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Slate and Soya

23 May

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First triathlon of the year for the boys, first spectator event for me. It was the Snowdonia Slateman in and around Llanberis last weekend. A quick dip in the icy Llyn Padarn, an undulating cycle round and about, followed by a sunny sprint up and down the local slate quarry. It did look fun, but I had to settle for ringing my chain reaction cycles cow-bell for all I was worth to cheer on the athletes. Well done one and all!

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Seeing as I was in a support role I provided baked goods for the weekend, a pear & chocolate upside down pudding to fortify the troops the evening before, and the delectable Dan Lepard’s soya and linseed loaf for breakfast. Mr Bakes and I have been big fan of Vogel’s soya and linseed bread for many a moon, until we discovered we could make our own, with Dan’s recipe. Seriously, if you like Vogel, you’ll love this. Try it!

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Great Scot

20 Nov

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Last weekend Mr Cakes & I hot footed it up to Glasgow for a weekend of fun with chums. Naturally we wanted to take a small offering to our hosts for the weekend. Remember The Bones, who got this marvellous Chocolate Salted Caramel Extravaganza when they moved north of the border? Well, they used to practically live on whoopies and macaroons from the gorgeous Violet Cakes in London. So what better than these Violet Coconut Macaroons as a little gift. They feature in the Leon Baking & Puddings book. Get it!

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Among other things, we went to watch round 2 of the UCI track world cup at the brand spanking new Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow. I’m not sure riding in kilts without bikes is going to take off tho, ladies…

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Thanks again to the Bones for a great weekend! See you soon.

Shoreditch-on-Sea

2 Oct

field cycling

Cycling means many things to many people. Usually, to me it means getting to work or racing as fast as I can. But this weekend it meant a leisurely jaunt through countryside and along coast in lovely, sunny Kent. Off came my usual racing slicks, on with the knobbly jobs. Perfect for the off-road adventure ahead for me and Mog.

cake, huts, art & paddling

The adventure began at St. Pancras station, with the pair of us trying to navigate the escalator with our heavy, baggage laden bicycles with one hand, and hot coffee with the other – possibly the most difficult part of the trip. It took both of us, the chap who got on the escalator behind us and the train conductor to get us, our bikes, and our coffees on to the train safely.

Once in Canterbury, we made our way to Whitstable on the wonderfully named Crab and Winkle Way, or at least we did once we found the blue signs that would mark our route. Without Mr Cakes and his magic bicycle sat nav, this proved difficult! Then Mog got a puncture after only a few miles. Helpful passer-by #3 told us that Herbert’s Cycles in Whitstable was the place to go for help, a small but perfectly formed bike shop that sorted us out in half an hour. Of course, we both do know how to fix a puncture, but why DIY when you can sit and drink coffee while someone else DIFY (does it for you)? From there the journey was easy – just follow the coast until we get tired, or the sun sets. Day 1 was the latter, day 2 the former.

condor, brompton, herberts bike shop

We only had 2 days away, and just 90km of cycling, but we certainly packed in plenty of stuff. Firstly, lets talk cake. There were Mog’s lemon drizzle buns on the train; Granny Ann’s bread pudding bought from a bake sale on the High Street in Whitstable; plum tart from Age & Sons in Ramsgate; and chocolate & beetroot brownies, strawberry muffins and tablet in Deal. Add in a few local ales and now you’re talking.

We saw castles and beach huts a plenty, a wind farm that followed us for miles, something that resembled Britain’s Got Talent in Herne Bay, heard the Noel McCalla trio, avoided about a million dogs and children, cycled on gravel and through muddy fields, failed to see any artwork at the new Turner Gallery in Margate (closed for exhibition changeover), played in the interactive (childrens?) exhibition in the new Turner Gallery in Margate, drank Gadd’s Ale in the Charles Dickens Pub in Broadstairs, drank café au lait at a French cafe in Sandwich, and generally had a ball.

St Margaret's bay swimming

Oh, and there was swimming. We were by the coast, of course there was swimming. I was consumed by the thought of it. We tried on day 1, but the sun was setting and we feared getting too cold. So, instead we settled for a quick paddle in one of Margate’s tidal pools (yes, Margate has two! Lucky Margate!)

We spent the night in Ramsgate, and a chap to whom we got chatting gave us his tip for the best local swimming spot. We got up early and walked along the cliff top to said spot. The tide was out, and there seemed to be some kind of dog/vagrant party going on right in front of the water. We chickened out, again.

But the best was yet to come. According to Wikipedia, channel swimmers and submarine telephone cables start from St Margaret’s Bay, and it was on the route for day two. Finally, salty swimming salvation. Mog watched and snapped and I stripped to my cossie and ran in for a brief breaststroke in the chop. I thought about what it must be like to embark on 22 miles of swimming from right here. Not today, I thought, and out I ran to warm clothing and the rest of the journey to Dover!

I can’t leave you without a recipe. Mog made us lemon buns – why not try Nigel Slater’s Demerara lemon cake, split into 12 muffin cases and baked for about 20 minutes.

East End Olympic Triathlon

6 Aug

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Swim

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Bike

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Run

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Pie and Mash.

Shoreditch Bikes

2 Aug

Lord Hereford's Knob

Finally – some good weather. Good news for our annual 2 day ride. Last year – the Coast to Coast from St. Bees to Whitby. This year? Traversing the English/Welsh border south to north. The moral of the story here folks, is if you want good weather for your event, invite Mr & Mrs Cakes.

chocolate stop

Day 1 was 103 miles from Newport to Shrewsbury, including a nice sit down at the top of Lord Hereford’s Knob! Day 2 was our equivalent of a “rest day” – just 72 miles of relatively flat terrain to the Wirral.

Finish line beers

Can you believe – a stop in Abergavenny for coffee, Kington for lunch, Shrewsbury overnight, Ellesmere for brunch on day 2, and we didn’t eat a single slice of cake! Not one cupcake, nor a whoopie, not even a slither of carrot cake.

Shoreditch beers

But we made up for it with plenty of beers! You have to celebrate you’re achievements…don’t you?

Loafing around

12 Jun

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Loafing around? As if! The forecast downpour didn’t arrive which meant only one thing for me & Mr Cakes on Sunday morning. CYCLE RIDE! Up & out the door by 6.30 meant we had cycled out of Shoreditch to deepest darkest sunniest Essex by the time most people are only starting to *think* about getting out of bed. Smug much?

white loaf

After Greater Anglia trains’ best efforts to prevent us getting home, we did get back – and just in time for lunch bread baking. After the BBQ bun success of recent weeks, it seemed appropriate to go back to basics with Dan Lepard’s failsafe white bread recipe found, again, in the Guardian complete with tips & tricks to help your loaf succeed!

Dan Lepard White Bread Ploughmans

I reckon it worked, what do you think? And yes, that is big sis’s Damson Chutney you can see there – an excellent accompaniment.

Dan Lepard White Bread sandwich

Not bad toasted with butter & jam either. Although – a word of caution. We scoffed the lot pretty quick! Thanks again Mr Lepard.

Dan Lepard bread butter and jam