Tag Archives: cake

A Spot of High Tea

List Item: Try 500 of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die

Let me take you back in time. To Mother’s Day. As a gift I bought my mum a Groupon for Chocolate-Lovers afternoon tea at the London Hilton on Park Lane. It was a very popular Groupon (for obvious reasons) so we only got to use it a few months later because they were all booked up.

List Item: Take afternoon tea
Progress: Completed

Afternoon tea is such an English thing and I freakin’ love it. I have only had it twice before and both of these were at the Grand Hotel in Brighton. So I was interested how a highly-starred hotel in Mayfair would do this. If you are not aware of what an afternoon tea entails I will be going through each stage.

Firstly, there is the selection of teas. If you are not a fan of tea you CAN get other things like coffee or soft drinks but it tends to cost more (and if you want champagne you are looking at £10-15 a glass at most places). Here I went for a jasmine flower green tea which, in this picture, I over-sweetened since it was sugar cubes rather than packets. Still, a good tea is a good start.

Food Item: Cucumber

The first part of the cream tea is the sandwiches. Now in this tea there were five open-faced sandwiches: egg mayonnaise, salmon, cucumber and cream cheese, ham and prawn. This is a fairly normal selection (apart from the prawn) but in many other places you get finger sandwiches which you can ask for a second helping of (my mum’s usual tactic which means she gets full very quickly).  The egg here was more a moose than a traditional mayonnaise.

Food Items: Scones and Chocolate Spread

Since this was a chocolate-lovers tea we got chocolate spread with the tea. This is not common. The clotted cream and strawberry jam, however, is. Now there is a discussion on the proper way to set up your scone. I use the Devon method which is to first spread the clotted cream on your scone half and then top this with the jam. My mum apparently goes down the Cornish route and does it the opposite way around. I have overheard serious discussions on this topic… I think it tastes good either way so who really cares.

Next is some cake, in this case a blueberry cupcake and a white chocolate cupcake with pistachio icing. What cake you get really depends on the area and how much you paid. Other possible cakes include Victoria sponge, lemon drizzle, battenberg, and other more traditional English fayre.

At this point I usually finish my first pot of tea and get a second. If possibly, a different flavour… something that did not work out this time since the second tea I had was vile.

Of course we were stuffed by the time we were meant to eat these REALLY fancy chocolate fancies. You see that plate with the sunflowers? Painted white chocolate which was also delicious. Since we couldn’t eat these we got them to go and consumed them the next day.

All in all, a refined afternoon of chocolate and baked goods. It’s pricey… but really worth it for a bit of a change.

Progress: 44/500

Happy Mother’s Day… Cake

List Item: Bake a cake
Progress: Completed

Now I am not to proud to admit that, despite being a 24 year-old guy, I am incredibly close to my mum. Over the last few years both her (and my partner) have put up with the emotional rollercoaster that has been my teaching career. In many ways she is is my best friend… and not in a Norman Bates Psycho sort of way.

So when Mother’s Day comes around I like to make sure that I do something that she likes and this usually involves the baking of some sort of cake. Last year, the cake was a Victoria Sandwich and this year I went for a variation on this with actual strawberries and with white chocolate mixed in with the whipped cream (there may also be some white chocolate in the cake itself.

photo 3As of writing this post (about 24 hours before publishing it) I have not tasted this cake yet but I have helped myself to the raw batter as the sponges were baking. I have a good feeling about this cake, although I had to remove all the strawberries before sticking it in the fridge otherwise it wouldn’t fit in my Celebrations tin. I hope it looks as good tomorrow when I put it back together.

One thing I think came across in my attempt at weight loss post as well as my post yesterday is that I really enjoy cooking and see myself as a bit of a foodie. In fact with the exception of sweetcorn, raw onion and fibrous stems there is not much that I will not eat or try to cook. So I included some pictures of other sweet things I made recently.

photo 2First we have a Grasshopper Pie. I made this using a heart-shaped springform tin that my partner’s sister got me for Christmas. For someone who doesn’t drink I did really enjoy a pie whose main ingredients are liquours (crème de menthe and crème de cacao blanc), but the use of Bourbons and marshmallows will have helped this somewhat.

photo 1This penguin cake is probably the proudest I have ever been when trying out cake decorating (since it is also the only time that I actually designed a cake). The biggest mistake I made here was making a Victoria Sandwich the base since… every time you cut into it raspberry jam started oozing out. Next time I will not make the same choice in flavours…