Wednesday, 23 April 2014


When Andrew's sister kindly invited us to stay with her for a couple of nights over Easter we jumped at the chance. Living in the country is wonderful but it's nice to get a city fix now and again. Being the season of chocolate gifts we thought it would be the perfect excuse to make the pigs in mud cake, something I'd beem dying to do  since I first saw photographs on the internet.

I won't give a recipe as there are dozens out there and basically it's just a chocolate sponge with a layer of ganache. Andrew was chief pig maker although I was responsible for wielding the cocktail stick for nostrils & navels.

Making the pigs
The hardest part was getting the kit kats to stay upright. You have to smooth the outside of the cake with ganache, not too much that it oozes through but enough to make them stick. It was easier with two people and eventually we were happy and tied the ribbon. The ganache is then poured on top, if you gently push it to the edges, when it hardens it helps the kit kats stay in place. Then in go the pigs.

Not bad for a first attempt
Mortimer and Dexter were delighted at being reunited.

Back in the pond
Dexter's swimming has come along in leaps in bounds but Mortimer had the most reach when it came to shaking.

Advanced doggy paddle
Who needs a towel?
Saturday afternoon we went to Liberty. When I worked in central London, many years ago, this store was a regular haunt and it hasn't changed much. Opened  by Arthur Lasenby Liberty in 1875, it sold objects and fabrics from Japan and the East. Hugely supportive of both the Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau movements, Liberty still specialises in antiques of these periods as well as carrying beautiful stock from the Far & Middle East.

Timbers from HMS Impregnable & HMS Hindustan were used in the 1920's rebuild
The store is built around three light wells
Andrew & his neice lost in admiration
I nearly succombed to this beautiful Middle Eastern pottery...

but Andrew's sister did buy some of these stunning glass dishes.

Relunctantly I left the store empty-handed, as I did after a look round Choccywoccydodah's. Forget the elegant chocolatieres of France, this shop is a full visual onslaught. First the decor.

And then these fabulous, over the top chocolate creations.

Rachael (our neice & Andrew's god-daughter) has many skills but our favourite is that she is a trained mixologist (she can make great cocktails). So in need of a pick me up after walking the pavements of London, she volunteered to make us mojitos. There was a bit of a discussion between her & Andrew as to the ingredients of the aforementioned cocktail, you should have seen the look of disgust when he said he uses soda water. Oh how wrong he is! The 'lengthener' (what I would call the mixer element) is not soda or tonic but crushed ice. I have to say they were the best mojitos we had ever tasted.

We took an extra day off over Easter to celebrate Andrew's birthday and went to Holt for the day. Holt is a beautiful small town in Norfolk, known for it's art galleries and independent shops. We had a lovely lunch in The Folly Tearoom and next time will definitely indulge in their afternoon tea. They are building a conservatory extension which will open on to their beautiful courtyard garden.

Courtyard at The Folly

And finally home, where Mortimer helped Andrew to unwrap his presents.

Expert unwrapper


  1. We really need to come and visit....

    1. We only need to know dates -you know you would be welcome.

  2. I don't know the Folly - it must have opened after we left. But it looks lovely so I'm mildly envious. I only miss one thing from England, and that's tea shops!

    1. It is quite new Kalba, and just had a really nice article in Country Living magazine which must have helped. Andrew had Cromer crab quiche which was absolutely stuffed with crab.

  3. After that cake, the last thing you needed was a delectable afternoon tea, I think.... and Kalba's right. Tea rooms- good ones - are among England's real treasures. Liberty's is somewhere I haven't been for years. Thanks for reminding me. Must go again.

    1. There is something special about afternoon tea isn't there? Either in the cooler months with rich fruit cake and a pot of tea by the fire or in the summer in the garden with a strawberry filled Victoria sandwich.