Whether you have just stumbled across this blog, or have come over from my old blog on Blog City, I'm pleased to see you. I was thinking what to do for my first post here (yesterday's Israel/Palestine entry was just copied over as a test), and I thought, "What would I want to share with a visitor to a new home? Coffee would be good, and why not bake some cakes - 'fairy cakes' in the UK, 'cupcakes' in the rest of the world - and, if the sun's over the yardarm, maybe even a cool (but not cold) glass of beer."
Let's start with a mug of Good African Coffee's Rukoki Gold. I enjoy a good cup of coffee, but don't see why my enjoyment should be based on the exploitation of some poor farmer. I appreciate having the ability to feed, clothe and educate my family, and reckon s/he should be able to do the same for his/hers, so for many years I have drunk fair trade coffees. A few months ago, I came across Good African Coffee, which is an African owned coffee producer where the 'added-value' processing is also done in Africa. To quote one of their taglines, "Africa needs trade not aid". It's also really good coffee.
Fairy cakes are really easy to make, and home made ones just taste so much better than shop-bought. Simply cream 4oz castor sugar with 4oz butter (100g of each will do nicely instead), and beat in 2 eggs, a little at a time. Then fold in 4oz (or 100g) self raising flour using a metal spoon. Two-thirds fill 12 to 16 paper cake cases with the resulting mixture and bake in an oven at 190C (375F) for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. You can throw in sultanas, or currants, or cherries, or cocoa powder, or whatever for variation (before cooking!), and can decorate the top with icing or whatever to make them look even prettier (after cooking). The only problem being that hot cakes taste so much better than cold (hence "selling like ..."), so you might have to make some more for your visitors, if you aren't so good at resisting temptation.
If I've been able to get hold of some Traquair House Ale, and I'm feeling really hospitable, you could be in for a treat. They brew it up in the Scottish Borders (oddly enough at Traquair House). They don't brew very much each year, and the vast majority of what they do brew is, I'm told, exported. If you can get hold of it, though, it's sheer nectar. It's strong, ABV 7.2%, but beautifully balanced with an enormously rich flavour.
And while we eat and drink, we can chat. Why not tell me what you like as a food or drink treat? The comment box is free and waiting.