Pub lunch at The Pack Saddle

I love a pub lunch at the weekend, especially in the autumn, when its nice to settle down in a cosy pub with the fire roaring whilst you tuck into a hearty lunch.

We recently paid a visit to The Pack Saddle in Mapledurham, a privately owned pub fairly local to us but one we haven’t been to before.

pack-saddle

We enjoyed starters of the grilled halloumi and selection of bread. The bread came with garlic, basil and chilli flavoured butters which were just the most delicious accompaniment.

For mains we picked the Pack Saddle beef burger and minute steak saltimbocca, both were outstanding. Presentation of all dishes was high, I am afraid I am one of those that can be easily won over by chips turning up in baskets and food presented on slates! All dishes were packed with flavour and the only thing I was disappointed in, was the fact I was too full for dessert!

Last but not least I must also commend The Pack Saddle staff, they were all so friendly and attentive. The food arrived quickly and I cannot wait to return.

Read more about The Pack Saddle on their website here: http://www.thepacksaddle.com/

Easy Halloween Fairy Cakes

Autumn not only brings us the change of season, but also fun events such as Halloween and Bonfire Night. In the spirit I felt I should make a selection of Halloween themed fairy cakes. These are super easy to do for both children and adults, here’s how:

Recipe 

You can use any basic fairy cake recipe. I used the following ingredients, all mixed into a bowl. Spoon into fairy cake cases and place in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown, temperature 180°C.

225g self raising flour, 225g softened unsalted butter, 225g castor sugar, 3 small/medium eggs, 2 tablespoons of semi-skimmed milk.

Decorating

Here is the fun part! Once your cakes have cooled from the oven you can decorate them with any Halloween theme you like. This year I have made a selection of monster faces and white chocolate mice toppers. Marshmallows can make good ghosts, or if you fancy something more challenging why not try making pumpkins from roll out icing!

halloween-cakes-4

The monster faces have been made using Aero mint balls and melted milk chocolate.

 

Have you baked anything Halloween inspired? Would love to hear from you.

fortheloveofpeas x.

Homemade Cupcakes

I have made an autumn resolution – there needs to be more baking and cooking in my life!

With the nights drawing in, I will be forced to spend less time in the garden and will be filling my time with more homemade goodies from the kitchen instead. As well as experimenting with cakes I am hoping to make my own pies and turn my hand to curries too. So first off the mark here we have homemade cupcakes with a twist!

Ingredients:

110g softened butter or margarine, 110g caster sugar, 2 free-range eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 110g self-raising flour, 1-2 tbsp milk

Method: 

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line 2x 12 hole fairy cake tins with paper cases. Into a mixing bowl measure the flour, caster sugar and butter. Lightly beat the eggs and add to the bowl along with the vanilla extract and milk. Using an electric whisk mix together all ingredients until you have a smooth consistency. Spoon the mix into the paper cases so they are roughly half full. Place in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. To check they are cooked through insert a wooden skewer and ensure it comes out clean.

 

I made both a chocolate mix and a vanilla. For the chocolate add in 3 tbsp of cocoa powder and another tbsp or two of milk to ensure the mix is not too thick.

Now, here is the twist! I wanted the cupcakes to not be the standard cupcakes but instead take more of a traditional victoria sponge format. So with some of the cakes that had not risen as much, I pushed them out of the cases and added them as toppers on the other cakes. In between I added both raspberry jam (I prefer raspberry to strawberry) and buttercream to ensure they held together and also to create the typical victoria sponge look. For some of the other cakes I removed them from their cases, sliced them in half and added the jam and buttercream in the centre, then popped them into new cases so they looked presentable. And here they are finished…ta da!

Topped with buttercream icing and milk chocolate chips, these not only looked good but tasted incredible!

Monday Night Indulgence!

So on Monday night it was girls date night which we try to do once a month, normally we are after the savoury option of Sushi but this Monday called for something different.

