Well Paul couldn't have said it better so I 'll borrow his words to invite you:
"Would you care to sit with me for a cup of English tea?"
I've been interested in this afternoon tea ritual for quite some time now - maybe because I'm always at work during afternoon time and never - ever - get the chance to enjoy it??
I bet Anna Russell, the Duchess of Bedford who is credited for the creation of this ritual around 1800 - afternoon tea with some snack - had all the time in the world to enjoy it! So afternoon tea was transformed into a light meal in order to stop her stomach from complaining. Until dinner time of course...
Tea rooms, where one can enjoy this meal, can still be found in UK...in the countryside at least. As afternoon tea became fashionable somehow, an etiquette was built around it....and the ritual is considered to be a social event until this day. Brits and proper manners get along my friends for centuries!
So the perfect afternoon English tea is supposed to be served between 3:30pm and 5pm, or else it is called "high tea". Lovely items must be gathered - time to use this china you stored in cupboard for ages!! The tea pot should be warmed before you pour boiling water into it. You want to use your china not destroy it!!
Tea bags are absolutely out of question...only fine tea leaves should be put into your pot. After the infusion takes place - 3 to 5 minutes is the usual time for that - you ( the host or hostess ) serve your guests the first cup. Milk, lemon, sugar, honey and all kinds of savoury and sweet treats must be provided! Sugar cubes with your fingers on and slice of lemon in the cup for too long are definitely no and no. And be careful of that pinky finger when you raise your cup....just keep it down!!
But as far as I am concerned.... the CAKE is the most important thing! So I decided to create my own little ritual the previous Saturday afternoon when I came across this recipe of a chocolate cake. A cake with delicious apple and chocolate cubes unfolding in your mouth with the first bite....mmmmmm!
After the cake was done I grabbed my favourite woollen scarf and up on my terrace to enjoy a cup of earl grey while watching the sun go down...I prefer my cup with lemon and just a pinch of brown sugar, so brought all the necessary stuff along...
Would you like a bite too??
Here is what you need :
- 400 gr brown sugar
- 220 gr real unsalted butter
- 4 medium fresh eggs
- 120 ml water
- 500 gr self - rising flour
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 red apples sliced in cubes
- 125 gr dark chocolate cut in large pieces
- 125 gr white chocolate
- blue and red pastry colours
Preheat the oven in 180 ° C. Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl for about 7 minutes to create a creamy texture. Add the eggs one by one and keep beating for about a minute. Add water, flour, cocoa powder and cinnamon. Beat until smooth. Add apple cubes and dark chocolate pieces. Mix in and pour the batter into a medium prepared pan. Bake for about 80 minutes on the low position in the oven or until the point of a knife comes out clean when inserted in the center. Meanwhile melt the white chocolate in bain marie and add some drops of the blue and red colour until you reach the desired violet shade. Cover your baked cake with the mixture and...you are ready for your afternoon tea!!
I really enjoyed my peaceful time up there thinking about the Saturday evening to come and the plans I made for the following days...I think I might stick to this habit as the afternoons here in Greece are still warm and sunny...and even invite some friends...care to join me??
You are more than welcomed!!!