August 25, 2010
The same week that we went blackberry picking there was a charity afternoon tea organised at my office, so I said I would donate 10 scones thinking I would use my blackberries up this way…
The recipe yielded so much more than I thought it would, maybe the blackberries stretched it out… I made quite a mess and used every tray we have to cook them all.
I made some normal size and some mini ones…
225g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder (or cream of tartare, this makes them really light and fluffy)
1tsp bicarb soda
25g caster sugar
125ml whole milk (plus extra for brushing)
plus I used about 250g blackberries (maybe a little more)
1. Grease two baking sheets.
Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarb soda and salt into a bowl. Cut the butter into small chunks and add them to the flour and rub the butter into the flour until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.
Add the sugar and milk.
2. Use a blunt knife to mix everything to make a soft dough. Add your blackberries.
3. Sprinkle an area of your work surface with flour and put the dough onto it. Roll it out until the dough is about 2cm thick – it might make only 2 or 3 scones but believe me, it’s worth it. You will need flour on your rolling-pin as well as the blackberries make it quite sticky.
4. Cut circles from the dough with the cutter. Squeeze the scraps into a ball and roll them out again. Cut more circles until you have run out.
5. Put the circles onto the baking sheets, leaving no space between each one. Brush the tops with a little milk and the egg yolk mixed together.
6. Bake the scones for 7-10 minutes on the top shelf of the oven. They will rise and turn golden. Lift them onto a wire rack to cool.
A great excuse to get my cake stand out…
Biggie thought they looked delicious…
I had enough to take 15 into work, plus one extra for each of my team (mini ones) and even another 10 for the Boy to take to his work!
I am using fruit in scones more often, they were yummy, so soft and the fruit had all caramelised on the outside and gone all gloopy inside.
I ate mine plain with some coffee in the morning, they didn’t even need anything on top!
June 11, 2010
Last year I spent my birthday in Singapore, the shopping there is ridiculous… the mall below is called ION Orchard
The mall building is amazing, and was designed to look like a piece of fruit with the stalks and the seeds and the flesh represented by pillars and the glass.
Being on Orchard Avenue is like stepping into a magazine, everyone walking around was so stylish and gorgeous, and shops like Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Hermes (2 on this street!), Christian Dior… I could go on…
Inside ION there was a TWG tea salon, which was so pretty we stopped for afternoon tea for my Birthday…
The tea shop was in a little salon that when you stepped in you completely forgot you were in a mall, with teas lining the walls and all the most beautiful cakes on display, as well as beautiful teacups and teapots for sale, I still regret not buying some.
The clientale were mostly very smart business men and women having lunch, we were the only tourists.
I ordered a Chic afternoon tea, which was little toasted triangle sandwiches and mini scones.
Look at the teas in the picture below you can see the differences in colour, they treat it like wine here in how they match teas to food and advise you on what you might like. There are subtle differences in every tea… you could also have tea/champagne cocktails which came in big glasses with lots of ice and mint and looked amazing.
I was still feeling a little delicate from having food poisoning the few days before so I had to skip the cakes, but I did buy some macaroons for the plane journey home, I had a rose one and a passion fruit one and I think there was some chocolate ones in there but I cannot remember what else I picked it was so long ago. All I can say is that they were good!
And the menu for all the different teas is amazing, so so big, it was hard to choose until I saw a tea called Happy Birthday!
Below is a picture of the shelves holding all the blends… they have a few!
The Boy had one called Christmas Lights, as Singapore had decorated ready for Christmas already it seemed fitting, it was so yummy we had to bring some home and we are now down to rationing it as we have nearly run out.
A select number of TWG are available to buy through Harrods if you would like to try -I brought a few of the gift boxed teas home as the boxes hold beautiful teas that are decorated the same as the boxes they make great gifts for tea lovers
While browsing I have just found out they now sell the Happy Birthday Tea in England now… Woo hoo! I may well have to make a purchase to relive my birthday.
AND the amazing teapots I loved so much… a little out of my price range for a tea pot though!
This is a (rubbish) photo of the tea menu, I wanted you to see how massive it is this is double-sided as well!
There must be a thousand teas on there!
Another tea company that is a little more local is ATTIC; all the Tea in China. Based in Bristol this company specialise in Chinese tea and make beautiful flowering teas, I have brought these teas as gifts as they are beautifully packaged but have yet to make it to the tea shop… I hope to soon.
TWG also had flowers… I just love their names…
June 11, 2010
Well okay not in the park but overlooking Hyde Park at The Athenaeum Hotel in Mayfair.
The Hotel has a vertical garden on its walls, which even on a grey day looked amazing, I really want one in my garden. Check out Patrick Blanc’s website, he is the guy who did the hotel’s among many others… they really are beautiful.
We were seated in the Garden room, which is on a lower ground floor level along the side of the hotel, the vertical garden reaches down to the window so we had a view of the “garden”, it seems to be a wall with little pockets for the plants
The room is all muted tones and we felt so relaxed the moment we sat down, in our own little enclave…
The hotel has won awards for its Afternoon Tea, and as soon as we were sat we were handed the tea menu, which was wooden and held tea leaves from each blend…
I went for a peach green tea, as part of afternoon tea you have unlimited tea but I stuck to this one as it was so yummy
Then the finger sandwiches arrived… we had two servings of avocado wraps, ham and tomato relish, smoked salmon and cream cheese, egg and of course cucumber
Then mini scones, we had one plain one fruit with a plum jam, strawberry jam and clotted cream scooped like ice cream
Despite everything being mini we were quite full at this stage and had to take a break before the dessert trolley was brought to us… which was very pink and girlie, and we were allowed 3 picks from the trolley
It was so hard to choose, they even had marshmallows and candy canes and lots of cupcakes…
I picked a mini chocolate cake with vanilla filling, a champagne jelly which had flecks of lavender and a strawberry mousse
Hayley picked a piece of chocolate banana cake, a chocolate covered strawberry and a mini praline tart…
We were then offered crumpets and tea cakes but had to give up as we could not eat anymore!
Also have to mention there were no toilets but a ladies powder room with Ren hand wash and lotion and a bay window and 2 dressing tables… nice touch, girls love a pretty bathroom!
So a recipe for you… has to be scones right? They are easy! If you have never made them give it a go… takes roughly half an hour in total.
225g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp salt
50g butter, cubed
30g caster sugar
115ml full fat milk
for the glaze
1 egg yolk
1 tsp caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 220C and lightly dust a baking tray with flour
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and rub in the cubes of butter with your fingers until the mixture resembles very fine crumbs, then stir in the sugar
Beat the whole egg and milk together and mix into the flour using a round ended knife. Do not overwork the mixture or it will become too tough.
Make the mixture into a big ball and pop onto a lightly floured work surface.
Form into a rough ball and roll it out, try t aim for a 2cm thickness.
Cut as many scones as you can using a round fluted cutter of about 5cm dipped in flour, then keep re-rolling the dough and cutting until you run out (should be roughly 8-10 scones) Then put these on the baking tray, mix the glaze (1 egg yolk, 1 tsp caster sugar and 1 tsp water) and brush over the tops of the scones.
Bake for 12 minutes until they become golden and have risen (if using a fan check after 8-10 minutes) then transfer to a wire rack to cool… eat whilst still warm with jam and cream! (these will keep for a couple of days in an airtight container)
I have made scones using this recipe and they are so good! Make and enjoy!