Mmmm… The Festive Season

Then when it’s all over, the pleasure of a hot cup of tea and something comforting to have with it!


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That’s definitely the best time for me!   I like to give, pleasurable, yummy treats at Christmas, treats especially home made if possible.

Fruit cake, shortbread, chocolate cookies, some savoury as well,  cheese and chive biscuits, relishes, jams, pickles  and then a lovely variety of different tea blends, some perhaps never tried before to sip and relax and contemplate the days end.

I love the decorative colours of Christmas, the sumptuous reds and golds, greens with red and gold, strong purples, brilliant, sometimes iridescent blues, with the backdrop of gold!   Just Wonderful.

The eye is drawn to beautifully wrapped packages, do you unwrap yours  with excitement, a touch of,  gosh I just need to see what is hidden within!   With the splendour of the wrapping, the colours, once again full of the opulence  of Christmas leads to much more of the need,   to see what lies beneath!

Or do you appreciate the  beautiful, elegant wrapped gift, resplendent with the colours of Christmas and just wish to save  that ribbon, the paper,  the tiny little figure that is attached to the Christmas Greeting!

Yes, either way is perfect,  but the later, can give us  wonderful saved  memories, and also the opportunity to  recycle!   What our eyes have enjoyed prior to opening our wondrous gift, can then give pleasure to someone else while we look on, enjoying the delight  in  their eyes, as they  devour the  recycled splendour, of ribbon and paper!


The colours of Christmas, where did they originate from?

To my mind it must go back to the Biblical Magi,  the Three Wise Men or  Kings,  following the  Mysterious light/ Star and carrying their gifts of  Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh, as gifts to the Infant Child.

The red and green of Christmas, perhaps in the winter months of the Northern Hemisphere, evergreen holly seemed like a  promise of spring and of course the red berries of the holly added to this, it was brought into homes to protect and bring good luck and so became a part of a celebration of the festive season.

The Best of Christmas,  is the Contentment  of a Cup of Tea, the taste  of something Comforting  and  Peacefulness at Days  End!

Michele

Around The Table Memories and the Indian Ocean

The sounds of Childhood and the Love of the Sea

I have lived by the sea all of my life.

My Dad and Mum during the war.  (WWII),  bought a block of land looking down the road to the  beautiful Indian Ocean.

I have always been able to hear the waves rolling in and landing on the beach, a part of my life, a part of my sleep.

The Sea  Landscape was where my Dad and I would walk through the sand dunes,  with the ocean rolling and splashing and dumping, the exhilarating ocean breezes, exploring our  coastline.

Mum would send me off with an apple to munch on.

On one of our adventures, Dad and I  together,  we arrived home minus my two front teeth,  rather  two wobbly teeth that I had been dealing with!

Well hey I was six,  or seven,  and well, I  could’ve actually  swallowed them,  as I enjoyed my apple!  Or did they just drop out as I travelled the beaches!? Goodness knows, but…

I was very concerned in case the tooth fairy wouldn’t find them,  actually wouldn’t  have the stamina to go anywhere near, where they could possibly be found!

But, thank goodness the tooth fairy did still appear and left me some loot!

A lot of money way back then!   Two’  thrupenny bits’.  I guess this equates to  a sixpence!   Mmm… a lot of sweets  to be bought at the corner store with this cash bonus.

Mum and Dad were  continually renovating, growing,  their initial home. They built a patio on top of a beautiful limestone garage  and there we had many amazing times throughout the years of our childhoods, where we sat outside as a family,  or as a party of guests, especially during the warm hot months of summer,  sitting looking out at this amazing Indian Ocean, listening to the roar of the waves rolling and thumping into the sand, receding and landing again and again, the magic sound   of water and sea, .enjoying delicious food,  wonderful cups of tea, laughter,  games, chasing each other around the street, always with the  sound and view of the sea, as our backdrop.

My Mum’s best friend from school, married a keeper of the vines, and had a splendid vineyard in our Swan Valley, so frequently they would arrive, especially in our  summers, to enjoy a day at the beach. Their wonderful old truck would arrive, loaded with children and lots and lots of grapes and rockmelon!   An absolute feast of fruit!

🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶 🎶🎶    Memories are Made of This🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶

Then exhausted;  bed , still to the sound of the sea and the feel of the beautiful late sea breezes, we always  called:

’the Fremantle Doctor ‘

Magical Times

Continuing Family Memories.

