c June 2014 | Garden, Tea, Cakes, (Books) and Me

Triple Chocolate and Cherry Tray Bake Recipe - Scoliosis Association UK Bake Off with Jane Asher

Recipe - Triple Chocolate & Cherry Tray Bake

  • bowl or electronic food mixer
  • scales   
  • baking tray 9 inch x 11 inch
  • baking parchment to line the baking tray
  • cooling rack

makes 12-15 squares

6oz butter (softened) or margarine
5oz self raising flour
2oz cocoa powder (sifted)
6oz caster sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 oz dark chocolate drops
2 oz glace cherries (cut into halves)
milk (if required)

Baking instructions
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C
  • Line the baking tray
  • Add the butter, sugar, flour, eggs and baking powder into a mixing bowl, whisk together with an electric whisk for two minutes. 
  • Mix the chocolate drops and cherries into the cake mixture
  • If you think the mixture is a little too thick add a tablespoon or two of milk.
  • Bake at 180 degrees C for 25 minutes, check with a skewer to to see if it comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, using the baking sheet lift the cake out of the tin and place on a wire rack. 
  • Leave to cool.

You can choose to eat the as it is, cut into squares. Or once cooled you can decorate the cake.

Decorate (optional)
I drizzled a little melted dark and white chocolate over the top and also sprinkled some of the chocolate chips and glace cherries too. Cut into squares.

Bake Off for International Scoliosis Awareness Day
On International Scoliosis Awareness Day #ISAD 28 June, the Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK) are holding their own version of the popular bake off. With the support of patron, renowned celebrity baker and actress Jane Asher. Jane is offering some of her new beautiful Poundland baking range as prizes.
The main competition will take place at our Hyde Park event on ISAD itself (Saturday 28th June). All are invited, so get creative in the kitchen and bring along your masterpiece for a chance to win! Once the competition has been judged, all entries will be sold in a bake sale to raise funds for ISAD.

The competition will be judged at 1pm. The event starts from 12pm in the area by the Lido Cafe in Hyde Park, London. 
If like me you can not make Hyde Park but would still like to take part, Jane will be judging an online competition too! You can send in your recipe along with a picture of your creation. All recipes will be posted online and the winner will receive a signed copy of Jane Asher's latest baking book. I am entering my Triple Chocolate and Cherry Tray Bake. So what are you waiting for - get baking! 

Visit the SAUK website for details on where to send your entries. 

View Post

Saturday 28 June International Scoliosis Awareness Day #ISAD

Saturday 28th June 2014 is International Scoliosis Awareness Day #ISAD

Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine, in which the spinal column can also twist, pulling the ribcage out of position. I have scoliosis, something I blogged about last year for International Scoliosis Awareness Day,  I have Congenital Scoliosis with my spine having theoretic and lumbar scoliosis of 100 degrees.
Although many people have not heard of the condition it is surprisingly common, with three to four children per 1000 needing specialist supervision. Scoliosis is not a disease. It just means that in an otherwise healthy person the spine is curved or twisted. It is not infectious or contagious and it does not develop as a result of anything the adult, child, or its parents did, or failed to do. 
It can affect a person’s appearance because when the spine bends to the side the vertebrae (the individual bones that make up the spine) become twisted and pull the ribs round with them, which sometimes forms a characteristic lump on the back and can cause the shoulder blade to stick out. The spine can bend towards either side of the body at any place in the chest area (thoracic scoliosis), in the lower part of the back (lumbar), or above and below these areas (thoracolumbar). It can even bend twice, causing an S-shaped curve. When the curve is S-shaped (a double curvature) it is generally not noticeable and the person can appear quite straight because the two curves counteract each other. If the curve is lower down in the spine, the ribs will not be affected but one hip might be higher than the other. 
I am blogging about #ISAD to help share with you the great job that the Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK) the only charity in the UK to support people with scoliosis and those close to them. They rely entirely on your hard work and donations to:

• Raise awareness of scoliosis and ensure sufferers and their families know they are not alone and that there is support and help available to them

• Provide a helpline where people can call for information, advice, and a sympathetic ear

