Monday, 12 May 2014

Unfortunately, the cafe will be closed on Tuesday 13th May, re-opening at 10am on Wednesday the 14th of May.

Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.  

Sunday, 5 January 2014

2014 re-opening date

Hope you all had a fantastic time over the holidays.

We'll be re-opening at 10am on Tuesday the 14th of January.  

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

New Portsound Prefestive Merriment - this Saturday....

Don't mean to sound like a broken record (relevant pun there actually) but there is a lot of talent around here.

As well as our barista/singer extraordinaire Layla Brown, this live music event on Saturday the 7th of December also involves other multi-talented local bands including Sonny Carntyne and more.  Fabulous food and cakes providing by Mrs Battenberg's Travelling Tearoom too...

Click HERE for more details and go, go, go.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

T Ann Talent....

I would like to share a little link with you.  The very beautiful and very talented Layla Brown has been working with us at T Ann Cake FOR A YEAR NOW!!! She just held her first amazing recital in Dundee last week but she has loads more gigs lined up.  Opera, classical, folk, jazz....voice of an angel... take a look at her page here:

Friday, 30 August 2013

Take a look at today's menu by clicking on the 'menu' page above.


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

That lunch. Mr Kitchin's place (the original)

Second week of the cafe's summer break (last week) and it was time to finally head back to The Kitchin in Edinburgh.  It's difficult for us to get there because the restaurant's closing days are the same as ours (Sunday, Monday) and I think there was also a closure around last January so I'd booked for when T Ann Cake was closed.

A little disclaimer.  I'm a huge fan.  This man just comes across as being so nice and a bit of a genius when it comes to food.  

The last couple of times we'd done the tasting menu, I think I can remember there being a lot of pig.  Pig's ear salad and I rolled pig's head included.  I'm actually fine with this but I was really 'meated' out by the end of it all.

It had been over a year since we'd last been and I'd have been happy to sit down and eat the same lunch.  We didn't.  It had all changed.

I took photos.  I was trying to be as subtle as possible.  I didn't write anything down so I'll miss lots.  My big sister takes a 'best restaurants I ate in' notebook that I bought her (from Lovely Things, the dangerous gift shop around the corner from the cafe)- dangerous in that you cannot help spending money and her stock changes far too quickly so there's always something that you'd like/need. I don't have such a thing as a restaurant notebook AND husband was going red-faced about the photos I was taking so a notebook would have taken the annoying wife behaviour one step too far.

They don't bring you a menu when you go in. They simply ask if you've been before and if there's anything you don't particularly like. This is fine with us.  We'll try anything.

This is a copy of the menu (not everything is listed) that you receive at the end of the meal.
Crumpled up menu (retrieved from bag this morning). Click on photo & you may actually be able to read this.

This is what we ate (over the course of around 2 and a half hours).

Crudities and blue cheese dip
Radish, celery, cauliflower, pea pod, carrot, their blue cheese cheese straw and their sea salt (and I think rosemary) think pastry.  The dip was coarse in texture; not too mental blue-cheese wise.

Chilled tomato consomme
A teensy little bowl with the most beautifully fresh-tasting clear clear clear clear clear consomme with tiny little veggies (broad beans, carrot, spring onions...) and a fresh basil leaf in it.

Sour dough rolls and butter
Yes I am going to include this as a course because the rolls had just come out of the oven with hot, hot, hot steam pouring out after we'd pulled apart the crispy sourdough crust. The texture of the bread and the butter were to die for. Not literally of course.
See consomme photo above for a little peek at the sourdough roll

Mackerel ceviche
Oh my bloody God.  Fricking amazing.  Sorry.  So ceviche isn't Alex's favourite (I dragged him to a few Peruvian restaurants when I was having a love affair with all-things Peruvian in NYC for a while - well, not all things Peruvian, that might have been even more exciting than their Pisco sours.  Back to this gorgeous plate of food.  Thin, thin, thin slivers of raw mackerel, only 'cooked' but not really cooked in the citrus dressing with lovely fat blobs of salmon roe on top that went 'plop' in your mouth as you chewed on them.  Raw salad was just so bloody tasty as were the slivers of candied lemon.

NEXT.  More fish.  Thank you Mr Kitchin.  Don't mind if I do. Did.

