8 Apr 2014

Lottie Mcphee's Whitley Bay

My aunty recently had a few Living Social vouchers to use for Lottie Mcphee's in Whitley Bay so being the dutiful niece I am, I agreed to help her use them ;-) The deal was for 2 drinks and 4 cupcakes but as piggy as we may be sometimes, not even we could manage to eat 2 of the delicious cupcakes by ourselves so we brought the spare ones home for Mr Matt and my uncle. On our first visit I had a 'Victoria Sponge' cupcake as I'd given up chocolate for lent, the cake was lovely and moist I loved the mini Jammy Dodger on top, although it was a little soggy if I'm honest...

I particularly liked the vintage china they served our tea and cupcakes in/on.

We went back again the next week as the vouchers were due to expire, it's such a hard life! This time I opted for the Amaretto cupcake, I'd given up on giving up chocolate by this point and besides there was only a drizzle ;-) Plus I like the think the strawberry on top made it kind of healthy!! ha ha

The Living Social deal was very good value and I will definitely be snapping up a few vouchers myself next time they're on sale. I will however be returning for tea and cake even without the deal, the cakes themselves are light and moist and while I'm not a huge fan of butter icing normally, they're so beautifully decorated it's difficult to resist!

7 Apr 2014

Recipe: Hummingbird Bakery Blueberry Muffins

I made these for Mr M yesterday and he loved them! They were lovely and light and tasted so good :-)

Makes: 12 (according to the recipe but I got 18 out of it!)
Cooking time: 20-25 mins

360g plain flour
370g caster sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
375ml buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
70g unsalted butter, melted
250g blueberries (I only had 150g and there were still plenty in each muffin)

1. Preheat the oven to 170C (325F/Gas Mark 3)
2. Put flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl and beat on slow speed with an electric whisk. (My electric whisk was broken so I mixed by hand and it was fine!)
3. Put buttermilk, egg and vanilla extract in a jug and mix to combine. Slowly pour into the flour mixture and beat until all the ingredients are incorporated.
4. Pour in the melted butter and beat until the butter has just been incorporated, then turn the electric whisk up to medium speed and beat until the dough is even and smooth (alternatively put some elbow grease into and beat by hand!)
5. Gently fold in the blueberries until evenly dispersed.
6. Spoon the mixture into paper cases and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 mins, or until golden brown. Leave the muffins to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

1 Apr 2014

The Hastings Arms Seaton Delaval

Since we've been in Seaton Delaval we've seen The Hastings Arms, our local pub in a few different hands. Unfortunately the managers have struggled to make a success of what we consider to be one of our favourite pubs but it has recently been taken over by new management so fingers crossed they can fulfill the pubs potential!

We've only been in a few times since the change over but first impressions have been really good. Both Mr M and I believe that where previous managers have gone wrong was with their food offering - it wasn't a brilliant menu and was only available at certain times of day, one previous manager even took it off altogether. But the new managers seem keen to really make a go of the food side of things and I have to say we've really enjoyed it on the 2 occasions we've eaten there. Portions are generous, the food has been good quality and the price very reasonable! Baby I took me there for my very first Mother's Day this weekend (what a kind little sole he is!) and I received a free glass of wine and free main course. We're looking forward to our next meal there and trying the new Gourmet Pie menu soon.

Good luck Paul and Peter and keep up the good work!