La Cabina, Ciudad Real

Last weekend was my birthday however I chose to celebrate it the weekend previous to that of my birthday as my mum was here. We decided to try out a fairly "new" restaurant that we hadn´t been to before,La Cabina. Located in Plaza de la Constitucion 18, it is a small but chic restaurant with modern and trendy decor.

We all settled on the menu of the day, which consisted of 3 courses with a few choices for each course and all for the reasonable price of 25 euros per person. The starter courses were a little disappointing for me as they all contained fish or seafood,which I´m not a big fan of. Both my mother and I plumped for the mango salad with prawns and a balsamic vinagrette(I asked for it without the prawns and they very kindly replaced the prawns with Iberian ham!)-a lovely, light and refreshing starter. My husband asked for a cod scrambled egg-and-fries dish,which he thoroughly enjoyed.

All three of us went for the same main course, pork tenderloin/sirloin in a Dijón mustard and honey style sauce with peppers and potato rosti.Beautifully cooked pork with a nice balanced tangy,sweet sauce and soft potato rosti but crisp on the outside...it was delicious. We all opted for something different for dessert, mainly so we could all try each other´s!! I went for the sweet potato and patisserie cream millefeuille, which despite being pastry and sweet potato was fairly light and delicate,Mum chose the pistachio truffles, very rich  chocolatey, nutty goodness and my husband´s choice was Pan de Calatrava, a typical dessert from the region, which is quite similar to flan.

 All in all, a lovely meal was had by all and the quality and quality was excellent for a fairly reasonable price. We´ll definitely be going again and I thoroughly reccommend this restaurant. Great service too.


Halloween Eyeball cupcakes

 Once again rather behind on my posts!!I love Halloween and this year was even more special as it was the first year that I could celebrate it with Chloe! I can´t wait till she´s a bit older to hold a Halloween party for her and her friends!This year though we celebrated Halloween in a pretty mudane kind of way. For starters, I had to work till 9pm so there was no trick-or-treating but I think she´s still a bit young for that anyway. There was a Halloween part at her nursery school,which she dressed up for...we managed to find a cute little witch´s costume.

The day after Halloween (All Saint´s ) is a bank holiday in Spain so I decided to whip up Annabel Karmel´s Halloween Eyeball Cupcakes although instead of the vanilla, I used lemon rind to give them a nice lemony flavour. As I didn´t have much icing sugar, I made some glace icing,half of which I coloured green using yellow and blue liquid food colouring. I then used assorted sweets for the eyeballs and to make the faces. Unfortunately,they don´t look quite as good as the photos pictured on the recipe webpage but nevertheless these are easy to bake and great fun to make and decorate with your kids. I tried to involve Chloe by trying to let her help me mix the green icing but all she wanted to do was to try and eat it and then wandered off to find her daddy!!Maybe I have to wait till she´s a little older to try and do some baking/cooking with her. I´m looking forward to when we can bake/cook together!


Best Ever Carrot Cake

Since starting back at work after the summer hols, I´ve hardly had time to cook,let alone bake or blog, particularly since Chloe is going through a rather clingy phase and it´s hard to get anything done. I made this carrot cake the week before I went back to work and haven´t got round to blogging it until now or baking much since!! So, without further ado and because time is of the essence, here is the recipe I used. It´s adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book and if I remember correctly I used half of the recipe to make a smaller cake(which is the recipe I´ll be giving you!) I had a lot to live up to as both my mum´s and my aunt´s carrot cake are delicious and they use different recipes to me....but this recipe was just as good as theirs!!!

2 eggs,beaten
1 cup of plain flour
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 cups of finely grated carrot
1/3 cup of sunflower oil

For the cream cheese icing:
125g Philadelphia cream cheese or similar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup of butter at room temperature(softened)
2 1/2 -3 cups of icing sugar

1.Grease and flour a round cake tin of about 20cm and line with greaseproof paper.
2.Preheat oven to 180ºC.
3. Mix flour,sugar,baking powder,cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda together.
4. Mix eggs,carrots and oil together and then add to dry ingredients.
5.Pour cake batter into cake tin and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 mins or until a cocktail stick comes out clean.
6.While baking prepare the cream cheese icing. Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. Then add icing sugar gradually mixing well after each addition until icing has spreadable consistency.
7. Leave the cake to cool for 10 mins.
8.When cool ice the top with the cream cheese icing as smoothly as possible.

