Tag: beryl

It’s only Woods Ware but I like it…

I know I’ve mentioned Woods Ware Beryl on more than one occasion, but this post gives you a little bit of information about Beryl’s sisters Iris and Jasmine.

Beryl was manufactured by Woods during the Second World War in response to strict utility standards meaning things must be manufactured cheaply and made to last.

Tons of Beryl was churned out, and she was soon joined by Iris and Jasmine – two more colourways. Beryl is known for being plain and simple although I always think if you look closely you’ll notice some little Art Deco details. I’d always favoured Beryl but recently I’ve started picking up bits of Iris and Jasmine too as I think these three ladies look rather stunning all together.

I bought a big big stack of Beryl recently, and once I’d weeded out the bits I wanted to keep I set about selling and swapping the other bits for Iris and Jasmine. I’ve also been given a dresser that needs some TLC and I think it’ll be a great home for my ladies. More on that later…

It is with a pastel hued longing I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Madeleine but I like it…

My never-baked-it-before challenge this week was French Madeleines. I’d treated myself to the special Madeleine pan with my Christmas money.image

I chose the recipe, after much deliberation, from this Guardian article: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/sep/03/how-to-make-the-perfect-madeleines . I must admit this is not a last minute treat – it does require effort over a number of hours. I think you’d need to put aside a morning to make them due to the fact you have to chill the batter overnight, chill the tray, then add the batter and chill for an hour before cooking, then repeat part of the process if, like me, you only have one Madeleine tin.


You have to be quite specific with your oven timings too – another few seconds and they begin to burn. I was amazed to collect them after exactly 9 minutes and find they each had that perfect little bump in the centre. I think they were perhaps a little too golden, but for a first attempt I think that’s pretty good!


A little dust dust of icing sugar and I carefully arranged them on my Beryl plate. I’ve always loved the look of these – perfect little scallop shells. And although they were pretty high intensity to make, I definitely think they were worth it. A lovely buttery flavour, very light and so pretty! They went down well with my Sunday visitors and with my work colleagues on Monday.


I also have have a new charity shop mission – a vintage Madeleine pan, so I don’t have to wait an hour between batches!

It is with a keen eye in the bric-a-brac section I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Raspberry Bakewell but I like it…

Following a discussion during The Great british Bake Off I decided it was time I give Bakewell Tarts a go as my never-baked-it-before challenge. The Dr (my fiancé) is not a big fan of nuts in cake but he agreed it’d be ok if they were ground nuts, plus it’s a Northern cake so I had the go ahead!

Whilst looking for recipes on the BBC Good Food website (often my go-to when looking for recipes) I found this recipe:Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 12.53.43

It looked tasty and it looked easy and it had over 300 good reviews so that was enough for me!


It was super easy to make and just involved whizzing ingredients up to make the cake batter, then layering it into the tin with some fresh raspberries in-between. The Dr ate two slices and didn’t complain about the nuts so I’m calling that a success.

RB2It seemed like a good excuse to use my new Beryl china too so I did enjoy a pot of tea with my cake. All in all a very nice experience! Of course, I still have to make the traditional Bakewell Tarts with pastry case and a layer of jam. Next weekend perhaps…


It is with a plan for the weekend I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!


It’s only Beryl but I like it…

Here it is. In all it’s scrubbed and polished beauty…Bery rack

I love each variation in colour and depth of glaze.

Beryl rack 2

I can’t believe the quality of this stuff – seriously some of it has been around now for at least 75 years and it still sparkles with a good polish.

Beryl rack 5

I was so lucky to get all 25 pieces here for just ten pounds – god bless charity shops and the nice lady who put it to one side for me so I could go back and get it in my lunch hour on Monday

Beryl table 2

On a charity shop mooch in Wales on Saturday I also came across a large Beryl serving plate! It was marked 2.99 but at the till the assistant noticed it was on a ‘50% off’ shelf so I only paid 1.50!Beryl table

Again the condition is just great – one plate was cracked, but everything else is chip-free!

