Tea is coming – Am I too northern for this?

Tea is coming – Am I too northern for this?

Hello!

I realised I’d not posted a Monday Munchies recipe since last year (okay, I know that was only two weeks ago!) and thought I should really get back to baking.

However, the last mince pie has only just left the building and we still have a massive slab of Christmas cake to work our way through. So to add more treats to the temptation list seemed a little unfair to the holiday waistband!

Of course, this didn’t stop me eating cake last week when I met up with my friend and we decided to indulge in Afternoon Tea. This tasty activity, conjuring images of being quintessentially British, is something I have said on more than one occasion is one of my favourite things to do. And it is. Except I’ve only done it in the traditional sense three times, all of which have been within the last twelve months.

I am an Afternoon Tea-taking fraud.

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Plenty of times I’ve gone out and consumed a sandwich, followed by a slice of cake, washed down with good cup of Yorkshire Tea (other tea brands do exist!) but the size of the individual portions alone knocks them straight out of the ‘Afternoon Tea’ category.

So instead of baking, today’s Monday Munchies will discuss: What is Afternoon Tea?

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A slice of Tchaikovsky!

A slice of Tchaikovsky!

If you grew up in 80s Britain, chances are you remember the Cadbury’s advert for their raisin and almond chocolate bar. No? Well, I couldn’t tell you what happened in the ad either but what I do distinctly remember is the music and tag line. Performed to Tchaikovsky’s ‘Danse des mirlitons‘ from The Nutcracker,  I doubt very much it would be considered ‘p.c.’ these days, having the main line of ‘…everyone’s a fruit and nut case‘ – but it’s certainly something that stuck in my head!

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Except, it was never anything to do with chocolate because, as with everything else in my life, I had to change it about to suit myself. So my revised slogan became ‘everyone’s a fruit and nut CAKE’ and whenever I look at, eat, or as in the case of this week’s Monday Munchies, make a fruit cake I’ll happily hum the tune or have it skipping about in my brain!

Yes, as it’s nearly Christmas, the time has come around to create a slab of rich fruity goodness, doused in lashings of whiskey, ready for the big day. I always assumed making a fruit cake would be really hard work, but this boil and stir recipe from BBC Good Food is so simple and has worked well for the last couple of years. Okay, it takes about four days to bake (actually only 2 to 2 and a half hours but I’m impatient!) and it needs to mature so it’s best to organise making it at least a month before it’s needed. But as a self-confessed connoisseur of this type of cake, believe me, it’s sooo worth it!

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I’m a little teapot SHORT and STOUT (cake)

I’m a little teapot SHORT and STOUT (cake)

The first time I ever had to appear on stage at the tender age of four, this song was my offering to the world. Donned in a red cardboard ‘teapot’, dodgily hung around my neck with a bit of rope, I looked out at the audience of parents, teachers and older kids. I knew it would be a tough crowd, nobody loved giving up their afternoon to watch nursery children squawking out of key unless it was one of their own (and that was debatable!)

Prodded along by my teacher, I dutifully performed the actions, stomping around as the dumpy little vessel, trying to get the words out as quickly as possible. Of course, it’s me so it should be no surprise that when I was almost finished, tipping myself up for the final line, I promptly toppled to one side, fell in a heap and ran off-stage crying. Sigh…at least it got a laugh!

This isn’t me by the way, even though I was mistaken for a boy as a baby…

So that’s the story of inspiration for today’s Monday Munchie’s title (and my 50th post!), but what about the recipe? Well, as we’ve just returned from Ireland, I thought it would be nice to try and link in something authentic, so I opted to try a good old stout cake (recipe found on My Bacon-wrapped Life). I’ve never baked with beer before, but S has been dropping hints for a while. You see, he’s well into his craft beer, ever since I bought him a brewing kit just over a year ago, refusing to drink such ‘abominations’ as Carlsberg or Becks these days! And because of this, Ireland was slightly problematic because (shock, horror!), he doesn’t rate Guinness.

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