Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lets be British!

(please read the following in the most obnoxiously cheesy British accent you can imagine)

For those of you don't know, this weekend marked Her Majesty the Queen's diamond jubilee. She has ruled for a cracking 60 years. To celebrate the occasion, events have been planned across England for the past four days, including a smashing boat parade down the Thames, a lovely church service, and a brilliant concert in front of the palace.

Miles away in sunny Florida, my family decided to get into the spirit of it all and had our own little tea party in honor of the queen. We sat in front of the telly with our scones, dainty tea sandwiches, and pimm's cups watching the boat parade.

The delightful sandwiches had three different fillings; 1st was turkey, avocado, and boursin cheese, 2nd was a traditional egg mayonnaise, and 3rd was cucumber and laughing cow cheese. All cut into little triangles and tasted delicious!!

For drinks, we made the traditional Pimm's cup. This is an English summer drink which combines Pimm's (a spiced, gin-like liquor), english lemonade, and fruit. For ours, I mixed a cup of Pimm's, 3 cups of ginger ale, and slices of lemon and cucumber. If you do a google search you can find a load of different recipes and things. I suggest you just mixing until you get the taste you want.

Of course I made homemade scones because what English party would be complete without them? I have never made them before and I was a little nervous to be honest. I know how easily they can turn dry and become as hard as rock. My mother referred me to her go to recipe and somehow they turned out perfectly! 

English Scones
from my Mum's old recipe book
12 oz self rising flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
3 oz cold unsalted butter
6 fl oz milk

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl.
2. Add sugar and butter to the flour. Rub butter into the mixture until it resembles fine bread crumbs. To do this literally mix the butter and flour with your hands, rubbing the butter with your figure tips to break it up.
3. Add the milk a little bit at a time, mixing until a dough is formed. You may not need all the milk. You want just enough to form a ball of dough.
4. Dump mixture out on to a lightly floured surface and kneed until smooth.
5. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out until a 1/2 an inch to 3/4 of an inch think. Using a round cut, punch scones out of the dough. Repeat this with the scraps until all the dough is used. Place scones on baking sheet.
6. Brush the tops of scones with milk before placing them into the oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the tops are slightly brown.
7. After cooled fill them with jam and freshly whipped cream or butter or anything you like!

For the centerpiece of our celebrations I made a Victoria Sponge. This is the first cake I ever learned to make and the recipe is about as traditionally English as it get. Its a sponge cake cut in half and filled with jam ( we used raspberry). The top is sprinkled with granulated or powdered sugar. I used powdered and created a Union Jack pattern on top using paper strips of different widths. 

Victoria Sponge 
Instead of a list of ingredients like normal, this is a basic ratio. For the cake above I used a three egg recipe
2 oz self rising flour
2 oz sugar
2 oz butter
1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour your pan.
2. Beat together the butter and sugar until pail and fluffy.
3. Add in each egg, one at a time until incorporated.
4. Add the flour in three different intervals making sure the flour in fully combined.
5. Pour the thick batter into the prepared pans and place in the oven. Bake for 30-40 minute rotating half way through. Remove from oven when toothpick comes out clean after sticking it in the middle. 
(At this point in the process lick the bowl and beaters clean if you so choose to risk salmonella poisoning. I did. and it was delicious)
6. Let the cake cool completely. Slice in half vertically. Remove the top half and spread jam in an even layer across the now exposed half. Place the top back on the cake and sprinkle entire cake with powdered or granulated sugar. 

I hope everyone has had a smashing weekend and I hope these recipes inspire your own British tea party! The london Olympics are coming up and an opening ceremony party would be a great time to break these out!


PS My lovely friend Annelih has started her own little food blog. Her first post is about another dish from across the pond, shepherd's pie! Take a moment and check it out http://comfortincooking.blogspot.com/

1 comment:

  1. looks lovely and yes I love scones too but I have to have clotted cream on them http://www.englishteastore.com/british-store-cream-tea.html just in case for your Olympic Bash. Great cake too and good idea with the stripes. Happy Baking from across the pond!