It has been holiday time at Cake Towers this week.
We are lucky enough that Noah’s school has a 2 week break at this time of year, which enables us to have slightly cheaper options when it comes to picking a holiday destination.
So yet again we headed off to Center Parcs, our 4th visit to Whinfell Forest up near Penrith. A favourite? Possibly. It’s certainly closer than the others and the central leisure complex is covered which helps when its raining…..something that probably happens more often than not up in the Lakes! I guess it’s just more convenient than driving to Longleat, Sherwood or Elveden Forests. We’ll probably try Woburn when the trees have grown a bit.
As we have previously done, some activities have been pre-booked – Laser Clay, Aqua-fit, Aerial Tree Trekking and Mini Crossbow and our first nights meal. The rest of the time we just leave for ‘going with the flow’. Its our time. A time to get back together, to reflect, to remember who we are and to spend quality time with each other. And as we did last year in Elveden Forest, we took the 7 day break. It generally takes us a couple of days to wind down and grow accustomed to each other, after that we can start to enjoy the holiday. So a busy weekend ensued before we headed into the week.
Food and dining out is always a problem. There are always some inconsistencies. A ‘Gluten-sensitive’ menu, is not gluten free. But it’s not fair on Noah if we don’t get to eat out. He doesn’t otherwise get to experience a restaurant. But he does end up eating the same foods for children….chicken, chips and peas/sweetcorn. But we do take some risk with this and we do put Noah at the mercy of the particular outlet. The outlet, the training of the staff and the dynamics of the kitchen, its layout and the diversity of where the different foods are cooked and presented. It is a nightmare trying to make that decision. It’s also not fair on the rest of the family as it otherwise means we miss out too. The Café Rouge experience on our first night was laughable. After having explained Noah’s intolerance, we were still served the Children’s menu starter of breads and veg sticks. ‘You’ve paid for it so I thought you might as well have it…’ good thinking yes, but take the bread off!!
So we ended up eating in a lot.
Which as it turned out wasn’t of course difficult. Eating freshly made food always helps and there is a good selection of gluten free foods in the ‘Parc Market’ Although priced slightly higher than your average supermarket or corner shop, there is a wide enough variety of foods to get you through your break.
And it seems there is always something new to find in the gluten free aisle! And this lucky find went down a right treat – made by the lovely people at Bakedin, a monthly baking kit delivered to your door with recipes endorsed by one Michel Roux! (I met him once) link here –
Obviously they are also available in selected outlets. But it’s not often we find something good in the gluten free aisle and so we snapped these up sharpish!
They are sooo easy to make and a little robust in the methodology…they would have to be for a holiday destination, as finding the right ingredients and having them to hand can be tricky. But we managed to make it work with Lurpack ‘Slightly Salted’ and with semi skimmed milk.
The pack contains 4 sachets of the brownie mix, a sachet of mini marshmallows and instructions. Sadly you can only make 1 sachet at a time, but by the time they are all ready, they should be cold enough to eat..
You take your mug and melt some butter (or alternative) in the microwave, remove and stir in the sachet and then stir in 2 (I used 4 as I’m not always good with instructions 😀) tablespoons of milk. Then depending on microwave wattage cook on full for 1 minute. And then wait……its blinking hot at this point so wait for it to cool. They recommend 5 minutes, which if you sprinkle on some of the mini marshmallows, they’ll melt nicely 😋😋😋. Or you could add ice cream, but there’s not much freezer space in the Center Parcs accommodation. Point worthy of note….use a small mug, otherwise it appears a small portion. But you can only use what you have to hand.
And then we certainly enjoyed them.. But now I need to make my own ‘cake-in-a-mug’….so watch this space 😄
After that, you’d be forgiven for thinking that was the highlight of the week, but as ever for us it’s the wildlife. There is an abundance of pigeons and rabbits of course, but we saw woodpeckers, pheasants, a baby red deer and one fantastic moment when we saw a stoat! It was hiding from a rabbit, but the rabbit was having none of it. Don’t know what the stoat had done, but the bunny was not best pleased! We made plenty of time for swimming, as the weather was, for the first time for years, fantastic, we were very lucky. We even took the opportunity to try to get Noah and his sister to try to ride bikes without stabilisers. We almost got there…
And home we came. A well-earned break before it starts all over again and we try to sort out where we go next. It might involve a plane, it probably won’t involve a trip to a lodge. At least for a few years as its time for something different 😊😉