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.

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BEAUTIFUL DANISH PASTRY IN SKAGEN, DENMARK…

We had a recent one week’s cruise to Bruges in Brussels, Copenhagen and Skagen in Denmark and Oslo in Sweden. The weather was beautiful apart from in Oslo where it was dull and damp but that certainly didn’t spoil our visit.

Our first port of call was Bruges where we could easily walk to from the ship and where we were determined to have some of their famous moules frites.

Our second port of call was Copenhagen where we were told before we embarked that eating a meal in Copenhagen was very very expensive so we decided to just have a drink then go back to the ship for lunch. We had a lovely boat ride around Copenhagen, which was stunning.

Our third port of call was Skagen also in Denmark where we were taken to a little village with lots and lots and lots of little coffee shops and restaurants but this time we decided we would have a Danish Pastry and a cup of tea.

It was the nicest, lightest danish I had ever had and was worth every penny to pay for it. I loved Skagen and it’s quirky interior shops. Our final port of call was Oslo, the home of the troll which was another expensive stop but well worth walking around the town and the views as we left Oslo were something I will never forget. It seemed to go on for ages with little island after little island and yellow painted houses and ski lifts. I would love to make a visit back to Oslo as I felt out of all three it would make a great place for a weekend break.

THE DAIRY BOX OF HOME COOKERY…

The Dairy Box of Home Cookery by Emily Anderson is a special anniversary edition of this book celebrating 50 years of this classic cookbook, featuring 950 classic recipes including 50 new recipes sure to become firm family favourites.

The Dairy Dairy website has lots of gift ideas around this famous book with recipes and competitions to enter. The legendary Dairy Book of Home Cookery is the perfect reference book for both novice and experienced cooks. It’s cited as one of the most trusted recipe books of all time and is revered by all those who own a copy.

It has extensive cook’s information and over 900 recipes from soups to desserts, baking to confectionery, this is the one cookbook you’ll return to time after time. This new edition contains all the favourites from the original book along with new British classics.

Its photography has been updated to create a stunning, attractive and invaluable book. Over 3 million sold! 18 chapters 900+ recipes & variations Triple-tested recipes Nutritional facts per recipe Ribbon page marker Easy-to-follow instructions Essential cooking techniques Hints & tips for success.

THE HISTORY OF BABYCHAM…

Babycham was created in the 1940s by Frances Showeing where it became one of the first drinks actively promoted to the middle-classes. Post-war, it was one of the first adverts to appear on television and it was targetted specifically at women.

The first Babycham Deer leapt into our lives and onto our glasses in the 1950s.  He was a white deer standing upright at first with all four legs together. In the 1960’s the deer turned into a golden brown colour with a loose blue bow.
In the 1960’s and 70’s, it became an international icon for chic. It was also very important in Somerset as the drink maker employed around 1,000 people.

During the late 1970s, a champagne flute with the well known yellow deer came into circulation with no wording around the base and no gilt trim. It remained as a champagne flute into the 1980’s but the deer changed from yellow to fawn and he lost his antlers.

In the 1990’s the deer disappeared with a rebrand of Babycham which they did in the hope it would appeal to both sexes. However, by 1997 the deer returned for the female sex.

You can still find Babycham in the supermarkets now and of course, it always tastes better out of a Babycham glass whatever decade it originates from!

VINTAGE GROCERY BRANDS, FIFTIES STYLE…

The hardware shops of the fifties were where you could get most of your household goods as supermarkets were not up and running then. It was home for household items like balls of string, cook’s matches, mothballs, toilet blocks and nails. You could also purchase crockery, cutlery and cooking equipment.

Some of the traditional cleaning products survived the war and are still around today. Those who have changed little in their design including Brasso (in the can), Lux Soap Flakes, Tide Washing Powder and Ajax Scouring Powder. Other popular brands include Harpic, Flash and Surf. Of course, laundry detergents were quite different with optical brighteners like Reckitts Blue which would be added to the final rinsing water to ensure the linen was whiter than white.