Hold tight to  Good Memories and Let Them Grow and Envelope you in  Calmness and  Feelings of,  yes, all can be Okay in this, my world.

 

Michele

Memories Founded on Gatherings Around the Tea Table, Take Two!

 

           Sunday Lunch

 

Sundays

Dad was in charge of shoving us out the door and  into the car and off to Mass, all gloriously clad in the same clothes we wore every Sunday.

What’s that saying,  Sunday Best?

Off  we would go in Dad’s pride and joy,  an FJ  Holden, was it blue?  I have a feeling it was. Dad used to like to perhaps,  every few years update the car, much to Mums horror!   Mum just couldn’t understand why if the car was running well, well,  why not just keep it? She was much more into looking at improving the house !

Much  later when we, the children, had achieved grown up status, Dad had the nerve to say he just might like a Mercedes!

Well that got the huge big No!   And no doubt a big wall of  silence and huffiness continued,  until Dad just laughed it off and life went on!

No need to mention, no Mercedes  ever appeared to take possession of our garage!

Sometimes  it was ten o’clock Mass at Saint  Joseph’s, or if we were running late,  we ended up at the eleven o’clock Mass at the Cathedral in the city. Sometimes Dad just decided that listening to the regular choir at Saint Mary’s  might be nice. Had  we been too boisterous on the Saturday, too naughty,  did we need to be in a place of quietness, of peace?  Oh dear, mmm…. nice to ask him now, ……well, tell me Dad, why!?

Mum did initially join us for our regular Sunday religious events, but after the birth and subsequent illnesses of my younger brother,  that he seemed  very prone to,  she stopped.

Instead she stayed at home and cooked the magnificent,

Australian Sunday Lunch

What  was on the menu, for this magnificent Australian Sunday lunch?

Roast leg of lamb,  of course,  with roast potatoes, pumpkin and peas or beans, both perhaps  and of course homemade gravy, yum!

Yummy apples for our apple pie

 

Followed by home made apple pie and ice cream or delicious whipped cream!

Isn’t freshly whipped cream just the absolute best!

Mum always made her own pastry, stewed her own apples and it was always just delicious. She lost her Mum early, just married I believe, so possibly my Nana, Dad’s Mum,  had a great influence on her cooking abilities and of course my Nana was an amazing cook.

Did I hide my meat under the cushion at this meal?  Definitely not!   So perhaps not quite the hater of meat I presumed I was, maybe just the pan fried variety.

Quite often, especially in winter for tea, after watching the weekend footy roundup, we would toast bread in the lounge room on the fire that  Dad had  chopped the wood for and  then lit  a  glorious blaze for us and  we would have heated Heinz  spaghetti and buttered toast!!

Memories are Made of This’

Seen those beautiful tins of Heinz Spaghetti? Well  that would be tea, sitting and watching the latest news program and hopefully a Sunday night movie.

And of course that lovely brew of tea!

The best way to finish our Sunday lunch and our cosy supper beside the fire, a cup of tea!

 

To the Pleasure of Tea and Memories of Meals around the Table!

 

Michele

 

 

 

Memories founded on Gatherings at the Tea Table

 

 

🎶🎶‘ Memories are Made of This.’🎶🎶

(This is/was a popular song  written by, Terry Gilkyson, Richard Dehr and Frank Miller in 1955.)   Wikipedia.

What do I remember best, what comes to mind immediately?

The Tea Table,   whether it be the kitchen table or the dining room table, it was a place to eat and drink. It’s where I can see my Dad sitting at the head of the table, window behind him, possibly reading the paper, his first cup of tea in front of him, Mum busy behind me, creating, whatever, be it toast, eggs, a pot of tea. We always sat at the table to eat our meals, not something that I bother too much with these days, although my sister does, it’s funny what we take away with us isn’t it, what’s important to me, may not be important to another sibling and visa versa.

I  remember…

Food plays such an enormous part in our memories, doesn’t it?

I feel,  as I remember a dish,   I also remember a memory…

I was a skinny little Tom Boy,  goodness,  those were the days, I also seemed to hate meat!  Mum, was a two vege and meat kinda girl, so each evening, her family would receive, meat and vege.  Each Friday,  of course being the good Catholics that we were, we would have fish, also with two vege?  Mmm.. not sure here, would’ve been nice to have chips!  Mum would buy the fish and egg and  flour it,  no breadcrumbs and  would only fry it,  after presenting the cat, elevated to top taster, a titbit  and if the cat, didn’t  fall of the chair, paws to the sky we had our serve of Friday fish for tea!  Occasionally, Dad would bring  home, fish and chips,  wrapped up in newspaper stained with the seepage of oil !

