P1050463

Afternoon Tea for Two

Hewwo there long lost bloggees!  (Is that even a word?!)  Anyhoo, it’s been like ten days or more since we spoke and I don’t know about you – I’m getting withdrawals!  So here I am with a “Jo Bakes” post for y’all which serves as proof that whilst I might not be posting everyday, I certainly am cooking (and eating!) still and fighting with my camera to get a half way decent set of piccies to show off my home made goodies…

So here we go – this is what I got up to last Sunday.  It was the first day off with my hubster for something like 3 weeks and boy, I was not going to waste a single second of it.  I woke up early-ish with a big fat smile on my face – just like the early days when Hungry Hubby was just Lovely Blokie and every minute together was nothing but sunshine smiles and heart racing happiness.  Not that we don’t still have that but having to spend hours doing chores and paying bills can be somewhat of a passion fire extinguisher at times and we can’t *just* spend ALL our time in Land of the Loved Up!  But this day was all about us.

I was awoken to the fresh morning air carrying even more freshly brewed coffee from one of the neighbours wafting through our open bedroom window.  It was going to be a good day.  We decided in bed that there was nothing for it but to go out for breakfast whilst the weather was on our side so off we toddled to the local Toby Carvery where we had fab service and a helpful waitress who gave us a two for one voucher she had left over.  See – there ARE genuinely nice folk left out there!  When we’d had our fill of extremely good quality sausages and to-die-for crunchy crisp hash browns and freshly brewed coffee, we took a walk down Lark Lane – a wee foodie treasure trove of restaurants and cake shops and delis, framed by beautiful Victorian townhouses and the lushly green Sefton Park.  It was a lovely, happy, smiley trip.

When we came home, to my surprise, Hungry Hubby was happy to not have lunch (*shock horror*!) but to wait a couple of hours and let me make our own Afternoon Tea.  I did not need to wait for permission twice!  I cracked open my cook books, threw on my favourite pinny and got baking!

First on the agenda was what once was a cake I eyed with utter suspicion but now declare unconditional love for – Nigella’s (or rather Flora’s) Courgette Cake from How To Be a Domestic Goddess”.  It was my bestest best friend Moo who made me this cake for my birthday a couple of years ago and boy, have I not looked back since!  Now, being me I have to fiddle but I only fiddle a wee bit – I use chopped dates instead of the sultanas suggested by Nigella (Moo told me this was her preferred method and I have not returned to the original since I tried it myself) plus I use a different frosting as I was never entirely happy with Nigella’s one – too runny for my liking. So I used this one – equal quantities of cream cheese and melted white chocolate.  And boy, I SWEAR – I will never use another cream cheese frosting again – it is sublime and thick and pipeable – what more does a girl want from her CCF?!

The most moist and not too sweet, beautiful cake in HTBADG

I love this cake so much and I know Moo does too – she must have made 100 of them easy by now lol!  I like to gently crush my pistachios in my mortar and pestle to top the cake with but if I could get my hands on those ludicrously jade green ones Nigella has in her Forever Summer TV series, I would so use them.

What with all the veg, rapeseed oil, nuts and limes this cake is virtually Diet Food! ;)

Of course, Afternoon Tea would not be so without a selection of cakes so of course, I had to carry on baking as this one cooled.  And what is the ultimate cake for such an occasion?  Why the Humble Scone of course!  Now, I am a resolute follower of Rachel Allen when it comes to scones – her buttermilk version is to die for and my go to recipe but I had been watching 4 Ingredients during the week and so wanted to try their lemonade scones as a bit of an experiment if nothing else!  So I stirred together self raising flour, Sprite and double cream then cut into squares and bake for 20 minutes and tada – instant scone-tastic pleasure!  All the taste and aroma of a freshly baked traditional scone recipe in a fraction of the time and with now of the stress.  I mean, scones can be tough as shoe leather if one isn’t as light as the Sugar Plum Fairy when mixing but these were of the “stir, pat out, cut and bake” nature so pretty much idiot proof (hoorah!)

If you are frightened of scones - these are the fellas for you. All the taste, none of the greying hair!

And to finish, and because you can take the girl out of her cupcake pinny but you can’t take the love of a cupcake from the gal’s heart – a batch of vanilla cupcakes (recipe to be debuted at a later date) filled with vanilla strawberry jam and topped with vanilla bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  O.M.G.  Where has this frosting been all my life?!  It is more light, more fluffy, yet totally and indulgently and intoxicatingly creamy than you could possibly imagine until you try it for yourself.  Yes – it is that good!  Thank you lovely Jen for showing me the way to true Frosting Enlightenment!

