On Sunday I went up to Bath to watch the Royal Ballet School Junior Associate Experience classes. They give young dancers the opportunity to experience what it would be like to be a junior associate of the Royal Ballet School. I was keen to see for myself the training programme that the Royal Ballet School use and if I could pick up some helpful tips to bring back to my own classes. I found the two hour class very informative and it gave me lots of ideas to take away and use in my own ballet classes.
I stopped off at Ben’s Cookies to pick up Steve a little gift. They do the best cookies in town and a trip to Bath wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Ben’s Cookies!
Before that I needed to get myself a cup of tea as I was flagging a little from the two hour journey there. I found a cute little tea room near the Abbey called Jacobs. They had a wonderful cake selection displayed in the window so it called me in. I ordered a breakfast tea and a vegan banana and chocolate loaf cake then took a seat in one of the small rooms upstairs. The tea was just what the doctor ordered.. A lovely loose leaf breakfast blend which really hit the spot and perked me up no end. My cake was delicious. Beautifully moist with just the right amount of chocolate chips and banana. So yummy!
Thursday was my usual day off and I had plenty of things planned.. Am I ever any different? I needed a quick farmers market visit for my Almond Thief Bakery, veggie stock up from Shillingford Organics and Linscombe Farm before I met my chum at Base + Barley for a breakfast development meeting. They had asked me to pop down and try their new breakfast/brunch menu and give my honest feedback on what works and what doesn’t. I was thrilled to be asked as breakfast is one of my most favourite meals of the day. I can’t leave the house without breakfast. It’s the first thing that I think about when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I think about before I drop off at night. Obviously waiting until 10am for something to eat wasn’t something I could do so I sliced open a delicious pink grapefruit from my veg in a box as a little pre breakfast taster. It was zingy and delicious.. A perfect taste bud wake up for my breakfast development meeting.
So, back to Base + Barley. As you know if you are a regular reader of my blog I live very close to the restaurant so it opening for breakfast excites me. Having another great local venue for a good cuppa or hot chocolate alongside some tasty treats is definately a winner for me.
We were treated to a cross section of the menu to see what we felt worked and didn’t. My personal favourite was the filled freshly baked croissant with brie, spinach and roasted cherry tomatoes. The croissants were beautifully buttery with a lovely crispy and flakey exterior that you get with a freshly baked croissant. It’s making my mouth water thinking about it now! We were given two further filled croissants to try.. Prosciutto ham with mozerella and rocket and Wiltshire ham, Gruyere cheese and tomato. I tried a little of both and the flavour combinations were good but not being a meaty fan I left those for my chum Laura to consume. I didn’t see any complaints.
The next thing presented to us was one of the two choices of American style pancakes. Pancakes with berry compote, banana and maple syrup. Pretty good and a nice flavour in the berry compote. Having the maple syrup on the side was nice as you could add as little or as much as you fancied. We decided on lots!
Next came the bagel choice. We had cream cheese, avocado, roasted tomato and rocket. A lightly toasted seeded bagel filled with a good amount of cream cheese and avocado. You could have had smoked salmon, cream cheese and rocket or bacon and avocado.
Our last taster was the eggs royale. The eggs were cooked to perfection. Perfectly shaped and an oozing runny yolk. These were placed on some crunchy sourdough toast and smoked salmon. Hollandaise sauce finished off the dish. Thankfully it wasn’t swamped in sauce. I can’t stand it if the toast goes soggy!
For the breakfast purist there is a full English and a vegetarian choice which will suit a lot of people. Or maybe porridge with a fruity compot is more your thing? There is a good cross section of choice for all appetites. The only thing I would say is that it doesn’t really differ too much from all the other breakfast menus out there. How about some delicious French toast with roasted cherry tomatoes , a cheesey baked strata or a frozen smoothie bowl? Just thinking out loud…
The prices all come in at £7.95 or under which is good. Add a tea, coffee or a juice and you are looking at about £10.00. Not bad for a breakfast/brunch as a special occasion. I can see myself going back on a weekend with a group of friends and sitting enjoying the food, atmosphere and chit chat for an hour or two. It would be most pleasurable.
I popped over to Exe Coffee Roasters to see the sister company to Devon Coffee Company in its “finished” state. It opened on Monday and was proving popular with the locals and passing trade. I had seen the property months ago when Steve, the owner had shown me around the building site that it was. I had to use my imagination to see through the rubble and dust to picture what it would be. It didn’t disappoint.. A crisp colour pallet of grey, white, orange and yellow. Very sleek but at the same time cosy with a few scatter cushions thrown here and there. When I arrived it was pretty busy which was great to see. Steve was there so I asked how business had been over the last few days and he seemed pretty chuffed with how everything had gone. It’s always a daunting process when you start a new venture.. Things go through your head and you wonder if it will work or if people will get the concept.
I sat in what I think was the best seat in the house.. A little booth at the back of the store overlooking Newtown. I ordered myself a hot chocolate and a flapjack. I was then gifted a piece of rather yummy frangipane from Okemoor Bakery. I will be putting up a full post with more pictures soon.
Thursday evening was “date night” as Steve and I ventured out into the cold to listen to a bit of music at Artigiano. We decided on staying for a bite to eat. I will be posting a full review soon. Here are a few pictures in the meantime.
I’ve been working on some recipes with Veg In A Box this week and have thoroughly enjoyed the process. As I have said before, the quality of the produce is superb and it’s been a pleasure working with them. Here are a few pictures that I will share from my upcoming blog post dedicated to Veg In A Box.