There are various ways in which you could decorate this cake. You could sprinkle chopped up or whole pecans or walnuts on the top, grate some carrot on the top or even make some fondant or buttercream carrots(I´m going to have a go at this in the future!). I chose to do a simple circular line pattern using a fork as you can see in the top photo!


Ate o´ Clock Restaurant Review, York

We stumbled across this restaurant by chance while we were in York and thinking that Chloe would need feeding soon and that it looked very charming and pleasant, decided to eat there. The restaurant is tucked away down a little alley or side street.As it was such a beautiful day we chose to sit oustide on the picnic style benches,which are surrounded by flowers. Unfortunately, we didn´t take any photos but I have to say this is one of the best meals we had during our trip to England and it was also one of the prettiest restaurants. Inside it was fairly modern with clocks set at eight o´clock and the toilets, which were upstairs, with Hollywood film set memorabilia such as clipboards.

There is a lunch menu for lighter lunches but you can also choose a menu of two courses for a fairly reasonable price(can´t remember exactly how much it cost now!). We all went for the two course menu,my inlaws chose soupof the day,which that particular day was tomato and basil and my husband and I chose the Vegetarian Black Pudding. It was a very unusual dish but really tasty.The Vegetarian Black Pudding was actually a bit pinkish in colour and I couldn´t identify what it consisted of.It was a cross between sweet and savoury and was accompanied with a sauce or jus and strawberries...beautiful presentation. My husband wasn´t as convinced about it and he identified the taste of cinnamon in the Vegetarian Black Pudding.My inlaws enjoyed their soup too.

For the second course two of us chose Pork sausages with thyme, apple mash and shallots and unfortunately I can´t really remember what the other two chose....maybe fish(this only proves that I should try and post as soon as possible otherwise I forget!!)What I do know is that we all really enjoyed our dishes. In the end,my daughter fell asleep and we had to wake her up to give her her dinner.My only complaint with this restaurant is that they had nowhere to change my daughter but as we were sat outside and we were the only ones around(we were still on Spanish time!)we just changed her outside on the picnic bench seats.

I´d thouroughly reccommend going to this restaurant if you are in York. You can find out more about Ate o´Clock restaurant by clicking on the link.Enjoy!


Hyltons,The Lake District

I´ve been on my travels hence the absence of posts. I went back to my roots in Lancashire and it was great to meet up with family and friends and show Chloe where I´m from, even though she´s too young to probably remember much about this trip!! One of the places we visited
is The Lake District, or Bowness-on-the lake, Windermere to be more precise, which is one of the most beautiful areas of the British countryside. Chloe enjoyed seeing all the swans, ducks and Canadian geese. Beatrix Potter, the famous children´s author who created Peter Rabbit was from the Lake District and we visited the Beatrix Potter World attraction, which Chloe loved.

We stumbled across Hyltons by chance and even though it was packed we managed to find a table.Hyltons is in the centre of Bowness-on-Windermere. It is a modern, fairly spacious and pleasant restaurant which serves traditional British food and European dishes such as lasange etc.The staff were very helpful and friendly and the food was served quite quickly,despite the fact that the restaurant was fairly busy, so it is obviously a popular place too! It was child-friendly too as highchairs were available...I can´t remember if there were child changing facilities.There is also a children´s menu but my daughter was so hungry that we gave her a jar!

