Afternoon Tea 8 August 2017




Cheese & onion sablé biscuits


Chicken sausage rolls


Bakewell tarts


Coconut & passion fruit macarons


Strawberry polka dot cake


Coconut & passion fruit macarons


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Afternoon Tea 23 July 2017





Potato muffins

Moroccan spring rolls


Pistachio macarons


Strawberry teardrop entremets


Summer berry cake

Summer berry cake





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Afternoon Tea 11 June 2017

Here’s another delicious afternoon tea menu.  My little herb box in my humble back yard has done me proud supplying all the featured herbs in the cream cheese sandwich filling and the rosemary in the palmiers; no food miles here!  Enjoy.


Finger sandwiches


Blinis with red lentil paté & hazelnuts


Rosemary & olive palmiers


Buttermilk scones

Raspberry choux au craquelin


Cappuccino macarons

Lemon & passion fruit cake with chocolate ruffles


Lemon & passion fruit cake with chocolate ruffles






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Xmas Afternoon Tea – 11 December 2016

Christmas is certainly one of my favourite times of the year and putting on a festive themed afternoon tea is always great fun.  Items on the menu this year featured interpretations of some of the more traditional items one might find on offer.  Look for them in the macaron and millefeuille.  Other seasonal flavours are dotted about in the savouries and other sweet items.   Enjoy.


  • Egg ‘n cress
  • Mature cheddar with pear & walnut chutney
  • Beef & horseradish

Finger sandwiches


Savoury choux filled with mushroom & port – the choux were baked with a savoury craquelin topping to add texture and flavour to the creamy port & mushroom filling

Smoked salmon blinis – served with crème fraiche and garnished with dill.

Savouries table setting

The sweet stuff

Eggnog millefeuille – the crème pâtissière here takes on all the eggnog flavours.

Christmas cake macaron – the macaron shell was flavoured with a light dusting of mixed spice and then filled with a ganache containing Xmas Cake that I’d puréed in brandy.  It really did work at treat.

Eggnog millefeuille

Bramley apple bavarois & hazelnut sablé – bramley apples being in season this brought something lighter and more delicate to the table.

Apple bavarois on hazelnut sablé

Chocolate, orange & tiramisu cheesecake – chocolate and orange are such a classic combination and not out of place on any Christmas table.

Chocolate, orange & tiramisu cream cheesecake

Mince pie – unadulterated and no disguise!

Mini mince pies

Buttermilk scones with jam & clotted cream




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Afternoon Tea 9 October 2016

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.

Finger sandwiches

Finger sandwiches



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!

Slow beef pies

Slow beef pies

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’.

Cheese & mustard mini muffins

Cheese & mustard mini muffins


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.

Chocolate, hazelnut & ginger entremets

Chocolate, hazelnut & ginger entremets


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.

Jasmine & green tea delice

Jasmine & green tea delice

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.

Carrot cake

Carrot cake


Tea pots

Tea pots

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Afternoon Tea Sunday 28 August 2016

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.


Table setting

Tea pots


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.

Finger sandwiches


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.

Pesto potatoes

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.

Cheese sables


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.

Raspberry & mascarpone entremets

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.

Chocolate & hazelnut macarons

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.

Courgette & lime cake with chocolate flower


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 …

Goodie bags




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As You Like It – Saltaire Clandestine Cake Club

With 2016 being the 400 year anniversary of Will Shakespeare’s passing and with all manner of commemorations taking place around the country, we thought we’d pay our own little tribute to the Bard with a ‘cake knees up’ of our own.

It wasn’t necessary to find a link, tenuous or otherwise, to the 16th Century as any cake ‘as you like it’ would do.  I was concerned mine would be a ‘comedy of errors’ as it was a concoction of using leftovers in the fridge and was more concept than recipe.  Whilst another, true to form, threw caution to the wind and dismissed the recipe’s ‘measure for measure’ recommended quantities but “all’s well that ends well” as the final outcome was delish.

Our hosts for the evening were the fabulous folks at Hollins Hall in Baildon.  We were blessed with a very sunny midsummer (night’s dream) evening too and were able to enjoy the lovely views overlooking the valley below.  Thank you.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

With ‘much ado about nothing’ more here are our cakes:









Hollins Hill, Baildon, Shipley Bradford England BD17 7QW United Kingdom


To find out more about the Saltaire Clandestine Cake Club, go to:

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Rhubarb fruit mousse

This recipe uses rhubarb (Yorkshire rhubarb to be exact) as the base fruit flavour but you can replace this in equal quantity with any other soft fruit you prefer, e.g. raspberries, strawberries, etc, and follow the same method of preparation.  There are two parts to the recipe:  making a fruit purée  and then making the mousse which incorporates the fruit purée.  If you need to get ahead, the fruit purée can be prepared a couple of days beforehand if required.  The purée freezes well too so any leftover can be frozen and kept for use on another occasion.

