Tag Archives: jam

Afternoon Tea Part 2- the posh kind!

And we’re back to tea. But the posh nosh one this time.  I think you have to have a balance of sweet and savoury.  And people usually expect a sandwich, a scone and some cake.  The combination and quantities are up to you.

Tea Menu:

A selection of open sandwiches, with a variety of toppings on a sourdough made from oak smoked flour

Parma ham and Rocket Macaron

Fruit Scone with Cream and Raspberry Jam

Pistachio and Rose Friands

Strawberry Meringues

and of course…. some Darjeeling Tea

Afternoon Tea

Some open sandwiches to start things off

I had decided to be a little adventurous with my second savoury option.  Macaron filled with parma ham, mascarpone cream and some rocket leaves.  The macaron could have been better, they tasted fine but lacked the obligatory “foot”.  So more practice is needed.  But they were really delicious.

Savoury Macaron

Savoury Macaron

My better half is the scone maker in our house, and my favourite is fruit.  Although herself prefers the chocolate ones, and Nigel likes the cherry.  Each to his own! But they have to be served with cream and some sort of jam.  I had made some raspberry jam last week so went with that.

Afternoon Tea Scones

Afternoon Tea Scones

And then the bit that everyone is dying for- the sweet stuff.  Of course as strawberries are bang in season, and meringues are just so good.  There’s nothing nicer. And they can be made in advance adn stored in a tin.  I was talking to a lady recently and she spoke of freezing her meringues when cooked.  I had never heard of this- and although I do freeze any extra egg whites, I have never actually frozen the meringue once it’s made.  

Strawberry and Cream Meringue Nests

Strawberry and Cream Meringue Nests

So the other little adventure was Pistachio Financiers.  OMG.  A revelation.  How I did not eat them all is beyond me. They are so light and easy to eat.  They are not messy, and can be finished off in a couple of dainty bites.  I will most definitely be making these again!  

Afternoon Tea

Pistachio Financiers


As we move into another season…

The elderflowers are finally finished, but we eagerly await the berries, and I always feel that when the elderflowers are gone, that the summer is coming to an end.  But then we head to the fruit cage to see what’s ripe…

Yellow Raspberry

 

The yellow raspberries are really just for eating as there are not enough, not so the gooseberries, which are now ready to pick-

Gooseberries nearly falling off the bush

Gooseberries nearly falling off the bush

We picked almost 4 kilos, and have made jam (email me if you want to buy a jar!).  The rest possibly frozen, although I did make one sneaky pie.

Mini tart ready for the oven

Mini tart ready for the oven

And now we are patiently waiting on the redcurrants and blackcurrants so we can make cordial.  Can’t wait.  I can almost hear the Vitamin C growing as I type.  The first thing my father in law always makes is redcurrant cheesecake, and this years first one was pretty damned good.

Redcurrant Cheesecake

Redcurrant Cheesecake

And soon we’ll have tomatoes to look forward to.  I LOVE homegrown tomatoes

Tomatoes- nearly ready!

Tomatoes- nearly ready!

Strawberries- part deux

And the quest to make every possible strawberry dish continues.  At this stage it’s jam time. And strawberry jam goes with just about everything.  And bears no resemblance to the shop bought variety, even if the first batches can lack consistency, no pun intended!

The finished product

The finished product

Shop bought strawberries are often grown hydroponically, and for some reason they have less pectin, resulting in a runnier jam.  So use sure-set if you need to, half and half is probably best.

In it's natural environment!

In it’s natural environment!

My next favourite recipe, which requires a little planning is mini strawberry tarts.  Perfectly proportioned, these little beauties are best fresh and cold, and unlike most desserts, go equally well with both a cup of tea and a glass of champagne.

