Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Lantana is on Holiday

Reopening 8am Monday 5 January

Until then, be nice to your family, remember to hydrate and make a resolution to have lots of good food and coffee at Lantana in 2009.
I was going to post a photo of this sign I put on the door of Lantana tonight but as I went to take the photo my camera said "change battery pack" so I tried to take one with my phone but it said "memory card full".

Yes indeed.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

This customer is a cut above

Since opening our doors three months ago, Lantana has built up a small band of regulars who incorporate us into their daily routine.

One of these regulars is Steven, an Australian hairdresser from Sydney who is the manager of a hairdressing salon around the corner from Lantana which, I was delighted to discover, is called Clipso; upholding the great tradition of bad punnery which hairdressing salons (and bloggers) are renowned for.

Steven comes in on his way to work each day for a takeaway flat white and a porridge topped with toasted muesli, maple syrup and hot milk.

If he can manage to get away from the salon during the day, he returns to feed his three coffee a day habit and usually polishes off a friand or piece of banana bread as he stands chatting to us at the counter.

I didn’t realise until recently that its actually Steven I have to thank for finding the site for Lantana on Charlotte Place. Steven has lived in London for 7 years and, like many Australians, lamented the scarcity of good coffee and cafes. He says he used to walk down Charlotte Place on his way to work and "visualise a cool, quirky Australian type café” which served great food and not “shitty toasted sandwiches”. Voila! Lantana opened. That is some powerful positive visualisation.

Steven, you'll always have a special place in our heart at Lantana - a friand in need is a friand indeed.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Not blagging, baking. Honest gov’nor.

The other night I had a dream that two uniformed policemen came to the café to question me about my blag. "Do you mean my blog", I asked? "No, it’s your blag we are interested in. We’ve heard from various sources that you’re a blagger".

I kept insisting that I have been blogging, not blagging, but they wouldn’t believe me and as they threatened to close down the café I awoke in a sweat. True story. What is my subconscious trying to tell me?

This week there is to be no blagging, barely any blogging, just a bit of baking: a less offensive use of hot air.

Orange and Cranberry Torte (serves 10)
From the December 2008 issue of delicious. (Thanks for the magazine freebies and this damn fine recipe which is definitely going to become part of my repetoire).

350g ground almonds
350g castor sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
3 teaspoons baking powder
8 large free range eggs lightly beaten
400ml sunflower oil
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon and 2 oranges
200g dried cranberries
3 cloves

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C

In a bowl, combine ground almonds, 300g of castor sugar, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and the baking powder. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs and oil. Mix together then add the dried cranberries and zest. Combine.

Pour into greased and lined springform cake tin and bake for 50 minutes to an hour- until skewer comes out clean.

Meanwhile gently heat the citrus juices in a pan with the remaining 50g sugar, cloves and remaining cinnamon until sugar dissolves. Increase heat an simmer for 3 minutes.
Remove cake from oven an pierce a few times with a skewer. Drizzle cake with the syrup and leave for an hour to soak in. Transfer cake to wire rack and decorate with extra cranberries.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

I have a dream

"Australian proprietress Shelagh Ryan is determined to make London a better place by serving quality, no-nonsense food and proper coffees to the people.”

Well its not world peace, but it’s something. This week Lantana was featured in Timeout as one of the best places in London for coffee, thanks, in part, to the ‘coffee super-couple’ of Monmouth coffee and our La Marzocco espresso machine.

But while ‘LaMouth’ receive most of the attention and the accolades, they would be nothing without their team of personal assistants, otherwise known as baristas: Rachel Mary, Geoff, and Kirbie (who is currently on tour).

The barista supercouple; RM and Geoff.

RM throwing some shapes on the coffee machine...and on the coffee.

I am honoured that Lantana has been recognised for its good deeds towards coffee; helping to make the world a safer place for coffee drinkers.

According to RM and Geoff, the top five crimes against coffee committed throughout the developed world are: screaming milk, syrups, bucket cups, mugachinos and towers of froth.

And crimes against baristas? RM cited a customer who ordered a half caf / half decaf semi skim cap with soy froth. Thankfully not a Lantana customer.

Geoff, RM and Kirbie, thankyou for ensuring that I never have to go far for a fantastic coffee.