Afternoon Tea at The Swan, Bankside

This past Saturday Fi and I were treated to afternoon tea at The Swan Pub on Bankside. This was a birthday present – a pretty awesome one if you ask me – from our Aunt and Uncle. The present also included a tour of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. So we did our tour, wandered around the exhibition and then headed next door for a champagne afternoon tea treat. There’s something so perfectly British about Afternoon Tea isn’t there? Plus added champers? A totally winning combination in my opinion!
Afternoon Tea
So afternoon tea at The Swan looked a little something like this.
 
Champagne Afternoon tea and cakes
And included…
– Brioche finger rolls with four different fillings; cream cheese & cucumber, egg & cress, ham hock & mustard and smoked salmon.
– Scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream
– cakes, so many cakes; shortbread jammie dodgers, mini chocolate eclairs, coffee opera cake and lemon curd madelines.
I think you’ll agree that it’s a veritable feast for anyone’s taste buds.
Now here’s a pic of Fi enjoying herself!
Fi enjoying afternoon tea
There aren’t hundreds of types of tea to choose from, like at some other hotels, and you don’t get offered seconds (or thirds) of the food but there is plenty of food to go around. And it’s a decent option if you want to do Afternoon Tea without spending lots and lots of your hard-earned cash.
Finally I really must recommend that you do the tour of The Globe Theatre – it was so interesting, very informative and the building is spectacular. Did you know it’s there is no metal in the construction? It is held up by over 9,000 wooden pegs – how amazing is that?
– Lau xx

 

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Baking for Easter

Easter is quite possibly my favourite time of the year as it seems to signal the start of the summer and outside dining. I love the opportunity to get together with all the family and chill out in the garden, plus it brings with it the possibility of a barbecue as well as a fabulous roast dinner on Easter Sunday. Never mind the easter egg fun.

This Easter my sisters and I have decided to cook out amazing pulled pork at some point over the four days for the parental units to enjoy. Plus I’m planning on trying out a coffee and walnut cake as I’ve never made one. But before that point we get to make all the yummy sweet stuff that contains easter treats. You know what I mean, all the creme eggs and mini eggs that appear in the shops as soon as Christmas is over. Well it would be rude not to include those in some sort of baking wouldn’t it. So that’s what this post is all about – Baking with Easter sweets!

Hopefully you are all well aware of the awesome mini egg blondies that we made last year. If not then what are you waiting for? Check them out right here, right now. So these have been made again because they are just totally awesome and Fi has an actual real life obsession with mini eggs.

So yes, we made mini egg blondies, but we also decided to try making creme egg brownies. Now different versions of these have been all over the internet and on twitter, so it really was high time we had a go ourselves. They honestly couldn’t be easier – mostly because I used a packet brownie mix – sometimes you just have to cheat!

Here’s what you do –
1. Create your normal brownie batter – I used the Ghiardelli brownie mix because it’s totally awesome.
2. Throw in 10 mini creme eggs to the mix.
3. Pour the whole lot into the brownie tin.
4. Chop another 8 mini creme eggs in half and lay these gooey side up on the top of your batter.
5. Bake as per normal brownie instructions.

Creme Egg Brownies Creme Egg Brownies

Creme Egg Brownies

See, easy peasy and don’t they look amazing? I promise you guys, these actually taste like heaven. Seriously the gooey levels are epic in this. These beauties ended up at work and they all disappeared in record time. I think that’s a good sign, right?!

Now you give them ago and let me know what you think.

Lau xxx

One simply amazing afternoon tea

Hooray it’s Friday, well done to us all for making it to the last day of the working week. What a RESULT and a massive pat on the back to us all. I can honestly say this week has dragged, it’s felt like ten weeks in one, what is with that?! Hopefully you’ve all had much easier weeks than me – tell me all about them we’d love to hear more!

20131025-112924.jpg20131025-112938.jpgAnyway enough Friday celebrating from me, let’s get down to the point of this here post; today we’re all about the cake and tea as we’re recapping on a (not so) recent afternoon tea of loveliness. It’s been two months since we both experienced our first proper afternoon tea, so please do forgive my tardiness. I’m not sure what got into me, perhaps all the cake I consumed made me forget about the adventure, whatever the reason I profusely apologise and let me now fill your mind with the wonders of sugar heaven!

