Primrose Bakery – Cupcake Masterclass

Primrose Bakery

Primrose Bakery

A couple of weeks ago, I booked myself to the Primrose Bakery Cupcake Masterclass, it cost Β£45 for 2 and half hours at their Covent Garden shop. You will get taught how to ice their cupcakes with the Primrose signature, ice using a palette knife and some piping! πŸ™‚ Plus, you get to take all your beautiful cupcakes home! For more details of this class, click here.

I had a fun time, it was a bit daunting to go by myself but the other girls were friendly as well as we all shared the same passion! Our head chef was called Lisa and Rachel was assisting on the day. When we arrived, we were given an apron to wear and was offered drinks as the shop was quite warm because they were baking the cupcakes downstairs! πŸ™‚

Lisa - Buttercream is ready when you see the line

Lisa – Buttercream is ready when you see the line

Lisa first taught us how to make vanilla buttercream and when to tell it is ready. Basically, when you draw a line (using a palette knife) in the middle of your buttercream mixture, the line should stay there, it shouldn’t run or flop and that’s when you know it is ready! πŸ™‚

It took quite awhile to try to get the knack of using doing their signature swirl!!! Apparently, it takes a lot of practice to make it perfect. In the past, when I have tried to use a palette knife to ice the cupcake, it just looks really messy!!! And, when I read the instructions from a recipe book, i just don’t understand it and then I watch the you tube videos but they do it too fast! But from this class, I did learn the basic techniques so it is a matter or practice practice practice which will soon be perfect!! πŸ™‚ Lisa said when the chefs first join the bakery, it normally takes them a couple of months or so before they have happy with their swirl!!

My beautiful cupcakes! :)

My beautiful cupcakes! πŸ™‚

We had different plates of decorations which we used for our cupcake toppings and we also got taught how to make a piping bag out of parchment paper which is useful if you are using lots of different colour of icing and want to do detailed designs.

Towards the end of the class, Lisa showed us the different ways to decorate a layer cake using the palette knife. It was amazing to see the different styles of the icing using a palette knife, i was very impressed!!! πŸ™‚

I really enjoyed my afternoon, Lisa and Rachel were friendly, the class was very informative and I learnt a lot of techniques and tips!!! πŸ™‚

Before!

Before!

My choc cupcakes decorated

My choc cupcakes decorated

My vanilla cupcakes decorated!

My vanilla cupcakes decorated!

One big swirl!

One big swirl!

This was called a hedgehog design!

This was called a hedgehog design!

Rings of swirls

Rings of swirls

This was Lisa's swirl

This was Lisa’s swirl

It was a little girl's birthday on that day so she piped her name!

It was a little girl’s birthday on that day so she piped her name!

 

 

 

Indulging Weekend of Foods!!! :)

IMAG0921My friend, Lawrence stayed with us this weekend so for a Sunday brunch, I cooked us all a lovely English fry up, the boys just gobbled it all up quite quickly while I was struggling! πŸ™‚ It is nice to have a fry up every now and then but not every weekend!

On Saturday night, we went to our local Indian restaurant – Harlington TandooriΒ for dinner and we ate loads!!! We were there for over 2 and half hours just chatting and catching up, the food was delicious and felt really stuffed afterwards!! We then came back home and managed to catch ‘Se7ven’ on TV, a great classic thriller film with Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey. The boys then later cut themselves a piece of cheesecake, I just couldn’t stomach it!! So, it was a weekend of indulging yummy food!!! πŸ™‚

Dim Sum Date Night!

Shanghai Blues

Shanghai Blues

I saw a ‘Dim sum making class’ on Wowcher and I thought it was a really good deal because it was 50% off (normally cost Β£68) and you get to have a two course meal with a glass of wine for Β£34! Bargain! πŸ™‚ I decided that this was the perfect opportunity for me and my hubby to go on a date night! Although, he was slightly concerned that you had to make the ‘dim sum’ as he is not keen in baking or making desserts etc but was pleased to hear that you get to have dinner and wine!!! πŸ™‚

In case you are not familiar with the term ‘Dim Sum’, it means bite-size food served steamed or on small plates and you share this with your family or friends. We called this ‘Yum-Cha’ as normally, you would have Chinese tea with your food. In some ways, it is like ‘Tapas’ as you many different starters!!! πŸ™‚ The most popular day to go Yum-Cha is on a Sunday, in China Town, it is normally packed with Chinese families enjoying their family day! πŸ™‚

Class room

Class room

The Dim sum lesson took place at Shanghai Blues Restaurant in Holborn in a beautiful Grade II listed building. It was beautifully decorated inside looking traditional but still very modern. We were led into a room and it had different fillings on the table such as: prawns, scallops & mixed vegetables.

