Spiced Pear and Pecan Flapjacks With Cream Cheese Icing – A Satisfying Autumnal Bake

The very lovely Steven, from The Speculaas Spice Company, recently sent me some of his speculaas spice mix to use in some recipes. I am a massive fan of this spice mix, and you can read a previous post I wrote about it HERE.

I love everything about it: the warming fragrance it spreads around your home while it is baking, the sweet flavours of all the spices combined into one mix, the versatility of it. If a recipe calls for ground cinnamon, you can guarantee this spice mix will take that recipe to a higher level instead.

One of my favourite fruits has to be the pear. So sweet and bursting with flavour, and so refreshing with the amount of juice they have. My favourite pear of all is the Conference variety. The riper, the better. I always have plenty in the fruit bowl at this time of year. I have such a sweet tooth, so they are great for satisfying my sugar cravings.

Pears and cinnamon (and Christmassy spices) are a match made in heaven, so I decided to come up with a recipe using my favourite pears and the speculaas spice mix. I wanted to bake something delicious for my son and Other Half to have in their lunchboxes, and flapjacks are always a winning lunchtime treat. I usually make them quite thin, but this time I wanted chunkier flapjacks, so used a smaller tin to bake them in, and was then able to cut them smaller too. We all adore pecan nuts too, so I always have plenty in the cupboard. Pears and pecans go so well together too, so I decided to add some for extra texture and flavour.

In a previous post I wrote about chocolate flapjacks, I mentioned the easy-to-remember ingredient ratio I always use to make them. (You can read that post HERE). As I was going to be using very sweet ripe pears, I reduced the amount of sugar in this recipe as I didn’t want them to be sickly sweet. It took me a couple of attempts to get the quantities right, but to me, this is now spot on.

I grated the pears using the large coarse side of my grater and as the pears were so soft and ripe, they created a lot of juice. In my first attempt I drained that into a cup and didn’t include it in the recipe. (OK, I admit it – I drank it). I worried the mixture would be too sloppy with it. In my next attempt though I included it, and it added so much extra flavour, and didn’t affect the texture.

When the flapjacks were cool, I made a cream cheese icing to drizzle on top, just because I love it with anything that has cinnamon in. If it goes well with cinnamon, it definitely goes well with speculaas spice mix! You can leave this off if you prefer though.

 

SPICED PEAR AND PECAN FLAPJACKS WITH CREAM CHEESE ICING

200g unsalted butter

160g soft light brown sugar

3 heaped tbsp golden syrup (or you could use honey if you prefer)

80g pecan nuts, roughly chopped

1 rounded tsp speculaas spice mix

4 ripe pears, coarsely grated

400g rolled or porridge oats

FOR THE CREAM CHEESE ICING (OPTIONAL BUT RECOMMENDED):

75g icing sugar

20g cream cheese

splash of milk

 

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/160 fan/Gas 4. Lightly butter a 20cm square baking tin. Cut a strip of baking paper the same width as your baking tin, so that it is long enough to line the bottom and 2 sides with a bit extra at each end to help to lift it out of the tin.
  • Place the butter, sugar, syrup and spice into a large saucepan, and heat gently until the butter has cmpletely melted and the sugar has dissolved, stirring regularly. Bring it to a gentle boil and let it simmer slowly for 1 minute.
  • Remove from the heat and add the pecans, grated pear and any pear juice. Mix well.

  • Add the oats and mix until the oats are completely covered and the mixture is evenly distributed.
  • Tip the mixture into your baking tin and press down firmly with the back of a spoon until level.

  • Bake in the centre of the oven for 25-30 minutes until the edges are starting to go a bit crispy and the top is a light golden brown. Remove from the oven.
  • Leave in the tin to cool for 10 minutes, then use the edges of the baking paper to lift the flapjack out on to a wire cooling rack. Leave to cool completely, then place on a chopping board and cut into required sizes. (I cut mine into 12 pieces).

  • To make the cream cheese icing, mix the icing sugar and cream cheese together until smooth. Add a splash of milk to make it a bit runnier so it is easy to pipe or drizzle.
  • Spoon the icing into a small disposable piping bag or sandwich/freezer bag, snip off the tip of the corner to make a very small hole, and pipe the icing on to each flapjack piece. Leave for the icing to set for around 20 minutes, or eat immediately if you can’t resist the runny icing.

You could use grated apple instead of grated pear, although I haven’t tried that yet. You could swap the pecans for any other variety you prefer. Walnuts would be amazing too.

I hope you love these as much as we do! Don’t forget to check out Steven’s amazing speculaas spice mix! If you like cinnamon, or mixed spice, you will absolutely LOVE speculaas. Check it out HERE.

HAPPY BAKING!

 

 

Make Your Own Spooktacular Ghost From Cheese Cloth – Great for a Halloween Decoration

Halloween is my 11 year old son’s favourite time of year. He doesn’t go trick-or-treating but he does love to decorate inside our house with as many spooky things as he can and have a family party. He also loves the build up to the day, having fun with lots of different craft activities, carving pumpkins, and baking yummy spooky treats.

Last year we decided to have a go at making a free-standing ghost, and as we wanted it to be see-through we used cheese cloth. It worked better than we imagined, so this year we have made a smaller version to stand on the table. It is such an easy activity that I thought it would be good to share it with you. Children would love to get involved as you do get in a sticky mess with this one!

It doesn’t cost much to make one yet they look so effective!

You need:

  • large piece of cheese cloth
  • 3 bottles, one taller than the other 2
  • 3 balloons if making a large ghost, or 3 water balloons if making a small one
  • some tape to secure the balloons
  • PVA glue (I used Gorilla Glue Wood Glue)
  • black scrap material or paper

If your bottles are empty, fill them with water. They need to have some weight to them so they don’t just topple over. Blow up your balloons and use tape to secure them to the bottles.

Position the bottles so that the taller one is at the back and the smaller ones are placed in front at either side. These will form the head and arm shapes.

Mix some PVA glue with a small amount of water in a tub (a takeaway tray or margarine tub is perfect). You really don’t need much glue at all, and you should mix 3 parts glue to 1 part water. You want the glue to be just slightly watered down.

Place the cheese cloth in to the glue mixture and toss it around until it is completely covered in glue.

Pick up the cloth and squeeze as much of the glue off as you can. Now for the trickiest part…. carefully open out the cloth. This can be a bit tricky as it just wants to stick to itself! When you have opened it out, gently drape it over your bottles so that it entirely covers them.

