But on the other hand, it’s not really a kiddie sort of place.

I am so happy to have such a gem in our little town and look forward to my next visit.

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Bright Blessings,

Mrs R

x

 

I’ve been featured!

I’m so thrilled!

I’ve been featured in an article over at The Conscious Goddess in an article on self love.  If you haven’t heard of The Conscious Goddess is the brain child of Tammra Broughton then you must check out their website on the link above but here’s a blurb from their website.

 

The Conscious Goddess is a co-creative events & production company that works with conscious visionaries who require support in making their online or offline events more visible, purposeful and conscious! 


The Conscious Goddess is a comprehensive resource for educating conscious entrepreneurs on how to make their events a big success with as little imprint on the earth as possible while at the same time, making a big impression about what they stand for.

How exciting!

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

xxx

Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Raisin Baked French Toast

Hello my lovelies

I’ve been testing recipes again because I’ve been scouting around Pioneer Woman‘s website.  Oh my word, if you have not been to her website, you must run at turbo speed, do not walk!  There is sooooooooooooooo much to read and drool over!  Be prepared to linger…for quite some time.

Best take a cuppa.

And some cake.

While I was perusing the loveliness, I found a recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Baked French Toast.

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I couldn’t resist!  Especially since I had everything I needed to make it without making a special trip to the shops.  Hooray!

Honestly, this was sooooooooo incredibly good.  We had it for breakfast but it was so heavenly, it could easily be served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for dessert.

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We had ours for a lazy Sunday morning breakfast before more renovations started and it was scrumptious galumptious!

It was so incredibly easy because you make it all up the night before and pop it into the fridge to chuck in the oven for an hour the next morning.

Perfect, for if you’re like me and wake up like a grumpy badger until you’ve had your second cup of coffee.

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I would recommend tasting it before adding syrup though because I found it really quite sweet

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And there are leftovers to have with ice cream tonight for dessert.

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Does it get any better?

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

Princess unicorn marshmallow crispy treats

Hello my lovelies,

I’m back with another recipe. It seems like all I’ve been doing recently but I’m loving the domesticity.  You guys know I have a culinary crush on Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman, right?  Well I do, and I’ve been watching her series on the telly and practically drooling over her home cooking.  On the latest show I watched, Ree made these gorgeous pecan marshmallow crispy treats and I couldn’t wait to give them a go.

No really, I couldn’t even wait until I had been to Morrisons, so I made them up with what I had. Of course, I didn’t have any regular white marshmallows so the mixture came out pink and my daughter dubbed them Princess Unicorn marshmallow crispies.

Because they’re rainbow coloured and pink of course!

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Ree’s basic recipe ingredients are:

4 tablespoons of butter plus extra for greasing

300g marshmallows (I used pink and yellow ones)

1/4 t of salt

6 cups of rice crispies

First grease your dish well, I used a square one and it worked out perfectly.  Next add the butter to a large (I used my pressure cooker!) pot and once melted add the marshmallows. Melt on a low heat making sure to stir to prevent it catching.

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Add the salt and the 6 cups of rice crispies.

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Here you can add anything you have lying about to ‘flavour’ them.  I added white chocolate chunks, 1/2 a bag of mini pink and white marshmallows and 1/2 a bag of smarties.

Mix it all together and dump it out into the greased dish.  Working quickly, spread out in the dish to reach the sides and trying to make sure the layer is even.  I found that although I worked quickly, the mashmallow mixture started to get really sticky and I was getting more clinging to the wooden spoon than in the actual bowl.

On a spark of brilliance, I wet my hands a little and pressed the mixture into the pan in a nice even layer.

Again, working quickly, I poured over a slab of melted white chocolate and rainbow sprinkles.

I refrigerated for 3 hours then cut into squares.

Mr R and dear daughter (DD) adores these!

I’m already considering some other interesting combinations…. stay tuned

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Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

Super easy Lemonade

Hello my lovelies,

I’ve had a hankering recently for some sweet yet sharp and icy cold homemade lemonade. You know, the kind that makes you sigh in satisfaction as you lazily watch the roses in your garden bob their heads in the breeze?

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That’s what we made today and it is delicious.

First you need 6 unwaxed lemons chopped into quarters.  Then add 280g of sugar to your food processor along with with 500ml of cold water.  Toss in the lemons gently.

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Blend for about 5 minutes.  Next lay a large bowl into your sink with a fine sieve over it and pour over the lemon mix.

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Now, push all the lemon pulpy mix with a wooden spoon to squeeze out as much juice as possible.

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Throw the lemon pulp in the bin and remove the sieve.  Then add 1.5 litres of cold water to the bowl of lemonade and mix.

Pour into a jug with slices of lemon and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.  Of course, you could just pour it over ice but I didn’t have any.

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We’re having ours tonight with dough balls, homemade pizza and salad.

I can’t wait.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

Giant surprise centre cupcake

Hello my lovelies,

I’m just dropping in very quickly to show you the giant surprise centre cupcake I made for my daughter’s 6th birthday. But before I do, here’s a really quick tip so listen up really well…

NEVER LET YOUR 6 YEAR OLD LOOK FOR HER BIRTHDAY CAKE ON PINTEREST WITH YOU!

Let her see a board of approved cakes you think would be appropriate first.  My daughter chose the giant cupcake and thankfully it was relatively easy to make but some of the other cakes she liked left me feeling terrified.  How I would have made them, I have no idea!

