Recipe: Pan Moteado (Mexican-inspired tea bread)

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I always think of tea loaves as a very traditional sort of cake- the kind of thing your great-great grandma would’ve made on a Sunday and rationed out during the week. There’s something quite Victorian about them, and I recently found out that they’re usually associated with Yorkshire. I love them because they’re super easy to make and I’m quite lazy…

This tea bread is inspired by a traditional bara brith, a Welsh tea bread,, but made with a bit of Mexico in mind. Thanks to Bluebird Tea Co.’s Dark Choc Chilli Chai, this has a bit of spice and a richness that I’ve not experienced in any other tea bread. I’ve also added chocolate chips in place of some of the traditional dried fruit; you can play with ratios as you see fit.

As bara brith translates as ‘mottled bread’, I decided to call this ‘pan mateado’- which translates as the same thing in Spanish. It’s a cake that I think represents a lot about me- my Welsh birth, my Yorkshire background and my love of anything Mexican. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 mug cold tea

300g self-raising flour

150g caster sugar

100g chocolate chips

50g raisins or other dried fruit

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c and grease and line a loaf tin.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Pour the tea into the bowl and mix with the other ingredients until it forms a batter.
  4. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
  5. After the 45 minutes, turn the oven off and leave the cake inside for another ten minutes.
  6. Remove cake from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Tea loaves are delicious on their own, or toasted with a bit of butter. Enjoy!

 

 

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Sunday Tea: Shibui Tea Marzipan Truffle

83127461e74cff13f5e2c573f7e8094d.jpg (236×288):  Marzipan is one of my favourite flavours (alongside salted caramel)- I love the nuttiness and, as a kid, could quite happily eat half a block of marzipan in one sitting if you let me. Of course, if I get the opportunity to try it in any form, I will- enter Shibui’s Marzipan Truffle tea.

Marzipan Truffle Shibui Loose Leaf Tea: First off, this smells AMAZING. Like, super marzipan-y. It’s one of those teas that makes such an impact through scent that I think it would be a great gift, a real showstopper of a blend.

It’s full of flavour too- the base of  black Chinese tea is lifted by the almond and chocolate pieces, but without being too sweet. The almond is  the main flavouring; the chocolate is not hugely present, but more of a hint. The peppercorns are there mainly for decoration, as there’s no peppery punch to speak off. They do look pretty though!

This is a tea best enjoyed on a stormy evening with a good book. May I suggest a Bronte novel, perhaps?

 

 

A few favourite baking books

So everyone’s in a state of GBBO mourning at the moment, aren’t they? As I write, Paul Hollywood has just been confirmed as the only member of the original quartet to have signed a deal to go over to the dark side (well, Channel 4. Which, to be honest, is the next best channel after the BBC to host a show like GBBO- but I know that’s not a popular opinion.) Anyway, this got me thinking- I do own two of Hollywood’s baking books, but I NEVER bake from them. And if you follow me on any social media channel, you’ll know I bake quite a lot. I like the books, they’re very pretty- but they’re just too fiddly and faffy for the type of stuff I like to bake. I’m probably more of a Bezza baker than a Hollywood baker, although I’ve never picked up one of Mary’s books.

But there are some books I use over and over.

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Bake- Rachel Allen

This was the first baking book I ever picked up (I had never seen Rachel Allen on the TV; I just wanted a baking book.) I learnt a few skills here, but I have found the recipes a bit hit and miss. However, as a first book, it was OK. I still swear by the honey cake and snickerdoodles in this, though.

51pxbskes6l-_sy291_bo1204203200_ql40_ Be-Ro Home Baked Recipes

Cheap and cheerful, the Be-Ro book is a proper, old-school classic. This is the book that I turn to when D wants to bake: gingerbread men, shortbread, tea loaves. It’s all the stuff your mum or nan probably made and the recipes are simple and straightforward (and you can get away with using margarine in most of them if you’ve run out of butter!)

