Mary Berry’s Lemon Drizzle Traybake

The Bear and I made this amazing lemon drizzle traybake, a Mary Berry recipe a few weekends ago.  It was absolutely amazing, spongey, lemony and sweet.  Some tips – make sure your baking powder is fresh (for that spongey texture, and cake-rise) and for the glaze, gradually add sugar to water.  I didn’t (want to) use 175g sugar for the glaze (on top of the 225g already in the cake mix) and found a gradual approach to the glaze-mix was a sensible one for me.

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Peach cobbler

We’re a big fan of baked fruit desserts.  When I stumbled upon this recipe for a peach cobbler, I knew it was a keeper.  A stroke of luck, ripe peaches were on sale in the shops. It was as if the dessert stars were alligned!

It is imperative that you place the baking dish on top of a lined tray to catch spillage.  And there will be some, depending on the shape of your baking tray!

We love our cream, but didn’t see the necessity to drizzle some over the cobbler.  The fruits were sweet with a touch of tang from the lemon juice.  Just delicious on their own.

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Canterbury – a mini break – Part 2

Read Part 1 here.

A holiday in England isn’t complete without some wet weather.  We woke up on the Sunday morning of our break in Canterbury to a downpour which lasted until lunchtime.  However, when the last of the rain disappeared, the clouds parted and we were treated to a warm afternoon.

We fancied cream tea and I suggested Perry Court Farm, which has a lovely little tea shop and farm shop.  We underestimated the drive and got there 30 minutes before closing time! Still, it was worth the drive, as we feasted on delicious scones topped with jam and clotted cream and freshly brewed tea.

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Look at this delicious carrot cake.  The staff were very friendly and encouraged us to take our time finishing our tea as they tidied up around us.

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The bear washed down her scone with a big glass of milk.

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Look at this lovely row of apple trees on the farm.

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We drove back to Canterbury and we had to stop and admire the tulips in full bloom.

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Just before nightfall, we drove to Dover to see the Dover Castle.

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Fog had rolled in by the time we drove into Dover town to catch a glimpse of the White Cliffs.

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The bear loved the boats and the harbour.

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We all slept well that night and felt refreshed for the drive back home to London.  A lovely mini-break had.  Thank you Canterbury, we’ll be back someday soon.

Rhubarb and almond tart

Hubby harvested some rhubarb from our garden last weekend.   Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to make anything substantial, so I bought some rhubarb from the shops to make this week’s sweet treat – Rhubarb and Almond Tart.

The tart has a lovely biscuit-y base, jammy rhubarb filling and an almond topping.    I always maintain that tarts taste better the next day once the flavours have had time to infuse.  If you can bear to wait that long.

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Ingredients:

A) Pastry

  • 125g butter, melted and cooled
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 180g plain flour

B) Rhubard filling

  • 400g rhubarb, trimmed
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp water

C) Almond topping

  • 80g ground almonds
  • 80g plain flour
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 80ml double cream
  • 80ml milk

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees celsius
  2. Grease a 20cm loose-base tart tin
  3. Mix the melted butter with the sugar, almond and vanilla extracts until combined
  4. Add the flour to the mixture above to form a dough (but don’t knead)
  5. Tip the mixture into the middle of the prepped tart tin
  6. Use your fingers and spread the dough, pressing down and into the edges
  7. Place the tin in the oven and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until the pastry is golden
  8. Remove the tin from the oven and leave to cool (leave the oven on)
  9. To make the rhubarb filling, warm the rhubarb, sugar, vanilla and water in a saucepan over low heat until the rhubarb softens (I cooked mine until it was jammy) and the sugar has melted.  Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool
  10. To make the almond topping, mix all the ingredients in a bowl until combined
  11. Place the tart tin (now cooled) on a flat baking tray
  12. To assemble, fill the tart case with the rhubarb, spreading evenly throughout, then pour the almond topping over the rhubarb (careful not to overfill the tart case)
  13. Place the baking tray in the oven and leave to cook for 30 – 35 minutes until the almond topping has turned golden
  14. Serve with cream