• Connect scoliosis sufferers with others in their area so that they have people in a similar situation they can turn to for support, advice, and in many cases lasting friendship

• Help patients get referrals- It is vitally important that anyone diagnosed with scoliosis is assessed by a scoliosis specialist. SAUK has the only list of every scoliosis specialist in the UK and where they are based, so we can advise patients who they need to see

• Provide information on everything from diagnosis to treatment to managing the condition day to day. SAUK is accredited with The Information Standard meaning that our resources go through a rigorous process to guarantee they are accurate, trustworthy, and user-friendly

• Run a network of regional reps across the UK who act as points of contact for scoliosis sufferers in the area and hold meetings and get-togethers

• Provide an online support network through the active and dynamic Facebook community and the online members’ forum, where people can connect and share experiences

• Hold patient meetings across the UK where people can get together and hear talks and advice from scoliosis specialists

Make a donation to SAUK

Source information from the SAUK website
View Post

BBC Good Food Bakes & Cakes Show - Discount Code Offer

I have a special offer for you my lovely blog readers. The all new BBC Good Food Bakes & Cakes Show has just been launched, a food show dedicated to the wonderful world of bakes and cakes. If you choose to buy your tickets before the 30th June you will receive a 25% discount of the purchase price, using the code below. Now for the important who, where, when and what you all need to know.
“The BBC Good Food Bakes & Cakes Show, sponsored by Lexus, launches at the beautiful Business Design Centre in Islington, London from 25-27 October 2014. Bringing the popular BBC Good Food Bakes & Cakes title to life, the show will be packed with baking, bread-making and cake-crafting demonstrations, free master classes, and hundreds of products to get you baking like a pro.

PLUS! Don't miss out on seeing your favourite baking stars, LIVE at the show! Every full day adult ticket includes a seat for the Bakes & Cakes Theatre, where you can watch Mary Berry, Mich Turner, John Whaite, Paul Hollywood, and other expert bakers in LIVE baking and technique demos.

Whether you're new to baking or a seasoned baking veteran, the BBC Good Food Bakes & Cakes Show is the perfect place to meet bakers, cake-crafters and confectioners, learn new skills, and pick up all the essentials you need to develop your home baking hobby.
Tickets are now on sale! Just quote EBPAR1 when purchasing to receive 25% off tickets! This offer is valid until 30th June 2014."

Disclosure - I have received a free press pass for this event.
View Post

The Delights of Paris and London

A few weeks ago I visited the wonderful city of Paris, it coincided with the D Day anniversary and the French Open so everywhere was very busy. I enjoyed the delights of a cruise down the Seine, a tour of the city and a stroll around the Tuileries Garden next to my hotel.

Tuileries Gardens
The discovery of an amazing patisserie called Angelina, was the icing on the cake would love to go back and eat more of their exquisite looking creations. Maybe one day if I return I will pop in again, I would also like to take the tour of the Paris Opera House too - a most impressive building. I did manage a few foodie treat purchases - Caramel Sauce from Angelina, some wonder chocolates from the Laduree confectionery shop, this temptation was just across the street from the hotel.

You will not be surprised to know I ate all of this
My sister also had no problem polishing off her macaroon masterpiece
Angelina - croque en bouche
The journey on the Eurostar to and from Paris was a delight the smooth organisation and departure at St Pancras really added to the holiday, we were even in the same carriage as the Queen a day earlier!  Unlike the departure chaos and poor signage at Paris Gare du Nord station. The French really could learn something from the staff at St Pancras! 

Laduree chocolates

Back in London and on my wish list of places to visit was Liberty. I good browse around this old store and I made purchases in my two favourite departments stationery and haberdashery, well you've got to haven't you. 

Liberty treats
Another London gem is Spencer House, situated in St Jame's Place, they only open on a Sunday and tours are by timed tickets - the tour guide was excellent. It is described as London's most magnificent 18th century private palace, which has a fascinating history. We went straight from there to around the corner to Fortum and Mason for afternoon tea and a little shopping.  But you will have to wait for another blog post to see those delightful cakes!