With two of the group having been to Treatz before and wanting to show the other two the new and exciting world of dessert parlours, we put our trust in their hands and arranged an evening of sweet indulgence.

We visited Treatz in Reading and basically you can create your very own whopper of a dessert, mixing and matching toppings and ice cream flavours. The menu is extensive to say the least! Following good guidance from our more experienced dessertiers we opted for the large waffle topped with Nutella (my favourite thing in the entire world), banana slices, crushed nuts and snickers ice cream – highly recommended!!!

 

All photos belong to fortheloveofpeas, all comments and opinions are my own.

Breakfast at The Farm Cafe

Yesterday morning we ventured out for breakfast, under recommendation we decided to give The Farm Cafe a try in Wokingham. It had great reviews online and the menu looked brill…if you are a fan of fried breakfasts that is.

Just 20 minutes from Reading and we were there. The Farm Cafe is set amongst a garden centre and other small shops, nice to have a peruse after your breakfast! They have quite a vast selection of breakfast and lunch choices and serve till 2pm. We went for full english’s but you are also able to create your own, for the fussy eaters! Service was quick and the food, well it may not be as nicely presented as The Coppa Club, but oh my the quality and taste was fabulous. We were also lucky enough to sit outside seeing as this English summer has finally arrived. I am afraid I didn’t take many photos as the deliciousness distracted me!

 

Breakfast at The Coppa Club

Last week I had a real treat…breakfast out! After much deliberation about where to go (made difficult as breakfast out isn’t a regular occurrence), some googling later we decided on The Coppa Club in Sonning. Ringing bells as I had seen lots of friends on Facebook tagging it in status’ I was sure this would be a good decision, and I was proved right.

Breakfast is served till 11.30am when the menu changes over to the ‘All Day Menu’. I opted for ‘The Work’s Skillet Breakfast’ and Kath had ‘Free Range Scrambled Eggs with Severn & Wye Valley hot-smoked salmon’ with an add on of tomatoes and mushrooms. Service was fast, efficient and professional yet friendly. The décor is beautiful throughout the restaurant and exactly the kind of feel I would love in my own home. We sat by patio doors overlooking lush green gardens and chatted endlessly.

 

Needless to say I will be returning to The Coppa Club for breakfast or dinner very soon. You can view menu’s on their website here: http://www.coppaclub.co.uk/sonning

Enjoy!

 

Sunday lunch at The New Inn

Wow, what a day Sunday was. The weather, oh the glorious weather! I was in heaven being a true sun worshipper through and through. Temperatures reached a high of 28°C, the sunglasses came out and I vowed to spend as much time outdoors as possible.

So after a packed morning of horse riding and swimming, I felt it was time for a well deserved pub lunch. We are blessed with so many beautiful local country pubs offering a range of wonderful food. This Sunday our choice was The New Inn at Kidmore End, it has been several years since I have been here but doing a quick reccy on-line I found their menu most pleasing and was thoroughly looking forward to our visit.

We arrived at 1.30pm, the peak of the lunchtime rush and the garden was understandably busy. We grabbed some drinks and placed our food order – baked Camembert to start and then the New Inn Burger for Paul and the roast beef baguette for me. The staff are wonderful, so friendly, professional and helpful. They said there would be a wait on the food as they were very busy and had several large tables, in fact we only waited 20 minutes for our starter to arrive which I thought was perfectly acceptable, especially having been to many restaurants half as busy waiting twice as long!

The food, well wow again! It was nothing short of amazing, fresh and so tasty. The baguette contained the most tender beef I think I have ever eaten, it melted in my mouth, Paul’s burger went down well too, and as for the Camembert we were both hastily dipping the fresh bread to get as much as possible of the melting gooey loveliness.

 

P.S I was meant to take more food porn photographs but I’m afraid I only remembered this half way through the mains! Oh well I suppose we’ll have to go back again…

The New Inn website: http://www.thenewinnkidmoreend.co.uk/