" Charlotte's Cupcake Corner

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Gluten free offerings at Hack Wood Farm

Happy New Year Everyone!

Think I just can just about get away with saying that still. I'll be honest, I do not seem to fair well over New Year...but slightly longer days already and a bit of sunshine today, so all is well. Hope you're off to a decent start yourself.

I have driven past a sign for Hack Wood farm shop countless times, but have always been en route to somewhere, until today... 

Forgiving the pot hole drive (they're waiting to have it resurfaced) and after the crazy amount of rain recently, the parking was very muddy. No matter.
The initial approach it doesn't look like there'll be much to see, but just around the corner is a great courtyard, must be lovely in summer.

Great range of fresh vegetables and fruit outside 
Then you open an in imposing stable door and you're in for a surprise! A considerable butchers counter is waiting for you.
Complete with Glutenfree sausages (usually) and a range of Glutenfree pies by Voakes 

The rest of the farm shop has a few Glutenfree products including a local range of flavoured chocolate buttons by www.bittersweetchocolates.co.uk 

...and biscuits and traybake style cakes 
Nice to see a free from gluten biscuit range made with butter and no vegetable oils 

They also stock Thornleys GF sauce mixes which I haven't seen in other local
Farm shops.
They have two types of Doves Farm GF flour, but do not stock any gluten free bread 
Then if you look around the corner, there's a huge space dedicated to a cafe area. Some great signs of coeliacs being catered for judging by the menus. 

And a special deal for the over 60's and ginger aficionados are even catered for 😉

Even four legged friends are catered for! 

I spoke to the lady who made the GF chocolate brownie and she reassured me that clean equipment is used and hands washed etc so they seemed aware of cross contamination risk. My only point of hesitation would be the gluten packed cakes being right next to the brownies and them not being covered or protected from accidental crumbs - not sure what you think about that? Also, whether a separate serving slice would be used or not? If you are a coeliac, then it would be safer to have it protected from other baked goods.

There were little wrapped biscuits available too 
I came home with a great selection of foods and would love to go back for a return visit and enjoy the menu in the cafĂ©. They even have a leaflet describing a 3mile circular walk from the farm shop...maybe once the threat of snow has disappeared. 

So spread the word, a great farm shop, the origins of which go back more than 200 years. Certainly adapting to modern times, thank you for catering for coeliacs.


Sunday, 27 September 2015

Miffy - memories in the making

Hello, nice of you to stop by, if you're looking to enter the Miffy giveaway competition, feel free to scroll to the bottom of this post and leave your details - good luck! 

I'm chuffed to bits to be able to offer someone else the chance to win their own "sensory Miffy". Our youngest has always been fond of bunnies. When she was a teeny baby, Beatrice Potter's Peter Rabbit was on her wall. Her next favourite rabbit was Boo from Belle and Boo fame, such beautiful illustrations.
http://belleandboo.com Then when she was a little tot, I bought her first Miffy and there's been no going back ever since! She has her absolute favourite Miffy, the same one goes to bed with her every night and gets a bit grubby every now and again! 

Her Miffy family seems to be constantly growing, she has six now! They regularly make an appearance at the breakfast table, in fact Miffy pretty much goes wherever she's needed!

She would probably say that the highlight of her year was attending the Miffy charity film premiere in London as she got to meet "real" Miffy. In fact, she was so enamoured after her meet and greet, that we had to return to the back of the queue and wait in line all over again for a second cuddle! 
It was lovely to see cartoon Miffy up on the big screen. 

The great news is Miffy’s Adventures: Big and Small launches on Tiny Pop on 2 October 2015, at 7pm and will consist of seven minute long episodes which see Miffy and her friends exploring the exciting world around her.  I know one little lady who will definitely be watching! Will you?

She turned 5 this summer and I planned a mini bedroom makeover - Miffy style of course! 

Her face was a picture when she saw her new room. 

I used some leftover scraps of fabric for little cushions. Luckily I found some a Miffy prints at a London market and popped them into IKEA frames. I spotted a run of bunting at a bargain price due to a little tear but once it's up in the wall you can't tell. We already had the little IKEA cots and had placed an order for Miffy cot blankets with Jane Foster last year. 
Once it was all put together I think it looked fab, and it made the birthday girl very happy indeed! Lucky little one 

Vintage books upcycled into bunting available here

From time to time, jane foster creates Miffy cushions and blankets, her Etsy shop is here 

Similar clip it panels by IXXI are available here 

If you'd like to win a sensory Miffy, simply add a comment below and let me know who it's for, hope you win & enjoy the new TV programme!  

