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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog begun in 2012 about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.

I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps.

Around 2018 I tried a new way of writing my family's and my own UK travel adventures. Britain is a brilliant place for a staycation, mini-break and day trips. It's also a fantastic place to explore so I've begun to write up reports of places that are easy to reach by public transport. And when they are not that easy to reach I'll offer some tips on how to get there.

See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Thoughts on Jaffa, oranges and Paddington bear

This blog is about low-carbon family travel. Here's a way to make use of Jaffa oranges and imagine yourself in Palestine or even Jordan's scented orange orchards. Post by Nicola Baird 

Stage 3 of making a Jaffa Cake - add a chocolate layer to the orange jelly layer.
Perhaps it's the time of the year but everyone seems to be talking oranges at the moment (January 2015). Admittedly I did go and see the film Paddington - so sweet, and a fantastic advert to the joys of making marmalade at home.

For the past 10 or more years I've made my own marmalade using Seville oranges available just after Christmas. But this year I've worked out that endlessly cooking boiling sugar and orange pith does my electric hob no good - at any rate I've had to replace two cracked hobs over the years. And though people have kindly offered their gas rings, I just can't imagine how I'd pace myself making marmalade in a friend's house as it seems to be a 24 hour experience!

And so I've turned to creating homemade Jaffa Cakes. Like marmalade making it is a bit of a procedure - lots of putting items to cool in fridge and freezer, not to mention the hunt for Agar flakes (a kind of seaweed that helps turn sauce into jelly).

Stage 1 of making a Jaffa Cake. This is the Genovese sponge base (lots of egg white whisking necessary). I made a trifle from the leftovers that didn't manage to make it into a 5cm disk.
I love Jaffa cakes and I'm always urging my non UK students to try them, claiming they are quintessentially English, and a biscuit. Until now I had no idea where the name came from. Turns out it's all a concoction - they are named after Jaffa oranges which are grown by Arab farmers in what is now Palestine. But you can also find Jaffa oranges growing in Cyprus, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey. A nice thought to have about such troubled areas.

I'm not going to include the recipe of either my marmalade or the chocolate orange biscuits as I just looked on the internet, and recommend you do the same. But I can warn you that it takes a while and is definitely a tricky recipe. What i liked about making them was the little jaunt it gave my head out of my kitchen think and over to warm, scented orange orchards.

Over to you
What does the smell of oranges make you think about? Travel or teatime treats?

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