Cahoots Bar London

posted in: Events, Foodies | 0

“What ho old bean, are you here to see the Captain?”

cahoots, cahoots bar, cocktails, london cocktails, london cahoots bar, vintage bar, vintage bar london

And with that classy greeting the tone is set for an evening at Cahoots bar in London; where the tubes might have stopped but the drinks are flowing. Having visited for the second time recently, I thought a celebratory blog post was overdue.

Upon arrival, once having been vetted, you are allowed to descend the tube staircase. Once inside the bar itself you will be rewarded with a seat either in the old tube carriage itself or in the vintage luggage room style main section. Now that I am fairly familiar with the venue I hope that on my next trip I will be seated at the bar as I would love to watch how the cocktails are made!

cahoots, cahoots bar, cocktails, london cocktails, london cahoots bar, vintage bar, vintage bar london

Bookings are made for two hours, which enables you to easily consume at least two tipples if not more. I like my cocktails sweet and fruity and I can highly recommend the Vera Lynn and Keepin Marm. Both come in unusual ‘glasses’ and add to the quirky feel of this themed bar. Water is available and dispensed from tea caddies, whilst popcorn is also supplied. One day I hope to try a spam sarnie, clearly the ultimate bar snack! They have also added squiffy picnic’s to their rosta, although I haven’t tried one myself it sounds like a fun idea.

Vintage music plays alongside the occasional electro swing, with live music taking Cahoots late into the evening on weekends. However it is the toilet soundtrack that I like best hahh! When I visited most recently they had a radio station discussing cockney rhyming slang, which is a great way to pass the time in the ladies in my opinion.

cahoots, cahoots bar, cocktails, london cocktails, london cahoots bar, vintage bar, vintage bar london

This wasn’t just a normal visit to Cahoots however, I was celebrating my birthday! I was spoilt rotten with a day of tapas at Pix Pintxos and a viewing of Aladdin the Musical, which I really enjoyed. Cahoots in the middle however, was made all the more special as I was presented with a card from the team as well as the cutest little cup cake from Crumbs and Doilies, that cake was good! I hope to visit the shop, which is a stone’s throw away from Cahoots next time I am in London.

One word of advice? Make sure you book in advance; I went past one Saturday night on a whim just to see if they could fit a table of 3 in. No chance, there was a huge queue. My best tip would be to make this one of the first stops for your event. Both occasions I have visited, were before 7pm. This made finding the bar all the more magical as no one else is queuing and you really do get the chance to look around inside as it isn’t full of people yet! I think discovering the bar and having the greeting really sets one up for the trip into Cahoots, it means you instantly get involved with the theme and it really makes it all the more exciting.

cahoots, cahoots bar, cocktails, london cocktails, london cahoots bar, vintage bar, vintage bar london

With that piece of advice I conclude my Cahoots post. If you are looking for something a bit different to do in London, whether you have a love for vintage or not this is a really interesting setting for some really tasty and in some cases quirky cocktails. But remember to keep it under your hat eh? There’s a pal. Over and out.

For the love of tea: Chai Tea Recipe

posted in: Foodies | 5

A Chai Tea recipe to satisfy my infatuation

chai tea, bone china, china teacups, elephant tea pot

You may or may not be aware by now but I quickly become obsessed with things. Chai Tea surpasses this. With a good Chai Tea recipe you can rule the world, whilst Blogging about it.

So here is my (Joshua’s) easy recipe for Chai Tea. (Yes Chai Tea should be capitalised… they are two awesome words.)

Side Note: Slightly off topic BUT a big bug bear for me is when new recipes ask for weird spices; because not finding the right ingredients or having leftover things that go stale and later a funky colour because you refused to chuck them out IS ANNOYING. I promise that all of these ingredients will be available at the supermarket, although you may have to depend on a world foods aisle and you will love this tea so much that you will use up the spices surprisingly quickly. Unless you don’t like Chai Tea, in which case leave this Blog and never return… just kidding! I am not the Kaiser of Tea.

chai tea ingredients, spices, cardamon pods, ginger, cloves, ginger, chai tea

Chai Tea Ingredients:

  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 5 cloves
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 5 pieces of cassia Bark or half a stick of cinnamon
  • 1 star anise
  • 2cm chunk of ginger
  • 200ml milk
  • 500ml water
  • 500ml water
  • 2 darjeeling tea bags, another recommendation would be assam.
  • 3 teaspoons of sugar… sometimes when I am feeling particularly good about myself I add an extra one in.