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So our very first proper afternoon tea took place on a gloriously sunny summer’s day in London town at the beautiful Palm Court at the Langham Hotel. This is one of those places that is most definitely known for its afternoon teas (no less than three people recommended it!) and now I can see why – it was scrumptious, sensational, opulent and such a treat. Perfect for our celebration of a friends engagement and trip over from the UK. I will definitely be recommending it a lot in the future!

wpid-20130905_131516.jpg wpid-20130905_134036.jpg wpid-IMG_20130906_175239.jpgDown to the nitty-gritty of things though, what did we actually nibble on and guzzle down? Well we started with the obligatory glass of champagne (let’s be honest it had to be done!) and then we scoured the list of 40+ different teas before making interesting choices. Then we had our ‘starter’ of blackberry jelly in sophisticated shot glasses before tucking in to a delicious array of sandwiches. There was literally a mountain of five different fillings (all on different breads) and we were then offered extras from a silver platter no less than three times. I must have had about five of the egg ones as they were absolutely mouth-wateringly good.

wpid-20130905_133057.jpg 20131025-113042.jpg 20131025-113101.jpgNext up on the food front were the homemade scones with clotted cream and jam. What was great (for those who are picky eaters anyway) is that the scones were a mix of plain and fruit ones. Plus the scones were warm AND once again we were offered extras – amazing! After scones there was the mini cake selection, which was displayed so beautifully as you can tell from the pictures. The cake selection consisted of strawberry meringue lollipops, mini Victoria sponge cakes, dark chocolate mousse/shortbread concoctions and my absolute favourite, the miniature banana cakes.

wpid-20130905_140404.jpg wpid-20130905_140649.jpg 20131025-113220.jpg 20131025-113149.jpg wpid-20130905_133053.jpg wpid-20130905_143440.jpgOnce we’d munched on all of these we were absolutely stuffed to the brim and feeling very lucky. It really was a wonderful treat and I am now constantly trying to come up with reasons for booking it again, I’m currently struggling as I’m not sure that it being a Saturday counts sadly! Have you ever been somewhere so wonderful for an afternoon tea, which were your favourite bites and where would you recommend we visit in the future? We’d absolutely love suggestions! Fi xx

Lemonade Scones

So as promised, here’s recipe one from our trip to Australia, AKA the most yummy scones ever. When we we’re away we spent a lot of time with our Nanna and this is one of her recipes. Our Nanna is an exceptionally good baker and we’ve always done a lot of baking with her, her sausage rolls and scones are legendary. So when she told us she had a new scone recipe and that it only used three ingredients, one of which was lemonade (!) we were a little sceptical! How could it possibly beat the amazing scones that we remember from our childhood? Well all I can say is yep the recipe is THAT good, go on give it a whirl this jubilee weekend and see what you think, we’re fairly certain you won’t be dissapointed!

700g self-raising flour
300ml double cream
375ml lemonade
100g sultanas (if you want to add them)

Sift the flour into a bowl and form a well in the centre.
Pour the cream and lemonade into the well and mix well with a wooden spoon and then with your hands to form a firm dough. (Add the sultanas once the dough starts to come together.)
Roll dough onto a floured surface and cut using a round cutter. I rolled the dough out until it was about 1.5cm tall, but I would suggest you did it to about 2cm, as my scones weren’t quite thick enough!
Place the scones on baking tray and bake on 220°C for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
Serve with clotted cream and jam.

We made about 30 scones, but like I say they were a little too thin, so I would think you’ll make about 15 if you roll the dough out until it’s 2cm’s tall.

The final product on my new Cath Kidston cake stand – love!

One other great thing about this recipe is the fun you can have by making others guess the ingredients! When I took the leftover scones into work, I asked everyone to work out the three ingredients. The flour proved easy to guess, as for cream and lemonade, those ingredients were a lot harder. I think I had lots of guesses of milk, water, butter, sugar and baking powder but not one person guessed that lemonade was a key ingredient!

– Fi x