With Easter weekend just around the corner, I was thrilled to be asked to host a Tea Party by Waitrose… Hot Cross Buns are an absolute must at Easter and we opted for two varieties, Cinnamon & Raisin and Richly Fruited.
They tasted as delicious as they looked and I think they make a lovely change as breakfast too. Ever since I can remember, we’ve enjoyed a recipe from a family friend we call ‘Chocolate Crunch’. It’s a bit like a chocolate shortbread and is not particularly healthy but makes a tasty treat which is really quick and easy to make.
- 10 oz Unsalted Butter
- 2 oz Cocoa
- 10 oz Sugar
- 10 oz Plain Flour
Preheat oven to 170 C then melt butter in a pan before adding to a mixture of the dry ingredients. Spread into a baking tray then bake for 25-30 minutes. Mark out your pieces whilst still warm then leave to cool before cutting fully. If you’re feeling fancy, sprinkle with icing sugar. Waitrose have some lovely Easter products online and in store so I thought it would be nice to buy their Belgian Chocolate Cake and spruce it up a little with raspberries and their Easter Praline Eggs…
I have to admit, I was expecting the cake to look a little larger and the eggs to be a little smaller but that is the trap I always fall in to when shopping online. I once ordered six bunches of SIX bananas :D I need to pay more attention but I think the cake looks scrummy enough anyway with some chocolate buttercream as glue.
Now, as a child, I always remember my grandparents having dates and I was never brave enough to eat one.
I’m not keen on raisins, although I will eat them, and dates just look like massive raisins so they’ve never appealed to me. As it is Easter though, I decided to bite the bullet and try some dates. I chickened out eating a date as is and decided to use them in a cake instead…
Date and Hazelnut Cake (recipe adapted from allrecipes.co.uk)
- 6 oz pitted dates, chopped
- 3 oz hazelnuts, chopped
- 10 oz plain flour
- 5 oz light brown soft sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 oz butter
- 8 fl oz boiling water
- 2 eggs
- 4 oz Sifted Icing Sugar
- Warm Water
- Lemon Juice to taste
- 4 oz Sifted Icing Sugar
- 2 oz Butter
- Lemon Juice to Taste
Mix the dates, boiling water, butter and bicarbonate of soda together until the butter has melted then leave to cool. Preheat the oven to 180C and line the bottom of a 7 inch cake tin with baking paper. Beat the sugar and eggs together and add the cooled mixture (must be cooled to avoid scrambled eggs!). Sift in the flour, cinnamon and baking powder then add the hazelnuts. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 50 minutes to an hour until nicely brown and risen and a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool for ten minutes then pop onto a wire rack to cool fully before cutting your cake horizontally and adding the icings to the middle and top. For the topping, add water until slightly thicker consistency than you want it then add lemon juice to taste. The cake reminds me of carrot cake but not as moist and the dates are actually much nicer than raisins. I was pleased how much this cake rose and will definitely be baking it again.
I didn’t realise until the day of our tea party that we don’t have a teapot! We use the bag in the cup method of tea making which isn’t very proper for a Tea Party but it couldn’t be helped. We did have some lovely cups of Waitrose Tea and I pushed the boat out and scoured local charity shops for some fancy plates. My sister provided the pretty cake stand and cups and saucers so I’ll have to make sure she gets a piece of cake as a thank you. Anyway, Pooh Bear has been asking for flapjacks this week and I’ve not made any for a bit so I thought I’d put the Organic apples from Waitrose to good use and make apple and almond flapjacks which went really nicely with a cup of tea.
Apple and Almond Flapjacks
- 4oz Butter
- 4oz Honey
- 8oz Porridge Oats
- 2oz Self-Raising Flour
- 2 Grated Apples
- 1 generous handful of Raisins
- 1 generous handful of Whole Almonds
- 1 pinch ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Melt the butter and honey in a pan. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and grate the apples into the bowl before adding the melted butter and honey mixture. Stir thoroughly, spoon into a baking tray then bake for approx 20 minutes.
Strangely, not everyone is a fan of tea and I’ve always wanted to make lemonade so this was the perfect opportunity to make a refreshing drink with the Waitrose Organic Lemons I ordered.
Homemade Lemonade (recipe adapted from SimplyRecipes.com)
- 1 cup sugar (can reduce to 3/4 cup)
- 1 cup water (for the simple syrup)
- 1 cup lemon juice
- 3 to 4 cups cold water (to dilute)
Put the sugar and 1 cup of water in a pan and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the sugar syrup to the lemon juice then the 3 to 4 cups of cold water to dilute to your taste. Chill then serve with posh ice cubes and perhaps a cocktail brolly or two ;) I was feeling fruity so added raspberries to ice cubes are jazzed up the Waitrose Tumbler with some Organic Kiwi Fruit too. Having also bought some Taylors Rhubarb tea, I added some cooled tea to the lemonade and made an even more delicious drink which the boys couldn’t get enough of.
Perfect for a sunny afternoon in the garden.
There is only one last thing we needed for a successful Easter Tea Party…
And how pretty is the packaging for the Waitrose chocolate!
If you pop over to Easter for Children on the Waitrose website, you can download an Easter game which we’re going to use as an egg hunt game around our garden. The boys can find the numbers 1 to 10 and have to answer the question correctly before they can collect the egg and move on to the next :)
Having never bought from Waitrose before either online or in-store, before I agreed to work with Waitrose, I was keen to find out a bit more about their community standards and company ethics. Every time I am approached by a company nowadays, I do a bit of digging to find out how they affect the world we live in. I was really pleased to find out about The Waitrose Way which seeks to support British Producers, encourage Healthy Eating, offer a good range of Fairtrade products, reduce packaging and waste, CO2 emissions and source food responsibly. The Organic range I searched through online was really good. I’ve been disappointed with other supermarkets limited Organic products especially fresh fruit and veg. The Waitrose Foundation supports community projects in South Africa, Kenya and Ghana and although separate to Fairtrade, it is all about sustainability through improving the lives of producers and workers and the foundation is funded from profits not through a price premium. You really need to pop over to this page to find out more about animal welfare, responsible fishing, GMOs, The Woodland Trust and you can read here how they are now 100% RSPO certified Palm Oil which is important to me, the environment and the world’s Orangutans. The website is very informative and to me, it is less in your face than other supermarket websites. The colours on the site feel more like you are shopping at your local grocers and you can find out more about where Waitrose produce comes from here. Ideally, I would only shop on my local high street but since it only contains one butchers (which we use) and an expensive convenience store it’s not an option. There is an organic shop a car journey away and a small Organic Market once a week another car journey away but you can’t get a whole shop from either of these so we have to use supoermarkets for convenience. I can honestly say that after ordering with Waitrose for this first time, I will definitely be ordering from them again. It was easy to find what I wanted online, the delivery driver was very friendly and informative (Paul, Northwich Store) and I like the products we received.
***Disclaimer*** We received a £50 voucher to spend at Waitrose in order to take part in the Waitrose Easter Tea Party but as usual, all thoughts and opinions are honest and fair.