This was for the small ghost:

 

This was for the large ghost:

Move the cloth or bottles around until you have got the exact shape you want your ghost to be. Cut out a mouth and 2 eyes from your black material or paper and press them into position on the head part.

Leave to dry completely. I made the large ghost using ordinary school-type PVA and the small ghost above using Gorilla Glue PVA (wood glue). The Gorilla Glue dried much quicker. The ends take the longest, so make sure you spread them out a bit to help them. They do like to bunch up, and then that part will take a lot longer to dry.

When the cloth is completely dry and crispy feeling, it is time to take it off the balloons. You can either pop the balloons and peel them away, or very carefully pinch the cloth away from the balloons bit by bit. That is the way I do it.

I always think it looks more effective if you gently push the bottom of it inwards a bit to give it a better shape. And there you have your very own ghost.

Happy Halloween everyone!

 

 

Lotus Biscoff Caramel, Chocolate and Walnut Tart – September’s BakedIn Baking Club Recipe

There are so many things I love about BakedIn: their products are simply amazing and produce gorgeous results every time, their staff team is so friendly and supportive, and they have a fantastic Baking Club.

This month’s Baking Club recipe was absolutely divine! I always get excited when the bright green BakedIn box lands on my doormat, and I love opening it to find out what the recipe is each month, as it is kept secret until you receive it. I have to admit to letting out a squeal of delight when I saw the recipe card on top of the ingredients in this month’s box. I am a MASSIVE fan of Lotus Biscoff … biscuits and spread, so I was over the moon to see this recipe included both! Lotus biscuits, spread, caramel, chocolate, walnuts – heaven!

The recipe cards included always give you an indication of how much skill is required for each bake. They are often around the 2 out of 5 level, but this one was a 4 out of 5 (with 1 being super easy and 5 being tricky). This excited me too as it meant it would be more of a challenging bake. I love these most of all, as they take you out of your comfort zone and encourage you to try new techniques.

So what exactly was so special about this recipe? Let me tell you exactly what it was. (I say “was” as it didn’t last long in my house at all)!!! Imagine a crispy pastry base, with a thick layer of gooey Lotus Biscoff caramel sauce smothered over it, with chopped walnuts sprinkled all over that, covered with a rich fudgy chocolate filling, topped with a sweet caramel icing and finally decorated with crushed Lotus Biscoff biscuits. You’re drooling now, aren’t you? The sweetness of the caramel balances so perfectly with the richness of the dark chocolate filling. It would be the perfect dessert for any occasion!

There is always a tip on ways to enhance your bake, and this month it said you could serve it with double cream to make it extra indulgent. I decided to pipe some on top rather than pour some over it. Wow, what a treat this was!

I am so so happy to have this recipe forever in my collection now, as I will definitely be making this time and time again. There were a lot of steps involved to make it, but the end result was so worth it.

The Baking Club has a wonderful Facebook group where we all talk about the bakes and share photos of our creations. It has been so lovely this month to see some people saying this was their first time making pastry. Their bakes all looked amazing and they have picked up a new skill along the way. This is what I love most about the Club… it allows people to create something wonderful, no matter how long they have been baking for, and that sense of achievement is priceless!

If you would like to join the Baking Club and receive a new recipe and ingredients every month, CLICK HERE to sign up.

If you would like to make this scrumptious tart, (and therefore have the recipe to keep forever too) you can buy the kit HERE. It includes all the dry ingredients you need, as well as the Lotus spread and baking paper to use. Hurry though, as it will only be available to buy until the middle of October 2018 (unless it sells out sooner).

Happy baking!

 

 

 

 

Making a Crackle Paint Effect Using Gorilla Glue – Transforming Plain Objects into Beautiful Ones

One of the things I love to do in my spare time is to turn ordinary objects into something wonderful. For example, plain tiles transformed into beautiful coasters in THIS POST.

The lovely team at GORILLA GLUE recently invited me to come up with a craft project using some of their product range. There is a glue or tape for every possible need in their range, all very high quality, so I was really excited to be part of this. I immediately knew what I wanted to make. I initially had one in mind, but it turned into 3 as I enjoyed making it so much.

I have often admired objects that have been painted with Crackle Paint, which cracks as it dries, creating a really pretty distressed effect. This special paint can be fairly expensive though. Luckily it is easy to achieve the same effect using just Gorilla Glue Wood Glue and some cheap acrylic paint. You only need a small amount of glue so it is a much more cost-effective way of obtaining the result. One bottle of glue will transform loads of objects!

For my project I decided to transform some plain wooden boxes into a beach-finds box and a buttons box. I wanted the beach box to look a bit like driftwood, fitting in with the theme of it. One of my happy memories from childhood was going through the buttons that my mum kept in an old biscuit tin. It used to fascinate me how many different shapes and designs there were, so I now have a tin of buttons too. I wanted a nicer way to store them though so decided to make a button box, using some of the buttons to decorate it. After I had made the 2 boxes I wanted to see if the same effect could be achieved on glass, so decided to try it on a clean empty jam jar. It worked! So that became a toothbrush holder for the bathroom. The beauty of this project is you can make boxes or storage jars for anything at all! Boxes for baby keepsakes, ribbons, beads, bits and bobs, small stationery items… endless possibilities. Likewise with the jar version. A holder for toothbrushes, pens and pencils, craft tools, straws, kitchen utensils… again endless uses.

For this project you will need Gorilla Glue Wood Glue and Gorilla Glue Super Glue (if you want to stick decorations on). They have thought of everything with their super glue. Super glue often comes in a little tube or bottle and you have to carefully squeeze a little bit out, trying not to get too much but often ending up with a blob of it oozing out from underneath whatever you have stuck down. To make sure you get the exact amount of glue you want in the exact place you want it, with no big blobs, Gorilla Glue have brought out a bottle with both a brush and a nozzle to apply it. You can choose whichever works best for you. I loved the brush, as it was so easy to control the amount I used and place it only where I needed it.

As well as the glue, you will need plain wooden boxes or clean glass jars, acrylic paint in 2 different colours, and paintbrushes. If you want to stick any decorations such as buttons on, obviously you will need those too.

You can buy plain wooden boxes in craft stores such as Hobbycraft, or from Amazon. You don’t need to use expensive acrylic paint. I’m pretty sure mine came from a shop such as The Works at a really cheap price.

