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.

 

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!