I have just published my book ‘A Little Book on Tea Cake & Chocolate‘, which 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.
Before icing a cake, sprinkle the top with some flour, this will stop the icing from running down over the edges of the cake.
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 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.
A bit of vintage memorabilia…
‘Lux Sunlight Flakes’, which was a pure soap in flake form, shaped like tiny flat diamonds. It was introduced in the US in 1899 and was perfect for washing delicate fabrics, silk and woolens and it had no additives whatsoever.
By 1924, Lux became a mass market toilet soap throughout the world endorsed by many celebrities.
In 1943, rather than risk lowering the high quality of Lux, the makers withdrew it from the market altogether. Then in November 1947 they announced that by Christmas of that year the blue packets of ‘Lux Sunlight Flakes’ would be back on the shelves again.
I had a box which seem to last me years and years. I only used it for hand washing but used to love the smell it left on my clothes. Now, you never see it around although Ebay and Amazon have ‘Soap Flakes‘ you can buy.
During the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s they used many famous stars to endorse Lux soap including Sandra Dee and Diana Rigg and in the 70’s and 80’s the famous faces were Brigitte Bardot, Natalie Wood, Sophie Loren and Raquel Welch.
Now you can buy posters of the adverts for ‘Lux Sunlight Flakes’ and even a Jigsaw of the adverts on Ebay or Amazon.
Eight top #tips for using fruit in your cooking:-
- 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.
- The antioxidants in dried cranberries and grapes are twice as potent as in fresh fruit.
- Make sure you check the sugar content of your fruit as some of them in particular cranberries, can be very high.
- 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.
- For a moist fruit cake with extra flavour, grate a cooking apple into the mixture.
- 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.
- To bring out the flavour of strawberries when cooking them in deserts, add a touch of balsamic vinegar.
- Hull strawberries easily by using a straw.
Bread making can be pretty intimidating and everybody that has tried it has had at least one major disaster. There’s nothing more disappointing than opening the oven hoping to find a beautifully risen loaf of delicious bread and finding a flat lump of hard dough instead. But you shouldn’t let that put you off trying to make bread because once you master it, it’s great fun. Often, you just need practice but there are some great tips and tricks that you can use to make your loaves better.
Use A Bread Maker
Master bakers might consider bread makers cheating but if you’re just trying to bake a nice loaf for the family, there’s no shame in having a little help. If you get certain steps wrong you can ruin the loaf so having a bread maker is a good way to get to grips with the recipe before you start learning the process itself. Once you’ve mastered the art of making great loaves with a bread maker (which shouldn’t take long) you can start doing it the traditional way. Bread making can also be time-consuming so having a bread maker is good for those busy days when you haven’t got time to do it properly.
Sugar And Yeast
The yeast is the most important ingredient because it’s what makes the bread rise, so you’ve got to be careful how you treat it. If you mix salt directly with the yeast you can kill it, which is a mistake people often make. If you’re having trouble getting the yeast to rise properly, you can add a little sugar to it when you mix it with the warm water. It feeds the yeast and activates it which helps it rise better.
This is a big one when it comes to the baking of any kind. When you’re cooking normally, you can get away with estimating amounts and throwing things in to see what happens but when it comes to baking, you can’t. Always make sure that you’re following the recipe properly and measuring things out exactly. Even the slightest variation can ruin a loaf of bread.
Resist Adding Extra Flour
Too much flour in a dough is an easy way to ruin your bread but many of us are tempted to add more than the recipe says because the dough is sticky. The amount that a recipe calls for varies a lot depending on the type of bread and some breads just have a stickier dough. You’ll just have to trust the recipe and resist the urge to add more flour, you’ll only end up ruining your bread.
Don’t Use Flour When Kneading
Most recipes will tell you to do this but it isn’t always the best idea. We’ve already learned that adding extra flour isn’t a good idea and if you knead the dough using flour to stop it from sticking, you’re doing exactly that. It’s a lot better to just use an olive oil spray instead, that way, you don’t risk ruining the dough with too much excess flour.
Follow these tips and you should get better results from your bread baking every single time.