Mmm… yum!

Well, I was such a hater of meat,  that I would shove it under the cushion of my chair! We had these lovely wooden chairs and just a cushion to fit plonked on top!   Do you remember the kind!.

Well there it sat, the meat,  until Mum got rid of it!   No retribution  towards me, amazing!   Maybe the cat ate well,  because of me!

Well, there is one memory!

It’s special, because I can see me, sitting around that table, I can see Mum serving us our tea and dear Dad, at the head of the table. My siblings are a little fuzzy, mmm… why?  Not sure why, perhaps I was too focused on  getting that meat under my cushion!

Where is memory two!

I’m still thinking about memory one!  But much more to come!

Well,

To the Pleasure of Loving,  Sharing and Remembering!

 

Michele

 

 

 

Let’s Have Pumpkin Soup

 

Pumpkin Soup

I love this recipe and I used to make it all the time and I still do!

Well we have lots of pumpkins to carve for Halloween, so now to use up that scrumptious pumpkin flesh!

Those big beautiful pumpkins orange and gorgeous are amazing, but I have carved pumpkin faces from just those lovely grey ones and well, once hollow and lit from the inside they just as effective, with the beautiful orange glow coming from the inside!

Pumpkin Soup

Any kind of pumpkin is great, quite often I use Butternut  pumpkin, perhaps Kent or Jap  pumpkin. The flesh needs to be a vibrant/rich  orange, because this will  then be the  colour of your soup.

1.5 /2 kilos/ 3 to 4 pounds:  Pumpkin

3  large                                      :    Potatoes

2 litres                                        :   Chicken Stock or if you prefer, Vegetable Stock

Vegetables  need to covered with liquid prior to cooking on the stove top, I always have a tin of powdered  chicken stock in my cupboard, so I cover vegetable with water, then add three tablespoons of chicken stock  to pot.

1  large                                      :    Brown  Onion

2                                                   :    Eggs and a little milk

Handful of chives for garnishing.

Pepper  and Salt                    :    To taste

Peel and slice pumpkin and potatoes into similar sized pieces, place in pot, cover with water, add chicken stock.

Add  sliced onion.

Add perhaps pepper at this stage, chicken stock of course is salty and at the end taste and adjust the seasoning.

Allow  to cook until soft, remove from heat, (the liquid is part of your delish soup, with yummy flavours of stock  and onion, do not drain), mash with your blender, you should have a lovely mixture of pumpkin soup. To add creaminess, here is where we add the eggs, just allow vegetables to cool a little, if added to soon, the eggs will cook too quickly, (we want them to blend easily and add richness to our soup), crack the eggs into pot and  then blend straight away, add a little milk and there you go a beautiful pot of creamy thick soup.

When serving, (although I tend to add at the end of my cooking), add the cut up chives. The lovely orange colour of the soup plus the green of the chives on top, just adds more to the appeal and taste of your pumpkin soup!

I add  straight after cooking, I do this because my son just grabs a bowl of soup straight from the fridge and heats. The added chives don’t need to be added, and they do just sort of  stay/ float on the top!

Enjoy!

 

Michele

 

 

 

 

 

Halloween: The History behind Trick or Treat.

Halloween, pumpkins and tea and cake

 

Halloween

Halloween, also known as;

Allhaloween,      All Hallows’ Eve,     or All Saints Eve.

It is believed it came out of Celtic Times in Celtic speaking countries and may have, possibly had, pagan roots.

Celtic Harvest festivals were/are, observed in  several countries across the world on October 31st of each year. This year October 31st falls on a Thursday.  It is the Eve of the Western Christian feast,  All Hallows’ Day.

A day dedicated to remembering the dead. 

In Folklore,  it is an event that signifies, a thinning  of the worlds between the dead and the living, where the dead may come back to earth, their one day a year, where they may seek retribution for deeds done against them when living, before  they move  on to their celestial world.  Many on this night,  place another chair at the table or the fire to welcome lost family  members etc.

Big Bonfires,  were very popular on this night as it was believed  the heat and the blaze would  stop the dead souls from falling to earth, later they were used to keep the devil away.

