Time for tea

The other day we visited Mimi’s Picnic Parlour in Edinburgh (an offshoot of Mimi’s Bakehouse) – isn’t that a great name for a coffee shop? It only has three tables because it specialises in cakes to takeaway, hence the ‘picnic’ bit. And the cakes (and the blondes and the brownies and the tray bakes and the scones…) are amazing. You can check them out here, as well as the delicious savoury goodies, and be thankful that calories and carbohydrates can’t travel through the internet!

Anyway, although it is a very small space they have decorated it in a charming and slightly eccentric style, in keeping with the other branches. First, there are two of these delightful light fittings:






As you can see, they are wire lamp frames which have been decorated with little birds. You can also see that there is no actual bulb in there – probably a good idea from a safety point of view if you were thinking of having a go at making something like this, so you’d need to make sure that fitting wasn’t actually needed as a light source. Here there is a large window and some recessed spotlights in the ceiling.

There is also this wallpaper:



It’s by Dupenny and is called ‘Time for Tea’. It’s a wallpaper that grabs the attention and as Mimi’s Picnic Parlour is small, they have wisely used just one panel of it so it doesn’t dominate the space. (It’s also positioned rather discreetly so that it can’t be seen from that large window we mentioned)!

So the clever ideas don’t just stop with the baked goods! If you are in Edinburgh and fancy dropping in to sample the delicious food served by charming staff,  you can find Mimi’s Picnic Parlour at 250 Canongate, Edinburgh, EH8 8AA.

Cracking good idea

Box image 1

This is something we discovered recently – personalised fortune cookies! What a great idea for parties, wedding favours or as a gift. They’re made by a company called ‘Cracking Cookies‘ who make 17 different flavours (that’s a bit of a revelation in itself because previously we’d only had, well, fortune-cookie flavoured ones). As well as ones like vanilla and chocolate there are more adventurous flavours such as coconut lime and black pepper and salted caramel and banana. And they can be truly personalised, so if you order a box of, say, 6 you can have 6 different messages on them.

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Cracking Cookies can also supply traditional messages if you prefer, or even ‘Un-fortunate fortunes, which say things like ‘ Good fortune is coming your way in the form of a bag of gold coins………………… Chocolate coins that is!’ There are also themed ranges for birthdays, anniversaries, new babies and to say ‘thank you’ or ‘congratulations’ and Cracking Cookies offer a bespoke service for wedding fortunes. You can even have entertainment cookies which have contain challenges, charades or conversation topics.

Makes us want to have a party just so we can order some!

Strawberry and Cream Fortune Cookie

(All pictures used with the kind permission of Cracking Cookies, who retain all copyright.)

What a great idea, Nora Fleming!

We saw some Nora Fleming tableware the other day – what a great idea! All the items are plain white with one tiny hole somewhere on the edge. Like these: P1040029 And into this tiny hole goes one of a range of ‘minis’: a ceramic embellishment. There are minis for every season and occasion so your plate or bowl or serving dish or bread tray can change with the theme of the event. As as well as being very stylish it is cheaper and takes less space than having a specific platter for each one. Isn’t that clever? Here are some of them: P1040030 P1040033P1040031 P1040032 And apparently, there are more coming soon. The not-so-good news is that you can only buy Nora Fleming tableware in the USA and Canada at the moment, but it is such a simple and fun idea that we wouldn’t be surprised if it gets an international market soon!

A not-quite recipe for not-quite 4th July

P1030916 It’s nearly 4th July! There is something very ‘4th July’ about red, white and blue puddings and sweet things. So we thought we would share these white chocolate dipped strawberries, but it seems a bit cheeky to actually call it a ‘recipe’. All you do is melt some white chocolate in a bowl over some simmering water (be extra careful because white chocolate goes hard and grainy very quickly if it is overheated), then dip the bottom of the strawberries first in the chocolate and then in some blue sugar. We made these today but they are to likely to make it through to Saturday… Happy 4th July when it comes!

Another cake!


Remember the heart-shaped cake we made for Valentine’s Day? Well, we used the heart mould to make this guy for a birthday. We made the same chocolate cake and then cut it in half. We used the top half for the dog’s face, as it was slightly domed, and then cut the bottom to make the ears. It’s easiest to use the   top as a template and cut a curved shape so that they fit together properly. There’s a boat-shaped bit of cake left over – cook’s perks!


Then we just decorated with two different frostings, some fudge chunks for the whisker marks, two Galaxy Minstrels for eyes and chocolate writing icing for the mouth. The recipient was delighted and we were pleased to have found another use for the heart-shaped cake tin which otherwise is a bit occasion specific!


Wonder what else can be made out of heart-shaped cake?

An answer to the cheeseboard question

Can we share something with you? Until this week, we have never owned a cheeseboard (as in a board that you put cheese on) although many cheeseboards (as in selection of cheeses) have been served and eaten. They just seemed to cost a lot for something that does the same as a large plate or a wooden chopping board. Why bother with an item specifically for one job when something else in the kitchen can just get on and multitask like the rest of us?

On the other hand though there’s that nagging feeling… wouldn’t a purpose-made cheeseboard look better? Shouldn’t real, mortgage-paying grown-ups have a proper cheeseboard and not improvise, like students making do with whatever past tenants left in the cupboards? And the slate ones look really good.

And the question has now been answered definitively (for us, anyway). This was on sale:


Not just on sale – reduced by 75%! That in itself was clearly a sign but it gets better. At the till, it became clear that not only did the board not have a price label, other than the sticker on the edge of the shelf. A very apologetic man spent a couple of minutes looking and then decided that as he couldn’t find one after asking us to wait, he would sell it for half the reduced price. Which means a total saving of 87%! And as you know if there’s one thing we like better than lovely things, it’s lovely things at bargainacious prices.

While we’re talking about cheese, can we recommend this Buzzfeed article on How To Put Together A Great Cheese Plate At A Regular Supermarket? (Some of the brands mentioned aren’t available in UK supermarkets, but that doesn’t really matter).

So that’s it – not one but two great (grate?) dilemmas solved. You’re welcome!

We baked you a cake!

Happy Valentine’s Day!


We baked you a cake – a big, chocolatey one. So you will have a slice, won’t you?

In case you were wondering,  the recipe is from ‘How To Eat’ by Nigella Lawson, and as you can see from its rather battered appearance, it’s one of our favourite cookery books (not just because the recipes are delicious but also because it is so well written):


If you don’t have a copy, you can get the recipe here. The cake in the book is covered in a delicious sounding chocolate ganache, but we used good ol’ Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge Frosting.

Another slice? Go on. As someone we know used to say, ‘you might as well as wish you had!’