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HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN AFTERNOON TEA AT HOME

As we all know, because of the coronavirus outbreak we cannot go out like we normally would and enjoy the delights of food in restaurants. Missing that weekly coffee or afternoon tea with family or friends? No problem, we've got all the advice and recipes for putting on your own spread, featuring fluffy scones, cakes, biscuits and more.

PLAIN SCONES

PLAIN SCONES

Makes: 16        Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 450g/1lb self-raising flour
  • 2 level tsp baking powder
  • 50g/1¾oz caster sugar
  • 100g/3½oz butter, softened, cut into pieces
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • A little milk

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7. Lightly grease two baking trays.

2. Put the flour, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

3. Crack the eggs into a measuring jug, then add enough milk to make the total liquid 300ml/10fl oz. Stir the egg and milk into the flour – you may not need it all – and mix to a soft, sticky dough.

4. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface, knead lightly and work in the sultanas, if using. Roll out to a rectangle about 2cm/¾in thick.

5. Cut into as many rounds as possible with a fluted 5cm/2in cutter and place them on the prepared baking trays. Brush the tops of the scones with a little extra milk, or any egg and milk left in the jug.

6. Bake for 12–15 minutes, or until the scones are well risen and a pale, golden-brown colour. Lift onto a wire rack to cool. Eat as fresh as possible.

7. To serve, split the scones and serve with strawberry jam on the plain scones along with a good dollop of clotted cream.

STRAWBERRY JAM

STRAWBERRY JAM

Makes: 3kg       Time: 1 Hour

Ingredients:

  • 1.8kg of small whole strawberries
  • Juice from 3 lemons
  • 1.84kg of jam sugar
  • Knob of butter

Method:

1. Wash, drain and hull the fruit and put in a large non-metallic bowl. Sprinkle over the lemon juice and sugar, gently mix. Cover with a tea towel and leave overnight. (This helps keep the strawberries whole.)

2. Put a saucer in the freezer. Tip the fruit and juice into a preserving pan or a 4.5 litre/8 pint heavybased pan. Heat gently, stirring, to dissolve the sugar. Do not boil until it has.

3. Turn up the heat, then boil hard for exactly 4 minutes (use a timer). Take off the heat to test for setting point. Spoon a little jam onto the cold saucer. After a couple of minutes gently push your finger through the jam and if the surface wrinkles it is ready. If not, return to the boil for 2 minutes, then re-test.

4. Take off the heat and swirl in the butter. If the scum doesn’t dissolve, skim with a slotted spoon. Cool for 10-15 minutes. (Pot when too hot and all the fruit rises to the top.)

5. Stir gently to distribute the fruit, then pour into warm sterilised jars. Put waxed discs on straight away, cover with lids or cellophane circles, then seal, label and wipe the jars. Keeps for 6 months in a cool dry cupboard.

Welsh Tea Cakes

Welsh Tea Cakes

Makes: 6-8        Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 225g/8oz self-raising flour
  • 110g/4oz salted butter, diced
  • 85g/3oz caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • A handful of sultanas
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten
  • Milk, if needed
  • Extra butter, for greasing

Method:

1. Sift the flour into a bowl and add the diced butter.

2. Rub with your fingertips, or pulse in a food processor, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

3. Add the sugar, sultanas and beaten egg and mix well to form a ball of dough, using a splash of milk if needed.

4. Roll the dough out on a floured board to a thickness of about 5mm/½in.

5. Cut into rounds with a 7.5–10cm/3-4in plain cutter.

6. Rub a bakestone or heavy iron griddle with butter, wipe away the excess and place on the hob until it is heated through.

7. Cook the Welsh cakes a few at a time for 2–3 minutes on each side, or until golden-brown.

8. Remove from the griddle and dust with caster sugar while still warm.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes:  26       Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 225g butter, softened
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 275g of plain flour
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 75g of white or milk chocolate chips

Method:

1. Heat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5.

2. Cream the butter in a large bowl with a wooden spoon or in a food mixer until it is soft.

3. Add the sugar and keep beating until the mixture is light and fluffy. Sift in the flour and add the optional ingredients, if you’re using them. Bring the mixture together with your hands in a figure-of-eight motion until it forms a dough. You can freeze the dough at this point.

4. Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls and place them slightly apart from each other on a baking sheet (you don’t need to butter or line it).

5. Flatten the balls a little with the palm of your hand and bake them in the oven for around 10-12 mins until they are golden brown and slightly firm on top.

6. Leave the cookies on a cooling rack for around 15 mins before serving.

MINI ECLAIRS

MINI ECLAIRS

Makes: 30        Time: 1 hour and 40 minutes

Ingredients:

For the buns:

  • 150ml milk
  • 100g butter
  • 200g plain flour, sieved
  • 4 large eggs, beaten

For the filling:

  • 200ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 200ml double cream

To decorate:

  • 500g of icing sugar or melted chocolate

Method:

1. To make the buns, heat the milk, butter and 150ml water very gently in a medium-sized saucepan until all the butter has melted. Get the flour and some salt ready, then increase the heat and bring the liquid to the boil. As soon as it is boiling, remove from the heat and beat in the flour and a pinch of salt with a wooden spoon. Keep beating until the mixture is smooth and comes away from the sides of the pan. Cool for 5 mins.

2. Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, to a smooth, shiny dough. Spoon into a piping bag with a 1.5-2cm plain nozzle and set aside until ready to bake.

3. To make the filling, bring the milk just to the boil in a saucepan with the vanilla paste or split pod. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and flours in a mixing bowl. Pour on the hot milk while continuously whisking the egg mixture. Discard the pod (if using) and return the mix to a wiped-out saucepan. Cook over a gentle heat, stirring, until the mix is thicker than a custard – it will get lumpy, but just carry on stirring and beat out the lumps. Transfer to another mixing bowl and lay cling film directly on the surface. Leave to cool, then chill.

4. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Line a couple of baking sheets with baking parchment. Pipe on 8-10cm long lengths of the dough, about 2cm wide – leaving space to expand between each one. Put in the oven for 5 mins, then reduce heat to 200C/200C fan/gas 6 and bake for 10 mins more until golden, puffed and crisp. Using a skewer, poke 3 small holes along the base of each bun. Put back on the baking sheets, base up, and return to the oven for a further 8-10 mins until slightly crisper. Cool. Can be frozen for up to a month, or stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days – just crisp up in a hot oven again when ready to fill.

5. Add the cream to the thick custard filling and beat with an electric whisk until it holds its own shape again. Put into a piping bag with a tiny nozzle, then pipe some filling into the bottom of the buns using the skewer holes you made before it squirts back out, that bit is probably full.

6. Then prepare your icing by mixing the icing sugar with water or melting the chocolate to drizzle on top, place them in the fridge.

SANDWICHES

SANDWICHES

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

They are a classic choice and often what comes to mind when thinking about delicate finger sandwiches fit for an afternoon tea.

Ingredients:

  • White or brown bread
  • Cucumber 
  • Butter 
  • Salt and pepper 

Method:

1. Simply slice some bread into small rectangles or triangles.

2. Then butter the bread and slice up some cucumber and place it within the sandwiches.

3. Add in some salt and pepper and enjoy!

Egg Salad Sandwiches

This sandwich is similar to a type of egg salad sandwich served at the famous London department store Harrods!

Ingredients:

  • Watercress
  • Egg salad 
  • Mayonaise 
  • White or Brown bread

Method:

1. First of all slice up pieces of white or brown bread into rectangles or triangles.

2. Then spread mayonaise onto the bread.

3. After that put on some egg salad and sprinkle with watercress.

Smoked Salmon Finger Sandwich

The classic smoked salmon tea sandwich is made with dill and horseradish added to the smoked salmon.

Ingredients: 

  • Smoked salmon
  • White or brown bread
  • Cream cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon Juice

Method:

1. Spread all the slices of bread evenly with cream cheese.

2. Then on one side of the bread, cover it with the smoked salmon.

3. Then season with lemon juice and salt and pepper and enjoy!

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