I started the baking on Friday night with a batch of Hazelnut and Choc Chip Macaroons from my River Cottage Cakes Cookbook (same as the ones I sent to BIL in Afghanistan - they were the most popular).
Some were heading off to a Tradecraft event and only six made it into the Cookie tin as OH took a fancy to them. Such a quick and simple recipe to make and with no flour in them, Gluten-free!
All hail the 'Oven'. You've got a lot of work to do!
Saturday morning saw my first ever attempt at a French Macaron! I've finally plucked up the courage to make some out of my 'Macarons' Book, that my lovely running buddy got me last Xmas.
I had also found an excellent tutorial online for loads of extra tips for the perfect Macaron!
I pretty pleased with my first attempt and rather than just use the basic recipe on its own, I added a tiny bit of lemon extract to the mixture and then filled them with lime curd. Tada ...... Lemon & Lime Macarons! Also tasty filled with some whipped double cream. They are best left for 24 hours in the fridge to mature.
Then it was onto the bread for the sandwiches. I'm using the Sleepless White recipe that I blogged about here. All ingredients kneaded and left upstairs in a cool room for the next 16 hours!
Now for Afternoon Tea, you've got to have a whole cake as well as little morsels, so I've opted for a Victoria Sponge Cake, again from the River Cottage Cakes Book. I've never made one of these before and was interested to see that you weigh the eggs in their shells first and then use equal quantities of flour, sugar and butter. You really had to cream the sugar and the butter together until almost white before slowly adding the eggs (best at room temperature!) to prevent the batter curdling. As I had used a single wider tin it came out a bit flatter than I would have liked, but I'm sure the addition of jam and lashings of cream tomorrow should solve that!
Sunday morning saw me rise bright and early (not sure about the bright bit) to divide the bread dough into three and leave to prove for another couple of hours. After they'd cooled I turned them into a choice of smoked trout or cucumber sandwiches. So very British!
The last of the baking was from my 'The Gluten Free Baker' Book and I chose Honey Madeleine's. Despite the thickness of the batter, they rose brilliantly and you could just taste the honey, orange zest and cinnamon. Dusted with some icing sugar, they looked just the ticket.
After a little rest - its tiring this baking lark (but rewarding!) it was time to start setting the table, get out all my prized crockery and adding the baked goodies.
Oh and making pots of tea! Then all there was left to do was............. eat!