Joined: 18 Feb 2005 Posts: 4 Location: Peak District, UK
Posted: Mon Apr 04, 2005 1:28 pm Post subject:
I bought some mustard and cress from the supermarket yesterday -- it's sitting in my kitchen in it's little plastic box (just as described). I'm new to this forum and to forums/message boards in general, and not sure if I can post a picture? If anyone is interested, let me know if I can post a photo (I have a digital camera) and I will...
Joined: 04 Apr 2005 Posts: 2 Location: chichester, England
Posted: Mon Apr 04, 2005 7:50 pm Post subject: English tea
I'm English, living in England currently but have lived in the US, and I read your posts re: English tea traditions with interest.
Traditional fairy cakes (NOT cup cakes) are just a light non-flavoured sponge (can be made with gran sugar but better with a finer sugar like caster). You can also make chocolate ones, substitute a bit of cocoa powder instead of flour. Scoop out a tea-spoon size piece of sponge, the put a blob of butter icing in. then cut the piece of sponge in half and put it on top of icing like 'fairy wings'. dust with icing sugar. These are the trad cakes, or choc flavour. Size is quite small - we have special cake cases here but I think cup-cake size would do.
What we call Mustard Cress is a strange, slightly bitter plant from the same family as Water Cress but not the same. Don't think you have this in the US (http://www.tiscali.co.uk/reference/dictionaries/plants/data/m0010804.html)
It has tiny leaves and white stalks and is usually snipped off, washed and then used in delicate sandwiches. An easier alternative for your tea would be to make cucumber sandwiches with slices of cucumber and white or brown bread, and then cut the crusts off, and serve in triangles - very 'posh' here.
A traditional tea would be Earl Grey (bergamot flavoured) made by Twinings (I've bought this in the US) or an Afternoon Tea - also made by Twinings - something like and refreshing.
Other things you can serve would be crumpets or scones with cream and raspberry jam, and a tea-bread or fruit cake. Shout if you want more info on these! Those egg mayo sandwiches would be mashed hard-boiled eggs with mayo and perhaps a little cayenne pepper to zest it up a bit.
Pikelets are different to crumpets which are sweet. Pikelets are served the same but are thinner and more savoury, made with potato? can't remember!
A good site for English recipes is Delia Smith's website - the guru on English cooking:
Thanks cataloochee, that pretty well sums up the conversation doesn't it! And again we run across that delightful problem with English (the language of course, not the people ) You have described pikelets as a savoury and possibly made with potato. I had never heard the word growing up in Canada but when I moved to Australia I was delighted to encounter pikelets there that were small "silver dollar" size offerings that resembled nothing if not small sweet pancakes. Now I lived in Melbourne all those years so maybe our Australian friends could weigh in on this topic. Perhaps the pikelet even varies in Australia. _________________ Vivant Linguae Mortuae!!
This English website pretty much sums up the confusion(?) surrounding pikelets, crumpets and muffins, not to mention Scotch pancakes! this is my last word on the subject
Awww, I'm so glad that this thread brought out the British! Thanks, cataloochee for the wonderful, funny links! I've been forwarding everything to Sally, who now has a horrid case of Home Sickness! I love the recipe for the scones with raspberry butter and clotted cream; I'm going to try and make them this weekend.
Lady Amalthea wrote:
Would you care to share some descriptions for the non-Brits among us?
Sure thing, especially since I have to have everything translated for me, from Sally!
1) Hedgehog cheesies: You take a naval orange and slice off a bit of the bottom so it sits flat. Then, you take a marachino cherry and impale it on the front of the orange, for a 'hedgehog nose'. Then, you take a wegde chunk of cheese, top it off with a pineapple chunk and with a tooth pick impale this repeatedly, over the hedge hog. When you're done, the orange resembles a "wee hedgehog". Sally's parents routinely have hedgehogs roaming their gardens, and they leave out saucers of bread and milk for the wee beasties.
2) Egg and Cress sandwiches: Eggs, mashed with a bit of mayo (Sally's version), and topped with "cress" (the subject of much debate here. You slice off all the crusts and cut the sandwiches into quarters.
3) There is a very strange British sausage called "chipalotas", which sounds very Italian to me, but Sally stresses they are British. According to her (Scottish) her family has these all the time: hot, cold, alone or wrapped up. Sausage rolls uses chipalotas wrapped up in a pastry and served cold; I'm thinking "Pigs in a Blanket". I haven't asked her much about them 'cause I hate sausage and have NO interest in making these. However, I found a U.S. source for them: http://www.britishbacon.com/bangers.htm
4) Cucumber sandwiches: Again, we go British, using U.K. cukes, instead of U.S. cukes, which Sally won't touch "with a barge pole!" You butter your white bread, have peeled your U.K. cukes and slice super thin, layering them on the buttered bread. Cut off the crusts, cut into quarters and eat.
5) "Rabbit jelly with bums that no one wants to eat!" Sally swears by all things British that in Glasgow, every family eats these! They are a tradition at Easter and every child's birthday party. It took 1/2 of a real day, for Sally and I to track down the molds, which NEVER made it across to the U.S. and are only sold in Britain. They MUST be the full form of a bunny, laying on it's haunches, and it's traditionally made with raspberry flavoured "jelly" (JELLO). We could not find the small molds, because there is supposed to be a Mama bunny and her baby bunnies, but no search found them. Around the Mama Bunny is piped whipped cream, and the kids will eat the "head and body" of the jelly rabbit....but, kids being kids, no one wants to eat the "rabbits bum (ass)", so it's usually the parents who get stuck with it!
6) Party Rings: I'm clueless! I'll have to ask her, as she emailed me this list and I just copied and pasted it.
7) Lemon curd tarts: Using a sweet pie pastry, you prebake them into tiny tarts about 2" across and fill with Lemon curd, which is a mixture of butter, eggs and lemon. The BEST lemon curd that I've ever tasted or made is Martha Stewart's; I tried recipes for years and her's turned out the best...consistantly.
Victoria Sponge cake: I described this above.
9) Fairy Cakes: apparently, "Fairy Cakes" are sponge cake, NOT regular white cake, and they are made small or fairy sized, like our small cupcakes. You cut out a small circle in the top, reserve the bit of cake and cut it in half. Then, you put a dab of buttercream icing in the hollow, take the cut halfs of cake and make them look like "fairy wings" in the butter cream, and dust it with powdered sugar.
Here's Martha's Lemon Curd recipe; the reason why I like her's the best is that it uses very little eggs (some recipes require 14 eggs!); the zest is added OFF the heat, so the curd doesn't become bitter; and it only uses the egg YOLK, resulting in a dark, eggy curd. Some recipes have you use the white and yolk, but the result is pale and the flavour is very light. I suppose if you want that, than using the entire egg would be okay, but I want a stout lemon curd!
1 Cup of Sugar
6 Egg Yolks, beaten and strained
1/2 Cup of Fresh lemon juice, strained
1 stick of Unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Grated Zest of the lemon
1) Place sugar, egg yolks, and lemon juice in a medium heavy saucepan over very low heat. Wish to combine, then switch to a wooden spoon. Cook slowly, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Cook a few minutes more, but DO NOT allow to boil.
2) Remove from heat, stir in the butter and zest, and allow to cool. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to use.
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