So what is this all about? I have had 2 instances in the last year when I have ordered a dish in a cafe with maple syrup and I have been given some taste alternative. First time my maple syrup was  replaced with  cheap golden syrup – not the same thing, and the second time I was given a turkish grape juice thing – quite nice, but  definitely not the same . I am not sure why people think it is ok to put maple syrup on the billing, then just decided to change it with out a ‘by your leave’.

During a day out, late  last summer, ‘Porridge with Maple Syrup‘ at Browns in Canary Wharf arrived as Porridge with Some Sort of  Seriously Sugary Yellow Syrup…which is, to my taste buds a completely different thing. Maple syrup is the sap from a tree, not the sweepings of the sugar factory floor – ok it is boiled down so is mostly sugar, but it has a lovely  taste, has a few nutrients still intact unlike its golden syrup sibling  that is just too sweet and sickly for my tastes. ’Sorry’ they say when I point out the error, ‘we ran out of Maple Syrup so we are giving you a cheap alternative to it, and we did not bother telling you, because we are assuming you have no sense of taste and would not notice the difference.’ Harsh? I don’t think so when you are paying almost 4 quid for a bowl of porridge, and the difference in price between an egg cup of maple syrup and other syrup would be a pretty marked little profit.

I am now quite cynical about  the billing of maple syrup on a menu. Today, in a very nice turkish place in north London, that does a mean shish, I  felt I had better double check – asked the waiter “will it be real maple syrup with my yoghurt and pistachios?’ “yes “( all a bit mono syllabic)…the dish arrived I put my finger in the ‘maple syrup’ “Are you sure this is maple syrup?” “yes”. It soooooo obviously was not. I caught the  manager-looking-chap’s eye “can I see the bottle that this ‘maple syrup’ came from please?”, and out comes the jar of  turkish syrup made from grape juice ( the only word in english on the bottle) -it seems if you boil anything for long enough it becomes a syrup . Ok, so it tasted alright but that is really not the point…is it? well is it?… Am I being too picky? Is it ok for a cafe or restaurant to just change the ingredient ( and we are talking about dishes with only 2 or three ingredients) and just not mention it? Surely there is a law out there? Comments please……..

Rant over…

SONG OF THE DAY – Plumbline – 100 9a – From the Album  – Pin Points

Some  call this genre IDM -Intelligent Dance Music…This is not my favourite track of the album which is 555 W24, but so classy it is not on youtube. “Pin Points, Plumbline’s second full-length, continues with the theme of maps, locations, and architecture, although its focus is much more local: New York City. The buildings used had a strong visual, architectual, or emotional connection, each building then went on to represent a track on the CD. Armed with a microphone and DAT recorder the ambience of each building was recorded.” cool. I love the atmosphere of this piece. The album is  excellent to listen to on journeys. Mt chill out of choice at the moment. Thanks mr P.

There are some who will quote that ‘love is what love does’. It is possibly one way of looking at it I suppose. Today is my birthday ( shh don’t tell anyone) and the first session of choir for the summer term, so I thought I would bake a cake. A gluten, dairy free cake. A lemon, almond polenta cake made with olive oil. The problem is, I reallly am not a cake maker and when the cake was finished it looked decidedly rough! Dippy in the middle and a different colour. I was a bit worried as I replaced several of the ingredients.

I did not have almond milk, so I chucked in coconut milk, and I did not have almond essence, so I used vanilla, and I used dark brown sugar, and something spooky happened, when I liquidised the lemon, all this wierd  scientist experiemental vapour came wafting out of the blender.

Well the cake is out now, I left it in for 20 minutes longer than allotted and we tried the middle slice and darn me, if it is not the moistest most delicious cake I have ever tasted

Wow! What a fantastic workshop that was today, thanks to 25 amazing teachers who took the time out to come and spend the day at the Ark with me…on a Saturday!

The Ark is an great  place. Lovely staff. I am so looking forward to my return visit in a few weeks. Next time I visit, I am staying longer and I shall be singing with classes of kids and families – that’s all type of families click here.   I had a bit of a walk round Dublin after the workshop  -it was a bit full of crazy excited rugby fans and Ireland had just won!  I saw Oscar Wilde ( well a statue of him in the park, and I cannot for the life of me understand why this photo keeps turning on its side, even in death he continues to be a rebel…baaa!) a green post box, the grounds of Trinity College, and ate a fantastic rib eye steak (vegetarians look away!) as I  need to keep my strength up for the mammoth journey home tomorrow, which will be a culinary desert for a gluten free person. Ferries and trains have never had a window for the ‘special diets’…Wish me luck!


Listen very carefully now..this video will save you a fortune in therapy bills. ha ha!

  Well he should, but probably won’t. His   “Potential Royal Rotundness” as he might be called soon, has single handedly made 2 large Delia Christmas cakes, which I suspect he is going to eat all on his own in a darkened room, turning down invitations to parties etc. so he can stay at home and eat cake. And why ever not!  He is ‘having his cake and eating it’, which I have to  applaud, as I think that saying  that says you can’t, is just plain unimaginative , because if you have two cakes, you can have  cake and eat it …for a while at least.

Last night Mr P. finally iced and marzipanned ( it is a verb! yeh!) the first of his two christmas cakes – the gluten free one, which he pretends he made for me. He has been feeding it with brandy almost every day for about 6 weeks. I did have a little 2 inch square just to say I have tried it and it is RICH, moist and very alcoholic. I probably will not have any more as it really is not my kind of thing, but watch this space as I may be doing regular updates on where the Christmas cakes have gone. I thought Christmas cake was a bit like wedding cake, that you shared it around, wrapped it in little packets, and gave it to people took it places with you etc etc……mmmmmmm fat chance….


If I could go back in time, this is one of the places I would go and I would be on that soul train…I love love love it!