View Post

Free Organic Strawberry Guard for the Garden

Mr Frog  - guard of the strawberries
If you look closely you will spot a frog amongst the straw surrounding the strawberry plants. For the second year running a frog has found a home amongst the strawberry patch in the garden. Hopefully he will be eating those pesky slugs that like to nibble the ripe strawberries, best of all this slug deterrent did not cost me a penny and it is organic too! Both my neighbours have water features in their gardens, so I expect Mr Frog has come from nearby. I am not bothered by Mr Frog, except for when he jumps and lands on my foot.

I spotted Mr Frog as I picked the first punnet of strawberries from the garden. Lucky I had my mobile phone in my pocket, so managed a photograph before he disappeared under cover. Checking the fruit will become a daily job as they are ripening quickly in the sunshine. Some I will have on my breakfast cereal or for dessert with ice cream, whilst others will not make it to the punnet but be eaten as soon as they are picked.
Punnet of Strawberries fresh from the garden
View Post

A Garden Bouquet - bringing the outdoors in

There is no doubt that Summer has arrived in the UK, we have had weeks now of good weather which is certainly benefiting the garden. Although if it continues for months I am sure you will hear me complain that my vegetables are bolting and the water butt has run dry!

With so many wonderful flowers in bloom in the garden it a shame when some of them are hidden away, whilst others are on display for all to see. So this year I have decided to bring more flowers into the house, if the garden can spare them of course.

Having watched The Big Allotment Challenge on BBC2 earlier this year, I have tried to remember some of the tips given by floral judge Jonathan Moseley, and then I have probably ignored them.

Flowers in my first Summer garden bouquet are:

  • Lavender
  • Penstemon
  • Canterbury Bells
  • Sweet Williams
  • Lady's Mantle
  • Erysimum
  • Jacob's Ladder

If anyone has any tips for flower arranging please feel free to share them with me.

View Post

Cherry and Coconut Cake Recipe

This recipe for Cherry and Coconut Cake was simple and quick to make, and well received by all those who ate a slice or two. It was most selfless of me to bake this cake as I do not like coconut, a cake I could not eat! As selfless as I was this cake is one from my wish list of bakes from the Cake Magic book.
Recipe Coconut and Cherry Cake
Cherry and Coconut Cake recipe - an easy bake
Recipe Cherry and Coconut Cake

  • bowl or electric food mixer
  • scales  
  • 2 lb loaf tin  
  • baking parchment/ loaf tin liner
  • cooling rack
  • measuring jug


makes 1 loaf cake - 8 to 10 slices

250g self raising flour

125g butter
125g caster sugar
100g desiccated coconut
125g glace cherries
2 large eggs
225ml milk

Coconut and Cherry Cake Recipe

  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees C / Gas Mark 3
  • Line the loaf tin
  • Rinse the cherries in cold water and dry, chop into small pieces.
  • Rub the butter into the flour with your finger tips, until it resembles breadcrumbs. Or use an electric food mixer, I used my Kenwood K Mix and the K attachment.
  • Add the sugar, chopped cherries and 75g of the coconut, mix briefly.
  • Briefly whisk the milk and eggs together, then add to the bowl of dry ingredients.
  • Whisk all the ingredients well together.
  • Pour into a lined loaf tin.
  • Sprinkle the remaining coconut onto the top of the mixture.
  • Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, you may need to cover the top of the cake near the end to prevent to top over browning. It may need an additional 10 minutes, check with skewer to see if it comes out clean.
Leave to cool in tin for 10 minutes, then remove and place on a wire cooling rack until cool.

Follow my baking board on Pinterest 

Slice the Cherry and Coconut Cake as large as you dare. I have even managed a few spare slices to pop in the freezer, for when those unexpected visitors arrive.
Cherry Loaf recipe or Cherry and Coconut Loaf recipe

Recipe Cherry and coconut cake
Love this recipe then you will love others from this great book, perfect for any keen baker.
Other recipes you may like to try:-

Cherry coconut Cake loaf recipes
View Post

Recipe Cranberry and Dark Chocolate Scones & Review Heston Blumental Precision Scales

Review of Heston Blumental Precision Orb Electronic Scales. I have been using these scales for over a month, kindly sent by Salter they have now replaced some old electronic scales I had, which would lose their battery power without warning at critical times during baking! 
Weighing scales with a clear display
Easy to use and clear display Orb Electronic
 scales from Salter
The Heston Blumental Precision Orb Electronic Scales are made from black plastic with a large electronic display trimmed in chrome style, complete with a 1.5 litre stainless steel measuring bowl.