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Apple Yoghurt Tea Cake

If you are looking for pillowy, sweet indulgence, look no further.   I made Sam of Lepiratelife‘s Apple and Yoghurt Tea Cake this afternoon and it was simply divine!  For a hint of lemony sweetness, I added a lemon glaze to the cake in the last 10 minutes before I took it out of the oven.   I normally pace myself when it comes to second helpings, but with this cake,  I just couldn’t help myself.  Hubby had a third slice, yes, in quick successions after his first two.  Yummy, pillowy softness.

Thank you Sam for sharing the recipe.

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Anniversary afternoon tea

We’ve been together for a decade.

In order to mark the occasion, I booked us a table at The Dorchester for afternoon tea today.   Our anniversary isn’t for another week, however, the tea had to be rescheduled to accommodate a certain event taking place at Wembley Stadium next Sunday.

Afternoon tea at The Dorchester is served in The Promenade which was bustling as the staff showed us to our table.   Hubby and I ordered the Champagne Afternoon Tea which was served with a glass of Laurent Perrier each.

Our waitress, Serena introduced herself and took our tea order – there were so many to choose from, but my heart was set on Earl Grey Supreme.   After we were served our champagne, Serena brought over a selection of sandwiches for us to choose from, rather than placing them on our table.  I opted for cucumber, chicken and smoked salmon sandwiches.  Hubby had the same plus one with roast beef.  The sandwiches were delicate.  The chicken sandwich was our favourite.

Another waiter came by 10 minutes later and offered us more sandwiches.  I had the same three again, as did Hubby.  We took our time finishing our sandwiches whilst enjoying the music emanating from the end of The Promenade.  Serena our waitress explained that there were 4 pianists who take turns to play during afternoon tea service, but the pianist whose music we heard today was apparently the best.

Once we were done with sandwiches, we were offered more, to which we declined and asked for the sweet course to be served.   Whilst waiting for our scones, we were presented with a palette cleanser – orange jelly and cream.

A lovely little touch – the jelly was neither tart nor overly sweet.  We both enjoyed this little delight and could have even have a bit more had they offered!

Serena brought over our mini scones – plain and with sultanas.  We were served generous portions of clotted cream, strawberry jam and an apricot/ginger compote.   We both had 2 of each – again, the scones were extremely delicate, and when we were offered more, I just couldn’t say no.   The clotted cream was the obvious favourite, but we both surprisingly enjoyed the compote more than the jam.

Finally,  we moved on to the French pastries.    Serena explained to us the delights on our plate.  Clockwise from left :  Mandarin pastry (almost like a cheesecake), coffee cake, mango and pistachio, chocolate brownie and in the centre is yoghurt and cassis pastry.  My favourite was the mango whilst Hubby enjoyed the coffee cake.  We had another cup of Earl Grey tea but by then we were bursting at the seams.

The service was impeccable and the waiting staff were very friendly and courteous.  Both savoury and sweet dishes were delicate, decadent and portions were extremely generous.  Same place, February 2022, Hubby?

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Afternoon tea at The Montagu

Hubby, my in-laws and I went to The Montagu at the Hyatt Churchill for afternoon tea last Saturday. We ordered the champagne tea for 4.

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The selection of sandwiches were as follows: carrot and cucumber, smoked salmon, ploughman’s, egg, and roast beef.

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The sweet treats were lovely and we were spoilt for choice: passion fruit cream, macaroons, chocolate pudding, tarts and little cakes.

The scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam were served warm after we had eaten the sandwiches.  Unfortunately I was too busy enjoying the scones and forgot to photograph them.

Hubby and I were here for tea about 2 years ago,  and we’ve always compared other afternoon tea visits to the Montagu.  Good food, service and reasonably priced.  Definitely worth another visit.

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