510cb-crdgl-_sx258_bo1204203200_ Home Sweet Home- The Hummingbird Bakery

This book is one of the biggest bargains ever- I think I picked it up for a fiver. It’s stuffed full of what I think of as ‘showstoppers’, cakes that I pull out for fancy things and when I want to impress. My go-to brownie recipe is from Hummingbird (although I’ve tinkered with it so much now, it’s virtually unrecognisable from the basic recipe) and the strawberry milkshake cupcakes are seriously good. This is the book that really helped develop my skills onto more than just ‘basic’.

cover Flavour- Ruby Tandoh

I love Ruby’s recipes and have never had one fail. I was lucky enough that she sent me a signed copy of the book after I mentioned on Twitter that I had borrowed it from the library and loved it. Although it’s not really a baking book, but a book with baking recipes in it, I urge you to check it out. I can HUGELY recommend the easy chocolate cake- it is the only cake I’ve ever made that worked every time, and I’ll be making it for D’s fourth birthday in a couple of weeks. I’ve also made a banana cake and the shine theory truffles, which I adapted by adding rose and violet flavouring (I have plans for Christmas editions too… watch out for a future blogpost on those!) But what I really love about this book is the attitude in it- that we should eat what we like, and just ENJOY food. In a world obsessed with clean eating, it’s a refreshing change.

 

 

So, how was your Christmas?

I’m pleased to report that no one has died as a result of my cooking on Christmas Day! We had a hectic few days- my parents came down for the weekend beforehand and the day after they left, my friend Marine came to stay for Christmas itself.

As well as Christmas prep itself, we had to contend with a slightly broken toilet (the drainage man didn’t want to talk to me about what needed to be done to fix it, preferring to speak to ‘your husband… I can stick a camera down there and show him the issue.’ Obviously, my LADY BRAIN can’t deal with poo. I mean, it’s not like I deal with horrendous nappies on a daily basis, is it? Oh.) and the fact that the roof of our kitchen needs replacing and the ceiling is cracking quicker than an eggshell thrown against the face of a slimy politician. THAT work won’t be done until at least the first full week of January- and who knows when the drainage man will come back?

So, Christmas itself was lovely- D was pretty overwhelmed by all the presents, but seems very taken with the garage we bought him, a Postman Pat railway and a Cranky the Crane my brother bought him.

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I’ve known Marine since I was nine, so I knew she’d be an excellent presence when cooking my first ever roast dinner and we made the time on Christmas Eve to plan out the cooking schedule for the next day (excuse the spelling mistakes, I’d had quite a bit of M&S’ EXCELLENT mulled rose):

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I had alarms on my phone that corresponded to EACH one of those timings. The result was slightly less stress, although I do not recommend steaming sprouts and carrots (as M&S said I should do- so I totally blame them). I even had the time to take a ridiculous selfie (an elfie?) of myself wearing an elf hat provided by my aunt:

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The meal (apart from the sprouts) was lovely and the turkey was very nice, if I do say so myself. Dessert was a combination of chocolate Christmas tree cake and white chocolate and berries cheesecake and both were amazing.

I might have failed in my attempt to do the Ambassador’s Pyramid with the Ferrero Rocher though:

"Why, Ambassador, you REALLY SHOULDN'T HAVE"

“Why, Ambassador, you REALLY SHOULDN’T HAVE”

Marine, my aunt and myself attempted a variety of ways to stack them up (fuelled by champagne) and eventually conceded defeat- but not after discussing whether glue and/or blu tack were used in the original adverts.

I think it’s safe to say that Christmas Chez Pomfrett was a great success. And now I am going to hibernate with my stack of books- because quite frankly I’d like nothing more than to spend the next few months reading…

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Ronnefeldt Chocolate Chai

One of my favourite online tea sellers of the last few years has been Cup of Tea; they’ve always supported me in my tea tasting adventures and when I told them that I was trialling chai for the blog, they suggested I try Ronnefeldt Chocolate Chai.

Image: Cup of Tea

Image: Cup of Tea

I love this. Love it. It’s a bit different from the usual chai, as there are cocoa shells in the mix. It gives the tea a wonderful creaminess and means that you can have a light chocolate hit without the heaviness (or, if you’re that way inclined, guilt!) of a milky hot chocolate. The spices are mellower than some of the other chais I’ve tried, but this doesn’t detract from the flavour at all. Actually, it all works rather well.