Friday, 18 September 2015

Paris with my poppet

I have a massive soft spot for Paris. Well who doesn't, surely? My first ever visit was when I was about 15. I was staying with family friends in Holland, and we took the train. Actually, we *didn't* take the train that we were booked onto because - naive, inexperienced traveller that I was at that time - my teenage self didn't realise that I needed to bring my passport along - oops. Anyway I had the perfect introduction to Paris including the Eiffel Tower from lovely Lyliane. Aged eighteen I went to work as a teaching assistant and as the group travelled to various destinations, we passed through Paris. I was too love-sick to join them as they went out clubbing, preferring instead to go to bed and pine after my boyfriend! I also lived in Paris for six months whilst studying. I was meant to join a videoconferencing firm as a French/English salesperson but the technological descriptions were too much in English, let alone in French. So I joined the super efficient Nicole on the administration front. They were brave leaving me on phone duty, the first few messages that I tried to relay were far from clear! 

I've returned for little city breaks several times, one of the most memorable being for my 40th birthday with my sisters, we had a super busy itinerary & now that kids and jobs are in our lives, it was so special to have 3 full days together. They made the trip so special for me. 

So two years on & I decided to take our eldest daughter. I think I was more excited than her to be honest, but the moment she saw the Eiffel Tower from our bedroom window was fantastic! 
Anyway, the point of this blog is to bring you news about gluten free finds isn't it, so down to business...

First stop was a Friday afternoon pick me up. This new addition to Helmut Newcake is more like a patisserie shop with a small counter for a couple of guests. We chose an amazing chocolate eclair & warm chocolate fondant, both were really good. I found out later that the chocolate cream in the eclair was also dairy free 

Our next Glutenfree stop was across the other side of town. Chambelland has seats inside and a couple outside if you want to eat in & serves sandwiches, soups, along with hot drinks and fresh lemonade. They sell a few Glutenfree products such as a flour blend, cookbooks, jams. Their sandwich bread was novel. It seemed to be cooked in a very wide and relatively flat tin so they cut the bread horizontally across rather than vertically down. Avoids the issue of bread that doesn't rise too much, and no crumbly slices. I thought the bread in my sandwich was really tasty, it was covered with poppy seeds. My daughter took one bite and refused to eat any more. Luckily she loved her brownie & my raspberry tart was quite nice too. 

Unfortunately the place we had chosen for dinner was still closed for summer holidays but it's worth mentioning here as Broceliande is one of the best “creperie” in Paris, located in the village of Montmartre. So a perfect place for a casual dinner and walk afterwards by the artist area and the SacrĂ©-Coeur.


On our last day, we were booked in for brunch at Helmut Newcake, rue bichat. However, my travel companion was so exhausted that she slept in so late that the timings didn't work out. I thought we'd pop there before catching Eurostar back, as I'd need a bit of caffeine & cake by then. When we arrived, the coffee machine was broken, zut! I was peckish as I'd not scoffed *another* crĂȘpe Nutella, unlike a certain little person. From her perspective the trip was very much fuelled by crĂȘpes, chocolat et orangina! 
(Above: not Glutenfree, but you're not missing out on anything, I watched someone pay 5euro for cold churros that had been sat there for who knows how long!) 

Back to brunch; by the time we arrived, their set brunch was finished and on a Sunday that is all they offer - apart from all their lovely cakes. The host was very lovely and offered us a bread basket - all of which were absolutely delicious and gluten eating child ate them happily. They also made a special plate of ham and salad for me - which wasn't an option on any menu but it was perfect. This branch of Helmut Newcake has plenty of quirky seating, the staff are really friendly and they had lots of patisserie to choose from. I took a slice of cheesecake for the train journey. 

Since I returned home, I've discovered (via Twitter) http://because-gustave.com 
They've shared a bunch of other places that I hadn't heard of. 

Paris seems to have more dedicated glutenfree places than London now, so I'm going to have to do a return trip, now...who's up for that? Xx

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Marsh Green Farm Shop Ashover nr Chesterfield

On our way to Hardwick Hall, we made an impromptu stop at Marsh Green Farm Shop. I've driven past a handful of times and as we share our surname, it's always caught my eye, but ive never had time to investigate previously. 

Well, what a find. There is a gluten free section & many other gluten free items dotted around the shop. 

New products of interest were sweet nothings which are in fact by Jacksons Bakery of Chesterfield. I seem to remember meeting the owner of Jacksons at a Food & Drink Awards ceremony & telling him about my new gluten free cake venture. We compared his cost to make one gluten cupcake with my costs to hand make one gluten free cupcake & I figured I wouldn't be in business too long! Their concept is gluten free and lower sugar. I look forward to tasting one later.
Great selection of crisps & gluten free sausages at the weekend (we just missed those) 
The menu has masses of options for gluten free diners and they use a brand of gf bread that ive seen for sale at other farm shops, which is a tasty one. 
Even spotted Glutenfree pizza bases too 
I ordered an omelette as I failed to satisfy my addiction to eggs this morning, looks great  doesn't it? 
So if, like me, you were wondering whether to pop in or not, I definitely recommend you do!