Chai Tea Recipe

  1. Pour the boiled water into the saucepan with the milk and simmer.
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  3. Crush the cardamon pods.
  4. ‘Bruise’ aka break up the cassia bark.
  5. Add all the spices into the pot.
  6. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. Try not to let it boil over and if you are are too tempted by the smell then 15 minutes will probably do.
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  8. Add the tea bags and the sugar.
  9. Stir.
  10. Leave to brew for 5 minutes or longer depending on your tea strength preference.
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  12. Strain. My recommendation would be through a sieve and not a saucepan lid as so cleverly demonstrated here.

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And wallah! That is the Chai Tea recipe complete. Not only have you successfully filled your house with an aroma sent by the God’s; once it’s cooled off a little bit you have the chance to taste it. I recommend having finished any housework before you start and completing with a good book at hand.

If you aren’t satisfied yet then have a play around with ingredients! Adding any of the following makes for a tasty mix: orange zest, nutmeg, vanilla or honey.

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Sneaky Elephant

Pumpkin, butternut squash & smoked paprika soup

posted in: Foodies | 2

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So with Halloween approaching quickly you know there are going to be pumpkins! But what can you do with all the left overs? It would be a shame to waste it all.

Soup is super simple to make you don’t need to be precise with ingredients or measurements just throw it all in.

 You will need:

A mediumish pumpkin

A butternut squash or not, you could also use sweet potato

An onion or two

Vegetable stock

Olive oil

A couple of teaspoons (more or less) of smoked paprika

What to do:

1. Pre heat your oven to 200c. Chop your pumpkin & butternut squash/sweet potato in to chunks, they can be quite large, and place them onto a baking tray skin side up and roast for 30 minutes.

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2. While these are roasting you can roughly chop up the onions & fry them in olive oil for around 3-5 minutes, in the bottom of a large pan.

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3. When the squash & pumpkin are done on the oven you can remove the skin and cut into chunks.

4. Add 750ml of vegetable stock to your pan of onions and bring to the boil.

5. Add your chopped veg and simmer for 20mins

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6. Using a hand blender smoosh up your mixture and the smoked paprika to taste.

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And there you go easy peasy soup, serve with fresh crusty bread. This can also be frozen so you’ll be sick of the sight of pumpkin soup before long!

Mad Hatter’s tea party at the Sanderson

posted in: Foodies | 0

IMG_20140921_083621The Mad Hatter’s tea party was the perfect birthday surprise for Blaire! We arrived at the Sanderson hotel just off of Oxford Circus, which is the swankiest hotel I have ever stepped foot in. Everything is super sleek and polished. Going into the lifts is like stepping into outer space.

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We were shown to our table and given little bottles of dry tea to sample, but not just any tea, I was expecting an earl grey maybe; but that’s not very suiting to a mad Hatter’s tea party is it? No, our options were rhubarb & custard, mint chocolate, apple pie & strawberries & cream. I went for the rhubarb and custard It had an excellent taste often I find fruit teas too weak, but this was delicious. We also enjoyed a nice glass of champagne each.

Our food arrived on three tier cake stands, we were given a selection of rolled up sandwiches, sweet & savory scones and a variety of different cakes. IMG_20140921_083440

It was the attention to detail that made this afternoon tea special, such as having the sugar cubes presented in little music boxes with tiny dancing ballerinas. Also the way the menus were displayed in vintage books. Even the teapots had their own crowns.

Overall it was a very enjoyable experience the service was very good, the staff were happy to take pictures of us, and were very attentive. The only negative I would say is that it is quite expensive & they add on a 15% service charge. Nevertheless it was a real treat one I would like to enjoy more often if my bank balance would allow it!

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Chocolate, Bacon and Marshmallow Scones: You know you want to…

posted in: Foodies | 1

 

As if it was Afternoon Tea Week a couple of weeks ago and I was completely unaware! Not impressed at having missed the perfect reason for eating cake and drinking tea around the clock, I didn’t eat a scone once cuhh. As a result, I decided this week that I needed to rectify the situation.

scones, cutter, baking, old is now

Obviously to celebrate a little late is better than nothing, but to do it properly I chose to think about alternative scone flavours. Below are just a few of the ones I came up with (and if my friends are unlucky I may experiment with them later this year).

