Sunday, 28 November 2010

Belated Birthday Treats

With so much going on lately I have found myself a month behind what I wanted to be posting (not including the 4 month delay with the Legally Blonde post, of course...but I promise its coming...)!
So we're a month into my thirty something'th year and already we can see that my blogging punctuality has not improved, however what a treat for the office my birthday was!

The Guilty Pleasures Tasting Menu:

It was an exceptionally popular menu ensuring lots of smiles and full bellies (although I should say this is no thanks to London's stunning (er?) transport system and the Mayors inability to stamp out tube strikes. Having to squeeze onto an overcrowded bus with 60 cupcakes, 58 cookies and a tray of brownies is no fun what-so-ever especially when said bus then sits in traffic for 45 minutes on a 10 minute journey)! Anyway as I'm no longer bitter about this I'll run you though the cupcakes as they deserve a special mention (besides I only have photographs of them ;o)

Starbucks Creamy Cappuccino:
So called as they are made with the fantastic new Starbucks Via, wonderful tasting instant espresso for the rich Starbucks taste at home (or in my cakes....) I topped this fragrant coffee cupcake with creamy vanilla buttercream, my gentle nod to delicious steaming vanilla lattes which I enjoy 11 months of the year before they break out the Gingerbread/Eggnog lattes!

Black pepper and Strawberry with Champagne:
Delicious Delicious Delicious. Maybe the only thing missing here (if I'm being overly critical) is a slice of fresh strawberry to adorn the light yet decadent Champagne frosting. However the glistening rose gold does add an expensive and celebratory looking finish. The fresh strawberries and fiery heat of the pepper were perfectly balanced in a moist cupcake topped with silky buttercream infused with crisp chilled Champagne, the real secret here is how much went into the frosting and how much went into my glass....lets just say the rest of the afternoon went by in a relaxing fuzz.

It just wouldn't have been my special day without bringing along old Rosario to partake in the festivities, but this time I dressed her to the 9's (after all a birthday should have a little sparkle and zhuzh)!

Limoncello Meringue Pie:
Combining my love of comfort eating my way through traditional English "puddings" and my wink to all things deliciously Italian and boozy. A light lemon cupcake was "cored" and filled with a heady limoncello curd and topped with a marshmallowy meringue before getting a light toasting by one of my favourite kitchen gadgets, the blowtorch! With all the booze and flaming blowtorches in the kitchen that day it was incredibly hard to resist a Flashdance moment, as I/m sure you can imagine!

Thai Lemongrass & Coconut:
If you can never seem to get round to booking that World Trip or holiday to far flung places the best thing to do is experiment in the comfort of your own home, specifically the kitchen. I love the delicate warmth of Thai lemongrass almost as much as I love calling it Thai Lemongrass and not just lemongrass, but twinned with an exotic and creamy coconut frosting these cupcakes were a real taste of paradise without the hours of travel usually required (OK, aside from the extended, smelly and bumpy bus ride courtesy of Boris).

So that's it for another year although my daytime colleagues will be happy to know that they are just a mere 25 more sleeps away from my annual Christmas Eve Snow bombs and Yuletide bakes!

And now it’s onto the next.....I’m afraid my dears there can be no rest for the decadently wicked x

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Brown paper packages tied up with string.....

It's been a very exciting couple of weeks what with my birthday, Volupté visits, Flashdance, Warrington, Chicago inspired cakes, Christmas planning, Theatre trip planning, Cupcake classes and Work (!), but now I'm suffering with potentially the worst bout of man cold know to anyone...ever (of course I am doing it in style and being a total martyr about the whole affair....) So I'm taking some "me" time away from the kitchens and whilst I'm bundled up on the sofa (after a particularly taxing day at the office I should add....(move over Joan I'm tying myself to that stake..) I thought we could have a nice chat over a Lemsip. Feeling in a sharing mood (must be the Night Nurse) I am about to thrill you with 5, yes 5 of my Guilty Pleasures - just for fun, so in no particular order of adoration nor Guiltiness I think we should kick off with....

GP1: Volupté Lounge

Having sampled many many burlesque supper clubs I feel extremely qualified to say that Volupté is and always will be my favourite place to relax with my gorgeous friends after a hard day slogging over PC's, ovens and general daily life après duvet o'clock. Everyday there is something different and exciting to sample from their gorgeous cocktails in the sultry lounge bar to decadent dining in the below stairs supper club (all washed down with gallons of rich and warming red wines of course, well it is Winter after all). Recently I was lucky enough to experience Missy Fatales Swinging Burlesque Boudoir, with its fire eating, tassel spinning girls in an evening of fan dances and magic......

