Grown-up Root Beer Float

Happy New Year, you lovely people! We spent our last day of 2016 cooking up a feast where every dish included chocolate (special shout-out to Steph's smoked trout dip).  We'll try to remember some of our experiments and post recipes on here at some point.  But, like many of you, we've spent most of today recovering. We had a lovely snowy constitution through the back woods of Steph's childhood home and came home looking for a thirst-quenching and sweet cocktail (you know, to replace those electrolytes we lost along the way ;-). 

We've been discovering some excellent new foods being Stateside. In particular, an incredible alcoholic root beer called 'Not My Father's'. And, having coconut rum left over from NYE pina coladas and three (yes, three!) dairy-free guests, we found ourselves with an accidentally vegan glass of deliciousness.  Be very careful as this cocktail is very potent! 

Cheers to 2017!! 

Grown-up Root Beer Float

2 Tbsp coconut rum
vanilla coconut milk "ice" cream (we used store bought)
handful of ice
alcoholic root beer (or regular if you can’t find it)
Whipped coconut (recipe below) 
coconut caramel (recipe below) 
sea salt caramel biscuits (we used store bought)

  1. In a blender, combine coconut rum, 1 large scoop coconut ice cream, and a handful of ice. Blend to combine, allowing the ice to crush, and a foam to form.
  2. Pour over a few ice cubes into a large glass and top with root beer. Stir gently to combine. 
  3. Top with a scoop of coconut ice cream, a dollop (or two) of whipped coconut, a generous drizzle of coconut caramel, and crushed caramel biscuits.
  4. Stick in a straw, and enjoy responsibly! 

Whipped Coconut

1 can coconut milk, chilled in the fridge at least overnight
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 Tbsp icing sugar

Very carefully flip the coconut milk can upside-down and, using a can opener, gently open the lid. All of the coconut water should be easy to pour out leaving you with the solid cream underneath. Pour away the water to use for another recipe, and scoop the cream into a mixing bowl.

Add the vanilla and icing sugar to the solid coconut. Using a handmixer, whip until fluffy.

Coconut Caramel

1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 tsp maldon sea salt

In a small pan, warm the coconut milk.

In a medium pan, spread the caster sugar evenly along the bottom of pan. Over low heat, begin to melt the sugar. Occasionally shake the pan to prevent burning of the sugar. It will quickly turn from solid to liquid and begin to brown quickly. Once melted, remove from heat.

Slowly pour the warmed coconut milk into the melted sugar and whisk constantly. Whisk in the sea salt. Allow to cool before serving.

Birthday Banana Pudding

Birthday Banana Pudding

Birthday Banana Pudding

Steph's little brothers are twins and celebrate their birthday very close to Christmas. For a special birthday dessert, one of them requested a favourite classic from the southern USA: banana pudding. Shucks, if it wasn't good! We kept in line with tradition and used American cookies called Nilla Wafers, but any of your favorite biscuit will work well- shortbread, Hobnobs, digestives, or something chocolate. For us, the lime cuts the sweetness just right, but if it doesn't strike your fancy, regular whipped cream works well too and stays true to the classic dessert itself. And, hey y'all, check out Steph's grandmother's trifle dish that features the pud in the pictures at the end of the post! 

Serves 8-12

Banana Creme Pat
3 yolks + 1 egg
175g caster sugar
3 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
240 ml whole milk
240 ml double cream
4 bananas, sliced and quartered

  1. In a medium bowl, combine yolks, egg, caster sugar, flour, and salt. Whisk well to combine.
  2. In a medium pot over medium heat, bring milk and cream to the boil. Remove from heat.
  3. Add a small amount of milk mixture into the sugar mixture whisking well. Continue to add milk mixture slowly until all is added.
  4. Pour mixture back into medium pot and return to medium heat.  Whisk continuously until mix thickens and boils.
  5. Pass into a shallow tray and cover with clingfilm.
  6. Refrigerate until cold (we stuck ours in a snowbank :-) We are loving using the snow for our kitchen adventures!). 
  7. Once chilled, gently fold in all banana pieces, distributing evenly.

