Places to eat: Pete’s Eats, Llanberis

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Every now and again I do love a big greasy fry up and there is none better than Pete’s Eats in Llanberis. Sat at the foot of the Snowdonia mountain range, I’ve been coming to Pete’s with my parents ever since they first marched me up a Welsh mountain. After a day spent running away from my sister, who was armed and dangerous with skilfully crafted snowballs that would inevitably end up down my top and all over my face, we would bumble back down the mountain. Rosy cheeked and ravenous. Pete’s would be there waiting with it’s famous pints of steaming hot tea, ready for us to reintroduce our bones to the concept of warmth.

Now I love fine dining in restaurants that use fancy words like ballotine and cover their dishes in decorative micro-herbs, but sometimes that kind of food just doesn’t hit the spot. I know for the health conscious, a plate piled high with deep fried potatoes is not on the top of their list but after a brisk walk half way up Snowdon I think it’s perfect.

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The outside of the building is painted an eye catching deep blue which really stands out against the stunning natural beauty of Snowdonia. Inside sit groups of climbers (or walkers in our case) huddled over newspapers or maps planning their next route up the mountain range. There is a really relaxed, friendly atmosphere. Staff walk through the cafe shouting out order numbers, being greeted by a sea of wishful faces, scrambling to find their order ticket. As we search for a table I notice that some of the walls are covered in photos of seemingly relaxed climbers in impossibly risky positions on the sides of sheer cliff faces. Upstairs there are showers, beds and a cosy back room and library for keen climbers to plan their routes.

A child on the table next to us has a look of delight spread across his face (and a look of dismay across the parents) when he sees the size of his chip sandwich. The portions here are generous. Understandable really when you look at the photos on the wall. I doubt you could really justify eating here unless you had at least the intention to walk up a mountain.

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Our food arrives fairly quickly considering that every other table is full and there’s a queue gathering at the door. It’s simple, tasty and plentiful. It’s well cooked, and whilst the quality might not be of michelin standard, there is plenty of it, the eggs are all free range and the chips, oh the chips.

Pete’s has really hit the nail on the head. It caters exactly for what its customers want. Good food and lots of it. This place is really buzzing. Everyone seems to know each other, there’s a notice board on the back wall sighing under the amount of notices and local advertisements. In a quiet town, tucked away in the Welsh mountains, it feels like a real community. Serving traditional grub, straight to the point, Pete’s is a welcome sight for any hungry climber.

Classic Miniature Victoria Sponge Cakes

I’ve always been a massive fan of baking and you can’t beat a classic victoria sponge cake. It’s a perfect addition to a cup of tea whilst sat in the garden basking under the summer sun. These miniature victoria sponges are a lovely alternative to the usual cupcake and are so easy to make. My best friend introduced me to this vanilla sponge cake recipe and for that I will be eternally grateful. This recipe turns out perfectly golden and deliciously flavourful cake, which stays moist for days! I brought these cakes along whilst visiting a friend and he impressively ate five in one day! Happy baking!

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Ingredients

110g softened butter or margarine
110g caster sugar (or xylitol for a sugar free version)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
110g sifted self raising flour
1-2 tbsp milk

The filling:

140g softened butter
280g sifted icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
a few spoonfuls of strawberry or raspberry jam

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a mini sandwich tin with butter. Here is the link to the one that I used: http://www.lakeland.co.uk/15170/My-Kitchen-12-Cup-Mini-Sandwich-Tin.

Mix the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs a little at a time and add in the vanilla extract.

Fold in the flour. Then little by little, pour in the milk until the mixture is of a dropping consistency. Spoon the mixture evenly into the tin until they are half full.

Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until golden-brown on top and a knife or skewer inserted into one of the cakes comes out clean. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.

For the buttercream filling, beat the butter in a large bowl until fluffy and soft. Add around half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth.

Then fold in the remaining icing sugar alongside one tablespoon of the milk, adding more milk if necessary, until the mix is silky and creamy.

Once the cakes have cooled, cut them carefully in half using a bread knife.

Spoon the icing into a piping bag and pipe the icing using a spiralling motion onto one half of the cakes. Spread the jam on the other half and then gently push both halves together. Dust with icing sugar and they’re ready to go!

Serve them on pretty vintage china plates with a lovely pot of English tea!