A Strong Coffee

Monday, 21 May 2018

Gin And Tonic Drizzle Cake

Gin and tonic drizzle cake. The perfect excuse to have gin at any time of day!

It was only recently that I discovered gin. Next came gin cocktails and the natural progression was then gin in cake form. After having tried some Pimm's cakes last year and them not really tasting of Pimm's, I was concerned that this wouldn't work. However, this cake is even yummier than I imagined. My husband, who is not a cake person, loved it and suggested I should make it again. There is no doubt in my mind that I will.

I based my recipe on a lemon drizzle cake, but added gin, tonic and lime. One of the things that made me realise that I enjoy gin, is buying the right tonic. Personally, I enjoy Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic and this is what I used in the cake. I am imagining any tonic would work, but this has a lovely sweet flavour as well as the tonic kick.

I used a small loaf (18cm x 14cm x 6cm) tin for this recipe (mainly as if I bake cake I eat cake) so if you have a larger tin you will want to double the recipe.

Gin And Tonic Drizzle Cake

For the cake
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 115g butter
  • 115g self raising flour
  • 2 medium eggs
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 50ml Fever Tree Elderflower tonic
  • 25ml Gin
For the drizzle
  • 100ml Fever Tree Elderflower tonic
  • 25ml Gin
  • 50g caster sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • Icing sugar
  • Lime Zest To decorate
  1. Mix all the cake ingredients together and place in a greased loaf tin and into a pre warmed oven at 180C
  2. Bake until a skewer comes out clean. 
  3. Mix the tonic, caster sugar and lime juice in a pan and heat to make a syrup. Take off the heat and add the gin.
  4. Pour half of this mixture over the cake.
  5. Mix the other half of the mixture with some icing sugar. The amount will depend on how much you reduced your syrup and how thick you want your icing. I like it quite runny. Drizzle this over your cake and add lime zest to decorate.
  6. Enjoy!
Pin it for later:

A perfect cake for gin lovers. This gin and tonic drizzle cake is light and moist and a real treat

Meal Planning Monday

Another week has flown by and we are one week closer to half term. Last week I made a gin and tonic drizzle cake which was really rather good, so look out for the recipe this week!

gin and tonic drizzle cake

Dinners this week are once again quick and simple:

Monday: Salmon and watercress sauce
Tuesday: Chicken goujons
Wednesday: Bacon and new potatoes
Thursday:Pizza and doughballs
Friday: Goan pork curry that we had this week and froze half of
Saturday: Lasagne
Sunday: Not sure yet - maybe a BBQ

What have you got planned?

linked to  The Organised Life Project and Katykicker

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Samui Elephant Santuary, Koh Samui, Thailand

When we booked our trip to Thailand top of my list of things to do was to visit an elephant sanctuary. It was therefore a difficult decision when we decided that a visit to Chiang Mai (where the ethical elephant sanctuaries are) was too much to fit in with our trip. Instead we opted for 3 nights in Bangkok followed by a week in Koh Samui. At the time of booking, there was not an elephant sanctuary in Koh Samui and the only option would be to feed and ride elephants. This was not an option for us and I pre warned the boys that we would not be supporting this.

elephant at Sanui elephant Sanctuary

When we arrived at our hotel in Koh Samui, I picked up a magazine and saw that a new sanctuary had opened. I quickly turned to Google to find out more about it as I didn’t want to part with lots of money if it wasn’t ethical. Luckily it all looked good. It transpired that the owner had been to Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai and realised that this was a better way for the elephants to live, rather than giving rides in the forest.

We booked in over the Internet, but it is worth noting that you need to pay cash on arrival. This is quite common in Koh Samui. We found that credit cards are only really accepted in the hotels. It is also worth noting that you must book in and can’t just turn up at the sanctuary. Numbers are limited to around 20 guests per session. We were unable to get a morning slot so booked into the afternoon one.