Seared hand-dived Orkney scallop served with a ragout of carrots, ginger and chilli
This was another 'I just don't want this course to end' plate.  I love scallops.  But only if they're cooked like this; knife gliding through a wee bit like velvet.  LOOK AT HOW BLOOMIN' PRETTY THIS LOOKS.  I must admit, Alex had to eat some of the carrots because there were LOADS. The lime on the left hand side was candied (sweet and sharp all at the same time.  I scoffed it).

Vegetarians look away now.  I think some pizza places describe certain pizzas as a 'meat feast'.  Those aren't bloody meat feasts.  WHAT I ATE NEXT AT MR KITCHIN'S WAS A MEAT FEAST.  Look.  MEAT MEAT MEAT MEAT MEAT.  Cow, ox, pig.  On a plate.
Bone Marrow & Ox
Roasted bone marrow served with crispy ox tongue, button mushrooms and crispy ham
The marrow was an unctuous pile of yum.  Alex and I agreed that this course could have been described as a very posh full Scottish breakfast.  We had the crispy ham, the mushrooms, the tender but crispy ox tongue and the hen's egg perched on top.

Time for a little more fish now.  This was also just perfect.  
Poached monkfish tail from Scrabster cooked on the bone with saffron served with squat lobster, broad beans and sea herbs from the Isle of Bute.
Would you look at that cute little lobster.  Just staring at me.  His shell had already been removed and I swear I've never had such a meltingly piece of shellfish 'meat' in my mouth.  The monk tail had, I think, been poached in the saffron sauce - an all round yum, yes please and thank you.  The round yellow things in the photo below are the most perfect globes of poached (in the saffron sauce) potatoes.  We have to give samphire a mention.  We just do.

At this point, I was beginning to wonder how much more we had to come.  I was just finishing my lovely really cold dry glass of Montagne Premier Cru.  I knew that we should have a something madly meaty coming again soon so I ordered a big glass of something pungy and red - can't remember what one which is a shame.

The waitress must have seen my face saying 'no more food, pleeaaaaaassssse' so as she laid the next course down in front of me, she said, 'don't worry, this is the last meat dish'.

Braised shin of Orkney beef 'osso buco' style served with bone marrow potatoes
This was the one of the most intense meaty sauces I've ever tasted.  The beef was so tender in the way that it had been cooked.  The potato on top was shaped into a bone shape and filled with more of the beef and more marrow 'jus' (I think).  The broad beans were just so green-tasting and the carrots, leeks and turnip were just perfectly cooked AND TASTED LIKE THE VEGETABLES THEY WERE!

Phew.  Time for a nap but I don't think you're supposed to lie down in the middle of any restaurant.  Bit of a gap which was perfect.  However, we were then tempted by the evil cheese trolley.  I say evil cheese trolley because the cheese man had been touting his wares to other diners since we'd arrived.  Like an old fashioned 1970s dessert trolley from any restaurant scene in a 70s sitcom, it was meant to tempt us all and his plan worked.  I couldn't say no.  Also very happy that the courses were done in this order, ie, cheese before pudding.

They were all British cheeses and we scoffed the lot.  Sorry.  Can't remember what we ate.  We had two different types of blue (including a gooey soft one - what a beaut.).  We had a gooey smelly one.  A selection of crackers and their homemade fruit bread.  And some honey!  

A palette cleanser next -
Elderflower and Gooseberry Sorbet
Sharp and fresh and cleansed my palette!

Pudding proper next.  Cheesecake isn't always my favourite (a texture thing) but this had lots of different textures so I could easily cope.  Another pretty plate.  Summery.  Gorgeously sweet strawberries and the sorbet was a great thing to have with the creaminess of the cheesecake.  Oh yes.  More of those sweet candied lemons.  That isn't a complaint!

Almost there.  We'd been in the restaurant for well over 2 hours and it was a gorgeous day.  Most of the other diners had chosen to have their coffee and petits fours outside so we followed suit.

Double espresso, single macchiato. Petits fours: 
At this point after a madly greedy meal like this, I'm usually beaten.  But then they brought out this lot.  Feast your eyes on the photo below and tell me, truthfully, that you would refuse them or give your share to your husband. 

Lemon and pistachio fudge, raspberry macaroon, coffee chocolate and carrot cake. 

