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.

 

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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.

5 TIPS TO HELP YOU MASTER THE ART OF BAKING BREAD…

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.

Measure Properly

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.

 

#SCRUMPTIOUS FOOD SATURDAY…

It’s back again, Scrumptious Food Saturday, I have no idea where the last seven days disappeared to but I’m back with my choice of three websites with Scrumptious in their title.

The three I am going to cover this week is Purely Scrumptious‘ Cakes, Clearly  Scrumptious’  The Healthy Treat Company and Scrumptious‘ blog from South Africa.

Purely Scrumptious specialise in Cupcakes with a Conscience. Gorgeous hand baked little cakes with a BIG difference… ALL their cupcakes are dairy and egg free so YES that makes every flavour suitable for vegans! Many months of testing and tasting have gone into the creation of these recipes to ensure that neither flavour nor texture was compromised.

Each batch of Purely Scrumptios cakes are home baked to order to ensure that they reach you in perfect condition. They use only the finest quality organic and Fairtrade ingredients and NO animal products are used in any of our recipes or decorations. All their flavourings are as natural as possible – some are even home grown! 

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Clearly Scrumptious The Healthy Treat Company was formed from an idea when the two founders were out enjoying the Yorkshire Dales. They wanted to produce scrumptious snacks to keep you going that were good for you. They sourced the finest of ingredients which had to be unprocessed, free from, tasty and nutritious.

Clearly Scrumptious

Their treats are the perfect natural break from the busy lives of kids to grown-ups.

Scrumptious a blog in South Africa is written by Jane Ann Hobbs who is an award-winning social media strategist, a cook, a food writer, a recipe developer and professional freelance journalist & editor with over 25 years’ worth of experience in print & digital media.

Scrumptious South Africa

She is the author of three books, and lives with her husband Philip Rayner and their three children in Hout Bay, not far from Cape Town, South Africa. Her first cookbook was published in hardback by Random House Struik in July 2012.

The site Scrumptious, which pioneered recipe blogging in South Africa nine years ago, is an independent food blog all about careful, patient home cooking, and about how to prepare excellent food for family and friends.

The recipes on the blog are, with a few early exceptions, her original work: She has devised, developed and thoroughly tested them herself. Of course, there are very few recipes these days that can be called truly original: every recipe builds on the work and patient testing of many generations of talented cooks, chefs and alchemists.

 

 

ONE OF MY FAVOURITE CAKE RECIPES PASSED DOWN FROM MY MUM…

One of my favourite cake recipes passed down from my Mum is Spiced Fruit Cake. 

Spiced Fruit Cake

Ingredients

150 g Marg or Butter

6 level tbsp golden syrup

250g raisins

250g currants

120g sultanas

120g mixed peel

120g chopped stone dates

1/2 pint plus 2 tables milk

Ingredients

1/2 teasp bicarbonate of soda

2 beaten eggs

250g plain flour

1 rounded teasp mixed spice

1 level teasp cinnamon

Pinch of salt

1 tbsp Apricot Jam, melted

 

Method

Preheat oven to Gas 3, 165C, 325F

Line a 7″ deep cake tin

Place all of the first list of ingredients in a saucepan and heat slowly until the butter is melted, then simmer gently for 5 mins. Cool

Stir in the bicarbonate of soda.

Add the 2 beaten eggs into the flour with the mixed spice, cinnamon, and salt but do not stir.

Beat both mixtures together thoroughly.

Place in the cake tin and bake for 13/4 – 2 hrs.

Brush edge with the heated apricot jam and arrange nuts and cherries around.

 

10 SECRETS TO BETTER BAKING…

10 secrets to better baking –

  1. Leave your cake on a wire rack in the tin you have baked it in for 5 minutes before you turn it out.
  2. When making your cake, leave the eggs and fat our overnight so that they will be at the same temperature.
  3. For a really moist fruit cake, use marmalade instead of candied peel.
  4. For an extra rich, tasty fruit cake, use cold coffee instead of milk.
  5. Measure all your ingredients accurately.
  6. Bake your cake immediately once mixed as the baking powder begins to act as soon as its combined with liquid.
  7. Leave scones for a minute before you pop them into the oven as resting them allow the baking powder to become active.
  8. 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.
  9. When baking cakes, always sift the flour first as this will incorporate air and will create a light bake.
  10. NEVER open the oven for at least the first half of the baking time as the cold air will interfere with the rising of the cake.