Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Soho Arts Theatre Club - Victorian Variety Cocktails - Review

The Soho Arts Theatre has long been one of London's best kept secrets. From the days of the Krays and Danny LaRue, it's a late night speakeasy basement bar for cocktail connoisseurs. A relaxed yet dramatically designed drinking den, the dark walls lend a reddish hue to the room, with an overall vintage velvety vibe.

The relaunch of the cocktail menu pays homage to the classic cocktails enjoyed by many a thespian and literary luvvies of bygone days. As a members-only club (non-members may enter before 11pm), Sally and I were treated to an exclusive booth close to the bar, with bottomless salted popcorn and the perusal of the retro menu. 

First I tried Josh and Joan The Married Contortionists, a gin cocktail with agave, Aperol with lemon and mint, served in a spherical flask with wooden straw. Did they know I'm a scientist, or is this the latest food/science fusion?
For her first drink, Sally tried the Fabulous Eskimo Nell - containing her favourite fig liquer, Grey Goose vodka and served, quite literally, in snow.

Next, as I was feeling much like death, a Deadwood Dick to sort out my cold - jalapeno-infused Tequila with limes and Grand Marnier. Potent, yes. Cured, well... 
For my cocktail-loving companion, another spherical flask of Jack Haraway and his Band of Pirates - rum with pomegranate and passionfruit.

DeadWood Dick
Eskimo Nell
So many more to try, but with my croaky voice, and my head feeling like a Devil's Goat (which would have been my next choice) I opted to abandon ship (helped along by the rather odd bouncer complaining about his sore feet, muttering 'freeloaders' and squinting and swearing at his cufflinks - but who am I to question his parentage...).

The Devil's Goat

Wallace the Magician

Kentucky Kevin

The cocktail 'specials' menu changes monthly and next month promises a retro comic book theme. 

To brush shoulders with literary Londonors, including certain Masterchef judges and some East End royalty, and to taste tempting cocktails with a twist, get your bottle down those apples for a butchers and a Vera...

50 Frith St, 
London W1D 4SQ

020 7287 9236

Members only after 11pm

Cocktails from £8.50

Photos courtesy of Crisp Media.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Minions Birthday Cake

My boy turns 11 today. We recently watched the Minions movie and I thought it would be a relatively easy cake to do for him... It only took about a week...

He loves chocolate cake, so there was no contest there. I used the store cupboard chocolate cake recipe from Decorated, a four layer 7 inch cake. It worked well although my bockety old oven burnt the top. I was able to trim it with my cake cutter so that it still looked smooth. In fact it's the first time I've made a layer cake which actually looked level!

For the minions, I couldn't stop thinking about the Cocoa Box truffles, so I thought I'd use those to shape the minion figures instead of having big lumps of icing. First I made a truffle mixture 2:1 chocolate: cream. I used 300 g milk chocolate, 200g dark chocolate and 250 ml double cream. I beat it carefully (with some help from Himself) but it didn't really go hard like at The Cocoa Box so I added golden syrup (about 100 ml I reckon) and left it over night. Then I used an ice cream scoop to dig it out and moulded it by hand into randon minion shapes. This part was very messy! Have a sink full of water at the ready! I made several taller ones - like Kevin, and a number of smaller ones - Bob and Stuart. This mixture made about 14 minion shapes, but you can adjust to make them bigger or smaller of course...

Once these had set (I left them overnight again), I trawled through YouTube to find a tutorial to help me, and this tutorial by Francesca SugarArt was the one I followed, to a point. Below are my step-by-step photos - when I remembered to take them along the way! Obviously I improvised as I went along... and ran out of time so these are feet-less minions.
I thought it would be fun to make the name out of bananas. All the black I used was painted on, using a mixture of black gel food colouring and a smidge of vodka.

Once it was cut, the boys ate it and declared it good. Phew!

Happy Birthday Joey. Love you.

Monday, 4 April 2016