Tag Archives: Birthday

Winter Garden

My final birthday surprise was dinner at a secret location. I was told to meet boy at Baker Street at 7.45pm. After blowing all my guesses I had no idea where we were going and I remember being busy at work and was so close to google-ing “restaurants in Baker Street”  but every time I got round to it, something came up. However, for once, I don’t think Google would have helped.

We arrive and walk into a building named 222. I was confused and my initial thoughts were, this must be a posh restaurant I haven’t heard about. Then I saw palm trees and thought wow, this place looks similar to The Winter Garden. Then as we walked up the grand, golden and rich hallway I realised it was The Winter Garden. It is the restaurant for The Landmark Hotel London, situated at the soaring eight-story glass roof atrium. We were shown to our seats (with pillows) and gasped took pictures of the surroundings. The ambiance was quiet but buzzing, it was busy but everyone was spaced out so you have privacy, the lights were dim giving an intimate feel and there was a pianist playing (who we spotted sitting upstairs). Surrounded by palm trees and the twinkling stars above us, it felt like we were sitting outside in a hot country. Our waiters were lovely, polite and patient (we couldn’t decide what to eat as everything on the menu sounded delicious). Dinner;

Starters

  • Wild mushroom ravioli (boy)
  • Lobster risotto (girl)

Main

  • Chargrilled rack of Cotswold lamb, herb crust, boulangere potato and minted salsify (boy)
  • Wild halibut, roasted sweet potato, brown shrimp and baby leeks (girl)

The dinner was really tasty and mine was better than boys (for once!) I was quite smitten about this, but seeming as it was my birthday I was allowed. During dinner, the pianist played a really nice and melodic happy birthday piece and I got worried thinking they knew it was my birthday. Panic over. It was just a random piece. As we were deciding what to have for dessert, the happy birthday piece was played again and the waiters came out with candles and chocolates. I used to love stuff like this but OMG how embarrassing. A very sweet thought nevertheless.

We had ice cream and mint tea for dessert and then wandered around the venue, taking in the lovely tranquil atmosphere and admiring the exquisite design. It has an amazing mirror bar too. It felt like a mini holiday, with all the palm tress and neither of us wanted to leave.

You must remember to look up. The sky looks amazing at night through the glass roof.

(I shall be adding photos as soon as I locate them)

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It’s been a long time coming…

This weekend it was my mum’s birthday, being the baker in the house, she put in her order a week in advance, of the cake she would like me to make her – a victoria sponge. After a good gym session, some food, a much needed nap and a last minute decision to scrap the car I was going to buy :-( I set out to bake :-)

Gathering up all my ingredients for the cake, I began to follow these instructions . I’ve made Vicky sponge before, it is one the favourites in my house and made a beasty looking one for my eldest brothers 26th birthday with strawberries and cream in the middle and chocolates on top.

2 layered Beasty Vicky sponge

2 layered Beasty Vicky sponge

I began measuring the flour first as its the main ingredient but instructions say you need to mix sugar and butter first. Pay attention baker! So after telling myself off I do exactly what the recipe says. Using my new Cook’s digital scales that my little brother got me for Christmas too. I found these scales really made a difference as they are so much more precise than just using your eye and thinking “yeah that looks like its on 75g”.

Pink weighing scales :-)

My pink weighing scales :-)

My sponge mixture was made and ready to put in the oven. The recipe says to cook for 20-25mins but once we smelt cake, after 20mins exactly, we took it out the oven to cool down. I struggled to get the cakes out of the tins (they were greased) but with some help from my commis chef we got them onto a wire rack to cool.

I was supposed to be making a double layer sponge cake like shown in the recipe, but it smelt and looked so yummy we decided to have 1 layer on Sunday and 1 on Monday. We applied the toppings of mascarpone cheese, strawberries and grated dark chocolate on top to finish it off. It went down well with a weird film and some indian tea.

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Victoria Sponge on Sunday

And this is the what we had on Monday (my mums birthday). The same toppings were used with the addition of grated almonds and candles.

Real birthday cake

Real birthday cake

I will be making not one but two marble cakes next week, so watch this space for more on that.

Are you doing any baking soon?