Banana Puree
30g caster sugar
250g sliced ripe banana
10g lime juice (around 1/4 a lime)
10g good quality dark rum

  1. In a medium pan over medium heat, spread sugar evenly over the bottom of the dry pan. 
  2. Melt until golden brown.
  3. Add bananas and mix roughly with spatula until a puree forms.
  4. Add lime juice and rum, and mix well.
  5. Remove from heat.

Banana Caramel
50g light brown sugar
115g unsalted butter
1/2 can condensed milk
banana puree (recipe above)
100g sour cream
10g lime juice

  1. In a medium pan over medium heat, bring sugar and butter to the boil. 
  2. Add condensed milk and whisk well. Continuing to whisk constantly, bring back to the boil until it changes colour and goes thick and dark. 
  3. Add banana puree, sour cream, and lime juice to milk mixture, blending with a stick blender until completely smooth.

Lime Syrup
zest 1 lime
100ml lime juice
100g caster sugar

  1. In a small pot over medium heat, mix all ingredients together and bring to boil.
  2. Once boiled, remove from heat and place outside in a snowdrift (or the fridge if a snowdrift is unavailable) until cold.

Lime Whipped Cream
lime syrup (recipe above)
300g double cream

  1. In a large bowl, pour the cream and the lime syrup.  Using a whisk, whisk until whipped cream.

To Assemble

In a trifle dish, pour all banana creme pat into the base of the dish. Next, layer the banana caramel on top of the banana creme pat (don’t feel you need to use all the caramel if you don’t want it). Add the whipped cream and spread evenly along the top. Finally, sprinkle with crushed or crumbled biscuits of choosing (we used American cookies called ‘Nilla Wafters’ which are traditionally used for this southern dish as a special request by the birthday boy). To finish, grate dark chocolate over the top. Top with a birthday candle and sing your heart out!

 

 

Biscoff Mocha Granola Bar

Biscoff Mocha Granola Bar

For an afternoon pick-me-up, these granola bars can't be beat. The hit of coffee and chocolate coupled with the crunch of the cookie and the chew of the oats is just right. No bake and just 2 dishes- so clean up is a breeze. As with most granola bars, these will test your strength and you may end up with crumbles instead of bars. Don't despair! They are equally good on a spoon or crumbled over dark chocolate ice cream :-) If you want them to be kid-friendly, use decaf coffee grounds or omit the coffee completely. 

And, as a very happy accident, they are VEGAN! We hope you enjoy these delicious treats! 

 

Biscoff Mocha Granola Bars

Ingredients:

30g toasted slivered almonds

2 tbsp finely ground roast coffee beans

120g old-fashioned rolled oats

70g crushed biscoff cookies (about 9 cookies)

30g crispy rice cereal

65 g good quality dark chocolate chunks

20g unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 tsp Maldon sea salt

180ml maple syrup

90ml light brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup almond butter

2 tsp extra virgin coconut oil

Method:

1. Line a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, mix together almonds, ground coffee beans, oats, biscoff, cereal, chocolate, coconut, and salt. 

3. In a small pot over low heat, stir together the maple syrup, light brown sugar, vanilla extract, almond butter, and coconut oil until combined. 

4. Bring to a simmer being very careful not to burn the mixture. Remove from heat.

5. Immediately pour the syrup mix over the oat mix and fully coat. 

6. Pour the mixture into your lined pan and spread it out evenly. Place a second piece of parchment over top of the mix and, using all your weight, press down firmly onto each inch of the pan.  The harder you press, the better the bars will stick together.

7. Place the pan into the refrigerate for 1 hour until the bars are firmly set and easy to slice. 

8. Any that you don’t eat (these are pretty moorish, so you may not need this information :-)) store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. 

#FigThanks

It's November! And months since I posted about our newborn- who is now practically a teenager! In all seriousness though, it's time to get back onto the blog to update you about what Figbar has been up to, and there is no better time than now. Especially because it's November- the month of Thanksgiving in the USA (my- Steph's- homeland!). To celebrate my favourite national holiday (aside from July 4th, but I figure that's not going to be so popular over here ;-), we at Figbar decided to give Thanks all month!

