Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Fix Coffee

A couple of years ago I found the perfect coffee shop, Coffee@ in Whitecross Street. They had other branches including two in Brick Lane but Whitecross was my favourite. I used to walk half an hour there from work to get a coffee, and if I felt greedy a Portugese custard tart (Pasteis de Nata) or cookie to go with it (I figured the walk had worked some calories off!). Then I'd melt into one of the sofas and read a lovely magazine while enjoying the best coffee London had to offer.

Then one day my little coffee shop closed. I went on a mini pilgrimage - venturing to Brick Lane at 9am one Sunday morning to check but alas they were no more. I stopped walking to Whitecross except to go to Waitrose and even then I didn't pass where Coffee@ used to be as it was too painful. Then I read on the net that a new coffee shop had opened there, called Fix. I checked their Facebook fan page and it looked exactly like Coffee@. Then the fantastic Sobo chocolate mentioned on twitter they stocked their wonderful cookies there and I knew I had to visit! I popped over today for lunch, cappuccino and a cookie and hurrah it's back!! The chandeliers, the lovely sofas and fabulous kitsch ornaments and best of all the fantastic coffee and lovely foods!!!!

You can check out my favourite coffee haunt and decide for yourself:
Fix Coffee
121 Whitecross Street, EC1Y 8JH

I recommend bringing a lovely book or magazine, grabbing an outside seat and sitting in the sun enjoying a coffee and a cookie!

Thanks to Fix Coffee for use of the interior pics from their Facebook page. The cappuccino and cookie pic is all my own work with my mobile phone!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

I ♥ macarons

For some time I've been meaning to make macarons as I LOVE them (especially those from Pierre Herme and Laduree). I even bought the book I ♥ Macarons by Hisako Ogita as it's a great step by step guide to making macarons (also it is pure food porn - the pictures make you want to eat macarons immediately).

So, after months of planning I finally got round to making macaron. I had planned to buy a food processor after being told they were a must for making them, however my kitchen is full and I figured I could give it a go with my 'stick' blender - and if they didn't work I could blame my lack of food processor!

Making macarons taught me one thing - I don't always read recipes properly.

I followed all the steps carefully - from the sifting of the almonds and icing sugar (blitzed with my stick blender which had previously been using mainly for soup and my katsu curry recipe) twice, to the process of macaronnage (carefully counting out loud how many times I scooped the batter to ensure I didn't go over 20 scoops!), leading to macaronner when my mixture became nicely firm. However as I didn't read ahead I couldn't make pink macs, as planned, as I should've added the colour to the meringue mixture pre-adding the almond mix. Then the mistake I thought had ended it for me. Rather than read how to pipe the macs properly I decided to make a swirl and do it my own way - this lead to me having to scrape them off the parchment and starting again. At this point I nearly gave up as I was sure I'd cocked it up but thought I should just bung them in the oven and see - so after re-piping properly, rapping the sheet on the worktop (to help me form the pied "foot"required to be macarons) and leaving them to dry for 30mins into the oven they went.

15 minutes later I was screaming through the house "I have feets, I have feets" (and the neighbours must have been thinking I was insane) as my macarons cooled. Once I got over my excitement and stopped grinning like the Cheshire cat I made some buttercream and flavoured it with some Bailey's and piped it into my macs and stood back and basked in their beauty!

Although I still prefer cupcakes I will definitely be making macarons again - next time expect some colour though :)