The history of chocolate

Dark homemade chocolate bars and cocoa pod on wooden
From start to finish…
Image source: Thinkstock

Every week is chocolate week here at Clifford James. Who doesn’t love that tasty treat with a cup of tea while you’re on a break? Or a nibble and a munch on your favourite bar during lunch? And you can’t forgo those sumptuous truffles in the evening when you’re settling down to watch a film…

Chocolate has become a staple for many over the centuries, whether you prefer it in its solid form or prefer to use a chocolate fondue set for a sweet treat of the more melty variety.

Every story has a beginning, and when it comes to chocolate, we begin our tale in a land we now know as Mexico!

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Ready, set, bake… it’s National Cake Week!

Chocolate cake
It’s National Cake Week!
Image source: Thinkstock

Cake, glorious cake! It’s National Cake Week – from the 2nd to the 8th October, it’s time to celebrate everything to do with that delicious treat. Whether you’re getting together with friends to chat with a slice, making something for the whole family to enjoy, or just baking yourself a little treat, it’s time to roll up those sleeves and get creative.

It’s hard to imagine a world without cake. The delicious dessert has become a staple for various events from birthdays to weddings. From traditional sponges, to more alternative gluten or dairy free options, there is a cake out there to suit everyone. National Cake Week was started back in 2011 by Lynn Hill, to celebrate everything to do with the nation’s favourite treat.

We’ve compiled a list of some classics to get you started!

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8 Winter Warmer Recipes

High Angle View of Various Comforting and Savory Gourmet Soups Served in Bread Bowls and Handled Dishes and Topped with Variety of Garnishes on Table Surface with Gray Tablecloth
Soup, glorious soup…
Image source: Thinkstock

Summer has come and gone, and now we’re well on our way to the autumn and winter months. The weather is getting colder, and we all need a little something to warm us up throughout the day and evening.

The perfect winter warmer to suit everyone is a good, hearty soup. Soups are filling, so it won’t take much to keep you satisfied. If you cook a recipe in a large batch, you can even freeze some for later to take to work or even to save for those evenings when you can’t be bothered to cook.

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Cooks Professional Home Curry Set Giveaway

Cooks Professional Home Curry Set
Enjoy a lovely homemade curry with the Cooks Professional Home Curry Set.
Image source: Clifford James.

You can’t beat a good homemade curry. Now you could be in with the chance to get your hands on one of our Cooks Professional Home Curry Sets, as we have two of these to give away! Entertain guests at dinner parties, or simply use this fabulous curry station to replace your weekend takeaway with some delicious hearty homemade food.

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What are the benefits of halogen ovens?

Cooks Professional Halogen Oven
Cooks Professional Halogen Oven

Halogen ovens were once found solely on late night shopping channels. However, as word has spread about their versatility, speed and energy efficiency, they have become popular in many homes.

Not only do they save space, they can do everything a normal oven does. Halogen ovens make light work of boiling, roasting, baking, steaming and even defrosting – all in one pot.

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Be the BBQ baron this bank holiday

Man BBQ outside in his garden
The BBQ Baron is not scared of an overcast sky, oh no, he laughs in it’s face.

With the Bank Holiday almost upon us and the summer sun about to break through, it can mean only one thing – it’s the barbecue season. Yes indeed!

That’s right, they’ll be smoky gardens everywhere as sozzled grown men wearing aprons and holding spatulas stare at slabs of meat sizzling away. Char-grilled, smoked or burnt to a crisp along with the garden fence are just some of the likely outcomes.

So, how about you have a butchers (ahem) at our ‘Bank Holiday BBQ Success Checklist’ for hosting that perfect barbeque.

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Solving the smart casual conundrum

Man in fashionable coat on street
Let’s talk the world’s vaguest dress code…

The most popular go-to dress code these days is smart casual. You’ll find it applies in so many places from weddings and birthday parties to nightclubs and even funerals.

But is one person’s smart casual another person’s beach wear and when is smart casual too smart or too casual?

It can be exceedingly tricky to navigate the path of the smart casual dress code, so here’s some of our trusty tips, naturally.

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Wear white on white without looking like a cricketer

Man wearing an all white outfit at the beach
The perfect summer style.

It might have strong cricket connotations, but we think an all white ensemble is the best way to stay looking cool during the heat of the Great British Summertime, regrettably no longer a concern for rejected cricketer Kevin Pietersen.

But for the rest of us who will be in the UK this summer, wearing white on white clothes is a good choice. They keep you cool, clean and fresh literally and aesthetically. Yes indeed, white’s a winner so long as you wear the right white clothes and avoid looking like a Colombian pimp or a cricketer.

Here are a few basics to help you feel all right whilst wearing all white to compliment those classy mens deck shoes.

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Summer shoe souls – which one are you?

Summer shoes flip flops
Which is your summer shoe soul?

With summer just over the horizon, now’s the time to be thinking about your footwear for those long summer days.

Is it sandals or slip on shoes this year? Well, don’t decide yet as your choice of footwear could be revealing.

Ever wondered what you shoe choices say about you? Ancient foot whisperers say the summer shoe and the person are but one and share the same characteristics.

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