Similes and Metaphors

Will Write for Food

Did you all have a good Christmas? I hope so.

I have not posted for quite a while, so thought it about time I improved my (Food) writing skills. You may or may not know it, but I am embarking on my second (Clandestine Cake Club) cook book and feel the need to improve my writing skills further. Over the last few months I have completed intro drafts for 100 recipes and 12 chapters. But I feel as though there is definitely room for improvement.

Internet searches took me along to Dianne Jacob and her book “Will Write for Food” and a trip to Leeds with the Gent, sealed the purchase. I don’t know about you, but I love the tactile approach when buying books at the book shop, something you don’t get when you buy online without seeing the book first, and I do like to support the high street as much as I can, even when it is a nationwide book store.

I never make New Year resolutions, most are broken the following day or fizzle away until resurrected again the following New Years Eve when we say I will definitely do it next year, but never do.

I always avoid tempting fate, it has a habit of giving you what you want, but not in the way you want it. But with a lot of work, lots of reading and determination, I may find that I can fill the next 12 months with interesting encounters around food and other topics.

One thing that has to change is the blog name. No longer is there a Secret Tea Room in the house, and my life is filled with other things besides baking cakes. I love to grow Phalaenopsis for instance and have a window sill full of them.

So with my first post of 2015 complete, what skills are you hoping to improve on this year?


Soak your Sponge in a Simple Syrup


Simple Syrup

Why not make a simple syrup using your favourite liqueur, adding a hint of extra flavour to your cakes.


For the Syrup

  • 110ml Water
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 1 peel of lemon zest
  • 1/2 vanilla pod split down the centre.
  • 80ml of your favourite liqueur.

Method for the Syrup

  • Put the water, sugar and lemon zest in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and add the seeds and empty pod to the saucepan.
  • Boil for 3 mins to syrup consistency.
  • Take off the heat and add your Liqueur ( today I am using Pimms ). Leave to cool.

Sponge soaked in Syrup

This syrup is suitable for brushing over, still warm, Loaf Cakes, several times. Making tiny holes with a skewer will help the syrup penetrate through the depths. Leave the cake in the tin to soak up all the flavours before turing out onto a wired wrack.

Also suitable for brushing over several layers of cake sponge before adding fillings and sandwiching them together.

Strawberries and Syrup

Add a couple of tablespoons of syrup to fresh strawberries and use to sandwich your sponge layers together.

You can of course go the whole hog and add undiluted Liqueur to your sponge cakes. But for a subtle flavour I suggest a syrup instead.

Keep any leftover syrup in the fridge and  use within a  week or double up the quantities and bottle in your favourite jars, remembering to sterilise them before you do.