Anyway, here’s the cake. It really was a thing of beauty.

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I used the basic giant cupcake recipe from The Pink Whisk and changed it up by adding 30g of cocoa powder and decreased the flour by 30g.

I cut the base of the cupcake in half. I then made a basic icing and sandwiched the two pieces together with icing.  I then iced around the base of the cake and stuck on my chocolate fingers.  Once that was done, I scooped out a hole in the middle of the base (not all the way to the icing layer) and added in the Reeces peanut butter bits.  I smothered icing on the bottom of the top half and sandwiched the base and top together.

With me so far?  Good!

Next, I filled a piping bag and piped a small line of icing close to the top of the chocolate fingers and stuck on the maltesers.   Then I went to town piping rosettes all over the top of the cupcake.

I added maltesers and white chocolate stars at random and et voila!

When my daughter cut it open…

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Sorry about the bad quality picture, I had served up my daughter’s slice and hubby was complaining he wanted to sink his teeth into a slice but I was trying to take a picture.

This cake definitely had the wow factor!

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

Best EVER cinnamon rolls

Hello my lovelies,

Did I ever tell you about my celebrity crush on The Pioneer Woman?

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Oh, not in an icky way but in the, 0h-my-god-i-want-to-live-on-her-ranch-and-cook-with-her kind of way. I’m working on a way to get her to adopt me but I digress.   I started watching her tv series a couple of years ago and loved her then and of course, Sky decided to end the series half way though and only started at series 4 instead of series 1 but I was hooked.  I watched the episode when she made cinnamon rolls and I’ve wanted to make them ever since.

Today, after watching Ree make a pumpkin version of her cinnamon rolls last night, I decided the time had come for me to make her famous cinnamon rolls.

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You can totally tell those aren’t mine, can’t you? LOL!

You see, I’ve had a love affair with the South African kind of cinnamon rolls my whole life.  We call them Chelsea buns and while they are very similar (with raisins), just one look at Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls and I can tell these are gonna be my old favourites on CRACK!

Before I start to tell you about my cinnamon roll journey today, I must give you a few words of advice on the outset.

  1. DO NOT CLEAN YOUR KITCHEN FROM TOP TO BOTTOM LIKE A DEMON WOMAN and then decide to make these. Bad, bad idea.
  2. Make sure you have everything set up before you start. I mean take out the cinnamon, sugar and every utensil you will need and have it next to you. If at all possible, work close to the sink.  This dough can be sticky and I now have sticky dough finger marks all over my kitchen cabinet doors and drawers.  Did I mention I cleaned my kitchen like a demon woman this morning?
  3. Also, make sure you have the disposable foil pans like the one above.  It really helps and as you will see mine didn’t smush together nicely like Ree’s did because I thought I knew better.
  4. Always trust The Pioneer Woman.
  5. A bag of powdered sugar (icing sugar) is supposedly 4 cups when I checked it online.
  6. Start the diet tomorrow.  There’s no point today when you’re going to be eating these.

I am not going to try to recreate the recipe here when there’s a perfectly good link to cinnamon roll perfection right here on The Pioneer Woman website.

I was quite surprised at how easy this recipe was.  It takes a little time, of course because there are a few stages but it’s not hugely labour intensive.

So, once I’d made the dough and allowed it to rise for 1 hour, I opted not to let it sit in the fridge for an hour.  This made it INCREDIBLY sticky.  I had to use at least a cup of flour on my counters and all over the dough to get it to a decent rolling consistency.

Once I’d poured on the butter sprinkled on the sugar and cinnamon and rolled it up, I had what looked like a giant earth worm.

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Seriously, this sucker was trying to slide off the counter.

Of course, since I thought I knew better than Pioneer Woman I used whatever pans I had instead of the round foil ones. 13871707_10154165047835659_1163353809_n

Since today is the coldest day we’ve had all summer there’s no warm sun coming in my kitchen windows like normal so I preheated the oven and opened the door to allow some of the warm air to help these babies rise for 20-30 minutes.

Then I got them in the oven while I made the frosting/icing.  When I made it up, it was too watery so I added another cup of icing sugar and it came out perfect.  Like the picture on Pioneer Woman’s post.

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Yeah, I had to switch to the iPad because my laptop battery died.

When they came out of the oven they were all golden and risen and smelled amazing!  I quickly go the icing on.

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I moved the folds of the cinnamon rolls a little to make sure that the icing really got into all the cracks and crevices.

Then I realised that that the icing had coffee in it and my 6 year old wouldn’t be able to have any. I don’t allow her coffee because she’s enough of a live wire all by herself.

So I made up a batch of icing sugar with water to pour over hers.

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And as you can see here’s yet another reason you should always trust The Pioneer Woman.  In those round foil dishes I wouldn’t have all the icing dropping off the sides!

I left the icing to set for a few minutes and then between my daughter and I, we couldn’t wait a second longer.

Don’t they look amazing!?

They taste like  a homemade miracle, trust me.

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I love how the ones made in the muffin tin look like a cinnamon roll muffin.

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All is right with my world.   I’m in a cinnamon roll induced coma and I’m perfectly okay with that.

Now if you’ll excuse me I gotta go clean my kitchen *sigh* again.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x