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.

 

GROWING YOUR OWN TEA…

We are not talking about herbal teas either, but real tea: Camellia sinensis. You don’t need a large garden to grow your own tea, a planter on a balcony would work just fine.

‘You could try growing Camellia sinensis in a greenhouse, or in a pot that you can bring indoors during cold winters.

The Camellia sinensis plant is a small shrub about 1-2 meters in height, though it will grow taller if you don’t prune it. In the fall, your tea shrub will flower with small white blossoms that have a delightful scent. These plants are often grown as ornamentals. For planting, Camellia sinensis likes well-drained and sandy soil that is on the acidic side. If you are going to grow your tea in a container, add some sphagnum moss to the potting mix. You’ll need some patience, too. Your plant should be around 3 years old before you start harvesting leaves.

A great site with all the details on growing your own tea is ‘Guide to Growing Tea’, and you might be able to get seeds at your local nursery or try online at Amazon.

From that plant, you could make black, green or oolong tea. Fascinating stuff and for all us tea lovers, its another thing we can try growing in the garden.

GIFT IDEAS FOR CLASSY WOMEN…

If you are thinking of ideas for the women in your life this year, you might have a few different things on your mind. Classy women need classy gifts, and there are a huge wealth of things you can buy for the elegant lady in your life this year. If you are stuck for birthday or Christmas ideas, here are some essential ones for you to try.

WINE TASTING EXPERIENCE…

One of the best things you could buy for a woman is a wine tasting experience. Most women love wine, and going for a tour of a vineyard followed by an afternoon tasting different wines is like heaven. You can make a day of it and go for good beforehand to soak up the alcohol and you can have a relaxing afternoon trying lots of wonderful drinks together. It can be a really fun experience and you will learn a lot about different wines too.

CHAMPAGNE HAMPER…

If you are looking for a gift idea for your Nanna or your aunt this year, there is one really great idea which you can put together yourself for maximum impact and class. Buy yourself a basket and some crepe paper, and then you can buy a bottle of Odd bins range of vintage champagne. alongside some chocolate, a cheese selection and some cheese knives. It can be a wonderful classy gift and one which looks impressive when you hand it over to them on the day.

AFTERNOON TEA AND A MUSICAL…

A great idea for a day out with your Mum, sister or your partner would be to take her to an afternoon tea in the city and then follow this up with a musical of her choice. It can be a great way to catch up and spend some quality time together while enjoying some lovely food and drink. You can make a holiday of it and stay in a hotel afterwards so that you don’t have to worry about getting home after!

JEWELLERY…

The easiest thing you can possibly buy for a woman is jewellery. There is always jewellery to suit any woman, and you can find lots of amazing styles online and in stores which will suit the woman you are buying for this year. You could buy a pedant for them to put on a chain, a pair of earrings to wear on special occasions or even a ring if you are buying something special for your partner. It can be a fun thing to buy because the choices are endless so you can really have some fun.

FLOWER SHOW…

An ideal gift for your Mum or your Nanna this year would be a trip to a local flower show. There are many flower shows which take place during the summer and they can be vast and expansive with what they have on display. You can book the tickets and enjoy a day trying gin, cheeses, beers and ice cream and you walk around and view some stunning flower displays as well as art and crafts. You can even buy some plants while you are there so make sure you have some room in the car!

NATIONAL PICNIC WEEK 15th-24th JUNE 2018…

It’s National Picnic Week this week 15th-24th June.

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National Picnic Week aims to encourage people to take the ideal opportunity to get together over a picnic with advice, tips, recipes, and information to make sure everything from the food and drink to the location and surroundings are spot on.

​Picnicking is one of the UK’s most enjoyable summer traditions and is a great way of taking advantage of any open spaces in your local area over the warmer months of the year.

Since National Picnic Week was founded a decade ago, it has grown significantly and become a staple date in the media calendar. Timed at the peak of the picnicking season, broadcasters, radio and television channels are keen to get involved.



With the likes of ITV’s Lorraine, national newspapers and both BBC and commercial radio stations covering the week in the past, it is a great platform to promote your brand.

Here are their top ten facts about picnics to get you inspired:
  1. The average person picnics at least three times a year, that’s 94 million picnics per year.
  2.  According to research done in 2013 the average family spends £26 per picnic, totaling a cool £2,479,720,000.
  3. Originally a picnic was a fashionable social event to which each guest contributed some food.
  4. The French started the modern fashion for picnics when they opened their royal parks to the public after the revolution of 1789.
  5. The use of the phrase “no picnic” to describe something difficult dates back to 1884.
  6. The most popular picnic snack fifty years ago was the humble cheese sandwich. Now, it’s a bag of crisps.
  7. The most popular day for picnics in the US is the 4th of July. In Italy it’s Easter Monday. In France, it’s Bastille Day. In the UK, it’s (weather dependent) rapidly becoming National Picnic Week.
  8. Fortnum & Mason, the London department store, claims to have invented the Scotch egg in 1738. They still sell them today.
  9. Picnic food is as popular as if it’s ever been, in 2012, an average of ten grams of meat pies and sausage rolls were consumed per person per week.