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…


    Cinnamon and almond whirls August 23, 2010

    Filed under: Food,Recipes — wearemadhatters @ 10:58 pm
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    Success at last!! My first try at cinnamon whirls was based on a recipe which said to put the whirls into muffin trays to cook but I would advise against this as they end up doughy and uncooked. This time, I put them flat onto greased baking trays and they came out perfectly. Also, a chef at work suggested melting a little marzipan into the cinnamon mixture, but as I didn’t have any I put in some ground almonds instead which gave a subtle almond taste but doesn’t distract from the delicious, sweet and buttery cinnamon. If you’re not a nut fan, you could just as easily take the almond out of the recipe below without any other adjustments and the recipe would work just as well.

    For the recipe and method, click here…


    Double chocolate & beetroot muffins August 15, 2010

    Filed under: cake,Food,Recipes,vegetables — wearemadhatters @ 7:17 pm
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    beautiful beetroot

    As I’m sure would be the same for many people, I wasn’t sure how nice these would be (I’m not a massive beetroot fan) but I’ve heard good things about both chocolate and beetroot brownies and cakes so thought I’d give them a go. I can now confirm that they are very tasty and the beetroot helps keep them moist and squishy!

    The recipe was adapted slightly from the ‘A wee bit of cooking’ blog, by removing the nuts (as they were made for my nut-allergic brother’s birthday I didn’t think it would be very fair to put them in!) and adding extra chocolate chunks to compensate. This version is pretty rich so make sure you approach with room in your stomach and in the mood for a chocolatey hit.

    Unless you really love nuts I’d say it’s not a bad substitution as the sweetness of the extra chocolate (I used milk and dark for the chunks) keeps the muffin firmly in the ‘indulgent pudding’ category rather than edging towards a slightly savoury taste.

    In fairness I have a ridiculously sweet tooth so the original recipe may be better for most people.

    For the recipe and method keep reading here…


    ‘Jacques’ (in multiseed sourdough loaf form) August 11, 2010

    Filed under: bread,Food,Recipes — wearemadhatters @ 11:56 pm
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    'Jacques' in bread form

    This won’t be the prettiest loaf you’ve ever seen, but it is my first successful loaf using a natural starter and I wanted to record the achievement.

    Not only does it mean that I haven’t killed ‘Jacques’ (my starter, apparently it’s good luck to name it and mine is of french origin so it seemed appropriate) but it also means that Clotilde of the fantastic Chocolate and Zuchini blog has provided such a fool-proof set of instructions that anyone can give it a try. I’d recommend it, the feeling is great.

    I used a multiseed wholemeal flour and doubted that the texture was right all the way through but the resulting bread is quite light (especially in comparison to any sourdough I’ve had a hand in in the past!), with a chewy crust and a mild sour taste behind the initial seedy hit.

    Next stop, some sort of nutty sourdough bread… maybe walnut… I wonder if you can make garlic bread with sourdough…


    ‘No tin foil’ rosemary and lemon salmon August 9, 2010

    Filed under: Food,Recipes — wearemadhatters @ 3:31 pm
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    …with roasted veg and bean salad. So many vital components to mention, so little title space…
    I wasn’t intending on creating something for the blog, but an amazing lunch just snuck up on me and I felt the need to record it. I had no tin foil and wanted to roast some salmon to eat in salads this week. Being ever so slightly lazy I decided I’d find a way around the problem of making sure the salmon didn’t dry out in the oven, or stick to the tin.

    if only it was a teeny bit sunnier?

    1. Put oil in a pan into the oven to heat (approx 200 degrees, fan oven)

    2. When hot, add a layer of really thinly sliced potato (I used sweet potato) to the bottom of the pan, it’s only really required underneath where the fish will sit, any thin slices outside of that will burn but you could fill the pan with lots more veggies if you wanted to.

    3. Put the salmon on top, with thin gaps between fillets, sea salt, black pepper and a good sprinkling of fresh rosemary (or your herb of choice), a single layer of thinly sliced lemon straight on top, and a layer of sliced red pepper on top of that. The quantities of each is really down to taste, just make sure that there is a good layer around the fish to stop it drying out.

    4. Cook for 30 minutes, and whilst it’s in the oven make a salad. Mine was gem lettuce, red and yellow baby tomatoes, and a mixture of beans in a creamy salad dressing which I layered the salmon onto when I got it out of the oven.


    Bread and butter pudding – version 2… chocolate :) July 14, 2010

    Filed under: bread,Food,Recipes — wearemadhatters @ 2:11 pm
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    Chocolatey but not too sweet (and I don't use that as a positive usually)

    I freestyled the chocolate bread and butter pudding a bit because using up bits of various slightly old loaves is what this pudding is all about, it seems a waste to cut crusts off, I like a breadier pudding than the original recipe and I didn’t have the cash on me for the rum!

    I don’t know if this would have been even better if I’d followed the original recipe, but it is (I’m eating a slice now!) delicious. Like a brownie, but somehow feels better for you… I don’t know if that’s actually the case but I’m not going to look it up for fear of bursting my bubble!

    The crusts provide a chewy interlude to the squidy chocolatey goodness and the various breads can’t be told from each other so no need for all white bread really. Really really good, you could serve this to friends over for dinner, supply a bit of cream to pour over it and voila, new favourite.

    Extra useful that you can (and should) prepare it 2 days in advance to increase the soakage of chocolate through the bread. Click here for the original recipe and my version…


    Bread and butter pudding – version 1 July 13, 2010

    Filed under: bread,Food,Recipes — wearemadhatters @ 3:25 pm
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    I’m probably one of the few people who gets excited waking up to a dreary drizzly day,

    delicious and squishy

    to me it shouts “cook something warm!”. Many thanks to Delia for teaching me to make bread and butter pudding, these days it has developed a little into the recipe below, although it changes every time depending on my mood and what I have in the cupboard.

    15 slices bread (from a small loaf), crusts on

    Enough butter for the slices of bread and to grease the pan (approx. 50-100g depending on how heavy a knife hand you have)

    4 chopped dried apricots, or 10g candied orange peel, or a bit of marmalade on each slice

    50-100g raisins

    275ml milk

    60ml double cream (or just use more milk)

    50g caster sugar

    Grated zest ½ small lemon

    3 eggs

    A sprinkling of nutmeg or cinnamon Click here for the method…