To begin, you will need to completely paint your box with one colour of the paint. Bear in mind that this layer will be the colour that you see in the cracks, not the main colour. I chose a yellowy-brown colour for the beach one and a dark green for the buttons.

Paint your box in the first colour and leave to dry completely. I left mine overnight to make sure it was thoroughly dry, but you can leave it for around 4 hours. If you want the inside to be the same colour as the cracks you can paint this too. Make sure you use something to prop the lid open while it dries though so the paint doesn’t get ruined.

This is where the fun starts. When the box is dry, paint a layer of wood glue on to one small section. The glue still needs to be wet for the next stage, which is why you MUST do this one section at a time.

Don’t worry about the glue going over the hinges. It dries clear so won’t be noticed when it is all complete. If you want thick cracks, paint the glue on in a thick layer. If you want fine cracks, paint a thin layer of glue on. If you want a mixture, paint it thinly with the glue but with a couple of thicker patches.

While the glue is still wet, use a different paintbrush to paint your main acrylic colour on top. (I used white for the beach box and lilac for the buttons). Make sure you do this gently but quickly in one layer, before the glue dries. If you apply too much pressure or paint the same area over and over you will end up mixing the paint into the glue, and it won’t crack at all. It doesn’t matter if it looks a bit uneven or patchy, as the cracks will hide that.

You will notice the paint start to crack almost immediately. As the glue dries it slightly contracts, pulling the paint layer apart and causing the cracks. You can let it dry naturally, but that will be time-consuming so it is best to help it along with a hair dryer on the coolest setting. This will speed up the process and let you move on to the next section within a minute or two. It is lovely to watch the cracks appear before your eyes!

Repeat this process on another section. Glue, paint while wet, then dry. Keep doing this until the whole box is complete.

I then painted the inside of my beach box in white to match the main colour on the outside.

When dry, you can fill it with whatever you choose.

If you want to add decorations, I would recommend using the superglue with the brush.

Simply brush a small amount of glue on to your decoration, and position it where you want it! Press it for a few seconds to make sure it has bonded, although it dries very quickly.

I glued buttons on to my button box, sticking some on top of others, until I got the design I wanted.

You can use the same method to paint your glass jar, although I managed to do each stage in one go rather with the glass. It was a lot quicker to do! Paint the whole jar in one colour and let it dry completely. I chose white for my bottom layer.

I couldn’t photograph the next stage as it had to be done super quick, but I then painted the jar in a layer of wood glue and quickly added a layer of dark blue on top. I used the hair dryer to dry it and finished the look with a matching blue ribbon tied into a bow around the top.

(Quick tip: if you have some sticky residue left on your jar from the old label, this is easily removed with just normal glass cleaner. Simply spray it on your jar then use the back of a dinner knife to softly scrape it off. It comes off so easily)!

Don’t they all look so pretty and effective? If you decide to have a go at this easy craft, I’d love to hear what you make! Have fun transforming the plain into the beautiful.

 

DISCLAIMER: I was sent the Gorilla Glue at no cost to be used in a craft project of my choice. All views and opinions are my own honest thoughts. This post contains Amazon Associate links – I will earn from qualifying purchases.

 

 

 

 

Pink Gin and Lemon Cupcakes

(DISCLAIMER: Contains an Amazon Associate link – I earn from qualifying purchases).

Unless you have been living in a cave lately you will have noticed that pink gin is everywhere at the moment. Social media is full of various types of pink gin with lots of different suggestions of ways to enjoy it.

My partner decided to buy some for me as he knows I love trying new things, so he came home with a bottle of Gordon’s Pink Gin. I couldn’t wait to try it but have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of tonic water so wanted to find another way to drink it. A quick Google search led me to my new favourite drink for the Summer… pink gin and lemonade. All of the versions I found of this included chopped strawberries in the glass. If you are looking for a nice refreshing fruity drink for a hot day, this is it. Half fill your glass with ice, add as many chopped strawberries as you want, pour in 50 ml of pink gin, and top up with lemonade. The fruitiness of the gin (raspberry, strawberry and redcurrant), combined with the lemonade and fresh strawberries makes a delicious choice for a warm Summer evening.

Every time I try a new drink my mind automatically starts thinking about how a cake or cheesecake would taste in that flavour, and this time was no exception. Straight away I imagined a lovely zingy lemon sponge, with pink gin buttercream, and chopped strawberries to decorate. It would also be amazing in cheesecake form so I will be making one of those very soon too.

I make lemon drizzle cupcakes regularly, and thought the sponge used in those would be perfect to use for pink gin cupcakes. I didn’t want the gin buttercream to overpower the lemon, I wanted it to be quite a delicate fresh flavour. If you would prefer a stronger gin flavour though, just add another spoonful.

For the buttercream I would strongly recommend using butter. This might sound obvious but I know some people use products like Stork or margarine. They really wouldn’t work in this recipe and would give a very sloppy result. I always use unsalted butter. It doesn’t need to be an expensive brand; supermarket own brand is just perfect.

PINK GIN AND LEMON CUPCAKES – Makes 12

FOR THE LEMON CUPCAKES

125 g unsalted butter, at room temperature

175 g caster sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

finely grated zest of 1 large lemon, and the juice of the lemon in a separate cup

175 g self raising flour, sifted

pinch of salt

4 tbsp milk

70 g icing sugar

 

FOR THE PINK GIN BUTTERCREAM

200 g unsalted butter, at room temperature

400 g icing sugar, sifted

2-3 tbsps Pink Gin, depending on taste

pink food colouring – in gel or paste form (I used Wilton Icing Colour)

 

TO DECORATE

Fresh strawberries, washed

 

  • Preheat your oven to 180C. Place cupcake cases into the 12 holes of a muffin tray.
  • Cream together the butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs and lemon zest and beat well.
  • Gently fold in the flour and salt until it is all combined, and then add the milk. Fold carefully until the mixture is smooth.
  • Divide the mixture between the 12 cupcake cases. (You can use a spoon but I find it easier to use an ice cream scoop to ensure evenly sized cupcakes).
  • Bake in the middle of the oven for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden and springy to touch.
  • While the cakes are baking, put the lemon juice and the 70 g of icing sugar into a small saucepan and heat gently until the icing sugar has dissolved. Leave to one side until the cakes are ready.
  • When the cakes are baked, remove from the oven and pierce each one all over with a cocktail stick while still in the muffin tray. Spoon the lemon juice syrup evenly over each cupcake so that it soaks into the sponge.
  • Place the cupcakes on to a wire cooling rack and leave until completely cool.

