Wednesday, 24 April 2013

A Merry Unbirthday!

Today we have a guest blog from Colin Shelbourn. The wonderful illustrator who designs all our cartoons, including the lovely cake lady herself and our new Limited Edition Cake Cards. Here he is to tell you more about how it came about!

When an illustrator receives a commission, the client usually has a specific remit in mind. Sometimes too specific and the illustrator becomes a hired pencil. Cartoonists don’t respond well to that. You hire me, you get the ideas as well as the pencil (or brush pen and Wacom tablet, in my case). 

By contrast, a Twitter conversation with Abi at The Cake Nest sparked the faintest of faint notions and I immediately knew this was going to be a fun project. No brief, no deadline, just a generous “what if?” commission. What if people had something to celebrate on the days when they didn’t have a birthday?

I’m often commissioned to draw postcards - you can see some of them here ( - but have been thinking for a while that a range of my own greeting cards would be fun to try in my online shop. And Abi was after something unusual for The Cake Nest, so … a couple of days later, the first of the Un-Birthday card designs appeared. 

It’s a rolling commission so watch out for new designs over the coming weeks. They’ll be on sale as cake cards to begin with - Abi sparked the idea off, after all - and then later as greetings cards over at 

Either way, we hope you’ll find them delicious.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Foodie Festival Competition

Foodies will be showing off the best of Cheshire and beyond for the third year running in the beautiful grounds of Tatton Park on May 17th, 18th & 19th 2013.

Restaurants will be taking centre stage at this year's event with the hugely successful ChaophrayaThe Lord Binning and Stolen Lamball running pop-up eateries at the event.
Chefs Theatre and Childrens Cookery Theatre 2013 timetables now available! Timetables for some of this year’s features are not yet available but for an idea of what to expect please click the links below to see what delights we had on in 2012.
Fancy getting your hands on a pair of tickets to this? Well we may just be able to help 

We have three pairs of tickets to give away. All you have to do is tell us in no more than 140 characters (ie a text message or a tweet) why you would like go and who with, simples! Tweet, Facebook or email us your answer by Sunday 21st April for your chance to win.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Kitchen Organisation Tips

If you follow us on Facebook, you will have seen our "Tip of the Day". We thought it may be quite good to put it together a bit more here for easy reference. No more juggling in the kitchen, let's start with the difference between "Use By" and "Best Before". Use by is for things like milk and eggs that go off and should be thrown away after that date. Best Before is much more open ended. It really depends on how it is stored and how long it's been open, for instance cereals and pasta. So here's to reducing food waste by storing things in the most appropriate place. 

The biggest guide is where shops store the item themselves. If you pick it up from a fridge, put it into your fridge. If it's on a shelf, pop it in the cupboard. However, you will find a few things need to be put in the fridge once opened, such as mayonnaise or jam. 
The next step is where to put everything in your fridge:
Top - Ready to Eat, butter, cheese, yogurts, cooked meats, etc
Middle - Raw foods, meat, fish, etc
Bottom - Leafy Vegetables and fruit like cherries and pineapples, down in the salad draw
Don't put bread in the fridge it doesn't like it and there really is no point in putting eggs in either. Just think when you next want to bake a cake, room temperature eggs are best!

Freeze meats and fish when you get back from the shops, then just take out what you need the night before. This way you will always have fresh food and no waste when you realise something has gone past it's best in the fridge.
Overcooked? No problem, it doesn't mean you have to overeat or throw it out. Simply cool and pop it in the freezer. Don't forget to write what it is on top and when you put it in. This is generally a lot better than putting it in the fridge thinking you will eat it tomorrow as most don't and then it ends up in the bin anyway.

In the dark 
Root vegetables including onions, carrots, potatoes and garlic like it dark, it helps prevent sprouting. Keep them dry and cool but they don't need to go in the fridge.

Fruit Bowls
Stoned fruit like peaches, plums and nectarines will all keep ripening just like melons, mangoes and tomatoes. As do pears and apple. If you get through them quickly put them in a fruit bowl, we tend to put half of them out and the rest in the fridge. Watch out for apples though as they give off gases that can cause over foods to deteriorate, so if you can store them separately or just eat them quickly.

This is basically all your tins, pulses, cereals etc. Keep it neat is our only tip with this then you won't find that you actually have 20 cans of chopped tomatoes lurking at the back. This really is your store food, but that doesn't mean you don't eat it. An overstocked cupboard isn't efficient at all as the chances are you are buying things on impulse still not need - ooooo pureed chestnuts, they look good... (our own admission!)