10 things you should never do on a bank holiday weekend

Three glorious days off! Sounds like a dream doesn’t it? Until you start making plans, that is…

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1. Plan to go to the bank
It’s all in the name, really.

2. Plan to go to the Post Office
Wouldn’t it be a bit too convenient if your local Post Office was actually open when you’re at home and would have time to go and –finally- send all those eBay orders / belated birthday postcards?

3. Go shopping
Oxford Street is enough of a nightmare on a regular weekend thank you very much.

4. Get your phone/laptop/Internet connection/water boiler fixed, or a haircut/manicure
If you find anybody who’s actually working on a bank holiday, chances are he/she is already triple-book. Give up on the idea of doing anything productive of your weekend, really.

5. Take a trip
Sure, travelling sounds like a dream in theory, but trust me, the prices and the crowds makes this idea more than debatable in practice. Just imagining the lines to pass security at Heathrow gives me chills.

6. Go to a slide and ice cream festival
Eating ice cream for lunch, going down slides and giggling all day is not what responsible grown-ups do on a bank holiday I’m afraid.

7. Organise an impromptu dinner party
Supermarkets’ opening hours are not going to be doing anything for you on that one… And how could you do without all those “essentials” Waitrose is famous for? #YESBriocheIsEssential

8. Clean your whole house
The first thing your colleagues will ask you on Tuesday morning is what you did on the weekend, and spring-cleaning is nowhere near as glamourous as the answer they’re expecting. You deserve better.

9. Have a picnic
Not that the weather is unpredictable in this lovely country of ours or anything… #WinterInAugust

10. Bake cake
Despite my advance notice (see #5), it’s very likely all your friends/family/neighbours will be away for the weekend and you’d have to eat it all by yourself while watching re-runs of the Great British Bake Off… Wouldn’t that be terrible?

Obviously, I’m planning on doing most of those things anyway (I mean, NO WAY I’m missing a slides and ice cream event!)… What about you? Any cool plans for the weekend?

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10 things you should never do on a bank holiday weekend

Postcard from the Ile de Ré

Some places just feel like home. I can’t really explain how it works, but the second you set the foot there, you immediately feel calmer, happier and like everything’s just right. Ile de Ré is definitely one of those places for me.

St Martin de Ré, Ile de Ré | Cake + WhiskyPostcard from the Ile de Ré | Cake + WhiskyPostcard from the Ile de Ré | Cake + Whisky

My love story with the small Atlantic island started when I was a kid (I spent each and every one of my summers there) and it never went away.

Postcard from the Ile de Ré | Cake + WhiskyArs-en-Ré church, Ile de Ré | Cake + WhiskyPostcard from the Ile de Ré | Cake + WhiskyPostcard from the Ile de Ré | Cake + WhiskyPostcard from the Ile de Ré | Cake + WhiskyPostcard from the Ile de Ré | Cake + Whisky

It most probably has something to do with the pastel shades of the blinds and the bright, very pure light.

Salt marshes on the Ile de Ré | Cake + WhiskyPostcard from the Ile de Ré | Cake + WhiskyPostcard from the Ile de Ré | Cake + WhiskyPostcard from the Ile de Ré | Cake + Whisky

From the beautiful beaches to the lively markets, the salt marshes as far as one can see and the quirky bits here and there, there’s so much to love and there’s no place I’d rather be.

Postcard from the Ile de Ré | Cake + WhiskyIce cream from La Martinière, St Martin de Ré, Ile de Ré | Cake + WhiskyIce cream from La Martinière, St Martin de Ré, Ile de Ré | Cake + Whisky

Especially if the plan includes a picnic, followed by some ice cream at La Martinière.

If you’re ever around, do yourself a favour and order a scoop (or three) of their signature salted caramel ice cream. And if you ever need any more tips on visiting this little gem f an island, let me know!

Where’s your happy place? I’d love to visit each and every one of them! 