Crockery cupboard 2

Crockery cupboard

Beryl has gone to live in my crockery cupboard. It’s rather perfect and think she’ll be happy there. I intend to get lots of use out these, in fact I could fancy a cuppa right now… Who’s for tea?

Crockery cupboard 3

It is with a right thirst on I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Beryl but I like it…

I’m in Wales for a couple of days to see my Mum but I had to post and show you this…




I ducked into a charity shop on my way to the train and look what I found!

25 pieces of Bery for £10!

I persuaded the lady to keep it for me until I can go back on Monday. Spent my train journey smiling!

Have a good weekend!

It is with a shocked smile I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Victoria Sponge but I like it…

Another challenge. This time it is not really a #neverbakedit challenge, but more a #neverbakeditsuccessfully challenge. So when the Dr casually asked “Are we baking a cake this weekend?” (We? WE?) and requested a Victoria sponge, I did a little bit of research.

What has happened to me previously is that I have diligently, creamed, mixed, sifted, lined, greased and baked, only to be left with something resembling two eight inch rich tea biscuits. They taste great but don’t exactly look successful. So I had a little google. Mary Berry was there of course with her method where she just mixes all the ingredients. The main thing I noticed was that the amount of ingredients in the Be-Ro recipe I had been using was about half that of all the others that seemed to exist. Also that I think I may have been putting my mixture into 8 inch rather than 7inch tins. Oops.

Rookie mistakes perhaps, but the aim of this is to get better at baking and I think I am. I used this recipe http://www.lovefood.com/guide/recipes/17888/victoria-sponge-recipe. It uses double the quantities of my Be-Ro recipe and calls for 8inch tins. I was careful not to over mix as that is apparently to blame for non-rising cakes!


I’ll let you judge the results for yourselves!


I ended up up with two incredible sponges, which I let cool and then slathered raspberry jam (Tesco’s own is rather good for now, until I have a kitchen to boil up my own) on one half and sandwiched them together.


It tastes every bit as good as it looks and I had forgotten just how good a plain old Victoria sponge can be. I took a few slices to work and everyone agreed this is the recipe we will use when baking for our VE Day party this week. The Dr just polished off two big slices and I can confirm I will be making this again. I have found my perfect Victoria sponge recipe.

It is with a satisfied smile I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…



It’s only Tunnocks but I like it…




Tunnocks Range

This is the first in a series of posts I’m writing about quintessentially British food. Enjoy!

Ah Tunnocks! Let me count the ways I love thee!

I think it was my Dad who first introduced me to their wares and from the first time I slid my fingertips under the waxed paper of a Caramel Wafer I was hooked. Since then I’ve enjoyed  The Tunnocks Teacake and, for some reason only during the festive season, the coconut dusted Snowball.

Tunnocks (http://www.tunnock.co.uk) are based in a little town called Uddingston, just outside Glasgow. It’s near my friend Rach’s house and it’s on my bucket list to visit the factory – although I gather the tours sell out quickly!

Thomas Tunnock opened a factory there in 1890 and spent many years baking on that site until in the 1950s they brought out a small range of products, in an attempt to market something with a longer shelf life. The introduction of the Teacake, the Caramel Wafer, The Caramel Log and the Snowball meant that business boomed and continues to do so today. On their website they say that ‘Indeed, it is funny how the more things change at Tunnock’s, the more they stay the same.’

