Monday, 16 November 2009

Afternoon tea at the Carnaby

Afternoon tea on short notice. One of my new favourite websites featured this one, and we went as it was convenient. First off, it's a Hilton. Therefore do not expect much. We were one of two tables that afternoon, and it took 45 minutes to serve us. The tea comes from Twinings in bags, the sugar is granulated without their own serving spoons (I hate using wet spoons). But to the review: It was £14. What do you expect?

You are served one of these little stacks each. The scones are warm and plain (joy for my sister, the non-raisin eater). However - you get ONE pot of jam each. Strawberry. I'm a purist. I expect a selection somewhere. There's clotted cream in the little black scoop, which did not match the tea set at all. Those little brown cones were either frozen mousse or very stable chocolate ice cream - nice, but when there is only one choice of cake on the stack - apple and walnut, you feel a little robbed of afternoon tea joy.

The sandwiches were cucumber and cream cheese, smoked salmon and cream cheese. Crust free, but slightly dry from being left uncovered briefly without damp teatowel or equivalent.

All in all, wouldn't go again - but it was pretty decent in terms of you could stay there all day and just have tea refills and I'd doubt they'd care...

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Coconut and Honey Marshmallows

It's raining, it's pouring, we had to do SOMETHING!!

Adapted from Marcus Wareing's Nutmeg and Custard, I made these little babies. I don't think the honey flavour is to my taste, but they are a brilliant texture and look like the picture :D

My adaptation stems from, you guessed it, a lack of almonds. I probably won't make these again as is, but it's worth having listed so I can adapt later.

Dessicated coconut (100g?)
12 leaves of gelatine (yep seriously - 12!)
150g sugar
7 tbsp clear honey
100ml water
2 egg whites

1. Line a wet dish with clingfilm. I used a circular dish around 3o cm in diameter, however the book recommends 15cm square. A nice brownie pan would do nicely (which I need to add to my christmas list). The wetness lets the cling stick to the pan. If you have OCD like me you will try and get the wrinkles out of the cling, but it doesn't matter because you won't see anything.
2. Toast coconut. I put mine on a metal dish and placed under a grill till you can smell and see the toastiness. You start remembering it's in there after you've burnt two lots.
3. Sprinkle half the coconut on the clingfilm.
4. Soften up your gelatine in cold water and squeeze out.
5. Put sugar, honey and water into a little pot and melt over the hob. This is why it doesn't matter what sugar you use.
6. Once boiling, add gelatine and stir to let it dissolve. Boil it rapidly for 4 minutes (I actually set a timer for a hob item!! hahahaha)
7. Whisk egg whites to fluffiness. Because you're not putting sugar in, it won't get to stiff peak stage which you might be used to seeing, but it will be white and have plenty of volume despite the tiny amounts of whites used.
8. Pour boiling syrup into the egg whites and continue to whisk until fluffy. I saw this like an Italian meringue and you end up seeing waves in the whites holding a little bit. It won't be stiff, but relatively solid.
9. Tip into pan and top with remaining coconut.
10. Chill in the fridge for an hour and then slice into squares. A wet/hot knife might help but I just used a sharp one.
11. You might want to coat the other edges but it's your call. I fancy I might dip these in chocolate, or have some crisp drizzles for contrast. But meanwhile, I need to know if these will roast on a candle like normal ones do. Laters! x

Saturday, 7 November 2009

My favourites

Every now and again, someone asks, "What is your signature dish?"
I never really know how to answer but I think, after a few years of proper hobby baking, my top contenders are as follows:
- Lemon cheesecake
- Chilli Brownies
- Cheesecake cupcakes
- Vanilla Bundt Cake

I'll add to these at some point (I hope!) but these are the ones which get eaten first time round with limited comments from the parentals.

A lot of these, I admit, are very recent additions to the fold. But hunt on the site and the recipes should be up. x

Friday, 6 November 2009

Lemon and Ginger Cupcakes

There's something called the Iron Cupcake competition which has been around for around six months. I've followed it from the beginning on the Caped Crusader's site (see right) but I've never been because I was always out of town with work. This was the first time I made an entry and it was lemon and ginger. First off, I'd like to say it is not a good idea to bake something first time for a "competition" but since it's free entry for bakers I thought I may as well.

The lemon and ginger recipe came from the book Decadence, with some adjustments because I didn't have any stem ginger, and so instead I did a coning job and filled
it with a little bit of lemon curd mixed with a ginger syrup I made. The gingerbread cookies however was a pretty wonderful recipe, also from Decadence.