A Giant Chocolate Cake

For Christmas, I was given Peggy Porschen’s ‘Boutique Baking’ book.  For ages, I didn’t use it.  Sure, I looked at (read: drooled over) the pictures, but I hadn’t actually settled down to do any baking.  Because the truth is, the pictures were pretty scary.  Look at the picture below.  That’s a pretty intimidating photo for a novice baker who can successfully make fairy cakes but burns just about every thing else.


Peggy Porschen's Boutique Baking

Peggy Porschen’s Boutique Baking


But, yesterday, I thought “Why not?  If Peggy can do it, then surely I can too?”  I would like stress at this point that Peggy Porschen owns an award-winning cake company – I do not.

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Hawksmoor:The Best Steak in London?

For a number of years, I have been on the hunt for the best steak in London.  As mentioned in an earlier post, steak is my absolute favourite food.  So far, I have been to Gauchos, Gordon Ramsay’s Maze Grill and Marco Pierre White‘s Steak & Alehouse.

Last Friday, I went to Hawksmoor.  Specifically, the Hawksmoor in Seven Dials (which is one of my favourite places in London anyway!).  It was Mal’s birthday at the end of February and, having heard a number of fantastic reviews, we decided to give it a go.  Well, it certainly lived up to our expectations.


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This is the name of restaurant that we visited in St Petersburg.  It was a strange restaurant, mainly because we were the only people in it.  The DK Travel Guide states the following:

The Strelka has a number of restaurants but none of them can match the Imperator for price.  Tucked away in the basement of the Academy of Sciences, next to the Kunstkammer, it serves the usual mix of European and Caucasian cuisine, with the slightly odd addition of Mexican dishes.  The small non-smoking room should be booked ahead.

The first part is certainly true – the prices were very reasonable.  I’m not quite sure what ‘Caucasian cuisine’ entails but the menu was certainly very varied.  The meal itself was pleasant, if not exceptional, but the service was fantastic.  We had already eaten a few times since arriving in St Petersburg and the service had been pretty poor each time.

English: Saint Petersburg (Russia), Old Saint ...

St Petersburg

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Eating Italian Food in Vietnam

I know, I know.  When in Rome and all that.  But is it so wrong to want a little bit of Rome in Vietnam?  I understand that it’s important to eat local food when abroad, but does that mean I can’t indulge in an epic spag bol in Hanoi?

The Italian restaurant in question is El Mediterraneo and the food was AMAZING.  It isn’t just me who thinks so either – TripAdvisor has numerous equally positive reviews (although it also has a few rather scathing comments dotted about).  I don’t in anyway regret choosing to eat there because it was a lovely meal and I really do love Italian food.  But, now, looking back, I can’t help but think that it was a little bit strange to visit an Italian restaurant in Hanoi.  It wasn’t as though we had weeks and weeks available in which to sample the Vietnamese cuisine, so I wonder whether I should have been more experimental (it was, after all, me who insisted on having an Italian meal).   In total, we visited this restaurant twice, although we did spend a few days away from Hanoi in between visits.  If I recall correctly, I also had a cheese and ham toastie in Vietnam.

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Did My Pancakes Look As Good As Betty’s? Errr … No.


But there was no need to worry because, as expected, they still tasted immense!!  As promised yesterday, I have included some of my own photos.  However, as you can see, the quality is somewhat questionable!

To start with, I created a ‘Pancake Station’.  It included strawberries, bananas, melted chocolate and an entire tub of ice-cream.  Oh yes, and a couple of glasses of Prosecco (which weren’t both for me!).

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Something to Make You (& Me) Smile

In a mini break from my dissertation, I thought I might share something incredibly exciting with you.  I am confident that this something will ensure that the pains of this dissertation will be completely (if temporarily) forgotten later on today.

So, a couple of clues:

  1. Yes, it is edible.
  2. It is relevant specifically to today

Have you guessed yet?

*Drum Roll*

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