Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Here is the piece that was in the UK edition of The Metro on 14 Dec. written by Chloe Scott. The girls at the Metro were very pleased with their box of goodies, which was good news for us, phew!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire....yes they were on Christmas Eve but now a few days later I have eaten some and think that I ate some mouldy ones! Not that I am scared of a little mould, it makes us stronger but I think that it might offset the nutritional values of the other chestnuts. I didn't know how healthy they were until today - while googling 'eating mouldy chestnuts' I found out that they are quite good for you. Cholesterol-free, low in sodium, a good source of dietary fibre, high in water content and high in carbs they are a healthy snack - they are also good for their calcium content, iron and protein offering. Put them on the shopping list next week!

Get some from that roasted chestnut vendor next time you see him -as long as he doesn't dunk them in oil or salt.  Or buy some shiny ones at the shop and roast them for 20-30minutes and eat them nice and warm -they don't need any salt or oil as they are sweet, crumbly and moist all at the same time.

I still like them cold and a few days old but not sure the mouldy ones will like my stomach in a few hours :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

More Cakes

 I love these bug shaped vanilla cakes -perfect for a kids' birthday party!
And I love Jake's photography for Le Dolci.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Hope you have a lovely day with family, friends, food, wine and good cheer! Here's to health and happiness for the New Year!

Am looking forward to some yummy food and hearing my favourite little violinist play a song for us this Christmas.

Lots of love  xx

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I personally think bringing eggs to a party is wrong. But that is just me as I think eggs can cause gasesous substances to emit from the other party goers. I also was scarred for life when an ex-girlfriend of my friend was a co-host at his party and opened the door to greet us with a tray of stinky tuna and raw onion hors d'oeuvres. It was a very odd combo for me as EVERYONE that night then had tuna and onion breath. It was awful! I know I may be a bit of a stickler for food but let's stick with less offensive smelling things to bring to a party peeps! Luckily my sister didn't bring deviled eggs to my party last night, she (errm...her nanny made) a bean salad with the loveliest flower rosettes made of tomatoes.

Back to the egg-spectations of party goers, I would've liked it if someone brought me this from Japan. I loved boiled eggs (when I am not entertaining) and though this is a super cool idea - it is probably a little too scary GM for my taste. Read my friend Rahul's blog post about Food, Glorious Food here! Thanks for the photo RP x

Monday, December 21, 2009

A bit of Christmas cheer

Back in warm-ish Canada, well it is warmer than freezing London. So for people without kids, beware as when you do have them your day can go something like this. Wake up at 7am, make and eat french toast, play and make rainbow cupcakes by 9am, wonder what the hell to do for the rest of the day for about 30 seconds in between more playing of Hungry Hippo, kids Monopoly and tag. was only 11am and I was already exhausted. So at 1pm it was bowling time, then more playtime and more cupcake eating.

Cousins of the children's age came over after bowling so that eased the play requirements, snuck in a bit of Oprah watching, Le Dolci emails and a bit of pub action tonight with the Adopted Lebanese sister and the real Italian fiery one.  I have done very little walking as this is the land of the vehicle so Momma Dolce's home made pasta and veal have gone down a treat and it keeps on coming. 

Today's cupcake making had a 'rainbow' theme and each cupcake was a color of the rainbow (well we tried as best as we could!) It's great to be home for xmas, more food adventures to come. Bring on the Christmas feast.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Interesting Job Application
Although I am not hiring, I do everything from packing boxes to licking the bowl myself :), this pic came via email with the note, 'Hire me! I think I would make a pretty good employee.......'

I do like the direct approach and love the pic and the decoration, although I suspect the frosting may not be all natural but this is a good starting point. Unfortunately the applicant is in Canada so they will have to wait 'til a Le Dolci Toronto branch opens. Then they are hired! And her two little angel-looking children can do the taste testing. Little Andrew would be good at that am sure!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

From Leith's wonderful archives

For the cucumber raita:
  • 225g cucumber
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 pint of Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Wash the cucumber and pat dry, grate the unpeeled cucumber and sprinkle with the salt. Drain the grated cucumber in a strainter or piece of muslin, getting out as much water as possible. In a bowl mix the yoghurt, mint and pepper. Prior to serving add the drained cucumber and mix. Deliciously served on top of the Chana dhal to bring some cool to the spicy dish.

For the Chana Dhal:
  • 225g Chana dhal (lentils)
  • 5 cups cold water
  • 1 medium onion, finely choppped
  • 3 green chillies, chopped
  • 1tsp peeled and grated ginger
  • 2 tbsps of oil
  • 1/2 tsp each of: coriander, cumin, tumeric 
  • 1tsp masala
  • 1tsp tomato puree
  • salt

Wash the lentils in several changes of water, soak for 2hrs in 3 cups of water. Drain and put remaining lentils and water in a saucepan with the chillies, ginger and half the onion. Bring to the boil and cover and simmer for 50 minutes. Sirt from time to time and if the water has evaporated add 1/2 cup of boiling water. The lentils hould be soft but not mushy when pressed between your thumb and forefinger.

