Instead of using a handful of fresh kale consider freezing it. Puree a bag of kale and mix with water, pour into a baking tray or ice cube tray and store in freezer. Once frozen add to the following smoothie ingredients for a refreshing mineral ice blast that is full of flavour.
• 200 ml of orange juice
• 200 ml of water
• 1 Apple
• Chopped pineapple, mango and passion fruit
• A sprinkle of fresh ginger
Add a handful of kale and blend in a smoothie mixer or food processer.
• 300 ml of flavoured coconut soya milk
• 1 ¼ of a white watermelon
Add a handful of kale and blend in a smoothie mixer or food processer.
It’s not Paddington in the Natural History Museum but Pooh and crew at the V & A, an exhibition which went above and beyond my expectations on Saturday. A much loved literary character, Winnie the Pooh was created by the writer A.A.Milne in collaboration with illustrator E.H.Shepard. The exhibition takes you on the inspirational journey that contributed to the stories success. It explores character development and exhibits 240 works from the 1920s to the current day . This is done through interactive displays which are contrasted with the inclusion of original illustrations, fashion, manuscripts, proofs, letters, merchandise, memorabilia,cartoons, ceramics and photographs.
Following are 10 aspects of the exhibition and my visit to the V & A in general which were most enjoyable.
1.Learning of the origins of Pooh Bears name
3.Winnie memorabilia and merchandise
4.Exploring different interpretations
5.Interactivity and super-imposition
The exhibition was very popular with children, their enjoyment of the interactive displays evoked nostalgia which made the scene even more magical.
6.Line blocks and my love for print
THE EXHIBITION IS OPEN UNTIL 8TH APRIL 2018.
8.The cafe and gift shop
Cake choice is ample and inclusive of scones. I chose to share slices of the rose petal blackberry and lemon pistachio sponges. These tasted exquisite and were complimented very nicely by a pot of earl grey tea. Coffees, alcoholic and soft drinks are available too.
Eating at the V & A ‘cafe’ leaves you feeling like you’ve dined in a luxury hotel restaurant with regards to the venue. A grand piano sits in the middle of a room which is segmented by decorative pillars, archways and filled with statues. Giant woven wire mesh chandeliers hang from the ceiling like crystals adding a modern touch and amplifying the decadent atmosphere. The menu is a little on the pricey side though food is good value for money. The cheapest meal is a cheese, chutney and salad baguette for £4.95. For £3 extra add to this two special salads such as chickpea, sultana and shredded carrot, and cous cous with mint leaves. An example of one of the most expensive dishes is a salmon fillet with slaw for £11.75.
There are two gift shops; one to accompany the the Pooh exhibition upon exiting – selling Winnie merchandise, and the main store which is stocked with jewellery and books amongst other souvenirs. Generally quite expensive it was satisfying to pick up some bargain memento’s. Pictured are my purchases ranging from 75p to £3.
9. The courtyard
A trip to the V & A would not be complete without a stroll through its central courtyard. Usually teaming in the summer due to the outside cafe and water fountains, it is pleasantly peaceful in the cold. The warm glow of the highest windows highlight people pottering in the library and cases gridlock with books which fit into the surrounding building like colourful bricks. Bare trees layer beautifully against the architecture, the detailed branches just the same as the ornamental cornices. In the winter dusk the lighting is calming.
10.Open galleries and free exhibitions
The V & A has many open galleries and free exhibitions. Currently one of these is ‘Into the woods’ which explores the beauty of trees through a variety of mediums and tells how trees have long been a source of inspiration for artists.
A budding baker? New year, new craft? A tutorial on cake decoration at Victoria’s Kitchen is a great place to start, whether you are hoping to launch your own business or just feed your appetite for culinary creativity. Becoming an ice queen does not happen over night. Attending a class was definitely worth it for instruction and support on grasping technique, learning the correct ingredients, equipment and where to source them. For example, prior to attending a decoration workshop I experimented with royal icing to attempt making flowers oblivious to the fact that the professional way is to use a special sugar paste icing. Shape cutters are also very helpful and are sold at Victoria’s Kitchen.
Victoria’s cake classroom studio has been located in Mayford, Woking since January 2017, though a top student herself and award winner her business was founded years before. Hosting parties, private tuition and catering for events alongside teaching groups. Choose from 21 classes to attend, including cookie, cake and macaroon decoration.
