BIGGER, BETTER, FRESHER

*In collaboration with Marks & Spencer’s

Today I was invited down to have a look at the newly refurbished Foodhall in Marks & Spencer’s Newtownabbey! It’s somewhere I visit often as my work is conveniently very close! The new look Foodhall is a bigger, better, fresher version of its previous form. With fresh seasonal produce readily available and a bigger bakery double its previous size, it’s sure to have your needs covered. A one stop shop for busy families on the go!

The added extra in store is that as well as the greengrocers feel they have created some specialist roles for that extra personal touch. With a flower specialist and wine sommelier at hand you will never be stuck for food ideas as well as what’s the best bloom to complement your home!Today my visit was for a specific reason, I was down to gather up some ingredients for my contribution to the family party; Victoria sponge cake! I easily found all of my list down to the vanilla essence! See below for my easy recipe!I find this to be a really handy version, quick and non fussy. I’ve spent years perfecting but with anything it’s down to personal taste- so any of the add ons can be removed or swapped for something you’d prefer.Let’s get started
I like to begin by having everything weighed and ready to go and I keep them in separate dishes for handiness.  Be sure to keep your butter at room temperature so it’s soft for the mixing.

Ingredients include:

Sponge mix;

8oz/225grams Caster sugar

8oz/225grams Self raising flour

8oz/225grams Soft butter & a little extra for Greasing the sides

4 Northern Irish Eggs

Half a teaspoon of vanilla essence

You will need two 8 inch sandwich tins.

Toppings;

1 punnet of fresh strawberries

1 punnet of fresh raspberries

1 250ml carton of M & S IrishDouble Cream & castor sugar (to taste)

1 bottle of M & S Scottish Raspberry coulis

  • Begin by preheating the oven at 180c fan oven & 160c fan/Gas4-I always increase my oven temperature by 5oc as it tends to be the tiniest bit cooler than my last one.
  • Taking all the dry ingredients for the sponge mix-I sieve them into the mixer and then add all the other ingredients to include butter 1st & then eggs. Once they are blended I stop and the consistency should be thick and buttery rather than watery.
  • Divide your mixture evenly between the two tins and set a timer for 20 minutes-I usually make sure and set them on the middle shelf, as centred as possible. Don’t be tempted to open-keep it closed for as long as you can as it ruins the temperature of the oven.
  • While you wait whip up your fresh cream, with the sugar, I add it to taste (not healthy but sure!)
  • Prepare your fruit for the toppings.
  • When your twenty minutes have passed-open the oven and I usually pop a metal skewer to check it comes out of the cake clean before removing. If some of your mixture is on the skewer add some extra time in 5 minute increments!
  • Let the cake rest for 10 minutes
  • Once completely cool use the raspberry coulis and cover one side of your sponge. Use the other sponge as a top, and Sandwich those yummy raspberries with some fresh cream
  • Decorate top with remaining fresh cream and Fruits of choice and Voila!

Thanks for reading

Rita x

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