Exploring, sipping & delighting in all things tea.
Just put the kettle on. One lump or two?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Time for Tea and Cake and Cake with Tea *Tea & Bakes Guest Post*

The summer's warm air brings a different kind of pleasure in drinking a cuppa. Gone is the excuse of needing to warm up, to feel cosy or waking up before sunrise.

Drinking tea in summer can be a wonderfully dainty experience, with beautiful tea cups and pots in the garden, accessorised with cucumber sandwiches, Lady Grey and cupcakes.

Now cupcakes are something I can do. I mean as well as being fabulous at scoffing them with hardly any crumbs left on the carpet, (an art I've been perfecting since childhood) since running my Rather Darling Cupcakes business I've come up with a few seasonal recipes that are perfect for a summers afternoon.

The recipe I've shared here is my own, from discovering how tasty tea flavoured cakes are it has evolved into a fruity tea infused little mouthful, perfect for scoffing with a pot and tea cup and maybe a saucer if you're feeling fancy...

Lady Grey and raspberry cupcakes with raspberry cream cheese frosting

175g Butter
150g Caster sugar
20g Light brown sugar
175g Self raising flour
2 Eggs
Zest of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. Orange juice
1 Lady Grey tea bag
1/4 Punnet of Raspberries


200g of full fat cream cheese
70g of good quality butter
140g of icing sugar (approx)
2/3 raspberries

Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees/gas mark 4 and line a baking tray with 12 cupcake cases.

Cream together the butter and both sugars until well blended.
Gradually add the flour and eggs.
Open the tea bag and empty the contents into the mix, use the empty bag to make an origami frog.
Add lemon zest and orange juice and give it a good mix until everything is well incorporated.
Add raspberries and fold them in with some care, the aim is to have some of the raspberries well mixed and some left almost whole.

Fill cases 2/3 full.
Lick the bowl.
Put them in the oven for about 20 mins, depending on your oven, to test if they are done gently push the centre of the cupcake, if it springs up straight away they are done.

While they are cooling, get the frosting ready...

Beat the butter like your life depended on it-it should be very pale and full of air by the time you are finished with it.

Add icing sugar gradually-in the recipe I have said aprrox as it’s up to you how soft or stiff you would like it-I always pipe my frosting so usually end up adding a bit more icing sugar.

Fold in raspberries until disintegrated.

Fold in cream cheese gently.

Taste it-if you want more raspberries add them.

Pipe or dollop frosting on top of cooled cupcakes.

Lick bowl again.

Put the kettle on.

Share if you are feeling generous.

If you want some more cupcake awesomeness, please check out our Facebook page, or our website, RatherDarlingCupcakes.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

What's for tea Mam?

We thought it was high time to mix things up a bit and so from henceforth we bring you, What's for tea Mam? Up in the North-East where some of us tea drinkers grew up, Dinner was known as Tea. As you well know, the term Tea is used far and wide now and probably doesn't need much explaining, but here goes...

A bit about "Tea"...
In a variety of tearooms, some very well to do places and some good ol' put your feet up, cosy at your Aunt's style places, you can still very much be served High Tea and Low Tea.

Low Tea (or otherwise known as Afternoon Tea) originated in the 1840s, in England amongst the upper classes and was usually taken between the hours of four and six pm. A fine lady by the name of Anna Russell, who was none other than the Duchess of Bedford created a light meal in-between luncheon and dinner. As often dinner would not be taken until much later in the day, nearer seven to eight in the evening, she began to have tea in the early afternoon and would invite her friends over for afternoon tea, cake and sandwiches. It became more and more popular throughout the upper and middle classes by the end of the nineteenth century, thus resulting in this kind of tea still being taken as a special treat in high class hotels and tearooms.

High Tea, which was otherwise known as Meat Tea was usually the meal taken between five and seven by the working class and tended to differ to the afternoon Low Tea. It was accurately named High Tea to signify the difference in the time of day Low Tea was taken. Usually it would consist of a hot meal followed by cakes and bread with butter and jam, but would more often than not eat include cold cuts of meat too. As we understand it, this was the kind of tea that evolved into being known as Tea (Dinner).

So for our first What's for tea Mam? we have a task for you which largely involves foraging! And what you'll need to forage for is none other than the tasty Allium Ursinum. In simpler terms, Wild Garlic.