The Precision Orb 
Electronic Scales have a number of features  - an add and weigh function which allows you to weigh multiple ingredients in the same bowl.  Aquatronic function for measuring liquids in either ml or fl oz. A lovely large and clear backlight LCD digital display. 
Shiny measuring bowl
There is a neat little feature with these scales, swapping between measurement types. Now, this often happens to me:- you turn the scales on, start pouring in your sugar look at the reading and realise it is displayed in ozs when your recipe is in grams. With my old scales I would have to empty the sugar back into the bag, and press the button on the scales for grams and start again. But no these scales are clever, leave your sugar in the measuring bowl and just press the grams button it will automatically convert the display to the grams measurement! Carry on measuring out your sugar.

I love… 
  • Mesmerised by a bowl - there is just some thing about the stainless steel measuring bowl, its look, its feel. The way the sugar or flour glides out into your mixing bowl. Daft of me I know, but I was really taken with it. Oh and its lightweight too.
  • No disappearing display - if the scales display is showing zero the scales will automatically turn off after 1 minute. However it will turn off after 3 minutes if the display shows the same weight reading. Giving you that leeway to get the next bag of flour out of the cupboard, to make up the rest of your ingredients. 
  • Weighing liquids - this worked perfectly when making my scones. No need to get a clean measuring jug out of the cupboard, just push the on/off/reset button and then press ml/fl oz button and slowly pour in your milk - perfect!
  • Big, bold display -  the displaying digits are very clear to read, easy to reset. 
 Could do better…
  • Made in china - whenever I see this on an item my heart sinks, all those miles of travel. 
  • Brighter - would love to see the scales in a choice of colours, that you could co-ordinate with other equipment in the range such as the adjustable rolling pin
Perfect for…
  • A great gift for a novice or accomplished baker.
  • Younger bakers, during one of my 7 year old nieces visits she made a cake, and needed no help at all in using the scales. Very straight forward even a child can use them. 
The important stuff… 
  • Comes with a whopping 15 year guarantee.
  • Comes with 3 x AAA batteries
  • Max weight x resolutions: 5kg x 1g, 11lb x 1/8oz, 5000ml x 1ml, 175fl.oz x 1/8fl.oz
  • Product dimensions: 23.1 x 23.1 x 22.7cm
  • The stainless steel measuring bowl is dishwasher daft
  • In a presentation box 
  • RRP £39.99
Below is my recipe to make Cranberry and Dark Chocolate Chip Scones, I used the the Heston Blumental Precision Orb Electronic Scales to make this recipe including measuring the milk.

Recipe Cranberry and Dark Chocolate Chip Scones 

  • bowl or electronic food mixer
  • scales  
  • 2 1/4 inch crinkle end pastry cutter 
  • baking sheet
  • pastry brush

makes 9

8oz self raising flour
1/2 tsp salt
2oz butter
150 ml milk1 oz dried cranberries
1 oz dark chocolate drops
extra flour for rolling out
extra milk for glazing

  • Sift flour and salt into a bowl. Rub the butter into the flour with your finger tips, until it resembles breadcrumbs. Or use an electric mixer.
  • Add and briefly mix in the cranberries and chocolate chips.
  • Add all the milk, and mix to a soft sticky dough, using either your hands or your electric mixer.
  • Turn out onto a well floured work surface. I don't roll my dough out I use my hands to gentle flatten the dough to about 1/2 inch thick.
  • Cut into 9 rounds using the 2 1/4 inch crinkle cutter.
  • Place on a baking sheet and glace with milk.
Bake at 220 degrees or gas mark 8 for 10-12 minutes or until they are golden brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

These scones were nice either warm from the oven or cold.

Other scone recipes you may like to try:-

Salter sent me these scales for the purpose of this review.

View Post
Next PostNewer Posts Previous PostOlder Posts Home

Follow Me