Monday, 9 April 2012

Somerset, Easter and afternoon tea

I hope everyone had a happy Easter and a good Passover.

For me the past week or so has been pretty busy to be honest. The weekend before Easter Andy and I headed west to Somerset, I dropped him off in Glastonbury on the Friday (it's his favourite place), then I headed off for a girly weekend at Langtry Country House in Watchet, which could only mean one thing...lots of good food and dozing off on the sofa -  we're not exactly young or energetic girlies!!

The following Monday was the first day of half term, so I headed over to visit four of my twelve (and one on the way) great nieces and nephews.  The night before I got a call from Ellie..."Auntie Mandy, when you come over tomorrow, can we do some cooking?"  "Of course!" I said, "what would you like to cook? "Not sure, there are lots of things"....

I arrived on the day and was greeted by them all at the door together with their trusty cookbook open at the page with a recipe for chewy chocolate chip cookies.  As you can imagine, juggling scales, flour, eggs etc. and four kids under ten is not an easy task.  I was advised by five year old twins Ruby and Amy, that they were good at breaking eggs, Ellie (eight) wanted to do the flour and sugar and  Joe (ten) wanted to do everything else.  I have to say, they were all great...and very enthusiastic, if you get my meaning!  We did however manage to bake a pretty good batch of cookies, so they were all very pleased with themselves.

The next day Andy and I went to see Wagner's Parsifal, which is one of his favourite operas.  I'v decided that this was the last Wagner opera I am going to see for a very long time!  We've been to three since Christmas, and I really need to to see something a bit more light hearted!! I've told Andy he owes me at least three musicals, now I just need to work out what the cheesiest ones are and get them booked!!

So, after a two day working week (I could get used to those!!) it was time on Good Friday for me to get baking for the afternoon tea I had arranged for Saturday, with my brother and future sister-in-law.  The menu included mini sandwiches and rolls, warm scones with Langtry Country House damson jam and clotted cream and a selction of cakes and biscuits.

I'm pleased to say it all went down well and we spent the rest of the evening talking about Stephen and Denise's upcoming wedding in the summer...all very chilled.

The rest of the Easter weekend has been pretty restful really, with a visit to my cousin's and a meal out with the family on Sunday and today (Bank Holiday Monday), I've had the house to myself so I did what I love to do best - bake!  Here's the recipe for the very simple, very chocolatey cupcakes I made, recipe courtesy of BBC Good Food:

  • 300g dark chocolate , broken into chunks - don't use one with a high cocoa content
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 200g light muscovado sugar , plus 3 tbsp extra
  • 6 tbsp cocoa
  • 150ml sunflower oil , plus a little extra for greasing
  • 284ml pot soured cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 100ml water
  1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4 and line a 10-hole muffin tin with paper cases. Whizz the chocolate into small pieces in a food processor. Put the flour, sugar, cocoa, oil, 100ml soured cream, eggs, vanilla and 100ml water into a large bowl. Whisk everything together until smooth, then quickly stir in 100g of the chocolate bits. Divide between the 10 cases, then bake for 20 mins until a skewer inserted comes out clean (make sure you don't poke it into a chocolate chip bit). Cool on a wire rack.
  2. To make the icing, put the remaining chocolate bits, soured cream and 3 tbsp sugar in a small saucepan. Heat gently, stirring, until the chocolate is melted and you have a smooth icing. Chill in the fridge until firm enough to swirl on top of the muffins, then tuck in.
Take care for now!

Mandy xx

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