TO MAKE THE BUTTERCREAM AND DECORATE

  • Place the butter into a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, and beat until soft. Gradually add the icing sugar a few spoonfuls at a time and continue to beat until it is all combined and smooth.
  • Add 2-3 tbsps of pink gin and again mix until combined and smooth. You might want to taste a little bit to make sure it is as strong or delicate flavoured as you would like, and add more if desired. Add a tiny bit of pink food colouring and mix until the buttercream is evenly coloured.
  • Spoon the buttercream into a large piping bag fitted with the piping nozzle of your choice (I use a 1M nozzle), and pipe a large swirl on to each cupcake.
  • Cut the strawberries into halves or quarters and place one piece on the top of each buttercream swirl.
  • Enjoy!

I hope you like this recipe as much as I do. My partner adores the lemon drizzle cupcakes I usually make but after eating one of these pink gin ones he said he prefers these! I think I have to agree 🙂

How do you enjoy your pink gin? Let me know in the comments. I’m intrigued to try new ideas with it.

Happy Baking!

If you can’t get to a shop to buy the gin, you can buy some from Amazon HERE

Dark Chocolate and Baileys Fondants – The Quick Recipe Way

The wonderful people at HARTS OF STUR recently sent me a set of 2 ramekins from the new QUICK RECIPE range of cookware. I had never heard of this range before so I was curious to see what was so special about them. I was so impressed, I just have to tell you about them.

The Quick Recipe range includes lidded casserole dishes, various sized and shaped roasters, and these ramekins. Each item in the range also includes recipes created specifically for that item, so that the ingredient quantities are the exact amount you need. What makes these different from any other though is that the recipes are obtained by scanning a QR code which is on the bottom of each item!

Most people nowadays have a smartphone, whether it is the latest top branded one or a cheaper version. It really doesn’t matter. If you have an iPhone, you can just hover your camera over the code. If you have an Android phone (as I do) you will need to install a QR code reader app first. There are so many to choose from on the Google Play Store, at no cost. Then you just open the app and scan the code. When you have scanned the code, a pop up will allow you to access the relevant Quick Recipe page on their website, taking you directly to the recipes designed for your item. No more having to keep recipes in folders, or scouring the internet for inspiration. Simply scan, check you have the ingredients, and bake! I really think this is a fantastic idea, especially for busy people who don’t get much time to search for recipes. Here’s a little video showing you how they work: http://youtu.be/PQS2BLhqjbM

The ramekins (and the rest of the range) are made from fully vitrified porcelain, making them freezer, microwave, oven, and dishwasher safe. They have a pretty herringbone style design on the outside which looks so stylish that they are perfect to go straight from oven to table. They are very strong and you can tell they are really good quality.

I decided to scan the code and see what recipes I could make in my ramekins. Although the others looked amazing, I absolutely love Baileys so was excited to see a recipe for Dark Chocolate and Baileys Fondants. I checked the ingredient checklist and was happy to see I could tick them all off (yes you can actually tick them off on the list). The recipe tells you how long you will need to get the preparation done (in this case 25 minutes), and how long it will take to cook (10 minutes). I like that detail, as it lets you ensure you have enough time before you begin. So many times I have found a recipe but the preparation has taken so long I’ve barely had enough time to get it all done. This takes the guesswork out of that. There is also a handy video to watch on each recipe showing you how to make them, so you know you are doing it correctly.  It actually took me less than the 25 minutes so in less than half an hour I had 2 piping hot desserts which were sheer indulgence.

The outside was a beautiful chocolate sponge and the middle was molten chocolate with a heavenly Baileys taste. It is one of those desserts that you just can’t help but close your eyes as you take the first mouthful so you can just enjoy the flavour and gooey texture. If you are making a romantic meal for someone, THIS is definitely the dessert you need.

I have discovered over time that not all ramekins are the same size, so a recipe that might be good for some ramekins might not be good for others. It is good to know that the recipes found by scanning the code are EXACTLY right for these. As you can see from the above photo, the fondants rose to fit the ramekins absolutely perfectly. No overflow, no gap at the top. That is what sets this range apart from any others.

I also love the fact that the recipes are for 2 ramekins. Obviously if you buy 2 sets you just double the quantities. So many times though I have wanted to make a scrumptious dessert for me and my partner, while my son has wanted something completely different. I have found wonderful sounding recipes but they are all for 4, 6 or even 8 ramekins. So you think that’s ok, I’ll just halve the ingredients. And then you see the dreaded egg quantity. For example, the recipe needs 3 eggs for a 4 ramekin dessert. Straight away that recipe has to be abandoned as you obviously can’t halve an egg. These Quick Recipes take all the hassle out of converting recipes to make just two. They really are perfect for busy lifestyles.

If you would like to buy these ramekins they cost just £6.95 and are available HERE from Harts of Stur.

Welcome to 21st century baking 🙂

 

DISCLAIMER: I was sent the ramekins at no cost in exchange for a review. This in no way affects my opinions. I will not ever recommend products or services I don’t personally like, so if I put a review on my blog, it means I really genuinely like the product. All views are my own honest opinions. 

 

 

How to Make Sugarcraft Peonies using the FMM Easiest Peony Ever Cutter

I have previously written about how easy it is to make roses and carnations using the FMM Easiest Ever range of cutters, so today I thought I would show you how easy it is to make a beautiful peony using the FMM Easiest Peony Ever cutter.

(If you want to see the rose tutorial CLICK HERE, and if you want to see the carnation tutorial CLICK HERE).

Peonies are absolutely stunning flowers, giving huge blooms of beautiful colour. They were used on the Royal Wedding cake of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (or the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, to give them their proper titles). I made a wedding cake inspired by the Duchess, and whilst the Royal Wedding cake used real peonies, mine used one made using the FMM cutter.

The cake design was based on Meghan’s tastes… the bottom two tiers were inspired by her stunning engagement gown (frilled black skirt and gold fern on top part), the entwined hearts symbolised the union of their love, and the top tier had roses, a peony and lily of the valley. The whole design used nothing but FMM cutters, as they are a brand I love and trust, and they always guarantee beautiful results.

Today we’ll just focus on how to make the peony. The difference between the Easiest Peony Ever cutter and those of the rose and carnation is that this one also includes a leaf cutter. It saves having to buy a separate leaf cutter to complete your arrangement, which is a bonus. I had always thought peonies would be incredibly hard to make. Well this cutter set makes them so simple.

