Newcastle Eating - Violets Cafe

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In the land of Newcastle Upon Tyne there's one thing that really gets me hot under the collar, and that's a new place to eat brunch.  Violets Cafe is the long awaited foodie venture of Abbie Atkinson, the wife of Michelin starred chef Kenny Atkinson of House of Tides fame, so you know it's gonna be good.  Nestled among the beautiful architecture of Newcastle Quayside Violets is sure to take the city by storm.  For the past few months I've been peering through the windows on my walk to work, excited for the day it would open its doors so I could feast my greedy little face.  Finally, I got my wish.

A gorgeous brunch in Violets Cafe, Newcastle Upon Tyne

I woke up with the sun streaming through the window, cat scratching at the door and boyfriend still snoring away contently.  I closed the window, allowed my marauding animals access to the bedroom and shook Kris awake nice and early, for today, we brunch hard!

We're lucky to live right on the banks of the River Tyne so we left the car at home and took a sunny stroll into Newcastle. I'd already anticipated I was going to do some major damage, so burning a few calories on the way surely can't hurt.  Plus, beautiful days are few and far between up here, so we gotta enjoy these babies when we can.

A gorgeous brunch in Violets Cafe, Newcastle Upon Tyne

We arrived at Violets with empty tummies, eager to be filled.  The breakfast menu is small but perfectly formed. Even though there were only around 8 options I found it super difficult to decide, everything just looked so delicious.  


A gorgeous brunch in Violets Cafe, Newcastle Upon Tyne

A gorgeous brunch in Violets Cafe, Newcastle Upon Tyne

A gorgeous brunch in Violets Cafe, Newcastle Upon Tyne

I finally settled on the buttermilk waffle with half an English breakfast, eggs poached of course, while Kris battled with indecisiveness over the bakers basket.  Much to my dismay he opted to ignore the heaving basket of delectable sounding pastries for another buttermilk waffle, this time topped with smoked salmon, avocado, poached eggs and hollandaise.  I guess that means we'll have to come back, what a crying shame!

A gorgeous brunch in Violets Cafe, Newcastle Upon Tyne

A gorgeous brunch in Violets Cafe, Newcastle Upon Tyne

A gorgeous brunch in Violets Cafe, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Just look at that avocado, dripping in foamy hollandaise.  Are you drooling, because I am!

Everything about our breakfast was just perfect, the sausage in particular was just delicious.  If I were to get this again I think I'd order a little pot of hollandaise or baked beans on the side, but that's probably just me being greedy again.

A gorgeous brunch in Violets Cafe, Newcastle Upon Tyne

A gorgeous brunch in Violets Cafe, Newcastle Upon Tyne

A gorgeous brunch in Violets Cafe, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Since Kris cheated me out of sticky, sweet buns we decided to round off an already indulgent meal with more coffee and a few slices of cake.  Why not, eh?!  Kris opted for the fresh out of the oven raspberry bakewell, while I went for my favorite lemon and raspberry drizzle.  

A gorgeous brunch in Violets Cafe, Newcastle Upon Tyne

The lovely Abbie brought our cakes over and we had a nice little chat about how things are going for the Violets team.  I'm so happy that things are going well for the guys down there, their passion is undeniable and if you're knocking out meals like ours everyday I can see Violets becoming an amazing addition to the booming foodie haven springing up in Newcastle.  I, for one, am itching to sample the afternoon tea.  A cold glass of prosecco included, of course.

We left with two very full, very happy tummies discussing our next visit.  I can't wait.

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Sunshine and Pimms

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If there's anything that screams British Summer time its a nice cold glass of Pimms on a perfectly manicured lawn.  However, in my case I'll be enjoying it on a slightly balding garden with an annoying downward tilt.  Nothing a good old Pimms won't fix, I'll just close my eyes and imagine.

Pimms cocktail, the perfect sunshiney drink.

When TheBar.com got in touch and asked me to share a recipe for this traditional Summer drink I was delighted.  Normally I'd try and put my own spin on things but why tamper with perfection?  Although, I do have a hankering to turn this delicious cocktail into an ice lolly, more on that later...

Pimms cocktail, the perfect sunshiney drink.

The thing I love most about Pimms is the ease of putting the drink together.  It's just as simple to make a tipple for one as it is to make for ten making it the perfect drink to serve for a Summer garden party, weather permitting of course.  Mix up a few big jugs of Pimms and let the good times roll.

Pimms cocktail, the perfect sunshiney drink.

Pimms Summer Cup
Serves 1

Ingredients:
25ml Pimms Cup No1
2 Strawberries, quartered
Cucumber slices
Lemon slices
Sprig of mint
Ice
Lemonade
Ginger beer

Method:
Fill a tall glass with ice and add a few slices of cucumber, lemon and the strawberry quarters.  Pour over the Pimms then fill the glass half way with ginger beer, top up with lemonade.  Give it a little mix, pop a sprig of mint in the top and enjoy.

This is a collaborative post with theBar.com
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Fig Margaritas

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The sun is shining, the weather is sweet yeah!  At long last, we're finally seeing some decent weather in good old blighty. While there's still a little bit of a nip in the air, the scent of barbecues and beers is fresh in the air.  Nothing excites us Brits like a little bit of sun.

