Banoffee Pie

This is the perfect recipe for the long weekend. Whether you’re spending it with friends and family or enjoying a few stolen moments alone, Banoffee pie is a real treat and so very simple. It is a British recipe, thought up in the kitchen of a countryside restaurant in 1972, with a definite American twang. Caramel, bananas, biscuits and cream make for a delicious crowd pleaser.

In the restaurant, we serve this in individual portions. If you’re feeding many mouths, it works just as well in a larger pie dish.

Serves 4

1 tin of condensed milk
Packet of digestives
1/4 lb of butter, melted
1/2 pint of double cream
3 bananas, sliced
Grated chocolate to serve

  • To make toffee: place unopened tin of condensed milk in boiling water for 2 – 3 hours. The longer you boil it, the darker and thicker the toffee will be. Make sure that the tin is FULLY immersed in water, otherwise, the tin will explode.
  • Crush digestives and mix with melted butter. Using a fork, press the digestives onto the pan, leaving no holes and then chill. Whip the cream until it’s stiff.
  • Layer sliced bananas over biscuit base and cover with the toffee. Add whipped cream and grated chocolate.

Tea & Sympathy Apple Crumble Recipe

We’re having a real “we can’t believe we haven’t done this already” moment. Because today’s recipe is one of the Tea & Sympathy classics. And despite blogging for well over a year now, we’ve never shared it with you. We’ve given you shepherd’s pie, scones, and our famous chicken and leek pie, but apple crumble seems to have slipped under the radar. Unforgivable, we know.

Our memory was jogged while drinking a cup of our new Rosie Lee English Breakfast blend teabags. Apple crumble, with its salty sweet covering along with the soft, cinnamon apples within, is the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea. Especially, when served with lashings of custard!

So here it, from us to you, our very special apple crumble recipe. To be served with Rosie Lee!

Tea & Sympathy Apple Crumble

Serves 4-6
Preparation Time: 1 1/2 hours

 

For the filling
1 1/2 lbs Granny Smiths or other cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced.
2 tablespoons sugar
5 whole loves or 1/4 teaspon cinnamon
1/3 cup water

For the crumble topping
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sweet butter

Warm custard or heavy cream, optional.

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • For the filling, combine the apples, sugar, and spice in an 8 x 8-inch )square or round) buttered baking dish. Add the water.
  • For the topping, mix together the sugar and flour and rub in the butter until it resembles bread crumbs.
  • Cover the apples evenly with the crumble mixture. Bake, uncovered, for 1-1 1/2 hours, until the topping is golden brown.
  • Serve with cream, or custard, if you like.

Strawberries & Cream: Wimbledon Recipes

With Wimbledon well under way, there are only two ingredients our weekend recipe could focus on: strawberries and cream. The duo have been synonymous with the competition since 1877, the very first year it was held. At the time, strawberries were the fashionable thing to eat and their season coincided perfectly with the tournament. The organisers only ever serve up Kentish Elsanta strawberries, which are picked the day before they are served. Last year they estimate that they served up 2 million berries along with 1,800 gallons of cream!

So we have two recipes for you today, one for a delicious and delicate strawberry and cream sponge cake with black pepper, and the second for a Wimbledon Cocktail to go with it. The sponge cake comes from a fabulous Brazilian chef named Marcello Tully, who has come to find himself working on the Scottish Isle of Skye, serving up some of the best Scottish food around. You can read more of his amazing story here.

But for now: game, set… munch!

Marcello Tully’s Strawberries & Cream

Pepper sponge

135g of plain flour
135g of caster sugar
5 eggs
2 pinches of Bart black pepper

Lemon curd

4 lemons, unwaxed, juiced and zested
200g of caster sugar
100g of butter, cubed
3 eggs
1 egg yolk

Vanilla cream

240ml of double cream
40g of caster sugar
0.5 tsp of Bart vanilla essence

Garnish

200g of strawberries, stems removed and halved, 10 reserved to top the sponge
25g of strawberry jam, combined with 10ml water
icing sugar for dusting

