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    You are in: Home / Cookbooks / Afternoon and High Tea in the Parlour
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    Afternoon and High Tea in the Parlour

    What can be more delightful than a dainty and elegant Afternoon Tea or High Tea in the parlour! A collection of all my Tea-Time recipes, some old family favourites. From scones with jam and cream to potted meats and toast, I hope these recipes inspire you to take tea, and maybe mutter those immortal words, "More tea vicar?!!"
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    These delightful and rather unusual tea sandwiches combine the delicate French herb tarragon, with ripe tomatoes, garlic and shallots – a change from the usual basil and tomatoes. The tomatoes are gently poached with all the seasonings until a thick puree or butter is obtained; the tomato butter is then cooled and you are left with a wondrous sandwich filling, bursting with flavour and colour! The butter can be used for all manner of things, including a topping for a pizza or for toasted sandwiches. Use fresh bread, white or wholemeal, and garnish with fresh tarragon leaves. Any excess butter can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week in the fridge. NB: Prep time includes chilling time for the butter.

    Recipe #412062

    During Victorian times, children used to take watercress sandwiches to school in place of meat ones. I love them, especially when cut into small trianges and served with a cuppa (cup of tea!). Use the freshest bread - I like to use wholemeal, and a fresh salted farmhouse butter. I have included a soup idea at the end of the recipe, to be made with the excess stalks! So a soup and sandwich recipe then!

    Recipe #412074

    Luscious fresh strawberries nestle amongst light sponge cake sandwiched with strawberry jam, which are then covered with creamy custard and topped with clotted cream. Simple! This trifle may be simple but it is the star on any tea-time or dessert table and if you cannot obtain clotted cream, use whipping cream, heavy cream or double cream instead. Madeira is used in place of sherry in this trifle, which gives a mellow flavour to the trifle. This is a recipe that my mum sent to me, from a cutting in a British magazine promoting Devon and Cornwall in the West Country - home of the Cream Tea! If you wish to serve this to children or non-drinkers, substitute the Madeira with fruit juice of your choice. In the summer scatter some pink rose petals over the top for the ultimate and romantic finish! (Prep time includes the chilling and soaking time.)

    Recipe #412075

    The perfect pot of English tea leads to the perfect cup of English tea! I know this is NOT a recipe, but it is amazing how many people do not know how to make a PROPER POT of tea! We always make a pot of tea at home - even if there is only one of us here, we just use a smaller pot! I also prefer loose tea to tea-bags, but we do use good quality tea-bags as well. This is my method for making a perfect pot of tea, and therefore a perfect cuppa. This has been posted due to a request from my daughter, who obviously has FAR more sophisticated tastes as a university student than I did when I was one!! Plus, what can be nicer then baking a cake, inviting a couple of friends over and having a natter with a cuppa? It puts the world to rights! Quantities are listed for a pot of tea for two.....you can increase or decrease the amounts to suit.The following extract is from Mrs Beeton's book of Household Management printed in 1880; here she suggests the method for a "perfect" cup of tea, using loose tea of course and NOT tea bags! "There is very little art in making good tea; if the water is boiling, and there is no sparing of the fragrant leaf, the beverage will almost invariably be good. The old-fashioned plan of allowing a teaspoonful to each person, and one over, is still practised. Warm the teapot with boiling water; let it remain for two or three minutes for the vessel to become thoroughly hot, then pour it away. Put in the tea, pour in from 1/2 to 3/4 pint of boiling water, close the lid, and let it stand for the tea to draw from 5 to 10 minutes; then fill up the pot with water. The tea will be quite spoiled unless made with water that is actually ‘boiling’, as the leaves will not open, and the flavour not be extracted from them; the beverage will consequently be colourless and tasteless,—in fact, nothing but tepid water. Where there is a very large party to make tea for, it is a good plan to have two teapots instead of putting a large quantity of tea into one pot; the tea, besides, will go farther. When the infusion has been once completed, the addition of fresh tea adds very little to the strength; so, when more is required, have the pot emptied of the old leaves, scalded, and fresh tea made in the usual manner."

    Recipe #263420

    A simple and easy to whip up apple sponge cake; baked in a tray for easy serving - cut into bars or squares for picnics, school or office lunch boxes & for tea time treats! It is DIVINE served hot with cream,custard or ice cream for a great Autumn/Fall pudding. This type of cake is often called Dorset or Somerset Apple cake, but it is really quite popular in nearly all of the English counties, especially during apple harvest season. I have stipulated Bramley apples, which are English cooking apples - in the absence of these, any tart or sharp "Appley" flavoured or regional "cooking" apples will do.

    Recipe #189493

    An easy spiced and fruited sugar, which really adds a "zing" to your apple pies, apple crumbles, cake toppings, baked desserts etc. This spiced sugar mix is based on a 400-year-old English recipe. Spiced sugars were extremely popular in England many centuries ago, they disguised a multitude of sins; and, as spices & citrus fruits were still new & seen as extremely exotic, they were held in high regard and enjoyed especially by Royalty and the Gentry!

