Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Mother's Day Afternoon Tea

Like last year I thought I'd make La Mama an afternoon tea for Mother's Day this year, as well as a few lovely presents. A model child! I scoured my books to see what I fancied making a few weeks in advance. I'm prone to stressing out and with a few elements to make I needed to be organised! I think it turned out pretty well, it's a great excuse to get my nice cake stand out! I wish we had room so I could keep it out but alas it only comes out on special occasions! Keeps it safe I suppose. It went down extremely well and there were enough leftovers to feed us for a few days - what a shame it meant eating cakes and scones for days!!
My savoury section was a Smoked Mackerel Pate, an adapted recipe from the National Cookbook by Oliver Peyton (review to come next week). The original recipe was a kipper pate which I made and was completely delicious so I decided to make it with mackerel. It's super easy, completely ridiculously easy so I thought it would be a good choice when I had other things to make. Certainly a lot simplier than a ham terrine like I made last year. The recipe is just smoked fish, softened butter (though not half the amount stated - no need if the fish is moist), cayenne pepper, tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and plenty of lemon juice. I will make this pate again and again, delicious. Served on toasted ciabatta with cornichons - the king of all pickles!

The next element was Hazelnut Blondies from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. I made some peanut butter blondies the week before from Eric Lanlard's Home Bake (again, review to come soon) and the result was quite different but both very tasty. I changed the pecans stated to hazelnuts and made only half the amount. They ended up pretty thin but this wasn't a problem. The white chocolate was melted in with the butter so it made the blondies pretty sweet and squidgy which was a nice contrast with the crushed, crunchy hazelnuts. I'd had hazelnut blondies from Marks and Spencer in their Valentine's meal deal this year and they came with some salted caramel so I decided to do the same thing. Really added another dimension to the flavour. I didn't make the caramel - it came in a jar from Marks. It's very tempting just to grab a spoonful of it every time you're in the kitchen!
My rosewater choux buns. These started out in my head as rosewater eclairs with pretty pink icing, things didn't quite go to plan. I knew I had to buy rosewater but I could have sworn we had red food colouring in the house. It was too late when I found out we didn't! Then it turned out we didn't have the right nozzle on the piping bag so I decided to make choux buns instead. Oh well! My icing had rosewater in it, it was a little too liquid but it kept my coloured sugars, heart and glitter on the top so it was fine. I also put rosewater in the whipped cream. It was quite a subtle flavour - I didn't want it to taste like perfume - but it worked well. Not as impressive as I had imagined it but still quite nice. I had to add glitter to something!

I used Raymond Blanc's recipe from his new Kitchen Secrets book. The recipe was great and made lovely choux pastry. They were a little bit greasy but they had a good flavour.

Lastly I made the Brown Sugar and Mascarpone Scones from Lorraine Pascale's Baking Made Easy which I reviewed last week. I was so happy with this scones. They were really light and rose beautifully. They weren't overly sweet as I thought they might be and they were the perfect foil for some jam and cream.

They were simple to make, I did it by hand rather than in a food processor and the mixture was made in about 5 minutes. I have lots of mascarpone left so I think I'll make a pasta dish with the remainder but I think I'll have to start buying mascarpone regularly as these scones were so yummy.
The food was all washed down with some jasmine tea. I love my Celia Birtwell mug, a great find from TK Maxx. Roll on the next afternoon tea! I have many more recipes that can be tried out!

After all those cakes I feel I need this gorgeous domed cake stand in my life. So pretty and an amazing price. A trip to Ikea is now on the cards! I don't actually cook big cakes but that's not the point! If not I could get this mini cake stand instead. Aw!


  1. Lovely tea, nice big sandwiches and scones!

  2. Wow that all looks lovely, your Mum is a very lucky lady! I especially like the scones. And your cake stand! I got one for Christmas that I haven't used yet, can't wait to do a proper afternoon tea.

  3. This looks really nice. I love that cake stand!