ENJOY A CUP OF CALM…

Tea has lots of health benefits and with so many flavours to choose from it can become a bit of dilemma which one to choose.

If you need a up of something calming after a stressful day then brew up a pot of Clearspring Mu Tea (£4.39) – ‘Mu’ means ‘an ideal state of balance’ in  Japanese and the tea is a blend of 12 organic plant ingredients designed to help restore stability to your mood.

It’s caffeine-free and contains mandarin orange peel, liquorice root, Japanese ginseng, cinnamon and other exotic oriental herbs that combine to create a sweet tasting, spicy and aromatic blend.

Mu Tea was formulated by the Japanese diet and health philosopher, George Ohsawa (founder of the Macrobiotic diet and philosophy), in the 1950s based on his studies of the energetic properties of traditional oriental herbs.

COOK FASTER…

Home is where the heart is

If you are looking for a new hob then try the ‘induction’ hob from Beko as it saves time and energy by cooking at an amazing 36% faster than a gas hob and yet uses 56% less energy.

This is because it only heats the surface that’s in contact with the pain. It has nine cooking levels per zone and its black ceramic suface is easy to clean.

More details can be found at http://www.beko.co.uk

THE ROYAL YACHT BRITANNIA TEA ROOM….

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While on our break in Edinburgh we decided to visit the famous Royal Yacht Britannia which is now based in the historic port of Leith and classes as a ‘must-see’ tourist attraction.

It has played host to some of the most famous people in the world but home to Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family has been its main business.

You can view the heart and soul of this most special of royal residences on either a guided tour or walk round yourself listening to all its history via a mobile phone.

I found it absolutely beautiful and had to sample some gorgeous cake in the ‘Royal Deck Tea Room’, which was built when the boat was retired. We had a choice of fruit and cheese scones,lemon drizzle cake and carrot cake, all of which were delicious and a must if you get chance to go round it, http://www.royalyachtbritannia.co.uk/

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TEA MAKING TIPS…

make tea not war

When you infuse a tea bag, cover your cup or mug to keep it hot and prevent therapeutic oils from evaporating into the air.

If you prefer loose tea but want the convenience of a tea bag then buy a ‘tea ball’ which is a neat wire mesh holder that’s like a reusable tea bag.

To make infusing easier, use a coffee cafeteria. Put in herbs, add hot water, leave for five minutes, press and pour.

Make your own tea bags using favourite herbs and empty tea bags called ‘T-Sac Tea Salters’ from Napiers.

For a medicinal tea, use an ounce of loose herbs to a pint of water, brewed for five minutes to make it strong. Use two – three teaspoons in a pot, then infuse for at least five minutes.

A BRITISH TRADITION UNDER THREAT, SAVE THE TEAPOT !!…

Afternoon tea

According to AfternoonTea a recent report suggests that the great British tradition of drinking tea is under threat with a dramatic decline in sales of teapots. It seems that most of us now opt for a tea bag in a cup and demand for mugs has trebled over the last five years.

AfternoonTea are supporting the ‘Campaign for Civilised Tea Drinking’ launched by Debenhams to help reverse this decline and introduce people to the pleasures of drinking tea brewed in a teapot.

The ‘Save The Teapot’ website will help you find the perfect teapot for you needs and personality. Whether you are looking to build up a teapot collection or find something simple to brew your morning cuppa, you will find a wide range of teapots in all shapes, colours and sizes.

Browse the AfternoonTea website to view some of the finest teapots currently available in the UK from top retails including John Lewis, Debenhams, Twinings and Whittards of Chelsea.

COOK FOR THE QUEEN at BUCKINGHAM PALACE…

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To celebrate the Diamond Jubilee, the British Food Fortnight (27th July – 12th August) is inviting schools in the UK to create a special menu featuring recipes that showcase the best of British to be served to The Queen and The Duchess of Cornwall at a reception at Buckingham Palace in June.

The competition is the idea of The Duchess of Cornwall and is her special tribute to The Queen for the Diamond Jubilee.

The top four winning schools will be invited to Buckingham Palace in June to see their menus prepared by the famous Royal Chef. The students will then help serve their winning dishes at a special Diamond Jubilee reception attended by The Queen and The Duchess of Cornwall.

It is open for 10-15 year olds in all primary and secondary schools in the UK and entries close Monday 30th April and the winners will be announced Mid-May.

To find out more go to the special ‘Cook for The Queen’ section on http://www.lovebritishfood.co.uk

A VARIETY OF CRUMBLE RECIPES…

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CLASSIC CRUMBLE

Ingredients
225g/8oz Plain Flour
175g/6oz Butter
55g/2oz Demerara Sugar
125g/4oz Oats

SCOTTISH STYLE CRUMBLE

Ingredients
110g/4oz Plain Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
75g/3oz Butter
100g/3.5oz Almonds
75g/3oz Demerara Sugar

OATY CRUMBLE

175g/6oz Plain Flour
50g/2oz Caster Sugar
50g/2oz Demerara Sugar
100g/3.5oz Butter
100g/3.5oz Oats

SLIMLINE CRUMBLE

110g/4oz Plain Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
75g/3oz Light Margarine (must be cold to mix with)
75g/3oz Splenda Sugar
Sprinkle of Demerara Sugar onto the top of the crumble

Method
Preheat oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4
Mix your flour sugar and butter together to resemble breadcrumbs then add the rest of the ingredients.
Sprinkle over fruit or fruits of your choice
Bake for 30-45 minutes until golden

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THE RIGHT CONTAINER FOR YOUR CAKE…

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It’s no good if we bake fantastic cakes if we have nothing to store them in so some of the top ones I have seen advertised are –

Emma Bridgewater – http://www.emmabridgewater.co.uk – £30 for three
John Lewis – http://www.johnlewis.com – £19.99 for two or £12 for one
Garden Trading – http://www.gardentrading.co.uk £20 for one or £42 for three tiers

Of course there are a lot more available, these were just some I found being advertised.