Monday, June 13, 2011

afternoon tea

my flatmate recently left Canberra for overseas and I recently moved into Canberra so we decided to celebrate by hosting a large morning tea in our apartment :). We baked TEN things between us - it took a lot of planning, coordination and pre-thinking. I've never baked that much in my life. Here's a picture of all the ingredients, just to prepare you for the amount of stuff we baked:

It was very rewarding and allowed me to practice old recipes and try new recipes.

Between us, we cooked:
*Savoury puff pastry scrolls
*Savoury olive, feta and zucchini muffins
*Chocolate brownies
*Chocolate cake with a marbled meringue topping
*Cashew nut biscotti
*Scones x 2.5 lots
*Mango syrup and coconut cupcakes
*Lemon cake
*Coffee Slice

Below you can see the before and after photo:
Note: Some of our guests brought extra food - we really appreciated it, but it added to our amazement of how much food there was!

And some highlights of my baking journey...

Over the past year, its taken me many many test runs to find a good scone recipe and to (almost) perfect them. The best recipes that I found were from the Ritz Hotel (London) and the Country Women's Association (Australia). It takes a light yet swift hand to make the fluffiest scones. The recipe that I used for the arvo tea are from the Ritz Hotel - they were rich and buttery. And below you can see my recipe-book-like pictures :)
I'm not going to list the ingredients due to copyright reasons... but here's the method that I used:

1. Put all ingredients except milk in a bowl
2. Cut or rub with your fingers until large flaky crumbs
3. Put milk in bowl then mix
4. Identify cutting instrument (I didn't have a cookie cutter so used the bottom of a cup. I'd definitely recommend a sturdy cookie cutter because if the cutter is uneven, it affects the shape of the scone and how perfectly it rises)
5. Knead on a floured surface then roll out
6. Cut into shapes
7. Place closely next to each other in a tin - this is essential as the closeness of the uncooked scones will force them to rise up rather than out
8. Bake in a 180 degree oven for 15ish minutes
9. Voila!

Cream Cheese icing
When I first started to make cream cheese icing, I always had major problems - there was either too much cream cheese or icing. I'd try to get the balance right by adding one or the other, but it would often end up in me having twice the amount of icing as necessary. Generally, the more icing sugar there is, the more firm the icing is. The consistency of the icing depends on what you want to do with it - pipe it (more firm) or spread it on with a knife (soft).

Sorry, I didn't note down how much of each ingredient I used, but it was about:
*400g cream cheese
*1/4 cup mango nectar (for this particular recipe)
*1/2 cup icing sugar
note: I think I broke my hand mixer by forcfully mixing the unsoftened cream cheese. I had this mixer for 10+ years, so I was quite attached to it and thought it deserved a picture :)

Coffee Slice

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