These biscuits are robust in every way, easy to make and satisfyingly solid. It may seem odd to use coriander in sweet biscuits, but it gives real warmth to the flavour. Black treacle is such a dominant taste that you may prefer to replace most of it with golden syrup.This recipe was originally published between 1859 and 1861 in the monthly supplement to The English Woman’s Domestic Magazine. The articles were later published as a book that became a classic guide to running a Victorian house and included over 900 recipes, The Book of Household Management. Makes 130 biscuitsFlour: 2¾lb/1.2kgSugar: 1lb/450gGround ginger: 1½oz/45gGround allspice: 1½oz/45gGround coriander: 1½oz/45gTreacle: 1¾lb/780gButter: 1lb/450g 1. Mix the spices, flour and sugar together.2. Warm the treacle and butter in a saucepan until the butter has melted.3. Pour the melted butter and treacle into the flour mixture and mix thoroughly. It will form a dough quickly.4. Shape the dough into walnut-sized pieces. Place on a greased baking tray. Either leave round for ginger nuts or squash them flat for a biscuit shape.5. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 180?C. n
The Celebration Cake Maker of the Year certificate and picture of Terry Tang with Joanna Lumley, which was taken on the night of the Baking Industry Awards 2007, proudly hangs on the wall of the bakery shop. It is placed on the right-hand side of a nine-foot wedding cake, decorated with over 6,000 crystals.”We were so proud to have won the award,” says Carol, Terry’s wife and business partner. “It was a stunning night.”After winning Celebration Cake Maker of the Year, award sponsor Renshaw sent out press releases to the local newspapers. “A big spread appeared in Mersey World, which read ’A local baker wins national award’,” she says. “You would not believe the amount of people who came in saying: ’We’ve seen you in the newspaper’. Terry even received an email from an old friend whom he hadn’t spoken to for over 30 years, and people were coming up to him in the street saying: ’You’re the feller that won that award’.”== from stonemasonry to cakes ==Before Terry Tang’s was set up, Terry was a stonemason for most of his life. But in a dramatic turn of events, he swapped his mallet and chisel for a packet of icing sugar. “The first cake I decorated was for my daughter. I was recreating a brown teddy bear, which was taken from a cut-out in the Radio Times. Before long, friends and family started asking me to decorate cakes for all sorts of occasions, such as birthdays and anniversaries.”When I was laid off from stonemasonary in the 1990s, I had a mixture of people asking me to decorate cakes and pave driveways. I decided that my hands were getting too rough, so I decided to make a living out of decorating cakes.”== winning cake ==Terry’s winning cake was decorated with icing sugar models of children. Chunks of the cake were missing, designed to look like the children were eating the cake base: “I knew I was on a winner with this. It’s like nothing I’ve ever designed before,” he says.Every cake made at Terry Tang’s is designed individually. During a consultation, customers look round the cakes on display at the shop or flick through a catalogue of photographs to choose whatever style, colour, or theme they desire, ranging from traditional to novelty cakes. Themes can include anything from hobbies and seasons to seashells, safaris, flying unicorns or even black lacy corsets. “I’ve just decorated a Playboy Bunny cake for glamour model and Celebrity Big Brother star Danielle Lloyd,” says Terry. “It features a naked icing sugar model of her lying on the top of the cake and edible photograph transfers of her posing around the sides.”The celebration cakes are sent all over the UK, to Europe and even as far as Jamaica. A five-tier wedding cake was delivered to South Africa. “The funniest delivery was sent to Benidorm,” explains Terry. “I made a cake in the shape of a lady’s basque. The chest area was made using two balls of flesh-coloured icing sugar, with a black corset over the top. When the cake went through the X-ray at the airport, all you could see were the two big lumps. The security staff were like, ’What’s that?’ and pushed a skewer inside one of the lumps to check what was inside!”== eccentricity the norm ==The Tangs are no strangers to eccentric cakes, having made ’sconehenge’ from scones, a wedding cake in Everton’s football club colours, and a dragon, which was decorated with over 3,000 scales. But one of the most bizarre orders was for a seven-tier, cream and roses wedding cake, to be the centrepiece of an Irish travellers’ wedding, broadcast on Sky One in 2006. It was filmed as part of a series called Great British Weddings and the camera crew went to Liverpool to film the Tangs making the cake.”It was the strangest wedding I’ve ever seen,” says Terry. “I had to go up on the day to set up the nine-foot, £1,500 wedding cake. The bride arrived in the same glass pumpkin carriage used by glamour model Jordan, pulled by four white plumed horses and complete with two footmen dressed in gold.”Terry Tang’s wedding cake range offers a variety of flavours and fillings, including fruit, chocolate, sponge, carrot, orange, lemon and even banoffee. The fruit cakes, laced with brandy, are made three months in advance, to allow the cake to mature. Carol says that because she makes such a wide variety of cake bases every day, the next step could be introducing a café element to the shop: “The number of people who just come in and nose around the shop is unbelievable,” says Carol. “It would be nice if we could serve them coffee and cake. At the end of the day, we have to make the bases anyway, so we could just make a little bit extra.”
