Effortless Afternoon Tea

Effortless Afternoon Tea

I have a real love for Afternoon Tea.  To my mind there’s something deliciously civilised about sitting down with a friend to eat cake, drink tea and just chat about the world.

Effortless Afternoon Tea

The ritual of setting out the cakes and making tea is so very soothing.  It sets aside this time for you and your considerations.  The world around you can wait.  You have tea and cake to focus on!

Effortless Afternoon Tea

I love preparing for an afternoon tea.  My Fruit Scones are quick and simple to whip up and are always a delight.  I can spend hours fussing over making little dainty sandwiches and tartlettes.

Effortless Afternoon Tea

But what if you have no time? What if your oven has broken? What if you just can’t bake?!

(You can, if you can read a recipe you can bake a cake.  You only need to believe in yourself and have a go, make a few biscuit cakes (wrong flour, oven too hot) and do your best!)

Effortless Afternoon Tea

Well, my friends, even I have found myself in these circumstances.  Sometimes you need the ritual of afternoon tea to step away from your hectic, chaotic world without the chaos of hours of prep in the kitchen.  Here is my advice: You Cheat.  Mr Kipling is your friend.

Effortless Afternoon Tea

Even if you have a reputation as a superb baker no one will mind if you have cheated.  It’s taking the time to sit with friends with a little something sweet and a relaxing cup of tea that is important.  With a nice cake stand and some pretty china (charity shops are a gold mine for this stuff!) take the time instead to lay a pretty table and forget about the stress of baking for a while.  Sometimes it is simply the more civilised thing to do!

 

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Filed under Easy, Teatime Treats

Herby Roasted New Potatoes

This recipe is a nice, easy, way of pepping up your potatoes a little.  For very little effort you get a whole lot of flavour and an absolutely gorgeous texture you usually only get with twice cooked chips!

Herby Roast Potatoes

The smell of the roasted herbs is amazing too!  These were cooked alongside a roast chicken and the whole kitchen smelt so good!

Herby Roast Potatoes

– Take a bag of new potatoes and place them in a nice oven dish.
– Drizzle with olive oil (3 tbsp at least, be generous!)
– Sprinkle with a pinch sea salt.
– Scatter with sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme.
– Put in the top of the oven for 1 hour at gas mark 5.
– Done! Potatoes!

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Filed under Easy, Sides

Tequila Shrimp Tacos

I’m British, I don’t really like to blow my own trumpet but let me just start by saying BY GOD I’M GOOD! These Tequila Shrimp Tacos were one of my proudest culinary inventions.  They rocked my world!

Tequila Shrimp Tacos

Ahem, sorry about that.  But you see they had sprung from the idea of a craving.  I’d never had shrimp tacos before, I think I’d only ever eaten tacos once before actually, when I was about 17! But I had this idea.  And this idea grew on me and developed and matured until I just had to make them.  And they were everything I had dreamed!

Tequila Shrimp Tacos

The shrimp were deliciously meaty and briney, the limes added that fresh ZING! that cut through and enlivened everything.

Tequila Shrimp Tacos

The Lime Chipotle Creme Fraiche, OH MY GOD! THE LIME CHIPOTLE CREME FRAICHE! I could write sonnets to this little dish, I really could!

All in all I was so so happy with this dish and I hope you will be too!

Tequila Shrimp Tacos
300g King prawns
1tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp chipotle chilli powder
1 tsp coriander leaves (fresh or dried)
1 tsp garlic paste
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 tbsp tequila

100g creme fraiche
1tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp chipotle chilli powder

1 ripe avocado
2 salad tomatoes
1tbsp lime juice
Pinch salt

Taco shells (Could use tortillas if you can’t get the taco shells)

Shredded lettuce

Limes!

– Heat a small splash of oil in a pan and add the king prawns, lime juice, chipotle chili powder, coriander, garlic and cumin to the pan.
– Cook until everything is nice and fragrant but no so long that the prawns shrivel.
– Add the tequila and simmer until reduced to a thick sauce.

– Stir together the creme fraiche, lime juice and chipotle chili powder in a bowl and set aside.

– Dice the avocado and tomatoes into chunks, add the lime juice and a pinch of salt, mix and set aside.

