There's been a very interesting news story this week that Earl Grey tea is very good for you! (It happens to be my favourite tea, so now I have an even better reason to drink it.)
Research from the University of Calabria says that bergamot (an essential component of Earl Grey) contains flavonones (hydroxyl methyl glutaryl flavonones, or HMGF for shot) which help to reduce cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease.
It’s also worth pointing out that bergamot oil is used in aromatherapy to relieve stress. So put your feet up and enjoy a cup of Earl Grey – it’s good for you :o)
And I guess teabread would be the perfect accompaniment - this recipe is from Jamie Oliver.
300ml Earl Grey tea (hot)
400g dried fruit
1 Large free-range egg
200g golden caster sugar
400g self-raising flour
1 level teaspoon mixed spice
Whole nutmeg for grating
Place the mixed fruit into a large mixing bowl, grate over the zest of the orange and pour over the hot tea. Give it a good stir, then cover with cling film and leave for a few hours or overnight if possible – so that the fruit soaks up all the tea.
When the fruit is ready, preheat the oven to 180°c/350°f/gas4. Line and grease a 1 litre loaf tin.
Beat the egg and add to the fruit mixture. Next add the sugar, flour, mixed spice and grate in some nutmeg and finally squeeze in the juice of the orange, mix well - it should turn into a dryish doughy consistency.
Bake for approx 1 hour and 10mins, or until cooked through. To test, poke a skewer into the middle of the cake; it should come out clean.
While the cake is cooking, you can make the syrup.
1 lemon - zest and juice
100g caster sugar
Place the 2 tea bags in a pan with the water and juice and zest of the lemon. Gently bring to the boil, removing the tea bags after a couple of minutes.
Add the the caster sugar and bring back to the boil without stirring; keep it on a medium heat so that you have a steady boil for around 5-10 minutes, or until the mixture has reduced by half and you have a golden syrup.
Once the cake is out of the oven, prick the cake all over with a cocktail stick or skewer and then brush the syrup all over the top of the cake. Leave to cool in the tin.
Kate is currently still celebrating being presented the RoNA Rose award by Darcey Bussell, for ‘Bound by a Baby’ – absolutely thrilled to bits about it! (It's also on offer this week at Amazon/on the Mills and Boon website, should you wish to grab a copy.)
Her latest release is Behind the Film Star’s Smile. (This had the working title of ‘Me and You and a Dog Called Baloo’, but sadly the dog didn’t make the cover or the blurb!) You can find out more about the book, and Kate, on her website (http://www.katehardy.com/) and her blog (http://katehardy.blogspot.com/)