It's all been a bit quiet on the Rhubarb & Rose blog over the last couple of months but I have a good excuse - I'm working on a new book! I can't say too much at the moment but it will follow in the sweet footsteps of trEATs and I'm lucky enough to be working with the very talented Danielle Wood again. In the meantime I'll be popping in to the Manchester Cake & Bake Show this Spring to demo cake pops and sign a few books. I'm also being kept very busy by the Leiths Food & Wine diploma (highlights this week have been wine tasting, genoise cake and a visit from food writer Ursula Ferrigno).
Friday, 28 February 2014
Monday, 16 December 2013
Last week I was at Waterstones for a Christmassy author evening decorating gingerbread and signing copies of trEATs. It was great fun, we made lots of mess with icing and sprinkles and even Darcey (who was also signing copies of her book) iced some gingerbread snowflakes with me.
This week, on Thursday 19th, I'm over at Waterstones Covent Garden for their Christmas evening from 6pm (check out the link for the full list of authors who will be there). Come and pick up a Christmas present or two and decorate your own gingerbread decorations!
Thursday, 28 November 2013
It's been so exciting to see trEATs being featured in magazines and online over the last few weeks. Here is my mince pies recipe in this month's edition of House Beautiful (photos by Danielle Wood). This feature is part of a baking special so I'm in good company with Mary Berry and Annie Rigg a few pages away.
Some salted caramel trEATs from my book. I made these for kind friends that lent me their backpack for my big trip to South America and Mexico this summer. I made salted caramel brownies paired with extra sauce to warm up and pour over ice cream - a cosy Autumnal treat. The cute jar is from Le Parfait.
|Betsy Thorleifson with her daughter in the Nine Cakes studio|
The Nine Cakes studio is tucked away on Columbia Street in Brooklyn not too far from Smith Street with its trendy cafes and boutiques and just across the water from downtown Manhattan. Betsy is in good company with so many other young food businesses in the neighbourhood “There’s a little coffee shop that I love called Cafe Pedlar and a really yummy foodie shop called Stinky Brooklyn filled with all sorts of cheeses”.
|The shop front in Brooklyn|
|Betsy's team create beautiful hand made sugar decorations|
|Sketched designs waiting to be made up|
The inspiration for naming her business came from the cakes themselves. “When I first started, I came up with a list of my favourite cakes. I was sitting around with a group of friends and we were trying to figure out some name ideas. Someone said, ‘well, how many cakes do you have?’” There is also link to Betsy’s fondness for numbers (her dad was a maths teacher). “I came across this book of logic puzzles for kids. Lewis Carroll’s Alice character is tasked with arranging nine cakes in a specific order so I thought, yeah, it’s going to be Nine Cakes!”
|Vintage scales in the cake studio|
On starting a cake business Betsy says “just jump right in”. Thinking back to her first year she says “It felt like raising a kid in a way. It takes a lot of your attention and as it gets older each year there’s a real difference. By the second year I realised it was better to offer a range of signature flavours for each season. By the third year it felt more like a working machine. I wish I would have known to hire people sooner – there were times where I literally worked around the clock.”
On delegating she says that it’s best to prioritise. “Find what you want to do and make that happen instead of thinking that you’re going to do everything - in that first year I quickly realised that I have a business, I’m not just a baker anymore.”
It’s too difficult to choose just one of Betsy’s cake flavours so I head back to our friend’s Manhattan apartment via a Smith Street coffee with two single tier six inch cakes from her fall menu – one Pumpkin Walnut and one Chocolate Caramel Cloud.
155 Columbia Street Brooklyn 11231
|Pumpkin walnut cake|
|Ghost pumpkin display in the shop front|
|Simple paper decoration in the shop front display|
Thursday, 31 October 2013
It's finally here! My new book 'trEATs: Delicious food gifts to make at home' was released today and I'm very excited to start seeing it in shops. There are lots of gift-friendly recipes like salted caramel sauce and white chocolate dipped pistachio and apricot cookies and really beautiful photography from the very clever Danielle Wood. I'm looking forward to hearing what everyone thinks over the next few weeks. I hope you love it as much as I do.
Saturday, 19 October 2013
Last night me and fellow chocolate fan Jess went along to the opening night of Salon du Chocolat at Olympia. Salon du Chocolat is an established chocolate show from France to Tokyo but this weekend is the first time that it's come to London.
There was plenty of spectacle with a 'chocolate fashion show' (totally bonkers!) and one brave lady having a bath in hot chocolate.
Although the show is famous for it's fashion show we were mostly looking forward to the tasting opportunities. First up was a tart and sweet passion fruit caramel from Rococo which was a firm favourite. We stopped ourselves from having a nibble of a handsome white chocolate stag from The Highland Chocolatier and had a nice chat with Mighty Fine about their giant graffiti chocolate bar designed to show off their limited edition art bars. We also loved the Turkish delight style rose and cinnamon hot chocolate from Jaz and Juls.
As well as chocolate there was lots of caramel to try and even the odd stack of nougat. Lots of companies had incorporated rose and caramel flavours into their products and on the aesthetic side of things chocolate printing and old school packaging were popular.
The show isn't massive this year so it didn't take long to wander round and sample a few things. I think the main draw will be the chocolate demos that are happening over the weekend from people like Paul A Young, Andrew Gravett from Valrhona and Like a Strawberry Milk.
Salon du Chocolat is open from 18th-20th October and you can buy tickets here.
|A model shows off the English Rose chocolate dress|
|The hot chocolate bath!|
|Hot chocolate from Jaz and Juls|
|Art bars from Mighty Fine|
|...and the giant chocolate grafitti version|