2016 was an extremely busy year and as you can tell by the date of when this afternoon tea took place, I’m very behind posting this blog. Nevertheless, I remember it well! Autumn was a significant influence in what to include on the menu along with wanting to continue practicing new skills. This required stretching my capabilities significantly, particularly for the pâtisserie items, to attain the quality and intricacy of product I wanted. My guests were a combination of first timers and ‘repeat offenders’ and were an extremely genial and happy bunch. So, better late than never, here is the menu.
Beetroot hummus – the beetroot is not of the pickled kind but simply baked in its skin in a foil parcel. It’s then peeled and whizzed together with toasted walnuts, plenty of lemon juice, tahini & secret seasoning. It’s delicious and a fantastic colour to have in the centre of a sandwich.
Goat’s cheese & preserved figs – these figs, a South African delicacy, are sweet and marry up to goat’s cheese very well. I like to use a combination of soft and rind goat’s cheese; the soft acting as the butter layer on the bread.
Ham, egg & sundried tomatoes – while I am a lover of tomatoes, when sliced fresh in sandwiches they can be a disastrously soggy affair. Therefore the sundried option offers a flavoursome and ‘safe’ alternative here.
Steak & ale pie – small pies with crisp, shortcrust pastry (homemade no less!) encasing tender, ‘slow’ shin of beef braised in a local Yorkshire ale. And an absolute requirement, served warm!
Cheese & wholegrain mustard muffin – a punchy, mature cheddar provides the backdrop to these very light, morsels bursting with flavour. Wholegrain mustard provides a little crunch and hint of ‘heat’.
Cakes & scones
Buttermilk scones with jam & clotted cream – served warm with clotted cream and homemade jam.
Chocolate, hazelnut & ginger entremets – delectable domes of chocolate mousse with elements of ginger crème brulée and hazelnut.
Green tea & jasmine delice – these teas are delicate flavours and can be difficult to achieve enough taste without over doing it and ending up with a bitter tea taste. Tea can ‘stew’ if left too long in hot liquid and while the recipe instructed a warm infusion I chose the cold infusion option soaking the tea in the cream overnight. It’s a safer way of avoiding any bitterness in the flavours. I was happy with the results I must say. For the overall effect of the finish, it was important that the layers of the two tea mousses were even and the final decoration delicate and refined.
Carrot cake – this cake never fails to please and speaks for itself in my humble opinion. I have lovingly developed and refined this recipe of mine over the years. I think the carrot ribbons, for something so easy to make, create a great finish for the cake.