After spotting the amazing Maitre Choux eclairs on Instagram I decided to take a trip down to South Kensington to try out the eclairs for myself. What better excuse than to go with my maternity leave friends, any excuse to eat cake and chat!
With three buggies in tow we arrived at Maitre Choux and realised it’s the smallest place ever! A beautiful window display lined with eclairs and a large counter inside with just two small tables at the back of the shop. However, despite us overtaking the place (three bugaboos, three babies and three of us) they were so accommodating and didn’t seem to mind that we’d overtaken the place and no-one else would have been able to sit if they had wanted to.
We were given some Chouquettes on the house to try. Little balls of choux pastry sprinkled with sugar which melted in the mouth – I could have eaten five more! We eventually decided what we were going to have, two of us had the hazelnut and chocolate treasure (a bit like a Ferror Roche) and I opted for the coffee eclair plus a coffee each.
These were no M&S profiterole tower type choux pastry (though I do love those and you could get a whole tower for the price of one eclair), they were delicious with smooth creme patisserie, crisp choux pastry and amazing flavours made from top quality ingredients but were they worth the price tag (£5 each)…..the jury is still out! However, the staff were so friendly and accommodating which definitely made the trip worth while and to be honest I’d be happy to pay £3 for a crappy piece of cake at Starbucks so really £5 for hand crafted eclair that looked like a piece of art isn’t that bad!
It’s an expensive treat…..even more expensive when I decided to take two home for myself (salted caramel and the hazelnut and chocolate treasure) and Mr Rock Bakehouse who was shocked that I had paid so much for them! It didn’t stop him for eating them and enjoying them though!!
Worth a trip to South Kensington but be prepared for the price tag!
There’s only so much pasta, breaded chicken and fish fingers that I can eat when I’m tight on time, so I’ve decided to make the most of my slow cooker and lovely Le Creuset pots and make food ahead of time. It takes a bit of planning but I’ve found that with just a bit of prep you can pop it all in a pan and have a lovely meal ready for dinner without really thinking of it.
I grew up on a lot of pork stews of some sort or another so I thought I would give pork another go (I generally think pork and dry pork chops to come to mind) so here’s a quick and easy recipe that can be made ahead ready to be eaten or frozen and kept for another day.
- 400g chopped pork (stewing pork or pork belly is best)
- 1 red onion
- 2 peppers sliced (red and yellow)
- 200g button mushrooms
- 400g plum tomatoes
- 200ml stock (vegetable or chicken)
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp crushed chillies (optional)
- 1 packet of spinach (optional)
You’ll also need an oven proof dish. I use a Le Creuset dish that you can use on the gas hob and then the oven but you could do the first steps in a frying pan and then move it to an oven proof dish with a lid for the main cooking part.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C fan
- On the hob in a frying pan or the oven proof dish, fry the onion until soft and then add the pork and brown lightly
- Add the rest of the ingredients and cook gently for 10 minutes
- Put the lid on the dish and pop in the oven for 1.5 – 2 hours or until the pork is tender
- Stir in the spinach and serve with potatoes or rice
- If you find the pork is drying out, add some extra stock
- Add extra vegetables – root vegetables work well as they don’t disintegrate when they’re cooked for a long time or add some other vegetables like spinach, peas, sweetcorn etc near the end of the cooking time
- Add more paprika or chilli to your taste
In my quest to do a few activities for ME before baby Rock Bakehouse is born I signed myself up for a Quill London Brush Lettering class at West Elm. I’d already been to West Elm when I did the flower class earlier in the year so I was pretty sure it was going to another fun night.
On a chilly September evening I turned up eagerly at West Elm on Tottenham Court Road (if you’ve never been it’s worth just a visit to dream about all the lovely things you could buy for your house!). The tables were set up and the teacher welcomed us – Emma Block an illustrator. We all had a paintbrush, ink pot and paper and we were talked through brush lettering and the class.
We first started with simple lines and shapes keeping the golden rule of ‘Thick – Down / Thin – Up’ when using your paintbrush. We then moved onto the alphabet before playing around with our own quote or phrase to go home with. As always happens in these sessions, Emma made it look very easy but gave us lots of tips and tricks on achieving the best lettering.
I found the session very relaxed and I was concentrating so hard on my lettering work that I switched off from the world which was great!
At the end we took home our paintbrush, paper and ink home and I had great plans to do lots of lettering work and art work for our house….alas the items are still in the bag waiting to be used! BUT hopefully once I’m on maternity leave I might get my creative juices going before I forget everything that I learnt!