  • Marmite and Cheese
  • Mustard and Chocolate – Apparently Colman’s did Macaroons with this flavour! I’m not sure how I feel about this
  • Olive, Feta and sundried Tomatoes

But in the middle of my brainstorm I realised that despite believing that sweet always conquers over savoury; most of my crazy fillings didn’t reflect this. Hence… and drum roll please…. The idea for Chocolate and Bacon scones with an extra special ingredient… MARSHMALLOWS! Sweet, and savoury, and sweet. Perfect.

So without further ado I will put up the recipe I adopted. It comes fresh out of Mary Berry Cooks, released by Mary Berry earlier this year following a short TV series with the BBC. The only difference is that I have tweaked it to include my wacky ingredients.

 

TeaTime Scones

By Mary Berry as amended by Blaire

(If you want to just make normal scones ignore the text in *stars*)

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Why haven’t you made scones yet?

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 250g (9oz) self raising-flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 rounded teaspoon baking powder
  • 40g (1 ½oz) softened butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 25g (1oz) caster sugar (If I am feeling healthy I put even less in – Means you can put even more cream and jam on!)
  • 1 egg
  • About 100ml (4fl oz milk) (Stick by this… too many times have I added extra liquid and it just doesn’t need it.)

The following is a rough guideline, add more or less depending on how much you like each ingredient:

  • 6 rashers of Bacon
  • 50g Chocolate(I used dark however it made my scones quite bitter – We would love to hear from someone if they experiment with different types of chocolate.)
  • Two handfuls of Marshmallows (I made some with and some without for my first batch. Although a lot messier, I found that the scones including Marshmallows rose better. Probably because they exploded!)

 

Now to Baking:

 

  1. You will need a 4cm (1 ½in) flutted cutter. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/Gas 7. Grease two baking trays.
  2.  

     

    frying bacon, baking, old is now chocolate, baking, scones, old is now
  3. *First off, cut the Bacon into small pieces and fry it. Whilst this is frying cut up the chocolate. With this out of the way you won’t have to rush things later.*
  4.  

     

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  5. Measure the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub it in your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
  6.  

     

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  7. Beat the egg and place in a measuring jug. Pour in enough milk to make the liquid up to 100ml (4fl oz), then put about 1 tablespoon aside for glazing the scones after.
  8.  

     

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  9. Gradually add the egg and milk mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring it in until you have a soft, slightly sticky dough. *Once as a dough add each of the extra ingredients; chocolate, bacon and marshmallows. I found adding each one separately and taking the time to work it in easiest to get an even mix.*
  10.  

     

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  11. Turn the mixture out on to a lightly floured surface and pat out until it is about 2 cm (¾in) thick. Stamp out the scones using the 4 cm (1 ½in) cutter. Make sure you don’t twist the cutter or the scones will not rise evenly.
  12.  

     

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  13. Gently gather the trimmings together and pat out again to make more scones. Arrange the scones on the greased baking trays and brush the tops with the reserved milk.
  14.  

     

    bacon, scones, baking, old is now chocolate, scones, baking, old is now cooling rack , scones, marshmallow, baking, old is now
  15. Bake for 8 minutes until well risen and golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  16.  

     

  17. To serve, cut each scone in half horizontally and top with strawberry jam and clotted or whipped cream. *However if you included Chocolate, Bacon and Marshmallows why not spread on some butter, honey or mmm mmmm maple syrup? *

 

Something also to note is the fact that scones can be frozen! I only learnt this upon buying the book and reading the extra notes. Obviously this means that my scone addiction is probably going to cause waistline issues but never mind!Once cool seal them in a bag and freeze them. To defrost leave them at room temperature and refresh in a hot oven (220C/ 200C fan assisted) for five minutes.

So please, go forth and make these delectable Chocolate, Bacon and Marshmallow scones; or feel inspired to throw in your own quirky ingredients.

Just let me know how it goes! Even better, send in your scone photos so we can put them up on our Twitter. Or better still Tweet us them @OldisNow

chocolate and bacon scones, baking, old is now Bacon and chocolate scones

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