TEA QUOTE OF THE DAY…

While there’s tea, there’s hope – Sir Arthur Pinero

FASCINATING FACTS ABOUT GRANDMA’S APRON..

The principal use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few. It was also because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons used less material. But along with that,it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven. It was wonderful for drying children’s tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears. When company came,those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.. And when the weather was cold Grandma wrapped it around her arms. Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove. Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron. From the garden,it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the Autumn, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees. When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds. When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, to tell us it was time to come in for dinner. It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that ‘old-time apron’ that served so many purposes. Grandma would also set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters now set theirs on the window sill to thaw. They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.

11 TIPS ON USING EGGS IN YOUR BAKING…

1. If you add a beaten egg slowly to your batter mix it prevents the batter from becoming too stiff.

2. Always use eggs at room temperature when baking with them.

3. Eggs will whip more easily if left for 10 minutes in cold water before breaking.

4. Place the egg in a bowl of water, if it sinks and lies on its side, it’s fresh. If it sinks and stands large-end up, it’s on the turn so use within a couple of days. If it floats, bin it, as it’s gone off.

5. If you weigh four whole eggs in their shells, then whatever the weight is, that’s how much each of flour, sugar and butter you should add. This will ensure an delicious cake every time.

6. If you’re making soft meringue for a pie topping, say, for our Classic Lemon Meringue Pie, add a teaspoon of cornflour to your sugar. It’ll aid in absorbing any extra water the sugar will attract.

7. To make sure the essence you use adds flavour to the whole cake, mix it into the egg before adding the egg to the mixture.

8. Eggs will stay fresher longer if you store them pointed end down.

9. If you forgot to get your eggs out for baking then just pop them into a bowl and cover with hot water. Take them out after a couple of minutes and use for baking as normal.

10. To separate eggs for baking, tap the shell against the side of a mixing bowl to crack, then break open, letting the white run out into the bowl and holding the yolk in one half of shell. Tip the yolk backwards and forwards from shell to shell to let all the white run into the bowl.

11. When you’re making sponge cakes, beat the eggs together in a jug and add to the butter and sugar mixture gradually, whisking well between additions. If the mixture looks like it’s going to curdle, add a spoonful of the weighed flour and beat again until smooth.

CRAFT WORKSHOP ON FARM IN COUNTY CAVAN, IRELAND…

On a regular basis Sandra Coote demonstrates craft and baking workshops on Facebook almost every day from her farm in County Cavan, Ireland.

Hundreds of people check in to follow Sandra making crafts or baking cakes. Anyone watching can type in questions and Sandra would reply in the video.

Facebook Live is not new but just being used a lot more during the lock down. Sandra likes to keep it easy and make doable and recently made a coffee Swiss role ( yummy). At the same time Sandra had posted on the Facebook page about their oldest cow in the herd who had delivered twins and was going live to meet them later.

At the moment there are a number of demos going around non crafts and baking but I have to say watching Sandra in her craft or baking mode it’s always great to watch and with the added birth of the twins it’s a great watch.

A TOUCH OF CINNAMON FOR TASTE AND TO HELP WITH WEIGHT LOSS…

Cinnamon is a great addition to your diet as it lowers blood sugar levels. They suggest you only have one teaspoon to help lower your blood sugar level.

Cinnamon is a popular spice, especially for baked goods and desserts. Aside from its distinctive aroma, cinnamon is believed to help lower the blood sugar level, making it suitable for obese patients who are at higher risk of diabetes. However, consumption should be limited to one teaspoon per day, as excessive amounts can result in liver problems.

Very Well Fit says that Cinnamon has been used in the medical arena for thousands of years. Europeans in the Middle Ages mixed cinnamon with meat as a preservative and sixth-century Greeks prescribed cinnamon to help with indigestion and other ailments. But today we’re talking about the popular claims regarding cinnamon as a weight-loss aid. A little cinnamon adds a lot of flavour to food for minimal calories, and that’s always a good thing when it comes to your diet. An entire teaspoon has just six calories and about 2g carbs, plus a little more than a gram of fiber.3 Cinnamon can also enhance the sweetness in your food, which means less need for sugar or other sweeteners.

So, why not add a sprinkle to your oatmeal or over fruit especially for crumbles as it goes with any fruit. You could try adding some to low far greek yoghurt or when making a chilly.

TEA COCKTAILS, A DIFFERENT TASTE ON TEA…

If you go to the Tate Galleries in London, Liverpool or St.Ives you will see that they supply JING teas.