You can follow our hashtag #figthanks this month to see who we are thankful for. Of course, we started with you lovely lot of sweet-toothed people with a sweet deal on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays till 6pm this month: any dessert on our menu and a glass of Chapel Down Wines Sparkling Brut for £10! 

We feel so lucky to be part of the Norwich Lanes community and the community of the Fine City of Norwich, and we have a million people to be thankful for, so fitting everyone into one month is going to be impossible, but we are going to be doing our best to give thanks in the best way we know- with sugar and smiles! 

November isn't just for giving thanks; however, as we watch fireworks and bonfire light up our nights, Chef Jaime has given us a throwback to our youths with a special chocolate caramel krispy treat. I'd recommend a pairing with his delicious hot chocolate- a coveted recipe he won't even share with me!  Hot chocolate is on our menu all the time, but those squares are gone once they are sold, so I'd be in like a shot!

We also- as the media has been reminding us for awhile- have the USA election this month. So please join us on Tuesday, November 8th to stress and worry and then on Wednesday, November 9th (and all days thereafter) to commiserate/celebrate! As with giving thanks- sugar and smiles should solve any election troubles, shouldn't they?

So, just a quick hello again from me- I'm back to getting organized, so watch this blogspace for more pictures and love from us. In the meantime, we are so thankful for you!! Don't forget to follow along this month on our social accounts at #figthanks :-D 

We Have a Little Fig!

As many of you know, we welcomed a new member to the Figbar Family- an adorable (if I do say so myself) little baby girl named Ariele.  She was born on Tuesday, August 16th, and many of you noticed we closed our doors for a few days while I recovered (the midwives at the Norwich and Norfolk University Hospital were fab!), and Jaime & Ella took care of me.  

We had special celebration cookies when we reopened Friday- featuring some of my favourite American goodies: butterscotch chips and rainbow sprinkles! (Special shoutout to my mom who showed up from the USA 2 days after Ariele was born with 20lbs of butterscotch chips in her luggage!  I wonder what customs thought about that one! :-) 

I've been taking a backseat while Ariele gets to know the world, but we are both visiting Figbar as much as possible, and she is hoping to meet all of you soon!  In the meantime, we have some great women who have joined the team (hey Vicky, Leah, Dani, and Poppy!), and, of course, Jaime isn't going anywhere!  

Jaime also managed to get two new desserts on the menu in my absence: Tea 'n' Toast (earl grey creme brûlée, lemon curd, toasted brown bread ice cream, squashed fly biscuits, & cornflakes) and Mojito (minted kaffir lime mousse, lime curd, rum ice cream, brown sugar, & lime sherbet).

And (more importantly?) our wine list is slowly getting longer (now that I'm not pregnant and getting back to my role as chief wine taster).  It's listed as a recommended pairing on the menu, but seriously try the 10-year-old Tawny port with the Snickers dessert.  It's phenomenal. 

I'll get some pictures up here soon for you, but follow us on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter for photo updates and to find out what we are up to on a daily basis.  See you all at Figbar soon!

One Month!

Well, we made it! One month of being open!  It's been some trial and error, but mostly a lot of joy.  We've ended the month with slightly altered hours (up-to-date on our website, but not yet on our door), some fabulous new staff members to cover me as I enter maternity (make sure you say 'hi' to Poppy, Dani, and Ellen!), an alcohol licence (Chapel Down Sparkling Brut and English Rose as well as Curious Beers and Cider, oh my!), and a few new desserts (the scrumptious American summer classic of S'mores and a beautiful Apricot & Pistachio dish). 

We've had a few dramas, like when we walked in one morning to a waterfall from one of the light fixtures- quickly sorted thanks to some great plumbers.  And the heat played havoc on our pastries- we've had to play croissants and pain au chocolate by ear every morning as we kept our fingers crossed the dough would rise well.  Radio Norfolk even came in to talk to us over cinnamon buns and coffee about how the heat was challenging to our new business.

We made some great new friends at Mustard TV when we chatted to Darren and Helen, but it was Ella who stole the show with her duck wellies and social media charm when she watched herself back off the television.