Postcard from the Ile de Ré

Carrot and Almond Cake

Sunday’s cake day! Or at least, it’s one of my favourite excuses to get baking!

Carrot and almond cake | Cake + WhiskyI’ve been back home for just a few days and I’ve spent every hour trying to find a way to use up all the vegetables we’ve goten in the garden. However, a tomato cake was hardly a possibility, so I turned to a small bunch of carrots for today’s baking experiment…

Carrot and almond cake | Cake + WhiskyCarrot and almond cake (serves 6-8)

250g carrots, 2 big eggs, 100g sugar, 50g self-raising flour, 110g almond flour, 2.5 cL vegetable oil, pinch of salt, a handful of dry cranberries

Carrot and almond cake | Cake + Whisky1. Wash the carrots, peel and grate them.

2. In a big bowl, wisk the sugar and eggs together.

3. Add in the flour and almond flour and mix thoughroughly.

4. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until thoughroughly combined.

5. Pour the batter into a buttered and floured cake tin and bake for about 35 min at 180°C.

Are you a carrot cake lover? If you have a favourite recipe, send it my way! 

Carrot and Almond Cake

Vanilla madeleines with spiced plum compote

I have all sort of obsessions. Postcards, big, snuggly scarves, notebooks… And the biggest of them all, cakes.

Add to that my most recent obsession, stone fruits, and here’s what you get: Traditional vanilla madeleines with spiced plum compote.
Vanilla madeleines with plum compote | Cake + WhiskyA treat I can garantee will become a staple in my house come Autumn. Vanilla madeleines with plum compote | Cake + WhiskyVanilla madeleines with plum compote | Cake + WhiskyIt is a bit of work (mainly because you most likely won’t cook all your madeleines in one batch) but the second I dipped my first madeleine into the still-slightly warm plum compote, I knew it was actually time perfectly spent.

For the madeleines

Ingredients: 3 eggs, 125g self-raising flour, 140g sugar, 135g butter, 5 cL milk, 2 teasp runny honey, 2 pinches sea salt, 1 vanilla pod, 1 tsp vegetable oil

1. Melt the butter and keep aside until cool

2. In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar, honey, salt and vanilla seeds until it gets fluffy.

3. Add in the oil and the flour and mix thoroughly.

4. Pour in the butter and the milk and whish until thoroughly combined.

5. Cover your bowl with cling film and let it rest in the fridge for 2h.

6. Preheat your oven at 250 °C.

7. Fill the madeleine moulds with the batter (don’t over-fill them!).

8. Lower the oven temperature to 220°C and bake the madeleines for 5 min. Lower the temperature again to 200°C and cook a further 7-9 min.

For the plum compote

Ingredients: 5 purple plums, 1/2 teasp coffee spice (2/3 cinnamon, 1/3 nutmeg), 1 teasp vanilla powder, 2 tsp runny honey

1. In a small pot, cook all your ingredients until the plums are soft enough to be pureed with a fork.

2. Pour in a heat-resistant container and let it cool down a bit before serving.

Vanilla madeleines with plum compote | Cake + Whisky

Vanilla madeleines with spiced plum compote

Kensington stroll and night at the BBC Proms

It’s Proms season!

Actually, it’s been for quite a while, but I hadn’t managed to make my way to the fanciest of all music festivals.

Or so it was until yesterday, when I left work early and Uber-ed my way to South Kensington for an evening of classical music at the Royal Albert Hall.
A Night at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + Whisky Continue reading “Kensington stroll and night at the BBC Proms”

Kensington stroll and night at the BBC Proms

Kensington stroll and night at the BBC Proms

It’s Proms season!

Actually, it’s been for quite a while, but I hadn’t managed to make my way to the fanciest of all music festivals.

Or so it was until yesterday, when I left work early and Uber-ed my way to South Kensington for an evening of classical music at the Royal Albert Hall.A Night at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + WhiskyA Night at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + Whisky

Founded in 1895, The Proms is an eight-week summer season of daily orchestral classical music concerts held annually in the Royal Albert Hall.