Last, but not least, the best part of the day.  Mr Kitchin appeared and started chatting to the couple at the next table.  The girl immediately asked him for a photo. I have NEVER done this before (ok, once at nightclub in Reading circa 1988, wearing a fluorescent bright yellow and white long tube skirt and matching top, a very mad perm and pearl pink lipstick when I queued to have my photo taken with Mike Read the Radio One DJ but let's forget that... have the photo upstairs - not nice).  Fuelled by 2 glasses of wine which doesn't seem a lot but I've been pretty much tee total for weeks now, I warmed Alex that I was going to do it.  Ignoring his growl and once Mr Kitchin had approached our table for a little chat (I think I complimented his squat lobster), I asked him if 'I could have a photo please' and said that my husband would kill me, and he replied that 'if you don't ask, you don't get'.  Well, here it is.

I look delighted with life.  He looks a little bit scared.  Husband wasn't impressed.  Far too silly for his liking but I just had to.

I follow Tom Kitchin's twitter account (only just started with the tweeting so am fairly new at it all).  Tweeted a little 'THANK YOU THAT WAS YUMMY IN MY TUMMY' type tweet and being the gentleman that he was, he replied - HURRAH!  Yes, he replies to everyone but it made me feel all lovely.

So, if you've not been, GO there.  Do it.  Not necessarily for the tasting menu but it is really good value if you consider that you can pay almost as much for something pretty crappy in a generic chain restaurant somewhere for a full meal. 

PS, thank you to my lovely daughter for this treat.  You really shouldn't have done this but I'm so glad you did!

PPS, yes this is an obscene amount of food but we do it on this scale around once a year

PPPS, I love it when customers take photos in T Ann Cake but we're just a little cafe.  I admit I did feel a bit naughty about taking photos throughout this meal - completely different sort of place.  I did it quietly and quickly and we were at a really good table where I could do this!  Main reason is that I have the memory of a newt so the photos are great for me to look back on.

PPPPS, if you don't fancy the full scale tasting menu, head for his new pub in Stockbridge, Edinburgh, the Scran and Scalllie   I went with my big sister a little while after it opened.  Can't find the photos but we had sheep's heid Scotch broth, tongue and tripe, braised hogget shoulder, peas and lettuce and beer.  Was really good and can't wait to go back (had no problem getting a table on a Sunday lunchtime but we were happy to eat in the bar area).

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

A little peek at our holiday.....

Hello!  It's me.  Ann.  We're still on our fortnight's summer break but we're back in the country and enjoying this amazing Scottish summer.  A little bit of work mixed with a little bit of play each day makes Ann a very happy woman.

Immediately after closing on Saturday the 6th of July, we headed off to the South of Turkey.  Unfortunately, we flew out during the Murray match (caught the first set at the airport).

Why Turkey when we'd already enjoyed a week in Istanbul in January.  BECAUSE MY ONLY DAUGHTER WAS GETTING MARRIED THERE!!!!!!!!!  Sorry but it was very exciting.

This post will be about food eventually.  However, as a proud mummy, I need to show you this
My daughter and new son and law on their wedding day

Ok.  Just one more....

Flower girls, my granddaughters Kaitlyn and her little sister Abbie
An amazing time was had by all - we were a large group and apart from the mad heat day and night, it was bloody perfect.

We then had a bit of an adventure.  We hired a car from a man called Abdullah and headed off into the mountains (the 'we' being, me, husband, sister and her husband).  I'd done a little bit of research, ie, where to go with a car.  I wanted mountains, winding roads and very local food, ie, not huge touristy places.  WE GOT ALL OF THAT.

We were heading for a village called Bucak┼čeyhler.  Suggested by a mountain cyclist from that area, it sounded ideal.  Just outside of Side where we were staying, we passed by and went in to the Manavgat Waterfall.  A little touristy but it was early in the day so probably quieter than usual.  Gorgeous views of the natural falls coming down.  
Alex and I at the waterfall.  The water on this top ledge has a constant overspill of the fall's waters and it was icy cold hence my feet resting on a pipe for the photo

The very lovely, Mr Rougvie, aka, master baker (soup and scone maker), grumpy and current husband at the waterfall.
Back in the car, we headed for our little village.  We drove around for a while and just didn't seem to find it.  Husband was driving and I was the chief back seat driver.  I had been demoted from navigator as that task had somehow been passed to my brother in law Chris.  My sister Lynn was the additional back seat driver that Alex obviously wanted.  We were very very helpful and I'm sure our driving advice was in no way annoying.  The mountain scenery was breathtaking but the road turned into a dirt track with boulders.  We were also going higher and higher and then this...
Need to write a quick disclaimer here.  I was very careful to walk around with my shoulders covered and my skirts no shorter than below knee length.  This photo was taken at midday and there was no-one else there apart from my family group, hence the skirt pulled up.  I was just so bloody hot!
We were the only ones there.  No other tourists in sight (probably because of lack of access).  A huge ancient city - almost 2000 years old.  Seleucia.

