" Charlotte's Cupcake Corner: December 2016

Saturday, 17 December 2016

What's this madness? 10 degrees the week before Christmas

Yes it IS the 17th of December, so it shouldn't really be 11 degrees outside but it is. Not that I'm complaining, I hate the cold weather and the heating in my kitchen is broken at the moment so I hope the mild weather carries on a bit longer. The only problem is I don't think it feels as if Christmas is only a week away, there's hardly been any frost let alone snow...

Anyway, I'm sure Winter will hit us in its own time and I'll be hoping to fast forward directly to Spring! I've had quite a few new tulip bulbs planted out. We have a resident squirrel who at first I was quite fond of. However I'm sure he has something to do with the fact that less than half of the bulbs ever show up, so I'm less keen on the little pest now! We'll be keeping a keen eye on one set of tulip bulbs though...

We received a very special delivery of some Miffy tulip bulbs. The character Miffy is the famous white bunny who is the subject of a huge series of childrens story books, written by Dick Bruna 60 years ago. The author himself is from the Netherlands hence the connection with tulips! 
Apparently this perfect Miffy "red" has taken 15 years of cross-fertilisation & patient cultivation to develop. They are hoping to have the variety widely available for sale in 2017/18, so we're lucky to have some this early, as only 2500 exist. 
We chose a Sunday morning to plant them up in a safe pot which we can keep  an eye on. My youngest still loves gardening. She learnt to love picking peas from her Grandad and was amazed when a blueberry bush we bought last year actually GREW fruit - so was I!

Little one loves the fact that the instructions featured Miffy explaining what to do! 

Some of these special bulbs have been planted in the famous Kerkenhof Gardens in the Netherlands. The gardens are open in 2017 from 23rd March to 21st May. A trip to them has been on my dream travel list for a couple of years, ever since watching a feature by Rachel de Thame. I didn't know until recently, that there is also a Miffy garden within the park! Not sure I'll get there next year, so maybe I should plan ahead for 2018 - it doesn't look like the Miffy fan is going to outgrow her obsession anytime soon 😀


Thursday, 8 December 2016

Twice As Nice Bakery

Having followed this 100% bakery on Twitter for ages, I finally got round to making a special trip to visit them.

The cafĂ© is situated in Newcastle-under-Lyme so it's almost an hour away from Ashbourne but it was worth it. Twice as nice has a small grocery store, even stocking Coori pasta, Voakes pies as found in Selfridges.  There's a wide range of take out food and the cafĂ© has two small tables so you choose to eat in. 

My special guest was the youngest gluten-freer in our family and she chose a cheese sandwich.

 I had a goats cheese, grated carrot salad and peppers sandwich. Both were desktop made on a small loaf of very tasty bread. The flour used for the bread contains millet flour, which I've not used before. 

I then went for a vanilla doughnut, it was SO airy, it seemed to melt in my mouth. I wish they came in giant sizes as I honestly think I could eat about five of them! 

We selected a chocolate and stout cake, and a brownie to take home and they were delicious too. Laura has developed all the recipes herself and has won several awards over the past year. I noticed that many of the menu items were also dairy free and some were vegan too. 

I got a bit lost trying to find the cafĂ© so we didn't have very long to enjoy the surroundings but I'd say it was a perfect spot if you need a safe gluten-free lunch and ideal place to order freshly baked bread and grab an afternoon treat.