Sep 21 2014

Coffee Tasting – Cuban Beans and Ebor Blends

Anyone who knows me knows that I love my coffee. So much so that earlier this year I treated myself to a Gaggia Baby Espresso machine and an Iberital MC2 grinder. You can’t beat an Americano in the morning (or for elevenses, or at lunch time, or in the mid afternoon…) made with freshly ground beans so this means that I buy quite a lot of beans. Oh, and my wife is quite partial to a Latte on a lunchtime too…

York Coffee Emporium Beans

York Coffee Emporium Beans

Whilst browsing York Coffee Emporium’s website looking for my next caffeine fix I noticed that they they sell Cuban coffee beans – this caught my eye as not many people import and roast them. I caught up with York Coffee Emporium at the Malton Food Lovers Festival and had a great time at their stall talking all things coffee. I had a chance to try some of their different blends, but unfortunately they didn’t have any of the Cuban beans with them so I wasn’t able to taste them.

A few months later I was approached by York Coffee Emporium and asked if I would be interested in reviewing some of their coffees. I saw this as a great opportunity to try their Cuban beans that I had been looking at on their website. My normal “everyday” coffee is a blend so thought I would also try one of their blends.

Cuban Altura Lavado

Cuban Altura Lavado Espresso

Cuban Altura Lavado Espresso

The first coffee to be brewed was the limited edition Cuban Altura Lavado.When looking at the beans, they are dark and glossy in colour with a great aroma. The shots pulled from the espresso machine produced a lovely thick crema. When used in an Americano they produce a rich, smooth, full bodied coffee with a nutty, woody earthy taste. When used in a Latte, the taste punches through the milk and produces a strong bold flavour.

Ebor Blend

Ebor Blend Espresso

Ebor Blend Espresso

The next beans to be brewed were the Ebor Blend. This blend is made from 3 different coffees – Guatemala Huehuetenango SHB, Malawi Pamwamba and Papua New Guinea beans. These beans are lighter in colour and have more of a matt appearance. As with the Cuban beans, they created a lovely thick crema. In the Americano they produce a slightly sharper citrusy taste with more complex flavours which linger on the palette.  In a Latte, the flavours are a little more subdued which produces a smoother, easy drinking taste.


I would definitely recommend either of these two coffees. As the Cuban beans have a stronger more robust flavour they would be well suited to true coffee lovers. Personally I really enjoyed them as an afternoon pick me up.

The Ebor Blend is much smoother to drink but is still packed with flavour. I could drink this Blend all day long!




Jun 24 2013

Easy Chocolate Brownies

I love chocolate brownies and have 2 different recipes that I use depending on the type of brownie I want. I have an “indulgent” recipe which is really rich and has loads of chocolate in it which I don’t make very often. The recipe below however is my “everyday” brownie recipe that I use when I want to rustle up a batch of brownies quickly. Don’t be fooled though, they may be quick and easy to make but they taste great!

Easy Chocolate Brownies

Continue onto the recipe…

Apr 9 2013

John Lewis Easter Goodies

Over the Easter weekend the lovely people at John Lewis kindly sent me an Easter goodie basket filled with lots of egg related items. We keep our own chickens, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to use some our ladies’ eggs and give you a quick review of a couple of the items.

John Lewis Easter Gift Basket

John Lewis Easter Gift Basket

One of the ladies responsible for our eggs

One of the ladies responsible for our eggs

Now before we go any further, I have a couple of confessions:

Firstly, I’m not a big fan of eggs. I don’t mind egg in things (cakes, quiches, Yorkshire puddings etc.) but I don’t like them on their own. My wife on the other hand is a massive egg fan and will often have a smelly egg sandwich!

Which brings me neatly onto my second confession…

Click to continue reading…

Aug 20 2012

Yorkshire Curd Tart with Lemon Curd

Today I will be making a traditional Yorkshire Curd tart with a lemony twist. I already have my own tried and tested recipe for curd tart but when Karen from Lavender and Lovage told me that this month’s “Best of British” challenge was Yorkshire, I knew I had to come up with something a bit special.

Yorkshire Curd Tart with Lemon Curd

Yorkshire Curd Tart with Lemon Curd

The challenge is kindly being sponsored by New World Appliances and each month the challenge moves around the country to showcase the “Best of British”. Have a look at the “Visit the Beautiful and Diverse County of Yorkshire for Great Food and the Best of British” post at Lavender and Lovage to see all the other entries for this month.

Best of British

So onto the recipe…

Click to see more…

May 17 2012

Sourdough Starter Adventure – Day Four

Day four of my sourdough starter adventure and nothing much to report. It seems to be getting along nicely and looks about the same as it did yesterday.

