Change a Life This Summer with a Charity Baking Party

 

At the end of June, Marie Curie supporters hosted “Marie Curie Blooming Great Tea Parties” all around the UK to raise money to provide free care to people living with a terminal illness in their own homes and in the Marie Curie Hospice.

Cake sales have always been the backbone of the British charity fundraising scene – there was a Bake For Heroes event in the Spring and a Bake for Bliss in the Winter amongst many others.

Wherever you’re from, there is doubtless no shortage of schools, hospitals, Scout groups, churches and local community action groups that could do with a cash injection and your cakes could help them raise vital funds to help them do what they do. Here are some other upcoming baking-based events from charities large and small. many of which provide invaluable supporting materials, including customisable flyers, posters, press releases, bunting, invitations, hand-outs and, most importantly, donation forms.

NDCS Big Cake Bakebig-cake-bake-signup
The National Deaf Children’s Society is the leading charity dedicated to creating a world without barriers for deaf children and young people.

The Children’s Society: Bake and Brew
Your Bake and Brew event can be anything from a coffee morning in your community to a cocktail and cupcake party with friends. You can even get your kids involved by holding an icing party.
Resources available to download include recipes supplied by Nigella Lawson, Levi Roots, Annabel Karmel and  Derek Quelch of the Goring Hotel, Claridges and the Savoy.

Breast Cancer Care Strawberry Tea
Gather your friends this summer for a Strawberry Tea and help support women facing breast cancer. The charity’s website features a range of downloadable resources for fundraisers that is second to none.

tea-rifficAsthma UK Tea-riffic Party
Whether it’s a cup of tea and cake, champagne and strawberries with the girls, cake-off at work, a BBQ with your friends or a Bake it Bigger event at your school, the theme, venue and who you invite are all up to you.

Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Cake Off (September)
Whether you’re a budding baker of kitchen rookie, show off your culinary talents and join our brand new Duchess of Kent Cake Off fundraising event this autumn.

Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) bakeit!
A year-round campaign to get bakers baking in support of the national charity for MND care, research and campaigning.

Dream Tea
The official “Dream Tea Week” promoted by children’s charity Dreams Come True took place in June, but unsurprisingly they’re keen for bakers to continue raising funds throughout the summer.

Free Cakes for Kids UK
If organising a sale is a bit high-profile for you but you love the karmic concept of a random act of baking-related kindness, find (or start) your local branch of Free cakes for Kids, a charitable organisation that quite simply bakes cakes for families who find it difficult to provide a birthday cake for their child.

 

 

 

£68 million worth of electricity is wasted each year by boiling your kettle

MIITO

If you’re like us, then there’s a fair bet that there’s a cup of tea within arm’s reach right now or soon will be. We’re English and tea is part of our staple diet, not to mention coffee.

But at what a cost? It’s easy to sneer at the article by Susannah Butter in the Evening Standard this week praising some “smart kitchen gadgets”. When has there ever been a respite from the torrent of short-lived new kitchen devices that promise to solve a problem you never knew you had?

And at first glance, this one seems much the same – Miito is a “sleek silver stick” that you dip in a cup of water “and it will heat it to boiling in 60 seconds”. It may have already attracted 500,000 worth of pledges on Kickstarter, but as any English tea drinker will tell you, that’s no way to brew a cuppa. There’s more to making good tea than boiling the water and to be honest, if a tea pot isn’t involved in the process, many of us wouldn’t get out of bed for it.

And yet… it’s hard not to blanche when you look at the statistics. The inventors of Miito, Nils Chudy and Jasmina Grase, were apparently inspired by this TED talk by Leyla Acaroglu – self-styled “sustainability provocateur, designer and sociologist” – early last year, in which she reports that “£68 million worth of electricity [is] being wasted each year by boiling more water than is required”…

Of course, Miito isn’t all that radical a concept. For some time, companies like Quooker have been touting their boiling water taps and the Quooker website claims that with their product “it only costs 3 pence a day to have boiling water at hand, exactly when you want it”. Which sounds impressive, but have you actually calculated how much it costs to make tea the old-fashioned way? well, there’s no need, because, according to The Daily Telegraph, someone already has.