Before I show you how easy it is to use this set, I just want to talk about buying from sites such as Wish and Alibaba. FMM were the first company to come up with this Easiest Ever range, and sadly, as often happens when something proves to be a fantastic product, some other companies mainly based in China decided to copy the idea and sell their own version. These other versions might look the same and save you a pound or two if you buy them, but they are not the same excellent quality. FMM use a special non-porous food grade material to make theirs, and being non-porous means that bacteria cannot find its way in. And obviously, being food grade means the material used is 100% safe to use with sugarpaste/fondant. The cheap versions that have since come out from other nameless companies might look the same but the plastic used is often a very cheap material that is actually surprisingly porous. After a couple of uses it can start to provide a home for bacteria. Isn’t that a lovely thought? On top of that, this cheap plastic hasn’t been tested as food safe to UK regulations. I don’t know about you but I don’t fancy the thought of that. I’ll stick to the original FMM cutters thank you very much 🙂

Anyway, on to the tutorial. FMM made a brilliant video to demonstrate how to use the Easiest Peony Ever cutter set and you can watch that HERE. It is definitely worth watching and it s how I learnt how to use it myself.

It is best to use modelling paste to make your peony. Normal sugarpaste or fondant just won’t hold the shape as well as modelling paste. You can make your own modelling paste by adding a bit of Tylo powder to normal sugarpaste, or by mixing equal amounts of sugarpaste and flower paste. I find it more economical to add tylo powder to sugarpaste. (You need about half a teaspoon for 250g of sugarpaste).

You will need:

  • The FMM Easiest Peony Ever cutter set
  • Modelling paste in the colour(s) of your choice
  • A board to work on
  • A round ended small rolling pin
  • A foam pad
  • Edible glue
  • A cornflour pouch
  • 2 small brushes (one for the glue, and one to help spread out the petals if required)
  • A cupcake paper case
  • Veining tool or cocktail stick
  • Lustre dust (optional)

Lightly dust your workboard with your cornflour pouch so the modelling paste doesn’t stick. Start by rolling your modelling paste to around 2mm thickness and then use the smaller of the two petal cutters to cut out two sets of petals.

I like to leave these to one side on the foam pad for a few minutes while I do the next step, as it helps if they dry out very slightly.

Take a small amount of modelling paste, roll it into a ball, and place it into one of the end petals on the small petal cutter. It needs to fit perfectly inside the petal shape so that the petals will wrap around it correctly afterwards.

Place the ball on to your work board and using the sides of your hands, roll the bottom of it so that it narrows and is able to stand without moving.

Again using the small petal cutter, use the edge to press 3 lines diagonally across the top. This is the centre of your peony.

Now back to the petals. Keeping them on the foam pad, use the edge of the rolling pin half on the pad and half on the paste, and firmly go around the outside of the petal shapes to thin and slightly shape them.

When you have gone all the way around the whole shape, it is time to cup the petals. To do this, lay the petals horizontally on the foam pad. Place the end of the rolling pin on the paste at the top of the first petal shape, press and then drag the rolling pin down to the middle. You will see the petal then forms a cup shape. Repeat for each petal along the top of the strip.

The petals will all be cupped and curling upwards. Now this bit is so so important! Flip the strip completely over so that the cupped petals are now on the bottom and facing the foam pad. They MUST be facing the foam pad or else they won’t wrap snugly around the centre bud.

Hopefully you can see what I mean on the above picture. The top petals now need to be cupped while the bottom ones are already cupped but facing the pad, so they look like little hills.

Use exactly the same process to cup the top row now, pressing the end of the rolling pin into each petal and dragging it down to the middle.

Now the top row should be curling upwards while the bottom row is curled towards the pad. Brush a line of edible glue across the middle of the strip and about half way into each of the top petals, then gently fold it in half bringing the bottom petals up to the top.

Press gently along the fold to make sure it has stuck. All petals now will be facing the same way, ie all cupped in the same direction. Brush another line of edible glue along the bottom half of the folded strip. Now it is time to start forming your peony.

Holding your ready made peony centre (bud) steady on the workboard, position the end of the petal strip against it so that the first petals start to enclose it inside their cupped shape. Wrap the whole of the strip around and press gently to make sure it sticks well.

You should be able to see the lines you made on the centre bud so that they look like petals still waiting to open.

Repeat the whole process of cupping petals for the second strip you have already cut out. When you have folded the strip in half, brush a line of edible glue along the bottom half. Place the first petal of this strip just overlapping the last petal you finished the previous layer with. Wrap around as before.

You see your flower really starting to take shape now.

The final 2 layers of petals are made using the bigger cutter of the two in the set. If you are using coloured modelling paste, you might want to use a slightly lighter shade for the last 2 layers.

Roll your modelling paste to around 2mm and use the larger cutter to cut out two more sets of petals. Place these on to your foam pad and leave for a few minutes to dry slightly.

You then follow the exact process that you did for the smaller petals… thin the edges, cup the top petals, flip over, cup the remaining row and fold in half.

Brush a line of glue along the bottom of one of the folded strips but this time don’t brush up into the petals. You want these ones to open slightly. Find the last petal that you wrapped around your peony and position the first petal of this larger strip to just overlap it, making sure again that the petals will cup around the peony, not away from it. Wrap this layer around your peony. You will see that these petals are a bit bigger than the previous 2 layers.

If you want, you can stop at this stage but to make a truly beautiful peony you need to repeat the process with the final strip of petals. Wrap the final layer starting from where the previous layer finished.

Now for the fun part. You were probably wondering why you needed a cupcake case. Well you need it for this part. Place your peony into the cupcake case. This will help to keep it in shape while it dries.

You can keep it looking quite closed as in the photo above if you like. It looks lovely like that. Or you can open it out a bit to make it look like it is in full bloom.

To open it out, gently pull the sides of the cupcake case to make it wider, and using a dry brush carefully start to spread out the petals until they are as open as you prefer.

Your peony now just needs to be left in the case overnight to dry. Meanwhile, you can make a leaf if needed.

Roll your modelling paste to 2mm thickness and use the leaf cutter to cut out a leaf shape. Using your veining tool or a cocktail stick, mark some vein lines on the leaf.

Wasn’t that easy? You can let the leaf dry flat on your foam pad or give it a bit of shape by rolling up some kitchen roll or cling film and draping the leaf over it to create a curved shape. Leave to dry overnight.