– Assemble your tacos with the lettuce and a good squeeze of lime on top.  Since you’ve got the tequila out already why the hell not, eh?

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Filed under Easy, Mains

Banana Art!

A quick silly one for you this week as I’m concentrating on the fact that I will be running 5k tomorrow!!!  Donate Here!

Did you know you can decorate your bananas?

Banana Art!

It’s so simple!  Just take a banana and a blunt writing implement and trace your design on the skin of the banana.  Don’t press too hard and break the skin.  Leave for a few hours and the design develops into a brown ‘bruise’ on the skin as it oxidises.  Simple!

Excellent for labeling food or leaving notes or drawings in lunchboxes to bring a smile!

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Filed under Basic, Easy, Gluten Free, Low Fat, Teatime Treats

Run, Anna, Run!

This time next week I will be setting off to run my very first 5K race… and I’ve chosen to do a Pretty Muddy Obstacle 5K Race For Life to boot!

Run!

Now I had been training with the objective to run the whole thing… and I do still intend to try but my physiotherapist banned me from running a few weeks ago while we work to treat a knee injury I sustained from, you guessed it, RUNNING!

I was actually really enjoying my training.  I have been using a Couch 2 5K app program to get me from being unable to run for 30 seconds and I made it as far as running for 5 minutes without stopping! (Sadistic app that it is it gives you two minutes of walking to recover and then off you go running for 5 minutes again!)  The objective is to get you to be able to run for 35 minutes non stop by the end of the program but I’ve only made it halfway through so far.  Once I get this knee problem fixed I fully intend to pick up again and learn to run properly!

Run!

Now, there is one very simple reason I am doing this:
To raise funds for Cancer Research UK.

To that end I would be endlessly grateful to anyone who could spare even as much a £1 to help me reach my fundraising target.

You probably don’t know me but I bet you know someone who has been affected by cancer.  Cancer took my Gran from us and it tried to take my baby sister when she was just 19 but she fought back and won!  It’s only down to the endless research done by groups like Cancer Research UK that we have the treatments available that have meant my sister is still with us today… and that is worth any amount of pain I know I’m going to be in come next Saturday!

So please, dig deep, it couldn’t be simpler to help me reach my fundraising goal simply click the link below:

Anna Pawlow Just Giving

Anna’s Just Giving Page

Or you can even donate by text:

Anna Pawlow Just Giving

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Filed under Not Food

Tortilla Pizza/Flammekueche

Sometimes you need pizza… sometimes you need pizza 5 minutes ago!  Sometimes you’re just craving a little something, a light meal, a pick me up.  These Tortilla Pizzas can be thrown together in next to no time with whatever ingredients you have lying around.  I would say the only things you definitely need are going to be tortillas and cheese, the rest is pretty variable!

Tortilla Pizza

I tend to go for a flammekueche rather than a pizza.  I like the creme fraiche base rather than the tomato but as I say, this is a very versatile recipe!  And quick too, which is it’s real selling point for me!  15 minutes and you can have a freshly cooked pizza!

Tortilla Pizza

A pizza stone does help here as you can get the underside crispier but if you don’t have one it’s no biggie, the edges will still get nice and cripsy!

Tortilla Pizza

Serves 1:

1 tortilla
2 tbsp creme fraiche or passatta
Toppings: Whatever you like!
I went for 2 mushrooms, sliced, 2 slices parma ham, shredded, 1/4 onion, sliced

Grated cheese to finish

– Turn on the grill.
– Take a tortilla, spread it with creme fraiche or passatta.
– Add your chosen toppings.
– Scatter with grated cheese.
– Grill for 5-10 minutes until all of your toppings are cooked and the cheese is golden and bubbly!
– Enjoy!

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Filed under Easy, Mains

Ombré Birthday Cake

For my Birthday BBQ I made a 3 Layer Pink Ombre Cake and a dozen cupcakes as favours too!

3 Layer Pink Ombre Birthday Cake

I’m really happy with how it turned out!  I’ve never tried anything like it before but I was pleased to see how my technique worked out!  I wanted to minimise waste and washing up so I came up with my own way of creating this cake effect.