Andy Smale, technical director at Expert Energy, a group of independent energy consultants, calculated that “it would take to make six 250ml cups of tea or coffee on six separate occasions with a kettle (typical minimum kettle fill of 500ml) would cost 5.46p per 24 hours”.

In other words, there’s very little in it for one individual household and so, from the point of view of your personal tea drinking, it’s not going to save the planet. But what if we all stopped boiling our kettles? That’s a very different prospect. And it seems highly unlikely that British culture will shift in that direction.

But there is something we can do – a Quooker spokesman quoted in The Telegraph says that one of the big reasons for energy wastage from kettles is re-boiling. You know how it is – you stick the kettle on, leave the room, let the water boil and busy yourself with something else until the power cuts off, only to flick the switch again five minutes later when you come back.

So perhaps we can make a dent in that £68million by thinking twice before letting the kettle go off the boil and switching it back on to boil again. Remember, don’t drift out of the kitchen while the water boils – if you love your tea, stand by your kettle.

 

12 Years of iTunes: Songs of Heart and Home

The Apple iTunes Store opened on April 28th 2003 and in the twelve years since is has spearheaded a very controversial revolution in the music industry that hasn’t finished yet by a long chalk.

It’s not easy to choose 12 songs from 12 years but we’ve selected a dozen with heart or home in the title. Do you remember them all? Doubtless you would have made some different choices, so feel free to leave a comment below with perhaps some lesser-known or forgotten heart and home song recommendations.

2003
‘Home’ by Simply Red

2004
‘I Believe My Heart’ by Duncan James & Keedie

2005
‘Heartbeats’ by Jose Gonzales

2006
‘Thunder In My Heart Again’ by Meck feat. Leo Sayer

2007
‘Welcome Home’ by Radical Face

2008
‘Melt My Heart to Stone’ by Adele

2009
‘Home’ by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

2010
‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ by the Glee cast featuring Jonathan Groff

2011
‘Heart Skips a Beat by Olly Murs featuring Rizzle Kicks

2012
‘Black Heart’ by Stooshe

2013
‘Bonfire Heart’ by James Blunt

2014
‘Beating Heart’ by Ellie Goulding

2015
‘Mechanical Heart’ by Beth Hart

Heart to Home is Now Mobile-Friendly

Heart to Home is Now Mobile-Friendly!

More Than Just a New (Heart to) Homepage

We’ve been working very hard in March to transform the old Heart to Home website so that, well, it looks very similar to the old one, but with one very important difference – we’re now mobile-friendly, or “responsive” as more technical readers may have gathered.

This means that when you visit Heart to Home on your mobile ‘phone, you’ll find that it looks very different from the desktop version of the site. For instance, instead of seeing four columns of products on the Home page, you’ll see one long column with all the same products stacked up one on top of the other.

So, there will be no more zooming in and out to read the text and no more fiddly links that are hard to tap on with your finger – the buttons and menus have all been designed to keep the same style as the version you’ll see on your computer, but they’re now much easier to tap.

Heart to Home mobile friendly websites

Heart to Home 2.0

The impetus of this latest upgrade comes from the release of Opencart 2.0, the newest version of the shopping software we use to build and maintain our site. Opencart 2.0 makes use of a technology called Bootstrap, developed by Twitter and shared for free with the world, that allows you to build one website that cleverly reorganises itself to fit the size of almost any screen.

We hope mobile ‘phone users will now find it easier to browse the lovely kitchen and dining room linens, china and pottery available in the Heart to Home collection and as always we’d love to hear what you think.

A Tale of Two Kitchens – Kitchengate: The Story So Far

Described today by the Daily Mail as “the REALLY important political issue of the day” (don’t assume that’s ironic – there’s little evidence of irony the article by Mail Online reporter Ollie Gillman), rarely has the humble kitchen appeared so often in the news headlines and the political sketch columns as it has in the last couple of weeks. So here’s how the story unfurled in Britain’s free-to-view online daily rags.