Although, I´m not a big fan of fish and seafood, I decided to choose an old fav of mine,scampi and chips and everyone else chose fish and chips. The scampi was succulent and covered in a lovely crisp and crunchy batter and the chips were thick and golden....delicious. Everyone also enoyed their fish and chips...tender haddock in a crispy batter,not a greasy batter...I tried a little bit and liked it too...it didn´t taste too fishy!! The portions were quite large and filling so we didn´t have room for dessert unfortunately! The food was a reasonable price so all in all a great place to eat. In fact, it was one of the best meals we had during our trip to England. I´d definitely reccommend eating here if you are visiting the Lake District!Here are more reviews of Hyltons.


Coronation Chicken Salad

After watching the Olympics Opening Ceremony, I have been very patriotric. Also, the fact that I´m off back to my home country this week for a holiday and to catch up with friends and family is filling me with excitement! So what could be more ideal than to share a traditional English dish perfect for the summer, especially the hot weather (even if it´s not so hot in the UK at the mo!).

This is Coronation Chicken Salad based on the BBC Good Food recipe- I did the creamy version!Coronation Chicken was invented in 1953 by Constance Spry and Rosemary Hume for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. This is my version, just slightly different but not much!

Ingredients (for 2)
1 bag of mixed salad leaves
2 skinless chicken breasts
1tsp mild curry powder
2tbsp mild mango chutney
1/2 cucumber, cut into sticks
2tbsp flaked almonds
handful of sultanas
4tbsp natural yoghurt
3tbsp olive oil
juice of 1/2 lime or lemon (I used lime)

1. Combine curry powder with  2 tbsp of yoghurt and cover chicken breasts.
2. Cook in 1 tbsp of olive oil,then slice chicken.
3.Stir remaining yoghurt, mango chutney and lime juice together.
4. Place salad leaves, cucumber and chicken slices in a bowl and add the yoghurt,lime and mango chutney dressing, add almonds and sultanas and toss!

You could make this healthier or more low fat if you use low fat natural yoghurt.


Apple & Pecan Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Glace Icing

I made this cake for my husband´s birthday even though it´s not a very birthdayish looking cake but he doesn´t really like buttercream or fondant and in this way, I can also practice my cake decorating skills with chocolate!

This cake is moist and not overly sweet so is great for those who haven´t got much of a sweet tooth. The recipe is taken from the book: Best Ever Chocolate Cakes & Slices by Konemann....however it´s not very 100 Mile!!Here´s the recipe:

1 cup self-raising flour, sifted
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder,sifted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup oil (I used sunflower oil)
2 green apples, peeled and grated
1/3 cup of pecans,chopped

1.Preheat oven to 180ºC. Grease and line a 21x14x7cm loaf tin with baking parchment.
2. Mix flour, cocoa and sugar together, then add the combined eggs and oil and beat until ingredients are well mixed and there are no lumps and mixture has increased in volume.
3. Fold in pecans and grated apple.
4. Spoon into tin and bake for 45 mins or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

When cool, you can decorate the cake as desired. Instead of the decoration suggested in the recipe, I made a simple chocolate glace icing, using icing sugar, cocoa and water,which I made by guesstimation and iced the top of the cake with, then I decorated the cake with pecan nuts and Dr. Oetker´s Chocolate Hearts, which can be found in LeClerc.


Eating Local: Inspiration from the 100 Mile Challenge

I have been watching two food programmes recently that have really inspired me, one is Junior Masterchef (Australia)....boy, can those kids cook....they´re amazing! The other programme is the 100 Mile Challenge, where about 5 families were challenged to only eat food that was grown locally within a 100 Mile radius. I think it was really interesting and thoroughly reccommend that you watch both of these programmes.

I think the idea behind the 100 mile challenge/diet (I want to read the book now!) , that by eating only local products, you are reducing your carbon footprint by reducing the amount of miles your food travels and therefore helping the environment and the local economy and farmers, is a very provoking idea.However, loving Chinese and Indian food as I do and missing a few favs from England, I don´t think I could fully do the 100 mile diet. Plus I think it really does depend on where you live....if you live in the centre of the country (as I do!) it makes it very difficult to find fish as you aren´t near the sea.However, I intend to try and buy as much local produce as I can and this post (and future posts) are about finding great local produce and shops.

