I remember my third birthday cake well; it was gigantic, covered in cream and chocolate, and in the shape of a number three. Looking back at the photos, I still chuckle when I see my then tiny three-year-old self being dwarfed by cake – stuff of dreams really! I always thought my parents went all out on my third birthday cake until I was invited to a third birthday party for Jenius Social, a cooking school and events space in Holloway, and discovered that they were having not one but three cakes, and each of them would be three-tiered. Yeah, that’s really going all out!
Like any good party, there were plenty of nibbles and prosecco, but as an incorrigible sweet tooth, I was most excited about turning up at a party with three cakes! However, before we got to eat cake, there was a catch – we had to decorate them first! Most of you will know that I like a bit of a challenge in the kitchen and needed to make up for the fact I failed miserably at spinning rotis recently so I threw myself into this challenge with enthusiasm. That’s not to say that I was actually any good… just keen. Thankfully for me, I didn’t have to create this cake masterpiece on my own; my team consisted of a Baking King and Instagram Food Styling Queen. So obviously they drew the short straw getting stuck with me.
Right now, the thought of going on a pub crawl is about as appealing as a slap in the face with a wet fish. I’ll leave the traipsing from one crowded pub to another, the elbowing up to the bar, and the awkward huddling by the only ledge space available to the enthusiastic first years, this grandma has developed more sophisticated drinking habits now. Basically, I want to sit down while I’m downing my pint, and I also can’t cope with those pub crawl hangovers. I’m old.
So crawling for booze is no longer an activity I’ll engage in but would I do it for food? This was a question I faced recently… Three courses at three different outlets, but luckily all under one roof, so I’d have to be really lazy to refuse! Pub crawls are so ten years ago, these days I am all about the Grub Crawl; my first ever experience was through Brixton Market and led by fellow foodie Hannah. Onwards to the first stop…
My sister recently told me about this banana diet which is making the #fitspo folk go, well, bananas. My first reaction was to laugh; who can seriously eat bananas all day, everyday? Who wants to?! But then I remembered that not everyone shares my opinion, people actually like those pungent, squishy things. They are everywhere: lollies, ice cream, milkshakes, smoothies, milk, fritters, and of course cake.
Banana cake just doesn’t tickle my fancy, obviously if it was a choice between that or carrot cake, it’s the lesser of the two evils but it will never be my preferred option. On the contrary, a certain someone is rather fond of banana cake so feeling generous one afternoon I decided to make him one. Kind of. I mean there are a lot of bananas in it but it also calls for pineapple, a fruit I do adore, and the cake is technically called a Hummingbird Cake…
Do you remember my tale of afternoon tea woe? The story of a girl who used to raise many a teacup, pinky lifted and had enjoyed more cakes than she should care to admit? I told you how it had been a while between scones and how I wished that would change…
Well it seems someone was listening, my very own (The May)fairy godmother you might call her, though she’s much younger and funnier than Cinderella’s, was going to make my wish come true as she kindly invited me to join her for afternoon tea. Then in the coming weeks I started to wonder if perhaps she was actually a genie as my wish was granted twice more and so begins my new tale of three teas, all in one week!
So I move to the home of the afternoon tea, the birthplace of the tradition, and until this point, I’ve only enjoyed one during my time in England. Yeah, I’m shocked too. Especially considering London offers everything from the traditional at the likes of Claridge’s to the more creative at The Berkeley. I went through a period where I seemed to be having afternoon teas all the time- I’ve sipped teas and nibbled at Hippopotamus and Martha’s Pantry in Wellington and even had an extravagant experience at the Burj al Arab’s Skyview Bar in Dubai but lately? I’ve barely lifted my pinky.
Inspired by the Mad Hatter’s firm belief that it’s always time for tea, I decided it was high time for another round of tea and cakes. Feeling like a restless Alice on the riverbank that day, I thought a gloomy Sunday afternoon needed a bit of excitement and decided to take her lead down the rabbit hole and discover what edible delights were in store for us at Conrad London St James’ Alice in Wonderland Afternoon Tea.