‘Two kitchens Miliband’: Labour leader posed in SECOND ‘functional kitchenette’ at £2.5m mansion for interview with his wife
Labour’s plan to cast Ed Miliband as an ordinary family man appeared to have spectacularly backfired tonight – after it emerged he posed with his wife in the family’s smaller second kitchen.
Daily Mail, Published on Thursday 12 Mar 2015 at 07:37pm

‘Two kitchens Miliband’: Labour leader says he prefers the SECOND ‘kitchenette’ at £2.5m mansion where he posed for TV

Ed ‘Two Kitchens’ Miliband under fire in bizarre row
Labour leader criticised by Tories after a humble kitchen he posed in with wife in soft-focus interview actually the smaller of two kitchens in his house
Telegraph. Published on Thursday 12 Mar 2015 at 07:47pm

Kitchen sink drama for Miliband as homely photo backfires
Labour leader seen as down to earth with no-frills cooking area on BBC film; until it was revealed as his home’s second kitchenA harmless picture of Ed Miliband and his wife Justine Thornton sipping a cuppa at their north London home, in what appears to be a relatively modest looking kitchen, has ended up providing dream tabloid headlines.It turns out that the couple were filmed by the BBC in a second kitchen at their Dartmouth Park home.Ed Miliband’s kitchen is lovely.
Guardian. Published on Thursday 12 Mar 2015 at 08:03pm

Ed ‘Two Kitchens’ Miliband: Politicians and the photos that inadvertently come to define them
With a seemingly innocuous row about the Labour leader’s kitchens making headlines, we look back at how political photocalls can backfire by crystallising weaknesses in the eyes of the electorate
Telegraph. Published on Friday 13 Mar 2015 at 09:54am

Is Ed Miliband’s ‘actual’ kitchen more like one of these?
Labour leader may be seeking to hide a much grander family kitchen like some of these on his road.
Telegraph. Published on Friday 13 Mar 2015 at 10:17am

The most important political issue of the moment? Ed Miliband’s kitchens
The puerile nature of political discourse in modern Britain crowds out the issues that matter to ordinary peopleThe problem with an open sewer is you cannot escape the stench. The Daily Mail is, of course, that open sewer, along with a sizeable chunk of Britain’s Tory-dominated oligarch-owned “free press”. Let’s just have a quick recap about the level of political discourse we have reached in Britain. The big political controversy of the moment is not the national scandals of low pay, child pov…
Guardian. Published on Friday 13 Mar 2015 at 11:19am

Ed Miliband: I have two kitchens but only use the small one
The Labour leader admits he has two kitchens in his north London mansion but says that he and his wife choose to use the smaller one upstairs
Telegraph. Published on Friday 13 Mar 2015 at 12:27pm

Labour’s Ed Miliband says he prefers the SECOND ‘kitchenette’ at £2.5m mansion
The image of the Labour leader as a man of the people with a run-of-the-mill home was not all it appeared. For Mr Miliband actually lives in a house with two kitchens.
Daily Mail. Published on Friday 13 Mar 2015 at 03:34pm

Out with policies, in with pedal bins: kitchenology will decide the election
This focus on the politics of lifestyle is absurd. By playing along Miliband has only himself to blamePoliticians: if you can’t stand talking about the kitchen, maybe get out of the kitchen? We’ll never know the precise chain of events that led to Ed Miliband and his wife being pictured in the second kitchen of their north London house as opposed to the first – but frankly, who needs to? They agreed to be pictured in the kitchen. The rest is just geography.@Nigel_Farage pre #BBCSP @ukip pic.twi
Guardian. Published on Friday 13 Mar 2015 at 06:24pm

