Sunday Moment #26

•  Mango cinnamon fruit infusion from Twinings
•  Fresh raspberries
•  Train ticket from London to Devon (where I spent the weekend visiting my friend Alan)
•  Day ticket for the bus (with which we got to Torquay for a ukulele jamming session on the cricket field)
•  Slightly rained on chords (from a rain shower that started halfway through said jamming session)
•  Order number from our awesome pizza at Fishstock (a music and seafood festival in Brixham that we went to later that day)

Afternoon Tea for Two: Mini Bakewell Tarts

When our new department boss asked me a few days ago how I felt about the company induction I attended a while back, I almost answered “Great, they had fantastic cake!” Don’t get me wrong, the day was also very informative and so on, but getting free lunch with half a bakewell tart as dessert was definitely one of the highlights of the whole thing. And it seemingly made such an impression on me that when I started thinking about the whole afternoon tea for two idea, I immediately set out to make a mini version.

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This recipe took a little bit of fine tuning until I got the quantities quite right to make just two (as you can see from the first picture, my first try actually yielded three with lots of frangipane left over, and unfortunately I had to eat all of it), but they turned out really well in the end. Top two things I’ve learned while baking them:
1. Don’t skimp on the jam – having not enough jam in there is more disappointing than having it bubble over a bit.
2. Don’t overbake them – otherwise your frangipane layer will end up too firm and dry.

Mini Bakewell Tarts
(adapted from this lovely recipe from Emily Cooks Vegan)

For the pastry
18g (7 tsp) flour
9g (2 tsp) butter or margarine (cold)
Cold water

For the frangipane
8g (1 tbsp) flour
8g (4 tsp) ground almonds
8g (1/2 tbsp) sugar
A generous pinch of baking powder
A drop of almond extract
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp water

2 tsp jam
1 tsp flaked almonds

1. Preheat your oven to 190°C. Rub the butter into the flour until they resemble breadcrumbs (or use a pastry cutter.) Add a little bit of cold water until it comes together as a dough. Roll the dough out and cut out two circles. Transfer to a greased mini muffin tray and line two of the indents with it. Use a fork to prick the dough a few times. Bake for 5 minutes.
2. In the meantime, combine flour, ground almonds, sugar and baking powder. Add almond extract, oil and water and mix together. (Texture-wise, this should be somewhat runny.)
3. Remove your tart shells from the oven, fill each with a layer of jam and top with your frangipane mixture. Sprinkle the flaked almonds on top. Lower your temperature to 180°C and bake for around 15 minutes.

Sunday Moment #25

•  Pomegranate green tea from Twinings
•  Crispbread with loganberry jam and smashed raspberries
•  A letter from a friend all the way from the US
•  Leaflet from Somerset house (where I went to see the Erwin Blumenfeld photography exhibition today)

Foodie Pen Pals: August 2013

A while ago, I stumbled upon Foodie Pen Pals, a lovely little programme that matches up different people from around Europe who then send each other a little parcels full of food goodies. I thought it sounded like a fun idea, so this month I decided to give it a go! I had a lot of fun scavenging for food for my pen pal, Cees (from the Netherlands), and got a lovely little parcel myself from Cara! Here’s what she sent over:

I said that I liked both sweet and savoury snacks, so she sent over a nice mix of both, starting out with these Chili & Lemon Potato Grills – which I’ve never tried before – as well as some chilli rice crackers. Both taste excellent, and I have to say that I’m an especially big fan of the rice crackers – they’re really tasty with just the right amount of spice.

Cara also packed some fruit & nut mixes, which I love! Yogurt coated raisins are the best, so that was spot on. Then there’s a coconut bar – another one I’ve never tried, but I’m quite excited to since I quite like coconut. Finally – since I might have hinted at the fact that I like tea *cough* – I also got a pack of Vanilla Chai. (Which is excellent since I’ve been sort of on a hunt for the best Chai out there and this is one I haven’t tried yet.) So a massive thank you to Cara for the thoughtful parcel, I really enjoyed it!

If you want to find out more about Foodie Pen Pals, you can check it out here.

Afternoon Tea for Two: Scones

The first time I remember eating scones was during a week long trip to Ireland to visit my cousin Kerstin who was spending six month as an au pair there, looking after three chaotic yet charming children. (They were one, two and three years old respectively, so there was probably as much order as you can expect.) I have lots of hilarious memories from this trip – like when we took a bus tour in the rain and tried to balance our coffee cups and cameras and umbrellas at the same time which resulted in us laughing so hard that we were almost beheaded by some power lines, or the time we were on a ferry to a tiny island (population: 20, and every single one was in the pub once it started raining) and Kerstin got sea sick and the captain randomly started singing German folk songs over the speakers.

