WHETHER loved-up or single, many people like to go all out for Valentine’s Day, but this can often become costly.
Making treats at home is a great way to spend the day with your partner, or you can whip them up in advance and invite some friends over.
Getty – Contributor Chocolate covered strawberries are a simple treat, and the fruit makes them healthier than most
Chocolate covered strawberries
Chocolate covered strawberries are a delicious treat, which are simple to make and also look pretty on any Valentine’s decorated table.
You will need:
Strawberries (one punnet should be enough, but grab another if you’re catering for more people) 200g Chocolate (dark works best, but you can use milk if you prefer)
Line a plate or baking tray with grease proof paper and set aside.
Boil water in a saucepan and place a large heatproof bowl over the pan.
Break up the chocolate into chunks and add in the bowl, while stirring.
Once melted, dip each strawberry halfway into the chocolate, and then place on the grease proof paper.
Put the strawberries into the fridge for a couple of hours to allow them to set, and once you’re ready to serve, transfer them onto a pretty plate.
Getty – Contributor Cookies are something you can make in advance of the big day
Heart shaped cookies
Cookies are a firm favourite, and will also last longer than fresh fruit, so you’ll be able to enjoy them for a few days after February 14.
You will need:
Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix Large heart shaped cookie cutter Red icing pen, if desired Preheat the oven to 190ºC (170ºC for fan ovens).
Mix up the cookie dough according to the instructions.
Separate the dough into eight equal sized balls, and shape them into hearts using the cookie cutter
Place them on a lined baking tray, and bake for 12 minutes.
Remove them from the oven and place onto a cooling rack, and neaten the edges with a knife if required.
Once cooled, decorate with some red icing around the edge, or simply serve straight onto a plate.
Image Bank – Getty Cupcakes are treat you can really have fun with – try different icings and sprinkles to really wow your partner
Cupcakes are the ultimate sweet treat, and can be decorated however you fancy – you could even try and write your partner’s name in the icing.
You will need:
Betty Crocker Vanilla Cupcake Mix Two medium eggs 45ml vegetable oil 50ml water Muffin tray filled with cupcake cases Vanilla Icing (Dr Oetker or Betty Crocker is good) Sprinkles
Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C for fan ovens)
Whisk together the cake mix with eggs, oil, and water until smooth.
Pour the mixture into the cupcake cases and place into centre of oven.
Bake for 15 – 17 minutes, or until a knife can be inserted and removed cleanly.
Place onto a cooling rack, and once cool, cover with icing and sprinkles.
This Is The One Common Mistake That Is Ruining Your Cup Of Tea
THE debate on how to make the perfect cup of tea has raged for years.
Teabags or teapot? Milk in first or added later? How long should you let it brew?
Alamy Your humble cuppa could be spoiled by this one common mistake
When it comes to the humble cuppa, everyone has their own way of making it but there’s one element, literally, that we forget.
It turns out that your kettle could be ruining the taste, no matter how you brew.
According to some experts, not descaling your kettle is one of the biggest crimes against tea.
Limescale, the chalky residue that builds up in your kettle, especially in hard water areas, can have a serious effect on the taste.
Alamy Limescale is a taste killer for your cuppa
Tom Price, Senior Buyer at JING Tea, told Good Housekeeping: “Hard water and the build-up of limescale both have a significant impact on the taste of tea, owing to a higher concentration of minerals such as calcium and magnesium that build-up over time.
“These elements flatten the flavour and textures of tea.”
Tea expert Mae King Tsang said the hard water makes a difference to the way the tea infuses.
New Chart Reveals The Very Different Colours A Tea Can Be… So How Do You Like Your Cuppa?
WHETHER it’s a strong builder’s brew or more hot milk than tea, how to make the best brew is a controversial topic for us Brits.
This new chart is bound to stir up the debate as it reveals all the different ways that people like their cuppa.
SWNS:South West News Service This new colour chart reveals 50 shades of brew – so which one resembles your ideal cuppa?
The guide, which looks like a hairdresser’s colour chart, reveals 50 shades of tea, which ranges from an almost white to a rich brown.