Always having wanted to perfect an edible petal I decided to attend the ‘Rose Masterclass’ which taught two techniques. Firstly icing buttercream roses with a piping bag and flat nozzle, secondly crafting roses with sugar paste icing.
Victoria greeted students upon arrival and offered a choice of tea or prossecco, which were topped up throughout the class. Cookies were handed out to the peckish. Continuously encouraging and complimentary, Victoria appreciated the differing styles of each student’s work. One to one help was available when needed, whilst her colleague was busy mixing buttercream and maintaining a clear and spacious work top. All equipment necessary was provided, including aprons, and six pre-baked cupcake canvases were given to each student.
A range of dye was offered for tutees to mix into their plain white sugar paste. I chose to blend different colours to create a desired hue. Depending on how vigorously and long the dye is rolled into the paste a lovely marble effect can appear. Paper instructions were handed out to refer to once home and to also take notes on during the session.
To create the blue rose pictured roll a grape sized ball out of the dyed sugar paste, turn this into a cone tipped oval by stretching and pinching one end. With the point facing skyward place the ball onto a cocktail stick covered in edible glue. Use this same glue to attach the petals. Roll the remaining icing flat and thin with a rolling pin take the smallest petal cutter to trim out 3 petals, a medium cutter to trace out 4 petals and a larger cutter to cut out 7 petals. Starting with the smallest wrap the petals in layers around the oval bud. Rolling each petal edge around a cocktail stick diagonally pointing inwards will achieve a curled effect.
The beautiful beverage that is the Chai Latte has become pretty popular in the UK over the last few years, now commonly found in all chain cafes and most independent cafes I visit. There are various ways to make the Chai latte. Flavoured Syrup and powder may be added to the latte froth or a tea bag. Additionally, loose tea leafs can be strained into steamed or boiled milk. Following are places I’ve visited who sell it, ranking in descending order the tastiest Chai lattes I’ve tried in Guildford and Woking including brief reviews on independent cafes.
Exit the main high street onto Tunsgate to find Kalm Kitchen Cafe, the atmosphere of this place is in its title. A small spot but serene with fresh, homemade food and top quality drinks. The kitchen cater for weddings and events as well as the passing public. Undoubtedly the best coffee art I’ve come across, love heart leaves perfected by the attentive staff. The Chai latte is authentic, soft and subtle in taste and the milk is steamed thin. Once past the frothy top it is like drinking a milky tea. Little cinnamon is sprinkled on so the true chai spice is not detracted from.
2. Santa Fe Coffee Company
Santa Fe – previously known as Cafe Americano has recently changed location in Wolsey Walk, Woking. This destination is highly homely and the menu is good value for money. Known for its delicious bagels the staff take pride in concocting and delivering a wide range of fillings. Many of which are inspired by USA cuisine such as ‘The Reuben’ which contains gherkin, mustard and sliced beef. Pancakes are also served upon request topped with crispy bacon and maple syrup, and special salads with Stilton and strawberries. To find a fresh fruit smoothie in a cafe is always a bonus. The chai latte here is strong, smooth and syrupy with milk steamed to a velvet consistency through out the beverage.
3. Chain Cafes: Starbucks, Pret and Nero
Reliable consistency that comes with buying from a chain cafe. The milk is steamed thick and the chai taste is especially sweet. Ample cinnamon is added every time and always on every occasion served extra hot.
4. Coffee Culture
Turn off North Street into Angel Gate to admire more of Guildford’s Tudor architecture and find Coffee Culture. Tables, chairs and umbrellas outside create a continental vibe. Inside – warm and welcoming, the decor is quirky and as busy as the constant custom. A small rubik cube of a room with multicoloured patterned tiles. Here you will find amazing cakes, milkshakes and panini’s; the roasted vegetable and houmous is especially tasty. Service is friendly, fast and efficient. The chai latte is frothy and steamed with a Teapigs tea bag which makes the milk mildly spicy, weak but nice.
It’s a new year and festivities are drawing to a close though the Christmas period doesn’t actually end until January 6th (Epiphany). Reflecting on and sharing an original home written recipe for a cake, the ingredients of which are a refreshing change from the traditional boiled fruit and currant pudding.
Christmas pudding originates from Medieval England, a boiled plum cake with raisins, spice and alcohol. The rich recipe has been adjusted and added to throughout history. Due to GM technology and global imports a wider range of fruit is readily available in abundance at our fingertips all year round, including bananas from the tropics.