On arrival we paid and then sat down for tea and biscuits whilst we waited for others to arrive. We then watched a video about the sanctuary and how it had been set up. This included some safety advice. Whilst there were references to how the elephants may have been treated badly in the past, there was nothing that would upset young children.

feeding an elephant at Samui elephant sanctuary

We then went in groups to feed our elephants. There was loads and loads of cut up bananas and watermelon. 75 kilograms to be precise. A perfectly sized afternoon snack for two hungry elephants. You just popped the fruit on their trunk and they ate it. It was lovely and the elephants were beautiful. There was plenty of time to feed them and take photos. It took some time for middle man to feel confident doing this but he got there.

We then went inside the enclosure, armed with a bag of bananas. Here we continued to feed the elephants with nothing standing between us.

Samui elephant sanctuary

We then headed to the pool to watch the baby elephants have a play. They are 5 years old and quite playful. They had fun in their pool.

baby elephants in the pool at samui elephant sanctuary

Their adopted Grandmother then came along as she could smell our bananas. Everyone was a little wary of this elephant. Being blind in one eye, it was important that you stood so she could see you. She was also keen to get VERY close to you. Strangely, when a 3 tonne elephant walks closer to you, it is your instinct to walk back. This just results in her following you!

feeding an elephant at the samui elephant sanctuary

After time watching the elephants we then headed back for dinner. I hadn’t expected it to be very nice but it was. There was a variety of vegetable dishes suitable for everyone. Here is a short video of our afternoon in the sanctuary.

If you are heading to Koh Samui soon, please consider a visit to the sanctuary, rather than a ride. Education is changing the fate of these beautiful creatures, as long as tourists make informed decisions.

Monday, 14 May 2018

London Mojito Recipe And 6o'clock Gin From qvcuk.com Review

Until last year, I wasn't a gin drinker. Apparently I was buying the wrong gin and the wrong tonic. I am pleased to say that now I know the errors of my ways, I have been enjoying the odd glass of gin. I was therefore excited when qvcuk.com asked if there was anything I would like to review from their website. I chose this set of 3 gins from 6o'clock gin.

The company which makes them are based in Thornbury, just outside Bristol, where my best friend happens to live. How she hadn't mentioned the brand to me before I do not know! The gift pack from qvcuk.com is simple and contains three 350ml bottles of gin, including a bottle of sloe and damson gin. I love the coloured bottles. I think that the bottle must have got giggled around on the journey.

6o'clock gin gift box

All the gins have won stars in the Great Taste Awards 2016 and I am not surprised. I was particularly interested in the sloe and damson gin as this was not something I had tasted before. Both were lovely and sweet, but the damson gin had a slightly stronger flavour which made it my winner.

Having never drunk sloe or damson gin before, I headed to the internet to find out how to mix it. Whilst you could drink them neat, I opted for mixing mine with a Fever Tree Sicilian Lemonade, which tasted lovely.

When I was Googling how to drink sloe gin, I also stumbled across some gin Mojito recipes. I decided to have a go myself as I love a Mojito recipe and I am pleased to say I loved this one too!

London Mojito

London Mojito

  • 1 1/2 limes 
  • ice to fill the glass
  • 1 dessert spoon of brown sugar
  • 50ml of  6o'clock gin
  • 25ml of Pimm's
  • Fresh mint
  • 150 ml Fever Tree Elderflower tonic
  1. Add the 6 o'clock gin, Pimm's, sugar, squeezed lime juice and fresh mint to your glass.
  2. Stir with a spoon to release the flavor of the mint and allow the sugar to dissolve.
  3. Fill your glass with ice.
  4. Add the lime skins (quartered) and stir again.
  5. Top up with Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic
  6. Enjoy! 

