THE PURPLE PUMPKIN BLOG AND 50 AFTERNOON TEA RECIPES…

The Purple Pumpkin Blog is a blog written by Michelle from London. Her blog is full of photographs, recipes, printables, seasonal inspiration, crafts and lots more.

Amongst her amazing array of recipes, I came across her 50 Afternoon Tea Recipes which caught my eye with the amazing picture above.

She starts off with a list of ten sandwiches explaining along the way the etiquette involved in a proper English afternoon tea. ” Cutting the crusts off is a must; cut into finger lengths or triangles. Dainty rolls are great to use, and turn flat breads into pinwheels for something different.”

Next is cupcakes and muffins which she says are “All the taste of a big cake, but in a perfect one-person portion.” and gives you a choice of six recipes to try from.

Sweet and savoury tarts are next on Michelle’s list with six recipes to choose from and her tip to “buy ready-made pastry to cut down on preparation time.”

Next is biscuits with five recipes to choose from another tip from Michelle is  “Instead of opening a packet, make a tray of them instead. Decorate plain sugar cookies any way you like.”

Not forgetting the gluten and dairy free recipes. Michelle has included three free from recipes so you don’t forget the guests with food intolerances.

There is a choice of 12 recipes for Cakes and Bakes which she suggests you “display on a pretty platter; pre-cut for portion control, or throw caution to the wind, and let guests cut a slice as big as they like!”

A choice of 3 scones is accompanied with a note to “not forget the clotted cream and jam for the sweet scones. Cream cheese for the savoury?”

Finally, pastries and patisserie finish her list with five to choose from in this category and a little note to anyone who wants to try them that “these recipes might require a bit more skill, but the end results are worth it.”

 

AMAZING APPS FOR COELIACS AND GLUTEN FREE SUFFERERS…

Coeliac in the City has some of the best mobile apps to give you the edge and make living gluten-free life to the full easier!

  • Seriously Good Gluten Free Living – Phil Vickery
    Free, Available on iPhone & iPad, (Lifestyle App) 3*s/ 5*s App Store
    Content: 50 Gluten Free recipes
    Review: useful for new Coeliacs & those looking for food inspiration
  • The Coeliac Society of Australia Ingredient List – Coeliac Australia
    Paid £5.49, Available on iPhone, iTouch & iPad, (Health & Fitness App) No rating
    Content: 800 ingredients & 300 Additives for foods within Australia & New Zealand Review: A little pricey for an app yet the money helps support the Coeliac Society
  • Gluten Free Restaurant Travel Cards – CeliacTravel.Com
    Free, Available on iPhone & iPad, (Health & Fitness App) 3*s/ 5*s App Store
    Content: Celiac Restaurant Cards in 40 languages  to explain Gluten Free diet
    Review: If you get one App get this, useful to explain GF needs abroad & at home
  • Coeliac Map, Gluten Free, UK & WorldWide
    Free, Available on Android Market, (Lifestyle) 4*s/ 5*s Market Place
    Content: User Submitted reviews of where to eat & drink in UK & beyond
    Review: Great for on the go advice especially as tips are from other Coeliacs
  • Taste Card UK
    Free, Available on Android & Apple App Store (Lifestyle), 3*s/ 5*s Market Place
    Content: 5000+ restaurant offers!
    Review: Great for offers & discounts on restaurants if you are a Taste Card Member
  • Poynt
    Free, Available on BlackBerry & Android
    Content: Information on restaurants, businesses, movies & weather near you
    Review: A useful free app to locate your nearest Gluten Free restaurant chain

 

LESSONS ON AFTERNOON TEA A GIFT FOR CHRISTMAS…

If you have never enjoyed an afternoon tea, or if your an enthusiastic lover of afternoon teas then I’m sure one of the course from the company English Afternoon Tea,’ will be suitable for you.

They specialise in traditional afternoon tea courses and you learn in a friendly, informal environment and the courses are designed to introduce you to the world of afternoon tea.

They offer one-to-one tuition, covering baking through to the social history of tea. Course varies from one to five days. The courses, which take place in Sandgate, Kent offer are One-Day Gluten-Free Baking Course, One-Day Cream Tea Course, One-Day Brief History of Afternoon Tea with Baking, One-Day Academic Course and a Five-Day English Afternoon Tea course with a tea party.

 

8 TIPS ON HOW TO MAKE THE BEST CAKE TEXTURE…

We all try to make our cakes taste delicious but at the same time it’s important to have the right texture to your cake. Some tips I have found to help you make the best cake texture are –

  1. Add 2 tablespoons of salad oil to your cake mixture, as this can keep the mixture moist and less crumbly.

2. Try using buttermilk instead of milk as it gives a better texture to your        cake. For every 250ml of buttermilk used add half a teaspoon of baking soda.

3. If you weigh four whole eggs in their shells, then whatever the weight is,  that’s how much each of flour, sugar and butter you should add. This will  ensure an delicious cake every time.