You now have a beautiful peony and leaf ready to put on your cake. If you like them to look matt, leave them as they are. If you want to add a bit of colour or shine to them you can gently dust them with a petal or lustre dust of your choice. I added a light dusting of pearl dust to mine as I wanted it to glisten slightly but with no colour.

You can attach them to your cake with royal icing or edible glue. I placed a small ball of the same colour fondant to the top of my cake and then stuck the flowers around the edge of it so they were at a bit of an angle.

 

If you would like to make some peonies yourself, CLICK HERE to go their link on the FMM website. I would love to see your creations so show me your results when you have made them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Sizzling Welcome at The Three Horseshoes In Sheldon

As a parent, I am always on the lookout for family-friendly places to eat, so was delighted to be invited to visit The Three Horseshoes in Sheldon, Birmingham to share my experience with you.

The Three Horseshoes is part of the Sizzling Pub chain and has recently re-opened following a major refurbishment. I had never been there before so can’t comment on what it used to look like but I can say the interior now is modern, light and airy with very comfortable seating. It was clean and well presented, with two bar rooms… one for just drinking (which we didn’t go into) and one for dining.

I was booked in for a meal with my partner Del and son Luke at 5pm, and we could see as we pulled up that it is a popular pub with people to have a quick drink on their way home from work. The main entrance door to the pub is on Coventry Road but the car park is at the back on Horse Shoes Lane, and the entrance from the car park takes you straight into the dining area. One word of warning about the car park though: it is a Pay and Display car park which we weren’t expecting as we have never seen that before at a pub or restaurant, so make sure you have change for the machine! You do get a refund for it though if you use the pub so it isn’t an issue. I’m only mentioning it so that you have change ready if you decide to visit.

I’m going to be completely honest in my review as honesty is the basis of all my posts and I would never mislead anyone by saying positive things if they weren’t true. With that in mind, I have to say my first impression of the pub wasn’t great when I saw it from the outside. It has the external appearance of an “estate pub”, without meaning to sound bad, albeit a very nicely decorated one. BUT don’t let that put you off!!!  The staff, the food, and the atmosphere more than make up for it’s external appearance, as you will soon read. It is a definite example of why you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. This pub is a real gem!

As we had been pre-booked for a meal, a table had been reserved for us. If you don’t book, you choose your own table and seat yourself. Our table was a booth type with extremely comfortable seating and plenty of room. All of the tables were well-equipped with a range of well-presented menus, cutlery and condiments. This is where I saw something I have never seen before at any pub or restaurant but it really impressed me… every bottle of sauce, vinegar etc had a label on saying what date it had been opened, what date it had to be used by according to correct storage after opening, batch number, and the use by date of the product on the bottle. I loved this detail! We have been to some places where the ketchup looks like it might have sat there for months, but all of the condiments at The Three Horseshoes were fresh and had only been opened a week (or less) before. This told me that this is a pub that cares about quality, and that small detail made me keen to try their food.

The atmosphere here was lovely. There was music playing at a level that you could hear clearly, but wasn’t too loud so you could enjoy your time there. The staff were very friendly and welcoming, and made us feel comfortable and valued.

We didn’t have starters as we wanted room for dessert and we can never manage 3 course meals. There were so many choices on the menu! As well as the main menu, there was also a separate kids menu and a Golden Years menu for older people with smaller appetites. And of course a drinks menu. The dishes all sounded so tempting and I couldn’t believe the prices. They are cheaper than many other pub restaurants, which at first made me think the ingredients wouldn’t be that great. How wrong was I?!? The food was among the best we have EVER eaten and cooked to absolute perfection. I tend to stick to one of a couple of meals in pubs that no one can really make a bad version of… lasagne or Hunters chicken. This time though I decided to try something different. As this is a Sizzling Pub I thought I should really try a sizzling skillet dish. Sizzling Pubs say that if your skillet meal isn’t sizzling at your table, they’ll bring you another one.

I decided to have one of the new dishes on their menu – Crispy Sweet Chilli Beef (crispy strips of beef on a bed of onions and peppers, served with rice and a giant prawn cracker and sweet chilli sauce).

This was absolutely delicious! The sauce had just the right amount of a chilli kick, the beef was crispy and so flavoursome, the rice was fluffy, and the peppers and onions were soft and juicy. And it was still sizzling for ages after it arrived at the table! I definitely chose the right meal as this was amazingly good.

Del is a steak man, so decided to try one of their loaded steaks – The Tennessee (8oz sirloin topped with crispy streaky bacon, bourbon glaze and melted Cheddar, served on a bed of fried onions with a grilled flat mushroom, grilled tomato, onion rings and seasoned chips). He swapped the chips for curly fries and had a steak sauce to go with his meal.

As you can see, the portions are huge! He had asked for his steak to be cooked medium to well done, and that’s exactly what he got. He let me try a bit of it and I was so impressed by the quality of the meat. He had been given a steak knife to cut it with but it was so tender that you could use the usual round ended dinner knife, and it melted in the mouth. I didn’t think he would manage to eat such a large meal but he enjoyed it so much he ate every last bit. He said the steak was better quality and cooked better than anywhere else we had eaten, including a rather posh steakhouse. Again, this meal was sizzling frantically on our table.

Luke chose his meal from the kids menu. There are 2 kids menus – under 5s or over 5s. Both menus have the same ordering process. Choose the main part, a side dish, a vegetable option, and a dessert. Luke chose the BBQ Chicken (Half a grilled chicken fillet with BBQ sauce and melted cheese), with chips and grilled corn cobettes. We were told they had no corn cobettes so were asked if sweetcorn would be ok, which he agreed to.

The portion size was one of the largest we have seen for kids in any pub, which was great. Luke is 11 so adult meals are too big for him. Often kids meals leave him feeling hungry as portions can be a bit small though. This one filled him up nicely. The chicken was beautifully white inside and tender. The chips were golden and crispy and tasty. The empty plate at the end proved how much he enjoyed it.

Although we all felt full we waited a while to let the food go down a bit, then decided on dessert. This was really hard to choose as all of the options sounded scrummilicious. We eventually reached our decisions but when we went to order Del and my choices (Nestle Rolo Cheesecake and Lemon Meringue Bar) were unavailable that day. That wasn’t a problem though as everything else was available and equally scrumptious sounding.

I chose the Ice Cream Tiramisu which was served with Belgian chocolate and Devon cream toffee sauces, and fluffy cream.

I’m actually glad they didn’t have the cheesecake as this was just gorgeous! And beautifully presented. I struggled to eat it all as I was so full but there was no way I could waste any of it either. It was THAT good!