Here is a photo looking down showing the foam which seems to be a bit more bubblier than yesterday.

Day Four

The starter now has quite a vinegary smell which, if what I’ve read is to be believed, should now start to mellow out and become more refined.

I fed it again this evening by discarding half of it and adding 100g water and 75 flour.


May 16 2012

Sourdough Starter Adventure – Day Three – We have action!

Today is day 3 of my Sourdough adventure and we have action!

I checked on it this morning and there is a distinct layer of foam above the liquid layer so I think things are starting to get moving.

Day three action!

Looking down into the jar you can see loads of foam now.

Day 3, more bubbles

Now things are starting to happen, the “feeding” changes slightly. I got rid of about half the starter and added 100g of water and 75g of flour. However, from now on I am adding plain white flour rather than the wholemeal as I want this to be a plain starter. I only used wholemeal in the first place as I had read that it’s more likely to have the yeasts etc. that are needed.

I put the starter back in my office and checked on it an hour later and there was already a layer of foam (about 3mm high) so it looks like the yeast is starting to move into overdrive.

It will be interesting to see how much it grows overnight.

May 15 2012

Sourdough Starter Adventure – Day Two

Today is day two of my Sourdough starter adventure. At some point my starter is supposed to start making bubbles which is the yeast starting to multiply and do it’s stuff. I checked on my starter late last night and there were a couple of tiny bubbles on the surface but I’m not sure if they were yeast bubbles or bits of trapped air.

This is what my starter looked like this morning:

Sourdough Starter overnight

As you can it has separated out a little bit. Here is a shot looking down into the starter, are they bubbles?

Sourdough Starter bubbles?

Anyway, I now need to give my starter it’s first “feed”. So, I added 75g of flour and another 100g of warm water. I then gave it a good stir up, put the clingfilm back on and put it back in my office. I’ll keep an eye on it overnight to see if any more bubbles start to appear.

Starter after first feeding

May 14 2012

Sourdough Starter Adventure – Day One

Recently I have been making more and more of my own bread and one type of bread that I’ve read a lot about is sourdough. I’ve been wanting to try my own for a while now and as you probably know, you can’t make sourdough without a starter.

A sourdough starter is a strange and mythical beast. Traditionally there is no yeast added, it just uses the natural yeasts that are in the air all around us.

So, to get me started on my adventure I read several of my bread books and loads of articles on the internet. From all of these, I found that there are lots of do’s and don’ts and it all seemed over complicated. Even though man has been making it for thousands of years, there is no “correct” recipe, the only thing that everyone agrees on is that no-one can agree on one recipe.

So here is the beginnings of my adventure to make a sourdough starter. Will it work? Stay tuned and we’ll find out!

To start with I got an old glass Kilner jar and put in 75g of strong stoneground wholemeal flour. To this I added 100g of warm water and mixed it all together with a fork until I ended up with a thickish batter. I covered the top with cling film and put it in my office (which usually stays around 20 degrees). And that’s it! I now need to leave it a day and see if anything happens and give it it’s first feed.

Sourdough starter - day one.

Sourdough starter - day one.

If you are going to try this yourself, make sure that you use a jar/tub/whatever that is big enough to hold at least 4 times what you add at the start otherwise it’s going to get messy.

If everything goes to plan and I end up with a usable sourdough starter then I’ll put everything together into a “How to make your own sourdough starter” post.

Mar 19 2012

Cherry Scones

For a while now I’ve been looking for the perfect scone recipe. For me, a scone should be light, well risen (but not toweringly tall), slightly crumbly inside, nicely browned and above all taste delicious!
It shouldn’t be to “cakey” inside and it doesn’t have to be perfectly formed with dead straight sides. Scones should be rustic and slightly misshapen, they should look like they were made by hand, not in a factory.

Cherry Scones

In my quest for the perfect scone, I asked my friends on Twitter, Facebook and CIX for their recipes, tips and tricks. I searched the internet and looked through all my baking books, comparing all the different recipes. I combined everything together and baked several batches, trying different techniques and oven temperatures. I’m not saying the recipe below is perfect, but they are the best scones I’ve made so far!

Click to see more…

Dec 12 2011

Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

As I mentioned in this post, last week I took part in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2011. This involved baking 3 batches of 12 cookies and posting them out to fellow food bloggers.

Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

After a lot of thought, I decided to go with some delicious Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies. I was going to try a new recipe for Coffee chocolate chip cookies but I know that a lot of people don’t like coffee flavoured cakes/biscuits so thought it best not to disappoint anyone.
Below is the recipe I used if you want to try baking some yourself. The recipe makes about 18 good size cookies but you can half the amounts if you don’t want that many.

Click to see the full recipe…