Experimenting with the latter, blending it into a soft and flavoursome oat cake, I also decorated this using alternative, juicier produce . Autumnal apples, pears, a stocking filler orange, pomegranate, and not forgetting tradition completely with the addition of sultanas, walnuts and spice. Rose petal sugar decorates the top of this desert, infusing the seasons further to create an aromatic, fragrant taste. This artisan cake makes for a great table centrepiece.
Decoration: 1 bar of white chocolate, 3 bars of milk chocolate, sticky toffee sauce, ground cinnamon and ginger, a packet of sultanas, a packet of walnuts, brown sugar, 6 holly leaves, 1 x pomegranate, 1x apple, 1 x pear, 1 x orange, rose petal sugar.
Main Cake: Mix together the rolled oats, caster sugar, wholemeal flour and bicarb soda, blend in 2 eggs and mix to a stiff dough. Divide the mixture into two portions and place one portion into the bottom of a greased round baking tin, covering the entire bottom. Slice all bananas onto this, spreading them out on top across the whole mixture. Add the other half of mixture on top. Bake for 20 minutes on gas mark 6 until golden brown.
Decoration: Slice the pear into segments, place these in a baking tray, sprinkle with ginger and cinnamon and mix until coated. Put these in the oven for half an hour on gas mark 4 until the fruit has softened and absorbed some of the spice. Place two handfuls of shelled walnuts in a baking tray with apple slices, squeeze sticky toffee sauce over and mix with three tablespoons of brown sugar until coated and place in oven for 20 minutes on gas mark 4.
Melt the milk chocolate in a pan over the hob and pour over the cake, making sure to cover the sides. Whilst still melted sprinkle half a handful of sultanas over the cake and the roasted walnuts to set into the chocolate. Spread out the marinated pear and apple segments over the top leaving space for the orange.
Cut the orange into round slices, remove the peel and place on the cake – sprinkling rose petal sugar onto the slices. The final layer consists of pomegranate seeds (in clusters of three) sprinkled on the cake to represent berries. Next to these place white chocolate holly leaves using the instructions in the last blog post.
Baking is a fun, therapeutic and cohesive activity which ignites the Christmas spirit. Whether that means literally setting fire to your booze doused pud or getting creative with alternative recipes. A time also to reflect on the availability and mass provision of food and the importance of issues surrounding this such as waste and fair trade.
Dawn settles as shadows soften Holly’s spiky crown, peaking from a snowy blanket. The hedgerow glistens in the first glimpse of daily sun. A sweet silence fades into Robin song. Frost melts to reveal them a tasty breakfast…
Trialling a Meringue recipe from the book ‘Afternoon Tea’ by Susannah Blake. Altering the recipe, I have taken decoration recommendations from two authors to combine and produce the desert pictured above.
To create this pudding:
Ingredients: 2 x egg whites, 125g caster sugar, 1 teaspoon cornflour, 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar, full fat cream, 225g raspberries, a small bowl of white granulated sugar, 2 x bars of Sainburys basics milk chocolate, 24 holly leaves, 2 x baking sheets lined with grease-proof paper.
Makes about 12.
Instructions: Put the egg white in a clean bowl and whisk to form stiff peaks. Sprinkle over a couple of teaspoons of the caster sugar and fold into the mixture. Continue folding in the remaining sugar in the same way, adding the cornflour and vinegar with the last spoonfuls.
Drop heaped tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them slightly apart, swirling the mixture upward into a peak. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 140 C (275 f) gas mark one for about 45 minutes until dry and just beginning to colour. Using a spatula, carefully remove the meringues from the baking sheets and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Adjusted recipe regarding decoration:
To transform this traditional summer sweet into a winter wonder, simple tweaks in decorating the meringues can achieve this. Using a whisk (definitely helps if it’s electric), fully whip the cream into peaks, and then continue to do so until extra thick and set in fridge. The texture of this depicts fluffy snow. Once a tablespoon of this is added to each meringue, granulated sugar sprinkled on top adds a touch of frost. When biting into a pavlova , sugar and cream literally melt in your mouth, compacting into a crunch and slowly softening like disrupted layers of snow upon being wondered over.
