More live music than autumn leaves

The end of May means frosty weather and cooler jazz.  Cafe Royale will be hosting 3 acts over the holiday weekend:

  • First up: Angela Crawford's Abacus, 2pm Saturday May 30. Details here.
  • On Saturday evening we have Peter Shaw and Arie Boesberg playing. Book a table for dinner.  Details here.
  • Sunday afternoon sees the Al Jenkins Quartet playing some cool bop. Book a table for a late lunch by calling the cafe on 06-354 7479 or drop by for a listen. Details here.

The last Thursday of every month is Open Mic night at the cafe.  Bring along an instrument, your voice or just your ears to join the friendly and accommodating group of musicians who meet up each month at Cafe Royale for coffee, craft beer and alove of good tunezz. 



The fabulous Laura Collins will be playing with the Back Porch Blues Band at the cafe on 12 June from 7.00pm.   You can expect to hear a little BB, a little Koko, some Mudy Waters and more soulful vocals, sweet guitar sounds, honky tonk piano, percussive bass and upright bass. Yeah baby! This event is not to be missed.

Every Friday night is jazz night - a time to catch up with pals, listen to the magical Chris Dann on piano, and sample some new craft beers before the weekend.  CHris plays every Friday from 5pm. 

Chocolate Chia Pudding. Help.

Followers of our facebook page will know that we've been trying to make a delicious chocolate pudding that is plant-based and devoid of gluten too.  We've been mucking about with various combinations of cacao powder for the flavour, chia for the consistency, and avocado for the mouthfeel.  It's pretty good except for the persistent muddy taste of chia.  

If there are any experienced chia users out there, can you help?  Here is the recipe so far:


2 tablespoons raw cacao powder, or dark cocoa powder
1 medium avocado, flesh only
8 tablespoons black chia seeds or ground chia seeds
4 tablespoons coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 cups Palmerston's finest tap water

Blend it all up, divide it into 5 - 6 ramekins and chill overnight.  Dust with grated chocolate.

Options: line the ramekins with chopped almonds; put dried cherries in the mix; forget the pudding, put the avocado on toast and eat the chocolate. 

What's So Bad About Gluten? The New Yorker investigates

Michael Specter at The New Yorker magazine has written an excellent article about gluten, gluten avoidance and our frighteningly processed modern diet.  

If you've fallen in love with the sourdough starter in your fridge, or with baking generally, or if you're looking at Cafe Royale's homemade bread and wondering why it tastes so good, then this is a great read. 

[Our secret is: organic stoneground, wholegrain flour, lots of water, sloooow fermentation and no added gluten, sugar, enzymes, vinegar, dairy etc etc]


Sourdough Pizza

If you've managed to get a sourdough mother going  [learn how to make one here], then one of the most delicious things you can do with it is make sourdough pizza.  This isn't the sort of pizza that gets delivered to your door in 30 minutes; it takes a little forethought but the results are so good you'll never order a large stuffed crust Disodium Guanylate with extra hydrolised soy protein again.  

Start thinking about your pizza the night before you plan to make it and take the sourdough mother our of the fridge.  In the morning, you'll need to do a bit of mixing before you head off to work. When you get home, the dough will be ready to be baked.

Sourdough pizza recipe

makes 4 pizza

homemade pizza

200g         sourdough mother
500g         strong white flour (or 400g strong white and 100g wholemeal or spelt)
330g         lukewarm water
7g              salt

Take your sourdough mother from the fridge the night before use and leave it on the bench. Measure out the water.  

In the morning, break up the piece of mother dough and add it to the water.  Add the flour to the water as well, and bring it all together into a soft dough.  Remove 200g of dough to act as your mother next time.  Leave the dough for ten minutes to let the flour hydrate, then add the salt and mix on a medium speed for 5 minutes. 

Divide into 4 rounds.  Refrigerate any dough you are not going to use that day (dough will keep up to 3 days).  Leave the rest to prove on a baking tray on the bench, covered, for 6 - 8 hours.  

When you're ready to make the pizza, push and pull each ball out by hand until it is 10 - 12 inches in size. Lay it on an oiled baking tray. Top with sauces and toppings of choice - try pesto instead of pizza sauce, topped with spinach and mozzarella. 

Bake in your hottest oven for around 5-6 minutes depending on your toppings.  The base needs to have some colour on it and can be checked by carefully lifting it and looking.

Wild yeast and good bugs

As this is the traditional time of year for fretting about one's health and waistline, as well as for trying new pastimes, we'd like to encourage everyone to give bread making a go.  Specifically, whole grain sourdough bread making.  

