I’m a sucker for an afternoon tea, and though I am fundamentally too disorganised to even consider hosting a tea party, I love to look at the recipes for dainty little afternoon snacks. To this end, I’ve been saving up points for the PG Tips Cuppa club and was so excited when this little beauty was waiting for me when I got home…
Isn’t it cute? It’s got loads of really exciting recipes, craft ideas and (a bit left field here…) hairstyle ideas… I may not be able to tie my own hair in a ponytail with any degree of success, but I am pretty good at eating, so can’t wait to try making these cute little picnic pies in the summer.
Image adapted from original by Constanza under Creative Commons license
I love this quotation from The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. The full quotation reads
”When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?”
Infinity in a single moment, there you have it. Books, tea and biscuits are all very well for every day use, but we’re talking about the grand occasion here. What better reason to get out your best china and have a ritualized afternoon tea on a sunny Saturday? Clotted cream scones, cucumber sandwiches and all.
In addition to my Christmas Book Haul, I was lucky enough to receive a Alice in Wonderland tea set from my boyfriend. Isn’t it gorgeous? I love the little watch, cat and bird motifs. There are even little hearts and spades if you look closely.
Alice in Wonderland Tea Set
The only problem is, I think it might be a little too beautiful to use! I’m scared I will break it.
I made some Rocky Road/Fridge Cake for work this week (publishing involves a lot of cake) and since people seemed to like it quite a lot I thought I’d share the recipe.
It’s really easy to make, and you can keep it in the fridge for a few days so it’s great If you need to make something in advance. To be honest, it’s pretty much just fat and sugar, so it would probably last a really long time if you could stop yourself eating it.
200g rich tea biscuits
3 tablespoons of golden syrup
200g dark chocolate
100g milk chocolate
100g mini marshmallows
Bash up the rich tea biscuits in a clear sandwich bag until you fairly equal parts of biscuit dust (crumbs, I suppose…) and small pieces of biscuit. I use a rolling-pin, which I find quite therapeutic, but if you want to be super bookish then I guess you could smash up the rich tea biscuits with a hard back book. When you have them as you like them, pop them in a big mixing bowl to wait for the wet ingredients.
Melt the butter into a pan over a very low heat, and when it is all liquid (or near enough) add in the golden syrup and stir over the heat until they are melted together. When they are, take the buttery goodness off the heat and add in the chocolate. I like to have it ready broken into squares. I don’t add the chocolate when the pan is on the heat as it can burn and then it will never melt.
Tip half the chocolate mixture into the biscuits and mix until they are all covered. Then add in the marshmallows and mix some more.
Squash the mixture firmly into a baking tin so that it’s quite densely packed and when you’re happy with it, pour the other half of the chocolate mix across the top and spread out.
Pop in the fridge until cold, then enjoy the chocolatey biscuit goodness with a good book and a nice cup of tea.
So apparently biscuits and English breakfast tea, combined with a sedentary day’s reading, though delicious and enjoyable, don’t make for the healthiest lifestyle. Drat. I’ve been feeling a little lacklustre, so decided to diversify my snack range. Instead of my usual book, biscuit and tea, I’ve been trying a range of caffeine free teas and vitamin filled nibbles.
My current favourite is Pukka’s Detox Tea with aniseed, cardamom, fennel and liquorice root. Unlike most herbal teas which smell great but taste like pond water, the tea has a really nice flavour- a subtle sweetness. Combined with the slightly salty taste of the edamame beans, you’ve got a full snack spectrum there without any pesky crumbs in your book. Result!