It was a tourist's dream.  The four of us walked around for as long as we could stand the soaring heat in wonderment at what we had stumbled upon.

L-R, Chris (the Rev), Lynn (my sister) and Alex (my husband)
We had a hairy moment upon getting back into the hire car in that it took a few goes to get it going but we were now hungry and argued discussed where to head back to.  Poor Alex was out voted. He wanted to head to a road side cafe set up for tourist buses but Lynn, Chris and I had spotted a little village a few miles back with a few houses and a mosque.  This ended up being the village we'd been searching for. We spotted a little house in the centre, with a covered outside area and around 3 tables, a couple of wee boys on their bikes and an old lady happy to invite us in (that sounds like I'm being offensive but she was old.  Even older than my husband).

We were all ashamed of our lack of Turkish language skills but through a lot of sign language (shoving my hands towards my mouth) and Alex's German skills (a lot of the Turkish people we met spoken German), she took us into her teensy tiny kitchen, opened her fridge and asked if that was ok.  I smiled and looked very happy.

Ten minutes later (we were trying not to watch her too much), she appeared with a feast.  This is exactly what we were looking for.
First view of 'the lunch'

The bread -think it's called Lavash, comes to the table as a bit fat pillow that you pop open and burn yourself with the steam inside. Seeds on top too.  Orange juice - could not stop drinking this stuff.  As in Istanbul, most sellers had a pile of oranges and a manual orange squeezer - order your orange and hey presto, a glass of super healthy loveliness. The fact that these were from the trees within 5 feet of where we were sitting.  Sliced cucumber and sliced tomato- so juicy and with such a fresh taste compared to what we're used to at home.  Olives - oh lord.  Not too 'briney'.  Just juicy and beautiful.  Again, picked from her own trees and jarred.  Green peppers - not the usual bell shaped green peppers that we are used to in the UK but the long, almost chilli length peppers we ate of lot of with our menemen in January.  Okra in a tomato sauce.  This was the only warm dish we had and the okra had been cooked in the beautiful tomato sauce she'd made.  Eggs - oh the eggs.  From the hens scuttling around her yard, these were divine.  I'm not a fried egg fan (just a texture thing) but I cut a few pieces off here and there and ate them with the other bits and bobs and they were super tasty.  We joked about the fact that we were glad we hadn't mentioned chicken as our amazing hostess looked like she would have had no qualms about 'dealing' with one of them as we were sitting there!

Let me go around the tray and explain what we ate: sliced tomatoes and cucumber, chopped sauteed green beans, olives, green peppers, okra in a warm tomato sauce, flatbread, fried eggs, freshly squeezed orange juice.  The best thing about this???? The lady was rightly proud about the fact that she grew every single thing on our plates (she obviously made the bread and the hens running around the yard provided the eggs).  Even the oranges were from her trees.  

We then had Turkish coffee.
I love my coffee.  I love Turkish coffee as long as there is no sugar in it.  Intense and good.
This will definitely go on my top 5 meals of my life list.  The whole thing.  The food, the surroundings.  Our host sitting constantly happily watching us as we made appreciative slurping noises at the amazing meal she'd just made for us.  

Slurping noises?  Ok.  A short video of my sister making rather loud slurping noises.  Well, you'd hear them if the sound worked.  Sorry.  But maybe it's a good thing that it doesn't. 

I'm now going to share a little bit too much information with you.  We were all drinking so much water because it was super hot with a really high humidity too.  I needed a wee.  I asked the lady and she got one of her grandsons to take me to the mosque toilet.  Very very interesting.  I noticed a bible class for females only taking place in a side room.  I then went into the toilet and it was one of the sitting squatting over the hole in the floor (with no toilet roll but a very helpful hose and tap).  Another holiday experience. 