In a small pot heat oil and fry the raminign onion until brown, add the rest of the spices add salt and ppeer to taste and mix. Pour this spicy mixture into the mixture and bring back to the boil then simmer for 5 minutes.

Serve as above- it is divine!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Made with coconut milk in both the base and icing, I think the coconut cupcake is my favourite flavour -that is because I feel like I was born in the wrong place instead of the Great White North, I think my ancestral blood (Arab/African?) means I should be roaming the desert or living on a tropical island. I am not a fan of the cold (I think I am getting frostbite INSIDE my flat - THANK YOU lovely thin English windows) and thrive in the heat so love anything from the tropics including: coconut, mango, passion fruit, bananas, lychee, pineapple, papaya and taro. I think I need to get into the sunshine soon as my body is starting to look as white as that cupcake!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Eaten in front of an open fire, while some chestnuts are roasting and Christmas carols are on - perfect! A few more days until I am in front of a crackling fire, looking forward to it immensely. Another pic from Jake Green and Le Dolci's cannoli. We don't make coffee.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My wonderful friend Jake at Jake was kind enough to host a photo shoot at his cool studio this past week. He usually does celebs and other fun stuff but he has a sweet tooth so the very cooperative subjects for the afternoon were cakes! Resulting phtoographs from the day are AMAZING.

If you ever need a photographer please call him and tell him I sent you (you may get a discount or a clever East End comment!) Jake has a creative eye and managed to make the cupcakes, cannoli and brownies look fantastic. More pics to be uploaded soon but for now enjoy these two and also read today's review of Le Dolci on written by the lovely Food & Drink editor Chris.

The greatest thing about starting a new biz is all of the interesting and kind people you meet, a lot of people are willing to help newbies and I am sure karma and time will allow me to help them one day too.  A big thanks to all of you who have pointed me in interesting directions and have offered me your time and advice!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

 This reminds me of burgers and chips in the summer served after a day at the beach or from Simmy's snack bar! I need to now have a boring bowl of museli cereal. Read more about this cult favourite burger joint in San Diego on the following blob:  Cheese n Biscuits  The place is called In & Out - I am now craving a big burger for dinner.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Get two bottles of red wine and dump them in a pot on the stove -add the following:

slices of clementines, lemon rind, sliced almonds, cinnamon or a cinnamon stick, a dash of nutmeg, some vanilla and a handful of sugar. You can add cloves and anise but I am not too keen on those, basically add whatever lovely Christmas-y spices you'd like to the wine.

Let simmer on the stove **do not boil** as that will boil the alcohol off. Serve steamy warm while wearing an embarrassing Christmas sweater that your gran gave you and crank up Step Into Christmas by Elton John! Only 11 days to go xx

*pics from the amazingly decorated Carnaby Street

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Today is the 12th day of the 12th month - only 12 more days til Christmas Eve!

Have had some mulled wine and Christmas music and getting very excited about a snowy white winter wonderland and family in the Great White North. I also made (well steamed) a Christmas pudding for the first time. It was a gift from the Queen, yes Liz and I are mates. I did attend a lunch with her once but that was a few years ago and I was one of another 100 people but let's just pretend it was her and I chatting about life over a cuppa tea and some biscuits.

Anyhow, before I digress any further, Queen Lizzie gave these puds out to each of her staff as a Christmas gift in 2007.  And one of her lovely employees gave it to me!

I steamed it for 1.5 hrs yesterday and served it up on a plate with lots of spoons, which to everyone's dismay is not how you serve it.  It is supposed to be served with custard or ice cream but there was none of that at our place, just mulled wine and minced pies. I had a spoonful of the Queen's pudding and one was not amused as there are so many raisins and fruity bits!!   Dried fruit and brandy is not a good combo for me, our Christmas dessert is usually Tiramisu.

Well the pudding has been saved for the Brits to eat 'properly' with their custard and ice cream. Let the countdown begin to Momma Dolce's tiramisu xx

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chocolate Fudge bars with Jordans Country Crisp - yum!

The lovely people at Jordans sent me some chocolate Country Crisp and although it isn't as good as my childhood favourite, Count Chocula (which was covered in sugar!) This chocolate cereal is yummy and I can bet much healthier than the Count and his marshmallows!

Here's a recipe for some chocolate fudgy bars!

