I always find it a pleasure to find working relationships that just click. The sorts of working relationships that move swiftly from dealing with business to caring deeply about the work that you do and the people you work with. I celebrated this fact yesterday with one of my biggest and most longstanding clients by showering them with afternoon tea. In the past I’ve taken clients to restaurants for such celebrations but for a bunch of people who pride themselves on the morning tea baking in their office it seems appropriate to bake for them in return.
With a rare tropical heat wave without a wisp of Wellington’s characteristic wind it was a pleasure to be able to laze out on the veranda and enjoy the views as well as the company. Almost 24 hours later I am still buzzing from the experience, the sheer decadence of it all. Sure the company was fantastic but in truth it’s the extreme sugar rush around my body that’s making the memories linger on.
The moment I’d issued the invitation I started to wish I hadn’t. What folly and vanity to set myself the challenge of afternoon of baking afternoon tea from scratch. This wasn’t the first time I’ve done it but there was such a controversy the first time about what should constitute an afternoon tea and the second time I stretch my wings and possibly erred on the side of sweetness. Since this was a summer celebration I aimed for a lighter and fruitier affair although couldn’t help holding back on the cream, eggs and sugar too.
The main cake event were superb Roasted Cherry and Almond Cupcakes (adapted from a British Larder recipe – I used a cream cheese frosting instead). I roasted the cherries the night before and was hard pushed not to scoff the lot before baking started!
For the essential touch of chocolate I adapted the British Larder Chocolate and Cinnamon Cookies by skipping the meringue discs in lieu of cream and raspberry jam filling. There is only so much stress a domestic baker can make, especially one leaving things to the last minute. I’d definitely give these another go in their full glory next time.
Taking the fruity flavours one step further I rustled up a pile of sweet tarts al la Ottolenghi and then filled one batch with marscapone cream and the other with home made lemon curd.
Matched with the obligatory fresh scones, egg mayonnaise sandwiches and cream cheese and cucumber our feast was complete.
Having appreciative guests makes all the effort so worthwhile. It was compulsory to stretch out the eating though over several hours, a couple of bottles of wine and several pots of tea. I love the civility of afternoon tea although think my ambitions for retraining and starting a new career opening a patisserie have been tempered in the haze of cream and sugar. Another lesson from his baking adventure is that food blogging on a real gig is a recipe for a camera caked with sticky finger marks!