The Teacup Tour

I can’t tell you why I was in Manchester yesterday, but I can tell where I went and what I did – which (no surprise) involved cake and the discovery of a couple of fab new places to eat in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

I first visited the Northern Quarter in 1969 – a visit to the dolls hospital – the result of pulling off Sindy’s head once too often! Then in the ’80’s you could find me in Affleck’s or Band on the Wall, more recently I’m more likely to be found drinking a cuppa while the teen and her friends spend their allowance in one of the many vintage shops. So, after 40 plus years  I like to think I know my way around.

Despite a huge regeneration strategy, the area still retains a slightly seedy, almost dangerous air, but don’t let that put you off. Be brave, throw off the security blanket of “Costabucks” and the well known chains, take a map and walk with me through the “real” Manchester for a change.

My all time favourite place for coffee (or tea), used to be Love Saves the Day , but when that closed I was determined to find a new place and was introduced to Cup (which  is now called Teacup) on Thomas St, which takes tea very seriously indeed. They used to do  a fab soup and sandwich, but more recently friends have been raving about their meatball menu which I’m aiming to try out very soon. If you are visitng Fred Aldous for art / craft supplies then this is very nearby.

The lovely Vikki who works in Purl City yarns recommended two places for coffee and cake when I was shoping there, the first North Tea Power, is apparently very knitting friendly, so I’ll be paying them a visit before too long, but we went with her second recommendation Drip, which served up huge cappuccinos and a very tasy rasberry muffin.

We had a bit of a trauma looking for the Loo, only to discover we had been sitting beside it all along!

They also promise wifi, but we couldn’t get access yesterday.

After some great shopping we made our way via the Manchester Craft and Design Centre (there’s a whole post coming about that soon) to Sugar Junction, which  now holds the title of Tracey’s  Fave Place in the Northern Quarter.

I thought I had died and gone to heaven! Not only does this place have the friendliest staff, an amazing tea menu, (very) clean toilets and the best spicy pear cake ever, they managed to serve me a sandwich so generous I had to bring half of it home in a doggy bag (that has to be a first).

This is the place I’ll be heading for on my next Manchester jaunt, and if, like yesterday I need a place for an informal business meeting, this will be top of my list. Very comfy chairs, vases of flowers, vintage china, real tea pots and sugar lumps! When did you last see sugar lumps? All that, and it’s cheaper than a certain chain of Coffee Shop I am known for spending my ill gotten gains in!

Do check out their website, it’s worth it just to see a photo of Bunty.

But don’t worry, despite several new shops opening, including a beautiful flower shop on Tib St, the Northern Quarter is in no danger of becoming “gentrified”, the Koffee Pot is still there and still does a very reviving mug of tea and bacon bap!

Recipe: Marmalade Cake

My friends J and J make the most delicious marmalade. Just the thing for this quick and easy cake. I’ve had the recipe scrawled in my notebook for so many years I’ve no idea where it came from. It’s my Sunday afternoon “bung a cake in the oven” kind of recipe, no frills, no fuss just 8 slices of lovely cake in time for tea. Equally delicious cold, or serve it warm with a dollop of creme fraiche.

Ingredients:

200g plain flour

1tsp baking powder

100g soft butter

75g soft brown sugar

2 large eggs

4 tablespoons marmalade ( a great way to use leftovers or use your favourite)

Method

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz for 15 – 20 seconds. Pour into a smallish loaf tin (lined) and cook at gas mark 5 for 40 mins to an hour (depends on your oven). It’s cooked when it has begun to shrink from the sides and a skewer comes out clean when pushed into the centre. Will keep for several days in an airtight tin –  but to be honest it never makes it to the tin in our house – unless I double the recipe and hide one before the family see it!