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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