There was also lots of Guinness and hilariously-terrible tv and scones. Despite the fact that I love scones, I’ve never actually made them myself. I did a bit of research and found a variety of recipes out there – some with eggs, some without, so I picked one that looked easy to scale down and gave it a try – I’m happy to report that I turned out really well! Which is good since scones are obviously best fresh from the oven and not so good days later after they’re stale. (P.S.: In case you have three chaotic yet charming children, follow the BBC recipe link for a bigger batch recipe.)

Scones (for two)
(adapted from this BBC recipe)

45g (5 1/2 tbsp) flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
5g (1 tsp) sugar
Pinch of salt
10g (1 tsp) cold butter
3 tbsp milk

1. Preheat oven to 220°C (425°F). Combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl.
2. Cut cold butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. Incorporate the butter with a pastry cutter or rub the mix between your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
3. Add the milk and stir together. Knead everything lightly until a dough forms.
4. Roll out the dough about 2cm (3/4 inch) thick. With a round cookie cutter (about 5cm or 2 inches in diameter) cut out two scones.
5. Place on a baking tray, brush with a little milk and bake for about 12-15 minutes, until golden. Leave to cool for about 5 minutes. Serve with butter, clotted or whipped cream and jam.

Afternoon Tea for Two: Smoked Salmon & Lemon Butter Tea Sandwich

I’m not great at making decisions sometimes – both small (I’m the kind of person who stands at the open fridge door for ten minutes trying to decide what I want for dinner ) and large ones – don’t even get me started on choosing a uni for my master’s. Or going to a nice café with my mum and having to decide on a piece of cake when there are twenty different ones and they all look awesome. That’s why I think afternoon tea has a fantastic concept – everything is cute and small and you get to eat a little bit of everything – no hard decision making!

So I’ve been working on a little project to come up with some afternoon tea recipes – for two. Because sometimes you just want to have a friend over to catch up and eat lots of tasty things, and be able to have a little bit of everything without absolutely massive amounts of time and work involved.

And while it’s probably still a bit of effort, all in all I think it’s quite manageable because you can do stuff ahead and no one’s telling you to make all of it (though it’s all really tasty.) Today I’m starting off with a tea sandwich recipe and there will be scones and a few British inspired tea treats as well over the next weeks. (So keep checking back or subscribe via the handy little button to your right if you want.)

When I think of quintessentially British tea sandwiches, the first two that pop into my head are cucumber and smoked salmon. Since I think cucumbers are okay (though really not that exciting taste wise) and smoked salmon is basically the best thing since sliced bread, you can guess which one I went for.
The classic combo seems to be smoked salmon and cream cheese – I have to admit that while I don’t dislike it, I actually prefer just a bit of butter, lemon and pepper. (I think it’s because I massively love smoked salmon and the cream cheese can sometimes overpower it a bit, where as this humble arrangement makes the salmon the star of the show.) Also living in Edinburgh has made me a proper smoked salmon snob. So I would recommend Scottish salmon, but whatever you like/can find, obviously.

Smoked Salmon & Lemon Butter Tea Sandwich

2 slices malted grain bread
40g smoked salmon
1 tsp salted butter or margarine, room temperature & spreadable
lemon juice
pepper

1. Take your two slices of bread and cut the crust off (if you want to be all posh) – or leave them on (if you’re not that bothered).
2. Mix the butter with a dash of lemon juice and a bit of pepper. Spread on one slice of the bread.
3. Arrange the smoked salmon on top of the buttered bread. Sprinkle with a little more lemon juice and pepper.
4. Top with your unbuttered slice of bread and cut in half.

Sunday Moment #24

•  Orange & coconut fruit infusion from Clipper
•  Brown sugar & sea salt popcorn
•  Fortune cookie wrapper & fortune from dinner in Chinatown (with my friend Eboni who stopped by to stay with me for a few days before moving to Paris for a year)
•  Cinema ticket for The World’s End (which we went to see on Friday)

Sunday Moment #23

•  Ambessa Choco Nut blend from Harney & Sons
•  Dark chocolate caramel digestive
•  This month’s National Geographic magazine (which I don’t buy as often as I’d like since it’s a bit expensive but did this month, and which had just amazing photography as usual)
•  Cookbook with a baked salmon recipe (which I’ve been meaning to make for a while and finally got around to this weekend. P.S.: Does anyone else feel really grown up when they cook fish for dinner?)

Sunday Moment #22

 

•  Fairytale of Dubai black tea from Hornung
•  Mini berry crumble cakes
•  My awesome new London Starbucks mug (which I’ve wanted for a long time and finally got this week!)
• Flyer from the Travel Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society (which I saw on Saturday and was really impressed by)

Sunday Moment #21

•  Almond green tea from Dallmayr
•  Homemade orange & chai biscuits
•  Moominsummer Madness by Tove Jansson (which I read this week and which fit in perfectly with the mix of stormy and heatwavy weather)
• The cutest little milk bottle (which I acquired with Akemi last week and which I’ve been using as a photo prop quite a bit this weekend)