Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Rose Water Fruit Cake

We have been working on a recipe for an elegant yet delicious cake perfect for entertaining. This recipe incorporates a deliciously moist fruit cake with the delicate flavour of rosewater. This cake is perfect served on its own with a cup of tea.

The Ingredients:
110g Butter
230g NEILL'S® Self Raising Flour
110g Billingtons® Light Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
3 Tbsp Milk
225g Raisins
1tbsp Nielsen Massey Rose Water
3tbsp Hot Water
4tbsp Billingtons® Demerara Sugar

Recommended Equipment:
Pyrex Mixing Bowls
Wooden Spoon
Heston Blumenthal Orb Digital Scale

The How-To:
Preheat oven to 170c.
Add the raisins to a small bowl and add the hot water and rose water. Toss together and allow to soak as we continue on with the recipe.
Rub the butter into the flour with your hands until it resembles course breadcrumbs.
Rub the light brown sugar into the mix.
Using a sieve drain the raisins and rose water mixture.

Fold in the raisins and ensure evenly distributed throughout the cake batter.

Using a wooden spoon mix in the two eggs and milk.

Pour the cake batter into a lightly greased prepared cake tin. 8-10inch is perfect.
Sprinkle the demerara sugar on top of the cake batter.
Using a piece of baking paper folded lengthways wrap this around the outside of the cake tin. I use a safety pin to fasten it in place as it doesnt melt in the oven. This stops the top of the cake burning before the inside cooks. It also causes the cake to rise more evenly.

Cake on the lower shelf of the oven for around 40 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely. This cake slices best when allowed to cool fully. Store in an air tight container. 

You're Done!


Monday, 31 March 2014

Rock Cakes

This is a very traditional British recipe for Rock Cakes. Absolutely delicious with a cup of tea or coffee. These are also sometimes buttered before serving. These are so simple to make and a brilliant recipe to make along with your kids. Its a brilliant hands on recipe with delicious results.

The Ingredients:

440g NEILL'S®Plain Flour
170g Billingtons® Light Brown Sugar
240g Butter
180g Raisins
2 Egg
3tbsp Milk
3 tsp Baking Powder
4tbsp Billingtons® Demerara Sugar

Recommended Equipment:
Pyrex Mixing Bowls
Wooden Spoon

The Ingredients:
Preheat oven to 190c.
Sieve the flour and baking powder together.
Add the butter and use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour. Do this for a few minutes until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Mix the raisins into the brown sugar and then pour this into the flour mixture ensuring the raisins are well combined.

In a small bowl beat the egg and milk together and then pour this into the mixture.

Mix well until the mixture forms a moist dough.

Spoon large dollops of this mixture onto a baking sheet (you will be able to make about 12 with this recipe)
Sprinkle with demerara sugar (or more light brown if you don't have demerara)

Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 mins
Remove and allow to cool on a wire cooling rack.
Enjoy with a cup of tea.

You're Done!


Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Easter Gift Guide 2014

We have put together a few items from our favourite master chocolatiers and confectioners to make choosing that special Easter gift just that little bit easier. The decision wont be simple though, there's so many mouth watering creations below! 

Hotel Chocolat are well known for their luxury chocolates and innovative flavours and they certainly have not failed to impress this Easter! There is a huge selection of gifts suitable for Easter on the Hotel Chocolat website, whether in the Easter range or not. We have chosen several of our favourite items this year to suggest to you. Our favourite item from Hotel Chocolat this year is Rocky Road to Caramel Extra Thick Easter Egg (£28) which comprises of extra thick cookie and caramel milk chocolate egg tumbling over with a selection of 12 chocolates: pralines, soft caramels and chocolate chicks. This egg is sure to impress in its wonderful presentation box.  The second item we choose was an egg which goes against everything an egg should be, egg shaped and smooth being the key differences. This egg is the The Facet - Luxury Milk Chocolate Easter Egg (£20). This best word we can find to describe this egg is geometric in design. It’s a wonderfully refreshing take on the traditional chocolate egg and is bound to turn some heads! This chocolate is wonderful 40% milk chocolate with a dark chocolate one available too. We found another quirky designed egg in their Easter range too called The Splat - Caramel Chocolate Easter Egg (£12.50). This egg is made of caramel milk chocolate with a fun splat of colourful white chocolate on top. Delicious! The final Easter gift we choose to feature from Hotel chocolate is the beautifully presented Goose Eggs (£13) which is a selection of four delicious eggs in three different amazing flavours including caramel chocolate, strawberry white chocolate and their high-cocoa white chocolate.

