I’m going back to the time when I first took an interest in cooking ... first of all it was cooked breakfasts with the excitement of taking it upstairs to my parents ... I seem to recollect “the works” ... eggs, bacon, sausages, tomatoes and mushrooms – and I was quite young: 8 or 9 I guess.
Tea Party for a group of artists in
Paris1929 (by Jules-Alexandre Grun)
I went off those because I ‘overdosed’ on eating mushrooms and that was that for a few years! I ate too many ... as greedy kids can do! Also I probably got into the habit of staying in bed to read, cuddle the cat – who I could not possibly disturb! - for many hours: enjoyable days – wouldn’t it be wonderful to be a child again .. no cares in the world and plenty of time to read?
Tea-time has come to mind ... as I am going to meet someone for the first time this week – and this will be one big delight for both of us ... a blogging friend from over the pond – we hope to meet Tuesday afternoon. Excitement looming! I will post about it next weekend – as in between I have another date to be kept – on Wednesday.
|Tea Time ideas -|
Tea-time seems to have done a full circle ... Mrs Beeton, that most revered of cookery writers, dealt with every aspect of household management possible. The Georgians and Victorians really spread their wings with tea-time treats ... so many new things were being imported in or tried out, or invented ... new recipes with new ingredients ...
... all being consumed by huge families in the most show-off style possible in the dining room newly decorated – new wall paper and fabrics, new bone china, different style dishes to serve the food off ... times changed – World War 1, the Depression, World War 2, rationing ... until Sir Harold Macmillan said “We’ve never had it so Good” ...
We probably did have it so good ... my parents were very good gardeners and my mother was an excellent cook – so we did have fresh fruit and vegetables, had our own chickens and after the War years kept a few pigs (smoking the bacon and hams) ...
|The Kenwood Chef (+/- 1953)|
designed by Mr Ken Wood
We were always in the garden playing in the trees, riding our bikes, swinging on the swing, doing things kids do ... so come tea-time we were ready for a good slice of cake. About the time I moved onto wanting to make cakes or puddings (as we called desserts) the Kenwood mixing machine had come out. Frankly I’m glad I was born in the era of appliances!
From an early age I made Victoria sponges all the time ... probably most of the raw mix was consumed before it ever got into the oven! and if I’d made small sponge cakes – they’d have been eaten before they got to the tea-table ... we couldn’t cut into a cake – could we?! The ones I made were usually coffee, chocolate, or plain if we had plenty of jam to fill the middle.
We always used self-raising flour and to this day I cannot stand baking powder ... it seems to leave a taste in my mouth ... sometimes worse than others ... and we always had plain sponges – because my mother could not stand vanilla. Mrs Beeton calls them Victoria or Jam Sandwiches.
The recipe I’m referring to for Mrs Beeton’s Victoria or Jam Sandwiches is made with plain flour and baking-powder! On looking I see that self-raising flower was invented by Henry Jones and patented in 1845 – it does use baking powder ... but it seems the mix within the flour is finer and perhaps the proportions are more accurate, when we used the bought self-raising type.
For years ‘I was deprived’ of vanilla – when I was about 16 and we could walk up to the village from school I remember finding vanilla slices ... puff pastry interlined with cream and jam, topped off with vanilla icing and a swirl of chocolate .. more commonly known as mille feuille ... delicious and a real treat.
We did have almond essence ... and for that I move onto macaroons – which certainly my mother made ... and I know that when I cooked for her at her Care Home I used to churn them out. Mrs Beeton features macaroons – under the categories ‘Recipes for Biscuits’ and ‘Recipes for Sweetmeats’ – this is from a 1924 version I have – which runs to 1680 pages!
A few years ago I went to afternoon tea at the Ritz Hotel, Piccadilly, overlooking Green Park in London (5 star luxury hotel) ... the tiers of afternoon delicacies (fancies) were quite extraordinary – sandwiches ... many flavours, scones, and lots of biscuits, tiny cakes ... almost petit fours style ... highly decorated, full of cream, fruits and jam.
Now when we go out we can get ‘Macarons’ in coats of many colours ... the double deckers ranging in so many flavours ... raspberry, chocolate, truffle, green matcha tea with fillings of jam, ganache or buttercream ...
So on Tuesday I am looking forward to my tea time treat of some delicious cake – I suspect not macaroons ... though I still love the plain ones, made on rice paper – and meeting a fellow blogger and having a good old tea-time chat.
Dear Mr Postman .. all is quiet with my Mama – though I know she would be very interested to know that I’m meeting one of my blogging friends from the States – she was always amazed to hear about other bloggers. We are still very hot and it’s quite extraordinary to think we’re in October and the temperature has been over 84 degs F (29 degC) – I’m not sure it’s good for the wildlife .. but we can do nothing about the weather.
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