Life

Welcome to my English Tea Party!

…and everyone is invited 🙂

Today is the Mad Tea Party blog hop, hosted by A Fanciful Twist. I hope you enjoy my Tea Party and also stop by the others taking part and have a lot of fun along the way!

All of the guests are arriving for this very important date…

Some arriving in style!

And here comes the Royal Knight – you can’t have an English Tea Party without some Royalty now, can you?

Come in, come in and make yourself comfortable. There is plenty of food to go around!

We have finger sandwiches of tuna and cucumber or egg and cress…

Hand made pork and apple pie from the local butcher…

Then traditional fruit scones from the local farm shop with strawberry and rhubarb preserve or quince and rose petal jelly, perfect for the ladies at the party, and of course some clotted cream!

Are the scones too sweet for you? Not to worry, we have a lovely hand made fruit tea bread that will do just the trick!

If you have room for more why not try the home made fairy cakes – made by fairies, of course!

Or perhaps you would like some home made berry muffins? I’ll be showing everyone how to make these next week too!

Now, we can’t have a good tea party without… TEA! The Royal Knight has been kind enough to bring a special selection, which one shall we choose?

…are you sure that this is tea, Sir?

It seems to be moving…

…no, it’s opening!

Beautiful blooming Jasmine Fairy tea. Now that truly IS tea fit for this magical Tea Party!

Thank you for coming to my English Tea Party, I hope you enjoyed yourself 🙂 Stay a while and chat but make sure to visit the other tea parties along the way too for some more Mad Tea Party fun!

Recipes

Apple Butter Pie

It wasn’t very long ago that I discovered apple butter. For those of you who aren’t sure what it is, think along the lines of a condensed apple sauce with added spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. Really tasty stuff 🙂

I’m not a pie maker, or at least haven’t been until now! I went to a friend’s Pampered Chef party (which is a relatively new thing in England so I hadn’t been to one before) and of the things I bought there, one was a super cool looking pie dish 🙂

…Never in my life have I been so excited about a pie dish lol!

So I had a look online and found an apple butter pie recipe that looked good and gave it a try in my new awesome, super cool pie dish!


(Just to share the awesomeness)

The recipe I used came from Baking Bites and even though it was very tasty and enjoyable, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations so I’ll probably experiment with it a bit another time. I enjoyed the pie and I’d make it again, but I think the one thing for me that needed changing is the consistency – but apparently (so my husband, who is American, tells me) this has the exact same consistency as traditional American pumpkin pie and so he loved it just as it was!

So this may be a case of me just not being used to that kind of pie filling yet. American pie and English pie seem quite different! When I do tinker with the recipe though I’ll be sure to post the results 🙂

I will apologise in advance for any blurry photos, I still haven’t been able to get my camera fixed 🙁

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 50-60 minutes (depending on oven)

Ingredients:
Sweet pie pastry to fit your pie dish
16 oz applle butter
12 oz evaporated milk
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.

2. Mix together the apple butter and evaporated milk. I stirred them together with a spoon but you can use a food processor if you prefer.

3. Add in the vanilla extract and eggs then stir well to thoroughly combine all of the ingredients. Again you can use a food processor if you prefer.

4. Roll out your pie pastry and line the pie dish. A trick I know, to stop the edges shrinking, is don’t cut off the excess pastry until AFTER it is cooked. This allows for some shrinkage and then you can get a nice neat edge 🙂

5. Pour in the filling and bake the pie in the oven for 50-60 minutes. I have a fan assisted over so it only took 50 minutes.

6. Bring the pie out of the oven and use a sharp knife to cut away the excess pastry. Be careful not to touch the pie dish (this was a failing point of my new dish actually, as it has “handles” that got in the way a bit so my edge wasn’t as neat as I’d have liked).

7. Enjoy a nice slice of pie! 🙂

This will be my post for this week’s Hearth & Soul Blog Hop and it’s their 1st anniversary 🙂 Be sure to check out the other recipes on there this week and to follow my blog for more tasty treats!

Life

Mad Tea Party Invitation!

Last year I took part in my first blog party (for Halloween), hosted by A Fanciful Twist. It was a lot of fun so I was excited to see that she is doing a Mad Tea Party this month 🙂

It’s happening on Saturday, June 25th and it’s really easy to take part – just click the link below to get the full details of how to join in on the fun!

A Fanciful Twist’s Mad Tea Party

Hope to see you there 🙂

Recipes

Soup Season: Garden Pea Soup

I love peas. In the age old question of “what luxury item would you take to a desert island with you?” it would be peas without a doubt! Fresh garden peas (or frozen ones) though, not the canned variety because that’s just blasphemy.

When my husband and I first started dating he bought me a surprise gift and gave me the hint that it was green, my immediate (and jokey) reply was “is it peas?!” and joking aside, I would have still been a happy girl if it was hehe.