Fig margarita recipe, the perfect cocktail for your summer barbeques

As it's not quite Summer, and the weather can change at the snap of a finger I thought I'd stay clear of the typical sunshiney cocktail. These fig martinis are so delicious, the sweet but earthy element of the figs is just as perfect with grilled meat on the patio as it is pizza with the girls.

Fig margarita recipe, the perfect cocktail for your summer barbeques

The figs are imparted into this recipe by ways of sugar syrup, make that part ahead (it keeps in the fridge for up to a week) so you can whip these beauties up at the drop of a hat.  Hostess with the mostess or what!  You just know people are gonna be talking about your mad cocktail skills for weeks.

Fig margarita recipe, the perfect cocktail for your summer barbeques

Fig Margarita
Makes two drinks

Fig Syrup:
500g figs cut into quarters
125g caster sugar
500ml water

Margaritas:
100ml tequila
75ml fig syrup
25ml triple sec
25ml fresh lime juice

Method:

For the fig syrup: place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.  Turn the heat down to a steady simmer and let reduce to half the original volume.  Strain through a fine meshed sieve and leave to cool to room temperature.  Will keep in the fridge for around a week.

For the margaritas:  Place all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.  Give it a good shake and strain over two ice filled glassed.  Garnish with a slice of lime and a slice of fig.
Place all 

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Nutella Melting Middle Cookies

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These cookies should be illegal.  In my house especially!  I mean, just look at these saucy little devils.

Super awesome chocolate chip cookies with a melty Nutella center.
I know, right?!  Why are you still here? Get your Nutella loving butts into the kitchen and get these bad boys baked.  You know I'm right, I'm always right about Nutella bro!

Super awesome chocolate chip cookies with a melty Nutella center.

Super awesome chocolate chip cookies with a melty Nutella center.

These cookies require a little bit of planning, but I promise you it's all worth it.  It's pretty much just freezing little balls of Nutella and wrapping chocolate chip cookie dough around it before it melts. What with me always shoving stuff in the middle of cookies, it's becoming a problem.  


You might want to skip the little sprinkle of salt but you shouldn't.  It gives these cookies just the right amount of lift, it sounds weird but I promise you, it's not.

Super awesome chocolate chip cookies with a melty Nutella center.



Nutella Melting Middle Cookies
Makes 12

Ingredients:
125g unsalted butter, softened
100g light brown sugar
1 large, free range egg
1tsp vanilla extract
150g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
1tsp bicarb
2tbsp corn flour
150g dark chocolate chunks plus extra to decorate
Sea salt
Large jar of Nutella


Method:
First of all, line a large baking sheet with grease proof paper and scoop out 12 table spoons of Nutella onto the sheet.  Freeze the blobs until solid, around an hour.

Once the Nutella is frozen, leave in the freezer while you prepare the cookie dough.

Preheat the oven to 170C and line two baking sheets with grease proof paper.  Mix the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and creamy.  Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix till combined.  Add the flour, cocoa, bicarb and corn flour and stir together until just combined, stir through the chocolate chips. 

Scoop up a table spoon of dough and flatten it in your hand, place a frozen Nutella blob in the middle and pull the dough around the Nutella to seal it in a little ball.  Work quickly as the Nutella will start to melt in your hands. Add a few chocolate chips to the top of each ball followed by a sprinkle of salt.

Once you've finished making your cookies pop the trays in the fridge to chill for an hour, once chilled bake in the oven for 15 minutes.  Allow to cool for ten minutes before digging straight in.

If you can resist, the unbaked balls can be frozen and baked straight from the freezer.  Just add 2 minutes to the baking time.






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Mint & Passion Fruit Rum Punch

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It's the bank holiday weekend here in rainy old Blighty, and if there's one thing us Brits love it's a jolly good knees up on an extra day off work.  What better way to celebrate than to whip up a nice fruity cocktail, even if it is grey and drizzly outside.

Bring in the sunshine with this mint and passion fruit rum punch.

This is such a delicious cocktail and looks hella pro, the best thing is you can make it well in advance leaving you plenty of time to lap up all the compliments from your guests.  I've included the measurements for two cocktails bellow but feel free to double or even triple the recipe to keep you sauced up all weekend long.

Bring in the sunshine with this mint and passion fruit rum punch.

Mint & Passion Fruit Rum Punch
Makes 2 cocktails

Ingredients:
Juice of 3 limes, plus an extra lime sliced thinly for decoration
3 passion fruit, plus extra to decorate
Handful of fresh mint, plus extra to decorate
1/2 stick of lemon grass, bruised and chopped into pieces
125ml sugar syrup
175ml white or golden rum
Fizzy water
Ginger beer
Ice

Method:
In a large jug stir together the lime juice, the pulp from three passion fruit, mint, lemongrass, rum and sugar syrup.  Muddle it all together with a wooden spoon and place in the fridge for at least an hour or up to 24 hours.

When ready to make your cocktail, strain the contents of the jug through a sieve making sure to press out all of the delicious liquid.  Fill two tumblers with ice and push two slices of lime down the side of each glass, using the ice to keep them in place.  Pour half of the fruity liquid in each glass and top up with tonic and ginger beer.  Top each cocktail with a sprig of mint and half a passion fruit.
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