The end of October,  in the Northern Hemisphere always signified the last of the summer and the the months of  cold and darker days. The collection of the harvests and thoughts turn to surviving the winter and appeasing the dead  on this eve, so good fortune would follow them and keep them safe. It was a time to make soul cakes  and give to those that came to your door. They would then offer prayers  for you to keep you safe. Those that came may say poetry and would dress in costume with hidden faces, just in case the marauding spirits may recognise them as someone who had maligned them when they walked the earth.

Soul Cakes, are a mixture tasting  between a biscuit and a scone, full of currents and when cut into rounds a cross is indented on the top. I shall add a recipe to my recipe section when I find the most perfect one!  Although from what I have read, other cakes/biscuits  were baked and offered to the beggars, travellers, all contained grain, significant of the end of harvest time.

I have found a website called:    lavenderandlovage.com

Karen Burns -Booth.   I first met her when she was a contributor to a beautiful French online magazine called: ‘The Good Life France’.

A totally FREE magazine with quarterly  presented magazines, that follow the seasons of the year.

Karen has a great recipe for Soul Cakes, from the recipe book:

Cattern, cakes and lace. This book contains the festivals, feast days and recipes associated with the  histories of these special celebrated days, plus so much more.


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In many parts of the world,  there are Christian religious gatherings on All Hallows’ Eve, where people gather to pray for the dead and light candles. they attend church services and place lighted candles on graves, but elsewhere in the world it has become more commercial and a fun thing to do, to dress up and go ‘trick or treating’.

Trick or Treat

From the beginnings  of the pagan traditions, Trick or Treat, in many countries, is now  a fun event, where children dress up and visit the neighbourhood, a  Halloween tradition, performed on the 31st, October each year.

Children and adults dress in costume and travel from house to house asking for treats, trick or treat. Trick these days can refer to some attempt at hopefully, harmless mischief.

In Britain and Ireland the tradition goes back to the 16th century.

As well as dressing in costume, reciting poems, receiving food  or even money there were warnings of misfortune if they were not welcomed.

It has become a very commercialised event with the purchase of costumes and paraphernalia,  all pertaining to ghouls and ghosts, witches,  perhaps a few good fairies and a few good witches all dressed in white,  carrying a beautiful wand!  ( goodness, my imagination runs away with me!)  Well let’s hope so!

 

Why Pumpkins?

Well going back in History it looks like people would use a turnip, with eyes and gruesome mouth cut out, to scare away the dead souls or/the devil. So I guess a pumpkin is pretty good and so much bigger, so ‘a jack o lantern’ came into being!   Also it is symbolic of fall isn’t it in the Northern  Hemisphere, the oranges and browns, the glorious colours of the trees as they change from greens to pinks, reds, browns, the  colours of the colder months.


Let’s try a brew of Pumpkin  Tea!


 

While enjoying our cup of pumpkin Tea, perhaps a little Artistic Flair is worth a try! Why not!.

To the Pleasure of a Cup of warming Spiced  Pumpkin  black Tea and a Soul Cake!

 

Michele

References: Wikipedia.

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The Meaning of Ambience

Mmm.. delightful!

 

A nice word, ‘Ambience’, what does it mean?

Ambience is another word for atmosphere, the sense of mood a place or a setting has.  For example, if  a  restaurant has soft lighting and peaceful music, it has a pleasant, soothing,  ambience.

Ambience!?  Mmm… Sounds  French, well yes it is.

But here we need to look at the spelling, do we spell this word as ambiance or ambience?  Ambiance is  from the French spelling of word and Ambience is the English derivative and both words mean the same. In English speaking countries eg. Australia,  United Kingdom, the spelling,  Ambience is more common.  Each spelling is the alternative  spelling of a word  meaning the same.  So in my post I shall continue to use the spelling, Ambience.

What creates Ambience? 

Well,   the  ambience  of a place  can impact on all our senses.

It captures all our senses!

 Sight,   visual delights, soft lighting, or luscious opulent lighting, splendid  glistening tableware, flowers etc.

Smell,   fragrances , from the flowers, the infusers, the scented candles.

Hear,   soft  music,  jazzy music,  what mood are you trying to create.

Taste,   the pleasure of eating, flavour, texture.

Feel,  the fine china or a glass, cutlery, on your fingertips, the rustle of material, the texture of fine linen.

 All of  our senses pick up on the atmosphere, the  surroundings,……the ‘ambience’!