Even some of the old breakfast cereals are still going strong, Kellogg’s Cornflakes and Frosted Flakes (now known as Frosties) Shreddies, Quaker Puffed Wheat, and Scotts Porridge Oats.

Although the fast food was not happening until the middle of the 1950’s there was plenty of canned foods around like, soup, luncheon meat, corned beef and tinned fruit and vegetables. Frozen foods were also starting to become popular with fish fingers being one of the first ones on the market.

Of course, there are still a number of stock cupboard items still going strong now including Marmite, Oxo, Bisto, Colemans Mustard Powder and Atora Suet. Diet drinks were not available at that time but Tizer, Lucozade, Kia Oran Pepsi and Coca-cola topped the list of favourites.

If you still love some of your oldies then try the British Corner Shop below.

The British Corner Shop is a unique online supermarket for expats around the world. Whether you miss Marmite or crave Warburtons crumpets, they can deliver your British favourites straight to your door.

Their website stocks over 10,000 products from Britain’s most loved brands, meaning you can enjoy the British food you miss, wherever you are in the world.

Customer service is at the heart of their business. Since their humble beginnings in 1999, they have refined and developed British Corner Shop, building on the wants and needs of their loyal customers.

From purchasing your shopping through to the delivery, they want their customers to have total confidence when ordering with them.

You don’t have to be a British expat to use the service. If you have friends or relatives overseas who may be missing the taste of home, why not order them a box of British happiness? Their service is perfect for sending parcels of British food to Brits in the Armed Forces and others working abroad.

8 TOP #TIPS ON USING FRUIT IN YOUR COOKING…

Eight top #tips for using fruit in your cooking:-

 

  1. Add dried fruit to your recipes it can actually be better for you than fresh fruit, as the dehydration process can make some nutrients more concentrated.
  2. The antioxidants in dried cranberries and grapes are twice as potent as in fresh fruit.
  3. Make sure you check the sugar content of your fruit as some of them in particular cranberries, can be very high.
  4. Always soak your dried fruit overnight and for extra flavour soak the fruit in apple or orange juice or marinate in your favourite liqueur (brandy) for three days, stirring it every 12 hours.
  5. For a moist fruit cake with extra flavour, grate a cooking apple into the mixture.
  6. When making an apple pie, pop your apple slices into some water and add a little salt or lemon. It will stop them from discolouring.
  7. To bring out the flavour of strawberries when cooking them in deserts, add a touch of balsamic vinegar.
  8. Hull strawberries easily by using a straw.

 

6 OF THE BEST KITCHEN ORGANISERS…

I would love ALL 6 of these #kitchen organisers in my #kitchen.

Organisation stations Speaking of efficiency, consider a kitchen organisation station to keep the family in check. In the 10th most-saved kitchen photo of 2016, the highlight is the bonus end cabinet that incorporates clever space for keys, a pegboard and a notice board for family organising and to-do lists, as well as stowaway slats for magazines and cookbooks.

This is an example of a medium sized traditional u-shaped enclosed kitchen in Boston with a submerged sink, shaker cabinets, stainless steel appliances, dark hardwood flooring, an island, white cabinets, granite worktops, beige splashback and porcelain splashback.

Install a cupboard within a cupboard – How clever is this idea? If all your above-bench cupboards are the same depth, make maximum use of the one closest to the stovetop with a double layer of shelving. A swing-out spice rack like this one means you can layer containers on both sides, and still have room for condiments behind.

Drawers are another place where small items tend to cause problems. Start things off on the right note by putting simple drawer organizers in place wherever small items are stored: Kitchen drawers, junk drawers, desk drawers and entryway drawers can benefit from organizers.

Determining the right size. In a perfect kitchen scenario, your pantry could be as big as you like, but we’re all limited by the spaces we have.

Using a number of smaller pockets also allows for similar items to be grouped together, which makes finding the one item you are looking for so much easier. 5 Chef-Approved Tools Every Asian Kitchen Needs.