ARTIGIANO - Summer Cocktail Menu {Reading, Berkshire}

The night before I moved into my new flat I tagged along with my friend and fellow blogger Alyssia to Artigiano in Reading town centre for a fun night of cocktails and pizza!

Artigiano has been providing great coffee in Reading for over a year now! There are four other locations in the UK - St Pauls, Reading, Exeter, and Working St, Cardiff - I can’t speak for the other locations, but I love the Reading location it’s comfy and trendy!

During the day they sell the best coffee and by night they serve some amazing cocktails and provide entertainment. Follow your local Artigiano Facebook page for events and such as the website doesn't provide that information!

They showed us how to make 5 different cocktails from their new summer menu before allowing us each to have a go at making our favourite! Mine favorite was the Arti’s Espresso Martini - Artigiano is known for it’s coffee so it’s no surprise but first they showed us how to make their most popular cocktail....

The Porn Star Martini served with a shot of Prosecco. The Prosecco is meant to be sipped while drinking the martini to help cleanse the palette so to speak.

Then we made a Margarita, Arti’s Espresso Martini, Cointreau Fizz Tea, and last but not least the Bramble! The thing with cocktails is that they do actually contain a fair amount of alcohol and by the time you’ve had one or two you feel a bit tipsy! For the full menu why not stop in or visit the website for more details!

We finished up the night by trying out their artisan pizza. They were very good, the vegetarian one was my favorite!!

Overall it was a good night out - they provided us with a goodie bag full of everything we needed to make our own Gin and Tonic! I have more photos/videos over on my instagram - go have a look! 

If you are thinking "Gee! Not only does drinking cocktails sound fun, but making them sounds even more fun!" then visit the Exeter branch as they are offering a Create - Your - Own Cocktail Experience where one of the resident mixologists helps you create 3 different cocktails. At £20 a person, 4 people or more, it's a pretty good deal! See the website for more details and stay tuned perhaps the Reading branch will be following suit? 

As I mentioned I went along with my friend! 
Why not check out her post over on her blog Alyssia Rose!!

notes: I was invited along as a guest with another blogger, therefore I was not asked to provide a review nor was I given any form of compensation except for the food and drink on the night. All opinions are my own - for more information please see my contact/policy page above!

Perfecting Sourdough by Jane Mason {a book review}

Jane Mason has written 3 books on a topic she has a real passion for. Bread. Her latest title, Perfecting Sourdough, was published in May, but her love of sourdough started way before then. A long time ago her friend gave her a very old wheat sourdough starter and a copy of an old American sourdough book.

Each sourdough starter has a story, a history so to speak, and Ms. Mason’s had traveled far and wide. Even though she can’t share her sourdough starter with us, she can teach us how to make our own and in doing so we can begin our very own sourdough story.

How to make a starter isn’t the only thing this book gives us. It gives us the basic knowledge on bread, sourdough, and the ingredients and equipment we need to get started. Then it gives us recipes for Batter Breads, Everyday Rye, Everyday Wheat, Flavoured Wheat, and Sweet Breads and Buns. The book ends with top tips on sourdough and a bit on bread and our health.

Bread has been given a bit of a bad rep in recent times with so many people having gluten intolerances. If you have a sensitivity to bread and you aren’t a coeliac it might be worth having a look at the additives in your bread and in turn having a go at making your own bread. Who doesn't love the smell of freshly baked bread wafting through their home?

I have found myself a jar to get my starter started and can’t wait to share with you how I get on. I especially can’t wait to have a go at making my very own San Francisco Sourdough to make bread bowls with. Along with the Onion and Olive Bread, Rosemary Bread, Cheese and Onion Bread, and Cinnamon Rolls!!

Jane Mason takes the mystery out of sourdough and gives us to it straight that it’s actually a lot easier to make! Especially once you’ve got your starter sorted. Making bread is a very simple idea, but sometimes if it wasn’t proved long enough or under or over kneaded the bread doesn’t turn out just right. These things take experience and practice so don’t give up! Try again. Keep moving forward.

In the words of Jane Mason “Everything is good toasted, even if it’s ugly.”

notes: I was given a copy of Perfecting Sourdough by Jane Mason to review by the publisher, Apple Press. Retails at £14.99 and available now from your local book retailers or online! All opinions are my own, I was not given any other compensation nor was I asked to give a positive review, please see my contact/policy page for more information.

Let Today Be the Start of Something New

Hello! How are you?

I didn’t know how else to start this post. It’s been a while since I blogged and I have several things to share with you all my lovely readers. That is if any of you still exist?

United Cakedom’s blogversary was last week. It falls on a day that is in a series of days that have some importance.

June 9th - the day I moved to the UK (2005)
June 10th - the day I moved into my very own flat (2016)
June 11th - the day I started United Cakedom (2011)
June 12th - the day my friend Lauren was born (we will leave the year out)

This time of month just seems to be a turning point where things happen to me and things get muddled and I miss important things like my blogversary. I mean how could I forget my blog! It’s the one place where I can express myself and feel like life isn’t just about the daily grind.

When I went to Food Bloggers Connect last September at one of the courses/lessons given by the amazing Urshavi Roe she asked us why do we blog? There are many reasons why I love blogging, but the first answer I wrote down was because it was a place for me to have a voice.

Now I haven’t been baking as much as I used too or should I say I am experimenting less. I tend to stick to my favorite recipes and make them over and over again. Since I haven’t been baking I’ve been catching up on a lot of books I have been meaning to read. Reading a book is a lot easier to fit in and around all the normal day stuff then baking is.

I have noticed that the new trend in blogs isn’t to have a niche, but to be a little bit of everything. I think eventually blogs evolve like that because blogs are personal and no one is just one thing. We’ve all seen High School Musical - we don’t all fit into one mold.

I started blogging as a mommy blogger and then a book blogger before settling into being a baking blogger or more broad of a term a food blogger! I won’t be changing my blog name, but I will be adding more and more lifestyle things into my blog. With events and book reviews and days out with my girls.

I hope you stick around to see it.

Part of the reason I've been a bit absent is that I've moved into a new flat! It's all been a bit crazy! I also just hooked up the internet! Look at me being all independent!! In the next few weeks I have a recent event I went to to share with you as well as a few new books I want to show you! Along with my summer reading list, maybe a movie, a giveaway, and my new baking adventures with the little freestanding thing I now call my oven.

Until then!!

photos: Top - Arthur Newbury Park, Reading, England. Second - Plenty of counter space in my new flat for my pretty mixer. I've been told that KitchenAid now do a matching pink kettle and toaster. Maybe if I am really good this year Santa will be nice to me? Third - Bought at Dunelm Mills a few years back and it now sits on my kitchen counter! Fourth - My bookcase that houses all my cookbooks. I had asked fellow bloggers and foodies how they keep their cookbook collection from going mad! A few said they just let it go mad and collect and keep all cookbooks they come across. Another few said they have a set number that is set and will switch books out every so many months or so. Others just told me to keep the ones I love and can't live without! So about half of these are ones I can't live without and the other half are ones I am waiting to see if I can't live without them. Time will tell. Last photo - my new cooker! I was weary at first, it's the one white good that came with the flat, but it's actually proven to be okay. It heats up relatively fast and so far as cooked everything I put in it. Now hopefully in the up coming weeks I will see how it does with cakes, cookies, and brownies!