London Mojito recipe, using gin and Pimm's. A perfect summer cocktail

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Meal Planning Monday

I am back again with a meal planning Monday post. Last week I was busy enjoying the bank holiday sun. I made a chocolate cake for our work Bake Off and I am pleased to say that thanks to Charlotte's chocolate cake recipe I can still hold my head up high in the office. Only one of my colleagues knows that I have a food blog, but the pressure was there! I made a salted caramel chocolate cake and ,my boys were bitterly disappointed that they didn't get to taste any!

This week my husband is away most of the week so our plan needs to be as quick and easy as possible to make life a little easier for me.

So what have I got planned this week?

Monday: Spaghetti bolognase with hidden vegetables
Tuesday: Quesadillas
Wednesday: Quiche and beans

quiche lorraine

Thursday: scampi and sweet potato fries
Friday: Goan pork curry (another dish from my The Spicery subscription.)
Saturday: Baked potato and chilli
Sunday: Roast beef and Yorkshire puddings.

linked to  The Organised Life Project and Katykicker

Monday, 7 May 2018

Molkky: Wooden Outdoor Skittles Review

Molkky is a skittles based game from Finland that is perfect family fun from ages 6+.

Molkky: Wooden Outdoor Skittles Review

We were recently sent a set to review from Tesco and have been waiting for some nice weather to get outside and play. We started by setting it up on the grass. As you can see, it was hard to balance the skittles and throwing uphill was hard too.

setting up Molkky skittles

However, as it was on a slope we decided that it was better to set up on the flatter patio as it was easier to knock the skittles down there. The skittles are set up in a tight formation, as in the picture above, and a throwing line that’s 3-4m from the skittles is agreed. The Molkky throwing skittle is then thrown underhand and the numbers on the knocked down skittles are counted. It may be that we need to practise more, but hitting the skittles is harder than it looks. Big man missed three times in a row, meaning he was left to score.

Playing Molkky skittles

The whole idea of the game is to get to a score of 50. However, there is a twist. if you go over 50, then your score goes down to 25. You must get to 50 exactly. We were wondering if this was going to take forever. my husband was going over 50 on every round. Little man had also got over 50 and then had his score set at 25. Then he took his turn. What numbers did he have? Only 11, 4 and 10!

The game retails at £20 from Tesco and is a good addition To our selection of garden games this summer. I would recommend that you set it up on a flat piece of ground. The age guidance is 6+ and I think this is about right with the adding required and the fact that your score gets reset. I also like that the game is environmentally friendly, using wood that has been logged from sustainably managed forests.

What games do you like playing with your family, outside in the summer?

Molkky: Wooden Outdoor Skittles Review

Family Fever

This is a sponsored review but all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Homemade Quiche Lorraine With Tortilla Crust.

There is nothing better than everyone in the family squealing for delight when you tell them what is for tea, and I am pleased to say that this homemade quiche does just that. Rather than using pastry, this recipe flour tortillas, meaning it is nice and simple to make on a weeknight.

I got the idea after one of my work colleagues made some for the Christmas party. I hadn't even realised that it wasn't pastry until someone told me! Personally, I am not a big pastry fan so these work really well. I have tried to make the recipe slightly healthier by using Elmlea rather than cream. As we had half a pack of bacon in the fridge, I used this cut into small pieces and fried first. However, pancetta would work just as well.

I could really do with a larger dish, as this makes one and a half quiches. After some practising, I have decided that you want to only overlap the tortillas twice as three times is a bit thick.

Personally, as the bacon is salty, I don't add any extra seasoning, but you may prefer to

Homemade Quiche Lorraine With Tortilla Crust

  • 4-5 large flour tortillas
  • 5 chopped up bacon rashers or pancetta, fried.
  • 5 medium eggs
  • 284ml Elmlea light
  • 150ml semi skimmed milk
  • 150g grated cheddar
  1. Line your dish with flour tortillas. Press into the sides.
  2. Mix the other ingredients together in a bowl.
  3. Pour into the tortilla lined tin.
  4. Bake for 35-40mins at 180C until the filling is set.

Pin it for later:

homemade quiche lorraine with tortilla crust