A sweet afternoon tea

Afternoon Tea is a classical tradition through out the ages of splendour. We have Anna, seventh Duchess of Bedford (1788-1861), to thank for the ritual of afternoon tea. For it was she who created this delightful break in the day.

Afternoon Tea is a classical tradition through out the ages of splendour. We have Anna, seventh Duchess of Bedford (1788-1861), to thank for the ritual of afternoon tea. For it was she who created this delightful break in the day.

This tradition is now very popular in Ireland and is available in most hotels. On lots of occasions a fine selection of food is served including dainty savoury sandwiches and sweet treats, leaving it nearly unnecessary for a later meal.

Shortbread Thins

It’s nice to serve these with the first of the Irish strawberries and a dollop of cream.

8 oz Butter

8 oz Castor Sugar

1 Egg

10 oz Plain Flour

1 tsp Baking Powder

Pinch of Salt

Cream the sugar & butter together, and then add in the remaining ingredients. If you wish you can divide the dough in 2 or 3 and add flavours like lemon rind or cinnamon or ginger. Form into a long roll and wrap in foil or greaseproof, place in the fridge for a few hours or until the next day. Set the oven at 180º, remove the dough from the fridge and very thinly slice. Place on a lined baking tray, sprinkle on a little sugar and bake for 5/8 minutes, they should be pale in colour. You can leave the dough in the fridge for a few days and bake it as you want it. Serve them with strawberries & cream or just hot strong tea.

Chocolate & Coffee Roulade

6oz/168g Dark Chocolate

2tsp Instant Coffee, dissolved in 4tbsp Boiling Water

6 Eggs, separated

6oz/168g Castor Sugar

Filling

¾pt/426ml Cream

3tbsp Coffee Liqueur, Tia Maria or Kahlua

Line a baking tray or Swiss roll tin about 14” x 16 “ with baking parchment. Break the chocolate into a heat proof bowl along with the dissolved instant coffee, put the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, heat gently until the chocolate has melted, and stir gently. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until the mixture is pale and thick, whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until they are stiff then fold in the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks and sugar giving a gentle stir, then fold in the stiff egg whites. Pour onto the lined baking tray and spread out evenly. Bake in a preheated oven 170º for about 20 – 25 minutes, the mixture should spring back when gently pressed. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, cover the roulade with a tea towel until you are ready to fill and roll it, you can leave it until the next day if you wish. Put a sheet of greaseproof paper on the work surface, sieve a spoonful of icing sugar over it, turn the roulade out onto the icing sugar and peel off the paper from the roulade. Whip the cream and add in the liqueur, spread the cream over the roulade, with the help of the greaseproof paper roll up the roulade and transfer onto a nice serving plate. Dust with more icing sugar.

Drop Scones

8oz/225g Self Raising Flour

2oz/56g Sugar

2 Eggs

8fl oz/225g Milk

2oz/56g Butter, melted

Pinch of Salt

Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl, make a well in the centre and add in the sugar and the eggs followed by the milk and butter. Beat with a wooden spoon or whisk, leave to rest for 30 minutes. Heat a pan and rub with a little butter, drop a tablespoon of the mix into the pan, when cooked on 1 side bubbles will appear on top then flip over and cook on the other side. Serve with butter and lemon.