Category Archives: England

Homemade Carrot Cake

After my visit to Brown’s Tea Bar in Munich, I was longing for a homemade piece of carrot cake like I had so often in Leeds. Because I knew I would miss the British cakes, I bought this wonderful book with most of the classic baking recipes. One of which is a recipe for a carrot cake I tried last weekend. I was sceptical if I would be able to hit the flavour I was used to but in the end it tasted just like I remembered.

For the carrot cake you need:

ingredients carrot cake
225g self-reaising flour

or if you can’t get self-raising flour, you can easily mix it by yourself. In that case, you need:

ca. 200-205g flour
adding baking powder up to 225g

1 tsp baking powder
1,5 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spices
225g brown sugar
zest of an 1/2 unwaxed orange
50g walnut pieces
50g raisins
3 eggs
150ml sunflower oil
250g grated carrots

Begin by peeling and grating the carrots since this takes away most of your preparation time.

peeling a carrot
After this, mix the flour, baking powder and the spices in a big bowl. Add the walnuts, the carrots, orange zest and raisins. Afterwards beat the eggs and mix it with the dry ingredients.

creating the dough

Finally add the oil and mix all well together before pouring it into a baking tray. Bake the cake for 25 minutes (180°C/350°F/gas 4) until it is nicely coloured. Let it cool down before topping it with the icing.

For the icing you need:

200g full fat cheese
50g unsalted butter
150g icing sugar
zest of 1/2 unwaxed orange
2 tsp orange juice

Beat all the ingredients together and cover the cake with the icing. If it is warm you might have to cool the icing before putting it on top of the cake.
homemade carrot cake
It truly tasted like the several carrot cakes I had in England and just made the weekend a bit sweeter. It definitely made the grey weather less dreadful ;).

Do you also have longings for special food? Does specific food remind you of special events or trips?

Brown’s Tea Bar – British Experience in the middle of Munich

english breakfast teaSince I have been back from England I am looking out for cafés which might be serving some good old English Breakfast Tea along with great cake. One week ago on my trip to munich I finally found  what I was looking for.

Brown’s Tea Bar belongs to the café chain “The Victorian House” which runs five cafés in Munich. All of them offering a vast selection of different teas and homemade cakes. They even offer scones with original Cornish clotted cream.

I literally entered the café and felt like being back in Britain. The cakes looked amazing and tasted like heaven. I tried the banofee pie and my friend settled on a coffee-chocolate-nut cake. Both were equally great.

Banofee PieIn addition to the great food the interior was very victorian. The room wasn’t very spacious and together with the thoughtful decoration, it felt very comfy. However, you need to be lucky or patient to find a spot for your visit.

interior Brown's Tea BarThe Victorian House also runs an online shop were you can buy all sorts of English biscuits and sweets and of course tea.

tea selection The café is located within walking distance to the Brandhorst Museum in the middly of the student quarter. We stayed there for quite some time and people just never stopped coming in ordering some cake or tea.

If you are in Munich you should definitely pop in and have a scone or two together with a warming cup of tea.


What to do in and around Cambridge?

After our surfing adventure in Cornwall we headed off to our last stop, Cambridge. I have been to Cambridge twice during my time in Leeds and fell in love with the town and its surrounding little villages. Today I would like to share with you some of these sights in and around Cambridge.

We stayed with friends in Histon a village close to Cambridge. It was nice to finally leave our campervan for some days. Especially to the end, the limited space in the campervan was a strain to our nerves and I was looking forward to a bathroom for which I didn’t need to run through the rain or stumple through the dark. We stayed four nights in Cambridge before heading back to Germany.

So here, we go, these are my favourite spots in and around Cambridge:

1. Cambridge

Cambridge, like Oxford, has this feeling of history and knowledge on every corner. In comparison I think Cambridge has more green and open spaces but to me Oxford felt even more historical and old. Not sure, why and I would recommend everyone to visit both cities and see the differences for themselves.

Kings College CambridgeCambridgeWe had one day in Cambridge itself and wandered around the town exploring the narrow streets with its small independent shops. We watched some punting groups trying their luck with self-hired punting boats and just enjoyed the great weather.

Best Ice-cream in town

If you are in Cambridge in summer do not miss the ice-cream of Aromi. The ice-cream is so creamy and the taste is amazing. I tried almond ice-cream and my boyfriend got himself espresso. Both were just heaven.

