Afternoon Tea

It’s tea time! We’ve featured the Hockus Kocis blog before, but this picture is just too good to ignore…

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Stuff I Ate: Sticky Toffee Pudding

With longer, colder nights on the horizon, thoughts turn to steaming hot pots of tea – and dessert! One of our all-time classics is sticky toffee pudding. We’ll share the recipe tomorrow, but for now, some fab photos and very kind words from a lovely blog called Stuff I Ate.

“Tea & Sympathy always has great, friendly service, and I’ve yet to try a custard that tops theirs. I mean not in London proper, not in my kitchen, nowhere! Blast!”

Couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Read the rest here.

NBC 4: New Yorkers, Do as the Brits Do

Some kind words here from NBC4 – and some very good advice in the title. An excellent guide to all things British in NYC, featuring some of our very best friends (Myers of Keswick, we mean you!)

New Yorkers, Do as the Brits Do

Tap in to your inner anglophile and enjoy the tastes of England on this side of the pond, right here in New York City.

Tea & Sympathy
108 Greenwich Ave. / Greenwich Village
212-989-9735

Welsh rarebit, scotch egg, Shepherd’s pie, the’ve got it all at Tea & Sympathy, a quaint little English restaurant right in the heart of Greenwich Village. It’s been a neighborhood favorite for years.  On the weekends, they serve an authentic full English breakfast (or shall we say Sunday dinner), a rare find in New York City. Any New Yorker who knows what bubble and squeak is will truly appreciate this find. They don’t take reservations and the place is rather small, so get there early with your entire party. Can’t get enough? Stop on by the adjoining market for some treats to take home.

Read the rest here.

“Let Them Eat Cake”: A Bastille Day Recipe

This week’s recipe is for Marie Antoinette. What with it being Bastille Day tomorrow, we thought we’d honor the woman who famously declared “let them eat cake” when told the peasants couldn’t afford bread and winded up losing her head a few years later. Vive la revolution!

As with many of our recipes, this is taken from our cookbook ‘Tea & Sympathy: The Life of An English Teashop in New York’, which is available in-store and to ship. If you’re interested in a copy, send us an email at info@teaandsympathynewyork.com or give us a call on 212-989-9735.

Sugar-Glazed Lemon Cake

This cake has a delicious tangy, sweet, slightly crunchy topping and is a firm favorite of all the staff here. The whole thing often gets eaten long before it makes it to the customer, sorry!

This photo is taken from the fabulous Milk & Mode blog, the lovely people behind which made our cake and said some very nice things about us: http://www.milkandmode.com/2011/01/sugar-glazed-lemon-cake.html/.

Serves 6-8
Preparation Time: 1 hour and 35-50 minutes

For the cake:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
1/4 cup whole milk

For the glaze:
1/2 cup sugar
Juice of 4 lemons

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • To prepare the cake: Grease and flour an 8 x 4 1/2 x 3-inch loaf tin.
  • In an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  • With a spatula, fold in the flour and baking powder.
  • Add the lemon juice and zest and the milk a little at a time.
  • Transfer the mixture to the loaf tin and bake for about 1 1/4-1 1/2 hours, until soft and spongy to the touch.
  • To prepare the glaze: Gently heat the sugar and lemon juice together until the sugar has dissolved. Continue to boil for about 15 seconds.
  • Pour the syrup over the cake while it is warm and let cool.

Gentleman’s Relish: Wimbledon Men’s Final British Pantry

Be warned, today’s British Pantry item is a weird one. But what with the Wimbledon men’s finals being held today, and our feature on Nicky’s dad earlier this week, it fits perfectly. The British culinary scene has its fair share of oddities: condiments, sauces and store cupboard items from the Edwardian and Victorian eras, and even before that. Through a trickle of customers, and a dedicated workforce (often family-run or providing the raison d’etre for a community), these foodie relics of yesteryear are still present in (some) modern British kitchens. And Gentleman’s Relish is just such a product.

A spread made of anchovies, butter, herbs and spices, Gentleman’s Relish is best served sliced on white toast with thinly sliced cucumber. A very pungent concoction (think: fish + salt), this is certainly an acquired taste and will put hairs on the chest of all that eat it. Perhaps that explains the name?

Unfortunately, as it contains animal products, we are unable to import Gentleman’s Relish, but we strongly recommend you give it a try on your next visit to the UK. Dedicating this post to Nicky’s dad – and whoever wins the tennis later today!

An Ode to Jam: Its History & A Simple Recipe

Getting caught up in all that cockney business a couple of weeks back meant we missed British Jam Week. To make up for it, we’re using today’s Thursday foodie slot for a little feature on fruit preserves and a classic recipe for strawberry jam. There’s little we love more than a thick slice of white toast, generously buttered with this spooned over the top – perfect with a cup of tea!

The dream team!

Jam appears in the very first known recipe back, “Of Culinary Matters”, penned by the great Roman gastronome Marcus Gavius Apicius in the first century AD. It’s thought to have taken off in Europe following the Spanish arrival in the West Indies, where fruit preservation had long existed.

A history of jamophiles: Marcus Gavius Apicius, Louis XIV, Henry VIII, and Mary Queen of Scots

They remained an aristocratic luxury for most of the remainder of the millennium, with Louis XIV a particular fan: he insisted that all banquets ended with fruit preserves served in silver dishes. Jams made their way to England in the Tudor period, with quince and medlar being too popular flavors. Sucket was a highly prized preserve that took things one step further, combining rich candied peel with jam.

Marmalade is jam of the orange variety and is a little more of an acquired taste. Sadly, its consumption is in drastic decline back in Britain. One explanation of the unusual name is that Mary Queen of Scots was served a rudimentary version to help overcome a crippling vitamin C deficiency. In this telling, the name is a shortened version of ‘Mary, my Lady’.

James Keiller makes our favorite jam. Luckily we sell it in-store, alongside a wide selection of Tiptree’s luxury jam.

When buying jam, the fruit content should be as high as possible, at least 55g per 100g. Our all-time favorite shop-bought jam is from Fortnum & Mason. Chunks of high-quality fruit that keep their dignity in a perfectly sweet liquor, just as it should be. Definitely worth a detour when next in London!

Here’s a very straightforward recipe from Angela Nilsen and the BBC Good Food Guide. And just you try and tell us that picture doesn’t make your mouth water:

Simple Strawberry Jam

Ingredients:
900g fruit (blackberries, plums, raspberries or strawberries), prepared weight
900g golden granulated sugar
knob of butter

  • Put the fruit into a preserving pan or large heavy-based saucepan. For blackberries, add 50ml of water and 1½ tbsp of lemon juice; for plums (halved and stoned), use 150ml of water; for strawberries, add 3 tbsp of lemon juice (no water); and for raspberries, add nothing. Bring to the boil.
  • Lower the heat. For blackberries, simmer for 15 minutes; for plums, simmer for 30-40 minutes; for raspberries, simmer for 2 minutes; for strawberries, simmer for 5 minutes. The fruit should be soft.
  • Tip in the sugar, stir over a very low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Raise the heat, bring to a full rolling boil, then rapidly boil blackberries for 10-12 minutes, plums for 10 minutes, raspberries for 5 minutes or strawberries for 20-25 minutes – don’t stir though – until the setting point of 105C is reached.
  • Remove from the heat, skim off any excess scum, then stir a knob of butter across the surface (this helps to dissolve any remaining scum). Leave for about 15 mins so the fruit can settle. Pour into sterilised jars, label and seal.