Add two raspberries on top of each meringue to represent the red winter berries, create chocolate holly leaves to place next to them following these instructions:
Boil some water and sterilise 24 picked holly leaves. Dab these dry with paper kitchen towel, taking extra care around the spikes and place to dry on a clean tea towel. Melt two bars of chocolate in a pan over the hob (microwaving is easier but doesn’t have the same effect). Fetch two plates, and line one with grease-proof paper, this is to avoid the chocolate coated leaves becoming stuck to the plate whilst setting in the fridge. Use the other plate to cover the leaves in chocolate on, do this with a teaspoon and only on one side of the leaf. Try to make the chocolate layer as thick as possible, so as to be successful in peeling a chocolate leaf away upon completion. Set in the fridge for minimum of one hour to a maximum of one day. Once set, remove from fridge, and holding the stalk, peel the leaf away from the chocolate – instead of the chocolate away from the leaf. Flip over to reveal a holly imprint, this is the side you want to show off.
Holly Berry buried in the snow.
Alternative winter pavlova fruit trimming ideas: sliced nectarine, segmented orange, pomegranate, gooseberries, cranberries or autumnal blackberries.
Wholeheartedly you get what you pay for at Red Hot Yoga. Charging £18 per drop in session, classes here cost over double than what I have spent elsewhere in the past but are definitely worth the investment. Location wise and with respect to reliable tutoring. A hive of activity its success suggests justification for such expense.
Situated in a row house in a side alley just off Guildford’s main North Street, central and easy to access. A covert destination which offers a sense of refuge from autumns chill and the grey city stir, calm amidst congestion. An escapism into a utopia before further retreating into ones self during session.
Lanterns, string lights and lemon grass scent set the studio scene, warm and bright. The carpet (yes); is a firm woven wire – but soft and ever so springy – almost resembling a plastic shower pouf. Decor is kept zen, nothing but neutral, maintaining a minimalistic vibe paramount for practice. There is provision of matts, bean bag eye patches, fluffy rainbow blankets and pillows embroidered with oriental patterns in metallic thread. It’s these small stitch details which create the bigger picture and that capture my custom.
Necessary? Ignorance is bliss. But once you’ve been here there may be reluctance to return to a cold, echoey village hall or harshly lit gym studio with glass walls exposing you to an anaerobic audience. Especially and expertly cultivated purely for yoga is what makes this place so reputable.
With over 80 classes a week and 20 different disciplines I recently chose to attend ‘Sivananda’ and ‘True Rest Meditation’,which run consecutively every Sunday evening. The latter ultimately involves a collective transference of sleepy brain waves, this class aims for restoration. Sivananda I can testify, is effective due to its gently flowing repetitiveness, techniques and benefits are as follows:
“The 12 basic postures practiced in a Sivananda class are much more than just stretching. They open the energy channels, chakras and psychic centres of the body while increasing flexibility of the spine, strengthening the bones and stimulating the circulatory and immune systems.” – https://www.redhotyoga.co.uk
Consistent and grounded, the teachers tone is mellow and harmonises the group, reassuring to entrusting souls. Her coaching approach is motivational and kept me in the zone, reinforcing that each person must only exercise what their body will allow. An atmosphere which dispels comparison and competitiveness, it’s easy to remain focussed and balanced. On the flip side lacking is student-specific observation and tailored advice given to individuals about posture which I have previously found encouraging and helpful.The teacher is considerate and checks comfort preferences regarding temperature and lights are dimmed to a low glow.
For sale in reception are health snacks and drinks, favourites of mine are the large cartons of cleansing coconut water (‘Vita’ brand). Yoga clothes though pricey, are displayed for purchase. Facilities such as towels (£2) and a changing room are on site.
Holistic healing treatments are available. For example ‘Neuro Structural Integration Technique’ is an advanced Bowen therapy. Designed for pain relief stress conditions also respond well to this. It helps with energy stimulation and emotional upsurge, releasing tension headaches which accompany angst and the blues. Reiki and Chakra sessions are available to help with aura work and spiritual healing.
Membership fees vary, choose from block class cards, monthly or annual contracts (weekend and weekly). Extortion depends on the promise to commit to year long attendance. An incentive – true – a hobby can become a chore however. Red Hot Yoga offer a bargain intro fee of £49 for thirty days of unlimited yoga. There is also the £59 monthly weekend pass, just one class taken per week surpasses its financial worth.
Classes are open to beginners, the online timetable is informative as to which; labelling each yoga as ‘Open’ (suitable for all level and ability, but be prepared for challenges), ‘Open B’ (suitable for beginners) or ‘Level 2’ (not suitable for beginners). It is advisable to make a reservation prior to sessions as they are usually booked up. This can easily be done online to ensure you secure a space. Tempted? Register for an account.