Pembroke College

We decided to have look into one of the Colleges and chose the Pembroke College just because they didn’t charge any entry fee. I really liked it and after reading up on their history, I am really happy they haven’t started charging for entry, yet.

Green of the Pembroke CollegePembroke College church

The Fitzwilliam Museum

Our last stop was The Fitzwilliam Museum. The museum has different collections of art, artefacts from ancient Egypt or Greece and oriental sculptures, pottery and a lot more to discover. But even if you are not interested in art and culture, have a look inside. The architecture of the rooms is stunning. Especially the entrance hall with its marble coverings is worth a visit.

Entrance Hall Fitzwilliam Museum CambridgeGallery in The Fitzwilliams Museum

2. Ickworth

After having seen Cambridge, we headed to Ickworth the next day. The house belongs to the National Trust and is located a fifty minutes drive away from Cambridge.

With its round shape the house is very unique and the gardens are great for a walk. I love to visit these old palaces and houses which all tell a different story of a different often aristocrat family. Every time I visited one of these estates in my time in England I felt like in the middle of an episode of Downton Abbey.

IckworthIckworth GardenIckworth front

3. Ely

Ely is a small town near Cambridge with a stunning cathedral. If you get the chance try to go to their Evensong and take in the beauty and acoustics of this church. Ely itself is also nice to have a wander around with lots of small cafés to try.

Ely Cathedral

I could add more, but I guess this post is long enough already ;).  Have you been to Cambridge and what did you like most? I am looking forward to read about your tips in this city or area.

With this post my little series of travel posts comes to an end. I am looking forward to share with you some Christmas related posts next week ;).

Cornwall – Surfing as a beginner at Mawgan Porth

After our day trip to Oxford we headed down to Cornwall. I always wanted to try surfing so my boyfriend gave me a surfing course for my birthday. After finishing my dissertation, our trip seemed to be the best opportunity to put this plan into practice. When I was searching for the best spots for surfing as a beginner, I came across this very helpful post by Ali Cairns. I tried to follow his advice and looked for campsites near Gwithian or Harlyn Bay but wasn’t able to find a free spot.

Cornwall is a popular travel destination especially in the summer months. So, we ended up on the campsite Sun Haven Valley near Mawgan Porth. The campsite was more touristy than the others before. I am not sure why it felt not as nice as on the other campsites, maybe because it was bigger. This doesn’t mean that the facilities weren’t great. There was even a differnt food truck coming every evening which made the offer really good. I, personally enjoyed our time on the smaller campsites more but for families with kids this one for example also offered a nice playground and a DVD library.

Sun Haven Valley Mawgan Porth is a rather small but very beautiful bay. After our five days there I, however, think that another beach would have been better for starting our surfing career just because the waves often came in from different ankels and were rarely straight forward. Maybe that was just my unexperience which made it so difficult but you might be better off with the destinations mentioned in the post above.

Mawgan PorthFlip FlopsMawgan Porth 2The campsite was roughly a 15min walk away from the bay. On our first day we had a lazy start waking to a sunny day. We made a full English breakfast on our BBQ and decided to head to the bay to see if we could get a spot in one of the surf lessons right away. We were lucky and booked ourselves into the afternoon lesson with the King Surf School . The lesson was tailored to beginners and taught in a group of around 8 to 10 people.

Generally I would say that a lesson like this is a perfect start to learn the basics of surfing. We were taught the safety rules on the beach and the right technique to stand up on the board. However, I think next time I would go for a couple session just because I was a bit afraid of getting started by myself and felt that more direct guidance would have brought my surfing abilities to a better level.

Despite my own hesitation I had a lot of fun trying to catch the perfect wave and to stand up on the board. I must admit surfing definitely looks easier than it actually is and I wasn’t able to fully stand up. I achieved to surf on my knees though ;).
During our days in Cornwall, we were unlucky with the weather and just had the chance to practice our surfing abilities two more times after the initial course. For this we borrowed a board and wetsuit at Betty’s Surfshop . In my opinion after we had learned the basics it really was important to practice before it would have been of any help to book another more advanced course.

After these first experiences I definitely want to try surfing again. Next time I might book a surf camp somwhere in England or France. Did you try surfing before? Any tips for future destinations?