Del had a Black Forest Sundae, which included brownie pieces, ice cream. black cherry compote, Belgian chocolate sauce, fluffy cream, chocolate sprinkles and a wafer.

It was huge! He managed most of it though, and said it was amazing! Full of Black Forest flavours.

Luke chose the Build Your Own Sundae from the kids menu. This contained 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream, Cadbury Dairy Milk Buttons, fresh strawberries, milk chocolate pieces and chocolate sauce.

He loved this! He had fun making each spoonful different, changing the combinations of ingredients. This is such a great idea for children. It made his dessert last a lot longer than a normal kids dessert would have.

We were so impressed with the food that we found out the name of the chef who cooked it. Rob is a chef who clearly cares about taste, quality, and presentation, and likes to make sure that people have a satisfying meal here. He is a real credit to the pub.

Another credit to the pub is Billie, who was the duty manager in charge that day. She was very warm and friendly, knowledgeable about the dishes, and made sure we had everything we needed. She was attentive without being over the top, and made us all feel so welcome. You can tell that the staff here care about the pub and the customers and like to make sure everyone has the best possible experience.

I would have no problems taking children of any age here as the atmosphere was warm and inviting. Something else I noticed too that was a lovely surprise: I didn’t hear a single swear word during the whole time we were there! That is rare nowadays sadly so it was such a refreshing change! I think the fact that the main drinking part of the pub is in a completely different area helps, and it makes the dining part very family-friendly. We did see a couple of people who were just having a drink with no food, but you could tell they just wanted to be in a quiet spot away from everyone.

The only thing that could make it slightly better for kids is if they had activity sheets or packs for them to do at the table while they wait for their food. Maybe they do have them for younger children though, but I didn’t see any and Luke wasn’t offered anything like that.

So, final verdict. Would we go here again? Definitely yes, even though it is 23 miles away from our house! Did we enjoy our experience? Massively! Is it a family friendly pub? Yes. Value for money? Fantastic!

The Three Horseshoes is very close to Birmingham Airport so I would recommend having a meal here if you want to unwind after a long flight.

Take a look at the menus HERE and you’re bound to find something to tempt your tastebuds!

Thank you to everyone at The Three Horseshoes for a wonderful experience. We loved every moment!

 

DISCLAIMER: We received our meal for free in exchange for an honest review. That in no way influenced our opinions and everything I have said is true. I only recommend products/services/places that I genuinely approve of and enjoy, as making false or misleading statements helps no one and destroys trust. Thank you for reading. 

 

 

 

 

 

Carrot Cake Cookies – May’s BakedIn Baking Club Box

I haven’t blogged about BakedIn Baking Club kits for a while. That was because some people had read the posts expecting to be given the recipes to recreate the bakes themselves. These recipes are exclusively created with and approved by Michel Roux OBE, one of the world’s top pastry chefs, especially for BakedIn. Obviously then it would be very wrong of me to share the actual recipes. These recipe kits used to only be available to members of the BakedIn Baking Club as part of a monthly subscription. Now though, BakedIn have decided to sell the kits to anyone who wants to give them a try. So now I feel I can comfortably blog about them without people being upset at not having the recipes. If you like the look of the recipe, you can now buy the kit yourself! Brilliant news! The only catch though is you only have a month to buy it. The Baking Club kit is sold as the BakedIn Bake of the Month, so is only available until the next month’s box is sent (or until it is sold out, whichever comes first).

In case you don’t know about the BakedIn Baking Club, it is one of the best subscription boxes you will ever find. Each month you are sent all the dry ingredients you need for that bake, as well as extra bits and pieces like baking paper, piping bags, testing skewers, butter measures, and of course a very beautifully presented recipe card with colour photographs of each stage of the recipe. You just need to add a couple of fresh ingredients such as eggs, butter or cream. The recipes are great to make with children, and are perfect for any skill level. Any tricky processes are clearly described, making them achievable by everyone. The thing I love most is the range of recipes they come up with. You might have baked something similar before, but the BakedIn recipes are always so much better! For example, last month was a tea loaf, something I bake a lot, but I have never had one anywhere that has tasted as delicious as their recipe did. The beauty about having these kits is that you then have the recipe forever to make again and again. All this costs £8 if you pay per month with postage included in the price, or £7 per month if you pay in 6 monthly chunks. That is a fantastic price for everything you get!

So on to this month’s bake, carrot cake cookies. This recipe is my favourite BakedIn recipe ever! In fact it is so delicious I made it twice in as many days! I adore carrot cake so knew I would love these. They exceeded my expectations by miles though. My Other half isn’t a massive carrot cake fan but he adores these cookies! Absolutely scrumptious cookies, crunchy around the outside, soft and chewy inside, topped with an amazing cream cheese icing. I have made carrot cake flapjacks before (see the recipe for those HERE) but these cookies are my new favourites. (Incidentally, if you want the very best carrot cake recipe my lovely Twitter friend @zoetcm has an amazing recipe on her blog HERE).

The carrot cake cookies are one of the easiest recipes we have had in the Baking Club. There is literally nothing that can go wrong with these, unless of course you forget to turn your oven on or forget you have them baking!!! They are a nice quick bake so perfect for when you have unexpected guests and want to give them something super scrummilicious. They are also ideal for lunchboxes and picnics. And as I discovered, they are great at getting rid of midnight munchies! (Yes I did sneak downstairs in the middle of the night to have one hehe).

I used an ice cream scoop to place my mixture on to the baking trays as I wanted them to all be a similar size. That worked really well. I didn’t flatten them too much as I like chunky cookies. When they had cooled I piped some cream cheese icing on them but had loads left over so went back over them with more.

You can never have too much cream cheese icing! The second time I made them, I added a few drops of orange extract to the icing and that tasted amazing too. The orange really went well with the carrot cake flavours in the cookies. I shall be making these yet again today, that is how much we all love them! The recipe makes 12 cookies but they are so addictively moreish they disappear rapidly!

 

If you would like to make these cookies too and have a wonderful recipe to add to your repertoire, you can buy this box as a one-off kit HERE, but be quick… this recipe will only be available until Mid June 2018, or sooner if they all sell out. The box costs £8 plus postage.

If you would like to join the Baking Club and receive the monthly recipes with free postage, click HERE. You will be able to choose whether to pay monthly, 3 monthly, or 6 monthly.

Happy Baking!