    Recipe #219453

    A classic and favourite cake recipe from Norway. The Scandinavians love using fruit in their cooking, and this apple cake is a wonderful example of a moist and fruity dessert type cake. It can be served warm or cold and freezes very well.

    Recipe #235156

    A delightful apple chutney with the added kick of ginger. I make this every autumn when I harvest my apples from the garden - you can use windfall apples too. Chutney is such an interesting preserve as it combines sweet and savoury flavours, making it an ideal accompaniment for a range of dishes such as cold meats, salami, ham, pasties, pies and is essential in a traditional Ploughman's Lunch! I also add chutney to my curries, tagines and winter stews. The word chutney is derived from the Hindu word "chatni" meaning strongly spiced. Try to use good cooking apples with plenty of flavour and taste for the best results. This is based on a family recipe and is a mellow and mild type of chutney.

    Recipe #251103

    In the UK, we have a famous old rhyme and ditty that goes like this...."Apple pie without cheese, is like a kiss without a squeeze"!! This is my traditional English double crust apple pie WITH a kiss that HAS a squeeze - the CHEESE! Don't worry if you are not a cheese lover, (is there anyone out there who is NOT a cheese lover???) as this pie has the cheese on the SIDE - so you can have your apple pie with cheese or without, it's up to you! This is a tried and tested old family recipe and is based on the pastry and pie recipes in the Be-Ro cookbook. It is wonderful eaten hot with cream, custard or ice cream, as well as with the cheese; and it is an absolute must for lunch boxes and picnics! An interesting historical note - English Apple Pie in one form or another, goes right back to the time of Chaucer in the 12th century. Apple pie should have meltingly crisp and VERY short pastry with layers of spiced apples, preferably Bramley apples, in the middle. If you have a pie funnel, such as a black bird pie funnel - use that for a really traditional touch, as well as directing the steam out of the pie! I have a mixed spice mixture posted on zaar, Recipe #266688. I also have a spiced apple pie sugar posted, Recipe #219453. Replace this for the cup of sugar and the mixed spice listed in this recipe, and omit the lemon rind.

    Recipe #285538

    A delicious and seriously lemon flavoured sticky drizzle cake which echoes the children's rhyme...."Easy peasy lemon squeezie"........EASY TO MAKE! An all-in-one recipe to rustle up at the last minute and impress your friends! When it's raspberry season, I sprinkle fresh raspberries over the top; it can also be served warm with creme fraiche, cream or ice cream as a Pudding Cake.

    Recipe #176514

    A wonderful classic British preserve. Spread it thickly on fresh baked bread, crumpets, muffins or hot buttered toast. It's also delicious on pancakes and if used as a filling for cakes or tarts - such as my Recipe #176514. This recipe has the benefit of being made in the Crock Pot/Slow Cooker, acting as a bain marie which allows you time to being doing other things in the kitchen! I have also given instructions for the more traditional method if you don't have a slow cooker. A jar or two makes a lovely gift - tie a pretty ribbon around the neck of the jar and provide a recipe tag as well. We like our lemon curd quite tangy - so if you are not keen on a very lemony taste - increase the sugar by about 2 to 3 ounces, or use 2 lemons only. This can also be made with oranges or limes, or a mixture of all three Citrus fruits; it will then be called St.Clement's Curd, from the Nursery Rhyme "Oranges and Lemons - The Bells of St.Clements". (This recipe was adpated from The National Trust Cookbook, hence the title of this lemon curd recipe!)

    Recipe #275052

    Cucumber sandwiches are made with fresh springy white or brown bread, lightly buttered, and with the crusts cut off – the perfect cool summer snack to go with your afternoon tea. This recipe idea came from a friend who was lucky enough to attend a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace - she swears this is how they made them! Cucumber sandwiches achieved literary notoriety in Oscar Wilde’s play The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) when Algernon devours an entire plate full in the first act and there are none left for his aunt, Lady Bracknell. They are presented by Jack as being a delicacy: “Hallo! Why all these cups? Why cucumber sandwiches? Why such reckless extravagance in one so young? Who is coming to tea?”

    Recipe #230631

    An absolute must for ANY children's party or even dare I say, adult parties too......weddings, girls night's in, showers, pajama parties & sleep overs, retro buffets, etc. My Mum showed me how to make these--the recipe is an original Be-Ro standard Victoria Sponge mix--very easy to multiply or reduce. I have given a modest amount here for 12-18 butterfly or fairy cakes, depending on what size paper case you use. Expect these to FLY off the plate--sorry, I could not resist the pun!