JING One Cup Tea-iere for Loose Leaf tea

JING is run by Edward Eisler and his team. By building relationships with the worlds finest tea farmers in China, India, Sri Lanka, Japan and Taiwan, JING hand sources not only the finest teas and herbal infusions, but also special, rare teas which are seldom seen outside their country of origin.

They supply tea and teaware directly to customers through their website and offer full tea service concepts for the world’s best hotels, restaurants and retailers, in the finest British and modern-oriental styles.

Tate has a carefully selected JING tea range, including some of our most popular loose teas and herbal infusions including Darjeeling 2nd Flush, White Peony, Jasmine Pearls, Yellow Gold oolong, Rooibos and Lemon Verbena. Our whole leaf tea bags are also available to take away at Tate Modern.

Matcha Shaker

The barmen on the top floor of Tate Modern have put together some great cocktail recipes using their teas. The menu includes inspired twists on established classics like Martini, Negroni and Rob Roy, using our Earl Grey, herbal infusions and Lapsang.

All of the tea cocktails use tea syrups. To make these syrups, simply pour into a pan a 300ml cup of tea and add 150ml of sugar. Heat the mixture and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Taste for strength and add more tea leaves if needed. Depending on the cocktail, this syrup should be enough for 10 or more cocktails.

Bamboo Tea Tray

SOME OF THE BEST HOUSEHOLD TIPS…

To remove a scratch from a table, crack open a walnut and rub it along the scratch . Walnuts contain a natural resin which will conceil the scratch.

To get rid of ink stains from furniture soak a piece of cotton wool in water and cover the stain with it. That will then draw the mark out and into the cotton wool.

When defrosting a freezer, keep frozen food cold by wrappong it in several layers of newspaper.

Clean your microwave by placing half a lemon in water and setting it to boil.

To unblock a blocked sink tip a handful of bicarnonate of soda followed by a cup of vinegar straight down the plug. After a couple of hours, pour down a kettle of boiling water.

Spray nice smelling furniture polish behind the radiator to leave the room smelling clean and polished.

To clean your computer keys use a cotton bud and the same to clean the ball of a computer mouse.

Add a shot of vodka or lemonade to the water in your vases as this will keep your flowers fresh for longer.

7 QUICK TIPS ON BAKING CAKES…

  1. When baking shortbread cookies, substitute half of your plain flour with cornflour. It gives them a really nice taste.
  2. Before icing a cake, sprinkle the top with some flour, this will stop the icing from running down over the edges of the cake.
  3. To make sure the essence you use adds flavour to the whole cake, mix it into the egg before adding the egg to the mixture.
  4. Don’t crowd the oven with Baking tins. The pans should never touch each other or the sides of the oven or be placed over or under each other on the racks.
  5. Grease pans using a piece of paper towel, rub a small amount of shortening, butter or margarine evenly over the bottom and on sides of pans if directed. A small amount of pan spray may be used and spread over the pan, also using the paper towel technique.
  6. Prevent sharp edges on muffins, bar cookies by greasing the muffin cups or pans only on the bottom and halfway up the sides so the batter is higher than the grease line. This is one time you might not want to use a pan spray.
  7. To test for doneness in cakes, quick breads and bar cookies, use a toothpick inserted in the center. The toothpick should come out clean and dry or have only a few crumbs clinging to it.

For more great tips on baking check out my book on Amazon.

A Little Book On Tea, Cake and Chocolate: TEA pairings, TEA and chocolate, TEA and its health benefits plus over 100 tips on BAKING cakes.

A GREAT GIFT FOR ANY TEA, CAKE AND CHOCOLATE DEVOTEE…

I have just published my book ‘A Little Book on Tea Cake & Chocolatewhich would make a great gift for anyone who loves tea, cake and chocolate. 

This little book on tea and cake is a guide about one of our favourite beverages. It explains tea pairings, tea and chocolate, tea and health, tea and sandwiches, fascinating tea facts, buying the right tea, tea to help you sleep and tea cozies and teapots. It also features over one hundred tips on baking cakes and has some recipes for delicious loaf cakes. It finishes with several lovely tea quotes.

A great book for any tea devotee. It’s available on Amazon for £2.99

Over the last three months of spending hours after hours and days after days at the hospital, where my Dad was,  I started making notes of some of my posts on tea, cake and chocolate as I felt sure I could use it in a book.

There are nineteen chapters which cover all the tea topics I have mentioned above plus tips on how to make the best cake, pastry, and more. I also cover baking apps and recipe books old and new.

I finally finished it at the weekend and it is now available to buy as a paperback and hopefully as a kindle read soon. I would love some feedback if any readers bought the book.