Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Chocolate and pecan blondies

Not that you need telling, but the recipes on the Smitten Kitchen blog are really rather good. Luckily a lot of other people realised this a while ago as blogger Deb Perlman now has a best selling cookbook.

Anyway, I made these blondies from a basic recipe on her blog the other week, and added around 75g of chopped up dark chocolate (85% cocoa) and about the same weight of lightly toasted pecan nuts. These were the first blondies I've made, and possibly tasted too. They were quite sweet, but were perfect in small squares and had a great fudge-y texture. They are the sort of thing that would be ideal for picnics or travelling with, as they don't have the logistical issues of transporting a large Victoria sponge (but are equally as delicious). Definitely one to make again once summer re-appears.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Pint Shop, Cambridge, UK

Pint Shop is located right in the centre of Cambridge, but you could easily walk past and not notice it. That would be an error. It only opened late year, but it's been a great addition to the limited number of independent eating options in town. It's a slightly odd space with a pub/bar at the front, and a dining room at the back (and another upstairs too apparently). I went for a weekend lunch earlier in the year which was lovely (but unblogged), so it was an obvious choice for a midweek, day-off-work, late lunch. And by late lunch, I mean very late- I think we rocked up at around 3:45pm, so were the only people in the dining room, but service was still prompt and friendly.

 There would normally be other people here.

Bread and a jug of water arrived unprompted, and an exceptionally helpful front of house person assisted me in choosing the nicest gin and tonic I have ever had (with City of London Dry Gin if you're interested). Wanting something lighter to eat, I chose a couple of starters and sides (to share), which all used simple ingredients done really well. A classic asparagus and poached egg dish was cooked perfectly and well seasoned. The crumbed hake was a bit like square fishfingers, but none the worse for that, and the grilled spring onions that came with it were deliciously tender and smoky. I love broccoli with anchovy, and would have been delighted with am extra pot of the dressing for dipping purposes. As I think the picture below captures, onion rings were ginormous but still light and crispy.

Having scoffed all of this, and with the MCP devouring a large baked bream, we were too full for pudding (a rarity). All of this food, along with a couple of alcoholic drinks came to around £55 (without service) which I think was excellent value for the quality of cooking. I've only been twice, but I already pretty much love Pint Shop. I would happily return just for a G&T, but some food would be even better.

Pint Shop
10 Peas Hill
Cambridge CB2 3PN