October 15th, 2012 | | permalink
It’s that time of the year to pop on your pinny, wield your whisk and act like you’re competing in The Great British Bake Off. Yes, from 15-21 October it’s National Baking Week.
Put your baking skills to good use by whipping up our recipe for Frosted Ginger Cake. Eat it as a warming autumn treat now, and bake again for Christmas, adorning it with edible festive cake decorations. Here’s how to make it…
½ a jar of stem ginger, roughly chopped
175g dark muscovado sugar
175ml sunflower oil
3 large eggs, beaten
175g self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp grated nutmeg
200g tub of Philadelphia
150g icing sugar, sifted
1 tbs stem ginger syrup
Edible Christmas cake decorations of your choice (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas mark 4. Grease an 18cm square cake tin and line it with baking parchment. The easiest way is to cut two strips the width of the tin, lay them across each other and trim any excess paper, although it’s fine to have a little overhang.
2. Mix the oil and the sugar in a large bowl with a wooden spoon. Add the beaten eggs, mixing lightly.
3. Stir the flour, bicarbonate of soda, and spices together and then sift into the large bowl. Gently mix all the ingredients, and before they are just combined, add the chopped stem ginger. Be careful not to over mix. The consistency should be soft and almost runny.
4. Now pour the cake mix into the tin and bake for 40-45 minutes until the cake is firm and springs back when you press the centre. Leave the cake to cool in the tin and then turn it out on a rack for further cooling, and finally place it on a cake stand.
5. Using an electric whisk, beat the frosting ingredients together in a bowl, until you have a smooth mixture. If the consistency is too runny, simply sift in more icing sugar. Dollop the frosting onto the top of the ginger cake and smooth out with a spatula, you could make it look like a snowdrift. For the finishing touches, add your edible Christmas cake decorations – we got ours from Waitrose.
Our Frosted Ginger Cake is best eaten with loved ones and served with a cup of Crabtree & Evelyn’s Earl Grey Tea, or with a cheeky glass of grögg during the festive season.
Are you already busy planning your Christmas? Get inspiration and some lovely gifts at the Spirit of Christmas Fair (from 30 Oct – 4 November at Olympia, London). Crabtree & Evelyn are giving away two pairs of tickets to the event. To be in with a chance of winning, simply visit us on Facebook and enter the competition. May the spirit of Christmas be with you!
October 2nd, 2012 | | permalink
Tea has the magical ability to give a twinkle of hope to a bad day. If you’ve got something to celebrate, dunking a scrumptious biscuit into a cuppa is a good place to start. On cold, dark winter mornings a warming mug of Rosy Lee will help perk you up, and when catching up with friends a pot of the good stuff will help you relax and the conversation flow.
As a nation there are fewer things we love more than a comforting brew. However, there have always been mixed feelings on how to get the best out of those tea bags. Here’s our guide on how to make the perfect cup of cha…
Put the kettle on love
Using freshly boiled water is a must because, if you twice boil it, the flavour can be affected. It’s also important to regularly de-scale your kettle. As a rule the better the water tastes, the better your tea will taste.
Fact: Tea was first imported to Britain from China in the 17th century.
Choose your mug or cup
Drinking from a favourite teacup or mug adds to the experience of enjoying a brew. Fine bone china gives an elegant feel to teatime, while chunky earthenware mugs add homely comfort.
Fact: In the early days of tea drinking poor quality cups would often crack when hot water was poured in, so milk was added first to prevent this.
Brew in a teacup
Waiting for tea to brew can seem like forever when you’re parched, but avoid the temptation to take the bag out too soon. The optimum time to leave a tea bag in is for two minutes – any longer and you risk having a stewed cuppa.
Fact: Tea bags were invented by in 1908 by New York tea merchant Thomas Sullivan, who used silken bags to send samples to his customers.
Tea drinkers often cross spoons over whether to put the milk in first or last. In 1946, George Orwell argued in his essay A Nice Cup of Tea that the milk should be poured in last to regulate the amount added and avoid a weak cuppa. However, the Royal Society of Chemistry commissioned research that showed if you pour milk in last, the individual drops can separate due to the high water temperature – yet this is less likely to happen if the milk is already in the cup. Adding milk first or last is a personal choice. But we’re with Orwell because we do like a nice strong cup of tea, and he also stated the importance of stirring well.
Fact: In Britain we drink 165 million cups of tea a day and the average age to start drinking tea is 7 ½ years old.
Now go put the kettle on and test out our tea tips. For a lovely treat we recommend a cup of Crabtree & Evelyn’s Afternoon Tea accompanied with our delicious new Oat & Fruit Crumbles. Yum!
August 8th, 2012 | | permalink
The sun might not be shining, but that’s no reason to abandon the idea of enjoying a summer picnic. If the heavens open, tuck into your snacks on a rug in the sitting room, or in a summerhouse – or go on a road trip and eat your goodies on the way.
These simply scrumptious picnic ideas are made using ingredients from our Fine Foods range and can be enjoyed whatever the unpredictable British weather pelts at us…
Earl Grey iced tea
Are you thirsting after a refreshing picnic drink? Make a batch of Earl Grey iced tea and pour it into a flask. It’s this simple:
1. Boil one litre of water and infuse with x6 Crabtree & Evelyn Earl Grey Tea Bags in a jug for five minutes.
2. Take the tea bags out. Add slices of lemon, a handful of mint leaves, x2 tablespoons of sugar and a drizzle of honey. Leave to cool and then refrigerate.
3. Transfer to a flask and add ice cubes.
Banger baguettes with mustard
If you haven’t tried our English Mustard with Honey – you are missing out. The morish mustard kick is balanced with sweet honey and the whole grains burst in your mouth. Spread it on sliced cold pre-cooked sausages and place them in buttered mini baguettes for a delicious picnic treat. Feeling naughty? Add a little bit of cheese.
Strawberry & cream cheese sandwiches
An innovative take on jam sandwiches; simply get your mitts on some brioche rolls, spread cream cheese on both sides of the bread and spoon dollops of Strawberry Jam in the centre. Creamy, sweet and delicious!
Cheddar muffins with English Apple Chutney
Cheesy with a kick of juicy English Apple Chutney at the center, these muffins make a good alternative to sandwiches.
250g plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
A pinch of salt
120g grated cheddar
1 medium egg
120g grated cheddar
A jar of English Apple Chutney
1. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl and rub in the butter.
2. Stir in the egg, cheese and milk until combined.
3. Spoon the mixture into muffin cases, dollop a teaspoon of chutney in the centre and top with more muffin mixture.
4. Bake at 220°C for 20-25 minutes. (Makes 12)
If you’ve bought or been given one of our Fine Food Hampers, don’t forget to pack your goodies in it for your picnic jaunts!