A Night Away at The Brooklands Hotel

I thought it was really funny how I had only been to the Surrey town once in my life until October when I visited twice for two different occasions.  The first was to see a dear friend of mine get married and the second time was a night away with mum at The Brooklands Hotel.

Mum and I booked a deal through Groupon and it was a good deal – one night for two people with afternoon tea, use of the spa facilities and breakfast.  We had such a good time.

Brooklands is famous for having the first racecourse and it is now a Mercedes Benz where you can test drive their cars on the track.

Although the beds here were sitting next to each other we did pull them apart (they were two singles).  Such comfy beds with squishy pillows.  We both had really good night’s sleep.

I have to mention the bathroom as it was excellent.  This is the second time this year I’ve stayed in a hotel with no bath, just the shower, and although we don’t have a bath at home and usually I love nothing more than having a bath, the shower at the hotel has had me dreaming of returning for another shower every time I’ve had a shower at home!

Off we went for our afternoon tea where we were seated in the bar area.  The staff were so polite and friendly.

And then it was off to the hot tub and spa.  Its a miracle that I’m actually here to type this post as I was tempted to take up lodgings in the spa.  Sitting in the hot tub and then coming indoors and wrapping up in a dressing gown with a blanket draped over me is my idea of heaven!

We had dinner in the restaurant where we did experience a few problems, namely a huge wait, but this was dealt with quickly by the manager and we were given complimentary drinks at the bar afterwards and money off the food bill.  I would visit the restaurant again for the food that did arrive was excellent.

This was the halloumi with roasted tomatoes:

Breakfast in the morning was great.  Fruit salad, cereals, yoghurt, continental (cheeses and hams), croissants and pastries and of course, a full English breakfast which set us up really well for our day ahead at Wisley Gardens (post coming soon).

~ Pru

Lucinda’s Orecchiette

I often think of baking as being therapeutic, but I think it is the end result that makes me that happiest.  There is something about displaying a pretty cake or cookies that makes me very pleased and of course, the praise helps too.  So when Lucinda Scala Quinn in the October issue of Martha Stewart Living wrote about making pasta as a way to reduce stress I figured she was on to something.

Turns out pasta making – or maybe having to mold tiny pieces of pasta on to my thumb – is not for me.  This drove me mad and I resulted to using a small spoon to shape the pasta although they never turned out as well as the ones in the magazine.

I changed the pasta sauce recipe as I had planned to make this a few days before and when I went to use the brocolli it was out of date.  So I just cooked onions with garlic and tomatoes and added some herbs.

I might make pasta again at some stage for I do own a pasta machine but I won’t be making this again, it was just too time consuming and with the great pasta available now I just don’t think its worth it.

But I can’t wait to see what the other Martha Monday girls made of it.

This was Sara’s pick for Martha Mondays.  If you fancy joining in next month (its my pick and its a good one!) then head over to Brette’s blog for details.

 

~ Pru

A Weekend in Paris

I went a bit mad last week.  On the Monday I booked a trip to Paris and on Friday lunchtime I had arrived in the capital of France.  I realised that week that I have lost my spontinaity, the ability to abandon thoughts of what a weekend may hold and throw things in a bag and go and explore.  I miss the old me.

But there was a great reason to visit Paris and I am so pleased that I went.  Having friends over from Australia for a holiday has seen me wanting to spend as much time with them and their two adorable children.  They hired an apartment in the 17th in Paris and I booked a hotel in the adjacent street -close enough, but not too close!

And I managed to do quite a bit on this jaunt – Arc de Triomphe, Sacre Couer (in the evening for the view of Paris), Eiffel Tower – arrive before it opens to avoid queuing for too long, bistro lunch, boat trip along the Seine, Notre Damme, Eiffel Tower at night for the light show, flea markets and the Luxembourg Gardens.  I could have done more but this was the perfect weekend for seeing things but relaxing a little too, and spending time as ‘Aunty Pru’ makes me very, very, happy!

This was my first time visiting Paris and I am still wondering why I hadn’t been before.  It takes just over two hours from London.  I will have to return, soon!

~ Pru

Chocolate Caramel Layer Cake

Martha Mondays is back and instead of being a weekly affair, its now taking place monthly with the results shown on the first Monday of the month.  Fancy joining us?  Just head to Brette’s blog.

Megan of Megan’s Cookin’ had the honour of picking the first choice and went with a Chocolate Caramel Layer Cake.

I had high hopes for this.   I had never made buttercream with egg whites or with the addition of caramel and I was excited.  I found the cake didn’t have much taste and kept checking to see if I should have added cocoa powder to the melted chocolate.

The buttercream for my taste had far too much butter.  I don’t see the point in the egg whites either and have found normal buttercream to be more tasty and of a better consistency.  Also, I could barely taste the caramel and ended up modifying it slightly with some powdered sugar and orange food colouring to make it a bit more exciting.

This cake wasn’t for us, but it has given me an idea for a Halloween cake which I will have to get on and make and then tell you about (if it works out okay of course!)

 

~ Pru