Shall  we create an ambient occasion. Something that may look just thrown together on a whim, but perhaps has taken thought and creativity to put together.

A picnic beside a lake, or a pond, or a river. The shade of trees, dappled light, flowers blooming, soft green grass, the sound of birds.

Mother Nature  has provided  us  with the perfect ambience!

Lets throw down a colourful blanket/ quilt, a basket of fruit,  apples, pears, grapes and strawberries, a platter of cheeses, cold meats, olives, salad,  a  crusty loaf  of  bread and  a bottle of wine.

Mmm perfect.

Enjoy,  under the shade of a tree. Listening to the trickle of water with the warmth of the sun on our backs, warming our body and soul.

Mmm….A shady tree!

To the Pleasure of life and finding Ambience  all around us!

 

Michele

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Need a cake stand

Beautiful Cake for a Beautiful Cake Stand!

Yes Definitely!

To display all those scrumptious delicacies, for the presentation, of course, but also  the practical need to use all available table space, effectively and spectacularly!

Single cake stands. Tiered cake stands, wonderful!

And not just for our yummy cakes, cake stands can be used for fruits,  sandwiches, candles and for all occasions and themes, a high tea, a garden party, a wedding, a  special lunch!

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A cake stand to display, little pumpkins for the Fall, for Halloween. The colours of Autumn  in the Northern Hemisphere, and in the Southern Hemisphere,  the colours of Spring, the celebration of renewal.



Struggling to find that special cake stand, perhaps a special colour scheme,  you would like to incorporate into your celebrations.?

While searching for wonderful and different cake stands, I also found the hardware used to create these gorgeous tiers, that separate the plates.

Well a thought came to mind, do you have odd plates at home, perhaps in your favourite pattern or favourite colour, perhaps a visit to an Op Shop may uncover some beautiful old plates. Imagine….

A blue and gold dinner plate,  I love the richness of colour,  a glorious  deep,  rich, blue,  edged in gold,   ( oh dear,  there I go!)   and matching side plate, or just keeping with the colours of blues, deep, midnight, sea or sky blue,   followed by a cup or saucer, or just a smaller plate than your middle choice, with similar shades of blue, perhaps with flowers or stripes, or…mmm… wonderful!

How can we then make our own tiered cake stands? Need a drill, with a special drill bit for china,  otherwise you will end up with a smashed piece of china! A hole in the middle of each piece of china,  then use gold/silver hardware bits and  wonderful, there you have it!  Your own specially created colour/themed tiered cake stand, hand made by you!


Well not too clever looking for drill sets, but I do know you need a diamond drill bit to cut through china, cleanly, leaving a lovely little round hole for your tier hardware!  Also another cake stand popped up on my search and of course Waterford Crystal !  So included.

Now for some delicious, delectable morsels to put on our gorgeous cake stands!


To the Pleasure and Love of Tea,   the Gathering and Enjoyment of Creating a Special Occasion/  a Celebration of Living, Enjoying and Being!

Michele

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Let’s have Afternoon Tea!

 

 

It’s always lovely  to catch up with family, friends, neighbours,  just  to make a special time,  or a casual time,  to reconnect, enjoy and relax.


A cup of tea, sandwiches, pastries and cakes,  a time to sip, eat, enjoy,  then after, perhaps walking in the garden,  by the river,  by the sea,  in a beautiful field or under an apple tree, in an orchard,  somewhere, anywhere!

A magical escape, a time to laugh,  feel,  believe that life is,  can be,  will be extraordinarily,  great!

Enjoy and remember these precious moments and remember them in times when, wow, did I just have an exceptionally bad day!!   Most definitely!   Then remember and plan that next afternoon tea,  that next afternoon getaway!  So important to break the  chain that  seems to lock us into the  humdrum of our lives. What is the alternative of ‘humdrum’?

Well, what is ‘humdrum’ !?      Boredom , lack of interest,  ordinary.

We need to escape the humdrum,  so a change is required, small at first,   always good and room to grow and   of course, think big , think  exceptionally large!

Well why not?!

The scene is set, what shall we have for afternoon tea!?

Some yummy delights to eat and Something stylish to transport our afternoon tea in and most definitely a  comfortable  water resistant Picnic blanket to relax on.   To complete our wonderful setting a Collapsible Picnic Table and some   Collapsible folding chairs. Why , well  we need  easy to transport and  light weight,  so easy to take and carry to our destination!