Chef demonstrating making the dim sum to the class

Chef demonstrating making the dim sum to the class

I was really unsure how they were going to teach us because there were so many people in the room ( 25 – 30 people)!!! The chef rolled out the skins for us and demonstrated the different types of dim sum and then we all had a go at it ourselves! The chef made it looks so simple, we were all struggling with trying to remember how you fold it with your hands and what it is meant to look like.

Our beautiful dim sum! :)

Our beautiful dim sum! πŸ™‚

Dan was pretty good at the green triangle one!! πŸ™‚ The Har Kau was the hardest one, ours just looked like won tons or fat dumplings!! It was a lot of fun but I was slightly disappointed that we weren’t given a recipe card to take home as this is pretty specialised! After the class which lasted about 90 minutes, we got to eat our two course meal and this also included the dim sum that we made which tasted delicious!!! πŸ™‚ Dinner was lovely, my hubby enjoyed his 2 x glasses of wine!!! πŸ™‚ It was a wonderful evening and had fabulous time, something different!!! πŸ™‚

Dan made this one!! I was very impressed! :)

Dan made this one!! I was very impressed! πŸ™‚

This is meant to look like a scallop shape...

This is meant to look like a scallop shape…

This was meant to be the Har Kau (Shrimp Dumpling), it was difficult to shape!!!

This was meant to be the Har Kau (Shrimp Dumpling), it was difficult to shape!!!

Free Range Eggs!!!

Chickens on the run!!!

Chickens on the run!!!

My Manager, Dalbir kindly gave me a batch of eggs from his chickens. The chickens were brought as a present for his kids, they named them: Chloe, Cupcake, Matilda, Belle & Sparkle. He mentioned that over the summer time, they produce a lot of eggs and always trying to give them out to people as there is only so much you can eat!!! So, I was happy to get some free eggs from him as I am always baking!!! πŸ™‚

 

 

Lovely big eggs!!!

Lovely big eggs!!!

When you crack open the eggs, they are much bigger than the eggs that you buy from the supermarkets and the yolks are more golden and you actually taste the difference!!! πŸ™‚

 

 

Perfect for breakfast or brunch! Yum! :)

I made scrambled eggs with peppers and it was delicious!!! Perfect for breakfast or brunch! Yum! πŸ™‚

 

A great day out in Hackney part 2!!!

The Famous Brick Lane!

The Famous Brick Lane!

After my refreshing bubble drink, we continued making our way to the famous ‘Brick Lane’!!! It was not how I expected as I have heard that this road is famous for its ‘Curry Houses’!! We only saw a few Indian restaurants on the main road but I think there are mainly located on the side roads which we didn’t venture to. There were lots of pubs, shops and of course street food stalls!!! πŸ™‚

As we were walking along the main road, we stumbled across a place like a Hawker Centre in Singapore where there are lots of food stalls of different cuisines, all at a cheap price!!! Unfortunately, I can’t tell you exactly where it is because I don’t remember seeing a sign outside for it!!! We decided to find our lunch at this venue, the place was buzzing with people and they had an outdoor area where you can eat and enjoy a beer! πŸ™‚

Heath and Dan brought their lunch from a venezuelan stall. It only cost Β£6 and you get alot of food! :)

Venezuelan stall

Dan and Heath tried the Venezuelien cuisine and their meal cost Β£6 each, a bargain as their plates were huge!!! I had a Thai chicken curry with rice (Β£4) and I also brought some dumplings to share. The food was delicious! πŸ™‚

 

 

Yummy Lunch!!! :)

Yummy Lunch!!! πŸ™‚

 

Lovely cakes and desserts! We brought a fruit tart from here, very yummy!

Lovely cakes and desserts!

We were stuffed but I couldn’t resist buying a summer fruit tart from this lovely cute stall – Morena decorated with lots of sweet cakes and desserts!! πŸ™‚

After our lunch, we continued walking and came across a little market place, it really reminds me of the Camden markets. I ended up buying a 3 x tops and Dan kindly brought me a lovely bag!!! πŸ™‚ Before leaving Brick Lane, we went into Monty’s Bar for a quick drink and to catch up on our day so far. I will be visiting Brick Lane again as there is so much to see and do!!! πŸ™‚

We walked back towards Hoxton Square to find a place for another drink but it was very busy. Then, Heath recommend we go to The Red Lion Pub which is just off the square, inside it was decorated with old fashion arm chairs & wooden benches. They also have a roof garden which is nice to sit on a sunny day!!! πŸ™‚

Summer Rolls with prawns and veg!

Summer Rolls with prawns and veg!

