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01 April 2013

Ready, Steady… Bake!

Happy Easter, Love Leaf Readers!

So you’ve got to the end of a long weekend roasting, buttering and eating. Perhaps the last thing on your mind is baking something cake-like. However, the kids are still on their school holidays and it’s not quite warm enough for a day trip to the beach… why not settle down in the warm and make something scrumptious? After that roast lamb, you’re definitely on a roll!

We once saw a fridge magnet that said ‘I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food’ and that’s exactly how we feel about tea. Cooking a juicy Bolognese with a cuppa in hand is the ultimate in relaxation. Sometimes we make biscuits so incredible that they warrant a cup of something before, during and after consumption. But did you know that your favourite cup could also make a fantastic ingredient in a much-loved recipe?

THE PUDDINGS
Of course, tea and cake go hand in hand – and never more so than when tea is a secret ingredient for some of the most scrumptious cakes around. For a start, why not try Earl Grey scones with jam and clotted cream? They’re bound to make even the most discerning scone eater very happy indeed!

The BBC Good Food website also has a gorgeous lavender and tea shortbread recipe, which puts a wonderful twist on an old British classic.

Feeling a little more adventurous than that? Why not make a Rooibos sponge cake with vanilla saffron icing? Yes – our mouths watered too!

There are plenty of ways you can incorporate tea as an ingredient in your day-to-day cooking even when you aren’t up for dusting off the muffin cases. Wherever you used milk or cream – be it in truffles, ice creams or hot chocolate – be sure to infuse it with a little of your favourite tea. Green teas and even matcha – known for being ‘an acquired taste’ – can work fantastically in smoothies. You can even use tealeaves in a stir-fry to add that extra pang of flavour (Lapsang Souchong is the best for this).

THE MAINS
The thought of a nice stir-fry has just reminded us – you can find plenty of gorgeous savoury recipes using tea as an ingredient. These glorious dishes are a particular favourite of ours: a mixed green salad with goats cheese, orange slices and a matcha dressing (mmmmm!) and a lime cured mackerel dish using green tea powder. What a perfect way to choose a healthy tea and a healthy meal without skimping on a single bit of flavour and body.

Think the world’s too busy for baking? Think again! If one of these recipes doesn’t have you running to grease and line that cake tin, well, then we don’t know what will…

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