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Meet Carole Our Resident Cake Maker

Ok…I must confess, she’s my nan. But she’s a blooming good cake baker at that and from now on will be our resident cake maker giving us lots of tips and advice on what cakes are great for the time of year and what she recommends.

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As spring has finally sprung we asked Carole what cake is great for the warmer months and what tipple goes great with it.

“Well I make a nice almond slice which is quite cheap to make, although it’s got almonds in it it’s actually almond essence and then you just sprinkle the almonds on top. Very similar to a bakewell tart but you don’t put the icing on top, and that will keep for weeks and weeks in an air tight tin, it’s very light, and you can take it on picnics and it’s lovely for afternoon tea.”

What ingredients do you put into it?

“YOu put a base of shortcrust pastry onto he bottom and cover that with your favourite jam, strawberry or raspberry or whatever jam you like. And then you make a sponge mixture up and you can put fruit and raisins in it if you wish, and then almond essence to give it the almondy taste, spread that over the top of the pastry and the jam and then flaked almonds on top of that and then pop it in the oven and bake until cooked.”

Why do you recommend almond cake for this time of you?

“Because it keeps, and it’s not a creamy cake so it won’t go running and sickly. And all my family love it.”

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What other cakes do you suggest for this time of year?

“My chocolate crunch. You used to have it when you were at school with pink custard, but I just make a crunchy brownie mixture and I put chocolate on top on mine which keeps lovely n the fridge. My son was in the army, and my nephew was in the army and whatever country they were in, the chocolate crunch got posted to, they always insisted that I send chocolate crunch. So it’s been all over the world from Cyprus to Ireland, Afghanistan, Germany, Cyprus and Hong Kong.”

What do you think of the current trend of afternoon tea?

“I think it’s wonderful, I think it’s here to stay. It’s a lovely civilised thing to do especially with cream and jam scones.”

And what beverage would you have with it?

“Pimms probably, or Amorreto, or blackcurrent in a nice cool cold glass. In terms or tea I stick with traditional breakfast tea, I’m not one for all those ponsey teas.”

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A Day At The Races

Being a country girl all my life I have always wanted to go to the Cheltenham races just down the road from me and at the age of 22 this was my year. The weather was unpredictable, the stakes on the horses were just so and the cider was flowing alongside the fine champagne, Pimms and pork rolls. As a first time race goer my tactic for choosing a winning horse was based on what name took my fancy, as I’m sure it is for many people, and sadly this tactic well and truly failed. One fellow attendee went by what outfit they liked the best and that one worked to a tee as the horse went on to win the whole Gold Cup!

Getting the train from Stonehouse to Cheltenham the streets were buzzing and the double decker buses were a great help when escorting us to the famous race grounds for just a couple of pounds. Starting the day off with a hearty bacon sandwich and a Guinness, it was the St Patrick’s Day celebration after all, we strolled to the promenade of the races and indulged on cinnamon and maple waffles and winter Pimms. Following our losing streak between the three of us we sipped on Processco in the cosmopolitan bar and restaurant Copa, a strawberry daiquiri in Vodka Revolutions and one of the lads endured a spontaneous massage in All Bar One, easing the post race strain away.

There was such an atmosphere to the Cheltenham Races and it’s brilliant to think that it’s right on my doorstep, and even more bizarre when you see all these celebrities flocking to our hometown. From Russell Brand to Alan Carr and even Kate and Wills it was well certainly the place to lay your bets and don your best monocle and hat. Would recommend it to anyone by far, just make sure you save up beforehand to really make the most of it and eat, drink and be merry to your hearts content.

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