Makes 18

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 35 mins

150g dark chocolate
120g unsalted butter
 2 large eggs
150g soft dark brown sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
50g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
 240g fresh or frozen pitted cherries, defrosted if frozen (unless you like cherries, I would leave these out - icky!)
100g Jordans Chocolate Country Crisp

1.   Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4/180C/160C fan. Line a 20cm/8” square baking tin with non-stick baking parchment.
2.   Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
3.   In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar, using an electric hand whisk, until light and doubled in volume. Stir in the vanilla extract and melted chocolate mixture.
4.   Fold in the cherries, and Jordans Chocolate Country Crisp. Pour into prepared tin and smooth the surface with a spoon. Bake for about 35 minutes, until the cake is set and no longer wobbles when the tin is shaken slightly (it will still be quite sticky, but will firm up once cooled). Leave to cool completely in the tin, before cutting into bars.

Enjoy! And hint, hint, ladies who don't know what to bring to the potluck - here's an idea! 
Also, if you love Country Crisp join the appreciation society for invites to cool events and news on exciting new food stuffs.


Thought this might be interesting in the run up to the birth of baby Jesus.

Marmite Jesus
BBC News, May: Claire Allen, 36, said she was the first to notice the image on the underside of the lid as she was putting the yeast spread on her son's toast.

Kitkat Jesus
The Metro, April: ' "I was amazed. I just took a bite and then I saw the face of Christ in it," the finder told the Dutch website... Other witnesses are less impressed.'

 Burger grease Jesus
The Sun, July: 'Builder Oliver Bellerby discovered this incredible image of Jesus in a baking tray… He said: "I went back to the kitchen after having dinner to get a drink and I just saw it straight away - the face of Jesus."'

Source: Daniel Finkelstein's Times Online column

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

I can now clean, collect the black ink, season with chili and deep fry a giant squid for you! Oh the love of Leith's cooking school. Here's Steve with his big tentacled friend.

On another note, one of the Christmas activities with the kiddies will be pasta making, they'll love that and their Mum will love the flour-y floor! I made tortellini the other night; they were filled with 3 cheeses so only ate a few which is unfortunate as the three I had were delicious.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

It's a periodic table made with cupcakes, very geeky cool! Thanks A for the spot. 
I wonder what the Alkaline earth metals ones taste like?? Spotted on

Monday, December 07, 2009

While I waited at our table and admired the lovely enlarged funny face portraits hanging from the high, white ceiling, the Aries girl made two friends at the bar (a lovely couple from Scotland) and before we left they hailed us over and gave us a kiss and a hug and wishes for a merry Christmas. How nice was that!? Only an Aries girl could get on like a house on fire with someone in the span of time it takes to order a drink! What star sign am I?

We had a quick bevvy at the Light Bar at St. Martin's Hotel before heading off for a burger in Soho. I absolutely love the decor in the Light Bar and the wait staff and door staff were also very pleasant; once again I was shocked but oh so pleased! Explore their website for more amazing pics of their bar, restaurant and hotel, it's oh so cool and modern.  When you go, try the Strawberry Cheesecake Collins (drink) or snack on nibbles from Asia de Cuba, the restaurant next door. Oh so delightful. A nice place to take a break after a long day of Christmas shopping.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Christmas Cupcakes

It has been a busy week with the Christmas party season starting. I've been busy baking Christmas cupcakes (and brownies!). Blog post to follow soon, just delivering a few cupcakes today to the east end.

Back soon x

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Party at the White and York House was fab, the hosts fully kitted the house out in the theme. There were empty milk cartons hanging like patio lanterns, there were sliced beer cans hanging like wind chimes (see pics), CDs dangling from the ceiling, old fashioned cassette tapes unraveled in the toilet, and recycling bag stuff hanging artistically everywhere. Can you guess the theme?

Well it was - RUBBISH. So everyone was asked to dress in rubbish. I had an egg carton tiara with a home made t-shirt with pink paint on it that matched the pink dots I painted on my egg carton hat. Ms White was lovely in her rubbish themed ballet outfit - lots of rolled up plastic bags made into frill and flowers adorned her outfit to make it look like something out of the ballet. And member no. 1 of Alter Ego Diaries - (above) made her tea party outfit using tea bags that she had dyed earlier this week.  She even made the tea pot out of paper mache. The tea bags looked great (my pic may be too zoomed out); they were arranged as colorful shoulder pads and decoration for her bustier. Member no. 2 of Alter Ego Diaries was also wearing a stunning Financial Times outfit made of the FT newspaper. It was fab! She made the bustier out of FT paper mache and even had little FT snippets on like nail polish! Love it. You can check out their blog for more fun dressing up stuff.

As usual some peeps didn't wear costumes so donned a Sainsbury's bag or two as a hat or a diaper. It was visually very entertaining. Oh so many great costumes. So, your food waste does not need to just be rubbish: egg cartons, plastic bags, tea bags and more can be transformed into works of art! x