When your oldest daughter wants a pair of Hunter wellies and a proper home-made afternoon tea for her birthday ...
- mini Easter coffee cakes
- salted caramel and banoffee eclairs
- herb cheese and quail egg tartlets
- roasted hazelnut Genoise with dark chocolate ganache
- mini lemon posset with brandy snaps
My perfect kind of Autumn activity ... afternoon tea followed by a tour and walk in an English vineyard; then a wine tasting. What an entertaining afternoon Jed our guide at Chilford Hall Vineyard provided. We learnt how to grow and prune grapes, pick them, make them into wine and all about different styles of English wine and grape varieties. The tasting at the end included 5 wines. A thoroughly interesting and fun afternoon and how lucky for us to have a perfect, sunny late October day.
Is there a better way to spend a lazy afternoon than sitting and enjoying a Luxury Afternoon Tea, overlooking Neptune Marina and from the comfort of the chic Salthouse Harbour Hotel? Myself and a carefully selected afternoon tea aficionado arrived to a warm welcome from Hollie. The champers arrived first - Dom Ruinart (from the oldest Champagne house in France) We chose English Breakfast from the selection of 10 loose-leaf teas and tucked straight into a good home made sausage roll; egg mayonnaise sandwiches that were well seasoned and freshly cut, cheese scones filled with cream cheese and tomatoes were the big boys on the block and an open smoked salmon sandwich was colourful and delicately topped with a frond of fresh dill. Up a layer on the vibrant bue and rather wobbly cake stand to the sweet section. Favourites here were the mini chocolate éclairs, light, bursting with fresh cream and drizzled with chocolate. Macarons were a delicate yellow and filled with a zingy lemon curd. A fruit tartlet not mentioned on the menu was colourful with sliced strawberries, raspberry and kiwi fruit on a crème patissiere. Oh the calories! Deep breath, a little rest, the teapot topped up.
The next round included the soft creamy cupcake - we were divided on opinion, I said a little boring, companion said light and deliciously vanilla flavoured. There was flapjack and a chocoholics delight of rich, dark chocolate mousse on a crunchy biscuit base. We still had the scones to go! Whilst having a breather we discussed whether the clotted cream or the jam should go on first. These were excellent freshly baked scones, served warm, soft crumb in the middle and crisp crust. We cut them in half and tried it the Cornish way - jam on top - and then the Devon way - cream on top. Either way the afternoon tea was excellent.
If you get the chance to spend a day or two in Cambridge then here is my mini food tour. Arrive in the afternoon and start with Afternoon Tease in King Street. It is very close to the bus station in Drummer Street and as the name suggests serves tea and cake. You can also get breakfast, brunch and lunch. It stays open until 6pm in the week. I had a big slice of stout Christmas cake with homemade marzipan and icing. The dark molasses flavoured cake had huge juicy chunks of stem ginger and figs which made me go straight out and buy figs, because sometimes you just forget how nice they are.
After a good long walk around the city, a little retail therapy perhaps and working up an appetite, then go for supper at Pint Shop, another new restaurant to the Cambridge scene and just off the market by the Corn Exchange. Meat, bread, beer, about 50 types of gin, 30 whiskies and a very good wine list. The bar was full but I got a glimpse of some scotch eggs and sausage rolls on the bar top as I walked through to the restaurant. I was by myself, but had a good time. Staff are friendly and welcoming and bring a plate of bread to the table once you are seated. I had half a pint of so'hop moor ultra pale keg beer, with triple cooked smoked ox cheek, horseradish gremolata and sprouting broccoli. The side order of mash was perfect to mop up the gravy. The puddings sounded really good and included a sticky figgy pudding, but you can only eat so many figs in a day. And so to bed..... there are loads of places to stay, look at Quality in Tourism for rated properties.
In the morning find your way to Norfolk Street Bakery. it is an easy walk from the Grafton shopping centre. Do not leave Cambridge without visiting this delightful, bijou, Portuguese bakery. Adilia bakes with her cousin Daniel and the window alone just calls you in. It is bang in the middle of a residential part of town and a little terraced property. You can get coffee to drink in or take away. I tried salt cod pie, a meat croquette , a suckling pork rissole and cod fish cake. Yes, I am a pig, but how can you resist, and they were still warm! I brought home a box of cinnamon topped pastel de nata (custard tarts) to eat later.
We like Bungay. This pretty little town has some great independent shops and a market every Thursday.
A very special afternoon tea is being held in Ickworth House West Wing. It is in aid of Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research. Tickets cost £15.00 for adults and £3.00 for children. The cost of the ticket includes afternoon tea and entrance to the park and gardens.The County Upper School Swing Band will be playing and the tea will be served on the fabulous vintage china of suffolkvintagechinahire. See the flyer for booking details. See you there!!
Bought this fab plateful this morning at their table sale in Norton, what a selection for £1.30, featuring madeleines, chocolate mandarin buns, walnut cake and pretty decorated sponge slices.