Posts in Great Britain
Grapefruit Yogurt Tea Cake
Grapefruit Yogurt Cake

This tea cake is perfect for afternoon tea, breakfast, or dessert. Bright and citrusy. Super delicious. Keeps like a dream. I can't recommend enough that you try it for yourself, just make sure to share it!

Grapefruit Yogurt Cake

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (greek yogurt is ok)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar (reserved)
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon grated grapefruit zest (approximately one large grapefruit)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

For the glaze: (Optional)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 ½  tablespoons freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a standard loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, dust sides with flour.

2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, eggs, grapefruit zest, and vanilla.

3. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

4. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. (This will look like a lot of oil, it makes the cake oh so moist.)

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

6. Meanwhile, heat 1/3 cup grapefruit juice and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

7. When the cake is finished baking, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully remove loaf and place on a baking rack over a sheet pan or plate. While the cake is still warm, pour the grapefruit-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool completely.

8. To make the optional glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and grapefruit juice in a measuring cup with a pour spout. Pour over the cake. Let set for at least 5 minutes to let the glaze sink in and firm up. 

Sliced cake
Cranberry Cream Scones

I love these scones.  I have been making this same recipe for over 10 years. Whenever I need something a little impressive, but also perfectly down to earth, they are always my first thought. 

They are versatile, simple to put together, and brilliant with a cup of tea or coffee!

Cranberry Cream Scones

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup cranberries, chopped
1 cup heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. In a food processor combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt, pulse six times to mix.

3. Add butter on top of dry ingredients, Cover and pulse 12 times, each pulse lasting 1 second. Add cranberries and pulse one more time just to mix in. Transfer dough to large bowl.

4. Stir in cream just until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.

5. Transfer dough and all the floury bits to a clean countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough ball, 5 to 10 seconds. It will be a sticky dough.

6. Form scones by gently pressing the dough into a lightly floured 8-inch round cake pan. Turn the dough out onto a floured surfacr and cut into 8 wedges using a bench scraper or long knife.

7. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake on the middle rack of the oven until scone tops are light brown, 12 to 18 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Best eaten fresh, if eaten the next day, warm in the microwave for a few seconds to soften.

Tea Party
2018 British GP: Afternoon Tea

I love a good tea sandwich. But being a resident of the United States and not Great Britain, I rarely get a chance to actually have one. I think I can count on one hand the number of times I have actually eaten a tea sandwich. I am thinking they should make a bigger appearance in my life, they pair so well with a nice tea cake or a scone for a proper afternoon break. I think I could use more tea time in my life. 

Researching afternoon tea brought up a lot of fun ideas, and I particularly like BBC's Good Food Guide on How to Throw an Afternoon Tea Party. If you are an avid watcher of the Great British Baking Show, as I am, I would definitely recommend you check it out. Some of the more ambitious bakes and showstoppers may have to make an appearance in future years!  

The race in Silverstone offered a lot for British fans to cheer for. At first it seemed pretty disastrous with Hamilton being tapped by Raikkonen, resulting in a spin, and ending up at the back of the field. But with that Mercedes power and Hamilton at the wheel, that didn't last long. Passing the entirety of the field but one, Hamilton made it all the way back to second place, but missed out on his home victory. It made for more drama to keep the fight as close as ever, and Vettel was heard at the end of the race saying “Grande vittoria, qui a casa loro.” “Great victory, here at their home”. Let's see if Hamilton can get him back in Germany and keep this Championship alive! 

Tea Party
Egg salad sandwiches

Curried Egg Salad Sandwich

Adapted from Food Network: 50 Tea Sandwiches

3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
¼ small red onion, chopped, about three tablespoons
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon curry powder
¼ cup mayonnaise

6 slices white bread
3 tablespoons mango chutney

Mix all egg salad ingredients in a medium bowl. Cut crusts off white bread, spread with mango chutney. Add a third of the egg salad to each slice of bread and top with second piece. Cut in half into triangles or small rectangles.

Cucumber sandwiches

Cucumber Sandwiches

1 medium English cucumber, thinly sliced
½  cup Cream cheese
1 tablespoon dill, finely chopped
6 slices white bread

Mix dill into cream cheese, softening cream cheese as you mix. Cut crusts off white bread slices. Spread all slices with dill cream cheese mixture. Add 1-2 layers of sliced cucumbers on one slice and top with the second slice of white bread. Cut in half into triangles with a sharp knife.

Cranberry Cream Scones & Grapefruit Yogurt Cake Recipes as well! 

Banoffee Pie

Banoffee Pie? 

Is anyone else here a fan of Love Actually? As in, the Christmas season is not complete until you've cringed at the curtains opening on the PM and Ms. Would We Call Her Chubby and you've shed that tear when Colin Firth tries to speak Portugese?

