Archive for cakes

Walk This Way Too

A couple of times a week, I take the long way round to work and a very different walk it is. A trip to Ludlow town is always a pleasure, it is so easy to moan about the steep streets, (I’m sure they put a brick under its slabs last night!) and to forget to look. My husband has given me a love for architecture which enhances any town centre visit. Ludlow just keeps on giving.

I start my journey by walking up Frog Lane towards the town walls. What a great name! Even if it was named for its damp water meadows. I wonder if it’s inhabitants were thought to have webbed hands and feet?

I turn left, passing the tiny black and white cottage, conscious that I am walking the boundary of the old leper colony, its gardens and hospital. I so want to think it was a place of peace as well as isolation.

The town wall gardens are vibrant, with their newly minted greens and blues, the Blue bells look as if enamelled against the bricks.

A woman is pushing a buggy and walking her dog and talking on her MOB all at the same time. I wonder if she noticed the shadows cast by the trees over the pavement, or heard the birds twitter patting in their branches.

Wheat sheaf Inn passed, looking spick and spam with its new coat of paint I turn under the last remaining gateway and enter Ludlow. It always makes me smile to remember that we live “beyond the pale”, outside the town’s protecting walls. Although if I remember some of my local history right, most of the local rouges lived inside the town. Perhaps we were better off outside, if looked down on, literally.

What’s not to like about Broad Street? It has been voted the most attractive street in England, and it certainly enchants me. Not just the gracious Georgian sweep with those enticing hidden walled gardens, but the gorgeous glass façade of the Wesleyan chapel, the yellow paint of the medieval, the Victorian pillared and covered shopping arcade, Bodenhams, leaning and creaking on  the top corner, as if its holding up the café next door. (Always be De Greys to me). A Ludlow institution now sadly gone.

The Butter Cross is the icing on the Broad Street plate, though not in the street but looking down it, as if keeping an eye on the comings and goings. When it was the home of local government, I’m sure they kept it all in their sight.

So, left at the top and the real purpose of my visit, buying local produce for the café. First stop Walls the Butcher’s. Charlie’s on form today and singing at the top of his voice from the cellar.

They certain cram a great range of locally produced and butchered meats from a very tight space. They are there from about 6.30 most mornings, and I have never known them to be anything but helpful and cheerful.

We are very fortunate to have three local butchers in the town when many towns have to rely on super-market meat. Now one of the best pieces of advise my husband ever gave me, and bare in mind that this is from a man who has worked in the catering industry most of  his life, is ; “Always look the person you are buying your meat from in the eye.”

Next on the round is Prices the Bakers. We have been using Price’s a long time. They were still baking in the old original bake House in Quality Square then. Turning into the square on a cold morning to the aroma of bread and cakes baking was wonderful.

Their shop was formally an old coaching inn and has some great history hidden behind its walls. But I am on a mission and today just order and receive freshly baked bread.

Last stop is round the corner in Mill Street to Farmers Fruit and vegetable emporium.  It really is the way to shop for perishable goods. I love the range they have, the seasonal quality and the display of flowers entices me in.

The Butter Cross clock is chiming out over head as I  make my way towards Galdeford and Green Pea.








Sweets for my Sweet

Sweets for my Sweet

“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” Proverbs 16:24

It’s the vernal equinox, the sun has decided to shine, lighting up the café and sending shadows chasing up the walls.

I am beating a sponge mixture to make a batch of our honey cakes and thinking about all the words we use which are inspired by this almost magical substance. I am “waxing” lyrical. We have honey moons. We use honey as a term of endearment People can be honey tongued. Poets tells us that mystics feed on honeydew. Martin’s nests honeycomb a river bank. Honey describes a colour, a taste, a scent.

It’s use in beauty treatment and its many health benefits have been known for millennia. And of cause it is widely used in cooking. Local honey is the best to use, and easily sells for £6.00 a jar. Sometimes it is dark with the flowers of chestnuts, sometimes golden with wild flowers, or almost orange with blossom.

We use honey in several of our dishes. It helps to sweeten our Asian Slaw dressing, a wonderful salad, complementing fresh green leaves. A bit different from the classic coleslaw. It binds together chopped walnuts, which are layered with delicate sheets of filo pastry to become our Baklavas, very poplar with a morning cup of coffee. It infuses the honey cupcakes we make and is just now perfuming the kitchen as they cook and rise in the oven.

We are all aware that bees are under threat. I cannot and do not want to imagine a world with out them. They are the sound of summer, our propagators, their busy lives enhance our own and we should treasure them. My name, Deborah, means “busy bee” in Hebrew and I hope to be just that in our community café. Come in and feel the buzz!

Here Comes The Sun

When the sun has been visible this week, it has had the grainy texture I associate with a Turner painting. Turner was producing his work at a time of scientific advancement, and one of the scientists he most admired was William Herschel, who revealed that the sun, rather than a disc, had a surface of “openings, shallows, ridges, nodules, corrugations, indentations and pores.” From then on Turner’s suns took on an almost three d quality, standing out from the rest of the painting by the thickness of the paint applied.

Likewise our own made savoury potato cakes stand out from the rest. They resemble the disc of the suns Turner created with their beautiful criss- cross layers and golden hue. Served with a fried egg and local bacon, they make a wonderfully cheering lunch.

Our honey cakes too are a reminder of summer afternoons spent in shady gardens, and served with an elegant Earl Grey tea in a china cup, perfect for a tea time treat. Our recipe for these won the first ever Ludlow Food Festival award for the best cake to be entered.

So, when the wind dies down and snow stops falling, pop along and warm yourself up.

Banish the Winter Blues

This morning our café is full of light. The pointed gothic panes overlooking Galdeford, show the bare sculptured limbs of the chestnut at the gateway. At its feet snowdrops are out and the spears of daffodils leaves showing green.

Inside is warm, clean, bright and the aroma of bacon enticing. Our local butcher’s bacon and sausages are the core of our English breakfast, an all time favourite. Although a bowl of porridge topped with brown sugar and a hint of salt keeps the cold out.

Bread pudding, rich with fruit sits next to Honey cakes in their paper frills, and apple and walnut loaf, which a customer once told us was called “wet Nelly” up North! It’s a great place to meet a friend and chat over a hot drink and fresh baked Danish pastry or scone.

Take a look at the menu and decide to take something home for lunch or supper. Our daily specials such as beef stew, Pasta Bakes, Vegetable Mornay, or Tomato, Aubergine and Halloumi are always popular.

The sparrows are back and can’t quite believe the damage the weather has done to the fuchsia hedge, but that too it beginning to grow back against the old stone.