Did you know that today is National Cream Tea Day? For Doris, this is a staple in a calendar – and what better afternoon tea or sneaky snack to celebrate than the famous scones, jam and cream with a mug of tea by the side?

Emerging from the west-country, cream teas began to boom from the mid 19th century onwards, providing delectable treat to locals and visitors alike. Cream Teas always used the best quality ingredients and rapidly spread across the country, world and in variety.

Since then, many cream tearooms have established, providing that same wondrous treat that the locals of the time would have enjoyed. Sandwiches and a range of other sweet desserts were also included to create the new Afternoon Tea as we know it today? But what makes the perfect cream tea, and – more importantly – how do you eat it?

Firstly, it is important to recognise that this tradition is from the west-country, which includes Cornwall, Devon and Somerset – that is three slightly different ways to create and eat the cream tea. For Doris, cream teas should include loose leaf tea in a teapot, your favourite Doris half pint mug, scones, strawberry jam and clotted cream, with the jam going on before the cream.

You cannot beat homemade scones for a cream tea, however, if you aren’t able to make them, or cannot wait for them to cook (we all know that feeling), then we can really recommend Becky’s Bakery scones! They are tasty, without taking too much away from the jam and cream, soft, crumbly – just perfect for a cream tea!

Moving onto our next layer – jam! Strawberry is the traditional flavoured jam to use, however feel free to experiment if you are not keen on strawberry jam. Wilkins and Sons Strawberry Jam or Fortnum and Masons Strawberry Jam are both perfect candidates for your scones!

Lastly, the cream. If you are like Doris, then cream is probably your favourite layer (and the biggest!). Rhodda’s clotted cream is a firm favourite for Doris in cream teas. Not too heavy that it becomes hard to eat, but not too late so you cannot really get a good scoop and drop it on! Simply moreish!

What are your favourites when it comes to making your own cream teas?

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Doris is a firm lover of a good slice of cake, so, as it is national cake week, what better time than now to delve a little deeper into the history of cake making. 

National Cake Week falls on the first week of October, which in 2018 is on the days 1st – 7th October. However, who created the first cake and how was it created? 

Doris and Cake_preview

Originally known as kaka, some form of “cake” has been baked and eaten since the era of ancient Greeks and the Romans. Essentially a form of bread dough, the recipe of the first cake would have consisted of flour, eggs, milk, nuts and honey (or in the case of the Romans, the milk was replaced by butter). Despite the ingredients sounding familiar, cakes did not taste quite like the way they do today, but rather just a richer, and sweeter type of bread. 

This form of cake was eaten across areas in Europe for many years, until the renaissance period where the development of ovens and and ingredients created the world’s first sponge cake. Icing was also created during this period, meaning that cake making and eating transformed from a regular everyday bread into the sweet treat that we know and love today.

A few hundred years later, and the cake industry saw yet another advancement. With events such The Great Depression and the World Wars, the need for quick yet energy full food sources was in great need. Cake and pancake mixes in packets were created, along with the introduction of bicarbonate of soda or baking powder instead of yeast to speed up the process. Colourings and flavourings were also introduced within this period to create a variety of luxurious cakes to suit all tastes. 

From fruit cakes to chocolate gateaux, we are now spoilt for choice when it comes to indulging in desserts. Making a perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea, cakes and baking are a staple in Doris’ kitchen. Can you beat a good slice of cake?

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As it is National Coffee Week here in the UK, we thought it was the perfect time to show you how to make the perfect espresso.

The Coffee

The coffee should be from a good reputable brand and always buy whole beans to grind yourself if you can. Beans should be kept in a dry, cool place and not in the freezer (like the urban myth suggests), or anywhere near heat. The roast of the bean should have taken within 3 weeks of you using them and good coffee bean sellers should have a roast date on their packaging.

The Grind

Getting the grind right for your beans really does make a huge difference in your espresso. Too fine and it will taste ashy, too chunky and it will be watery. The texture you are looking for is like flour but with a little bit of gritty sand running through it. The grind should also clump very slightly if you squeeze it without it being damp or sticky.

The Dose

Ideally you should be using between 14g-18g of coffee grounds per 30ml espresso shot, depending on the strength you like it and the coffee beans being used.

The Machine

Make sure your espresso machine is clean and dry both inside and out, including the filter. If you are tamping your coffee (pushing it down to lock out any air) you should do it enough so that when your tip the coffee basket over your head, no coffee escapes (or covers you in coffee grounds!). For an optimal working machine and for the best taste your 30ml espresso shot should only take 30 seconds to create, from switching the water flow on and off again.

Temperature

The temperature your machine heats at should be a consistent temperature and sit somewhere between 90C and 96C. If your machine fails to keep a constant temperature then your espresso will not have the right taste.

Literary Espresso Mug Collection - Doris & Co English Creamware Ceramics Made in Britain

The Mug

The diminutive Doris & Co espresso mug with inspiring quotes from great writers. Perfect for deep thinkers, strong coffee drinkers, those to be inspired or thanked. For budding writers, young would-be goods and old ne’erdowells. These mugs are taken from an early industrial English ‘coffee can’ shape (1820’s) and made in English creamware by hand in England.

Enjoy your perfect espresso and Happy National Coffee Week!

#NationalCoffeeWeekUK #NationalCoffeeWeek

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