May 14th, 2013 | | permalink
Dig out your favourite apron, dust off those scales and raid your store cupboard. World Baking Day is almost here (19 May) and encourages people to step out of their comfort zone, by choosing to bake one of the 100 cakes on the event’s website, which have been submitted by cooks from all over the globe. At no. 1 on the list, Banana Muffins are for the kitchen novices, while the show-stopping Cream Puff Cake at no. 100 is for those very brave bakers.
The Vanilla, Strawberry & Rose Victoria Sponge took my fancy (level 66), but I decided to add my own take on it. Yes, I have baked many sponge cakes in my time. However, I must confess that recently I’ve been suffering from the curse of the dreaded soggy bottom! That’s why I wanted to go back to basics. For ease, I did an all-in-one recipe and my unique twist on the cake involves a blueberry jam filling and drizzle.
I’m proud to say my Blueberry Jam & Drizzle Victoria Sponge was a resounding success (next stop Cream Puff Cake?). Here’s how to make it…
4 eggs (weighed in their shells)
Soft margarine (same weight as the eggs)
Caster sugar (same weight as the eggs)
Self-raising (same weight as the eggs)
Drizzle and filling
Half a jar of Crabtree & Evelyn Blueberry Preserve
1 tbs margarine
2 tbs Belvoir Blueberry & Blackcurrant Cordial
50g icing sugar
A handful of rose petals (or you could use fresh blueberries)
1. Set the oven to Gas Mark 4, 160C (fan oven), 180C or 360F. Grease and line 2 x 8inch sandwich tins.
2. All the cake ingredients need to weigh the same amount. First weigh the eggs in their shells. I used duck eggs fresh from the farm and they weighed 8oz, so I made sure the margarine, sugar and flower weighed 8oz, too. The beauty of using duck eggs is that they have bigger yolks and make for a delicious golden sponge.
3. Make life easy for yourself by doing an all-in-one cake mixture. Crack the first egg in to a small bowl to make sure it’s a good egg, and add it to a food processor, KitchenAid, or a large bowl (you’ll need an electric whisk to beat the ingredients together). Repeat until all four eggs are cracked, then add the margarine, the sugar and sieve in the flour.
4. Mix all the ingredients together until they are pale, light and fluffy as a day old chick!
5. Using a large spoon dollop the cake mixture into the tins so it’s equally distributed. Smooth over with a spatula.
6. Bake the cakes for 20-25 minutes until they are golden and spring back to touch.
7. Leave the cakes to cool in their tins and then press them out onto a wire rack for further cooling.
8. Once the cakes have reached room temperature, put one half on a lovely large plate and spread half a jar of C&E Blueberry Preserve on to it (use more if you’re feeling lavish). Place the other half of the sponge on top.
9. Now for the really fun part, the drizzle! Pop the margarine, icing sugar and cordial into a bowl and whisk until all of the ingredients are combined. Pour onto the center of the cake and let the drizzle work its magic. To make the Victoria sponge look super-pretty and fit for a queen, scatter rose petals on top and dust with icing sugar.
Will you be taking part in World Baking Day? If so, tell us all about your cakey creations in the comments box below or on Crabtree & Evelyn’s Facebook page.
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!
July 25th, 2012 | | permalink
By Lucy, Store Manager in Cardiff
The sun has finally made an appearance, and women (and even the occasional men) everywhere are faced with the daunting challenge of getting their feet sandal ready. Fear not, here are 4 simple steps to make sure you have perfect feet in no time! (And yes, you can wave goodbye to dry, cracked heels too!)
Step One: Soak
Try soaking your feet in Crabtree & Evelyn’s Effervescent foot soak - it will soften and improve the condition of your feet and will make the job of smoothing away dry, calloused skin much, much easier. It’s ultra-relaxing too!
Tip: use with lukewarm water; if the water is too hot your feet will dry out!
Step 2: Smooth
Gently pat feet dry; then if your feet are very dry start with a foot file to rid your feet of the harder layers of skin. Follow by use the Warming Foot Smoother and rub in circular motions, paying particular attention to the heels where the skin is driest. Tahitian volcanic sand, salt & mineral crystals exfoliate while macadamia nut oil and a blend of seaweed extracts work to soften, rejuvenate and condition your skin. Enjoy the warming sensation for a few minutes, then rinse.
Step 3: Mask – not essential… but a definite must!
For those with really dry skin, this is a life saver and one of my favourite products. Start by drying feet thoroughly, then apply generously & pop feet in the plastic booties and leave to soak in for 20 minutes while AHA’s soften, mango seed oil & shea butter moisturise and papaya smoothes. The results are re-conditioned, super soft feet.
(Booties and Foot Mask available in stores)
Step 4: Moisturise
Ensure feet are completely dry then get ready to experience C&E’s revolutionary new Foot Remedy! A protein found in Antarctica works alongside a powerful blend of antioxidants, amino acids, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil & shea butter to improve rough, dry, calloused feet in just 14 days
Tip: Use with moisture socks over night for even better, faster results!
We’ve got our eyes on these sandals from Kurt Geiger: http://bit.ly/OijTgc
Where will you be getting your sandals?