A Night at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + WhiskyA Night at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + WhiskyOften described as “the world’s largest and most democratic musical festival”, it’s a very civilised affair indeed; no mud or camping here; it’s all about the Champagne and classical music.
A Night at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + WhiskyAnd to some extend, the queues… But well, when the best tickets in the house are only £5, I suppose it’s only fair game.

A Night at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + WhiskySouth Kensington Natural History Museum, details | Cake + WhiskySouth Kensington Natural History Museum | Cake + WhiskyHaving picked up a couple of raffle tickets, we left the Royal Albert Hall behind and raced off towards South Kensington to pick up a few bits for a little pre-concert improvised picnicLa Patisserie des Reves, South Kensington, London | Cake + WhiskyAfter contemplating our many options for a quite a while (and deciding that a pudding-only meal wouldn’t be reasonable despite how delicious everything in La Patisserie des Rêves‘ window looked), we settled for an old favourite: Comptoir LibanaisComptoir Libanais, South Kensington, London | Cake + WhiskyComptoir Libanais, South Kensington, London | Cake + WhiskyWe picked up enough baba ganoush to feed a small army (and a few baklawas too, I simply couldn’t resist that amazing window display) and carried our feast back to the Royal Albert Hall. A Night at the BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + WhiskySoon after we returned, we were led into the Royal Albert Hall.
A Night at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + WhiskyA Night at BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London | Cake + WhiskyFrom then on, my jaw didn’t stop hitting the floor for the entire evening.

The architecture, the music, the company… Everything was perfect and made for one of the best nights I could ever have wished for.

For obvious reasons, I didn’t take pictures of the concert so I’m afraid you’ll have to go check it out for yourself some time soon!

Have you ever been to the BBC Proms? 

Kensington stroll and night at the BBC Proms

Potato & bacon salad

I don’t know about you but I always find cooking much more exausting in the summer. Maybe it’s because the idea of turning on an oven and standing in a hot kitchen for hours in the heat isn’t quite my idea of fun.

Or it could just be that ingredients are so much better in the summer that I don’t feel it’s worth doing much to them as they shine best in very simple recipes.

Baby new potatoes are one of my absolute favourite ingredients and they definitely fall into that category; they’re so much sweeter than their winter counterparts that it would be a shame to only use them as a side.

There are many ways to cook potatoes (my German friends usually brag than they know over 100), but I couldn’t think of a better way to highlight those beautiful potatoes than this deliciously light, summer-y potato and bacon salad.
Summer potato and bacon salad | Cake + WhiskyIngredients (serves 2): 500g baby new potatoes, 4 rashers streaky bacon, 3 spring onions, 1 red onion, 2 ripe tomatoes, 1 tbs whole grain mustard, 1 tbs cider vinegar, 1 tbs olive oil, 1 tbs vegetable oil, salt, black pepper.

1. Wash the potatoes and put in a pot of cold water with some salt. Boil until tender. Cut into manageable pieces.

2. Slice the spring onions, the red onion and the tomatoes.

3. Cook the bacon in a pan until nice and crispy. Take off the pan.

4. Add the sliced red onion into the pan with the bacon fat. Cook on a low temperature until soft, then turn the heat up and cook until golden.

5. Make your dressing: in a jar, combine the mustard, the olive and vegetable oil, the vinegar, some salt and black pepper. Close the lid and shake until thoughroughly mixed.

6. In a big bowl, put your sliced tomatoes. Pile on the potatoes, the bacon and red onions. Sprinkle the spring onions on top. Add a good sprinkle of salt and some cracked black pepper.

7. Pour the dressing on top and serve.

What’s your favourite way to cook potatoes? I’d love to discover new recipes I can impress my German friends with!

Potato & bacon salad