Thursday, 22 October 2009

The Bubble bar

Preparation of the pho

I picked up aLeaflet at one my local chinese supermarkets, It was about the bubble bar - I love bubble drinks - and decided to visit it as it is 500 yards from my home (no excuse not to go is there??)

The bar is up some stairs, just above the red chilli restaurant, a brilliant northern cuisine chinese. It is a small place, but well lit and fresh, modern and clean looking.great combinations of colours make it pleasant. The background music is not too loud either.

Friendly bar


I had a look at the bubble drink menu, which is rather extensive, and I opted without hesitation for the Durian bubble (see below). It is the first bar I can indulge in my durian obsession sins....
Durian Bubble drink
For those who don't know about bubble drinks, they are beverages made with milk or soya, either with tea or fruits, served with tapioca black pearls, gelatinous balls of the size of a marble (hence the mega size for the straw). The drink was perfect and looking further on the menu, I realise there was some great common vietnamese snacks/food, bahn mi and pho... How could I resist?? I had a pho, freshly prepared in front of me like it should be. Possibly not as tasty as Marjolaine's, but I suspect that's asking for too much. It was nevertheless very healthy and tasty. I had not planned to eat in the bar, I just got very excited about the food offered there...


Being of french origin, I had to finish the meal on a cafe, and o joy, I could get a vietnamese coffee!

Vietnamese coffee

At the moment there is an offer I was told by the owner, and I got a n extra frozen yoghurt - I was already full by then though.
Frozen yoghurt

The bar is an excellent alternative for a healthy lunch or for hanging out for all the other cafe places, since it has the great advantage to close at 9pm - two hours after the others....

So thumbs up for this little bar that offers something new in town!

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Cherry Bakewell pudding

homemade bakewell pudding

I have always disliked the Kipling's Bakewell tarts, too sweet, no flavour, and I don't really like the thick icing that tops it. So how did I get to make a Bakewell tart you'll ask?
Well, I saw a brief explanation of what a Bakewell tart was on the 'Economy, Gastronomy' programme on BBC TV (great series by the way...), and I decided to implement the idea (my way of course).

I checked up on the internet and discovered that t
he name comes from a town called Bakewell in Derbyshire in the Peak District, and [Wikipedia] 'The name is believed to have come from a customer who decided that the tart was "baked well" thus the inn called it their "Bakewell" tart, a pun on the town of Bakewell and a well baked tart. Two shops in Bakewell offer what they both claim is the original recipe pasty :
- The Bakewell Tart Shop & Coffee House sells a "Bakewell Tart", while
- The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop sells a "Bakewell Pudding"'

I also discovered the difference between a Bakewell tart , a Bakewell cake and a Bakewell Pudding which according to Wikipedia is the following:
Bakewell tart: a shortcrust pastry shell, spread with jam and covered with frangipane.
Bakewell Cake: also known as a Cherry Bakewell is a variation of the tart where the frangipane is covered with a top layer of icing and a single half glacé cherry.

Bakewell Pudding: The recipe still used in The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop consists of a puff pastry shell with a layer of jam, covered with a filling of eggs, sugar, butter and almonds.

So here is My version of the cake:
homemade bakewell pudding

- The pastry: I decided to use puff pastry as I think it lighter than shortcrust pastry, also less sweet (I am definitely not a sweet tooth..). I used a ready made one (the best ones are the ones sold as squares in the frozen section, and yes you have to roll it yourself, but it's worth it).
- The frangipane: I used the recipe I am used to making for the French 'Galette des rois' (See my previous post) as I know it to be fluffy, moist and light:
  • 150g ground almond
  • 75g soften butter
  • 80g sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • a few drops of orange blossom water
Mix the butter and the sugar until the mix whitens, then add the beaten eggs and the ground almond, mix well.

-The filling: I used a canned fruit filling, since getting hold of fresh cherries at this time of year and at a reasonable price is not an option here (and jam is way too sweet for me):
This filling is again, not too sweet and tastes nicely of cherries.
- The decoration: icing sugar and a few glace cherries.

Lay the puff pastry in a tart mould, place in the oven at 180 degrees for 8-10 minutes (less if you use a metal mould as opposed to silicone), in order to pre-cook it (it prevents the pastry to go soggy with the filling.

Spread the filling at the bottom of the mould, then top and cover with the frangipane. cook for 10 min at 200degrees then 10 more minutes at 180degrees approx.

When the pudding has browned, take it out of the oven, sprinkle icing sugar on it and arrange a few glace cherries cut in half.
homemade bakewell pudding

The texture was absolutely superb, the frangipane was moist with a delicately cracking surface under the tooth. It was not too sweet, and very easy to make, very flavoursome too. The puff pastry made it lighter and added to the texture, softly crackly. Nothing comparable to the awful Kiplings Bakewell tartelettes, and a recipe I will make again and again and again....

Bon Apetit!
A slice of Bakewell pudding
Source: Info from Wikipedia articles, photos from myself, and recipe a British traditional favorite interpreted by myself.