  • Preheat the oven to 160˚C/gas mark 3. Start with the sponge by whisking the eggs and the sugar in a large bowl over a pan of simmering water until light and fluffy.
  • Leave the mixture to cool for 5 minutes before gently folding in the flour and pepper. Spread the mix onto a slightly dipped baking tray which has been lined with greaseproof paper and cook for 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove, cool and then cut into 8cm rounds using a pastry cutter.
  • In a heatproof bowl, combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, caster sugar and butter over a pan of simmering water – make sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.
  • Stir until the butter has melted, then whisk in the eggs and egg yolk. Cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mix resembles a thick custard. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  • For the vanilla cream, combine the cream, sugar and vanilla essence and whisk until soft peaks form. Set aside in the fridge to cool.
  • To assemble the strawberries and cream, use a high ended 7cm pastry ring and place 1 of the 8cm sponge circles at the base
  • Arrange a few halved strawberries flush inside the ring with the cut-sides facing outwards – this should leave a small gap in the centre, fill this gap with the lemon curd.
  • Next, add the vanilla cream to fill any remaining gaps and cover the top of the strawberries. Place another sponge circle on top of the cream and press down firmly to hold the shape. Repeat this process for each ring and set aside.
  • When almost ready to serve, combine the strawberry jam and water in a pan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, strain to remove the seeds and keep warm.
  • Remove the rings from the strawberries and cream and place 2 strawberries on top. Glaze with the jam, dust with icing sugar and serve.

Wimbledon Cocktail

1.0 fl. oz. of Creme de Framboise
5 Strawberries
Champagne
1.0 fl. oz. of Double Cream
1.0 fl. oz. of White Rum

Suggested Garnish
Strawberry
Sprig of Mint

Mixing Procedure
Combine Creme de Framboise and Strawberries in a blender, blend, pour into a champagne flute to quarter fill, fill to three quarters with Champagne, stir, pour Double Cream and White Rum into a mixing glass, stir, float on top of the Champagne, garnish with a Strawberry and a Sprig of Mint.

Tea & Sympathy’s Queen’s Jubilee Menu

It is finally upon us! This weekend is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee: a celebration of Elizabeth II’s 60th year on the throne that will go down in British history. We’ve put together a recommended menu to help you commemorate the event in truly regal style.

Feel free to give us a call (212-989-9735) if you’re planning a party and are looking for supplies – we have everything you need for an authentic British knees-up!

Coronation Chicken Finger Sandwiches

The perfect savory to serve at your party. Easy to make, easy to eat, and invented for the Queen’s coronation. A lightly spiced creamy chicken, coronation chicken hints at the Raj while finger sandwiches evoke a dainty English civility. Most importantly, these little morsels are utterly delicious.

Ingredients:
Makes about 10 sandwiches

Good quality, thinly sliced bread of your preference
Coronation chicken
Very thinly sliced peeled cucumber, tomato or lettuce (optional)
Salt and Pepper

  • Choose a selection of good-quality, thinly sliced white, wholewheat and seven-grain breads.
  • Peel the dark green skin from the outside of the cucumber with a vegetable peeler if using.
  • Spread a good amount of coronation chicken on to the bread, and add cucumber, lettuce or tomato if using. Season to taste
  • Top with a plain slice.
  • With a sharp knife, cut the crusts off of the bread and discard. Cut the sandwich diagonally into triangles or finger shapes.
  • Serve garnished with a sprig of fresh watercress.

Victoria Sponge

Named after the last monarch to spend 60 years on the throne. Queen Victoria favored a slice of sponge cake with her afternoon tea, and this is an especially decadent version: two layers filled with cream and jam and topped with confectioners’ sugar.


Serves 8-10
Preparation Time: 35-40 minutes

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
A few drops of pure vanilla extract
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder

  • Preheat  the oven to 350F
  • With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time , along with the vanilla.
  • With a spatula, fold in the flour and baking powder and mix until smooth.
  • Divide the batter between 2 buttered and floured 8-inch cake tins and smooth the surface by tapping gently on the side of the tins.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • As with all cakes, the best way to make sure the cake is done is by inserting a thin knife or skewer into the center of the cake: if it comes out clean, then the cake is done. Turn out onto wire rack to cool.

Royal Chocolate Biscuit Cake

We originally featured this cake during last year’s Royal wedding. William selected this childhood favorite as his groom’s cake. According to royal chef Darren McGrady, it is also one of the Queen’s top picks. Daily Candy stopped by to film Nicky preparing the cake. As you can see, it’s extremely simple and my-oh-my is it yummy!

There are more recipe ideas here. Please send us pictures if you do have a party – and we hope you have a fantastic Jubilee weekend!

Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Recipes

With just two weeks until the Diamond Jubilee, thoughts turn to food. Every celebration needs a great menu, and The Queen’s 60th year on the throne is certainly no exception. We’ve been dispelling the myth of terrible British cuisine for 21 years, and June 2nd is the perfect chance to showcase all our greatest grub. We’ll be sharing our recipe for Coronation chicken next week (creamy, lightly spiced chicken salad originally cooked up for the Queen’s coronation), but first, to whet your appetite, here are some other delicious regal recipes.

Queen’s Diamond Jubilee: Royal recipes

During her 60-year reign, Queen Elizabeth II has dined at some of the finest restaurants in the world, enjoyed sumptuous state banquets and sampled local delicacies from across the globe.

 

As tens of thousands of her loyal subjects plan street parties to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June, food will once again take centre stage – with dishes of all shapes and sizes set to form part of the nationwide feast.

If you’re planning a street party this year, there are hundreds of Royal-inspired recipes to choose from, all with special significance for Her Majesty. From a chicken dish created for the Queen’s coronation to a regal recipe for homemade scones, here are some suggestions for your Jubilee spread.

Drop scones

When President Eisenhower visited the Queen at Balmoral in 1960, he was so impressed with her “homemade” drop scones that he asked for the recipe. Weeks later, Her Majesty sent the US President some neatly-typed instructions – and while we can’t imagine the Queen beating eggs in the Buckingham Palace kitchens, this recipe is very much her own.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 3 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tbsp melted butter

Method: Beat eggs, sugar and about half the milk together, add flour, and mix well together, adding remainder of milk as required, also bicarbonate and cream of tartar. Fold in the melted butter. Enough for 16 people.

Beef Wellington

Reportedly named after the Duke of Wellington, this beef creation is a firm favourite at Buckingham Palace. According to former royal chef Darren McGrady, who worked for the Queen for 15 years until 1997, Her Majesty loves the dish, which combines meat with mushrooms and puff pastry. Here is his recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1.4kg beef tenderloin
  • ½ tsp English mustard powder
  • ¼ tsp celery seeds
  • 230g liver paté
  • 450g Portobello mushrooms, pureed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup cream
  • 60g butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 box readymade puff pastry

Method: In a large pan, add the butter, onion and a pinch of salt. Cook until the onion softens. Add mushrooms and sweat until the liquid evaporates. Add cream and Worcestershire sauce and reduce again to a smooth paste. Adjust the seasoning and set aside to cool. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and season the beef with the mixture of salt, pepper, mustard and celery seeds. Sear the beef on all sides and then remove to cool completely. Preheat the oven to 200C. Roll out the pastry to fit the size of the beef. Spread the mushroom mixture over the pastry, leaving at least three inches around the edges. Slice the paté, layer in the centre of the pastry and place the tenderloin on top. Fold the pastry and mushroom mix over the tenderloin and stick with the beaten egg. Neatly fold in the two ends and flip upside-down. Brush the top of the pastry with the remaining egg. Place the Wellington into the oven and cook for 10 minutes, before reducing the heat to 180C. Cook for a further 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Allow to rest for five minutes before slicing.

Royal chocolate biscuit cake

This chocolate cake was Prince Williams favourite childhood treat and was one of two specially-made cakes at his wedding to Kate Middleton last year. The unbaked three-tier dessert was made from 1,700 biscuits and nearly 20kg of chocolate. Here is a recipe for a smaller version.

Ingredients:

  • 400g plain chocolate
  • 1 packet (300g) Rich Tea biscuits
  • 85g unsalted butter
  • 170g golden syrup
  • 15 glace cherries (chopped)
  • 50g raisins
  • Handful chopped nuts

Method: Crush the biscuits and add cherries, raisins and nuts. In a large saucepan, melt the margarine with the syrup and chocolate. Pour the chocolate mixture over the biscuits and stir. Pour into a lined 12×8 inch tin and press down well. Refrigerate for at least two hours before cutting into squares to serve.

Happy Easter: 5 Craziest Creme Egg Recipes

Our of our most pleasant online discoveries has been the subculture of enthusiasts sharing a whole host of wonderfully bizarre Cadbury Creme Egg recipes. We felt it would make the perfect Easter feature to share our top five… Prepare to be amazed at what people come up with!!