Although, I´m not much of a wine drinker and probably wouldn´t miss it if I had to give it up for the 100 Mile Challenge, there is plenty of local wine to choose from. One of the closest being wine from El Pago de Vicario winery. Its wine has won many awards and we even discovered it was being sold in Pittsburgh. It has white, red and rosé wines. Another alcoholic beverage that is produced locally is Sandevid from Damiel, a tinto de verano fizzy drink which is basically red wine mixed with lemonade or soda and is much more up my street!

Milk is a basic in all diets and it is available locally from Finca Cantarranas. They sell both UHT milk and fresh milk in skimmed, semi-skimmed and full fat. We bought some full fat fresh milk the other day and it was lovely and creamy and reminded me of English milk. My only complaint is that the fresh milk is sold in small bags and not cartons so it doesn´t last very long and is difficult to store so I´m not sure how often we will be buying it! After checking out their webpage though, it seems like they also sell yoghurts and jellies...I´ll have to keep an eye out for them in the supermarket or other shops!

Bread is also a staple in most people´s diets. As of yet, I haven´t found any sandwich bread that is produced locally but rustic loaves yes....one of the nearest and most acclaimed bread is Pan de Picón.

Condiments can also be important in diets or for certain recipes and I have discovered white wine vinegar in the supermarkets which is produced in Toledo. The brand is Vinagres Parras and looking at their website, it appears that they also sell red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar,cider vinegar and many more.

Manchego cheese is famous throughout Spain and is growing in popularity throughout the world too. One of our personal favourites is Rocinante. In fact, we visited the factory where they make it with my parents but unfortunately it was too late to actually visit the factory part. They sell sheep cheese cured and semicured, cheese in olive oil,goat´s cheese mild, with wine and with rosemary,Miguel Manchego D.O. cured, semicured and mature and our favourite (although we haven´t tried all of them!)Rocinante Ibérico mild, cured and semicured. They also sell a variety of cheesecakes too which are delicious too...we bought a lemon one, which was yummy!

That´s about all for now but I´ll be doing more posts about delicious local products and shops which sell local produce.I´d love to hear any reccommendations about any local products you´ve heard of or tried or your local or 100 mile diet food experiences!


Ladybird cake for my daughter´s first birthday & Annabel Karmel´s white and dark chocolate cupcakes

 I can´t believe my daughter has finally turned one!! The year has flown by and it´s been a busy but enriching one full of joy and happiness. My little baby is no longer a baby,now she´s a little girl! They grow up far too quickly in my opinion.

I was busy preparing her first birthday party,preparing and decorating the Annabel Karmel White & Dark Chocolate cupcakes and making and decorating her first birthday cake, a ladybird cake plus preparing two salads and other party food. Luckily, I had my parents´,my inlaws and my husband´s help but parties are definitely hard work....maybe next year we´ll have the party in a ball pool place so all I have to do is stick to making the cake!!!It also means that I´d actually get to spend more time with my daughter on her actual birthday!

I made the cupcakes on the Friday two days before the party and froze them,then took them out to defrost early on the morning of the party. I made the white chocolate buttercream and decorated them with red heart sprinkles and yellow and white star sprinkles.

The ladybird cake was a Hot Milk Sponge cake made the day before the party. I found this link about a ladybird cake, which helped me a lot. I covered the cake with red and black fondant and cut black fondant circles out for the ladybird´s spots using a bottletop (a great tip from the link I found)! Who says you need fancy equipment to decorate cakes? The leftover white fondant I had was rock hard but as I had a bit of white chocolate buttercream left I used that for the whites of the ladybird´s eyes but unfortunately it wasn´t quite as neat and round as I´d have liked and two more black fondant circles for the pupils. I was going to use pipe cleaners for the antennae but couldn´t find any so used the bendy part of two straws instead. I covered them in black fondant and then made two small balls for the feelers of the antennae. I was pretty pleased with the end result!