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(Most important for those  who  don’t wish to, or  maybe just can’t,  throw themselves down on that glorious blanket!)

Mmmmm… Done!       Now for our Afternoon Tea!

mmmmmm…. Our  Menu.

No matter whether casual or elegant we do need a menu of sorts!

I am thinking:

Savoury 

Salmon Pate with dry crackers on the side.

Finger Sandwiches:

Three fillings:

Curried  egg with mayonaise and lettuce.

     Cucumber with dill and  mayonnaise  

    Smoked Ham and  seeded mustard 

Lets  mix up those breads;  rye would be perfect with all three fillings, also mixed grain and white bread,  all delicious  and then,  well, mix it up!   Put white on one side and mixed grain on the other,  rye bread on one and mixed grain on the other!

Yum!   Different textures  of bread with the  filling in one bite!

Now to finish with some delectable sweetness!

Is it difficult to Transport a wonderful rich tasting, but delightfully refreshing delicious cheesecake perhaps, to our outdoors afternoon tea,  or should we opt for a substantial cake, full of fruit, or perhaps a ginger bread  cake,  a banana cake and then include some scrumptious  biscuits, home made of course,  to dip into our  freshly brewed cup of tea!

Mmmmm…., need a  contented sleep under the dappled sunlight of that glorious tree,  after these delectable delights!

Mmm….A shady tree!

 

Well, I have a lot of recipes to find for you and  I shall delight in foraging amongst my recipe books,  the salmon pate, (or was it a mousse), well, I used to make it  when we had dinner parties, oh dear, so many moons ago , hope I can rediscover it.   Mmmmm …I might just forget to resurface!

Well I have found my recipe for salmon pate and salmon mousse in the same recipe book, yay!   I have these recipe books, they must be at least 40 years old, my copies anyway. We have an Iconic magazine in Australia, it’s called;

The Australian Women’s Weekly

It started its iconic journey in 1933 by a very famous Australian  name, Frank Packer, it used to be a weekly magazine but became and still is a monthly event. The magazine  later produced  soft cover A4  page cook books and I think I just had to have everyone! The one that has my salmon pate recipe in it is;

The Australian Women’s Weekly  Dinner Party Cookbook No 2.

All the recipes that are published, come from the Test  Kitchens of The Australian Woman’s Weekly and  are thrice tested!  Wonderful!  The books are glossy and with lots of pictures of completed recipes so I knew/know how my  cooking efforts should hopefully look on completion! Love those pictures!

The recipe:      Smoked Salmon Pate

This yummy pate will just  complement our choice of fillings in our sandwiches, listed above, what better than  mixing egg and cucumber and ham with mayo and curry flavours with the  delightful smoked salmon flavour of our pate!

4oz (125grams)                   Smoked salmon

1oz ( 30 grams)                    Melted  Butter

2 teaspoons of oil               Perhaps vegetable or really whatever you have to               hand,  I normally do have vegetable or/ and olive oil in my pantry.

1 tablespoon  lemon juice

1/4 cup of cream

1/2 teaspoon French mustard

2  shallots chopped finely

sprinkle of salt and pepper

In food processor or blender, place roughly chopped smoked salmon, add melted butter and mix until combined. Add lemon and oil and blend until smooth, then add cream and mustard, salt and pepper to taste, then fold in chopped shallots and spoon mixture into two  Little pots and refrigerate to cool and set, already for our, Afternoon Tea!

Well I have now researched and found some of these wonderful  Women’s Weekly cook books and perhaps I should cherish mine a little bit better than I do, anyway have a look.


 Here are some more wonderful,  beautiful books to inspire us, to bake, enjoy and hey, just to show off our prowess in the kitchen!!



My Nanna, my Dad’s Mum, was an amazing cook and I inherited a shoe box, filled with hand written recipes, cut outs, from magazines and newspapers, it is old and smells of Nanna’s house, mmm… lovely!

My Nanna’s shoe box!

I found her recipe for her Christmas cake,  just a cutout from some long ago newspaper, well there are little holes in this recipe obliterating some of the recipe!  Oh dear, but obviously a fabulous recipe made again and again and again for all of her precious family to enjoy and we all just loved it!  Can I piece this together, just by trying to figure out and testing what has been lost!.

mmmm…. well we shall see!