Student and trainee bakers up and down the country are gearing up for the annual Alliance for Bakery Students and Trainees (ABST) conference, which takes place from 1-3 May 2009.The conference is being held at the TLH Leisure Resort in Torquay, Devon, and features a host of activities, as well as student bakery competitions and the AGM.The Friday night is Silly Hat Night, and there will be a buffet dinner, pub quiz and karaoke. Saturday will see the judging of the bakery competitions, as well as a ten-pin bowling competition, gala dinner and live band.The AGM will take place on Sunday, as well as the prize- giving, the ten-pin bowling final, a disco and a casino.Students can attend for an all-inclusive price of £75, and a maximum of two tutors can go for the price of one student.There are many cash prizes on offer for the various contests, including Calfornia Raisins’ competition, where a top prize of a £500 travel voucher is up for grabs. There are two categories – one for baking and one for confectionery – and students need to create innovative recipes using California Raisins, raisin paste or raisin juice concentrate. For more information contact [email protected] transport pick-ups are available from Leeds, Black- pool, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Sheffield and London.l To book tickets and rooms, please contact [email protected] bakemark.co.uk.
D&G Food Group, the company set up to buy five McCambridge bakeries earlier this year, plans to expand the business’ customer base in 2010 after reviewing operations and improving efficiency.The company, which is headed up by former Roberts chairman Graham March and operations director David Fearnley-Brown, acquired Aldreds the Baker (Derbyshire); Queen of Hearts (Oxford); Husseys (Berkshire); Tredinnick Fine Foods; and West of England Bakeries (both Devon) from McCambridge last June. Since then, the owners have closed the Husseys bakery and have worked to improve production at the remaining sites, said Graham March, while ditching its original plan to develop each bakery as a centre of excellence for individual product categories. Aldreds has recently been awarded A-grade BRC accreditation and the company plans to work towards BRC status at its West of England facility.”Now we are sorted out on the operational front, we aim to improve volumes across the sites by targeting extra markets,” said March. Queen of Hearts and Aldreds will look to develop new products for coffee shops, he said, while future BRC status will help West of England target supermarket local sourcing schemes. The four bakeries currently produce a mix of bread, confectionery and savouries.
A bakery shortlisted for a restaurant and bar design competition? That’s a first! That bakery is the deliciously-camply monikered Outsider Tart a name inspired by partners and co-founders David Lesniak and serial entrepreneur David Muniz’s love of outsider art. The Chiswick-based US-style emporium is the only bakery to make the finals of the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2010 (to be held in June). What’s more, they managed the shop fit with a mere £36,000 spend.Lesniak an established New York architect set out to create a small-batch American-style bake shop in everything from portions to sizes and ingredients, with all recipes created from scratch and made on-site. In the six months since opening, they’ve generated a word-of-mouth buzz via Twitter, Facebook, a mailing list and PR, that has left the national press salivating.The story behind sourcing its site at one of the busiest intersections in Chiswick is perhaps less chichi than appearances in glossy mags Vogue and Glamour might suggest they spotted it while stuck in traffic. Thinking they’d never be able to afford it, but with nothing to lose, they contacted the agents and, within two days, they had made a commitment.Lesniak then set about designing the shop. “I knew what I didn’t want,” he remembers. “Slowly but surely, I figured out what I did want. Because of my background, when we would go into any café or bake shop around London, I would be constantly editing in my head and thinking, ’If I had this space, what would I do?’.”Not that that process was without its skirmishes, as the Davids’ bickering banter suggests. For example, on the shelving:Lesniak: “One of the last-minute edits in our shop was the shelving, because I had a different approach at the beginning…”Muniz: “…which I liked better…”Lesniak: “…which I now couldn’t be happier with. I think it looks fabulous.”…and on the flooring:Lesniak: “One of the things that added time to the fit was the decision to replace the flooring…”Muniz: “…I liked the original flooring better…”…and the concept:Muniz: “The whole business has evolved through what is and and isn’t working…”Lesniak: “…That has always been your approach and my background has always been ’solve the problem, execute the solution’. You’re more like, ’I’m not sure what the problem is, but here’s a piece of the puzzle’…”Muniz: “…It doesn’t sound like it, but it does work well!”However, underlying these squabbles over the detail was a solidly thought-through concept, to which they have remainedtrue. “We’re completely clear on our vision and what we want to do,” says Lesniak. “If you look around, it’s our personality, no-one else’s.”There’s no doubt the pair are from the “business models suck” school. “The misconception is you have to have your business model. You have to have all the planning in place. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can be much more incremental,” says Lesniak. “I think we benefited from it truly evolving, as opposed to coming in with a really slick concept, turning off your head and executing that concept.”Adds Muniz: “The biggest mistake people make is in saying, ’This is my business plan, nothing is going to deviate from this’. It’s better to say ’these are my concepts, and if that doesn’t work, jettison it and make more branches and revenue streams off what does work’.”The evolutionary approach also typifies the products, which are changed daily. “Some people compliment us on the evolution. ’Every time I come in here there’s something different I love that’” says Lesniak. “Others are conversely rattled by that. ’Where’s the cheesecake that I always like?!’ Having people growing with the business does create a lot of loyalty, because people get caught up with the fun of what we’re doing. We’re making cakes that sell well. We’re not churning out the same items every day we’re experimenting and trying new things.” That, and the tight margins on no-compromise premium ingredients, influenced their decision not to do wholesale.The community didn’t react well to the lack of outside café seating, admits Lesniak a delay caused by the council. “The lack of seating sent unconscious signals to a lot of people that it’s not viable,” he says. Thankfully, with spring approaching, the Tarts have just got approval for café terrace seating. “The shop environment is very social and communal,” adds Muniz. “A lot of people didn’t like to feel they had to be involved in the conversation, or feel that they were bringing down the conversation by not participating, which is fair.”Instead, customers wanted that option to sit and read the paper or use their laptop something they will take into account when planning their next two shops the first of which should open this year.Nevertheless, Lesniak urges anyone starting out to stick to their guns. “For anyone opening a shop, you owe it to yourself to see your vision through. It’s very easy to fall victim to comments you cannot appeal to everybody; not everyone who walks through your door is your customer. The moment you start answering to all those requests and criticisms, everything will unravel.” The execution The look was “found objects, put together with purpose”. Antique circus arrows have been wired as lights and the centerpiece of the bakery is a striking custom-made counter made from Corian a plastic with the durability of marble. The shelving offers long-term flexibility with a rustic charm. The floor was chosen to emulate unearthed rustic floor boards and the walls are painted a deep dark chocolate brown. The signage letters appear as if sourced at random, with a giant beater insignia. Lessons learned 1. “That Chiswick reads The Times, not The Guardian!” exclaims Muniz, after appearing in both papers, with zero pick-up in trade after the latter. “The response we’ve had since we appeared in The Times (in January) was shocking. I’ve started up a bunch of businesses and it’s critical to spend money where you know it’s going to work. The best way to get into the minds of the people who you know are your customers is to be validated by something they trust, whether it be a magazine, TV, radio or getting a blogger excited about what you’re doing.”2. “It’s guaranteed that, in the first three years of your business, you’re not going to have a life other than eating, breathing and sleeping that business,” says Muniz. “Everybody, including the people closest to you, will tell you it won’t work. You have to ignore that. It will feel like every vendor, every client, everything is trying to drive you insane. It is a slow road to convince everyone that what you’re doing makes sense and is fun, good, and worth having a business for.” At a glance Products: Chocolate brownies with a hint of cinnamon are the biggest seller (£2.50); recently-introduced savoury breakfasts include bacon, egg, potato and cheese omelette in a potato crust (£2.50); quiche such as potato, mushroom, leek (£3.50); apple & fennel/veggie nut/cajun sausage rolls or chicken rolls (£2.50); raisin bran muffins with walnuts (£2.50); oatmeal, apple & raisin loaf slice made with a twice-cooked apple compôte (£2.50); whoopie pies such as chocolate, strawberry cream (£3); sourdough bread is sourced from a local supplierRevenue: Private and online orders are the biggest revenue stream, with made-to-order cakes starting from £45, pies from £25 and tarts from £22.50; shop sales are 80% take-away, 20% eat in; they also trade at farmers’ markets around LondonAdd-ons: Classes and evening events help to generate word-of-mouth interest and loyalty; hard-to-find American groceries are offered in-store, accounting for up to 20% of revenueOpening hours: 8am to 6pm, seven days a week; at weekends they’re filled to the rafters, with peaks at pre-work, post-work and around lunch. Muniz: “Mothers with strollers we love them. They fill in the gaps!”www.outsidertart.com