GP2: John Barrowman

Presumably you have all read my previous post (if not consider yourselves spanked and sent to the corner of the room until you rectify the situation) so my 2nd GP is no great surprise at all! For the rest of you I promise not to go on too much.... Following the arrival of I have been almost unable to peel myself of the sofa. This is "Fantastic Fantastic Fantastic" and should in fact be watched by everyone. I even felt the man-cold symptoms slipping away whilst I re-lived the magic of John and Jody! So much so that I could be lead to believe that John Barrowan may be a saint of sorts, therefore will require yearly pilgrimages to the Albert Hall (or it could just be the Night Nurse again...) And the best part? My friend and I feature (ahem,) briefly on the DVD - 1 Hour, 10 Minutes and 7 Seconds in to be almost precise....but you'll need a good eye and an excellent freeze frame!

GP3: RuPauls Drag Race

"Gentlemen start your engines and may the best woman win"

Reality shows can be very hit and miss, Come Dine with Me, Dancing on Ice, Who Wants to be a Joseph/Maria/Friend of Dorothy and of course Britain’s Got (Limited) Talent definitely rank highly in my favourites list, with Big Brother, "X Facta" and I'm A (ahem) Celebrity on the "Not really my cup of Cava" list. But setting the standard for all outrageous, campy vampy fun shows is the decadent RuPauls Drag Race. I'm currently speeding towards the finale of Season 2 and am not sure how I’m going to fill my weeks when they crown (this years) "Next Drag Superstar". In a nutshell this is a reality show starring a group of Drag Queens all battling for the title by surviving weekly challenges (and each others bitchiness). At the end of each week the 2 queens that have impressed Ru the least will have to Lip-Synch for their Life! (Gripping stuff...) Everything about this show kicks serious ass, you'll have to check it out for yourselves though - get a few girly (or boys who like to be girly) friends over, crack open some Vintage Cava and laugh your asses off. Personally I’m gutted that Pandora Boxx was voted off so close to the end - I really thought she was a winner. You can check out Pandora’s fab blog by simply clicking....

…and remember ladies, "Don’t Fu@k it Up!"

GP4: The Hampshire/Vista/Cellar Door

I love a nice bar me, especially ones that other people don’t go to!! OK so a smattering of other people is fine, I guess (just for atmosphere though...) but I'm now of an age where I don’t like waiting to be served and I like to be able to have a conversation without loosing my voice..(Actually I've been like this since 25!). It would be impossible for me to separate these 3 bars in terms of how much I love them, they are all just so different and just so perfect for different occasions The Hampshire is plush with over sized red velvet chairs and is a true peaceful haven in the centre of Leicester Square. Extravagant nibbles are served with delicious cocktails or full bodied reds; this place is perfect for relaxing and is so cosy for winter chats.

Vista is just stunning and at the risk of everyone going there I have to say its views across London are breathtaking. Vista is London's roof garden on Trafalgar Square but with its trendy New York vibe you would never believe you are above one of London’s noisiest tourist attractions. I recommend a chilled bottle of Sancerre on those balmy summer afternoons!

Finally for those outrageously decadent pre theatre drinks you must try Cellar Door. Hidden away under the Strand this venue used to be a Gentleman’s lavatory allegedly frequented by Oscar Wilde, Gielgud and Joe Orton. Nowadays the main draw is the fantastic drink offers (we took advantage with several bottles of Laurent Perrier to start the evening with a touch of glamour), quaint surroundings and the best toilet doors I have seen...ever. I don’t want to ruin the surprise so I suggest you go and check them out for yourselves (I must be getting old, I can’t believe I’m rating a bar on its toilets!!)

GP5: Legally Blonde

OMG you guys this is like the best musical….ever! Obviously this whole section should be read (or sung if your up to it) in an American accent for full dramatic effect). Now I could forgive you for not knowing just how much I love this show, that my dears is entirely my fault as I have not yet completed my blog entry regarding the show and my wonderful cake for the wonderful cast members but I do promise that I will get that finished and posted asap!!
Whether this is a Guilty Pleasure or just 2 hours of pure joy I cant really judge but suffice to say I am seeing this again next week for the 8th time and have so far dragged in the region of 104 people with me to see this (surely the Savoy should be sending me free gifts for being such a fantastic patron)!
I will be writing more about the show in my full LB piece but I will tell you now I’m in good company with this one, with celeb fans such as Gok Wan, John Cleese, Brian May and the cast of The Only Way is Essex (!) all turning out time and time again for this amazing show.
I can’t wait to see the new cast give it their all next week but I’m so upset to be missing Sheridan Smith again!!
“Snaps You Guys!”

Well that's your lot I'm afraid, 5 down - hundreds more to go....OK OK, you want more, I know, but there really can be too much of a good thing so as a compromise here’s a sneaky preview into my 6th....

I have recently turned into a total GLEEk, devouring every episode I could get my hands on and having just finished the Season 1 finale (barely managing not to cry) I cannot wait for Season 2. Its hard to pick a favourite episode but so far the highlights have been Kurt performing Beyonce's "Single Ladies" on the football field, Sue's "Physical" duet with Olivia Newton John and the entire Gaga episode (being the "Little Monster" that I am). But this is just a sneak peek so you’ll just have to wait for my Glee inspired cupcakes for the full story….

And now it’s onto the next.....I’m afraid my dears there can be no rest for the decadently wicked x