A great new cookbook’s just been published; The Perfect Afternoon Tea Recipe Book. It’s the sort of reference book that you will keep forever – it even has step-by-step photos of many recipes. This one, delicious, volume contains everything you need to know about and serve the best afternoon tea. And what better time to rustle up some teatime delicacies than this Easter weekend, or one of the other bank holidays we will be enjoying soon. And with the weather improving, you could even host an al fresco tea party In your garden or one of our parks.
Savouries include sandwiches, quiches, sausage rolls, little pies, and other tasty nibbles. There are teabreads, biscuits, bars, meringues, celebration cakes and lots, lots more. Teatime etiquette, traditions, how to prepare and serve the perfect cuppa are all included. Antony Wild, one of the co-authors, was buying director for a famous tea company so certainly knows his leaves. Carol Pastor is a well-known cookery writer with a special interest in patisserie and the author of many books.
Here are a couple of recipes: Chunky chocolate & banana cupcakes that will be perfect for a Bank Holiday baking session and also Oven-baked potato cakes – both of which sound scrumptious!
Chunky chocolate & banana cupcakes Luxurious and moist but not overly sweet, these cakes are simple and quick to make for afternoon tea. They taste best if served while still warm when the chocolate is soft and gooey. The cakes will keep for a couple of days. Recipe makes 12
90ml/6 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
150g/5oz butter, melted
225g/8oz plain flour
5ml/1 tsp baking powder
150g/5oz golden caster sugar
150g/5oz plain chocolate, cut into chunks
2 small bananas, mashed
Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/ Gas 6. Arrange 12 paper cases in a muffin tin.
In a small bowl, whisk the milk, eggs and melted butter together until combined.
Sift together the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl. Add the sugar, chocolate, and bananas to the flour mixture.
Stir gently to combine, gradually stirring in the milk and egg mixture, but do not beat it. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases.
Bake for about 20 minutes until the cakes are risen and golden.
Allow to stand for 5 minutes, then turn out and leave to cool on a wire rack.
Cook’s tip: Choose bananas that are fully ripe and can be mashed easily
Oven-baked potato cakes Potato cakes come in a variety of forms, but they’re all at their best if made with freshly cooked potatoes, preferably while still warm. Serve fresh from the oven, split open and buttered. Makes about 12
225g/8oz self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
2.5ml/½ tsp baking powder
50g/2oz butter, diced
pinch of salt
175g/6oz mashed potato
15ml/1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
200ml/7fl oz buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7 and lightly grease a baking tray with butter.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and rub in the butter. Season with salt.
Add the mashed potato and chives. Mix well, and then incorporate enough buttermilk to make a soft dough. Turn on to a floured work surface, knead lightly into shape then quickly roll out.
Cut the dough into squares with a sharp floured knife or stamp out into rounds with a 5cm/2in cutter.
Place the squares or rounds on the greased baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until well risen, golden brown and crisp. Remove to a wire rack to cool slightly, then serve warm.