Have you ever been wandering around the countryside and had a sudden whiff of garlic? Or in woodland areas? The luscious large green leaves, bulbs and pretty white flowers are all edible but for our recipe below we used only the leaves. The most succulent to use at this time of year (Hello to you Springtime) are the smaller, fresher of the leaves as they're apparently the tastiest.

We collected a good couple of handfuls of the stuff, (which already smelled delicious) and decided to make quite a big batch of the stuff as it can be used on so many different meals and adds a complimentary flavour to others. And a handy little tip... it can be frozen for later too! Oh yes...we should probably mention that it is Wild Garlic Pesto that we are making.

Chopped Leaves

And here's how...

Pick a generous amount of the stuff. You will need a hefty 100g for this recipe (as it's good to make more than you need, to keep some for a later date, as the Wild Garlic isn't available all year round). Plus, we just made the whole batch and didn't need to freeze any as it was so tasty that we had it on everything!!


* 100g Wild Garlic (Allium Ursinum)
* 25g Basil Leaves (you don't have to put this in, but we like to).
* 100g Pine nuts 
* 100g Cashew Nuts
* 350ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
* The juice of 1 whole lemon
* A good generous couple of capfuls of Cyder Vinegar (We used Aspall's Organic, but any will suffice).

Mmmmm creamy cashew nuts...
We began by washing, then chopping all of the weighed leaves (Wild Garlic and Basil) into small pieces (as seen above) and adding them to the Olive Oil (the correct amount all ready and waiting in a measured jug). We blitzed the leaves in the jug of Oil until it was very nearly smooth, but left a little bit of texture too.

We had previously discovered that pesto is best not made in a smoothie maker/blender. The same recipe was a total failure a few weeks ago when we blitzed it to shizzle in a smoothie blender and discovered that although it tasted very good indeed, it didn't look anything like pesto, but resembled green gooey baby food instead. We couldn't show you that though...

Feel free to use a food processor too!

Anyhow...back to the recipe...

Pine Nuts

After we had blitzed the leaves in the oil and weighed out the amount of nuts we needed, it was time to get the pestle and mortar out and get bashing and squishing and squashing.

A squash and a squeeze
Once all of the nuts were bashed to smithereens, we started to add them to the leafy oil, bit by bit, stirring as we went. At first it didn't seem that the ratio of nuts to oil would work, but stirring it in bit by bit seemed to be the best way to do it, in case it ended up that there was too many nuts. Once all the nuts were stirred in, it looked very much like real pesto (not green gooey baby food) and we were very pleased with ourselves.

At this point we tasted it, so do go on and do the same. We noticed that although it generally tasted good, it was a tiny bit on the grassy side of things, but no worries, don't be put off. We've got the solution up our sleeves so to say, as the secret ingredient to make this pesto taste even more amazing is the lemon juice and cyder vinegar. Although you may think that it would perhaps end up tasting too acidic, this isn't the case. It gives the pesto a little bit of a kick, compliments and brings the flavours together. Also they both help to naturally preserve the pesto too.

So hey pesto!

There you have it. A very tasty pesto that makes good use of foraging for food.

Also, as our recipe doesn't use any cheese it's suitable for Vegans. Feel free to add parmesan to your own recipe if you desire. We managed to fill a large Beetroot jar with the stuff, so do try and make use of old jars and recycle where you can and all that jazz.

And as mentioned above we did have this pesto with a wide range of meals. From having it spread on our morning toast with houmous, to mixed into pasta with tuna and roast vegetables, generous dollops upon a poached egg, on crackers with cheese, jacket potatoes... Once you taste how good this pesto is, you won't want to have anything without it again.

We marinated peppers and tomatoes in the pesto before we put them in the oven for roasting
Roast peppers and tomatoes marinated in pesto
Spaghetti, tuna, roast veg and pesto
Marmite on toast with poached egg, ketchup and pesto
It may seem odd, but surprisingly it worked very well indeed
So we hope you've enjoyed our first What's for tea Mam? and we shall be adding a page really soon where you'll be able to find a whole range of tasty tea time recipes. Also, do feel free to get in touch if you would like to share a recipe with us. And don't forget we're always on the look out for tasty Tea & Bakes recipes too.

Up next...
A foxy photoshoot we just have to show you very soon of our new Vintage Dresses we shall be listing in our Etsy Shop over the next week and a tantalising Lady Grey and Raspberry Cupcakes, Tea & Bakes recipe.

Chin chin...
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