And we only have more to come!  This month is going to bring about a few new desserts that Chef Jaime has been testing in the kitchen as well as some wine pairings to match the desserts.  We've got a few new songs on the ipod, new cakes and breakfast offerings (while we wait for the croissant dough to rise!), and a cheeky savoury snack or two at lunch time (olive focaccia and jalepeno cornbread have been my favourites).

And now I'm 37 weeks pregnant, and a bit slower on my feet, I'll hopefully to get chat to more of you as I listen to my midwife and take more rests.  It's been such a pleasure reacquainting ourselves with this fine city of lovely people, and it's been our pleasure serving you your sugar fix for the past month.  Here's to August!

 

Opening Week Excitement!

Opening Week Excitement!

Well, Norwich, you have a bigger sweet tooth than we anticipated!  We opened last week on July 5th with a lot of excitement, a bit of nerves, and (what we thought) was a lot of food!  We poured our heart and souls, our love and money, and our combined skills into this place, and opening the doors to share it with you was definitely a bit scary!

One of the reasons we decided to move back to Norwich to open our family business is because of the community here, and you certainly showed us that.  Even though we felt we let you down when we had to close (twice! On Friday and on Saturday both for a few hours) because we ran completely out of all food including plated desserts, we had no complaints, just congratulations and encouragement and promises to visit when we could fill bellies again.  We felt so humbled in our opening week with the support of the Norwich community, and we just loved having you in and sharing our treats.  As you know, Jaime makes absolutely everything that is produced in this kitchen- the croissants and cinnamon rolls in the mornings, the cheeky little savouries at lunch, and, of course, his specialty- the desserts!  So in those few hours last week when we had to close to quickly allow ice cream to mix and set, brulees to set, and cakes to cool, we were so thankful to Norwich to letting us open our doors.

We had a few lovely visits last week a well from the Eastern Daily Press who wrote a piece about us.  Mustard TV stopped by for a little interview (did you catch our daughter Ella eating the pretzel and chocolate cookie in the segment?  That shirt may never recover from the chocolate stains! :-).  Leah Larwood from www.rootsandtoots.com wrote a gorgeous piece alongside some beautiful photos.  And Monocle 24 chatted with Jaime about all things dessert on their podcast The Globalist.

We've loved seeing your photos on social media and sharing our daily offerings, but best of all- we've loved meeting you!!

So after a week of 18 hour days (at my 34 week appointment yesterday, my midwife has since quashed that!), we are feeling a bit more organized though we are still finding our feet.  As we continue to learn in theses opening days and weeks, we know that the reason we can is because of you, Norwich (is that too cheesy??).

In any case, here are some pictures of from our opening week (interior shots by Leah Larwood) and more can be found on our Instagram/twitter/facebook @figbarnorwich (all linked at the bottom of our website).  Thank you again for your support! It's overwhelming and humbling and oh-so-exciting!

Quiet Test Launch and Opening Date Announcement!

Quiet Test Launch and Opening Date Announcement!

We quietly opened our doors this past Thursday and Saturday without fanfare or fuss to test out our systems and procedures.  There were a few setbacks- mostly little things like when I couldn't get the cash drawer to open (final solution? Turn the machine on and off again!), but overall a nice introduction to our flow.  

It was especially awesome to start to meet the great people of Norwich, all of whom were incredibly lovely and patient, especially with our apprehension with our coffee skills (we're good now, I promise!  But let me tell you, steaming milk for practice is much different than an order of four cappuccinos and the queue that follows it).

Check out this gallery of images I've put together from the dessert test on Thursday night and the day practice Saturday.  I know he's my husband, but I'm pretty in awe of Chef Jaime and his cooking/baking/plating/styling/food development skills.  I'm not kidding when I say everything you see-from the croissants to the brownies to the ice cream- is made daily in our Figbar kitchen.  If these food pictures don't bring you in, I just don't know what will! 

The most amazing news is, we are set to officially open our doors on Tuesday, July 5th at 8am!  We can't wait to see all you lovely people then!  

