Toffee is made by caramelising sugar with butter, and sometimes flour is added too. Toffee can be plain, or feature nuts or raisins. You need to boil the ingredients until the mixture is stiff, then you can pull the sheet of toffee into shape and let it cool. Toffee can range from sticky and soft to hard and brittle, depending what kind of result you want. English toffee is buttery and often contains almonds. You can get it hard or chewy. Honeycomb toffee is made by adding vinegar and baking soda while mixing. When these react with the carbon dioxide in the mixture, you get lots of tiny holes in the toffee.
The type of toffee made in this video is the kind used for making toffee apples in the UK. Making your own toffee is very easy and you only need sugar and water. If you like, you can add a few drops of red food colouring for a rich red colour, but that is optional. The toffees are made in individual paper liners and decorated with Hundreds and Thousands (known in some places as sprinkles) for a cute look.
Serve them in the cupcake papers and perhaps coordinate those with your tablecloth and serviettes for a colour coordinated teatime treat. These are very, very sweet so make sure you serve a selection of contrasting savoury foods too, such as sandwiches and savoury tarts or pastries, for a nice, balanced teatime spread. Continue reading
Jam tarts are very popular at teatime and making your own ensures you will be a very popular hostess. Store-bought tarts are never as nice as the homemade kind. Watch Catherine Leydon making these tasty little pastries. She has plenty of tips and good advice in this cooking video. The pastry is simple to prepare and then you bake the pastry cases empty.
Next add some jam. Just use your favourite flavour. You might like to use strawberry or raspberry jam. Some can have apricot jam for a different colour, or even lemon curd if you want to make some yellow ones. Bake them for another 10 minutes and they are all done. Make the pastry in advance if you like, or the individual cases, and fill them when you like. You can keep the baked empty pastry cases in an airtight container for up to a week.
Jam tarts seem to have been around forever but the first historical reference to them appeared around the same time sugar became available for making jam. Sugar was very expensive in those days so jam tarts were a status symbol and only affordable to the wealthy. Today they are ideal for everyone. These little treats are simple and affordable to prepare, and you can use any kind of jam as your filling. Serve these with a cup of Earl Grey or your favourite tea for a late afternoon treat. Continue reading
Quintessentially British, amazing with any kind of tea, and instantly recognisable, Battenberg cake often makes an appearance at teatime. This pink and yellow light sponge cake is covered in marzipan and you can see a 2×2 pink and yellow check pattern when you slice it. This cake might be associated with Battenberg, a town in Germany or the aristocratic Battenberg family known in the UK in the 19th century as the Mountbattens.
The colours of Battenberg cake give it away because no other cake looks quite like it. You will often find slices of this cake at tea houses in Britain and of course also served at teatime with a pot of tea.
To serve this cake at teatime, cut it into 1 or 2 centimetre thick slices and arrange them on a china plate. The marzipan is sticky enough to hold the pink and yellow squares tightly. Many recipes feature a sticky layer of jam between the marzipan coating and the cake itself. If you want to make some Battenberg cake for teatime take a look at this video and find out how to make this delicious treat yourself. Continue reading
Perhaps you are familiar with BBC2’s cookery programme ‘Great British Menu’ which pits up-and-coming British chefs against one another to see who can prepare the most delicious food. Each episode focuses on a slightly different element of cooking to see which chef is the best all-rounder, capable of making delicious starters, satisfying main dishes and perfect puddings as well.
Because the UK has so many fantastic recipes and a wealth of food and cooking history, many of the chefs on the programme opt to recreate British classics, perhaps altering them slightly to add their own unique touch. This is easy to do yourself. Take sherry trifle, for example. It is hard to improve on a classic recipe like that but if you want to make sherry trifle your own, try swapping the sherry for brandy, using a different flavour of jelly, or adding something else to the mix.
The best chefs in Britain today are not those who make authentic recipes only, but those who have mastered the art of preparing traditional British recipes and are also able to put their own twist on those dishes and come up with their own signature recipes as well. This episode is the final in the series so you will see the most impressive British dessert recipes of all. The chefs like to save their very best for last. Continue reading
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