    Recipe #183505

    French Lavender & Tahitian Vanilla - what a great combination! A very simple but effective flavoured sugar; I always have a jar or two in my pantry ready to use in my cooking and baking! This sugar is WONDERFUL sprinkled on cakes, scones, biscuits (cookies), sweet tarts and baked desserts, as well as ice cream. You must make sure your lavender heads are free of pesticides, fertiliser and traffic pollution. Also a great gift idea - tie a sprig of lavender around the neck of the jar with a ribbon and a lavender recipe......et Voila!!

    Recipe #219416

    Oast Cakes were traditionally prepared by casual labourers as a quick but filling snack in the hop gardens of Kent, also known as the Garden of England. The hop pickers prepared the mixture earlier in the day, often with parsnip wine, then shallow fried the balls of dough in lard over the campfire during their afternoon break. Some people believe they taste better when deep fried. However, they are always best when eaten fresh and warm, and shallow frying is fine as well as being healthier!

    Recipe #238806

    This is a recipe that I have adapted to my own tastes, based on Nigella Lawson's recipe in her Forever Summer cookbook; she developed this for the Lavender Trust, a British charity for young women with breast cancer. These delightful little cakes are easy to make and are ideal for gifts, high tea, picnics and parties. I used my own Lavender and Vanilla sugar recipe: Recipe #219416

    Recipe #243191

    An aromatic and graceful herb that I grow in my garden; Angelica is a member of the Parsley family, and is known mostly for it's candied stems for cake decorating, as well as the leaves for teas, tisanes, jams and desserts. It is known as 'Herb of the Angels' (hence the name) because it was believed to have ancient medicinal properties. This elegant tall plant has a long firm stem and bright green leaves. If you have the time to candy your own angelica, it is well worth the effort - the commercial varieties have added colourants and flavourings, which is such a shame, as the subtle flavour of this beautiful herb needs no additives whatsoever. The instructions may seem longwinded, but it is very easy and is just repeating the same actions over several days, before drying them on a rack or screen and storing. Use the stems to decorate cakes, trifles and desserts.

    Recipe #248003

    "Cattern cakes" are spiced with cinnamon, lightly fruited and flavoured with caraway seeds; they are traditionally made by the English Nottingham lacemakers for the festivities on their special feast day. The recipe goes back to Tudor times, and has changed little over the centuries, although they are sometimes made with yeast dough. Also known as Catherine Cakes (after Catherine of Aragon, whom whilst imprisoned locally at Ampthill, heard of the lacemaker's financial plight, and destroyed all of her lace only to commission some more and give work to the local industry). They are specially prepared for St. Catherine's Day - the patroness of spinners, lace-makers, rope-makers and spinsters - on the 25th November, which is the lacemaker's special day. They are traditionally washed down with Hot Pot - a hot mixture of rum, beer and eggs. I find that I prefer mine with a cup of tea! These delicious little cakes are more like a soft and slightly chewy biscuit or cookie.

    Recipe #266901

    A wonderful and very well known Regency recipe for individual cakes studded with fruit and flavoured with rosewater and almonds; I am sure Jane Austen would have served these for afternoon tea on dainty plates with her bone china cups and saucers! I remember making these with my Mum when I was little, and of course licking the wooden spoon and scraping out the mixing bowl! They are easy to make and are delicious with an afternoon cuppa or for a lunch box treat. I have not found out the true meaning behind their name yet - but maybe they were aptly named as they were "fit for a Queen" to eat! The use of rosewater and almonds is a lingering memory left over from our Medieval cooking days and was still very much in evidence throughout the Regency period. This recipe makes about 24 to 30 Queen cakes - depending on the size of your tins, but the quantities can be cut back with ease. However, they DO freeze very well, so maybe making a full batch is a good idea - as long as they make it to the freezer!

    Recipe #286390

    Canelés de Bordeaux, also know as cannelé Bordelais, are magical French bakery confections, little fluted cakes with a rich rum and vanilla interior enclosed by a thin caramelised shell. This brilliant recipe was developed a long ago by an anonymous Bordeaux cook, whose innovation has been subjected to 300 years of refinements. Glossy and dark brown almost black at first sight, bittersweet at first bite, the crunchy burnt sugar canelé-shell makes an exquisite contrast to the smooth, sweet filling, fragrant with vanilla and rum. These little cakes have recently gained cachet after years of neglect, to the extent that they may one day rival the popularity of crème brûlée in the category of caramelized French desserts. Baked in special tin-lined copper moulds, these delicious dessert cakes are often served with Cognac and Wine if you partake of a local degustation! The copper moulds are quite hard to find even in France - if you cannot find them, then these cakes can be made in individiual dariol moulds, small pudding basins, or the silcon moulds which are quite easy to find. This recipe makes 12 to 16 canelés, depending on the size of your moulds. Traditionally beeswax is used to line the moulds, I have dispensed with this and have suggested a sprinkling of sugar inside the well buttered moulds.

    Recipe #286400

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