Lemon Curd Butterfly Cakes

I made these butterfly cakes a couple of weeks ago using my Quick & Easy Lemon Curd but have only just got round to blogging about them now. These are light and fluffy sponge cakes filled with tangy lemon curd, taken from Delia Smith´s Complete Cookery Course...Here´s a recipe for Delia´s butterfly cakes similar to the one I used, only the lemon curd is replaced with orange curd and just substitute the orange rind and orange juice in the recipe link for lemon rind & juice.

Butterfly cakes take me back to my childhood. I loved them and my Gran used to make them frequently but filled them the traditional way with jam and cream. Hmmmmmhhhh, delicious! They are so delicate and pretty too- they definitely suit their name!


Easter Biscuits 1

Blogging these days is having to take a bit of a back seat as I don´t seem to find the time to do it, much less visit other blogs! Take these Easter biscuits for instance, I made them about a week before Easter but I´m only just getting round to blogging about them now!! They were a recipe again taken from Hannah Miles' Big Book of Cakes & Cookies and contain sultanas and marzipan. As I didn´t have enough icing sugar to make royal icing, I coloured some fondant yellow and decorated the biscuits with that and some silver balls. As you can see, this is only a quick post...I´m hoping to blog about some butterfly cakes I made recently asap!!!


Mother´s Day Cake

With this Mother´s Day being one of the first I´ve spent with my Mum for a long time and seeing as I´ve never baked her a cake before, I thought I´d make her a Mother´s Day cake from Hannah Miles´ book The Big Book of Cakes and Cookies. However, I couldn´t find shelled pistachios and also all the pistachio´s I could find were salted, plus I wasn´t sure if I´d be able to find organic or free from pesticides roses so ended up making a sponge cake, which I filled with my Lemon Curd. I then made some lemon glace icing, which I iced the cake with (as smoothly as possible), then using some red fondant I had left over from my Valentine´s Day cupcakes, I used my heart plungers to cut out some red hearts which I stuck to the cake and I made a quick fondant rose based on what I had learnt on one of my cake decorating courses. I didn´t use cutters or anything for the rose and it was made in a bit of a rush but I don´t think it turned out that badly. It´s the thought that counts anyway! It tasted pretty yummy though although it was slightly overdone round the edges.....I think my oven thermostat has broken! That´s my excuse at least! Being a mum myself now,I´m finding it quite hard to keep up with my blog and visit other blogs and leave comments so my apologies for that but will try and visit them when I have more time!


Quick & Easy Lemon Curd

Despite the lack of recent posts, I have been baking and cooking as usual.I made a Number One first birthday cake with chocolate buttercream for my friend´s daughter but my husband said it looked like a certain part of the male anatomy so didn´t post it as it wasn´t my best cake. However, it tasted good and my friend´s nephew declared it the best cake he´d eaten, which was very sweet of him!

Anyway, after Pancake Day I had quite a few lemons which needed using up and as I haven´t tried my hand at many preserves,I decided to make a British classic, lemon curd. Lemon curd is great on toast for breakfast or as a snack and is a great filling for desserts and cakes. I´ll be making some cakes using the lemon curd I made. I´ve made lemon curd a couple of times and usually I make it using a bain marie method, which does take quite awhile so I decided to adopt Ruth from The Pink Whisk´s method, and is a much quicker method, great if you´re a busy mother!!This recipe is a bit of a mish-mash of The Pink Whisk´s recipe and a recipe from The Dairy Book of Home Cookery:

Juice of 3 lemons and zest of 2 of the lemons
3 eggs plus 1 extra egg yolk,beaten
200g sugar
100g butter


1. Grate and squeeze the juice out of the lemons.
2. Place juice and zest in a pan with the butter and sugar and heat until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted.
3. Add this mixture to the eggs gradually,stirring after each addition.
4. Pour back into the pan and place on medium heat again.
5.Heat the lemon curd while stirring continuously until lemon curd thickens.
6. When lemon curd coats the back of wooden spoon,it is thick enough so it is ready,place in jars and leave to cool. As it cools, it will also appear to thicken up even more.


