Wednesday, 13 April 2011

The Sweet Tooth Cupcakery, Chorlton, Manchester

Gluten-free chocolate and vanilla cupcake
I have been visiting The Sweet Tooth Cupcakery in Chorlton for some time now with work colleagues. Whatever the occasion, birthdays, leaving dos, or because its summertime, there's always a reason for cake!

The range of cupcakes is outstanding, each names after a famous person or character, whether it is Kylie, Willy Wonka, David Niven, or Iggy Pop. They are all handmade within the shop (or at their Northern Quarter cafe) and are decorated with  a mixture if sweets, sprinkles, glitter etc, all having some relevance to the name.

Some of the range available

  The Sweet Tooth Cupcakery in Chorlton had a few tables inside and out and is decorated with kitch pictures, artwork and fittings. They serve a selection of drinks; a coffee, herbal tea, smoothie or sherbet or their rather special hot chocolate (definitely get it with cream!).

Red Fruit Smoothie
Their second cafe in the Northen Quarter calls itself a milk bar, and as I've yet to visit, I can only assume they offer a wider range of shakes and smoothies than at the Chorlton shop.

One thing to note is the range of dietary requirements they cater for. They generally have at least 2 gluten-free cupcakes to choose from and 1 vegan cupcake. On my last visit, they also had slices of gluten-free carrot cake available.

This visit I chose a chocolate and vanilla (meaning chocolate cake and vanilla icing) cupcake and a red fruit smoothie, and my friend chose the Willy Wonka with a cappuccino. I also chose the chocolate and chocolate (meaning a big chocolate hit!) and the Willy Wonka to take home. The packaging is almost as lovely as the cupcakes themselves. Each box is hand tied with a ribbon and sometimes decorated with stickers saying "Bite me" or simple love hearts.

Willy Wonka cupcake and parcel to take home

I spent over £8 so the Cupcakery isn't cheap, but certainly worth a visit to sit and relax with tea and cake, or that special treat to take home. If wondering what to drink - go for the hot chocolate, you will not regret it!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Jamie Oliver's Cauliflower Risotto

Jamie Oliver's Cauliflower Risotto
The next cauliflower recipe we tried was Jamie Oliver's Cauliflower Risotto from the Jamie's Italy book. The recipe uses his version of risotto bianco with certain additions, most notably the pangrattato to sprinkle.
I have reproduced Jamie's recipe here - mainly for our own use since the book has you flipping back and forth between the cauliflower risotto and the risotto bianco recipes.

1.1 litres stock (chicken/vegetable)
2 tbsp olive oil
knob of butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Half a head of celery, finely chopped
400g risotto rice
2 wineglasses of dry vermouth or dry white wine
70g butter
115g grated Parmesan
2 handfuls stale bread (we used one gluten-free roll)
1 small tin anchovies
3 small dried chillis
1 cauliflower
Parmesan for grating
Chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat the stock. Break the cauliflower into florets and add to the stock. Put the olive oil and butter unto a separate pan, add the onion, garlic and celery and cook very slowly for15 mins. When the veg has softened, turn up the heat and add the rice.

2. Lightly fry the rice, stirring continuously. After about a minute it will look translucent. Add the vermouth and keep stirring.

3. Once the vermouth has cooked into the rice, ass the first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn't cook too quickly. Keep adding ladles of stock stirring continuously, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. The cauliflower should be softened by now so you can start adding it bit by bit, mashing it into the rice. Continue until the rice is cooked and all the cauliflower had been added.

4. Meanwhile whizz the bread in a food processor with the anchovies and the oil from the tin along with the chillis. Heat a frying pan with a splash of oil and fry the flavoured breadcrumbs, stirring and tossing continuously until golden brown.

5. Remove the risotto from the heat and add the butter, Parmesan and parsley. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 mins. Sprinkle with the anchovy pangrattato, grate some more Parmesan over and serve.

Once again, this recipe was superb. The cauliflower flavour coming through nicely. Using this much celery in a risotto was a new one for me, and as a well-known celery-hater (or I thought I was a celery hater until now) I was pleasantly surprised. Jamie's tip of letting the risotto stand seemed to work as the texture was spot on. The pangrattoto is something we're likely to try for other things as it added - in Jamie's words "an amazing kick". it was salty, hot, crunchy and was the perfect garnish.