I have this earmarked for baking too- I have some chocolate cake recipes where I need to replace coffee with something. I’ve always planned on using chai, but I’m thinking that this could be the perfect addition!

If you’re not a massive tea fan, but fancy being adventurous, you could try this one. You won’t be disappointed.

*PR sample

 

Baking Challenge #7: Hummingbird Bakery Brownies

I’m about to show you my most successful bake EVER. The other day I had a hankering for brownies. Plain, no-nonsense brownies. All the recipes I could find had extras: walnuts, cherries, whatever. I JUST WANTED PLAIN BROWNIES.

So, after a couple of suggestions on Twitter, I found the Hummingbird Bakery recipe. Dead simple- chocolate, eggs, a ton of butter and a truckload of sugar. On the indulgence scale, this goes all the way up to ‘Nigella’. I was dubious that this could work, but my auntie had taken the baby out for the morning and I wanted to bake, so I decided to just crack on with it.

I needed 200g of chocolate and my local shop had a really limited range. (If I did this again, I would use fair trade chocolate… I particularly have my eye on Divine’s range of flavoured chocolates- especially the orange flavoured!)

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Mmmmm, this was lush even just as a batter…

I must admit that it was a lot of fun making the batter- very quick and easy (and it was SUCH a chore cleaning the bowl afterwards. With a spoon. Into my mouth.) It was also really quick; about fifteen minutes prep and then 30 minutes in the oven. The house also smelt AMAZING.

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The resulting brownies were perfect- slightly chewy on the outside and lovely and gooey on the inside. They also go very, very well with the English Rose tea I reviewed last week. It’s like a little slice of Turkish Delight, chocolatey heaven! (Benn, who’s a very critical person when it comes to my baking gave them 8 out 10. High praise indeed!)

This post was written in conjunction with Ethical Superstore.

 

Mother’s Day gift guide- buying from British indie companies!

I’m quite looking forward to Mother’s Day this year- despite the fact that Benn told me that “D thinks Mother’s Day is a commercial enterprise, so doesn’t think he wants to do it”- which is pretty advanced thinking for a four month old, I’m sure you’ll agree. I have stated that as I have had a few health problems and endured a 45 hour labour (which will ALWAYS be my trump card), I would at least like a bloody card, thanks.

However, Mother’s Day gift guides are usually RUBBISH, so I thought I would put my own ideas forward for what might make a good gift. I decided to choose smaller, British companies. Yes, they might be pricier, but the quality is fantastic. I would love ANY of the gifts on this list! Let’s just hope ‘D’ is reading it…

Melt Candles- Neroli and Rose Geranium

Neroli & Rose Geranium Scented Candle: Luxury Glass Jar

Image: Melt Candles

I think candles are a good present- and the fragrances in this candle bring to mind old school glamour… I imagine this would be perfect for a fabulous, glamorous mum.

David Austin Roses- William Shakespeare

Image: David Austin Roses

I love roses. Love them. I wish I lived somewhere permanent so that I could have a proper rose bush. However, David Austin- the best rose grower in the business- does sell roses in pots. They’re not cheap, but they are beautiful and will last so much longer than a bouquet of flowers!

SOAK- Blanche the Blues kit

Blanche the Blues SOAK

Image: SOAK

I was lucky enough to win one of these kits a couple of months ago and I love it. I use it on a Friday night and I like the fact that I can mix the oils and bath salts however I please. I think that a stressed mum would appreciate this and you’d be supporting a brilliant new business. (It’s also inspired me to make my own bath bombs as well…)

Rococo chocolates

Rococo Cat That Got The Cream Ganache Box

Image: Rococo Chocolates

I got some Rococo floral chocolates for Christmas and they were AMAZING. The chocolate was lovely quality and I think the packaging is fantastic. There’s also a dog version of this box and non-animal, pretty boxes of chocolates for those who are anti-animal-related packaging.

What do you think would make a great Mother’s Day gift?