Wholegrain, sourdough breads are tasty and nutritious with good keeping qualities and a low GI score.  You can make them without the sugars, fats and baffling ingredients found in a commercial loaf. If you're interested in the science behind behind the benefits of fermenting doughs, have a look at Peter Reinhart's books which include The Bread Baker's Apprentice and Whole Grain Breads (look for them in your local library).

If you're in a rush to get started, call into the cafe and ask Robert for a piece of his sourdough mother.  If you have more patience, it's fun (and a good science project for kids) to make your own by wrangling the wild yeasts in your 'hood. 


Making your own sourdough culture or mother is easy-peasy.  All you need is flour, water, and a love of routine. After 5 days, you’ll have an active mother that you can use for making bread.

Choose a container to get your starter going.  We suggest a large mason jar or something similar that you can keep covered with muslin or a stocking.


Mix 1 parts water to 1 part flour (50g flour to 50g water or ½ cup of flour to ½ cup of water).  Choose wheat, rye or spelt flour without added seeds or malt, or mix the three together.   Rye gives the sourest flavour.  Once it’s mixed, cover and secure with a rubber band or string.

Sourdough starters need a warm environment so keep your mother somewhere cosy, between 20°C and 30°C.  Give it a stir after 12 hours.

After another 12 hours, feed your mother another 1:1 mix of water and flour.  Give it a stir and leave it for 12 more hours.  Follow the feed/stir/feed/stir routine for the next four days.  You can tip out some of your mother when the volume gets too great.


You should see changes after the first day as the wild yeasts in your neighbourhood colonise your starter it begins to ferment.  After 2 days, the mix will be bubbling and rising.  It won’t smell particularly lovely at this stage but by the fifth day, it should have calmed down and be smelling fresh and sharp.

And that’s it – simple.  Your starter will keep in the fridge and can be bulked up to the amount required for bread making.  Weigh off what you need for the recipe and put the rest back in your fridge.

Here are a few pointers for using your culture and keeping it healthy:

  • A culture likes to be used and fed. Even if you’re not planning to make bread, get the starter out every few days and feed it.
  • If your culture is a bit lifeless, throw out 4/5’s and feed it with 1 part water to 1 part flour. Leave it at room temperature for a few hours.
  • A stiffer culture will generally be sourer than a liquid one.  You can control the sourness by varying the proportion of flour to water in the culture.
  • Wet cultures take longer to prove.
  • When making bread, the warmth of wherever it is you are proving your dough has a big effect on how long the dough takes to rise.
  • Keep salt out of your culture until you make a final dough.
  • Refrigerating a sourdough mother gives the natural enzymes in the flour time to make the dough more digestible, release nutrients and add flavour to your bread.

The pre-history of Cafe Royale

We've just been sent a link to an article about our previous business in Glasgow.   We received the award but we'd never seen the follow-up article. It's a good read: 

Organic bread delivered daily

Organic bread delivered daily

Glasgow bakery and coffeehouse given Judges Special Award in The List's annual restaurant round-up

  • Source: The List
  • Date: 25 April 2013 (updated 29 Apr 2013)
  • Written by: Jay Thundercliffe


Tapa Coffeehouse, Glasgow

Each year, The List Eating & Drinking Guide presents a Judges' Special Award, recognising the outstanding contribution of an establishment, enterprise, individual or family to the food and drink world in Scotland. In 2013 the winner has been announced as Tapa, the Glasgow bakers and coffee roasters with outlets in Dennistoun and Pollockshaws.

Run by Robert Winters and Virginia Webb, Tapa celebrates their tenth year in 2013 and are recognised for their wide-ranging and positive contribution to the city's food and drink scene with their organic bread and cakes and home-roasted coffee.

Although Winters and Webb first came to the UK from their home in New Zealand in 2001 for a holiday, the fact they ended up staying here and moving to the birthplace of Winters's father turned out to be a very fortunate thing for Glasgow. With no background in food nor any knowledge about running a café, just an idea that they'd like to roast their own coffee and maybe do a bit of baking, in 2003 they took over a small bakery in unfashionable Dennistoun which was about to fall into disuse as the baker was retiring and no-one wanted to take over.

Winters signed up for a baking course, discovering a natural affinity with the process. The organic bread he then began making in the Bakehouse (still the only completely organic bakery in Scotland), as well as coffee from the roaster, soon had the city stirring. Restaurants and cafés began signalling their serious intent when it came to good quality sourcing by phoning Tapa. Without marketing themselves, that phone hasn't stopped ringing, with orders from fine-dining venues, craft brewers and family-run cafés.