5. Creme Egg Salad Sandwich.
We’re not going to beat around the bush: this turns our stomach. But a prime example of a hardened enthusiast’s dedication to taking the Creme Egg cause to a whole other level.

4. Creme Egg Tart
Much better – we actually want to eat this one. But too conservative for our liking, which is why it only makes fourth place.

3. Creme Egg Foo Young
Despite sounding rather unpleasant, this is actually quite a tasty combination: rice pudding, peanut butter, coconut and Creme Egg. We wouldn’t say no!

2. Creme Egg Benedict
It was a very tough call for first place, and what swung it was that we’d featured this recipe before. Creme Egg Benedict – the chocoholic’s brunch of choice!!

1. Creme Egg Brulee
We felt this recipe successfully ticked the novelty box while also causing us to lick our lips. If we have enough left Creme Eggs left over from Easter, perhaps this will make it on to the specials’ menu.

Easter, Hot Cross Buns & British Superstition

After our little brother A Salt & Battery’s easter offering, we felt we had to follow suit, but with something a little more traditional. A bigger deal in England than over here, like any good celebration, Easter is accompanied by its own repertoire of culinary delights. Top amongst them for many (certainly ourselves!) is the hot cross bun. Sweet, spiced, yeasty balls of dough, punched through with sultanas, marked with a cross and baked to sticky perfection; these yummy buns are delightful cut in half, toasted and buttered.

One of our HCBs!

For such small buns, they come with a great deal of superstition and mythology. It is traditionally said that the cross represents Jesus, and explains the association with Easter. Indeed, Elizabeth David – a queen of traditional British cookery – points to the fact that Queen Elizabeth I (with a capital ‘Q’) banned the baking of hot cross buns “except it be at burials, or on Friday before Easter, or at Christmas”. Most bizarre of all is the belief that hot cross buns are good omens; improving cooks’ skills, preventing fires and warding off rats and weevils. One family has kept a bun in a box since 1821!

A very old HCB!

We really look forward to freshly baking these little morsels from our traditional recipe. If you want to make them at home, we recommend fabulous food writer Felicity Cloake‘s recipe. It comes after meticulous consideration of various approaches – which you can read here. It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it! She says these are perfect – and we believe her!

Hot Cross Buns

And one of Felicity Clarke's HCBs!

Makes 16

200ml milk, plus a little more for glazing
3 cardamom pods, bruised
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
Pinch of saffron
20g fresh yeast
50g golden caster sugar, plus extra to glaze
450g strong white flour
100g butter
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground ginger
3 eggs
150g currants
50g mixed peel
3 tbsp plain flour

  •  Heat 200ml milk gently in a pan along with the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and saffron until just boiling, and then turn off the heat and leave to infuse for 1 hour. Bring back up to blood temperature and then mix the strained milk with the yeast and 1 tsp sugar.
  •  Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl and grate over the butter. Rub in with your fingertips, or in a food mixer, until well mixed, and then add the rest of the sugar and the salt and ginger. Beat together 2 of the eggs.
  • Make a well in the middle, and add the beaten eggs and the yeast mixture. Stir in, adding enough milk to make a soft dough – it shouldn’t look at all dry or tough. Knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, then lightly grease another bowl, and put the dough into it. Cover and leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size – this will probably take a couple of hours.
  • Tip it out on to a lightly greased work surface and knead for a minute or so, then flatten it out and scatter over the fruit and peel. Knead again to spread the fruit around evenly, then divide into 16 equal pieces and roll these into bun shapes. Put on lined baking trays and score a cross into the top of each, then cover and put in a warm place to prove until doubled in size.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 200C and beat together the last egg with a little milk. Mix the plain flour with a pinch of salt and enough cold water to make a stiff paste. Paint the top of each bun with egg wash, and then, using a piping bag or teaspoon, draw a thick cross on the top of each. Put into the oven and bake for about 25 minutes until golden.
  • Meanwhile, mix 1 tbsp caster sugar with 1 tbsp boiling water. When the buns come out of the oven, brush them with this before transferring to a rack to cool. Eat with lots of butter.

Cornish Pasties: Something for the Weekend!

As promised in our St. Piran’s Day post, here’s our recipe for Cornish pasties. Well worth going the extra mile and making your own pastry, these wholesome meaty treats are traditionally eaten with your hands and are great for snacks or lunches. Serve with a side salad, coleslaw or mash and baked beans on those days when you need a lift!