It was approaching evening time now, so we decided we might as well grab dinner on Kingsland Road where it is famous for its Vietnamese restaurants. As you walk along the road, you can see that all the restaurants were packed with people, we finally found our place for dinner in at the Cu Tu restaurant. The place was buzzing with friends catching up and it had a great atmosphere!!! I find that Vietnamese food are always very fresh and they like to have different textures to their dishes and serving with fresh herbs. The food was very yummy, I really enjoyed our dinner, the noodles were so silky and tasty!!! πŸ™‚

Satay Chicken!

Satay Chicken!

Our Vietnamese dinner at Cu Tu, Hoxton. Delicious! :)

Our lovely yummy dinner!!! πŸ™‚

I had such a wonderful day in Hackney with all the food experiences, markets and shopping!!! I just wanted to say thanks to Heath for being such a great tour guide for showing us around!!! πŸ™‚ I will definitely be visiting again! πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

A great day out in Hackney part 1!!!

CIMG2326My bread making course was in Hoxton, which is in Hackney. After my course, we met up with our friend, Heath as he lives in the area. We were not far from the Hoxton Market so we took a stroll as the sun was shining!!!

Gnocchi with with ox tail

Gnocchi with ox tail

There were some lovely food stalls, Dan brought someΒ gnocchi with ox tail as he was feeling peckish!

 

 

 

 

 

I brought some nougat made with pistachio and coconut, very delicious and addictive to eat!!! At the market, there were also stalls selling clothes, shoes, books, bedding, toys etc. In the end, I brought myself a coat and a cardigan at bargain prices so I was very pleased!!! πŸ™‚

Tasty nougats and turkish delights! :)

Tasty nougats and turkish delights! πŸ™‚

I thought this was interesting as they cooked the pizza in the truck!

I thought this was interesting as they cooked the pizza in the truck which I have never seen before!

 

Boxpark, Shoreditch

Boxpark, Shoreditch

We needed to find somewhere for lunch and Heath recommended going to Brick Lane as it was not too far of a walk. I have heard about this area but never been so we were excited to discover new places!!! As we were walking there, we saw an interesting building called Boxpark in Shoreditch which is a pop up mall, it had different shops, bars & restaurants, I have never come across such a unique building.

Refreshing drink from Milk Tea and Pearl. i love bubble drinks!! :)

Refreshing drink from Milk Tea and Pearl. I do love bubble drinks!! πŸ™‚

Inside, we then saw a shop called ‘Milk Tea & Pearl’, where they have a wide variety of refreshing flavoured fruit teas and milk and juices served ice cold or pipping hot and they contain chewy natural tapioca balls, normally known as ‘Bubble Tea’. I don’t know why the Orientals loves this kind of drink as you see the shops in the Far East selling this type of drink!!! I think in the past couple of years, that it is becoming more popular in London as you do see a few shops selling this and not just in China Town. I couldn’t resist so I had to get one for Β£3.50!!! πŸ™‚

Well, this is part 1 as we did so much in one day so part 2 will be coming soon….

 

My Bread Making Course

CIMG2305I saw a 2 hours bread making course on Wowcher and decided to go for that offer as I paid Β£30 instead of Β£59 which I thought is a bargain! It was held at the Open Kitchen in Hoxton, which is a training restaurant for London City Hospitality Centre, all of the money goes back into running the centre and sponsoring the students. Click here for more information as they offer other food courses as well.

All of my bread from the course! :)

All of my bread from the course! πŸ™‚

There were 10 of us in a group, we were all given a receipe sheet with instructions and our own work station area. The teacher ran through the basics of bread making and showed us how we can use different techniques for kneading, rolling the breads into different shapes and toppings to use. After the demonstration, we were left to get on with making our own breads and going round to see if anybody needed help! For this course, we were learning to make brown bread and focaccia. It was my 1st time using fresh yeast as I always buy the dried yeast in the packets. I did initially thought, how is this course only going to be 2 hours because when I have baked a white loaf previously, it took a couple of hours for it to prove etc. But, as this was a training centre, they had specialist ovens to prove the dough in under 10 minutes!!! I really enjoyed the course and it gave me an idea of using different toppings for bread such as herbs and chocolates etc.

Work Stations

Work Stations

My brown bread - Ready for the oven

My brown bread – Ready for the oven

Mine bread is at the bottom left side and the one with the sesame seeds

My bread is at the bottom left side and the one with the sesame seeds

All of the brown bread baked from the class

All of the brown bread baked from the class

White bread - ready for baking

My White bread – ready for baking

My white bread is on the left hand side!

My white bread is on the left hand side!

All of the white bread baked from the class

All of the white bread baked from the class