While they've expanded with another café in the Southside, the continuing orders for Tapa's range of original products may soon mean a move away from the original, much lived-in and much-loved Bakehouse. But an industrial unit doesn't sit right with Tapa's firm belief that people should be able to buy their food locally, to see it being produced, and to talk to those whose hands make it.

That quiet little food revolution that Tapa started ten years ago, not on the streets but in the delis, and tearooms and bistros across the city, has grown into something much more audible, encapsulating today's ethos of the way we should be growing, buying and consuming our food. We, at least in Glasgow, owe much of that to Tapa.


21 Whitehill Street, Dennistoun, Glasgow, G31 2LH

It’s the smell as you walk through the door that gets you. Tapa’s café is effectively the front room of their organic bakery, which is in full view of diners, and makes a visit to this Dennistoun favourite a delightful experience on the nose as well as…

Tapa Coffeehouse

721 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow, G41 2AA

Tapa’s burgeoning reputation is founded on the quality of its two key products; coffee and bread. As well as underpinning the majority of dishes on offer at the Coffeehouse, both are available at a wide variety of other cafés and delis across the city.

Our first single estate espresso blend is on its way

We've been buying coffee beans from the quality-obsessed Brazil Speciality Coffee Association (BSCA) for over a decade and we've never been disappointed with the quality and flavour of the beans.  BSCA members represent the top flight of Brazilian growers. Because the members produce such a huge variety of beans, the BSCA offers a BSCA Espresso blend created each year from some of the finest coffees produced by its member farms. This blend is created by a team of the BSCA’s professional cuppers, carefully mixed to enhance body, aroma and natural sweetness.

Normally the BSCA uses different farms to create their blend, but this year the blend is made up of pulped natural and natural lots from a single farm - Fazenda Ponto Alegre, in Brazil’s Sul de Minas growing region. Ponto Alegre’s natural and pulped naturals work particularly well together, creating a well-balanced cup that fulfils the BSCA’s target blend profile.

Ponto Alegre has been farmed by the Sousa family for over a century. The family has been focusing on coffee since 1960 and the farm is currently managed by the fourth generation of Sousas - Mabel, her husband Leandro and her two brothers, Renato and Eduardo. They love their farm passionately and have told us “There is no better place in the world to live!”

The farm extends over a total of 419.4 hectares, 270 of which are planted out with coffee of the Mundo Novo and Catuaí varietals. Ponto Alegre ranges from 950 to 1050 metres in altitude and much of its terrain is hilly, meaning that most of the farm work is carried out by hand.

The farm employs 60 permanent workers, with 25 families living on site in houses equipped with clean drinking water, electricity and modern bathroom facilities. During peak harvest months Ponto Alegre takes on over 200 workers. All of the farm’s employees are registered in accordance with Brazil’s employment laws. They also have access to the farm’s medical clinic, dentistry clinic and crèche, as well as free transport for their older children to attend school in the local town of Cabo Verde.

Ponto Alegre is equipped with a state of the art wet mill, including 19,000 square metres of patio for sun-drying their coffees as well as covered drying beds. The Sousa family put great emphasis on quality and are working with agronomists from Minas Gerais’ UFLA university to implement cutting edge farming techniques.

The waste water from the wet mill is treated for at least 18 months using a sophisticated complex of filter beds and lagoons before being returned to the natural environment in order to prevent any pollution of local water courses. Some 120 hectares of the farm are also set aside as natural reserve providing habitat for a wide range of flora and fauna.

(thanks to Mercanta Ltd for the farm details)

Ginger and spice


We're so happy to have Hakanoa Handmade's drinks syrups and ginger beer available at Cafe Royale.  Rebekah Hay established Hakanoa Handmade a few years ago to provide people with properly brewed ginger beer that's dry and refreshing, and not too sweet - the kind that's made with fresh ginger, a live yeast starter and raw, organic sugar. She makes a lime & chilli ginger beer too, which is halfway to being a spiced up Moscow Mule - genius.  

More recent concoctions include a spicy chai syrup, a lemon, ginger and Manuka honey syrup and a pure ginger syrup.  The spicy chai has depth and savour from the organic black tea, and just a hint of sweetness for balance.  It's a million miles from the cloying sweetness of most coffeehouse drinks syrups. We add it to hot water to make a spiced tea drink, and to steamed milk to make the best ever chai latte. 

The ginger syrup is a revelation.  We make it into a ginger toddy by adding hot water and a slice of lemon, or into a ginger latte by adding textured milk.  It's a wonderful addition to black tea as well. 