The actual town of Side where we were staying had a lot of ruins so the next day, Alex and I also had a good look around there.  Temple of Apollo, Greek amphitheater, just so much history, it was mind-blowing.

A lovely break was had by all.  A real family holiday but with my daughter's wedding too!  Just fabbie.  

One final foodie photo.  Last night.  Testi kebab!!!  A speciality where they bring it to the table in the cooking pot which is sealed with bread.  Husband looks so impressed here doesn't he?  That's his smile.  I know it's his smile because I often ask that question.  You know the question that all men hate. 'What's wrong'? His answer?  'Nothing.  I can't help it if my face looks like this'.  So he is full of joy in this photo.

Sorry but a few more photos now.  Do you feel like you've gone to a friend's house for dinner and they suddenly pull out their holiday photo album and you can't really refuse to look at them.  I'm not feeding you dinner but I will show you a few more photos.
He won't be happy about this one.  Like at small 5-year old boy, this rather old boy would not stop going on about snorkelling while we were there.  He got his dream towards the end of the holiday.  Not a great deal to see where we were but my lovely husband was very happy and that is what counts (I'm actually not being sarcastic).
Don't worry.  You can't see me in my bikini proper here (wouldn't be good) but this is me about to have a go at snorkelling for the first time ever.  Quite liked it actually.  Saw one biggish striped fish and some coral.
I don't know if I'll ever return to Turkey.  There are too many other places in the world that I still need to see.  Turkey's a beautiful country. On balance, I probably preferred Istanbul because I prefer to visit large cities.  However, I have so many unanswered questions about this country and I would love to be able to sit someone down to ask these questions;  religion, the male/female roles in this often conservative society and so many more.  Thank you for having us Turkey.  You've been great. 

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Summer break

T Ann Cake is now closed for a summer break.  We will re-open on Tuesday the 23rd July 2013.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Eating habits of a forty something year old and great food memories

My eating habits have become terrible.  I'm currently trying to undo over two years of worsening eating habits.  I blame the cafe (but it's easy to blame lots of things on the cafe).

I was out for a quick bite to eat last night and as he was placing our food on the table, the manager/part-owner declared that he was absolutely starving.  I feel like that most days when taking food to customers.

This is sometimes difficult to believe.  That you can be surrounded by food from around 7 in the morning until (we) close the doors and go home at around 6 at night and not eat much but that is pretty much what happens.

On a sensible day.  I get up and have a cup of tea by 5.30am and my very lovely husband makes me a fruit smoothie by 6.30pm.  I'll then have a flat white or cortado by 8pm.  I have loads to do in the cafe from around 7.30 onwards so at the moment, am trying to not really stop (or eat bits of cheese or cake)until after the initial lunch rush.  This usually involves having a seat in our spacious staff room (read sitting on a stool in the store cupboard, just off the kitchen) eating a cup of today's soup and some bread.  

When I'm feeling bad (or having a typical day), I will sneak some cheese on top of the bread.  Or just sneak a slice of cheese for the sake of sneaking a slice of cheese.  On a good day (trying to have lots of good days leading up to daughter's wedding next week), I'll have soup.  Oh yes, and water.  Oh yes, mustn't forget more coffee.  

This is hell.  Trying doing this in a storeroom filled with bad things.  Numerous chocolate bars to go into cakes (Mars Bars, crunchies, flakes, mint aeros...).

Doing ok.  But the worst thing at work isn't the fact that I can't eat little offcuts of cake.  It's cheese on toast.  We probably only serve a few a day but it's the thing that smells the best and to me, just looks like 'childhood on a plate'.

When I was young and owing to my dad's job, I didn't move to Scotland permanently until I was 14.  This meant that we would only visit family in West Lothian or Fife around once a year (sometimes even less).  My mum's mum was a lovely lady and very homely.  Her home was homely and she was homely.  She always wore a pinny.  She always had a gorgeous pot of soup on the go.  She had an old stand alone unit in her kitchen (different colour to ours).  Ours is red and is used daily in the cafe's kitchen.  Her's was blue and yellow I think.

But she had something more than this.  She had cheese on toast!  No matter what time we arrived at her house and no matter where from (England, Germany or Norway), she would always give us cheese on toast.

She had an eye-level grill and she always had, is it called a pan loaf?  Or a plain loaf?  I can't remember.  It came in a shiny wax wrapper.  White narrow bread, toasted with bubbling grilled cheese on top.  Oh my.  

