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  1. Bugs & Butterflies Iced Biscuits Recipe


    I used to make these Bugs & Butterflies Iced Biscuits for Down House tearooms, when we had 'Bugs week' which used to be mainly at half-term holidays. The house had a special programme prepared for children which often involved discovering and identifying bugs around the house and gardens.

    We thought it was rather good fun (and many little visitors agreed with us wholeheartedly!) to leave some 'bug discovering' for tearoom too and that's how these slightly sinister biscuits appeared at Down House Tea rooms menu.

    I used to make these really large and quite thick, so they were much bigger then any biscuits the children usually seen before.

    This Bugs & Butterflies Iced Biscuits Recipe is really easy to make, but of course the decorating takes a bit of time. You can let your imagination go wild here and have just butterflies or something else altogether. 

  2. What is Ruby chocolate_

    By now, I’m sure you have heard about so called ruby chocolate. It’s been widely talked about topic in the chocolate world and chocolatiers around the world are using this chocolate to create amazing chocolate treats. So, what’s so special about this type of chocolate? How was this chocolate discovered?

    So, let’s start at the beginning.

    Ruby chocolate was created by a leading chocolate brand, Barry Callebaut and introduced to the world in 2017. Ruby chocolate wasn’t just discovered, it was invented and carefully researched by a team of chocolate experts at Barry Callebaut over the last ten years prior to the launch. The ruby chocolate was registered as a patent in 2009. As you would have expected, the actual recipe is a secret, but the flavour and colour of the chocolate comes directly from the special cross bread ruby cocoa beans which were cultivated in the Ivory Coast, Equador and Brazil.

  3. Top 10 chocolate producing countries

    Chocolate is enjoyed throughout the world and the latest figures state that over 4.4 million tonnes of cocoa is produced each year.

    However, chocolate itself, is made from cocoa beans which grow on cacao trees. These are only found in a narrow band either side of the Equator and require hot, and rainy humid conditions to bear fruit. Cacao trees were first cultivated in Central America around 1,500 BC, but today, four of the five top cocoa producing nations are in West Africa.

    The top ten cocoa producing countries are spread out across four continents, but which nations produce the most cocoa? (Figures from the UN Food and Agriculture).

  4. Is chocolate gluten free

    Is chocolate gluten free?

    That’s a question we’re often asked in a spare moment during our chocolate making workshops or when people book our fun chocolate making hen parties. When I got asked for the first time I had to really think, because since I work with 'proper' chocolate I don't even think about alergies. It's just chocolate, you know...nothing else! I never really promoted my chocolate as gluten free, suitable for vegetarians and vegans or that it can be made completely lactose free.

    It's just a normal chocolate, right...everybody knows that! Well, it turns out that not everyone does and because 99% of mass produced chocolate products contain all sorts of things, that just shouldn't be there, understandably people ask, whether my chocolate is gluten free or not.

  5. pistachio biscotti recipe

    No matter which coffee shop you favour, the chances are that as you are paying for your daily shot of caffeine, you'll notice biscotti of various flavours beautifully arranged in a glass jar on top of the counter.

    To me, they always looked like something that's tricky to make, because lets face it why else they would be relatively expensive to buy? Because of that I've never really looked up the recipe or tried them until few years ago. Now, I wish I've looked up the recipe long time ago!

    Despite to what I originally thought, they were easy to bake and they tasted exactly like the ones in the shop. The first batch of this Pistachio Biscotti Recipe turned out perfectly, which if I'm being honest, it doesn't always happen when you are testing a new recipe.

  6. Christmas mince pies with a marzipan topping recipe

    There are so many wonderful mince pies recipes, but this one with a marzipan topping is one of my favourite. It's probably because most of the shop bought variety is little too sweet for me and this one doesn't have that much pastry or sugar in. The best thing is that you can choose your own mincemeat and even mix it with some freshly chopped up apples to give if bit more lightness.

    If you want to you can easily buy the brandy marzipan, but I prefer to make my own. So, here is what you do:

  7. Czech Christmas Bread - Vanocka

    Recently I've been asked to come up with a traditional sweet bread recipe for Christmas. The challenge was to come up with a recipe for a special friend staying with my student's family over Christmas. Their friend is originally from Slovak Republic, which send me on search to find out the really traditional bakes from this particular country.

  8. list of wartime sweets

    Author: Nick Marsden

    Before we get to our list of wartime sweets, lets have a bit of a background. Sweet and chocolate rationing started on 26 July 1942, only finishing 5 February 1953, nearly eight years later. The amount of sugar and therefore sweets which you were allowed fluctuated during the war, ranging from 16oz a month down to 8oz (227g) a month.

    Despite the decision to ration the sales of sugar in January 1940, as late as the summer Cadbury's were still able to advertise that their teatime biscuits were available in 'all Woolworth stores'.