4. Measure all your ingredients accurately.

 5. Avoid over mixing as it can cause a heavy texture, beat the mixture until it  is just smooth.

6. Bake your cake immediately once mixed as the baking powder begins to  act as soon as its combined with liquid.

7. Leave scones for a minute before you pop them into the oven as resting  them allow the baking powder to become active.

8. Never open the oven for at least the first half of the baking time as the cold  air will interfere with the rising of the cake.

7 TIPS ON USING YOUR OVEN TO BAKE A CAKE…

  1. If you don’t have a skewer or something similar to check your cake try using a piece of dried spaghetti instead.
  2. Before putting your cake mixture into the oven, tap the cake tin on a counter to release any large air bubbles in the mixture.
  3. Never open the oven door in the first half hour of baking as the cold air will interfere with the rising of your cake.
  4. For a moister fruit cake in electric ovens or Aga’s, place a dish of water on the floor of the oven when baking.
  5. ‘Always’ turn Your oven on before you start, to ensure it is the correct temperature.
  6. Avoid opening the oven door to often as this reduces the temperature of your oven and can then cause the cake to sink.
  7. Do not overcrowd your oven, the pans should never touch each other, or be placed over or under each other.

THIEVES BREW(BEV’S TEA CO) AND PISTACHIO SCONES…

I have written before that I receive the Tea Tourist tea box’s which come with a surprise selection of loose teas from some of the hottest artisan tea companies each month. They are sent in taster size portions for you to try. In this month’s box I had yet another amazing selection to try from and after sampling the Thieves Brew from Bev’s Tea Company, I decided to try and bake with it as well. I turned out rather tasty to say the least.

THIEVES BREW AND PISTACHIO SCONES…

Makes 14 to 16 scones

Working time: 35 mins
Resting time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Baking time: 20 minutes

1 teaspoon Thieves Brew Tea (By Bev’s Tea) seeped in 100g/3.5oz of boiled water for 3-4 mins
250g sultanas
160g  milk
150g unsalted butter
600g plain flour
30g baking powder
150g caster sugar
160g double cream
75g crushed pistachios
1 egg
Pinch of salt

Method

  1. Seep the tea in the water for 3-4 mins.
  2. Add the sultanas and leave to infuse for two hours.
  3. Place the milk in a pan and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat and leave to cool.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  5. Rub the butter into the flour. Add the baking powder and sugar. Stir in the cream and milk. Drain the sultanas from the tea infusion and add them and the pistachios to the bowl and stir into the mix until you get a soft dough.
  6. Dust with a little flour and rest the dough for half an hour. Roll it out to 3cm thick and cut out your scones.
  7. Place the scones onto a tray.
  8. Beat the egg in a cup with a pinch of salt and use to glaze the top of the scones.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Leave to cool.

 

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE 60’s CAKES RECIPE…

I was clearing out some of my books recently and came across my GCSE Cookery Book. It all came flooding back when I started looking through my recipes but one that stood out from the others was Rock Buns which I seemed to bake whenever I could. I even had some old photos of the first ones I made. You don’t hear of them nowadays but I thought I would share the old style recipe with you, in old style measurements. Enjoy …

Rock Buns

Ingredients

6oz Flour, 2-3oz Margarine, 2oz Currants or sultanas, 2-3oz Caster Surgar, 1 small tsp baking powder, 1/2 oz candied peel (chopped)1 egg and milk, 1/4 tsp mixed spice.

Method

Wash and dry the currants or sultanas. Rub the fat into the flour, and add the dry ingredients. Mix with a knife or fork to a stiff paste with beaten egg and milk. Put small heaps onto a greased baking sheet and bake in a hot oven for about 15 mins.

I love the way I haven’t even put ‘preheat’ the oven nor the oven temperature. Baking was sooooo much more laid back in those days.

 

APPLE AND CLOTTED CREAM LOAF CAKE RECIPE…

As I am sure you know by now that I have a love of loaf cakes. I find them a perfect size for just the two of us and most like the recipe below from Woman & Home and easy to bake. We had this at the weekend and it was delicious.

APPLE AND CLOTTED CREAM LOAF CAKE…

Ingredients

5 small bramley apples (peeled and cored) 1 tsp lemon juice 300g plain flour 1 ½ tsp baking powder ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda 200g softened unsalted butter or margarine 175g caster sugar 3 large eggs ( lightly beaten) 1 tsp vanilla extract 150g clotted cream 3 tbsp apricot jam

Method

Line or grease a 2lb loaf tin Preheat oven to 170C/Gas 3

Thinly slice enough apple to cover the top of the cake Pop in the lemon juice

Chop remaining apples and heat in a heavy based saucepan with 1 tbsp water for 5 mins until soft.

Leave to cool. Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt In a separate bowl beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy.

Gradually beat in the eggs and vanilla extract until all combined.

Fold in the sifted flour mixture and when almost combined add the cooked apple and clotted cream and mix well.

Pour into the tin and level Arrange the other apple slices evenly on top of the cake Bake for 1 hour 10 mins or until cooked through.

After cake has cooled, heat jam in a small saucepan and brush over the top.