Testing, Testing

If you have smelled anything amazing in the past few days while walking around Maddermarket, blame Chef Jaime Garbutt.  He's been hard at work in the kitchen experimenting with the new pieces of equipment (oven, mixer, ice cream maker, oh my!), and deliciously fabulous ingredients.  I've been busy tasting lots of lovely things: brownies, croissants, pain au chocolate, granola bars, pork pie, cake, and more cake... ice cream, sauces, gluten free cake... fruit, powders, icings... and more cake.  And then he put them all together on exciting plates of just plain beauty.  This is one chef who knows what he's doing.

Here are a few photos I took of lovely things before they were devoured (scroll through the gallery, there are 6 in total).  We are so looking forward to having you in to try them, Norwich!  If all goes well, we'll announce an official opening date later this week!

 

Renovating, Decorating, and Building a Kitchen

We are a husband, (pregnant) wife, and 18-month-old daughter team renovating and decorating our family business.  Needless to say, we vastly underestimated the amount of time renovation may take.  Mostly because our mothers' weren't kidding: everything takes longer with a baby/toddler, and also because there is a lot I cannot do being pregnant (painting, for one, heavy lifting for another). 

Norwich is great.  The people and community here just upped and helped out.  We're old friends really (Jaime spent his formative teenage years and first cheffing jobs here, and I four years of post-graduate study), this city and us, but the support and friendship shown in these early weeks has been phenomenal.

Check out these pictures of the last few weeks in action!  Moving forward, our social media (@figbarnorwich twitter, Instagram, Facebook) will be chock-a-block of delicious food testing and behind-the-scenes image, but for now, here's us doing some hard graft getting things 'just so' before we open our doors to you.  To say Figbar is a labour of love is a bit of an understatement, and we hope you love the outcome a much as we do.

'I promise, I have a plan!' -me to our sceptical paint crew (aka friends and family!)

'I promise, I have a plan!' -me to our sceptical paint crew (aka friends and family!)

The kitchen has arrived!

The kitchen has arrived!

My lovely mother flew all the way from the USA to help hang these awesome tin tiles on the bar!

My lovely mother flew all the way from the USA to help hang these awesome tin tiles on the bar!

Lights!! Special thanks to www.collectiviste.com for the beautiful oyster shell globe!

Lights!! Special thanks to www.collectiviste.com for the beautiful oyster shell globe!

kitchen equipment slowly being put into place, copper bar lights installed!

kitchen equipment slowly being put into place, copper bar lights installed!

Ella helps build high chairs for new friends to use at Figbar!

Ella helps build high chairs for new friends to use at Figbar!

Excuse the construction, but look at the graffiti fig by @stepthirtynine !!!!!

Excuse the construction, but look at the graffiti fig by @stepthirtynine !!!!!

Shop front being prepped for new paint and a new sign with lovely model Chef Jaime Garbutt!

Shop front being prepped for new paint and a new sign with lovely model Chef Jaime Garbutt!

Opening Figbar

It turns out painting takes a lot longer than you realize. 

When we first decided to open a restaurant, we did the normal thing of discussing the minute details.  We had a menu plan (which later went out the window), we had cutlery and wine glasses picked out (those changed too), and we opened the door with excited spirits and enthusiasm...

and then the burglar alarm of the little café we purchased began blaring.  We had been given the keys, but nowhere was any indication of an alarm!  It sirened louder and louder, and we didn't know who was going to come- police, firefighters, or just interested bystanders. 

Instead, a group of people outside Ali Bongo started dancing to the beat of the alarm, the lovely owners of Sin Sins and Les Garrigues came over to make sure our hearing was still intact, and we had a story indicative of how opening a restaurant would go: Enthusiasm stampeded by fear bringing about laughter, support, and a really good cup of coffee.

Our excitement hasn't once wavered, but there sure has been a lot of fear: 16 foot ceilings are very tall to paint, it turns out a pastry breaker weighs more than 3 men and requires a forklift to get into the kitchen, and opening dates must be fluid because you never know when a plumber will next be available. 

So as our opening approaches, we are (still!) painting, hammering tiles onto the bar, sanding floors and tables, and creating a pastry and dessert menu nothing short of spectacular.  Check back here or on our Instagram account @figbarnorwich for photos of our journey to getting to meet you guys, the guests we hope will frequent our establishment with the joy we put into opening it for you.