“You want to open a cafe?
A cafe…in Dalston? It’s not even on the tube!”
We got this a lot when we started to plan the opening of Tina’s in 2008. Yeah it was rough back then…drugs, prostitution, a lack of ironic fashion, but hey, if you were in the market for one or two of those things it was Heaven on Earth.
One afternoon, we heard that a site we had tendered for in Shoreditch had fallen through. Fed up, I went for a bike ride around the neighbourhood and stumbled upon King Henry’s Walk. It was sunny, the cherry blossom was out and I spotted an empty corner unit with great (though broken) windows and a view of a church and terraced houses.
Within months, the site was secured and the fit-out started.
Seven years later we ask ourselves, “With the benefit of hindsight would we do it all again?” The answer can range from the giddy high of someone who is overly desperate to be your friend, to the duldrum low of realising that said new ‘friend’ has moved on really quickly; won the Health Lottery and become Instagram friends with Beyonce!
A more indepth response to come next week…
This week the lovely people at Delicious Magazine suggested I make this cake. Personally, I am not a huge fan of Carrot Cake, though my Carrot & Banana cake is sung about in old people’s homes across the land. However, for the sake of artistic integrity; and because I’ve heard some of the folks who work at Delicious are real bruisers, I swallowed my pride, girded my loins and got baking.
Carrot and Parsnip cake with Rose frosting
4 medium-free range eggs
225ml sunflower oil
100g soft brown sugar
75g caster sugar
4 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp ground ginger
300g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g chopped pecans
250g grated carrot
100g grated parsnip
1- grease and line a deep, 20cm loose bottomed cake tin. Put the eggs, sugars, oil and maple syrup into a large bowl and mix with an electric mixer until pale and creamy.
2- sift ginger, flour, baking powder and bicarb into the sugar mixture. Add grated carrot, parsnip and pecans. Fold in.
3- spoon batter into the prepared tin, smooth the top and bake for 80 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack, and remove from tin.
For the icing
450g cream cheese
200ml double cream
1tsp rose water
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
75g icing sugar
1- mix cream cheese and cream together in a large bowl until smooth. Add rose water, lemon juice and zest. Fold in icing sugar. Place in fridge for 30 mins to firm up slightly.
2- decorate cooled cake with the icing and an arrangement of edible flowers. Our cake was also decorated with candied carrot, candied parsnip and jelly fruit diamonds