My birthday this year was all about food (you are only 21 once). Eggs Royale, Pain au Raisin and a surprise slice of strawberries and cream gateaux (soo bad for you) with a candle in the top is quite a good way to start the day. (Thank you U8,U4, U7 and the soprano) I have to say Patisserie Valerie was surprising amazing – I wasn’t expecting a chain to come out so well but their patisserie (the pastry and cake) were the best I’d had outside of france, the poached eggs were lovely and runny, the hollondaise was nice and salty and the brioche was a surprise interesting addition to the eggs royal, if only i’d been able to fit in some macaroons…. http://www.patisserie-valerie.co.uk
Barely finished breakfast when I had to move into lunch. It’s surprisingly difficult to keep eating when you let yourself eat everything you want, it almost becomes an effort (I say almost). but when the comedy girl took me out for a champagne lunch at Harriet’s tea room I couldn’t refuse. Harriet’s was upmarket pub food. The sweet potato fries were lovely if a tad under seasoned, the salmon fishcakes were good if a little overcooked but peas were a little boring. It was tasty food, and my grandma would have loved it but the food wasn’t the most exciting I’ve tasted. Having said this the company was excellent (I mean the comedy girl not the other couples average age 70), the staff were amazing – they suggested champagne and brought out a candle in the lemon meringue pie we shared for dessert without asking! Plus the meringue pie was pretty tasty and the menu was affordable and the atmosphere was quiet enough to chat. I would take parents (or get them to take you) for champagne tea there sometime. http://harrietscafetearooms.co.uk/cambridge-city-centre-tearooms/
For the final cake of the day I had made myself exactly what I wanted Cheesecake Brownies. Pizza Express may seem like a basic restaurant for a massive foodie to go on their birthday but great service, free bottle of prosecco for the birthday girl and 25% off mains is a bit of an incentive. Plus I can confidently say the Calabrese pizza is the best pizza on the menu – there is a reason it is the most expensive. Spicy Calabrese sausage D.O.P, hot soft n’duja sausage, finely chopped red chillies, roquito peppers, red & yellow peppers, mozzarella, rocket, pesto, oregano, grana padano. I had panicked about these brownies because I had cooked them in S staircase which meant running back and forth as I failed to work out how to use the oven twice…. But turns out the combination of a classic Nigella brownie base with basic cheesecake topping is a good one
375 g soft unsalted butter
375 g best quality dark chocolate
6 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
500 g caster sugar
225 g plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
300g low fat cream cheese
1tbsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Line your approximatley 33 x 23 x 5 1/2cm brownie pan with foil or baking paper.
3. Mix the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract till smooth, beat in an egg
4. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a large heavy based saucepan.
5. In a bowl beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla.
6. Measure the flour into another bowl and add the salt.
7. When the chocolate mixture has melted, let it cool a bit before beating in the eggs and sugar mixture, and then the flour.
8. Beat to combine and then scrape out of the saucepan into the lined brownie pan.
9. Top with the cheesecake mix and using the base of a fork, swirl for a marble effect
10. Bake for about 25 minutes. (this can vary on the oven)
11. When its’s ready, the top should be dried to a paler brown speckle with white splattering but the middle still dark and dense and gooey.
12. Keep checking the brownies as they cook; remember that they will continue to cook as they cool.\
They taste good warm from the oven or slightly cooled…. In fact they just taste very very good