A strawberry tea party

A strawberry tea party

Credit at this stage must go to my willing team of helpers (and tasters) who rescued me as I frantically tried to get the shoot set up outside before the sun went in behind a cloud.They get paid well in food- don’t worry!

the food photography helpers

the food photography helpers

And for my nephews third birthday- a chocolate fudge cake filled with cream- and strawberries.  He even managed to sneak a few off the cake before anyone else got to it.

A birthday cake fit for a three year old

A birthday cake fit for a three year old

 

Doughnuts, donuts and their derivatives.

There’s been a lot of talk at home about doughnuts, and churros, and other associated sugary covered yumminess.

And strictly speaking, making doughnuts midweek would be a violation of the “trying to be good during the week” rule, so I decided to try making donut muffins.

I had seen these in a BBC Good Food Magazine at some stage, and finally rooted it out.  Strawberry jam is the original filling, but I was making rhubarb jam anyway, so tried both types, and some chocolate filling too.  For comparison of course.

baking time

baking time- real butter of course

The “batter” is an easy mixture, and uses the typical dry to wet method typical of muffin making.

Jam and chocolate ganache filling

Jam and chocolate ganache filling

I think the secret here is to work quickly, the raising agent is bicarbonate of soda, and as this starts working immediately as a chemical reaction within the batter, the sooner you get them into the oven the better.  In the picture above I have 2/3 filled the greased muffin tin with the batter, then added the jam to half, and the chocolate ganache to the other six.

Rolling the "donuts" in sugar

Rolling the “donuts” in sugar

Once out of the oven, I carefully rolled them in more sugar.  Not for the faint hearted I know.

The donut muffins

The donut muffins

Although the jam sank a little, and they really are not the same as the yeasty, deep fried doughnut that we all know and love.  They were pretty tasty, and disappeared quickly at teatime.

The finished do-ffin

The finished do-ffin

And as they say- everything in moderation…

 

Granny’s Bread

Rory O’Connell introduced us to the Ballymaloe Yeast bread, and while doing so to the “Grant” loaf A Grant loaf is a wholemeal bread, invented by accident in World War II by baker Doris Grant to encourage workers to eat well on their rations. The loaf was subsequently named after her. It is peculiar amongst breads made with a yeast in that kneading is not necessary.  We learn to cook the Ballymaloe version, which I am quite sure is far tastier than poor Doris Grants.

My Brown Yeast Bread

My Brown Yeast Bread

I however, was eating this bread before I had even heard of Ballymaloe, as this was the bread my mum in law made, nearly every day up until about a year ago when the thermomix arrived.  So since I was about 16 I have loved this bread.  I often said if I opened a restaurant she would have to make the bread.  I loved it every single time I had it.  Both of my children would rush into their house and look for the bread with homemade jam or honey.  And she never said no, even making extra loaves when she knew they were coming.

One time, when the kids were quite small, Jordan must have been about two, we were travelling back from visiting a friend in Cork, and were dropping into Mrs Allen in the house, to collect the turkey.  They were closing for Christmas that day and we were invited to stay for lunch.  I tentatively accepted, and quickly spoke to both children about the absolute necessity of being on their BEST behaviour, no running around, no noises etc, and to eat everything. So we sat down to soup, and all was going well until Jordan was offered bread, and said in a VERY loud voice.. “What, they eat Granny’s bread here too?”  I nearly died of embarrassment, but it was just laughed at, and soon the kids were playing with Rachels’, sliding down the stairs on trays. So now in Ballymaloe I am learning to make Granny’s bread, and many more.  From sourdough

The third stage of the sourdough- adding the sponge to the flours

The third stage of the sourdough- adding the sponge to the flours

My first loaf of sourdough

My first loaf of sourdough

To white yeast rolls,

White yeast bread rolls

White yeast bread rolls

to white soda bread

White soda bread

White soda bread

 

to sunflowers.

The sunflower prior to baking

The sunflower prior to baking

My finished sunfower

My finished sunfower

 

And loving it, mind you I think Nigel will still be the main bread maker in the family.  But it’s always good to have a back up.