Ed Miliband tries to defuse ‘two kitchens’ row
ED Miliband has tried to defuse controversy over the kitchen arrangements at his £2 million town house in London – by insisting he only “uses the small one”.
Scotsman. Published on Friday 13 Mar 2015 at 07:15pm

Martin Rowson on the media furore over Ed Miliband’s kitchens – cartoon
Guardian. Published on Friday 13 Mar 2015 at 10:43pm

Martin Rowson on the media furore over Ed Miliband’s kitchens – cartoon

 

Ed Miliband’s trial by media: Damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t
The revelation that Ed Miliband has two kitchens dominated the political agenda last week. Besides the fuss about the lime green recycling bin, does the row say more about how the Labour leader is treated by the media, Twitter and voters – that, whatever he does, he’s damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t?
Independent. Published on Sunday 15 Mar 2015 at 12:00am

The Milibands in the kitchen… What is this weird outdated parading of leaders’ wives?
Labour’s pink bus is a masterpiece of gender neutrality compared to this Mad Men-style strategyEven the most progressive kitchen analyst would have to concede that the room where Ed and Justine (formerly Thornton) Miliband unsuspectingly huddled last week is conspicuously less roomy and appealing than the series of well-appointed domestic spaces in which David Cameron and his wife have posed over the years.In fact, to judge by the number of times Cameron has invited inspection since he was firs
Guardian. Published on Sunday 15 Mar 2015 at 12:05am

Ed Miliband must take a tip from Three Kitchens Boris writes Rachel Johnson
Ed may never live down this episode of inadvertent Marie Antoinette-ing in the Labour family. It’s not because he’s got two kitchens – It is because he did not stand by who he really was.
Daily Mail. Published on Sunday 15 Mar 2015 at 01:02pm

Two Kitchens – The Movie: Miliband invites the cameras into his house AGAIN as it emerges the live-in nanny uses the big kitchen while Ed makes tea upstairs
Days after it emerged his £2million house has a large family kitchen and a smaller ‘functional kitchennete’ upstairs, ITV is expecting to film him relaxing in at least one of them this week.
Daily Mail. Published on Sunday 15 Mar 2015 at 01:59pm

Ed Miliband invites the cameras into his house AGAIN
Days after it emerged his £2million house has a large family kitchen and a smaller ‘functional kitchennete’ upstairs, ITV is expecting to film him relaxing in at least one of them this week.
Daily Mail. Published on Sunday 15 Mar 2015 at 05:06pm

Rolling pins at dawn: David Cameron and Ed Miliband clash over kitchens at PMQs
David Cameron and Ed Miliband may be in the battle of their political lives but that doesn’t mean they haven’t got time to have a domestic about kitchens.
Independent. Published on Wednesday 18 Mar 2015 at 01:04pm

Andy McSmith’s Diary: David Cameron’s kitchen stink could backfire on him
David Cameron must think the “two kitchens” story is doing Ed Miliband serious damage, because he managed to work no fewer than five jokes about it into Prime Minister’s Questions.
Independent. Published on Wednesday 18 Mar 2015 at 06:08pm

Ed Miliband complained about chancellor’s ‘two kitchens’ jibe, say Tories
In budget speech aftermath, the Labour leader is understood to have told George Osborne it was unfair to make jokes at his expenseEd Miliband complained in person to George Osborne after the chancellor used his budget speech to mock the Labour leader over the two kitchens at his north London home, according to Tory sources.In the aftermath of the budget, the Labour leader is understood to have told the chancellor that he had acted unfairly after making jokes at his expense.Ed Miliband’s kitchen
Guardian. Published on Friday 20 Mar 2015 at 06:12pm

David Cameron and Ed Miliband need to forget spin and give public the truth
Carole Malone says the party leaders are too busy scoring political points against each other rather than explaining why we should vote for them on May 7
Mirror. Published on Saturday 21 Mar 2015 at 04.55pm

Forget the general election, vote here on the most important political issue of the campaign: Who’s got the best kitchen?
Ed Miliband was the first to welcome cameras into his kitchen, and since then Nicola Sturgeon and the PM have both invited television cameras to snoop around the pantries of power.
Daily Mail. Published on Tuesday 24 Mar 2015 at 01:17am

Forget the general election, vote here on the REALLY important political issue of the day: Who’s got the best kitchen?