Cornish Pasty

Serves 6-8
Preparation Time: 2 1/2 hours

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled and diced
2 small carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 lbs ground lamb (or beef, if preferred)
3 medium potatoes, peeled and finely sliced
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence or chopped mixed herbs
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 pinches English mustard powder (optional)
1 egg
Salt and pepper
Double recipe of shortcrust pastry

  • To prepare the filling: sauté the onions in the oil until they are soft.
  • Add the lamb and cook for 15 minutes. Add the herbs, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Cook on a low hear, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour and 40 minutes. Add the carrots for the last 5 minutes of cooking, stirring constantly.
  • Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until they are tender.
  • Season the lamb mixture with salt and pepper to taste and add the cooked potatoes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • To prepare the pastry: Toll out the pastry to a thickness of 1/4 inch and cut into rounds about 6 inches across.
  • Divide the filling equally among the pastry rounds. Crimp the edges firmly together and make a small slit in the top to allow the steam to escape.
  • Brush with beaten egg and bake for 45-60 minutes, until golden brown.

 

Welsh Cakes: St David’s Day Recipe

In honour of St David’s Day this week’s recipe is for Welsh cakes. These flat cakes are similar to scones, except sweeter, denser, and packed with currants. They are traditionally cooked on a griddle, which is  similar to a frying pan, placed over a fire. Heavenly when sprinkled with sugar, sliced in half and spread thickly with butter!

Pat with sugar before serving!

We were going to use a Delia Smith recipe, but for autheticity’s sake, we went with one from the Welsh Griddle Company. According to them: “What categorises Welsh Pancakes is that they are made in a pile, well buttered, then cut down in wedges and eaten like a cake.” We’ve never tried them this way, but we certainly wouldn’t say no!

Welsh Cake Recipe

Pice ar y Maen (Welsh Cakes) Ingredients:
(250g) 8oz self-raising flour
(75g) 3 oz butter
(1/4 tsp) pinch of salt
(75g) 3 oz currants
(75g) 3oz caster sugar
1 egg
little milk (to mix)
extra caster sugar (to sprinkle)
¼ tsp of spice (optional)

Cooking Instructions
Rub the fat into the flour. Add the dry ingredients, then the egg the milk. Mix into a stiff paste. Roll out, cut into rounds and bake on a griddle over medium heat. When cold, sprinkle with extra caster sugar.

On the griddle.

And of course, there’s always Welsh Rarebit!

Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus!  (Happy St. David’s Day!)

Happy New Year & Thank You For All the Online Love!

Well, what a year we’ve had. The highs, the lows, the laughter, the tears… and, of course, the food! Unlike most years, the highlight of the past twelve months is pretty clearcut. The Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in March saw the whole Tea & Sympathy team come into their own, as we hosted the greatest street party in town.

Nicky, on fine form!

Greenwich Avenue was transformed, with the hanging of yard after yard of bunting, the serving of Union Jack cakes, the donning of our best British frocks and tuxes, and the general merriments that ensued.

Sean, looking dapper as ever in his pearly king outfit

Traditional morris dancers, pearly king and queens, and a performance from highly-regarded British musician Glenn Tilbrook set the tone, and after a few glasses of bubbly, the day was roundly decided to be a swinging success. Now for Harry to tie the knot…

Morris dancers!

We survived the snow storms, the earthquake and the hurricane, and greatly admired the resolve with which we New Yorkers face these things. It’s what’s known in Britain as ‘stiff upper lip‘. Keep Calm & Carry On, and all that

One of our best selling ranges of 2011!

If you will allow us a pretty weak pun, food is the bread and butter of what we do. A great part of embracing the wonderful world of the internet, has been the ability it’s given us to share our recipes more readily. We’ve also told you about a few of our great British food heroes. While we’re extremely proud of our cookbook, and highly recommend it to one and all, our shiny new blog has allowed us to spread our love of well-cooked British food.

Shepherd's Pie. One of our great British recipes of the year. And there were so many more! Tweed Kettle Pie, Finger Sandwiches, Chicken Soup and Treacle Pudding to name just a few!

We have been blown away by the positive response we have received here, on TwitterFacebook, and Youtube and we hope you all continue to spread the word. We have some exciting things planned for 2012, so please do keep coming back!

Otherwise, all that’s left to say is…. Happy New Year!