“Practical Herbs” Tea Tour – Some Herbal Tea Recipes and Their Benefits, Including Relief From Hayfever

I was recently lucky enough to be sent a fantastic book called “Practical Herbs 1” written by the Finnish herbalist Henriette Kress. This book, as well as “Practical Herbs 2”, has just been published by AEON Books, priced at £19.99 each.

The books are packed with information about identifying herbs when foraging, how to pick them, how to dry and store them, and all the different ways you can use them and what benefits they give to your health and wellbeing. I have to say I was completely engrossed! I actively look for natural remedies for ailments that sometimes come my (or my family’s) way, so was very impressed to see that there were plenty of remedies included that were for problems we have experienced.

As today is National Tea Day I was asked to specifically try one of the tea recipes included and share my thoughts on it. I decided to try 3 different ones as they sounded like they would help to sort me out with a few little niggly issues.

ROSES

Anyone who knows me will know that I am a bit obsessed with roses, their beautiful appearance, their wonderful fragrance, and their sweet heavenly taste. I was over the moon to see roses featured in Practical Herbs 1. There are lots of new ideas of ways to use roses that I had never heard of, but will definitely be making! Rose petal elixir to calm nerves, rose honey paste to soothe sore throats and lift your spirits, rose beads for when you need to feel special and calm… the list goes on. There are a few different tea recipes for roses but I decided to try the Rose Petal Tea, as I have a permanent supply of dried rose petals in my cupboard. You can use dried or fresh petals for this recipe.

Obviously you can’t just use any roses, as most shop-bought ones have been sprayed with various nasties to get rid of pests and to help them bloom. If you grow your own in the garden and haven’t used any chemicals on them, they should be fine to use. The book does state though that many hybrid roses we grow in our gardens have no scent, and these are not suitable. You need roses with a beautiful strong fragrance. Alternatively you could buy dried edible rose petals, but again they must be fragrant.

 

ROSE PETAL TEA

1 tsp dried rose petals, or 2 tsps crushed fresh petals

250 ml boiling water

  • Pour the boiling water over the rose petals, steep for 10 minutes and then strain.
  • Drink 1-3 cups a day.

Rose petal tea is a relaxing tea that lifts your mood. It also helps to ease menstrual cramps and mild stomach cramps. if you let it go cold, you can also use it as a face wash!

This tea really did lift my spirits. The wonderful aroma and the sweet rose taste are enough to clear any clouds away. I loved this tea and have been drinking a cup every day.

 

RED RASPBERRY 

I always knew raspberry leaf tea was great for women near the end of pregnancy as it helps to strengthen pelvic organs and is packed with minerals. I didn’t know though that it is a fantastic tea for women in general. The book says that it can help to sort out many menstrual problems, such as pain, frequency, and amounts. I was most interested in it though for another purpose. For reasons unknown to anyone, in all the years I have been having cervical smear tests I have only ever had 1 result come back with no issues. This means I have to have tests every year, and it tends to be at least 2 a year. No one enjoys having them but they are vital to detect any early signs of problems, so we all go through them. As I am typing this, I have a letter to my side inviting me for another smear test as my last one a few weeks ago was inadequate. Henriette Kress says in this book that Red Raspberry Leaf tea is great for women with cervical issues. She states that if a smear test result comes back with problems, drinking this tea for a few weeks can often mean the next result comes back clear! (Obviously this isn’t saying it is a cure for cancer, so please don’t read it as such. There are a whole host of issues that can cause problematic smear results). Needless to say I am drinking this tea twice a day until my next test so fingers crossed!

You can make a tea out of the berries, but that helps to ease a fever. I used the raspberry leaf recipe which is why the tea doesn’t look red.

 

RED RASPBERRY LEAF TEA

1 tsp dried red raspberry leaves, or 2 tsps fresh leaves

250 ml boiling water

  • Pour boiling water over the leaves and steep for 10 minutes.
  • Strain through a coffee filter.
  • Drink 2-3 cups a day for several weeks for full benefit.

Henriette explains that the undersides of red raspberry leaves are covered in tiny spines that can irritate mucuous membranes if swallowed, which is why you must strain this tea through a coffee filter to remove them.

I quite liked the taste of this tea. It is hard to explain what it tastes like but I found it to be quite pleasant. It certainly doesn’t bother me drinking 2 cups of this a day.

 

STINGING NETTLE

The final tea I tried was made with stinging nettles. I chose to try this one as it is the best one for a condition I suffer from terribly every year… hayfever! I love Spring and Summer but I dread the puffy eyes and streaming nose that come with it. Flowers don’t bother me, it is grass and tree pollen that cause me problems. Some people who have drank nettle tea from Spring to Autumn have been able to come off hayfever medication altogether! I hate taking tablets so a natural remedy for a problem I have suffered from since childhood sounds perfect.

Stinging nettles have a huge amount of benefits. I won’t list them all here as the book takes a few pages to cover them all, with each needing different parts of the nettles. As well as recipes to eat and drink, the book also tells you how they can be used in your garden as a fertiliser, a pest repellent, and a compost starter; and as part of your beauty routine by using as a hair conditioner and a softening footbath! So many uses for one plant!

I bought dried stinging nettle leaves to make into a tea, but in the future will be picking some now I know what to look for and where is best to pick from.

 

NETTLE TEA

2-3 tsps dried nettle leaf, tops, or seed

250 ml boiling water

  • Pour boiling water over the nettles. Leave to steep for 10 minutes, then strain.
  • Drink 2 to 3 cups a day.

I strained this one through a coffee filter too as it was quite powdery. I’ll be honest, I really didn’t like my first taste of this tea. It tastes very very earthy and I didn’t like that. The store I bought the dried nettle from said that you can add some honey or any other natural sweetener if you don’t like the taste of this one. I added some honey and it made such a difference. I can happily drink 2 cups a day now. I’m hoping that doesn’t cut down the benefits that I am praying will come from it and keeping everything crossed for a sneeze-free Summer.

 

If you, like me, are trying to find natural remedies for problems, I would strongly recommend these books. I will be ordering Practical Herbs 2 on the strength of how informative and concise the first book is. Everything is explained in great detail to make sure you get the full benefits. The author has over 20 years experience of treating people with a range of conditions, and she takes care to pass her expert knowledge on in a clear, easily understandable way. The books are perfect for complete beginners to herbs and foraging, to advanced herbalists.

 

To find out more about Henriette Kress, visit her website HERE

To visit AEON Books and order Practical Herbs, click HERE