David Cameron, Ed Miliband, and Nicola Sturgeon: Who’s got the best kitchen?
Ed Miliband was the first to welcome cameras into his kitchen, and since then Nicola Sturgeon and the PM have both invited television cameras to snoop around the pantries of power.
Daily Mail. Published on Tuesday 24 Mar 2015 at 08:49am

20 Red Nose Day Recipe Ideas

Red Nose Day Cupcakes for Comic Relief

Red Nose Day Cupcakes for Comic Relief

Red Nose Day raspberry cookies

Red Nose Day raspberry cookies

Red Nose Day Recipes – Gluten Free

Red Nose Day Recipes – Gluten Free

Red Nose Pudding

Red Nose Pudding

Delia Smith's Chocolate Drop Mini Muffins with Red Noses

Delia Smith’s Chocolate Drop Mini Muffins with Red Noses

Let the Comic Relief Bake Off begin: White forest gateaux recipe

White forest gateaux recipe

Red Nose Day Cookies

Red Nose Day Cookies

Monster Red Nose pizza

Monster Red Nose pizza

Rainbow Cakes

Rainbow Cakes

The Great Comic Relief Bake Off recipes

The Great Comic Relief Bake Off recipes

Vanilla cupcakes

Vanilla cupcakes

White Chocolate Chip Cookies with Freeze Dried Raspberries Recipe

White Chocolate Chip Cookies with Freeze Dried Raspberries Recipe

Cherry Bakewell cupcakes

Cherry Bakewell cupcakes

Photo Booth Biscuits for Comic Relief

Photo Booth Biscuits for Comic Relief

Red Nose Day Ravioli

Red Nose Day Ravioli

Red Nose choux buns recipe

Red Nose choux buns recipe

Red nose cupcakes

Red nose cupcakes

Red Nose Day: chocolate raisin crispie cakes recipe

Red Nose Day: chocolate raisin crispie cakes recipe

Red Nose Day cocktail recipe

Red Nose Day cocktail recipe

Red Nose Day cookies

Red Nose Day cookies

Pink Whisk Miracle Upside-Down Chocolate Pudding

Last week baking blogger Ruth Clemens posted a recipe for a choc pud that you can whip up and have in the oven “in 10 minutes flat” which seemed like a challenge. More to the point, the idea of a “self-saucing” pudding sounded intriguingly miraculous so we had to give it a try.

The Pink Whisk's Self Saucing Miracle Chocolate Pudding 1

The pudding mixture didn’t look too good (although it always tastes amazing when licked off the whisk, doesn’t it?).

The Pink Whisk's Self Saucing Miracle Chocolate Pudding 2

And when the sauce was poured on top it looked very much like this 9″ diameter dish was not going to accommodate it…

The Pink Whisk's Self Saucing Miracle Chocolate Pudding 3

But amazingly, the sauce really does find its was from the top to the bottom while it’s cooking. And what you can’t see here is that when you pick up the dish, you discover that the pudding is actually floating on top of the liquid underneath. An extraordinary effect. Sorry this picture’s a bit blurry, but you get the general idea: it’s a chocolate pudding with chocolate chips.

The Pink Whisk's Self Saucing Miracle Chocolate Pudding 4

And most importantly, it tasted great and was very easy indeed, although possibly closer to a 20 minute preparation time for those of us not quite as nifty in the kitchen as young Ruth. Yes, the sauce is a bit lumpy as some of the pudding mixture seems to have dissolved into it. But honestly that didn’t detract from the overall effect.

Apparently if chocolate’s not your thing (what’s wrong with you?) you can do something similar with lemon. But this very easy chocolate pudding recipe will definitely be getting another outing soon. Well done, Ruth!