And my Nana, how old?     Well my Dad was born in 1912, the fourth of five, the first born died, very young, a babe.   Dad was then the third of the living siblings.  My  Nana was amazing and at her table, I first tasted cream puffs filled with freshly beaten cream and sprinkled with icing sugar,  I must have been all of ten!  She was well before her time in Australia!

And born when,? Well  I shall have to ask my sister, why do your older sisters know so much more!.

Well, more recipes for our wonderful Afternoon Tea under that glorious shady tree!

Let’s try and find that cake recipe that  just satisfies  the desire for a little sweetness.  I love this English Magazine, ‘Landscape’,   I find it full of inspiring stories,  visual delights, recipes, craft ideas.     Mmmmm…. so much!  This recipe is from their website:

www.landscapemagazine.co.uk

Pear and Blackberry Cake

Serves 6-8
2 small firm, ripe pears
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 piece stem ginger,
finely chopped
150g softened butter
150g light muscovado sugar
3 free-range eggs
200g self-raising flour
150g blackberries
icing sugar to dust

Peel, core and dice the pears. Toss in the lemon juice and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition, adding 1tbsp of flour with the last egg. Sift the remaining flour into the bowl and fold in. Add the diced pears and sliced ginger and fold in.
Spoon into a greased 20cm-deep round cake tin and level the top. Arrange the blackberries on top of the cake and gently push a little way into the batter. Bake at 180ºC/gas mark 4 for 50–60min or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the tin for 5min. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely and serve cold, dusted with icing sugar

A Biscuit! 

For Dunking?  No not really,  I have this recipe and have made it and these biscuits are just  Yum!!   and would I dunk?  perhaps not,  would I  have a bite of biscuit and a sip of tea!     Mmm… yes!!   Definitely yes and  Yum!

This recipe comes from Ina Garten, this absolutely amazing woman, who actually happens to be the most amazing, cook, chef and  home maker!  Ages ago and I actually mean years!  I made her ‘Thumb  Print Biscuits’, and then  lost  recipe, so I emailed her, and/or her support, asking for  her recipe.

Well they were absolutely delighted  to forward recipe to me, well there you go, an exceptionally wonderful, giving  person!

Thumbprint Jam Biscuits.

Ina Garten

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
Raspberry and/or apricot jam
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough into 1-1/4 inch balls. (If you have a scale, they should each weigh 1 ounce.) Dip each ball into the egg wash and then roll it in coconut. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger. Drop 1/4 teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the coconut is a golden brown. Cool and serve.

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To the Pleasure of Tea and an Extravagant Affair on a Shady Patch  of Grass!

Michele

 

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A Cake to have with Tea

Banana Cake

This was a recipe I found when my children were little and I made it so often, the memory of this recipe comes, easily to my mind.

It was a cake enjoyed over many cups of tea,  for me alone, or with my family and again with friends. It was a cake I made and took to family happenings, or just making,  to give to my Mum and Dad, for them to have and enjoy with their cups of tea.

Ingredients:

3 medium sized over ripe bananas. ( these give delicious flavour and moisture to the cake).   Nicely mashed.

3 eggs.

1 teaspoon of vanilla paste.

150grams of butter.

1 cup of sugar.

3 cups of self raising flour.    ( nicely sifted by you).

Add a little milk if needed, mixture too sticky? But shouldn’t be, not after adding yummy bananas.

 

Method:

Blend together in electric mixing bowl, butter and sugar, until nice and creamy, then add eggs, one at a time, if starts to curdle,  just add a little of the self raising flour, continue to add eggs.

Add vanilla paste to mixture.

Add mashed bananas.

Add SR flour,  gently blend in with spatula.

Should  be a wonderful full bowl of creamy, banana smelling cake mixture.

I use a bundt cake tin, buttered and lightly covered in a little flour  and sugar to prevent sticking.

Bake at 180 centigrade for roughly 45 /.50minutes, it is normally cooked when slightly brown on top and just slightly coming away from sides of cake tin. Use a skewer, to test if cake cooked, if comes out clean, good to go!

Let cool slightly  and then tip out onto cake plate.

Icing.

Just  topping with cinnamon sugar, while still warm,  is just  wonderful, but for special occasions,  make a frothy butter icing, butter and icing sugar and a little vanilla essence/ paste, love that real vanilla taste,  decorate cake and finish off with a little cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top.  (Frothy? Well beaten, so nice and creamy).

Enjoy with a cup of Tea!

 

Michele