We don't do the pan loaf in the cafe; although it's in my mind to start using it so we can fit the retro food in with the retro furniture.  But we definitely do the cheese on toast.  It's actually a bit of a pain to make in the cafe but it makes me smile and think of my Granny whenever we serve it.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Holiday countdown has begun......

Where has the time gone?  Seems like two minutes ago that we were re-opening after our Christmas (wee visit to Istanbul) break and what with Easter, graduation week and a lovely busy time, our summer holidays are almost here.  

Two weeks of business and then we'll be closed for two weeks.  Our last day of business before we go will be Saturday the 6th of July and then we'll be re-opening on Tuesday the 23rd July 2013.  

Planning to serve lots of scrumptious savouries and cakes before then though.

Monday, 10 June 2013

At long bloody last. Our Bloody Mary BLT.

After being open for two and a half years, we have finally,in the last couple of weeks, served our first BLT.

Why the heck has it taken so long?  I just wanted to be happy with it.  That's all.

I do love a BLT and all variations of a BLT.  It's something that I'll often order if I want to be a bit naughty but it's often one of those things that you can be really disappointed with in life.

Yes,  one man's BLT is anothers BLAH LT.  There are so many elements of this bloody sandwich that can go right or wrong depending on what you like.  

The bread
The BLT usually falls under the 'sandwich' category in a menu.  A sandwich, in this country, often refers to some sort of filling between two slices of bread.  We only have two types of bread 'slices' in the cafe.  Firstly we have our own granary that we make each morning to serve with our soup (made from a gorgeous flour from the Carr's Flour Hutchison's flour merchants in Kirkcaldy).  Depending on the day, we'll make one or two loaves but no matter what tin we use, the size isn't always consistent so we can't use it for a sandwich AND more importantly, we often only just have enough to serve with our soup and don't have any more time to make more. 

Not a 'real' soup and bread serving at T Ann Cake, lunch for me in the store cupboard but if you look hard enough, you can see a little bit of our gorgeous granary bread.

We also serve brown toast for breakfast 'toast'. We don't make this ourselves but buy it from a supplier.  This makes great toast and it's slightly larger than a usual sliced loaf but it's far too soft to even served as any type of sandwich.  We know because we've tested it.  It's quite a bit more expensive than buying a 'normal' sliced loaf too but for the moment, it is what we're serving as our toast.  We've just changed the type of 'toast' we're serving and are very pleased about what we've tested so far.  Still getting it from the same supplier but we think and hope this'll make really good sandwiches too.  It's got a gorgeous crust on it and a good crust often makes a good sandwich!

I've enjoyed BLTs on a croissant, on toasted white bread and on various crusty bread.  There have been many that I've not enjoyed but I won't turn this into a negative post (for now).

We tested lots of bread/rolls for our BLT and we went with the seeded roll that we use for our hot savoury items.  It's a good quality roll and although it's a lot more expensive for me to buy than a lot of similar type rolls I've seen in supermarkets/shops, it's good and it's one I'm sticking with for now.

The BACON.  I adore bacon.  Any type really.  Whilst I can happily eat a gorgeous piece of good-quality smoked (always smoked for me) bacon as part of a big fry up (goodness knows when I last had one of those), I also love the way that the Americans serve their bacon - really crispy.  

Another thing that stopped me doing the BLT for ages was that I just didn't know how our customers would react to the fact that I was determined to serve crispy smoked bacon on our BLT.  I was being selfish in wanting to serve streaky but this is why I needed to do this.

Price.  Back bacon is more expensive and having researched (read, eaten) loads of BLTs over the last 4 years, those who offered back bacon at a reasonable price, didn't tell you what type of bacon it was.  When this happens, I always think the worst (cheap bacon and where the hell is it from).  If I were to serve back bacon, I'd have to charge 2 million pounds/BLT.  Don't think I'll sell many.  Our streaky is local bacon, sourced from a local butcher and is really great quality - no water comes out whilst cooking.  Not cheap either but tastes amazing and we've had great feedback about it.

Cooking.  We're not allowed to fry.  All related to the planning permission we go when we renovated the cafe from a shop into T Ann Cake.  I've eaten far too many badly reheated bits of back bacon in a BLT or bacon roll - usually microwaved which means it then goes hard and cardboard-like a minute or so after serving.  Streaky bacon is a dream when you can't fry it (and there are NO microwaves involved!).