3 Layer Pink Ombre Birthday Cake

Everyone seemed to enjoy it anyway, there was barely any left by the end of the evening!

3 Layer Pink Ombre Birthday Cake

I made a huge batch of cake mixture…

3 Layer Pink Ombre Birthday Cake

…And about 2kg of buttercream!

3 Layer Pink Ombre Birthday Cake

The colours worked wonderfully!  Nice and vibrant!

3 Layer Pink Ombre Birthday Cake

I tried to keep things nice and tidy, having assembled the layers I then piped round to fill in the gaps.

3 Layer Pink Ombre Birthday Cake

Which meant that I had a smooth surface to spread the rest of the icing over.

3 Layer Pink Ombre Birthday Cake

So here’s how I did it:

Makes 1 x 3 layer 7″ Layer Cake and 12 Cupcakes

500g unsalted butter, softened
500g golden caster sugar
8 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
500g self raising flour
3 tbsp milk
pink gel good colouring*  (I have that awful salmon pink one so you need to add violet to make it a nicer colour!)
grape violet gel food colouring*

500g unsalted butter, softened
1 kg icing sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk

1 jar seedless raspberry jam

– Heat the oven to gas mark 4.  Prepare 3 7″ sandwich tins (I use silicone as they come out flatter and are easier to turn out.) Line 12 muffin holes with paper cases.
– Cream together the butter and sugar in a LARGE mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
– Add one egg at a time, mixing well between additions.
– Add the vanilla extract and mix well.
– Fold in the flour until all combined with the wet ingredients.
– Add the 3 tbsp milk and mix well.
– Fill each cupcake case to halfway with cake batter.
– Put 1/3 of the remaining white batter in the first greased cake tin.
– Add a bit of the pink colouring about the size of a sweetcorn kernel along with a slightly smaller amount of the grape violet and mix thoroughly into the batter to achieve a light pink colour.  * If using nicer food colouring then use your judgement on the blend you want.
– Put 1/2 this mixture in the second cake tin.
– Add more pink colouring and more violet colouring and mix well to get a really deep colour.
– Put this remaining cake batter in the final tin.
– Put everything in the oven and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown on top and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
– Turn out your cakes upside down onto cooling racks and take the cupcakes out of the tin to cool.

– Put the butter, icing sugar, vanilla and milk in a LARGE mixing bowl and beat until thoroughly combined, light and airy.

To assemble the cakes:

– Trim any domes from your cake layers to give you flat cakes.
– Put a smear of buttercream on the base of the cake stand or plate.
– Place the darkest layer flat bottom up on the cake stand or plate.
– Spread with an even layer of buttercream.
– Spread raspberry jam on the top of the lighter layer.
– Place the jam side on top of the buttercream.
– Spread another layer of buttercream over the flat bottom of the lighter layer.
– Spread raspberry jam over the top of the white layer.
– Place the jam side on top of the buttercream.
– Fill a piping bag with white buttercream and make a 1/2″ hole to pipe from.
– Pipe around the cake between the layers to fill in any dips or gaps between the cakes layers.
– Smooth round this with a palette knife to make a smooth sided cake.
– Spread a good amount of white buttercream over the top of the cake and down over the edges using a palette knife to spread a smooth even layer of white buttercream over the whole cake.
– Now take about a cup of buttercream from the main mixture and put it in a separate bowl.
– Add pink and grape violet food colouring to acheive a nice deep raspberry pink colour.
– Put it in a piping bag with a 1/2″ hole.
– Pipe a ring of pink buttercream around the base of the cake.
– Now take a pallette knife and spread the pink buttercream up the side of the cake in small swirling circles so the dark pink melds with the white to give that faded ombre effect.  Don’t swirl all the way to the top, only go about 2/3 up and leave a nice band of clean white buttercream at the top.

– Take some raspberry jam and put it in a squeezy bottle with a cone tip.
– Inject jam into the centre of each cupcake.
– Take the remaining buttercream and put it in a piping bag with a large star tip.
– Ice each cupcake with a swirl of buttercream covering the jam hole in the centre.
– Add sprinkles white the buttercream is wet.

3 Layer Pink Ombre Birthday Cake

 

 

 

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Filed under Cakes, Cupcakes and Muffins, Moderately easy