Well, that movie is my first and admittedly only introduction to Banoffee Pie. When Kierra Knighlty offers it to the man who is so clearly awkwardly in love with her, and all American audiences go, wait, what kind of pie? I let it slide for years, but now that I know what it is... I have discovered that I have been missing out! And so have you if you haven't had it yet. 

Banoffee Pie

From Saveur 

For the Pie Crust

1 stick butter, melted
1 (10-oz.) package of digestive biscuits, such as McVities brand

For the Filling

1 stick butter
1⁄2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 (14-oz.) can condensed milk
3-4 bananas
1 pint heavy cream
Grated chocolate (Optional)

1. Make the crumb crust: Crush the digestive biscuits in a food processor until you get a fine crumb texture. Transfer to a bowl and stir in melted butter. Press into a 9"-diameter tart base with a removable bottom. Press the mixture up the sides of the tart form with the back of a spoon. Chill the crust in refrigerator for at least one hour.

2. Make the toffee: Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the brown sugar and melt over low heat. Add the condensed milk and bring the mixture to a boil for a few minutes, stirring continuously. The toffee should darken slightly.

3. Pour the filling into the crust. Cool and chill again for at least one hour until the caramel is firm.

4. To serve, remove the tart from the pan and carefully transfer to a serving plate. Slice the bananas and place them in a single layer on top of the caramel. Whip the cream and spoon it over the toffee and bananas, sealing the filling in. Sprinkle the top of the pie with grated chocolate, if using.

Tea culture in Britain is something I'm a little jealous of. The ingrained afternoon break, a chance to recharge. And of course, you can't have tea without snacks! Cakes, scones, sandwiches. Mmmm. 

I love this kind of thing from Wikipedia:

"British-style tea

Brewing the tea

Even very slightly formal events can be a cause for cups and saucers to be used instead of mugs. A typical semi-formal British tea ritual might run as follows (the host performing all actions unless noted)

1.    The kettle is brought to a rolling boil (with fresh water to ensure good oxygenation which is essential for proper diffusion of the tea leaves).

2.    Enough boiling water is swirled around the teapot to warm it and then poured out.

3.    Add loose tea leaves (usually black tea) or tea bags, always added before the boiled water.

4.    Fresh boiling water is poured over the tea in the pot and allowed to brew for 2 to 5 minutes while a tea cosy may be placed on the pot to keep the tea warm.

5.    A tea strainer is placed over the top of the cup and the tea poured in, unless tea bags are used. Tea bags may be removed, if desired, once desired strength is attained.

6.    Fresh milk and white sugar are added, usually by the guest. Most people have milk with their tea, many without sugar.

7.    The pot will normally hold enough tea so as not to be empty after filling the cups of all the guests. If this is the case, the tea cosy is replaced after everyone has been served. Hot water may be provided in a separate pot, and is used only for topping up the pot, never the cup."

We may not have this as a daily tradition, but when we do pull out the old passed-down-through-the-family tea set, and fill the tea kettle, it feels like a momentary break from whatever other ills of life may be present. A chance to just enjoy a hot cup of tea, and a little treat. 

British GP - Sausage Rolls & Mushy Peas and Banoffee Pie

British food gets a bad rap. But honestly I love everything I've made for British races, and I loved everything I ate when I was in London 10 years ago. In addition to excellent fried food, curries, and sweets, the Brits know what they are doing when it comes to comfort food and that is exactly what I made for this year. 

Sausage rolls and mushy peas, this combination worked great. Greasy, heavy sausage and buttery pastry paired with light, bright peas with lemon and herbs. 

English Sausage Rolls

From All Recipes 

1 (16 ounce) package pork sausagemeat(either use pre-seasoned uncooked sausage or ground pork with chopped onion, and seasoning mixed in)
1 (17.25 ounce) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 beaten egg

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

2. Unfold the puff pastry sheets, and cut along the fold lines of each sheet to form 6 equal squares for a total of 12 squares. Brush each square with mustard. Divide sausage into 12 pieces, and roll into small logs. Place one log on each square. Roll dough around the sausage, and seal with a bit of beaten egg. Place rolls onto an ungreased baking sheet, and brush the tops with the rest of the egg.

3. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the rolls are puffed and golden. Watch after 10 minutes or so to make sure they don't burn.


Mushy Peas

From Serious Eats

1 pound frozen peas
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint, basil or sage (optional)

1. Place peas, 1 tablespoon butter and water in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Cook, stirring often, until peas are thawed and soft and butter is melted, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and mash peas with a potato masher until desired consistency is reached.

2. Add lemon juice and remaining butter and mix until butter is incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper adding optional herbs if using.

We helped this meal down with a couple classic British beverages: a gin and tonic, and a refreshing shandy. Cheers!


And Banoffee Pie

For this occasion we brought out my grandfather's china tea set and my husband's father's gift of imported Earl Grey tea. We had our own little personal tea party, complete with banoffee pie.