It comes as a survey revealed 33 per cent of the nation go to the dark side of their brew, while just one in four prefer a lighter colour.
Overall the majority generally favour a darker tone than a milky one, with another four in 10 opting for a classic builder’s tea.
Northern Irish tea drinkers like their brew the strongest and darkest, while those in Scotland and the north east of England are most likely to appreciate a milkier mug with a more subtle flavour.
SWNS:South West News Service The most popular shade was relatively pale
Tea fans in the south east of England are most likely to leave their teabag in for longer, letting it brew for an average of 64 seconds, which is seven seconds longer than the national average or 57 seconds.
East Anglians are in the greatest hurry, letting the bag stew for just 48 seconds.
As for the great “Milk Before” or “Milk After” debate, 73 per cent will put water in before the milk, and 19 per cent opt for milk in first.
Those living in East Anglia are also most likely to add a splash of milk before the water, while those in the East Midlands are most likely to favour a water first approach.
Emma Stanbury from Arla B.O.B milk, which commissioned the study, said: “The research celebrates Britain as a nation of tea drinkers, with a few surprising results like almost one in five putting the milk in first.
Alamy East Anglians are in the greatest hurry, letting the bag stew for just 48 seconds
“And with more than fifty shades of tea, everyone’s favourite cuppa is a little different.
”Anyone who has ever worked as part of a team in the workplace knows the complexity of the office politics surrounding the tea round.
“Who makes the best cuppa? Who’s the fussiest? Who is most likely to duck their round? And who’s round is it anyway?
The survey also uncovered the extent to which the UK workforce depends on the humble brew to keep running – consuming 1,161 cups of tea per worker per year.
One in five employees would consider themselves caring tea-makers – someone who looks after their colleagues’ tea needs before their own.
While 18 per cent are left asking “Who’s round is it anyway?” trying to convince other colleagues to take one for the team.
Those working in the Arts are most likely to offer to do a tea round, while researchers are most used to having tea made for them.
Getty – Contributor Tea fans in the south east of England are most likely to leave their teabag in for longer, letting it brew for an average of 64 seconds
Workers in the research sector are also the thirstiest, drinking four cups a day – one more than the national average, while those working in scientific fields can take it or leave it, necking just two mugs a day.
Employees working in recruitment and HR are the fussiest about how they take their tea, while those working in social care are most likely to have a special mug in the office which no one else is allowed to use.
Fifteen per cent of workers who took part in the study, conducted by OnePoll, consider themselves very fussy when it comes to how they like their tea.
And one in 10 have been so unimpressed by their colleagues’ efforts to make a tea to their standards they have asked them to throw it away.
Why Are Kinder Eggs Illegal In The Us And Are The Chocolates Banned Anywhere Else?
KINDER Eggs may be one of your favourite childhood treats, but their small inside toy does actually present a choking hazard.
So what exactly is the chocolate, and where are they banned worldwide?
Alamy Kinder eggs contain a surprise toy
What is a Kinder Egg?
They’re official name is ‘Kinder Surprise’, and they are a chocolate candy made by Ferraro, an Italian brand.
The eggs are a chocolate shell, and inside is a plastic container containing a toy, which usually needs assembling.
It is a popular treat for children, but some adults collect the toys.
Alamy Kinder Joys are another product by Ferraro, and the chocolate is separated to the toy
Why are Kinder Eggs banned in the US?
The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act prohibits Kinder Eggs, as they don’t allow confectionary products to contain a “non-nutritive object”.
It bans “the sale of any candy that has embedded in it a toy or trinket”, so obviously the tiny toy encased in a Kinder Egg doesn’t pass.
This is due to the small parts being a choking hazard for children, although Kinder does bear the warning that the toys are “not suitable for children under three years, due to the presence of small parts”.
However, in May 2017, Ferrero’s ‘Kinder Joy’ product became available in the US, as the chocolate and plastic toy are separated.
Kinder Joys were launched initially in 2001 in Italy, and reached the UK in December 2015.
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