Mad Hatters' Blog

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

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…


Super simple onion bread rolls July 5, 2010

Filed under: bread,Food,Recipes — wearemadhatters @ 11:56 pm
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Just a quick post today, a friend’s fantastically simple recipe for onion rolls. Not only are they ridiculously easy to make, but we made them Sunday night and they were still delicious on the Wednesday, and probably would have toasted well right to the end of the week (although I can’t say for definite as mine were gone before then).

500g plain flour

2 tsp salt

7g dried yeast

1 tsp sugar

1tbsp olive oil

2 onions, diced finely

1 egg, beaten

1 tbsp sesame seeds

How to make the rolls, super easy…


Paris, brie, jambon, quiche, more brie, apricot, red cabbage, more brie… June 27, 2010

Filed under: Food — wearemadhatters @ 10:28 pm
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I’ve just got back from a long weekend in Paris visiting a friend and I am not only full of brie and love for my friend, I’m also extremely excited about spreading the news about all of the amazing food I’ve tried this weekend. It’s a bit of a long post, but every course deserved a mention!

Thursday – We intended on reviving after my travel from Exeter to Paris with a little light apéro (I don’t think either of us ever thought it would be particularly light, but I can pretend). I’m not going to list all of the drinks consumed over the time spent in Paris as I’m more interested in explaining the food, but you can safely assume that most of the following meals had a drink or two to keep them company.

Along with a large sliced crusty baguette, my hostess, the lovely Polly, piled the table with cheeses: brie and comté (aka gruyere de comté), meats: jambon and salami, a massive bag of salted pistachios, shallot oil (delicious, mild, almost sweet/nutty and perfect for dunking bread in), duck rillette, gherkins (never eaten before but now converted to the tangy crunchiness, perfect for cutting through the fatty duck) and a set of the most delicious pastes I’ve ever eaten. I’m hoping Polly will correct this list when she sees this as I’m about to get them completely wrong (I was so caught up in all the heavenly flavours I can’t remember which ones arrived together!). What I can say for sure is that the most incredible taste was the fig and demerara paste (they were all made on a base of garlic confit). As far as my overwhelmed taste buds can recall, there were also: olive, fig and cognac, green olive and chilli, mint and chili… one with ginger… eek… and I’m out… Polly?! Apparently a confit of garlic (used as a base for all of these pastes) is better for some recipes than raw garlic as it’s much milder so doesn’t overwhelm any other flavours.

Keep reading about the amazing food we tried in Paris


Black bottom cupcakes – Keep Calm and Carry On June 19, 2010

Filed under: Cookery books,Food,Recipes,tips — wearemadhatters @ 8:41 pm
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The most perfect strawberry

We have already sung the Hummingbird Cookery book’s praises plenty so I won’t do it again, but my first attempt at baking something from it took place today and as it wasn’t too much of a disaster it counts as a success! (I did not have high hopes as I know that precision is important with Hummingbird recipes…)

crazy crumbly cake mixture

I created the chocolate base mixture as per the recipe (which you can find at and, I’m not going to lie, I had a moment of baffled amusement as it was more like a fine crumby/rocky texture rather than a cake mixture and it was early in the process for things to be going wrong, even for me! However, they turned out fine so if you make these then don’t fret if they don’t look as expected, Keep Calm and Carry On…

Keep reading more about both attempts at making these cupcakes…


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)…

Sourdough experiments – 3 girls, 6 loaves, 1 KitchenAid June 12, 2010

Filed under: Food,Kitchen,Recipes,tips — wearemadhatters @ 8:18 pm
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Me, Jen and our friend Tamsin decided to try to teach ourselves to make bread, we thought it would be a nice change to bake something savoury and you can’t beat soup or stew with big chunks of fresh bread… or as it’s summer, maybe with ham, cheese and a good chutney.

i want one

Firstly, all hail Jen’s shiny, new KitchenAid which made the whole thing much less messy! Normally this wouldn’t be a plus point, I like excuses to get covered in food, but when you’re feeling a little tired it’s much appreciated.

We made one batch of  sourdough made from rye flour and one using strong white flour and yeast, which gave us 1 sourdough mini cottage loaf straight on the baking tray, a large white loaf in a silicon tray, and 4 sourdough mini loaves in silicon trays with various fillings:
Green olives and pimientos
Cheese and onion
Sundried tomatos, green and black olives, capers and cheese


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!