Raisins: The Turkish crop has been down-sized consistently from the more optimistic views in June/July. Reports are that, of the total vine fruit crop in the country, raisins make up only 10-15,000mts. With no export programme likely from California, export prices are likely to match the high domestic levels.Sultanas: The crop size in Turkey is reportedly down from 248,000mts to 210-220,000mts. In the short term, prices are likely to increase.Currants: Greece reports no supply issues this season. Although high pricing on sultanas and raisins provided an opportunity to relaunch new-season currants at a discount, in order to gain favour from bakers and manufacturers, Greece is unwilling to play that particular game and, in fact, prices are higher.Apricots: Turkey is capable of producing 150,000mts, but the crop this year will struggle to meet even 75,000mts. Prices are unlikely to drop unless there is an unforeseen fall in global demand.Coconut: There are some uncharacteristic shortages on specific grades. We would recommend customers look to cover their requirements until at least January 2011, if stocks are available.l Based on information provided by RM Curtis
Community supported bakeries could provide a solution to shortages of ’real’ bread across large swathes of the country, according to the Real Bread Campaign.The campaign, which promotes bread made using slow fermentation times and without additives, has published a 140-page handbook, called Knead to Know The Real Bread Starter, to help people in local communities to work together to set up their own bakeries.Chris Young, project co-ordinator, said: “While some parts of the UK have a good choice of bakers making real bread, there are still large parts of the country where people have to travel up to 30 miles to buy a proper loaf. In certain areas there might not be a big enough market to support a traditional high street baker, but there are community supported models that would work.”Community baking schemes could range from people operating as sole traders, baking in their own homes on a very small scale, through to partnerships of local people in bread clubs and co-operatives.>>Real Bread Campaign launches initiatives for children
Gluten-free bakery manufacturers are tipping foodservice as the next big market for their products as consumers search out restaurants, cafés and hotels that offer ’free from’ menu options.Gluten-free brands, such as Livwell, Genius and Dietary Specials (DS), are making initial moves beyond retail into the foodservice market in response to the growing demand.According to DS research, 44% of people living with coeliac disease have given up eating out after struggling to find places that could cater for their needs. Meanwhile, tourism and hospitality website www.i-know.com reported seeing an 85% increase in people searching for gluten-free restaurants on its site last month compared to the month before.DS launched a gluten-free foodservice range last month, including rolls, bread, biscuits, sausage rolls and multi-purpose flour mix. Retail brand manager Michelle Shinn said: “Our heritage is in supermarkets, but we see foodservice as the next big opportunity for gluten-free. We receive a huge number of enquiries from our customers each month, who struggle to find gluten-free foods when they eat out.”At United Central Bakeries, which manufactures the Genius gluten-free bread, managing director Paddy Cronin described the foodservice market as “an area with massive potential”.The company’s bread is used by Starbucks in a gluten-free sandwich and has been listed by Brakes. Genius’ sister gluten-free brand Livwell has also launched a foodservice range of rolls, breads and muffins.”There is a great opportunity for a restaurant chain to launch a range of gluten-free options on its menu and really shout about it,” he said. “It’s already happening in the US, where some operators have had some really big wins.”>>Get fresh>>Mrs Crimble’s ramps up gluten-free exports
The Limagrain Group has posted a like-for-like sales increase of 11.6% for the full year to 30 June 2011.Parent company of Limagrain Céréales Ingrédients, which provides functional ingredient solutions for various markets including bakery, Limagrain, an international agricultural co-operative group, said the year passed in a “favourable environment”, despite persistent volatility in the prices of agricultural raw materials.Consolidated sales came to €1,555 million (£1,296m), compared with €1,349 million (£1,125m)in 2010, an increase of 11.6% on a like-for-like basis, and up 15.3% including acquisitions. Over the financial period the firm increased its investment in research, from €144 million (£120m) to €157 million (£130m).Daniel Chéron, chief executive officer for Limagrain, said: “We are pursuing our dynamic march forward, preparing our future through a strategy of sustained internal growth and targeted external growth. Two highlights of the fiscal year were the acquisition of (bakery firm) Brossard in France and the alliance with the Brazilian seeds company Sementes Guerra”.
Vitiva has launched its stevia line of products, following recent European Commission (EC) approval for use in food and beverage applications in Europe.The Sweet’nVit brand will include products using extracts from stevia rebaudiana bertoni plant leaves a sweetener and sugar substitute. It will be standardised with a minimum of 95% steviol glycosides.The products are of all-natural origin with zero calories, zero carbohydrates and inducing no glycaemic response.Ohad Cohen, CEO of Vitiva, said: “The Sweet’nVit line has an exceptional taste profile and can be used as a solo sweetener; in combination with bulk natural sweeteners such as erythritol or maltitol; or in combination with sucrose to offer optimal taste and mouthfeel. The continued increase in the price of sucrose and the opportunity to develop a healthier product with little change in taste profile makes our Sweet’nVit range most attractive.”In a blind tasting, 80% of the test panel preferred our high purity Reb A 98% product over the main competitors in the market.”