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Don’t blame me, it’s the title of a rather wonderful little book that tells you all you need to know about baking, including, of course, how to avoid a soggy bottom (to your pies)!  And if you don’t know what to do with yourself now that The Great British Bake Off has finished, this is for you.

Written, rather brilliantly, by Gerard Baker, this book gives you a mini history of how cakes, bread and biscuits all evolved over time, as well as the scientific basis for how the ingredients work.  Thus you find out the difference between puff pastry and flaky pastry, how biscuits got their name and how to avoid some common baking problems.  Each section comes with a simple, well described recipe.

I love the histories in this book, but also that it manages to teach the basics without sounding condescending.  It’s beautifully written and designed and should absolutely have a place on the shelves of every baker, new or experienced.

How to Avoid a Soggy Bottom and Other Secrets to Achieving a Good Bake by Gerard Baker

I have to admit that I’ve only stopped off here for a late night coffee, but Le Train Bleu restaurant quickly became one of my favourite places.  Despite a rather unpromising location above the Gare de Lyon in Paris, it’s full of atmosphere, and transports you to another time and place, whilst leaving you feeling impossibly glamorous!  That’s quite an achievement for a cup of coffee and a couple of macaroons!

Open since 1901, the café claims Coco Chanel, Brigitte Bardot, Jean Cocteau,  Salvador Dali, Jean Gabin and Marcel Pagnol as regular customers.  The restaurant certainly lends itself to rendezvous of all kinds!

The main restaurant.

The main restaurant. (c) Le Train Bleu

I loved the old, rather beaten up furniture in the nook where we drank our coffee.

I loved the old, rather beaten up furniture in the nook where we drank our coffee.

Coffee and macaroons!

Coffee and macaroons!


Le Train Bleu, Gare de Lyon, Paris

The Taquitos at Wahaca were a triumph

I was lucky enough to be treated to lunch at Wahaca in Covent Garden (London) yesterday, and have become an instant fan.

The menu is arranged rather like a mexican tapas selection with small dishes to share, although you can have a platos fuertes (bigger plate) instead.

For some reason we were given the winter menu rather than the summer menu which is now up on their website, but no matter, it was great anyway.  All the flavours of mexican food, but fresh and light.  Their Frijoles were a triumph made with black beans and topped with sour cream, as were their Taquitos – crispy corn tortillas.

I was less keen on the Tortilla Soup, as it was smokey, which is not my favourite flavour, but an excellent innovation in texture served with avocado and tortillas.

This restaurant is now on my list of ‘regulars’ and I can’t wait to go back!

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