125g (4oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4oz) light muscovado sugar
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
50g (2oz) apple sauce
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 ½ teasp cinnamon
150g (5oz) Plain Flour
1tsp Baking Powder


Preheat oven to 180C (160fan) Mark 4
Line loaf tin or grease
Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric whish until pale and creamy
Gradually whisk in the eggs then the apple sauce
Stir in the bananas
Sift in the flour, cinnamon and baking powder then fold together with a large metal spoon
Bake for 50mins – 1 hour or until risen and a skewer inserted comes clean
Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then place on wire rack



‘Can I Eat It’? (UK) is a brilliant app for £1.99 which is for people with allergies, diet or religious beliefs. This barcode-scanning app speeds the process by serving up essential information on ingredients. The database is fairly extensive when it comes to well known brands and you can set exactly what you need to find, including gluten and nuts, halal and kosher choices, and Fairtrade and organic information.

A must for someone with a food intolerance/allergy.

‘Waitrose’ has a brilliant one which is FREE. It contains over 200 recipes (with new ones added weekly) from Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal. It also has advice on pairing wine with food, cooking times for meat and fish, a weight and temperature conversion calculator and nutritional information.

So you have no excuse about burning your food.

‘Yelp’ is another FREE one and is brilliant for eating out. You can browse what’s available to eat nearby, see what other diner’s think of a restaurant and find out how to book. It can even show you the way by scanning the street you are on.



If you have not seen the biscuiteers website then you will be amazed how unique and clever their take is on biscuits.

We all love biscuits but http://www.biscuiteers.com take biscuits to another level. You can say ‘happy birthday’ to ‘sorry’ in biscuits and for Valentines day you can have a giant tin of personalised love chocolates or biscuits or a biscuit card, to name a few.

Their delicious chocolates are hand iced like their biscuits and all make unique gifts.

They now also have cheese to go with your biscuits and cakes.

If you were looking for something a bit different for your wedding guests, then their hand iced favours, which can be designed by you, will fit the bill.



Numero Uno has to be the legendary Bettys in Harrogate. Here you will learn how to make cakes the Bettys way. There is a choice of course to choose one just visit the website for more details, http://www.bettyscookeryschool.co.uk

Lucy Cooks has an array of baking courses, from creating afternoon teas to perfect cakes, at her school in the Lake District. For dates and more details 015384 32288 or visit http://www.lucycooks.co.uk they also have a course which includes a three-day stay at Lingmoor Guesthouse.

Newlyns Cookery School in Hampshire will help you make perfect pastry with their biscuits and cake courses. The five hour cake and pastry course should make you an expert. For dates and more details 01256 704128 or visit http://www.newlyn-farm-shop.co.uk/cookery. They also have details on a stay at the Tylney Hall Hotel.

Angela Gray’s Cookery School at Llanerch Vineyard, in Glamorganshire has a ‘Bake It’ course which will help your to turn out spiced chocolate brownies and banana caramel cake. For dates and more details go to their website http://www.llanerch-vineyard.co.uk Accommodation is available at the Vineyard.

Edinburgh New Town Cookery School’s Baking Days offer a masterclass in scone and cake making. For dates and more details 01312264314 or visit http://www.entcs.co.uk . They also have accommodation.

Harrop Fold Farm in the Peak District National Park holds baking days and you can take home a dozen cupcakes that you make on the day. For more details visit their website http://www.harropfoldfarm.co.uk


afternoon tea

When making scones cover freshly baked ones with a slightly damp tea towel. This will help to keep them light and soft.

When baking a cake in a loaf tin, rather than buying expensive liners use silver foil instead. Just get the mould of the tin by putting the foil on the outside of the tin then transfer it inside for a perfect fit.

TEA IN THE 400’s – 750’s…

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In the 400-600’s demand for tea being used as a medicinal drink rose in China.

Tea in Japan during this period was rare and expensive, and enjoyed most by high priests and the aristocracy.

During 648-749 a Japanese monk ‘Gyoki’ planted the first tea bushes in 49 Buddhist temple gardens.

Buddhism and tea devotion spread and the Japanese Buddhist Saint and Priest ‘Saicho’ and monk ‘Kubo Daishi’, brought tea seeds and cultivation and manufacturing tips back from China and planted them in the gardens in Japanese temples.

Tea is first mentioned in the ancient texts as an offering. In the Buddhist scriptures it is often spoken as an offering made to the Buddha.


My Vintage Day Crockery Hire

With everything ‘vintage’ being very fashionable at the moment, it was no surprise to find that you can now hire vintage china for your wedding/party or event.

Jo Mortimer-Bush runs ‘My Vintage Day’ crockery-hire, which has a spectacular collection of cups and sauces, plates, tea pots and tea table requisites. She had vintage wedding china at her own wedding which gave her the idea to start the business.

Most of her collection has been bought from auctions, antique fairs and car-boot sales. Most of her business has been built up by word of mouth and from her website http://www.myvintageday.co.uk

They cover Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, Bedforshire and Hertfordshire, but will deliver further at an added cost. They also cater for afternoon tea packages which have also become fashionable for hen parties.


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1 x Luxury Chocolate Swiss Roll (the more chocolaty the better)
2 x Chocolate flavoured Angel Delight
1 pint Semi-skimmed Milk
300 ml Double or Whipping Cream
Bailey’s Liquor
1 Cadbury’s flake
1 Tablesp Chocolate chips
1 strawberry


Cut your swiss roll into 2” slices
Line the bottom of your bowl with the swiss roll
Pour over some bailey’s liquor and press down with a fork (as much to moisten the pieces)
Whip up your angel delight with your pint of semi-skimmed milk
Pour it over your swiss roll mixture
Whisk your cream until stiff
Add your whipped cream (check the mousse is stiff)
Crush your flake and sprinkle on top of your trifle
Finish with a tablespoon of chocolate chips and a strawberry in the middle

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The Great British Bake Off

The Great British Bake Off appears on our screens again next Tuesday on BBC2 at 8pm.

Presenters Sue Perkins and Mel Gledroyc return with a new search for Britain’s best amateur baker.

There’s a short list of 12 of the most ‘passionate and skilled’ hopefulls, whittled down from thousands of applicants.

Over the next eight weeks, their ‘baking skills will be pushed to the limit’ as they bake everything from cakes and pies to bread and biscuits.

Those who don’t make the grade will be sent packing!!!!!



afternoon tea

My daughter bought me an ‘afternoon tea’ voucher as part of my Christmas present so today my husband and I went to enjoy our treat at the Brook Whipper In Hotel in Oakham, Rutland, http://www.brook-hotels.co.uk

Oakham is a small market town with a host of things to do and famous for its private school. It has a picturesque castle and museum and a busy Friday market. It holds a British Bird Watching Fair from 19th August – 21st August which they call ‘the Glastonbury of the bird watching world, drawing 20,000 visitors a year’.

It is only a few miles from the well known Rutland Water which is set in 4200 acres of open countryside. Created in the 1970’s to meet an ever increasing demand for water, is now widely regarded as a leading centre for water and land based leisure activities. For full even listing look at http://www.discover-rutland.co.uk

The 3 Star Brook Whipper-In Hotel is situated in the old market square of Oakham situated in Rutland, Britain’s smallest county.

afternoon tea

The charming Brook Whipper-In Hotel in Oakham retains many original features such as real log fires, deep armchairs and original oak beams which create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

The afternoon tea was delicious which as you can see from my photo was bursting with gorgeous sandwiches, scones and cakes. On a nice day (it was raining today) it could be enjoyed in there beautiful courtyard where we saw the biggest wall flower baskets we have ever seen.

Wall flowers