Easter is only a fortnight away and this month’s competition is very apt. We have a gift boxed set of Keith Brymer Jones ‘Word’ egg cups for one of our readers to win. The egg cups are hand-stamped with the well-known conundrum, “What came first the chicken or the egg”.
Keith Brymer Jones is, alongside Kate Malone, the oft-tearful judge of The Great Pottery Throw Down – he gets so emotional about his craft. We loved watching the last series that ended last week – you can still catch up on the iPlayer.
Each piece is hand finished and is part of his extensive ‘Word’ range which includes, amongst other items, mugs, plates, bowls, teapots, butter dishes… and even pet feeding bowls.
To win the egg cup set, leave us a comment below saying how you like your eggs!
It’s Easter in a couple of weeks and this year, Justin’s birthday falls during the bank holiday weekend. I’ve already got him a present however, I’m thinking about getting him an additional one. One of these luxury, ethical Easter eggs will be just the ticket!
Booja Booja large almond & sea salt caramel Easter egg – 138g: £26, Ethical Superstore
These wonderfully presented handmade Easter egg gifts are created by artisans in Kashmir, India using papier-mâché and hand painted with truly unique designs before being hand packed in Norfolk with Booja Booja’s melt in the mouth superior quality and award winning, dark chocolate, almond and sea salt caramel truffles. A truly beautiful and ethical Easter egg gift for the vegan in your life.
Booja Booja is a UK company with a refreshingly different mindset to its competitors; it strives to be minimal, renewable and of course beautiful! All of Booja Booja’s products are organic; free of dairy, wheat and gluten, are suitable for vegans and vegetarians, and are GMO free.
To uphold ethics, Venchi buys its raw materials directly from the local community, guaranteeing a fair price that not only ensures the community a stable present and future, but also encourages research and development of the best extra fine cocoa varieties.
Ostrich egg – dark: £75, Hotel Chocolat
Dark ostrich egg is made with half 70% dark chocolate with almonds and a dash of salt, and half 70% dark chocolate with hazelnuts and another sprinkling of salt. Served with a tray of 27 chocolates – pralines, truffles, caramels, patisserie and more – plus six golden eggs hidden inside the box for you to hunt, all in all this comes to more than a kilo of chocolate!
Engaged Ethics is the name we coined for our direct programme to create sustainable cocoa growing communities. It differs from most other ‘trading fairly’ programmes as it goes beyond simply writing out a cheque and standing back (which is still a great deal better than doing nothing!) It’s a roll-up-the-sleeves, take risks, long-term approach, which has led to a remarkable set of results so far.
My chicken-sitting ended yesterday, I really enjoyed looking after them, they’re all such characters. During my 10 days of fostering, we must have got almost 100 eggs! We gave a few away and ate loads of omelettes, French toast and plenty of fried/boiled/poached eggs.
Last week, I made a delicious all-yolk layer cake and, as promised, this week it’s an all whites one. It’s Rose Levy Beranbaum’s white velvet cake. Sometimes with this type of recipe, what you’re trying to achieve is a cake as white as pure, fresh snow. If that’s the case, you can make a few minor adjustments to the original cake recipe below.
Instead of using vanilla extract, use white caster sugar that has been stored in an airtight jar along with a split vanilla pod for a few weeks so that the flavour infuses. Some people swear by the use of shortening such as Stork which gives less colour than butter. Other people who care more about the taste than the colour say that butter is far superior.
Have a look at the pair of YouTube videos below the recipe where Rose herself shows us how it’s done!
If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
For the cake
Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350°F/Gas mark 4
Grease two 23cm x 4cm (9-in x 1½-in) cake tins, line the bottoms with parchment paper, then grease again and flour
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, lightly combine the egg whites, ¼ of the milk and vanilla extract
In a large mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend
Add the butter and remaining ¾ of the milk. Mix on a low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened
Increase to medium speed (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for 1½ minutes to aerate and develop the cake's structure
Scrape down the sides
Gradually add the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure
Scrape down the sides again
Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with a spatula. The pans should be about half full
Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted near the centre comes away clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the centre. The cakes should start to shrink from the sides of the pans only after removal from the oven
Allow the cakes cool in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes
Loosen the sides with a small metal spatula and invert onto two other greased wire racks. To prevent splitting, flip over again so that the tops face up. Allow to cool completely before frosting
For the frosting
With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk the whipping cream until stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat, or the cream will become grainy)
In another bowl, whisk together the mascarpone and icing sugar until smooth
Gently fold the whipped cream into mascarpone mixture until completely incorporated
Use immediately to frost the top of one cake
Place the other cake on top of the first and frost the top & sides
*If like me you're based in the UK and find it hard to find bleached cake flour in the shops, have a look at Kate Coldrick's meticulous method to make your own version
Our neighbours have gone on holiday this week and have asked me to look after their chickens again. They have about twice as many chickens as they did last time… so that means twice as many eggs every day.
I’ve been looking into recipes where you use lots of just yolks and just whites – as I don’t like to waste half the eggs. I found a couple of recipes by Rose Levy Beranbaum that fit the bill. I’ll be attempting her favourite yellow layer cake this week.
I decided to make the yolks-only cake first as I discovered, on my online travels, that egg whites can be easily and successfully frozen for use at a later date. Yolks take a little more effort. The yellow layer cake I made today – as you’ve probably deduced – uses just egg yolks.
It also uses bleached cake flour, something you don’t tend to find in supermarkets here in the UK. I took a lengthy detour on the website of Rose’s Devon-based friend, Kate Coldrick, who shows you in great detail how to make your own substitute.
I followed both Rose’s and Kate’s instructions almost to the letter, hoping that I’d produce a cake like never before.
The sponge was light & airy and the texture was crumbly. I teamed it with a vanilla buttercream icing which complements, not overpowers the flavour.