In my last post, a few days ago, I promised my paella recipe was on its way and I have had a few messages wondering where it is. As quite often happens when you have house guests and a lovely doggie staying with you, other things cropped up and I ran out of time for my nightly writing session so apologies for the wait, but I promise it will be up on here soon, along with a very tasty cheesecake recipe!
This weekend saw a rather overdue catch up with one of my best friends who has just moved to London. Despite a part of me hoping she would change her mind and stay so I could see her weekly, I now have the perfect excuse for a girlie weekend away seeing the best of what the capital has to offer, which for me always includes food! Luckily, my friend, Cat, had already scoped out some excellent local eateries so I was not disappointed!
I headed up on the train and made my way across the city, through the crowds of Liverpool and Everton fans emerging from Wembley (nice win lads!), until I was in gorgeous West Hampstead and gasping for a cuppa. Without further ado, we visited the darling Bake-A-Boo café for some afternoon tea.
I love it when a friend chooses a place that you will enjoy and this was right up my street; fairy lights, lace doilies, bunting, paper lanterns, roses, mismatched china…perfection!
However, it wasn’t a case of style over substance and we also sampled two of their delicious cupcakes.
First up was the ‘Charlie’ chocolate cupcake; a cocoa-rich sponge topped with chocolate buttercream.
Next was my favourite; the ‘Bella’, which was a light, blueberry-filled sponge topped with a fresh passion fruit buttercream. This cupcake was actually gluten and dairy-free, although you couldn’t really tell, which I personally think means they have got it spot on!
My only niggle is that we arrived rather late in the day so the café had sold out of a lot of their stock but after looking at the wonderful selection on their website I can see why! If I lived nearby, I would frequent this place a lot with girlfriends and I am contemplating whether to treat myself to their cookbook to recreate some of the recipes at home…the Cosmo cupcake and elderflower tea bread are particularly tempting!
I didn’t walk away completely empty-handed though. Bake-A-Boo has a few shelves offering some very cute and vintage-style kitchen and baking accessories and I just couldn’t resist these very cute cupcake cases:
After a quick change and some red wine, we donned our heels and were off out for dinner at The Wet Fish Café, a lovely seafood restaurant.
We started with a delightful fishy sharing platter which included perfectly cooked sweet scallops, crispy calamari, a pile of smoked salmon and some crayfish dressed in a light lemony sauce. All elements were fresh, well-cooked and really got our taste buds going for what was to come.
My friend Cat opted for a piece of pollock with polenta chips, confit leeks and a tomato sauce which was a really well-balanced dish.
I enjoyed the crayfish in the starter so much I ordered the crayfish linguine, which was a twist on my favourite pasta dish, spaghetti vongole. It was a generous bowlful, with hints of chilli, lemon, garlic and parsley throughout and lovely big juicy chunks of crayfish.
We shared a simple pudding of rhubarb and apple crumble, served with cinnamon and raisin ice cream.
The restaurant had a lovely relaxed atmosphere and very friendly service and I would look forward to dining here again. All of the fish is from sustainable sources and was really delicious and cooked well…all in all a fabulous evening with great company!
I was up and out early the next day and over to North London for a bridesmaid dress fitting with another group of girlfriends. For obvious reasons, I cannot reveal too much about the outfits in question(!) but I can confirm we had enormous fun dressing up in the vintage-style that has been chosen and I got to wear a petticoat for the first time in my adult life!
After some shoe shopping and a long lunch, we headed back to the station and just had time to squeeze in a Krispy Kreme and a latte before it was time to catch our train back to the West Country after what was a very enjoyable and much-needed girls’ weekend.
Despite coming home to discover we had run out of oil and would have a rather chilly house for a few days (ahhhh the joys of living in the country!), it was lovely to be back home again and have a long soak to wash off the grime and dust of the city, as well as catch up with my boy!
I was back to work again today and, although it was painful to hear my alarm go off so early, it was great to be back and it made me realise how much I missed my class and colleagues…although ask me again how I feel about work in a few weeks when the dreaded SATs are looming!
(Not long until my paella recipe, I promise…and totally worth the wait! Ha!) xxx