Getting the tea set out is something that’s on the list of things I should do more often, so I invited my lovely friends to come over for the bank holiday weekend.
Normal people in this sitch would take photos of the people, I think, but I took photos of the food.
Salads you can make with the grating disk in the food processor
- carottes râpées (I grate carrots, mix with something crunchy, pine nuts or pumpkin seeds, sultanas, and then make a dressing out of the juice of half a lemon, olive oil and seasoning)
- coleslaw (quarter of a cabbage, a carrot and an apple grated, with mayo from a jar, and a spoonful of wholegrain mustard)
Two loaves from Aldi with a variety of fillings. 3 rounds of sandwiches quartered to make 12 sarnies for 8 guests. V non-u, but I left the crusts on!
- caramelised onion hummus and grated carrot (reserved some carrot from the salad above) (whole pot of hummus)
- egg mayonnaise and chives (5 hardboiled eggs) (I feared these would be unpopular but they went just fine. Bought a pot of chives and will plant into garden to see if they live!)
- goat’s cheese and onion jam (the caramelised red onion jam is one of those jars at the back of the cupboard that was probably left there by ex as I have no recollection of it and it is ahem approaching its sell by, but these sarnies were delicious, and will definitely make again and/or put in packed lunches. Leave the cheese out for an hour before attempting to spread and I also loosened it a little by beating the cheese with a couple of spoons of mayo)
So my aim is something showstoppery for the cake stand, and a variety of nice things for the two tiered plates. Completely lacking in the time and inspiration for a show stopper (OMG did you even see bake off this week!?) I threw together another of my regular blender cakes and set it atop the cake stand. Oh well.
A few days before I had seen (and eaten!) some beautiful coconut macaroons, topped with cherries with even, chocolate decorations drizzled across – I thought those would be lovely to make and would look great topping a tier, so asked for the recipe and did my best from the resulting photo. Only… I don’t have a mixer, or working scales at the moment… So I forked out 20 quid in Aldi for something that’s a bit like a mixer (aargh, it says don’t put in dishwasher!!) to breach the gap and estimated the quantities by googling cup equivalents for the sugar and estimating from the packages – eg 200 grams of desecrated coconut is half the bag…
I think I didn’t beat the eggs enough. I’ve never really got along with meringues, and will have to practise a lot more to see if it’s possible to make in my new mixer or whether it’s just me… But instead of lovely pillowy domes, I got flat discs.
In the end, I decided to drizzle the chocolate on anyway and brazen it out. As it was, they were delicious.
I also wanted to make Portuguese custard tarts, having just returned from (Portuguese) Madeira where they were everywhere!
I went with this Not Quite Nigella recipe to start with except when reading it through I realised half the instructions were just “make custard” and that’s something I’ve been practising a lot lately as a way of using up egg gluts. The instruction for rolling the pastry seemed properly weird, and I was worried
Both the macaroons and the custard tarts were made the night before – and that ended up with the tarts being slightly too soft by the time they were served. Some of them poked out of their cases a bit much, but lots of them looked good and tasted good too.
I got some lovely gifts from my gracious guests – two fab boxes of chocs which did not last long, and two separate people turned up with sunflowers, which I turned into a huge bouquet which looks absolutely super! Both guests were concerned about showing up at a man’s house with flowers. People rarely bring me flowers, but I love it and was delighted to receive them. They’d both separately thought that sunflowers were sufficiently manly to hand them over.
Here are a couple of other posts about times I’ve used the tea set – as a farewell party for councillors and last year with a vegan twist.
And here’s more photos on flickr.