Can I talk about packaging at this point? Just look at those yellow boxes. I couldn’t swear to it, but the boxes, the fonts, the waxed paper, the foil – none of it has changed in my lifetime and possibly not since they were first introduced. How many companies could say that? I love the vintage stylings – it’s like buying 1950s groceries. And who wouldn’t love that?!

caramel cup

The caramel wafer is a delicious multilayered sandwich of wafer and caramel covered in chocolate. I can eat them in multiples. The wrapper boasts “MORE THAN 4000 OF THESE BISCUITS MADE AND SOLD EACH WEEK”. No offence here Tunnocks, but I think it was Nigel Slater who commented on liking the flavour of some things because they always taste slightly stale, and I feel like that about these! I don’t know what it is, but they’re delicious and the kind of thing I would dream of finding in my lunchbox. Running my thumb over the red and gold foil undulations before unfolding the wrapper and sinking my teeth in…

Teacake bite

For me the other behemoth of the Tunnocks empire is the Teacake. With their distinctive slier and red dome, they are once seen never forgotten. These were a staple at birthday parties when I was a child. Nestled in amongst Penguin bars and chocolate fingers they were a special treat. If you’re really clever you can nibble off the chocolate shell, lick out the marshmallow and eat up the crumbly biscuit in one. Not that I’ve ever done that…

Tunnocks Plate 2

I must admit to being a newbie when it comes to the delights of the Caramel Log. I fancy they were not as readily stocked in my childhood, or perhaps I was always dazzled by the Wafers. I think the Caramel Log is my new favourite. It’s a bit like a Caramel Wafer but one that’s been rolled in toasted coconut, rendering it utterly delicious. A bit messy, as I am generally finding morsels of coconut in my bra up to 48 hours later, but so worth it!

Tunnocks Plate

Again – packaging. I went outside in the sun to take these and they shone and sparkled like the most precious treasure. No filter needed.

I can’t really do a post about Tunnocks without mentioning Nikki McWilliams (http://www.nikkimcwilliams.com). Nikki is an artist who is very much influenced by a nice cup of tea and biscuit – that most British of pastimes. I own several of her cushions, including a pair or Tunnocks Teacake cushions. You must check her out!

Nikki McWilliams

I’m going on a school trip tomorrow (in my real life role as Primary School Teacher) and I will definitely be treating myself to a Caramel Wafer in my lunchbox. A cheese sandwich, an  apple and a little taste of Tunnocks heaven. Winning combination. Make sure you include some in your summer picnics…

Tunnocks picnic

It is with a sugar rush I say:

It’s only Vintage but I like it!

*Disclaimer: I paid for the products reviewed here and this vintage adventure is all my own…*

It’s only Home but I like it…

A few months ago I offered to help my Mum do a big Spring Clean. My Mum lives in a little cottage in the Wye Valley in Wales. It’s got lots of good memories for me as it was my Grandparent’s house, then my Mum moved here. It’s an old cottage with low ceilings and it’s a little overstuffed! A good sort out was needed!

I’ve helped Mum clear out recesses of her home: backs of cupboards, drawers and even under the stairs. This has been tiring, dirty and also at times, emotional. We’ve found lots of things belonging to my Grandparents, things we had as children and I’ve managed to sneak a quick look around charity shops while I was donating the things we decided to get rid of!


A Beryl plate for 50p and a jelly mould for £2 – well I wasn’t going to say no, was I?


We discovered my Gran’s chocolate cake recipe scribbled down on a piece of paper – she was known for her chocolate cake, so this was a good find and I can’t wait to bake it.


Found some most excellent vintage cookbooks. Some interesting titles there. Again, need to look through this and whip up some treats…

There are a whole box of things that I have said I will rehome but they’ll stay with Mum and she’ll bring them down once we’ve moved. Don’t tell Dr P! I will have a stealth mission to get them into the house without him noticing!

It is with a crafty sideways glance I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!


It’s only Easter but I like it…

Just a quick post to wish you all a Happy and Vintage Easter!



Have fun and do whatever does it for you this Easter-tide. I shall be spending it with some of my closest family – not all of them sadly. I shall cook, eat, Watch a musical and eat too much chocolate. Then I’m off to Wales for a few days to see my Mum. More on that soon.

It is with a sense of culinary foreboding I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!