Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Coffee, Cupcakes & A Glass Of Beer


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.


  1. If I really want a treat I will make myself toad in the hole, with roast potatoes. Toad in the hole combines two of my favourite foods, sausages and yorkshire pudding.

    Drink wise a good cup of earl grey or lady grey is nice.

    BTW I asked Blog City if there was any easy way to save our blogs, and they said they should be creating a way that we can export our blogs to blogger with easy. I have backed up my entire site but it would be cool to be able to export the whole thing over.

  2. I ended up using HTTrack ( to suck my BC blog off onto my hard drive. At some point I'll get round to uploading it again, probably to my blackphi domain somewhere, not least so that I can link back to it from new posts. The trouble is that I can't remember my old usernames and passwords any more.

    Earl Grey is a lovely cup of tea, I reckon; I don't think I've ever had Lady Grey though - what's it like?

    I love yorkshire pudding (with or without toad) with lots of lovely rich gravy. If it's with toad (or even sausages) then thick onion gravy is good; if it's with a roast then gravy from the juices. I should probably make gravy properly, but I always use Bisto. I expect I'm just a victim of advertising (all together now: "Bisto browns, Bisto seasons, ...").

    I'm starting to salivate - it's just as well it's Sunday lunchtime and the roast is on.

  3. Wow, BlackPhi! You made the switch quick. :) I'll probably hang in with Blog City until they close the doors.

    Thanks for the drink and snacks!

    I'm finally getting above the fog of my parents' deaths, so I'll be more engaged with my friends (like you) more. Death of loved ones is like a re-birth that I had to get used to. Although I did my regular business, my energy to engage with others beyond my blog, was very low.

    Enjoy your new home! Here's to you and your family being filled with love & joy, my Friend! All the best!!

  4. Oh, the irony. I just posted something like this on BC. It will be in my blogger archives soon, but not now.

    There's a neighborhood store that I like to visit because they have a monstrous selection of beers that changes all the time. There's a shelf where you can pick out any six beers for a flat price (Around $10) and I do this every so often to treat myself. I try to get a variety, and I take the time to post them because every so often by the time I get to the 6th they become a little fuzzy *lol*

  5. Hmm, I wonder how I get blogspot to email me when people comment?

    Anyway, thanks for popping by, both.

    My Blog City subscription ended a few days ago, and they've stopped taking renewals, so there wasn't much choice about moving, Capt.

    Every May we have a CAMRA beer festival in Reading, with hundreds of barrels of different real ales on tap, not to mention ciders, perries, and continental lagers. There's far too much to even try a reasonable sample, and I can remember very little of what's good from one year to the next. Or even one day to the next, if truth be told. As you say, Easy, it gets fuzzy.