Friday, 26 July 2013

Marie Curie Blooming Great Tea Party.

Well we had our Blooming Great Tea Party.  We had a really lovely day.  A good few friends, family and neighbours popped in for a cuppa and some home baking and, as it was a beautiful day, we sat in the garden and had a good natter.
And as an extra bonus, we managed to raise just over £300 for Marie Curie Cancer Care so I am delighted.

I kept the baking simple and tried to have something that would appeal to everyone.  I also tried to make a mixture of things that could be made in the days leading up to the event so I wasn't trying to do everything last minute.

Here is my baking schedule just in case it helps anyone else who is new to baking and wants to do a tea party.

I started with the cookie doughs.  I made two types of cookie (well, Steve made one of them).  We did a rye and raisin one from Dan Lepard and a peanut butter and chocolate chunk one from ... We made the doughs then scooped out balls of about 30gs each of the mixture, rolled into balls, froze flat then transferred into bags to keep in the freezer.  These could then be just taken out, popped onto baking sheets and baked for 12 minutes to give fresh cookies on the day.

About 3 days before the tea party, I then made shortbread and kept this in an airtight container until needed.

2 days before I made batches of cupcakes from Cupcake Magic (for recipe - see this post), my three carrot cake layers (Dan Lepard - recipe here) and a batch of Mars Bar Squares.

On the day before, I iced and decorated my cupcakes.  I must mention here the gorgeous daffodils I bought for the top of my cakes for the Marie Curie theme. I got them from carolsyummybakes which I found on eBay and I have to say that she couldn't have been more helpful and I was seriously impressed with the quality of the decorations.

I iced the carrot cake with lemon cream cheese frosting and kept in the fridge.

I made two batches of brownies (one with and one without walnuts) and two lemon drizzle cakes.

On the day itself, I made a Victoria sponge and laid everything out for a 10am start.

I had plenty of baking - too much in fact -  and everything seemed to go down well.

This was my JustGiving page and if I add all the donations given to me on the day, it comes to just over £300.  Very happy to donate to such a brilliant charity.

Thank you so much to all my family and friends who contributed.

I had a wonderful day and would recommend having your own Blooming Great Tea Party either this year or next year.  See the website for details.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Random Recipes 30.

This is my 30th Random Recipe.  I haven't missed a single one (although I have been a bit tardy on occasion) from the very start of Dom's successful challenge.

For the occasion, Dom asked us to count along our recipe books, choose the 30th one and cook whatever was on page 30.

My 30th book is Roast Figs Sugar Snow by Diana Henry - a beautiful and inspiring book given to me by my dear friend.  A lot of the recipes are warming, comforting dishes for wintertime but luckily page 30 gave me a salad so it was fine for the glorious temperatures we were getting here at the start of the month.

The recipe was for Salad Of Pear, Hazelnuts And Cashel Blue Cheese.  I varied it slightly by using gorgonzola instead of the Cashel Blue and pecans instead of hazelnuts only because that is what we had in the house.  The salad is a lovely, filling one.  It uses roasted red onions as well as a mixture of salad leaves and the meltingly sweet pears to go with the nuts and cheek-sooking cheese.

Sometimes my older boy will turn up his nose at "smelly" cheese but my relentless foisting of it upon him is obviously paying off as everyone in the house finished off their salads with clean plates. My kind of Summer meal.

To take part in Random Recipes, see Dom's Blog - Belleau Kitchen. You will receive a very warm welcome.