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.

OVER TEN REASONS TO DRINK GREEN TEA…

 

The question is are there any other foods or drink that have been reported to have as many health benefits as green tea?

white ceramic teacup with saucer near two books above gray floral textile
Photo by Thought Catalog on Pexels.com

The Chinese have known about the medicinal benefits of green tea since ancient times. It is made using the leaves of the Chinese Camellia sinensis plant. The leaves are then applied to heat quickly after picking which minimizes oxidation. This is thought to give the green tea it’s many benefits.

1. Researchers have suggested that it can help slash the risk of developing cancer by shrinking tumours.

2. It has been known to stabilise your cholesterol levels.

3. It has shown significant reductions in deaths of cardiovascular disease.

4. It can boost your immune system and aid weight loss.

5. It has been effective in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis.

6. It can reduce tooth decay.

7. A recent report has shown that it can also slow the onset of Alzheimers and Parkinsons Disease.

8. It can help fight infections and allergies to the body.

9. They also say it can slow the ageing.

10. The latest news on Green tea is that it can enhance the ability of our brains’ cognitive functions especially on the working memory, a Swiss scientists suggest.Researchers have recommended further study into how green tea can help with cognitive impairments such as dementia.

11. Green tea’s other benefits include reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. This research was conducted at the University Hospital of Basel Switzerland and led by Professors Christoph Beglinger and Stefan.

12. Drinking green tea ‘may’ reduce the risk of age related functional disabilities like osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

13. They say that for people who consume 1 – 2 cups of green tea per day have a ten percent lower risk of becoming disabled.

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10 TIPS ON BAKING THE BEST FRUIT CAKE…

1. For a really moist fruitcake, use marmalade instead of candied peel.

2. 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.

3. If you are adding dried fruit then it should be plump and soft, if it has gone horrible and hard, then soak in hot water for a few minutes before adding it to your mixture

4. For an extra rich, tasty fruitcake, use cold coffee instead of milk.

5. For a moist fruitcake with extra flavour, grate a cooking apple into the mixture.

6. For a moister fruitcake in electric ovens or Agars, place a dish of water on the floor of the oven when baking.

7. Always cool fruitcakes for 10 to 15 minutes on a rack in the dish in which they were baked. Then turn them onto the rack and carefully peel off the paper.

8. Fruitcakes freeze very well; however, they must be aged for at least a few weeks before freezing, as they do not mellow and ripen while they are frozen.

9. To keep the calories down grate an orange and only use half the sugar.

10. Completely dust the fruit and nuts with flour so they don’t fall to the bottom of the batter while baking. Shake off excess before incorporating into the recipe.

FLOUR THAT’S GLUTEN AND WHEAT FREE…

With so many of us suffering with gluten and wheat intolerances but still wanting to bake it was great to see flour without either.

Oast to Host has solved this problem with its two new flour blends Cake and Pastry. They have been expertly blended to give you light and fluffy cakes and crisp pastry. They contain a little dried egg albumen, which helps with the texture of the bakes.

They start at Cake Flour £4 for 450g for 2 available online at Oast to Host. And the Pastry Flour £9 for 2 x 450g.

This wonderfully versatile flour allows you to make your favourite: CAKE/cup cakes, SCONES, BLINIS, STEAMED PUDDINGS & BISCUITS.  Everyone will be coming back for more!  Each 225g recipe will make a generous 8″ Cake. 

You can make anything from Lemon Drizzle, Coffee and Walnut, Chocolate, Battenburg or Carrot Cake!  Our new in-house favourite is Earl Grey Cake using real tea leaves! 

See how easy it is to make this delicious subtly perfumed sponge cake by watching their video. They have lots of recipes on the website.

ESCAPE FOR A FEW HOURS IN ROSIE’S TRAVELLING TEA SHOP…

Although this amazing book “Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop” by Rebecca Raisin is not actually a proper tea shop but the title for a book I just had to pop it on here for others to enjoy. The story is all about Rosie who has a swanky job as a Michelin-Starred Sous Chef, a loving husband and future children scheduled for exactly January 2021.

That’s until she comes home one day to find her husband’s pre-packed bag and a confession that he’s had an affair.

Heartbroken and devastated, Rosie drowns her sorrows in a glass (or three) of wine, only to discover the following morning that she has spontaneously invested in a bright pink campervan to facilitate her grand plans to travel the country.

Now, Rosie is about to embark on the trip of a lifetime, and the chance to change her life! With Poppy, her new-found travelling tea shop in tow, nothing could go wrong, could it…?

