Lunch at The Orange, Pimlico

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When Maria and Daniel were visiting a few weekends ago, we did what we always do; go shopping on the Kings Road. By lunch time we were near Sloane Sq and I thought it would be great to go to Daylesford Organic as they loved the Notting Hill branch. But it was no longer there. Luckily there are plenty of other nice places around and we went to The Orange instead.

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It was a lovely sunny day so we all wanted something light for lunch, like a salad. And so we did. Maria had the hot-smoked salmon salad with broad beans and pomegranate which she really enjoyed while Daniel and I went the more traditional route and had a Caesar salad each. And it was perfect. Crispy salad, not too much and not too little dressing, crispy pancetta and just enough croutons. Also juicy chicken breast and soft-boiled eggs. My only complaint would be that the eggs were a bit too cold, but that’s a minor details. Great cooking on the whole!

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There may have been another reason for having salad for lunch as well; we had our eye set on a stop at The Hummingbird Bakery in the afternoon. Daniel had a carrot cake cupcake while Maria and I agreed that salted caramel was the way to go! Super sweet but yummy!

The Orange, 37-39 Pimlico Road, London SW1W 8NE 

The Hummingbird Bakery, 47 Old Brompton Road, London SW7 3JP

Vanilla cupcakes with white chocolate frosting

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I know, cupcakes are so very 2010, but they’re still delicious (and I have a box full of cupcakes cases I need to use up). These are plain vanilla cupcakes made fromThe Hummingbird Bakery’s foolproof recipe topped with a cream and white chocolate frosting and some raspberries for fruitiness. My colleagues loved them and I was really glad I made them, as I rediscovered how fun piping is.

These were so scrumptious!

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Hummingbird Bakery’s vanilla cupcakes, makes 12

120 g plain flour

140 g caster sugar

1 ½ tsp baking powder

a pinch of salt

40 g unsalted butter, at room temperature

120 ml whole milk

1 egg

¼ tsp vanilla extract

For the frosting:

300 ml double or whipping cream

170 g good quality white chocolate

Decoration: fresh raspberries

 

Preheat the oven to 170°C.

Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined. Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.

Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not overmix.

Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes, or until light golden and the sponge bounces back when touched.

A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Chop the chocolate and place in a bowl. Bring the cream to the boil in a saucepan then pour into the chocolate. Stir until all melted. Leave to cool, keep in the fridge for a few hours. Whip with an electric whisk and pipe onto the cooled cupcakes. Decorate with raspberries.