So I decide to put my pea obsession to good use and make a garden pea soup 🙂 I didn’t follow a recipe, I made it up as I went along! But it’s quick and simple to do, very few ingredients and you can add more or less of each of them – or throw some more in there like adding a carrot or two, some leeks maybe, even some fresh mint or bacon at the very end. That’s why I love soups, they’re so versatile!

Makes 8-10 servings
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
1 kg frozen garden peas (fresh from pods are just as good!)
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 pints vegetable stock
1 pint boiling water
100 ml double or single cream (optional)
butter

Add some butter to a large saucepan and cook the chopped onions until soft, add the crushed garlic and stir through, leave to cook for 2 minutes.

Add the peas – they don’t need to be defrosted, just add them right from the freezer bag, or shell them from the pods if you’re using fresh peas.

Stir and add the stock and extra water. You can add more or less stock and water depending on how thin/thick you would like your soup to be.

Stir through and leave to simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Blend in a blender or food processor then stir in the cream if using it (we decided not to). This is also the point where you could add chopped up cooked bacon and/or mint.

Even though we decided not to use the cream in the soup itself, we drizzled a little bit on top of each portion before serving. You could also add a few crispy bacon bits on top, or some grated parmesan cheese. …Or even all three!

We had a bowlful each, with some Warburton’s Seeded Batch, and it was delicious! I’m definitely going to make it again but with some parmesan shavings and bacon bits to top it off. This was so quick and easy to make and I’m all for ease when it comes to cooking!

The rest of the soup went into Pour And Store bags, as usual, to be stored in the freezer 🙂

This will be my post for this week’s Hearth And Soul Blog Hop 🙂 Be sure to check out the other recipes on there this week and to follow my blog for more tasty treats!

Life

Stuck In A Rut?

I know I haven’t blogged for a while and it isn’t for lack of content, believe me! I have photographs and other things piling up on my hard drive just waiting to be blogged about.

So what is holding me back? It’s strange because I want to be sharing this stuff – I take the time to document things with photographs specifically with my blog in mind – but then when I sit down at my PC to actually write a blog post…my motivation vanishes. I think that perhaps it’s a general feeling of “meh”ness (yep, that’s totally a word! lol!) because I had thought I’d be in America by now, with my husband, and be able to spend our first Christmas as husband and wife actually in the same country as each other. But that hasn’t happened 🙁

The visa application is still being processed, they must have a backlog to work through either in the US or at the embassy here. Whatever the reason though, I don’t get to see my husband at Christmas like we’d both been hoping for and it’s left me feeling really lackluster.

So I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I haven’t forgotten you guys in the bloggerverse, I have a lot to talk about and show you. I’ll try to get something posted on Monday, when I have the house to myself, and hopefully that will kick me out of this rut that I seem to be completely stuck in. Who knows, maybe I’ll even get a Christmas miracle and hear from the visa people next week too!

Recipes

Chinese Inspired Chicken

I love Chinese food. Growing up we used to go to Chinese restaurants almost every week, sometimes more than once a week! ..the authentic ones, not the fast-food take-out places.

So I’ve grown up with dim sum being a huge part of my diet and even now get cravings and have to run into town to satisfy them lol! One of my favourites is ha gow (prawn dumplings) and 2 days ago when shopping I found some pre-packed in a local supermarket! Now they may not be as good as the freshly made ones in the restaurant I grew up visiting (and still go to now) but they looked tasty so I bought 2 packets and some vegetable dumplings too.

With them in mind I decided to cook a Chinese inspired meal last night, from the top of my head, and dust off my wok that I don’t use nearly as much as I should. Here’s the recipe, there’s a couple of alterations I’ll make next time (a bit more honey and soy sauce) but overall it was really delicious 🙂

Serves 2.

2 carrots, chopped into strips
2 leeks, chopped into strips
1 onion, sliced and separated into pieces
2 chicken breasts, sliced into strips
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp honey
soy sauce

I started by chopping all of the vegetables while the wok heated up with a little bit of oil in.

I cooked the garlic in the oil for a little while, to flavour it, then added the onions and cooked until they started to soften.

Next I added the carrots and cooked for a few minutes before adding the chicken. When the chicken was cooked (after a few minutes) I added the leeks along with the honey and several generous dashes of soy sauce, stirring to coat everything.

I cooked it like this for a few minutes, stirring to mix everything well, then served in a dish with the dumplings (which I steamed) on the side 🙂

It was so simple to do and tasted great – when I do it again I’ll add a little more garlic I think and play around with the quantity of soy sauce and honey, because it could have taken more of each of those quite easily.

This will be my post for this week’s Hearth And Soul Blog Hop 🙂 I had so much fun last week I just had to take part again!