So now we have our “raw ingredients” for a sweet lil Afternoon Tea for Two, all we need is steaming hot tea, a vintage inspired cake stand from a dear friend (thank you Teresa, you sweetie pie) and of course – cupcake themed paper napkins!

Hungry Hubby actually announced when he saw all this fodder that he would like a teapot and OMG, my heart skipped a beat - have I married the best guy ever or what?! He even followed it with "Cath Kidston does nice ones does she? Are they expensive?" Thud! That's me fainting on the floor, then quickly scurrying off to our local CK shop to fulfill his most excellent request lol!

Here’s a little montage for you as I’m still not quite upto my lovely and talented friends Carrie and Creme‘s standard of food photography so I have to make up for quality with quantity hehehe! ;)

If anyone wants to buy me a copy of Plate to Pixel then feel free! I think I'm in need of some lessons on light and composition and all that jazz!

So, two hungry loved up (if reluctantly grown up) folk munched their way through this mountain of baby cakes, washed down with tea from china mugs and cuddled the rest of the night away, happy that their tums were full of sweet yumminess and they could begin their working week with these memories if not a leftover slice or slab or scone or two to remind them of this very lovely day :)

Hehehe :)

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16 thoughts on “Afternoon Tea for Two

  1. My napkins, my napkins – this is totally where they belong. Happy!!! I looooooove afternoon tea. It’s so indulgent and so much fun. Love the piccies.

    Definitely you need a teapot. I have three, each for different occasions. This is one of those occasions!

    Thanks for the ccf recipe – choc n cream cheese with NO sugar. Perfect!!!

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    • Oh it so is perfect Jules – once you try it, you’ll never go back to faffing about with icing sugar again! White chic is so sweet this might just be the perfect use for it. I used a bar of Tesco’s finest white choc which had lots and lots of vanilla seeds in so lpoked super pretty. It is a good melting choc – some brands like G&B just don’t melt! Am so getting us a teapot after payday comes again!

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  2. Lovely write up Jo, love the montages! ;-)) …I have never tried that cake but this is making me want to start pronto..shall have to wait until the house move but its on the list….cheers!

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    • Oh you must Carrie – it’s better than carrot cake, it’s closest cousin. The lime curd is sublime too – helps cut through the sweetness and give it a lipsmacking tang mmmm!

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    • It would be rude not to give ‘em a go Lorna – although I’d make a half batch next time as we had more scones then you could shake a stick at! Some dried fruit would be a yummo addition too (a friend of mine soaks sultanas in orange juice and puts the zest in her cream scones – now there’s a yummy variation!)

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  3. Bummer! I wish I was in the neighbourhood if I knew you were preparing for such an enticing afternoon tea! ;-)

    The Courgette Cake looks and sounds delicious – something I would definitely want to try. Might have to brush the dust off HTBADG!

    And Sprite in scones?? I’m always interested in the quirky, and I think my mum would approve because she uses lemonade in one of her savoury dishes.

    Any piccies of the Cath Kidston teapot?? I absolutely adore her range … can’t wait to see what your hubby treated you to!

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    • Not bibimbap that your mama makes is it ELB? That has Sprite in too and I’m planning on doing that soon!

      I think everyone should try the courgette cake, it really is something special. So unusual on paper yet so perfect on the plate.

      No teapot yet ELB – just the promise of one but don’t you worry, I’ll put up plenty of pictures when we get it!

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      • Bibimbap has Sprite in it? I didn’t know that! No, my mum makes a braised pork dish which uses Sprite to add sweetness and also to tenderise the meat. Actually, it’s not really Sprite … it’s Kirks Lemonade. I don’t know if they sell this brand outside of Australia but my mum swore there was a difference between the brands which affected the outcome of the dish!

        I think you will have to host another afternoon tea to christen your to-be-purchased teapot ;-)

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        • Ah I have similar feelings about R Whites lemonade – it DOES taste different!

          As for the bibimbap, I’ve only seen a couple of recipes but they marinade the beef in sprite first. Odd yet intriguing! My friend who gave me the beautiful cake plate in thus post took me out for bibimbap last year and I’ve been dreaming of recreating it ever since!

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    • Aw NY – you’d be more than welcome to join! I was only just saying to Julia wouldn’t it be lovely for us all to have a big Afternoon Tea where we all bring a cake each? That would be so much fun!

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