Cocoaloco is one of those special chocolate companies where you know a lot of love and passion goes into the crafting of their chocolates. All Cocoaloco’s chocolate is organic; they even use packaging which makes minimal impact on the environment. Sarah and Rory of Cocoaloco set out to make their company “build a premium treat reputation around words like approachable, affordable and genuine choice” and they have certainly done that! With a new website this  year Cocoaloco’s range is even easier to order and browse through. We selected just a few items from the Easter range. The two items we spotted first are the usual Easter eggs but these have a wonderful twist. The Funny Face Easter Egg (£11.99) is made of excellent quality milk chocolate with milk and dark chocolate details on the face. The egg is even filled with giant chocolate buttons! The other egg is a Dark Chocolate and Ginger Easter Egg (£11.99) which is made of high quality dark chocolate with nuggets of crystallised ginger embedded into it. If you’re after something a little different you should check out the Marbled Chocolate Rabbit (£9.99) which is a solid chocolate moulded rabbit made of the highest quality milk, dark and white chocolate.  If you like something with a quirky twist you should check out these Hot Cross Bun Truffles (£5.99), yep Hot Cross Bun! The name says it all and they are scrumptious!  These Milk Chocolate Easter Mini Eggs (£5.99) are so cute and they even come in their own little egg box, adorable!  This box of Little Chicks (£3.99) is also a cute little gift for someone who wants something small but impeccable quality.

Marks and Spencers never fail to come up with great gifts for Easter and this year has been no exception. We have chosen this box of chocolates to feature as it stands out from the crowd as being somewhat different. The first item which grabbed our eye was the Fairtrade Dark Chocolate Egg which is a hand decorated hollow chocolate egg made with amazing high quality Fairtrade chocolate. The egg comes in a beautiful box complete with tissue paper and ribbon, the perfect gift! We also spotted an amazing luxury egg in their range called the Pistachio and Orange Dark Chocolate Egg which comprises of a dark chocolate egg with pistachios, orange, white chocolate pieces in a beautiful pyramid box including some caramel coulis truffles. In their range they also have an elegantly simple Milk Chocolate Decorated Egg which comprises of a wonderful milk chocolate egg with feather design printed on it. They also have some beautiful eggs perfect for kids including a Marbled Egg with mini truffle eggs and our favourite the Preston Penguin egg which is a hand crafted milk chocolate and white chocolate egg in the design  of a cute penguin, honestly they don’t get much cuter than this!

Charbonnel et Walker is yet another long established and reputable company with members of the Royal family counting towards some of its loyal and illustrious clients. The original setting up of the business was encouraged by Edward VII himself who convinced Madame Charbonnel, a highly skilled chocolatier from Paris to form a partnership with Mrs Walker and establish a chocolatiers in Mayfair, London. Charbonnel et Walker is one of the few companies to be endorsed by the Royal Warrant as chocolate makers for Her Majesty the Queen, and they are immensely proud of this. It will come as no surprise to anyone that a company with this reputation of commendation will produce some of the finest chocolates imaginable. This year we tried their Sea Salt Caramel Truffle Milk Chocolate Egg (£35) which comes in the usual beautiful Charbonnel et Walker presentation box with beautiful gold bow. The egg itself is made of the finest chocolate perfectly crafted encapsulating a selection of sea salt caramel truffles which will have your mouth watering at first bite. Whether it’s for yourself or as a gift, this is the ultimate indulgence.