Belated Valentine Heart Biscuits

I made these Valentine´s biscuits based on a Hannah Miles recipe last week but haven´t got round to posting about them till now. The biscuits were a plain biscuit recipe but were delicious and I decided to decorate them with royal icing in pink and white polka dots similar to the Christening biscuits and a design that appears in the Biscuiteers Book of Iced Biscuits, only mine don´t look quite as pretty as those in the book.I also piped I heart U on some of the biscuits for variety and extra piping practice!!! I think my decorating skills are improving slowly but surely, just wish I were quicker! Unfortunately they´re not quite up to the level required to sell them professionally ; ( Also, most people that tried them found the royal icing too sweet,my husband and mother-in-law included, which meant I was the one who ended up eating the majority of the biscuits! I don´t think I´ll ever be able to set up my own cake business in Spain....they just seem to find fondant and buttercream etc too sweet!


White Chocolate Chip Cupcakes for Valentine´s Day

I´ve been dying to try out my Sugarcraft heart plungers from China,which I bought for Chloe´s Christening cake then never used, so with Valentine´s Day looming up, I thought it was the perfect opportunity! I also had some white chocolate chips from Asda(ordered and brought to me by my mum as you can´t get them here)so thought I´d try out the following White Chocolate Chip cupcakes based on a recipe from my cupcake calender.

I decorated the cupcakes with a simple & quick Glace icing, then coloured some fondant red and set to with the heart plungers,cutting out small,medium and larger hearts,which I stuck on overlapping one another.Once again,very simple but this was more about trying the plungers out etc and I was hoping it would be more striking than it actually turned out! All in all, I was very pleased with the plungers, they were very cheap but did take awhile to arrive, they are very easy to use.My one complaint is that they didn´t always cut the fondant hearts out completely(but then that could just be me!) but I found that if you held the plunger down for a few seconds,you got a neater cut.

Here´s the recipe for the white chocolate chip cupcakes:
Ingredients: (makes about 18 cupcakes)
1 cup butter at room temperature
1 cup caster (superfine)sugar
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup (about 100g) white chocolate chips
1/2 tsp bicarbonade of soda (baking soda)

1.Preheat oven to 175ºc (350ºF) and place 18 cupcake cases (I used cases with red love hearts on to ooze more Valentine Day love) in a muffin tray.
2.Stir all cupcake ingredients together except the chocolate chips for 2-3mins.
3.Stir in chocolate chips.
4. Spoon mixture into cupcake cases and bake for 20mins until toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
5. Leave to cool and then decorate.


Traditional Almond Slices

Although I´m not a huge nut fan, I do like almonds,especially when they are used in anything marzipan-y and as I had quite a lot of almonds left over after making my Christmas Cake, I decided to make these traditional British cakes to use them up. My Gran used to make them as a little girl and I loved 'em.

Almond Slices are very similar to Bakewell Tarts (another fav of mine and that I´ll also be having a bash at making in the future!) only Bakewell Tarts are topped with icing and Almond Slices are topped with almonds. I polished these off almost single-handedly and couldn´t get enough of them and they were fairly simple to make. Here´s the recipe I used, taken from The Dairy Book of Home Cookery and slightly modified:

1 packet of Short Crust Pastry (you could use homemade pastry which would be even more delicious but to save time I used frozen ready-made)
2 tbsp good quality raspberry jam (I used Bonne Maman and used a bit extra as wanted it to be nice & jammy!)
100g caster sugar
100g icing sugar (sifted)
175g ground almonds
1 egg
1 egg white
1/2 tsp almond extract
blanched,split almonds to decorate

1.Preheat oven to 200ºC/400ºF
2.Grease a baking tray and roll out pastry to 25x15cm and line baking tray with pastry, pinching long edges of pastry up to form a border.
3. Spread jam over pastry base as shown:

4. Mix sugars and ground almonds together and add egg, egg white and almond extract, stirring to form an almond paste.
5. Spread almond paste evenly on top of jam:

6. Sprinkle split almonds on top to decorate:

7.Place in oven and bake for around 25 mins.

