As a connoisseur of the traditional act of afternoon tea it’s always a treat to sample it elsewhere.
Our travels took us to Dordrecht, a quiet village south of Rotterdam. Villa Augustus is a hotel and restaurant who pride themselves on producing the majority of what they sell. From lemons to carrots, lettuces to beans the grounds are a wonder to walk through.
The standard format of which I am accustomed to is sandwiches, petit four and scones.
Dutch High Tea was a little different. We had bread with a variety of toppings. From tomatoes to salmon and my new Dutch word of the day ‘bieslookroomkaas,’ creme cheese with chives. Het was leuk! We had a private table by the window overlooking the gardens and the waiter was most helpful in his duel greetings both in English and Dutch.
So what did we really think?
Gino gave Villa Augustus 8/10.
“ A good afternoon tea, a nice environment and everything tasted fresh, I loved the chocolate cake too it was brilliant. There was only a small choice of different teas and the only real thing I missed was an explanation of what we had. I would go back for dinner in the evening or again for lunch”
I was a little less harsh and gave Villa Augustus a whopping 9.5/10.
“I loved the subtle differences between the English and the Dutch. We had bread with a topping as opposed to endless sandwiches minus the crusts, the details of the décor was a fantastic mix of vintage and industrial which I think really worked. The chandelier in the main room was the biggest thing that caught my attention. Oh and I had to throw in an extra 0.5 for the mirrors in the bathroom. Overall a great way to spend the afternoon even if there wasn’t any English breakfast tea with milk.”
So there we have it. A great afternoon well spent if you find yourself in the area and very hungry. You can even stop off at the marketplace to pick up some one off pieces of crockery or a book or as we did a nice fresh baked loaf of bread.
Christmas food has to be the most iconic menu change in my life. Everything we eat changes at this time of year. Sprouts – I’m gonna say it so be gentle with me, I like them. I like them because I know I only have to put up with them for like 3 weeks of the year.
The Christmas Recipe I’m going to be sharing with you is my fool proof Christmas Cake.
What you need:
1kg mixed fruit (if it doesn’t come with cherries throw a packet of them in too!)
175g Plain Flour
2tsp Mixed Spice
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
175g Brown Sugar.
100g Nuts (i like to use walnuts purely personal as they are my favourite ‘cake’ nut)
About a week before soak your fruit in 125ml of Brandy (super alcoholic cake makes like myself do this two weeks before adding twice the amount but leaving a week between each spiking).
Mix together the butter and sugar, if you’ve over done the alcohol like I usually do I whack in a spoonful of treacle or syrup, it works well with the festive flavours. Add the fruit and the eggs.
Mix in the dry ingredients. the consistency will thicken up but still remain quite runny.
Grease a 20cm cake tin, line with 2 layers of greaseproof and pour the mixture into the tin.
The cake has to be cooked for 2-2.5hrs. Because of this long cooking time its advised to fasten a double layer of newspaper, taller than the cake, around the tin. I am always weary of putting newspaper in the oven and convinced that one day I’ll burn the house down and loose the cake but its ok, that won’t happen.
En voila. Christmas Cake!! Allow the cake to cool completely in the tin, my advice would be to cook it late afternoon then leave it over night before even considering taking it out of the tin. When its fully cold and out of the tin you can decorate it in any way you like. We tend to go traditional in my house, marzipan and icing.
Warning: Be prepared for your entire house to smell all christmasy. Its just amazing!
I’ve had a little hiatus this week which I should imagine has been so surprise to anyone who read my last post with how hectic it was was going to be!
Here is a run down of everything that has happened this week.
This week I have:
Taken the grandparents out.
Got drunk on a Sunday afternoon.
Taken the grandparents out again.
Come second on the pub quiz with out highest score to date.
Eaten cake for breakfast AND dinner.
Learnt how to stamp pretty patterns on my nails. (There will be more about that in a post later on!)
Passed my Dutch Level 2 exam.
Made it to London in one piece but went to the wrong hotel
Met a bloke wearing Google glasses (not quite sure of my opinion on that)
Had a free ticket upgrade to sit 6 rows from the front in the stalls of Les Miserables!
Got creeped out my super dodgy club “touts” in Piccadilly.
Waved at the queen, went to parliament, saw MrDC’s house, debated the time frame in the London eye changing from BA to Coca-Cola.
Stood in trafalgar square at midnight with not a soul around
Debated the big questions of the world such as: how many people jump off Westminster bridge? Would you die if you jumped off the bridge?
Visited the National Gallery and insulted paintings of cherubs and naked 16C oil mastepieces. Why is everyone hairless and what do the goat and lizard symbolise?!
Listening to a busker who couldn’t quite hit the low notes.
Went to the science museum and learnt about how astronauts go to the toilet, the effects of green house gases and that if you eat your dinner of a gold spoon the food will taste creamier (I didn’t know that either!)
Visited Harrods. Discovered that it sells nothing that you can’t find in Selfridges or Debenhams the only different being the building is more fancy and the staff are all perfectly gorgeous
KO-ed in the train station and watched people run for trains underneath signs saying “Do Not Run!”
We never got the the bottom of “Where Sheena/Sheila went?”
Won a game of solitaire in under 3 minutes! Winner!
The moral of this story is that this years Birthday celebrations have been a little unconventional but thoroughly enjoyable. London has exhausted me but I have loved every second of the week long celebrations.