Thorntons is another well-known and reputable brand known by children and adults alike for decades, in fact Thornton’s recently celebrated their 100th Birthday! Thorntons was set up by Joseph William Thornton in 1911 who then handed the business to his two sons who made it into what it is today. Thorntons have released a wonderful Easter range this year and we found it difficult to pick what we wanted to feature in our gift guide. After a lot of deliberating we decided to feature on of their new designed eggs called Squeggs. These are essentially flattened Easter Eggs in the form of an egg shaped tablet of chocolate but Thorntons wouldn’t just leave it at that! They’ve added a few different quirky toppings and flavour combinations, the one we’ve decided to feature here is the Cinnamon and Waffle Squegg (£5.49) which combines cinnamon, toffee and two waffle pieces to create something quite amazing! The other item from Thorntons we decided to feature is a good old fashioned traditional White Chocolate Harry Hopalot Easter Egg (£3.99) which is a white chocolate egg with a moulding of a bunny in milk and dark chocolate. You can even add your own personalisation!

Butlers Chocolate is Ireland’s favourite luxury chocolatier for over 80 years, being originally founded in Dublin in 1932 by Marion Butler and then bought in 1959 by the Irish Sorensen family who still own 100% of the business today. Butlers Chocolate takes pride in their heritage, even offering the ‘Butlers Chocolate Experience’ which allows you to see behind those secret chocolate factory doors.  We have chosen two different items from Butlers Easter range to feature this year.  We have chosen several items to feature from their Easter range this year. The first is a very simple yet elegant Medium Lemon Wrapped Egg (€10.95) which is a beautiful milk chocolate egg filled with individually wrapped mini chocolate eggs. Beautifully wrapped and tied with a bow this would make a wonderful Easter gift for anyone. We also noticed this wonderful Butlers 5 Chocolate Eggs Box (€15) which is 5 wonderfully crafted eggs all with different flavour combinations including butterscotch and mixed berry. Butlers are wonderful at creating gifts which come in tins which you can keep for years and use for various purposes, we love this and the Egg Tin (€10) is no exception. This egg is filled with 6 large and 5 small chocolate truffle and milk chocolate praline eggs. If you’re after a small Easter gift look no further than the Assorted Chocolate Eggs Stick (€5.50).

Rococo’s passion and drive to create the best chocolate delights time and time again is inspiring and they have some cheeky treats in their Easter range this year!  They have a wonderful range this year but when we seen this item we knew we had to share it with you. The Stroppy Teenager Easter Egg (£17.50) is a milk chocolate egg filled with 4 praline quail eggs and 4 salted caramel superior seagull ganache eggs. These eggs have to be seen to be believed, they are so realistic! This year in their Easter range they also have these wonderful Salt and Pepper Eggs (£10.95) which comprises of a milk chocolate sea salt egg and a dark chocolate egg with a mixture of chilli and pepper. Quite different but absolutely delicious!

Easter confectionary is not all about chocolate you know, how could you forget about Haribo! Haribo have released, what we think is their best Easter range yet and its packed full of exciting new products to enjoy. All products are available in all large supermarkets. Some of the fantastic products to keep a look out for are the Twist ‘n’ Stick gift box packed with extras including stickers, Easter Hunt packs filled with mini packs of sweets perfect for alternative Easter hunts. Or how about some of the mini packs including Tangtastic Chicks, Eggstras, Jelly Bunnies or Fizzy Farm Animals. You can check out Haribo’s main website where you will find out loads of information about new products as well as all the latest news.

Lindt always knows how to do Easter well and in our opinion no Easter is complete without receiving some Lindt chocolate. This year Lindt have released a wonderful gift box including a Lindt Gold Bunny and Carrot (£4.99). New this year Lindt have also released Gold Bunny Paws which are absolutely delicious. Lindt even allows you to buy a complete box of them (£22.99) on their website. This is perfect for an Easter hunt! They also offer boxes of Lindt Carrots (£21). Whether its something small or a large box of treats Lindt have an amazing range this Easter so check it out.

Montezuma’s is a funky company always buzzing with fresh new ideas and they have not failed this Christmas either. Montezuma’s love to work with flavours to combine what they think works best in their fine chocolate. This year we have chosen to feature the British Pudding Egg Nest (£6.99) which is a brilliant idea of combining 6 different hen size eggs of excellent quality chocolate into one box, beautifully presented to be given as a gift. The twist is that each of these eggs has a different British pudding inspired flavour! Including Apple Crumble, Lemon Meringue, Eton Mess, Treacle Tart, Spotted Dick & Summer Pudding. Just hearing this had our mouth-watering so wait until you taste them for yourself!