Affordable luxury to integrate into weekly routine. Yoga synchronises breath and body, helping you to unwind, increasing overall health and well being.
True to its name, tucked away discretely in a charitable corner of a characteristic terrace is The Cosy Cafe. An unexpected gem in the heart of town adjacent to the railway tracks on Woking High Street, open from 10am to 2pm Monday to Friday.
The only evidence of its existence a decorative chalkboard outside the train station advertising its direction. Follow and be led to a fire-escape staircase, climb a flight to the first floor to find a rustic rooftop terrace garden.
A pleasant spot to read between the lines of regenerated buildings. With lovely views of surrounding chimney tops and a birds eye perspective of urban landscape maze throughout which the curious mind may wonder. Hustle bustle of business and life play out beneath one for a short take-a-break moment.
Inside is quite the contrast, a stylish, tranquil sanctuary with bare brick walls, wooden surfaces and floorboards. Shelves are stacked with quaint crockery for service. The space is filled with vintage furniture, unique chic art, fairy lights and flowers. Friendly faces welcome one through the door to an enchanting experience which appeases appetites for all things artisan.
Select a warm drink or soft cooler to sip on come showers or shine. Most iconic to this venue is the hug-in-a-mug (or jam jar) coffee which is served nestled within a knitted cosy.
Organic, roasted and blended flavoursome beans are sourced from a local Surrey supplier to be used in an array of beverages such as a classic creamy cappuccino, latte and mocha. A variety of whole leaf tea is available in all its delicacy complete with tea pot and strainer, flavours include hibiscus, rooibos and a spearmint-green tea infusion.
The lunch menu is delightfully cheesy, and simply so; wholesome toasties and wraps! Choices of combo fillings are brie and cranberry, mozzarella and pesto, cheddar and chutney, cheese and ham, soup is also on offer.
Make sure to taste the scrumptious sweet treats such as the freshly baked chocolate brownie. It’s highly recommended due to its’ gorgeously gooey texture; melt in your mouth centre combined with a crusty topping.
All funds from cafe purchases sustain work of The Lighthouse, a charity that acts as a beacon of hope to the surrounding community. Founded in 2011 by Woking Vineyard Church (now Emmaus Rd Church) upon acquiring lease to a derelict property; this encompasses the cafe and the rest of the rooms which occupy a diverse range of innovative projects.
Radiating an ethos of love, serving kindness and support to society are projects such as ‘Jigsaw’. Piecing together practical help during times of financial need; pre-owned toys, equipment and clothing for pre-school children.Jigsaw fits young families with these free offerings in exchange for a voucher, a system which refers clients from front line social service agencies.
Empowering and equipping, increasing confidence in women is ‘Esteem Ahead’, providing style advice, coaching and assistance with job searching to enable the unemployed into work. Communal sessions such as ‘Creative Collective’ and ‘Breadmaking’ invite all to practice and enjoy craft and culinary skills.
Many other projects add up to this positively inspiring grass roots development organisation. Operations such as these are staffed by dedicated volunteers, including the cafe; Wokings’ best kept secret which is awaiting worthwhile discovery. Pop in, relax in comforting charm and enjoy a leisurely lunch in knowledge of your caring contribution.
Visit The Lighthouse to learn more about events, projects, and how to donate and become involved.
Spring has sprung into summer, flowers are flourishing and birds line the blossoming branches. Sweet tweets and aroma attribute to an ambiance of appreciation.
Rejuvenating Junes’ jewellery box are necklaces which I purchased at an annual Christmas craft fair hosted by The Lightbox Art Gallery and Museum in Woking, at which Karen Thornton exhibited her unique collection.
Drawing inspiration from classic books, fairy-tales and poems, Karen aims to evoke nostalgia. Incorporating vintage pieces such as accessories and packaging into her limited edition mixed medium work . Narrative lies within the objects, through reconstruction there is continuum of story as they acquire a new meaning and lease of life with each wearer.
Taken from a series of old French cigarette card illustrations, these cute images were printed onto thin wood, laser cut out and then sealed. Additionally attached to the birds in flight are nests made out of wire and second hand beads.
Their intricacy is concordant with the delicacy of pastel hue feathers. A fragile facade yet compactly entwined, representing strength and security of the carrying carer. Symbolic of nurture, the bespoke pendants qualify as perfect presents for loved ones.
Worn on a medium length chain, home really does lie where the heart is. They also make perfect attire for Eco enthusiasts to express environmental sentiment – being whimsical in style, whilst promoting recycling.