There’s a lot being said about ‘staycations’ these days; choosing to stay home rather than holiday further afield. A bank holiday weekend might be one of those occasions to take to the road and get away with the extra day on offer. As it turned out, a certain six people decided to stay close to home and treated themselves to one of my afternoon teas on this August bank holiday weekend.
Beside incorporating seasonal ingredients such as courgettes and mackerel, I designed the menu around implementing some of the techniques and recipes I’ve learnt over the past few months from Mark Tilling. He has been an inspiring teacher and great encouragement to me on my pâtisserie and chocolate learning journey for which I am very grateful. The entremets, macarons and chocolate flower decoration on the cake below are evidence of putting my learnings into practice!
I hope you will enjoy the menu as much as I did in putting it altogether.
Smoked mackerel paté – plenty of lemon juice, fresh dill, crème fraiche and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper make up this delicious paté.
Egg ‘n cress –the key to making this a good sandwich is to use only the freshest, free range eggs, a very good mayonnaise followed by confident seasoning and a healthy helping of cress.
Cucumber & herbed cream cheese – cucumber all on its own can be a bit disappointing despite its fresh, crispy texture. I like to ‘butter’ the bread with a cream cheese mixed with a variety of fresh herbs that happen to be available in my little herb patch such as parsley, mint and a little tarragon.
Stuffed pesto potatoes – these are so easy to make yet so delicious. An added bonus is they can be prepared ahead and simply warmed in the oven just before serving. I used broccoli to decorate the tops along with a basil leaf because of the vibrant green the both provided. The broccoli I simply steamed and then cut off the stalks and pulsed the remaining florets in a food processor to create a sort of couscous effect and then just sprinkled it on the top after they were baked and were ready to be served.
Cheese sablés – these are delightful. Crisp and light. The secret is to ensure you use a really strong flavoured hard cheese. I also add a little mustard for a little pepperiness. The poppy seeds on the outside add a nice effect and add some nuttiness to the overall flavour.
Buttermilk scones – these are always a crowd pleaser. Served fresh from the oven, they have a slight crunch on the outside and are exceptionally light in the centre. Clotted cream and homemade jam complete the experience.
Raspberry and mascarpone entremets – it wouldn’t be a summer without raspberries. For those that are interested, an entremet is a mousse type cake or dessert with multiple layers consisting of complimentary flavours and textures. The layers in these entremets include almond sponge, mascarpone and vanilla mousse and a raspberry cream.
Chocolate and hazelnut macarons – traditionally macarons are made with ground almonds but I’ve used ground hazelnuts for these. The filling is a chocolate ganache flavoured with toasted hazelnut.
Courgette and lime cake – this cake doesn’t taste of courgette before anyone turns their nose up. The courgettes act the same as carrots do in a carrot cake by providing moistness to the cake in addition to an attractive green fleck in the sponge. The presentation of the cake was finished off with a cream cheese frosting and a chocolate flower and petals.
So hopefully all that was worth ‘staying home’ for. If there were any major traffic jams on the way home, the goodie bags would have provided any sustenance required …