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News From The Loughborough Café!

I love being in my café! There have been so many lovely people popping in and saying how happy they are to have a café on their doorstep that serves good coffee and tasty food – both sweet and savoury. In fact, I did an event last weekend for a couple who stopped by for a breakfast and ended up asking me to cater for a 50th party (which turned out to be a dream job)!

These last few months have given me time to grow in the space. Time has flown by with so much happening since the café first opened its door in early August. Each week brings new faces, new ideas, challenges and decisions to make – like what to put on the menu and which things I should put on the shelves – but they always end with a huge feeling of satisfaction.

Gorgeous seasonal drinks made by a London-based company

Delicious seasonal drinks made by a London-based company, Square Root

This week I’m looking forward to my new blackboards going up, so I can introduce more specials, wintery salads and juices to the menu. With the chilly weather in mind, I’m making warming stews at the moment to be served with amazing sourdough from Bread Bread.

I find it hard to embrace the cold season, but what’s so great about this time of the year is the richness of colours that seasonal ingredients bring to dishes.

Squash soup with sourdough croutons

Squash soup with sourdough croutons

My favourite vegetables at this time of the year are, without a doubt, squash; especially the Crown Prince (blue/grey skinned one) and Kabocha (dark green skin with deep orange dense flesh) varieties. Simply roasted with spices, made into patties, or thrown in a stew or warm lentil salad…delicious!

Rainbow chard

Vibrant rainbow chard

Parsnips, rainbow chard and broccoli are also all in season now. You can make a great soup with parsnips, turmeric, rosemary yoghurt and tahini. Rainbow chard is brilliant to use in tarts and filo or corn wraps…and makes the best tortilla with smoked paprika and potato – great with a bitter leaf salad with a thick mustard dressing! Broccoli can be served so many ways but I like to blanch it, keeping it crunchy and vibrant green; great to serve with roasted veggies (squash being the main ingredient!).

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Tangerine slices caramelising in the pan

And of course tangerines are readily available in the run up to Christmas, great to juice for a drink or to make granita with, adding a little sugar and lemon juice – personally I like to add a splash of Campari or Amaretto before freezing as I think it adds a little zing to a rich dessert. You can also make little creamy tangerine pots with a spiced biscuit, or serve caramelised tangerine slices with a piece of gooey ginger or chocolate and almond cake!

Speaking of Christmas, I usually give it some thought about five minutes before it happens! But now, with the café, I have to think ahead. I’ll be making mince pies, fusion teas, biscuits and bottles of Glogg (a Scandinavian soft drink, best added to a wine or a cocktail for the festive season!).

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New window signage and seasonal decorations

Bunches of bay leaves to decorate the café

Bunches of bay leaves in beautiful coloured glass

The gallery next door will be hosting a private viewing next week, and I’m really looking forward to providing canapés for the guests – this makes the café space even more exciting, as it allows me to be a part of this too.

And looking to the New Year, my plan is to have a little grocery shelf and small fridge, to stock some bare essentials that customers can pick up for a quick supper; from Lambert & Jackson’s smoked salmon from some really good-quality mozzarella, herbs and pasta…and maybe a takeaway meal for those who just don’t fancy cooking that night!