Tuesday 24 December 2013

Baileys And Chocolate Cheesecake

"Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around."

Monday 2 December 2013

Chocolate Yule Log (with step by step instructions)

Hello everyone! In case you're wondering where I've been, I've not gone anywhere just a little tied up lately...but,

I do occasionally crawl out of my cocoon for one thing and one thing only....



And when it's a Chocolate Christmas then I'm there with (jingle) bells on :)

Are you excited about Christmas? I am!! I've been to three Christmas markets (Christmas market in Blenheim Palace, Oxford, Southbank market in London and the Taste of Christmas food festival in London - posts about these to come soon!) and when I'm not doing that I'm waking up my housemates at 9am on a Sunday morning with Shakin' Stevens (NOT my own rendition, thank god) and I've got Michael Buble's Christmas album on repeat, again.

Do you like Christmas? I like Christmas too. Let's be friends :)

Wednesday 30 October 2013

Halloween RIP Mini-Graveyard Cupcakes

Happy Halloween!

I made these cupcakes for a Halloween bake off at work which was supposed to be on Monday.

Turns out it was cancelled, but I didn't get the message. 

But hey, who's complaining when you've got cupcakes?! :D

(Although my team did get a little suspicious when I have them cakes with 'RIP' written on them... "Xinmei, are you trying to tell us something? Have we been working you too hard?!")

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Maple and Pecan Layer Cake (the rustic wobbly kind)

Did you know that it would take 11,624 pecans, stacked end to end, to reach the top of the Empire State Building? 

Did you know that it would take 144million pecans to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool??

And, did you know that it take 5,640 pecan halves to equal the weight of a standard watermelon????

No, I didn't either!

Credit goes to www.ilovepecans.org

Yeah, it's a thing.

Monday 26 August 2013

Anyone for Pimm's?

Go on, ask me what time it is.

Do it. Pleaseeeeeee. Now. Ask me ask me ask me.

Oh, what time is it, you ask?

Well, I think, it might just be.....


Sunday 18 August 2013

Dotcomgiftshop Blogger's Evening

So about a month ago now, the lovely people at Rex London invited a few of us bloggers to preview some of their new products and Christmas range. 


I love this kind of stuff :) 

I also met a few other bloggers out there (hello The More Than Occasional Baker and Caroline Makes!), and the guys at Dotcomgiftshop who are super nice. After being offered champagne and canap├ęs (yum yum) I wandered around the display in the gallery and went a little bit crazy with the photo taking. 

And these are the selection I weeded out from my (very vast) collection!

Sunday 14 July 2013

Individual Peach Frangipanes

Hands up who knows what a frangipane is?

One...two...really? That it?

A couple of my friends got very excited as I told them that I had baked, and they thought I must have made cupcakes. Yay cupcakes! I had to then admit I'd made frangipanes, which are much more interesting if a little uglier (my fault). The conversation went something like this...

"What?? Where's the cupcakes?

"I didn't make cupcakes. I made frangipane."

"What's that?"

"It's like a tart with almondy stuff and peaches in it"

"Hm, okay.  
Hey guys, Xinmei's brought cupcakes!"

What? Where?

Although the next day, I got a very sweet thank you message for the frangipane:

"Hey Xinmei, thanks for the pecan pie yesterday!! It was delicious!"

Hm. Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

Sunday 7 July 2013

Onyx Restaurant, Budapest

Continuing on from my Budapest post, my friend and I decided to foray into out first overseas Michelin star restaurant at Onyx, in the centre of the city. Onyx is one of the two Michelin restaurants in Budapest and we choose this one as it looked more, well, funky. Funky is good.

There was a LOT of food. So I'm just going to jump straight into the photos :D

Sunday 30 June 2013

Hungary in Budapest

I know, I know. I couldn't help it. It was just too easy.

Bad pubs aside, I wasn't actually that hungry when I went to Budapest last week, partially because I was stuffed up my eyeballs in goulash and goose liver most of the time. And what a good week of goulash and liver it was.

Oh, and the views in Budapest aren't too bad either.

(That's Buda Castle in the top left photo. I'd say the building's very Disney Princessy. I love it.)

Thursday 20 June 2013

Trinity May Ball, Cambridge

So usually around this time of year I do a post about May Week in Cambridge (the one that's confusedly in June). But, but, I'm no longer a student, so I was only there for Trinity May Ball (yes, the one that's in June).

It's so good to be back! And the night went something a little like this...

Monday 10 June 2013

Happy 100th blog post! Alice in Wonderland Cupcakes

Wohoo! It's officially Pudding Pie Lane's 100th blog post. It all started on that fateful sunny July day just three years ago, when pen met paper (well, finger met keyboard) and cakes officially became my best friend. 

So, to celebrate, my blog is having an un-birthday... a very merry un-birthday... a very merry un-birthday to me!

Thanks to Rex London for the adorable mini milk bottles and paper straws (the milk bottles come in a metal crate with handles and everything!) 

Sunday 21 April 2013

Chocolate Mousse 'Mirror' Cake

Okay, so I thought it was my blog's 100th post today. Turns out, its the 99th. But I'm celebrating anyway.

A few weeks ago, I made a chocolate mousse 'mirror' cake that I saw in Patisserie Valerie, and it was just so pretty that I just had to make it. (See it here, what do you think? Do you think I did a good job? Yes??). 