Tomatoes.   We don't live in Spain.  Or any of the other Southern European countries that can grow and sell millions of juicy red tomatoes to poor old cafe owners like me for a reasonable price.  Yes, I currently have around 30 tiny green tomatoes growing on four tomato plants in the room that I'm writing in but that's only because it's finally summer here and I can't really grow enough for the cafe!  So, I have to buy them from our veg supplier.  

I didn't want to serve a bit of sliced tomato like you get on most other BLTs so I put my thinking cap on and decided to roast them as well as making them into bloody mary tomatoes.  I'd been wanting to use this type of tomato in some dish at some point and I'm delighted that these work so well with the bacon.

Green stuff.   Has to be rocket.  Got a good supply of it and if it's a week when it's a good peppery batch, so much the better.

Mayonnaise.  Love it and use ridiculous amounts of it on any sandwich I make in the house.  We add lots of flavours to various mayonnaise accompaniments in the cafe and I though that our smoky chipotle chilli one would work well.  It does.

So, this is it.  Already been sampled by many customers (lots of questions asked too....).

I'm very happy with it.  It's only taken 2 and a half years to get it on the menu but sometimes it's better to do it that way!


Thursday, 6 June 2013

We're hiring...

Experienced barista required

Must have recent experience of using commercial espresso machine & be confident in pulling all types of espresso drinks*
         *we’ll take a look at your practical skills at interview!

  • ·      between 12 & 20 hours per week (tbc but could be more)

  • ·      this is not a summer holiday position

  • ·      we cannot work around any student timetables – sorry!

  • ·      job will also involve other cafe duties such as serving customers, dishwashing &   cleaning

  • ·      must be able to work on Saturdays

  • ·      must be non-smoker

  • ·      immediate start**

  • ·      must have good written and spoken English

  • ·      18 years and over

  • ·      Apply by emailing your CV and telling us why you want the job:

** T Ann cake will be closing for its summer holiday from Tuesday 9th July until Saturday 20 July (inclusive).  We hope to interview and have the successful candidate in for trial days before the closure

*** unfortubately, due to the high numbers of applications expected, we are unable to reply to those candidates who are unsuccessful  in this application process or those candidates who have not provided us with an up to date CV listing relevant and recent experience.

Cakes, tarts and all things sweet

The cafe's name, T Ann Cake, implies that we serve tea.  And cake.  This isn't something that I wasn't aware of when I chose the name.

When choosing the business name (just before I did my first farmers' market in August 2009), I had a list of around 20 contenders.  Some better than others.  Here are some of them along with some of the comments fed back to me via friends and family.

The Pantry     
"makes me think of a pair of pants" 

Coffee, Tea or Me?
"Absolutely not (mother)"

"just don't like it"

More tea Vicar?
"you can't have anything religious"

Let them eat Cake
"so you think your future customers are peasants?"

Sweet Annie/Sweet Annie's
"sounds a bit dodgy"


And it went on.  My big sister phoned a friend of hers who told her husband about my name-finding quest.  "Well why doesn't she just call it 'T Ann Cake'?"  Yes indeed.  Why didn't we think of that?  So, thank you once more Michael.  There was one drawback.  Although my market stall would only be serving sweet things, the whole point of starting the business was to one day have a cafe and we would be serving savoury things too.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I think a number of prospective customers may think that we only serve 'tea' and 'cake' but I think and hope that most know we do other things do.

In the meantime, here are some photos of some of the cakes and other sweet things that we've made over the last week or two...

Vanilla pear-poached frangipane tarts, strawberry torte almond cake and chocolate oreo cake

Our sweet pastry filled with our chocolate fondant and local raspberries

Vanilla cupcakes with local strawberries, our sweet pastry for pecan pies

Dulce de leche brownies
So there we have it.  The top photo that features the strawberry torte almond cake was on the counter half an hour after opening this morning, still warm having just been tested/tasted by us.  I had some strawberries to use.  I was making muscovado meringues but knew they wouldn't be ready in time so needed a cake in which to use them up.  I found this recipe at around 7 o'clock this morning, made it at around 8am and it was on the counter by 10.30am.  That is the part I love about having the cafe.  I can play.