It can be hard being a non-coffee drinker in coffee-mad New Zealand, or to find something to spice up your afternoon tea that won't keep you up all night. But fret no more!  Hakanoa Handmade's tasty ginger toddy, chai tea, chai latte and ginger latte (and our super matcha latte) are just the thing.  


The most important meal of the day

What's the most important meal of the day?  We think it's the second breakfast so beloved of hobbits.  Wolfing down a slice of toast and hastily made cup of coffee while searching for a missing gym bag, last week's homework and the car keys doesn't really set one up for the day ahead.  You might be breaking your fast, but you're not feeding your soul.

A second, calmer breakfast is what's required.  One that's prepared by somebody else, ideally, and accompanied by coffee or a robust tea and a quiet rustle of the morning papers.  It's best while the kids are safely at school or on the football pitch.  Making time for a second breakfast is not always possible but it is more satisfying than a mid-morning gingernut.  


We're pretty keen on egg-based breakfasts, accompanied by spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, mushrooms; perhaps some free range pork sausages and bacon, or a little salmon.  The toast is so important, which is why we make our own bread.  You can only get well made toast from a well made loaf.

We're not above borrowing from other food traditions to round out our breakfast offering - our new chorizo hash, made with Woody's Farm Chorizo from Manakau and free range eggs from Linton, is based on a Spanish tapa served up in bars to soak up the cerveza.

Mighty Mata Beers

We're so pleased to have Mata beers in our fridges (and glasses).  They're bright and hoppy with a clean finish.  A crisp alternative to the watery sweetness of global "beers" [waggle fingers in the air to indicate ironic speech marks at this point if reading aloud].

The craft brewing industry in New Zealand has come a long way since we left New Zealand in the last millenium - Mac's & Monteith's were upstarts; Founder's was just one shed in Nelson's Founder's Park.   We've returned to find those first two revolutionaries brought into the fold of New Zealand's brewing behemoths, and Founders acquired by Asahi.  

Meanwhile, the thirst for a quality drop, brewed from local ingredients by someone you can call up on the phone, is being met by yet another generation of independent brewers who are raising the flag for quality, craft and flavour.  Mata is typical of the current vibrant independent brewing scene, which ranges from the bijou Hop Federation in Riwaka to the inventive Garage Project in Wellington. Mata's beers are brewed by Tammy Viitakangas.  Phone the brewery and her mum, dad or uncle might answer the phone because Mata's business is all in the family and we love that.  

A chilli wind blowing in from Feilding

We first came across Chilli Wind sauces at the Foxton Spring Fling last October.  A bunch of teenage boys were jostling in front of the Chilli Wind stall, daring each other to try the Racing Fuel, Chilli Wind's hottest sauce. It was created as a tribute to the Manfield Race Track in Fielding. 

We've had at least one bottle on the go at home ever since, and now we have it in the cafe for you to try too.   The sauces are made in Fielding by Pete Hawley who left a career in winemaking to make something much more delicious - hot sauce.  He grows the chillis himself and turns them into a range of sauces and chutneys.  We carry the fiery Racing Fuel - excellent on poached eggs - and the gentler BBQ sauce, which has a rich, smokey flavour.  Just want ketchup?  Pete doesn't make that but we do have keep a bottle of big-brand ketchup in  the kitchen if you absolutely must have it.

Chillis, whether in sauces, marinades, pickles or curries, are super good for you.  The heat comes from capsacin oil which, Pete says, has proven benefits for sufferers of arthritis, chronic fatigue and insomnia.  It also gives you a natural buzz as your body releases endorphins to counter the perceived 'pain' from the chillis' heat.  


The sweetest sugar


We're using organic, unrefined fair trade sugar in our cakes and biscuits.  Our sugar is a glorious golden colour because the way it is milled locks in the natural molasses from the cane rather than stripping it out.  The molasses gives the sugar a fudgy depth of flavour not found in refined white sugar. 

Apart from the flavour benefits, we prefer our fair trade unrefined sugar because is produced where the sugar cane is grown, meaning it has had the value added where it matters the most – in the country of origin – not in a refinery elsewhere.  Fair Trade certification gives us confidence that the Indian farming cooperative that grew our sugar was paid a reasonable price for the cane they grew and milled. It means the farmers can cultivate the quality of their crops, send their kids to school, get health care, and build a sustainable community.

That the sugar is also certified organic makes it even sweeter for us. Organic sugar cane fields are green cut and are not burned or treated with herbicides or synthetic fertilizers - better for the growers and their families, better for the environment, and better for the person who eats it. 

So go on, try that Coconut Orange Pannacotta.  Y'know you want to.