There is just so much to love about this story that I actually could not put it down and read it over two days. My hubby could hear me laughing out loud at parts of the book. Its a real uplifting story and something we could all enjoy reading at the moment. I bought mine from Amazon as I am a big Kindle reader but I am sure is available in other good book shops.

TEN HEALTHY BAKING TIPS…

Simple changes to make your baking a little bit more healthy.

1.Avocado – Use this healthy fat to make a frosting, pudding, or replace butter in recipes for cakes, brownies, bread, and other baked goods.

2. Apple Sauce – Use this instead of oil adding unsweetened applesauce into those moist baked treats.

3. Fitness Magazine suggest paying a little extra for high-quality products, like premium chocolate and pure vanilla extract, can pay off. “More-flavorful ingredients make you less likely to miss any calories you’ve cut,” says Kim Macy, the pastry chef at Miraval Resort & Spa in Tucson, Arizona

4. Beets add sweetness and moisture without taking away from the flavor,” says pastry chef Marisa Churchill, the author of Sweet & Skinny. Add two-thirds of a cup of finely grated raw beets to brownie batter and you can reduce the sugar by a quarter cup.

5. Another one from Fitness Magazine is for a lighter spin on cream cheese frosting, which is typically made with full-fat cream cheese and butter, beat together with an eight-ounce block of reduced-fat cream cheese, one cup of powdered sugar, and one teaspoon of vanilla extract. The fluffy icing contains a mere 59 calories and three grams of fat per tablespoon.

6. Eat This also says when you’re baking try substituting the recommended oil or fat in the recipe with Greek yogurt. You won’t lose any flavor and still have plenty of moisture in the consistency.

7. The British Heart Foundation says using an unsaturated spread instead of butter has more benefits than simply reducing the amount of saturated fat: it actually gives a lighter texture, especially if you’re making an all-in-one sponge cake.

8. They also point out that try using a drizzle of glacé (water) icing rather than butter icing for cake toppings. Or, a light sprinkle of icing sugar may be all you need to give your bake the final touch.

9. Eat Right suggest you try a Whole-Grain Flour. White whole-wheat flour can be substituted one-for-one for all-purpose flour in most recipes. You also can replace up to half the all-purpose flour in a recipe with a whole-grain flour without making any major adjustments to the recipe.

10.  Sainsbury’s tip is if you significantly reduce the sugar in a cake, try adding naturally sweet spices such as cinnamon, mixed spice, and vanilla, says Inman, or drizzle a small amount of honey or maple syrup over the top when serving. ‘It fools you into believing it is sweeter than it is,’ explains Bourke.

3 GREAT PODCASTS TO LISTEN TO DURING MAY…

With us all spending lots more time at home and indoors I’m sure I am not the only one who has listened to lots more Podcasts over the last six weeks. My top three choice for you to enjoy are.

1. Cook The Perfect available on BBC Sounds and Apple Stitcher is hosted by Jenni Murray and Jane Garvey in 10 minute Podcasts to inspire you. They have guests who are experts on the lowdown on making tasty dishes and one I loved was on Thursday 2nd April with Regula Ysewijn with Aunty Betty’s Gingerbread which is to absolutely die for.

2. On Player FM they have Flour Hour Baking Podcast a podcast completely dedicated to baking. Co-hosted by bakers Amanda Faber and Jeremiah Duarte Bills, Flour Hour features interviews with baking professionals, amateurs and enthusiasts. Topics cover all types of baking and the food stories that inspire culture, creativity and humanity. Episode 54 is Baking In The Time of Corona which is very apt. They discuss how they are coping with the new reality, resrouces, favorite books, substitutions and more. You can download the Player FM app free on App Store and Google Play.

3. Another great one on Player FM is Preheated which is full of kitchen wisdom and friendly chat from two friends who love to bake. Episode 174 is Donut Life and a bumper final episode of Sweet & Sour Month! The hosts are intrigued by a sour-cream pie crust, and Stefin’s finally tackled homemade milk kefir using freeze-dried starter (reminding Andrea of cowboy sourdough). In this week’s review, the duo dodge numerous frustrations to declare Shauna Sever’s Donut Loaf a huge, powdered-sugar-covered win. And who can resist the month’s final bake-along? Emma Christensen’s Buttermilk Quick Bread with an astonishing 10 variations, that uses your choice of fat, flour, and sweet or savory add-ins. Finally, the duo take a Dairy Deep Dive into the history behind some of this month’s tangy ingredients.

Bake along with Stefin and Andrea in their baking Facebook group, Preheated Baking Podcast Listeners. You can find links to recipes on their baking website www.preheatedpodcast.com, or follow the hosts on Twitter and Instagram, using handle preheatedpod.

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.