8. When golden brown on top, leave to cool. Then cut into 14 slices.

There you have it...exceedingly good cakes...they almost give Mr Kipling a run for his money! ; )


Birthday Meal at Doña Croqueta, Ciudad Real

Almost two months ago now,it was my birthday(I told you I had a backlog of things I wanted to post!) and my husband and I managed to go out for a meal to celebrate at one of my favourite restaurants, Doña Croqueta,leaving my mum babysitting. My husband knowing my passion for cakes and cake decorating bought me a subscription to Squire Kitchen´s Cake & Sugarcraft magazine, seeing as at the moment it´s impossible for me to take part in any cake decorating classes.

When you first step into Doña Croqueta, it looks like any other tapas bar but you are pleasantly surprised when you discover the restaurant tucked away. It´s a lovely, modern, brightly-coloured room decorated in bright pink & green ,albeit a little on the small side. You usually have to book this restaurant becuase it´s quite small and immensely popular. The food is Spanish-meets Nouvelle cusine.

Usually we almost always order the same, which includes their "famous" mixed croquettes, a mix of ham & bechamal, spinach, "cocido", boletus mushroom and sometimes fish croquettes. This time we decided to order things we hadn´t tried before. To start, we had grilled Meditterean vegetables in a sweet sauce but which also had flakes of Maldon salt(if I remember correctly),which was delicious.

One of the specials that was on that night, revuelto(scrambled egg) with blue mushrooms(god know what type of mushroom they are) and I think it also had foie in it...good but nothing special in my opinion.

We then had spare ribs in a sweet sauce, I think it was like a caramel type sauce, which were also delicious. Although all their food is delicious,I did prefer what we usually order but it´s good to have a change!

Another reason why Doña Croqueta is one of my favourite restaurants is because their desserts are definitely among the best in Ciudad Real. This is one dish we decided to keep the same. White chocolate truffles with Peta Zeta(popping candy) so creamy that it melts in your mouth and is reminiscent of ice cream, then you get the popping sensation of the candy on your tongue! Sheer heaven! The only thing is that after a couple, they can get a bit rich so we always share them!

I only had 2 glasses of Lambruscco Rosé and I was feeling giddy! I´m such a lightweight now!! All in all a wonderful meal at a great restaurant which I´d definitely reccomend visiting if you are ever in the area and all for a fairly reasonable price!


My Second Christmas Cake & everything is all a bit last minute!

I don´t know what happened to Christmas this year but before I knew it or I could blink it was all over. I was so unorganised and everything was all a bit hectic and last minute! I was still wrapping presents on Christmas Eve and icing my Christmas Cake on Christmas Day!! I think that part of the problem is that schools and academies finish so late for the Christmas hols...they don´t start till the 23rd December!!!

I did do quite a bit of baking, I make some Christmas biscuits, which unfortunately didn´t get round to blogging, mince pies as per usual but they were also dashed off at the last minute as I didn´t have the filling till my parents arrived on the 22nd December, and then my Christmas Cake.

Although I enjoyed last year´s Christmas Cake I thought I´d try out a different recipe this year and tried the Rich Fruit Cake recipe from my The International School of Sugarcraft Beginners book. As my husband and my in-laws don´t really like fruit cake very much and I don´t want to be the one stuck eating it all up, I made the smallest cake and even halved that recipe and made it in a loaf tin. I was really worried I´d dried it out but I think my Mum saved it by slapping lots more brandy on it for it to soak in and become more moist.

I used Dr Oetker´s roll-out marzipan ,which I stuck on using apricot jam and then some Renshaw´s white Regalice roll out fondant (again stuck on with the apricot jam). I then coloured some white fondant green and using a small Xmas tree biscuit cutter, cut out a green fondant tree, which I stuck in the centre of the cake more or less using edible glue. I then used silver balls stuck on the tree as baubles and a yellow star and voila, a simple, easy and quickly decorated Christmas Cake. I was very pleased with this cake as it tasted pretty delicious and quite professional, even if I do say so myself!

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