High Tea: A Very English Afternoon

What would a summer in London be without a proper afternoon high tea? Incomplete, that’s what. So when it came to my attention that there was a popular tea room and bakery that served up a cake stand filled with gluten free goodies, I was sold! Enter Bake-a-boo, a darling destination tucked away in West Hampstead. With about 20 brews to choose from, I took advantage of the endless tea by ordering first a pot of vanilla and then a pot of almond, both of which were delicious!

IMG_6389And of course there were the treats! I started by nibbling on the finger sandwiches before digging into the scones. I layered on the cream and jam quite generously… to the point of needing to take a break before diving into the cupcakes and chocolate covered strawberries. Laura and I killed some time by chatting and sipping on tea… but it didn’t last long because the blueberry and vanilla cupcake was calling screaming my name. As were the chocolate covered strawberries immediately after. But that’s where I had to admit defeat. I couldn’t stomach the last raspberry cupcake, so that will have to be my dessert with lunch tomorrow!

Bake-a-boo is the perfect place for anyone looking for an amazing afternoon tea, but especially fantastic for those of us with food sensitivities! In addition to their gluten free spread, they have a dairy free and sugar free option! And the entire café is adorable… right down to the bathroom adorned with a wall collage of hilarious and clever canvases. Ok, all of this reminiscing is making me crave that last cupcake. Maybe it won’t last until lunch tomorrow after all…

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Mojito Making: Round Two

IMG_6364Last weekend, Laura and I headed to a Mojito Master Class. We had such a great time in our attempt to master the mojito, we decided to continue the pursuit in perfecting our new craft. So just four days later, we were back in the hands of the Ping Pong bar master for another round of beverage lessons… this time accompanied by amazing food!

Being gluten free doesn’t usually put a damper on my foodie adventures, however dim sum is probably one of the more difficult menus to navigate… and Ping Pong is a dim sum restaurant. Luckily this establishment is prepared for people like me and has an entire gluten free menu!!! I’ve actually found London in general to be pretty accommodating for those of us affected by gluten intolerance – many menus are allergen marked and/or have a separate gluten free menu of items. Ping Pong sent out round after round of piping hot, gluten free nibbles for me as my friends shared other dishes. I prepared my stomach for the alcohol to come with edamame, a vegetable and rice pot in black bean sauce, rice and meat rolled in banana leaves, a carrot and squid salad, and a citrus mochi ball. It was a feast!

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After all that food it was time for drinks! I graduated from the classic mojito on to a blackberry and chambord variation. The result: sweet and refreshing!

IMG_6376Ingredients:
– 4 blackberries
– 3 lime wedges
– 1.5 tsp. sugar
– 10 mint leaves
– double shot of rum
– 1 Tb. chambord
– crushed ice
– optional garnish: two mint leaves and a lime wedge

Method: Add the blackberries, lime wedges, and sugar to a glass and muddle well. Add the mint leaves, rum, and crushed ice so that the glass is 1/3 full. Using a bar spoon, stir, pulling the mint towards the top. Pack the glass with crushed ice until full. Top with chambord. Garnish and enjoy!

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