The idea of being a 'mirror' cake is so that the chocolate glaze on top is meant to so so shiny that you primp in front of it. This didn't exactly happen with my version, but I'd rather not see my face covered in flour and chocolate anyway! 

But if you want the real deal, you should probably check out Pat Val. I've fallen in love with their mille feuille cake.

Oh oh and good luck to those running the London marathon today! I can see you out of my bedroom window and I am cheering you on!!!

Tuesday 9 April 2013

Matcha Green Tea and Raspberry Cake

Follow me on Twitter (@puddingpielane)! I have finally made the transition and I'm (shock!) quite addicted (shock!). Well, it's really just another excuse for me to post food photos everywhere. 

It's just a good thing my photos are so beautiful. Ha.

Monday 25 March 2013

Afternoon Tea at The Ritz, London

Let me tell you a little bit about the story behind how this afternoon tea came to be. 

Four years ago, I was accepted at Cambridge to study Economics. Of course, my parents were delighted. And as a reward, my dad was going to take me for afternoon tea! And at The Ritz! Somehow, we never really looked into making a booking. Actually, I think the word I'm looking for is that a certain someone had 'tactically forgotten'. And then I graduated and started working and that was that.

But aha! 3 months ago I was browsing the booking website at the Ritz (as you do) and it seemed someone had made a cancellation... so before any more forgetting could be done (because by the time we got round to it I have have retired... Who knows?) I made a booking for three.

Oh my, I do love afternoon tea. And thank you to my wonderful parents for taking me! :)

Saturday 16 March 2013

Feast Food Festival, London

So the joy of living in London is that there is a lot of stuff going on. Good stuff. Foodie stuff.

Good foodie stuff.

Stuff that makes me very, very happy.

Like the Feast Food Festival in the Tobacco Dock Wapping last weekend, which was named one of the 10 best food festivals by The Independent (along with the Galway Oyster Festival with a 'speed shucking' fete...? Hm. Hmmmmmmm.)

Sunday 3 March 2013

Flowerpot Cake for Mother's Day

I love flowers.

But you what I love even more than getting flowers? Getting flowers that I can eat.

Especially when you can eat the pot too.

Nom nom nom.

So are you looking for a Mother's Day present? Look no further!  See Pudding Pie Lane's step by step instructions on how to make a chocolate cake flowerpot...

(Many thanks to my friend Ashley who helped me make this cake. You're awesome.)

Friday 22 February 2013

Chinese New Year 2013

Happy New Year!

The best part of Chinese New Year? The food. Hands down. The bringing together of families over sticky rice cakes and dumplings, the smell of delicate steamed buns and spicy lions head meatballs, the effort put into cooking fabulous feasts for your loved ones.

And the inevitable part where you stuff your face and can't move for hours for fear of exploding.

And boy, did I experience a lot of the inevitable.

Last weekend, I came back from China after spending New Years there with my family for the first time since I can remember. So what do we do at New Years, you ask?

Well, the first thing I did as soon as I got of the plane in Shanghai was to find the nearest restaurant in the airport that served xiao long bao (steamed buns), shove about a dozen in my mouth, and only then was I able to carry on with my life.

So, let's start with food. In fact, let's begin, middle and end with food. That sounds good.

Monday 28 January 2013

Zhonghua Traditional Snacks, Cambridge

I miss Cambridge.

I miss being a student. I miss the may ball chat, the not being allowed to walk on the grass, the tourists with the big cameras who wander around looking lost, and yes, even the supervisions (!).

I mean, where else will it be acceptable to cycle around wearing a gown and black tie??

So, last weekend I went back to Cambridge for a friends birthday, and we went to formal at Trinity College. Which was fun! Aside from the part where two of us got on the wrong train, ended up in Biggleswade, taking a 45 minute taxi to Cambridge whilst changing into black tie in the back of said taxi, and running into formal hall 15 minutes late.

At first I got angry. And then I got sad. And then I got hungry.

So the next day (after formal hall and a few bad headaches), a few of us wandered over to Zhonghua Traditional Snacks, a new(ish) cafe that opened sometime after I graduated in June. I've heard a lot about it from my Chinese friends in Cambridge, so here is the rundown!

(Please excuse the photo quality, I only brought my point and shoot to Cambridge.)

Zhonghua Traditional Snacks serves Chinese dim sum including jaozi (dumplings), bao zi (steamed buns), noodles and wontons.

The food is good, quite traditional in that I would expect this on the cafes in China. I don't think the food alone is enough to rant and rave about but I would definitely recommend purely because its such great value - one of the great points about this cafe is the price. You'll struggle to spend more than £10-£15 per head, with drinks.

Well, I mean, unless you're reeaaaalllllyyyy hungry.

The cafe is quite small, located near the Grafton Centre off Newmarket Road. We came at about 12pm and managed to get a table, although it got quite busy afterwards. The owners were really nice though and tried their best to fit everyone in. On the walls inside there are posters showing how to make dumplings, which was pretty cute.

Tuesday 1 January 2013

2013 Sprinkles and Sparklers Cake

Whether you're riding up a ski-lift in the mountains, scrubbing off the mulled wine stains on your Christmas jumper or crawling behind the sofa for that last Articulate card, l hope that you've had the best Christmas. May 2013 bring you love, happiness and... 

...lots and lots of sickingly sweet spongey gooey fluffy DELICIOUS cake.

Happy New Year!