Mad Hatters' Blog

Mad hatters love tea parties… we love them… especially the cake. We also love good food, fun events and interesting people!

Jelly & Ice Cream September 14, 2010

Filed under: Food,Recipes — Jen @ 9:39 am
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I got rather excited (albeit prematurely) that this year we were going to have a wonderful summer – there were at least 3 solidly sunny weekends in Devon – and so went searching for some fun summer desserts. Unfortunately it’s taken so long for me to actually write these up that it’s now September, but let’s hang onto summer for a little bit longer…..

I have combined two different recipes in this post, just because they seemed to fit quite well! I tried them both separately – but feel free to give them ago together. Thanks to BBC Food & the Daily Mail for the recipes respectively.

Sparkling Jelly

Sparkling Jelly - The Final Product

  • 300ml hot water
  • 55g caster sugar
  • 500ml sparkling rose wine
  • 4 leaves of gelatine
  • 150g raspberries
  • Put the water and sugar into a saucepan over a low to medium heat and stir to dissolve the sugar, then raise the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, simmer for five minutes, then remove the pan.  Pour the sparkling wine into a separate bowl and add the gelatine. Leave this until the leaves are soft and squidgy (this should take a couple of minutes).Once soft, remove the leaves from the wine, squeezing off as much liquid as possible, and add them to the sugar syrup.Whisk furiously until the gelatine has completely dissolved (this shouldn’t take too long), then pour the syrup mixture into the bowl with the sparkling wine and whisk to combine.

    Keep reading…


    Rhubarb & Custard Tartlets June 17, 2010

    Filed under: Food,Recipes — Jen @ 7:01 pm
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    Rhubarb is probably my all time favourite vegetable. I adore the tart and mouthwatering taste that leaves you wanting more. I, like many I’m sure, tend to stick to the same old rhubarb recipes. In my case this involves a pork belly and rhubarb recipe from ‘Jamie at Home’ ( which is really a favourite of mine or if we’re talking dessert I always opt for a rhubarb crumble (with apple, rasperry or whatever fruit I happen to have in the flat).  My only requirements are a high crumble to fruit ratio and a healthy spoonful of clotted cream on top (I do live in Devon after all).

    Both of these recipes have happily lasted me for many years however last weekend my boyfriend’s mum sent us home with a very generous amount of rhubarb that she’d grown on her allotment – she knows how much I like it and she’s overwhelmed with rhubarb at this time of year. So I decided to branch out and  began searching around for recipes. I found a James Martin recipe on BBC Food which I have adapted with success so I thought I’d share. This is definitely one for any lady, who like me has problems getting her other half to eat dessert because it’s ‘too sweet’ or ‘too rich’.  I made two little tartlets with this recipe (but still have more than enough of everything left to make another couple at least!)

    Rhubarb Tart

    Keep reading about rhubarb (and get the full recipe)…

    Raspberry Chocolate Cheesecake Brownie June 3, 2010

    I know it sounds strange but give it a chance. It’s the 4th recipe I’ve tried out from the Hummingbird Bakery recipe book (the first being the lemon cupcakes and the middle two being varying cookie recipes). It was one of those decisions that went along the lines ‘sounds so strange it must be good’. I’m sure we’ve all baked something under that proviso and it paid off. It was pretty easy to put together (although there are a couple of different layers going on so make sure you’ve got plenty of mixing bowls handy!) I made it for a BBQ and probably got the best feedback ever received on some of my baked goods so I recommend everyone to go and by the book and make them. I’ve posted a picture Cat took of the last remaining slice below.

    Some thanks has to go to my beautiful, shining new KitchenAid mixer. Now I have one I’m not sure what I did without one.


    The final product!


    Calling all comfort foodies… May 25, 2010

    So as you may have all gathered by now Cat & I (along with our friends & family) tend to spend all our time, or at least a significant part of it, eating, thinking, talking (and now writing) about food. We are always on the look out for new things to try and add to our recipe books. But we have now pretty much exhausted each others food catalogue (spending 24/7 together for a year in Italy will do that to you) so this is where you guys come in.

    We would love all of you to tell us how to make your favourite comfort food dish (or dishes), the one you want to eat when you come back from an awful day at work. Everyone has one. So go ahead and post the recipe. No matter how simple. Share you favourite dish (and any family secret ingredients necessary) with your fellow comfort foodies. We’ll be posting ours shortly.

    Cat & Jen


    Hummingbird Bakery Awakening!

    Filed under: Food — Jen @ 5:50 pm
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    I have long been a fan of baking. I don’t think there’s anything more relaxing (well at least when everything is going right-those who have seen me when things are going wrong would disagree!) Thankfully I also work with people who appreciate cake (nearly) as much as I do. Each week on Friday our office stops completely at 10.30am to gather at one end of the office for tea and cake. We have a rota and each week two members of the team bake and bring in cake. This is, understandably, my favourite part of the working week. Last week I was treated to the MOST AMAZING lemon cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook (

    I heard of The Hummingbird Bakery a few years ago thanks to an American friend of mine (thanks Celeste) but somehow I never got around to picking up the Cookbook. That is until last Friday. After tasting the wonderfully light, fluffy and ‘zesty’ cupcakes at cake-time I knew that I could no longer live without this book! Keep reading about lemon cupcakes…