Friday 26 August 2011

Afternoon Tea in London

Afternoon tea in London - what a spread!
Never mind tea at the Ritz, Grandma Abson’s Afternoon tea was served up last weekend in London to the delight of family and friends. The sun put its hat on and came out to shine as we sat in the garden.
Jane's delectable cucumber sandwiches
It was a combined effort to prepare a wide variety of delicious cakes, scones, teabreads and biscuits. My son’s neighbour, Jane, crowned our efforts with fabulous cucumber sandwiches on beautiful trays and brought out her gorgeous cake stands to display Grandma's cakes superbly. 

It’s always fascinating to see which cakes are the most popular when we do these parties. Grandma's Bridlington Cake is a lemon cake which takes everyone by storm, wherever it’s served up. It’s not a standard sponge cake and not made by creaming, rubbing-in or melting methods but the texture is somewhere between a sponge and a meringue. It’s also a versatile cake to decorate. This time, I used homemade lemon curd and a meringue topping with amazing results. I’ve decorated it before with lemon butter cream and glace icing or feather icing. 
There was much talk amongst the guests of the delights of afternoon tea as an alternative to dinner parties. Grandma’s baking recipes are easy to make and leave the host plenty of time to have a leisurely chat with guests. 
Serious debate about Grandma's afternoon tea!

Friday 19 August 2011

Going for gold

Apple Pie with golden pastry
One of my favourite pastimes is gardening and it suit all moods, whether it’s hacking away at an overgrown shrub, growing fruit and vegetables or simply taking pleasure in a colourful display of flowers in spring and summer. It lifts my spirits when I get out into the garden.
Grandma let someone else take the strain of gardening but she did take full advantage of their efforts, and knew what to do with gluts of fruits and vegetables. Grandma Abson's Traditional Baking has recipes for jams and chutneys as well as fruit puddings and pies. My favourite  is Apple Pie made with her mouth watering perfect Shortcrust pastry.
Last September with much trepidation, I entered the annual competition for our local Gardeners' Association - in the baking section. I baked a Fruit pie, made from Grandma’s tried and trusted recipe. I was over the moon to win gold first prize and collect my winning certificate – this was my first baking competition! Not quite #GBBO but it felt like it - and I hope Grandma would have been proud of me!
1st Prize for Home made Fruit Pie

Friday 12 August 2011

Plums a plenty

Clafoutis de prunes : Superbe!
We’re enjoying a vast array of delectable fruits from the local market. One of my favourite summer desserts is the French ‘Clafoutis’. You can make it with cherries but I really like this recipe made with plums called ‘Clafoutis de prunes’. This sounds confusing but I promise that you don’t make it with prunes. You can use Yorkshire Pudding batter for ‘Clafoutis’. 
Here’s the recipe from my French friend, Florence. Grandma liked this as it's a recipe based on a ‘cup’ measurement. No worrying about metric or imperial - gs or ozs. Just make sure you use the same cup for the ingredients!

Clafoutis de prunes
¾ cup plain flour
2 eggs
¼ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 full cup of milk
4-5 plums cut into slices
Mix the eggs and flour as for a pancake batter. Beat in the sugar, salt and milk. Butter an oven dish and line with the plums. Cover these with the mixture and cook in a moderate oven for about 45 minutes (Mark 4, 350F, 180C).

Grandma’s tips for YorkshirePudding apply to this dish. Switch to a conventional heat setting rather than a fan oven setting to ensure it comes out light and airy!

Friday 5 August 2011

Grandma’s on the wireless

Marmalade Spice Cake
Grandma listened to all sorts of radio programmes while she was knitting or sewing - plays and news on ‘The Home’ service, now Radio 4, and music on ‘The Light’ programme, which is a bit like Radio 2 - and she called it the 'wireless'.

This week, I’ve been interviewed on BBC Radio Sheffield and been sharing recipes from Grandma book. Rony Robinson, the presenter asked me about being brought up by Grandma and life on the Railway Station at Bolton on Dearne and of course about Grandma’s recipes and why I was passionate about home baking.

I made Marmalade Spice Cake for the BBC people to try and they told me it was 'Yum Yum'. Here's the recipe :

8oz/225g self raising flour
3oz/75g margarine or butter
5oz/150g marmalade
6oz/175g golden syrup
2 tsps ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsps hot water
1 egg (beaten) 

Pre heat the oven to 325F, Mark 3, 170 C. Grease and line a loaf tin. Melt the margarine (or butter) in the golden syrup in a pan. Mix the flour, ginger and cinnamon. Add the liquid from the pan gradually. Add the marmalade and beaten egg and stir in the hot water. Bake in a warm oven for ¾ hour. 
The recipe is one from Grandma’s daughter-in-law, Nellie.  I love this recipe as the ginger gives it a real tang. I make it regularly with Grandma Pat’s homemadeMarmalade although any good quality marmalade will do.

Grandma Abson’s Traditional Baking recipes are going far and wide!