Wherever you are, and whatever is happening in your world, Kia ora koutou katoa (Greetings. Hello to you all). I’m glad you could join me for another virtual afternoon tea.
It’s definitely feeling like autumn here in Auckland, although we are still in drought. And though the country has loosened Covid 19 lock-down restrictions to the extent that from today most shops and cafes are open again, I’m feeling no particular desire to hit the mall. In fact, I’m pretty happy staying at home trying to finish at least some of the projects that are starting to feel like Damoclean swords over me.
Luckily, baking never feels like a chore.
I’ve temporarily abandoned my attempt to discover 101 ways with dumpling wrappers, and actually made pastry. Admittedly it’s choux pastry which is pretty easy, but I am happy with the results; crisp little buns filled with herby cream cheese.
A couple of tea parties ago, I made some “grown up” fairy bread, using edible flowers instead of sugar sprinkles/hundreds and thousands. It would be fair to say it wasn’t one of my more successful culinary experiments, but it did spark a conversation with Brian (Bushboy’s World) about childhood foods, and the following month, Brian made real fairy bread.
I (as you do) promised chocolate crackles — another sweet treat that was pretty much compulsory at every birthday party in Australia and New Zealand. I’ve gone a bit off piste with this childhood favourite too, but, for an adult palate, I prefer mine to the original.
I’ve replaced the rice crispies with broken-up rice cakes (thank you for that genius idea Tracy), used melted dark chocolate and coconut oil in place of the vegetable shortening, and dumped the icing sugar all together. I’ve kept the cocoa powder and added cacao nibs for crunch; the sweetness comes from chocolate and crystalised ginger.
The Big T approves, so I will make them again and actually take note of the quantities in case anyone wants an actual recipe.
“these are a few of my favourite things …”
It’s interesting looking back at my earlier tea party posts. Not only do I seem to have an obsession with dumpling wrappers, but cream cheese, coconut, ginger and figs also pop up in multiple offerings. What can I say? They’re all flavours I like, and I still have figs on my tree.
But we’re at the end of the fig harvest, and the fruit are smaller and less plumscious; better for baking than eating straight.
The loaf recipe is more or less from The Spruce Eats — minus the cinnamon and pecans, and with lots of grated fresh ginger. It is a bit crumbly; I’ll need to work on that before I post a recipe.
Why a virtual tea party?
When Del (at CurlsnSkirls) and I started talking about a virtual tea party, we saw it as a fun way to share our love of food and conversation. It is that of course, but for me at least, it’s also an affirmation of how important you — my blogging whanau — are to me. Over the years you’ve shared your thoughts, stories, advice and support and I really would like to invite you all round to mine and cook for you.
But since that’s not going to happen anytime soon, I hope this will do instead.
I’d love to hear from you. What are you doing/reading/making? Your thoughts on the food, the drinks, and whatever I’m rambling about. What’s making you happy or pissing you off? Your comments make blogging so much more interesting.
And if you’d like to contribute a post of your own — even better. Maybe a shot of your cuppa and/or whatever you’re having with it. A recipe if you like.
I’ll update each of my posts with a ping-back to everyone’s in the same way as I do with The Changing Seasons.
#virtualteaparty2020 for anyone on Instagram who wants to post images (or video?)
Little Pieces of Me joins us too, and you might want to send best wishes to her too — an injured knee is causing pain.
Irene at My Slice of Mexico has made some wonderful chocolate pineapple-jam filled sponges, with jam she made too. She has included her recipe, and a really fascinating history of the pineapple, so please visit.
Lois at On Pets and Prisoners has brought some fragrant magnolia and cinnamon sticks to adorn our table.
A Wonderful Sheep has visited Veganique, a vegan bakery located in her Seoul neighbourhood, and bought a delicious banana coconut pound cake and Earl Grey Tea. Like so many small businesses, the bakery is suffering during the pandemic. You can check out their goodies on Instagram, and in these times, even social media support is helpful.
LadyLeeManila is sharing some delicious chocolate cupcakes and marbled brownies. Yum.
Sarah at Art Expedition has baked a beautiful flour-less hazelnut cake from her grandmother’s recipe. It looks delicious and is all the more special for being part of the thread that binds generations of women together.
Jo at Restless Jo is enjoying a luscious-looking carob and orange cake and a rather yummy-looking filled doughnut.
Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind has made a delicious platter that includes fresh fruit and some cheesy Vegemite crackers. For everyone who doesn’t know about Vegemite (or its rivalry with Marmite), you have to read the comments on Tracy’s post.
Del at Curls and Skirls has made a delicious spice cake, and is trying out a cornmeal cookie recipe. It’s wonderful,how bakers are being so inventive in the face of the flour shortages.