Wednesday, 26 September 2012

ndali Vanilla Gift Swap at Fortnum & Mason



Hugely excited about Vanessa Kimbell's Gift Swap for this year. Meeting at Fornum & Mason in London's Picadilly.
We had to make something such as preserves, sweets or baked items with ndali vanilla (supplied to us by Vanessa and ndali) to swap with another attendee.  Our entries would also be judged and there were some great prizes to be won.  I didn't want the judges to cut into my entry so I made them a little one to try!

I made making a vanilla loaf cake with a chocolate vanilla fudge frosting.

The event was co-sponsored by The Fairtrade Foundation who asked that we used fairtrade ingredients in our entries. My recipe is below but I wanted it to look enticing as well as taste good.

My blue ribbon offering.
Everyone taking part was a winner commencing with a lovely afternoon tea typical Fortnum & Mason style.
Let the afternoon commence in traditional British fashion - Tea time!
An array of exquisite offerings for our afternoon tea.
Such a difficult choice!

Those little white ones were amazing - light and thin sponge sandwiched with lovely layers.
The entries were tasted and judged and winners in each of the four categories were announced after what seemed like a never ending wait. 

Vanessa with two of the afternoon's judges.

Vanessa Kimbell having a quick chat with Polly from Fortnum & Mason
The winner received some of these products generously donated by Fortunum & Mason and Kenwood.

The main prizes
When we registered our entry it got a raffle ticket attached to the bottom and at then end of the event everyone took a raffle ticket and searched for the corresponding gift to take home. 

My vanilla gift for the swap has the blue ribbon.
I was very lucky to get a jar of Raspberry and Vanilla Jam made by the doyen of jams and preserves Vivien Lloyd.   Lucky me cause Raspberry is my favourite jam!!

Vanessa thanked the judges and everyone who attended for their splendid efforts but the afternoon also had a serious side.  Each time you pick up an item with the Fairtrade logo on and add it to your shopping basket you are literally helping to save someone's life. The people who produce these products don't want charity they just want a fair price for their products so they can look after their families and provide for their needs and education. Next time you are shopping don't just pack that trolley with the familiar brands but stop and see if there is a Fairtrade alternative!

Time to go home and take some of the inspiration from the afternoon with us.  The Fairtrade Foundation gave us each a packed goodie bag with Fairtrade products to try and there were also a few things included by others such as delicious magazine.

To start I have infused my sugars with Fairtrade ndali vanilla in readiness to begin baking. I will be using Fairtrade sugar and chocolate too.

Vanilla Loaf Cake with Chocolate Vanilla Fudge Frosting:-

200g butter
175g golden caster sugar (infused with ndali vanilla pods for a couple of weeks)
3 eggs
300g Self Raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 vanilla pod infused in 3Tbsp milk - scrape the seeds out of the pod after the infusion

Chocolate Vanilla Fudge Frosting
1 Tbsp butter
100ml milk previously infused with 1 vanilla pod - scrape out the seeds of the pod after infusion
200g golden caster sugar (infused with ndali vanilla pods for a couple of weeks)
2tsp ndali vanilla powder

Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3
Beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy for as long as you can but around 5 mins is good.
Gradually beat in the eggs one at a time (add a little flour after the first one to avoid the mixture splitting)
Fold in the rest of the flour along with the baking powder and seeds from the vanilla pod, followed by the vanilla infused milk.
Spoon into a lined loaf pan.
bake for 55-60 minutes till a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Cool in the tin 5 minutes then on a wire rack till cold.

Make the frosting by melting 1tsp butter in a saucepan and then add the sugar and bring the lot to the boil.

Boil for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time to avoid the mixture burning or catching on the bottom of the pan.
Take off the heat and stir in the remaining butter, chocolate and vanilla seeds and vanilla powder.
Cool a little then spread on top of the cake and allow it to cool completely.



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