I used this mousse recipe to make a Rhubarb mousse Swiss Roll:



I have also used this rhubarb purée as a basis for making rhubarb curd (I can see another recipe posting may be required!) used to layer up these mini rhubarb curd gateau:



First make the fruit purée:

Rhubarb purée

Makes approxinately 600g

500g rhubarb (cleaned weight)

50ml water

50g caster sugar

10ml lemon juice


Wash the rhubarb and chop into small, equal sized chunks (this is to ensure the rhubarb cooks down in the same time.  The size of the chunks doesn’t really matter, but bear in mind that the thicker the stems, the longer they will take to soften and cook.  As a rough guide, about 5 cm in length would be about right). If you are using other fruit such as strawberries or raspberries  then the need to chop them up may not be required.  Some strawberries can be big so you might need to halve the fruit, for example. Raspberries wouldn’t need any chopping but could be used as they are.

Set aside.

Put the water and sugar in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.

Put the chopped rhubarb into the saucepan.

Turn up the heat and bring to the boil giving the rhubarb a stir every so often to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pan and to ensure a coating of the liquid.

Once up to the boil, reduce the heat and cook on a low simmer with the lid on until it has cooked through – approximately 15-20 mins (this will depend on the thickness & tenderness of the rhubarb stems).

Remove from the heat and allow to cool without the lid for 5 mins.  Add the lemon juice.

Once cooled, pour all the contents of the saucepan into a food processor and whizz to a purée.

Pass the puree through a fine sieve.

Leave to cool then keep in the fridge in an air tight container.


Now make the mousse:

Rhubarb Mousse

Makes  approximately 450g

11g leaf gelatine

500ml whipping cream

350g rhubarb purée

80g caster sugar


Soak the gelatine in a bowl of cold water for 5 mins.

Meanwhile, weigh out the rhubarb purée into two separate quantities:  150g and 200g.

Whip the cream to ribbon stage, i.e. before soft peak! You want it soft but with a little bit of volume.

Put 150g of the fruit purée into a saucepan and add the sugar.  Heat gently, stirring a little, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the purée mixture is hot but not boiling (boiling liquid destroys the setting quality of gelatine).  Remove from the heat.

Squeeze the excess water from the soak gelatine and add to the pan (again, the purée mixture needs to be hot but not boiling).  Stir until the gelatine has dissolved.

Strain through a sieve into a mixing bowl.

Add the remaining 200g of fruit purée.

Pour in the whipped cream and fold together until combined.

Use immediately.










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Going Local – Saltaire Clandestine Cake Club

For our theme this time we’re ‘Going Local’.  This could encompass anything from local ingredients (whether home grown or sourced from a local supplier) or a recipe reflecting traditions or cuisine local to your area.

Our hosts for the evening were the lovely people at Hollins Hall Hotel. We had a perfect corner in the hotel all to ourselves. I am incredibly grateful to them for allowing us to descend upon them again. We were looked after extremely well and made to feel very welcome.

Our gathering was as ever a most jovial and thoroughly enjoyable occasion. The interpretation of the theme included home grown parsnips, local Yorkshire rapeseed oil, Yorkshire rhubarb and a ‘triple chocolate’ stout from a very local Saltaire Brewery.

Without further ado, here are our cakes:








A final thanks to Hollins Hall who helped make the evening so enjoyable.


Hollins Hill, Baildon, Shipley Bradford England BD17 7QW United Kingdom


To find out more about the Saltaire Clandestine Cake Club, go to:

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Cooking The Books – Saltaire Clandestine Cake Club

The baking theme for this month was an encouragement to shake off the dust of those cookery books seldom used or to put to use what might have appeared under our Christmas trees.   There weren’t many of us for our gathering but it was none the less great fun with lots of chit chat.

Our hosts for the evening were the lovely people at YoYo in Shipley.  We were made to feel very welcome and they couldn’t have done enough for us.  So a big thank you to them.

I couldn’t resist taking along two offerings both from my favourite cookery book, Pâtisserie.  The first one, a redcurrant, black cherry & fromage frais entremet was very challenging as it had several component parts and all had to be put together in various stages.  I was relieved as it seemed to turn out alright in the end but moreover it got the thumbs up from our little gathering which meant the world to me (thanks guys!).  The other was more straightforward, a chestnut & rum cake; the only criticism is I think it needed more rum (hic)!

The other cakes we had: a deliciously most fruit cake; and an apple & cinnamon cake with a delightful crunchy nut brittle topping (from a Mary Berry book if I remember correctly?).

So here are the cakes …






Once again a big thank you to our hosts at YoYo.

YoYo Bar & Restaurant

Rosse St., Shipley, BD18 3SW


Find out more about the Clandestine Cake Club:


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