Afternoon Tea


I recently spent a lovely day in Newcastle City Centre with a very dear friend. We were there to celebrate her birthday. As part of the celebration we had Afternoon tea at The Vermont Hotel, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Vermont Hotel. Newcastle

Vermont Hotel. Newcastle

The lush surroundings of their oak panelled lounge and roaring log fire,only served to add to the ambiance of the occasion. The young staff were welcoming and at all times pleasant, polite and very attentive. Nothing was too much trouble ( they were a credit to the hospitality industry).

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We opted to have a ‘Cocktail’ served alongside our tea. My friend who is not a fan of any alcohol beverage was offered a non alcoholic version. This drink was made as specially for her, by the young girl working on the bar. The resulting drink was as vibrant as the enthusiastic cocktail maker

The eats we were presented with were very pleasing to the eye and tasted just as good. The selection consisted of:
Traditional sandwiches of Smoked Salmon, Egg, and Beef.
Scones with clotted cream and jam
Selection of mini cakes
Shot glass dessert with chocolate spoons
The amount of food presented was more than sufficient. We took a box of scones home with us.

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Overall a very enjoyable experience. Certainly worth a visit if your in the city. I shall definitely be returning.

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Challenges

Since retiring I have had more time to link up with other bakers via the Internet. One site I am very fond of is @BakeBehaviour not only do they encourage you to bake and enjoy your cooking. Also through their Twitter site you are able to link up with other bakers. They also write a blog and every few weeks they set challenges which are so much fun to participate in.
One of their challenges was to make a deconstructed dessert. I’m pleased to say I entered and I WON! I couldn’t believe it. Any way here is my deconstructed Apple Pie.
Made up of Caramel apples, pastry cinnamon swirl, Apple crisps, Apple ice cream and an apple & vodka shot

Deconstructed Apple Pie

Deconstructed Apple Pie

I also made a take on an Eves Pudding with Passion Fruit and Orange Sauce

Deconstructed Eves Pudding

Deconstructed Eves Pudding

SECOND CHALLENGE

The second challenge was to bake a tart. The twist was to be creative with taste, textures and or appearance. For this I made a Chocolate Orange and Pear Tart decorated with a sugar basket, orange peel rose and pastry leaves. I made a tart for sharing and a individual tart.

Chocolate Orange Tarts

Chocolate Orange Tarts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cruffin

It has always interested me how the trends in food culture move so quickly. As a result there is never a shortage of new recipes to try out.  The first quirky cake I will be trying out is the new hybrid cake of the moment ‘THE CRUFFIN’ a croissant baked in a muffin tin with meltingly moreish fillings.

The Cruffin really is the best bits of the croissant – the buttery flaky pastry in a neat little muffin shape rather than using the fiddly croissant dough. I have made mine with a banoffee filling and raspberry jam and pink lemonade frosting. The dough is basically a yeast end version of rough puff pastry. The recipe only makes six cruffins and they are nicer eaten on the day they are made and whilst they are still warm. If left until the next day they do become, in my opinion, a little stale. I found this recipe in Good Food magazine and adapted it to my own taste.

THE PASTRY

225g strong white flour

25g caster sugar

1tsp fast -action dried yeast

1tsp  lemon juice

140g cold unsalted butter, chopped into sugar-cube-sized pieces

FILLING

3tbsp Raspberry jam (I used home made)

Pink Lemonade flavoured icing sugar ( can be purchased from http://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk )

3tbsp caramel ( I used Nestle)

1 banana mashed

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1. Measure 75ml just warm water, add yeast and stir to dissolve. To another 75ml of ice cold water add the lemon juice.

2. Mix the flour and sugar with HALF tsp of fine salt in a mixing bowl then toss in the cubes of butter and coat in the flour.

3. Put the yeast water and lemon water into the bowl with the flour and mix quickly with a round bladed knife to bring the dough together with the lumps of butter held inside.

4. Turn out onto a floured work surface, shape into a rectangle without kneading it too much. Wrap in cling film and chill for 15 minutes in the freezer.

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5.  Take pastry out of freezer and dust work surface with flour.  Roll pastry until it is about 45 x 15cm

6.  Fold pastry over itself. Fold bottom third up, then the top third down, to make a block. Seal the open edges with the rolling pin. Roll the pastry like this 3 more times. Wrap the finished dough and chill for at least 1 hour. ( If the dough becomes sticky during the rolling process you can chill for 10 mins then continue the process)

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7.  To shape, put the dough on a floured work surface. Cut it in half across the middle and return one half to the fridge. Roll the other half to 30 x20cm rectangle, then cut this into 3 strips each about 10cm wide. To create more layers, fold each in half lengthways.

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8.  Roll each strip into a spiral. Place cut edge up, into a non stick muffin tin. Repeat to make six cruffins.

9.  Loosely cover with cling film. Prove at room temperature for 2 hrs or until the cruffins have filled the wells of the tin. Heat the oven to 190C/170C fan/Gas 5.  Bake for 20-25mins until risen and golden brown.

(the dough can be chilled over night or be frozen)

I left my cruffins in the fridge overnight and proved them at room temperature when I got up.  My husband and I then enjoyed a Cruffin warm from the oven, for brunch.

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10. Remove and cool a little on a rack.

11. To fill with jam,banana or caramel spoon the filling into a piping bag fitted with a 5mm nozzle. Push the nozzle into the middle of the Cruffin and squeeze. Drizzle the jam cruffins with the pink lemonade icing.

TO MAKE FILLING

Soften jam and caramel by stirring. Mash banana. Mix glacé icing.

Banoffee cruffin

Banoffee cruffin

 

Raspberry jam and Pink Lemonade frosting

Raspberry jam and Pink Lemonade frosting

 

 

 

 

 

Why?

Hi, I have always been interested in starting my own blog. However like many people, I suppose, I have always put it on the back burner whilst I was in full time employment. Since September 2014 I have been retired.  I now have time on my hands to explore the internet more fully and develop my skills. Twitter and Facebook have been my recent learning experiences.  Through the use of this social media, I have been able to link up with others who share my love of cooking. Having spent all of my working life teaching Food Technology to young people, I guess I now miss sharing my skills and my love of cooking. So, what better way to continue in that vane than to start a blog about cooking, baking and the enjoyment of food.

Afternoon tea for friends

Afternoon tea for friends