Today’s guest blogger is someone I’ve known for a while now. We both started our blogs the same year, just a few months here and there. We first met during an Ottolenghi cheesecake challenge and once I visited her blog and found out she was a fellow Brit, I became an instant follower. To me visiting Glamorous Glutton is like going back home for a bit. I keep apprised of all the goings on in the UK there with the additional treat of acquiring a new recipe. I appreciate GG doing this for me on such short notice and she has done a brilliant job! I couldn’t ask for more, tea, cake and a walk in an English village. Thank you so much GG!! Please everyone, welcome GG and please visit her amazing site to see more of her recipes and to read about the UK.
Nazneen very kindly asked me to guest blog for her, of course as a fellow Brit, although she is now living in the US, I jumped at the opportunity. Nazneen was one of the first people to comment on my blog when I started and has been a loyal supporter ever since.
As a small child I hated going for walks. A seemingly unending trail through London parks whilst the adults carried on a tedious conversation. The hills seemed interminable stretches of lumpy grass. I looked miserably at the bare spiky trees, not seeing the mounds of leaves with all the opportunities for play. My bratish appeals of ‘When can we go home?’ went unanswered.
Then we got a dog, a wonderful mongrel of a collie. Bright and friendly with long fur, tinged with a bit of all possible colours. He came everywhere with us. My sister and I were in constant contest as to who would take him out. The consequence was that we both went out, spending endless afternoons tramping those lumpy hills, playing excitedly with our furry friend.
That companion has long gone, I now tramp those hills with the Glam Pooch, a chunk of a boxer with a gentle temperament and a love of exploration. Together we discovered the village of Hambledon. Set in a valley edging onto the River Thames and back into the rural hills. It‘s the quintessential flint cottaged village. A church that dates back to 14th century, a Manor House, a pub and a picket fenced post office, where on Saturdays and Sundays there’s a crowd for the plain wood seats and tables outside. This isn’t tablecloths and fine china, but it is English tea. Chatting couples with kids in tow, their bikes leaning precariously against the fence. Dogs mingling, waiting for the promised walk or puffing, tongues hanging, watching for their turn at a water bowl. Trays with stainless steel pots of tea and plates of whatever the days choice of cakes is, appear periodically from the door. This is strictly an outdoor tearoom, whilst the business of village shop and post office takes place inside.
But there’s more than this to Hambledon, it’s the setting for 101 Dalmations – remember the barns in the country? Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the English training ground for Easy Company in Band Of brothers. So, as I wander through the narrow streets passing crooked, rose covered cottages and rustic wooden bridges, I keep an eye out for a tall thin lady with a white streak in her hair, after-all she might take a liking to brindle (tiger striped), now the spotty dogs are gone!
If you are planning a walk and maybe a picnic, or English tea at home, here are three ways with one batch of cake mix.
Mini Cakes with caramelised white chocolate topping
Rhubarb drizzle cake
Caramelised apple crumble cake
For the cake batter
This makes 10 mini muffin sized cakes and one 20cm. / 8 inch square cake
225g (8oz) caster sugar (superfine sugar)
225g (8oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla paste or essence
4 large eggs at room temperature
225g (8oz) plain / all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Preheat the oven to 180c / 350f
Grease a mini muffin tin and a 20cm / 8 inch square baking tin line the bottom of the tin with baking parchment
Put the butter, sugar and vanilla essence into a large bowl and cream until very pale in colour and light and fluffy
Break the eggs into a bowl and add slowly to the mixture ensuring the egg is well beaten in after each addition
Sift the flour and the baking powder together to ensure they are well combined, carefully add to the butter and egg mixture and fold in
Pour the batter into the mini muffin tins and the square cake tin and place in the oven.
Bake the mini muffins for 10 – 15 minutes until golden and a skewer comes out clean
Bake the square cake for 25 – 30 minutes until golden and a skewer comes out clean
Remove from the oven, leave to cool for 5 minutes in the tin then remove and place on a cooling rack.
Rhubarb Drizzle Topping
400g / 14 ounces fresh rhubarb
3 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar
80 mils / 1/3 cup water
Preheat the oven 180c / 350f
Cut the rhubarb into 4cm / 1 ½ lengths and place on a foil covered tray
Sprinkle with the sugar and the water
Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until just soft and juicy
Cut the square cake in half
Using a skewer pierce hole in the cake and pour over the juice from the rhubarb
Line the rhubarb pieces in neat rows over the cake
Cut the cake into bite size squares
Caramelised Apple Crumble Topping
For The Apple Caramel
50g / 5 oz caster / superfine sugar 50mls water
250g / 9 oz Cooking apples (Bramley)
15g / ½ oz unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla paste
Sprinkle the sugar evenly in a large frying pan, add the water and swill to wet the
sugar. Do not stir
Place on a high heat and bring to a boil, continue boiling until a rich caramel colour is
Reduce the heat and add the chopped apple, unsalted butter and vanilla paste, stir
until the apples break up and the butter has melted and combined to form the
Set aside to cool
For the crumble
120g / 4oz Plain flour
90g / 3oz unsalted butter cubed
45g / 1 ½ oz soft brown sugar
70g / 2 ½ oz ground almonds
50g / 2 oz chopped almonds
Place the flour, butter, sugar and ground almonds into a medium bowl.
Rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it forms fine breadcrumbs
Take the remaining half of the cake, spread with the caramelized apple and sprinkle,
thickly with the almond crumble topping.
Using a very sharp knife cut into small squares
Caramelised White Chocolate
Preheat oven 130c / 265f
200g / 7oz very good quality white chocolate, broken into small pieces
10 fresh raspberries
Put the chocolate on a shallow baking tray and place in the oven for about 30 – 50 minutes.
Every ten minutes check the chocolate and stir with a spatula. It will go gloopy and even lumpy, but ultimately turn into a smooth paste
Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then dip the mini cakes into the caramelised chocolate and top with a raspberry
Thank you so much to GG for these wonderfully delicate and dainty tea time cakes and a wonderful walk down a true English village. I appreciate GG taking the time out to bake these tea time treats and to visit and take pictures of Hambledon. Thank you so much GG and I hope everyone checks out her site too. As you all read this, I am probably on my 10th meal of the day since that’s what we as a family do! I hope you are all having a great week!