Sunday, 24 March 2013

Byron, Cambridge, UK

I was rather excited when I found out a few weeks ago that Byron was coming to Cambridge. I really enjoyed it when I visited one of their branches in London a few years ago, as despite their focus on (meat) burgers they had a great range of side dishes and a very nice veggie burger. Two and a half years on, it was slightly disconcerting to find that the menu looked pretty much unchanged but I guess that's what sticking to your core concept is all about. The veggie burger remains a combination of mushroom, goat's cheese, and roasted pepper. Not amazingly exciting but done well. The courgette fries were an excellent alternative to potatoes, crispy and oil-free. The coleslaw was rather disappointing though, and tasted like something that could have come out of a supermarket tub. The MCP had another cob salad, which was declared to be good (though perhaps quite not as good as his first one). 

So anyway, I still really like Byron. The Cambridge branch is bright and airy, with cheery service, and there are plenty of things I'd like to eat on the menu that don't include meat. A pretty substantial lunch for two, with a couple of non-alcoholic drinks, came in at just under £30 (without service), so it's not going to break the bank. And now they are located in Cambridge, I'm hoping to return for a milkshake soon too.

12 Bridge Street
Cambridge CB2 1UF

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

A fantastic chocolate and prune cake

I really like prunes. For some reason, people often find this funny and start sniggering. I'm not sure why, as for me (really nice) prunes are super-juicy, succulent, and full of sweetness. They are also fab paired with chocolate in puddings and cakes. So when I had a bag of prunes that had been hanging around in my cupboard for a while, and some friends coming over for lunch, I sought out a chocolate and prune cake recipe.

Luckily one of the first I found was this one by cook and food writer David Lebovitz, which was fantastic. It produced an ultra-moist but mega-rich chocolate cake, which had a dense, almost mousse-y texture. The recipe also contained the great idea of soaking the prunes in black tea rather than booze for non-alcohol drinkers. I served the cake with a scoop of creme fraiche, and it disappeared quite rapidly (thus my lone slice picture above). I would make this cake again at the drop of a hat, but probably won't for a while due to the risk of me eating it all myself.