Autumn. What’s not to love? The distinct chill in the air. The golds and reds of the trees. The warming and comforting flavours of the seasonal food. An afternoon tea in November was just the ticket to enjoy this time of year. Beetroot, leeks and English apples were the seasonal ingredients putting in an appearance. Rum, chocolate, coffee and walnuts provided the necessary sweet compliment of sweet warmth, richness and texture to the menu. Let the feast begin …
- Beetroot hummus – the vibrant colour of this filling is unmistakable and a real favourite at Chez Shamwari. Its flavour speaks for itself.
- Mature cheddar with carrot salad – I chose a mega, punchy cheese to go with the carrot salad – a mixture of grated carrot, raisins and toasted seeds with very light white wine vinegar and olive oil dressing.
- Egg and cress – these eggs are so local, you can almost hear the chickens clucking! They are from a local farm delivered to the corner store within stumbling distance of my front door.
- Semolina, leek & sesame seed cake – this has made an appearance on a previous afternoon tea menu and always receives a strong vote of approval. It is actually a recipe from Kosovo from a very inspiring recipe book Share.
- Savoury choux with a basil & chive cream cheese filling – simply parmesan choux pastry and cream cheese mixed with the fresh soft herbs. This is when less is more.
- Buttermilk scones with homemade plum jam and clotted cream – I always like to present my scones with fresh strawberries as it makes the basket look so pretty. I don’t need to tell anyone that strawberries are not an autumnal fruit leaving me with a dilemma to contemplate. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find Yorkshire strawberries available to purchase – the poly tunnels must be serving their purpose!
- Egremont Russet & Bramley apple pie – it feels good to fly the flag of the English apple. I have to admit the Egremont russet is a variety I am not familiar with until now. It was an interesting experience sourcing them from my local grocer and doing the old taste test. I found them to be similar to a Golden Delicious perhaps? No cinnamon or raisins in this filling. Just apple with grated zest of lemon and orange in a sweet pastry crust. My very own Baileys ice cream made a spontaneous appearance to go with the slices of pie.
- Rum chocolate truffle torte with banana mousse – this was inspired by a recipe from my recipe book Pâtisserie. The banana mousse, wrapped in a peach jelly, cut through the richness of the chocolate truffle. With rum in both the truffle and the mousse there was plenty to warm the sole. It was intricate to put together with the chocolate hoops being extremely delicate but I was pretty pleased with the finished product in both presentation and flavour.
- Coffee & walnut Swiss roll – a classic, light, Swiss roll sponge packed with lightly toasted walnuts and coffee, complemented with more of the same in the creamy mascarpone filling; finished off with a dusting of icing sugar and cocoa powder.
And so there it was. All the tea quaffed and goody bags packed. The guests waved goodbye with a smile saying they hoped to be back again soon … always nice to know.