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Archive for the ‘Entertaining at Home’ Category

Crumpets

I’m working on a new story and crumpets play a key part in the tale, so I decided to make some. To my knowledge I’ve never even tasted them before, so it would be a good experiment.

Wanting to use a true British recipe, I reached out to a wonderful friend in England and she shared one that was easy enough even I could follow the step by step directions.

For all my British friends out there – my apologies for messing with your long-standing traditions! Here is a link to some crumpet history, if you are unfamiliar with them.

The key component of crumpets, from my limited understanding, is to have plenty of holes in the surface for butter to melt into. Crumpets were quite popular for tea time in the 1800s and many British families enjoy them today, particularly for breakfast. You can top them with jam, eat them plain – but most definitely serve them with a spot of tea.

Ingredients

Ingredients

 

Mix flour and yeast together.

Mix flour and yeast together.

Stir in milk mixture.

Stir in milk mixture.

Beat until you have a smooth batter (about 3-4 minutes).

Beat until you have a smooth batter (about 3-4 minutes).

Cover and let rise for 20 minutes to an hour. The dough should be full of lovely little holes.

Cover and let rise for 20 minutes to an hour. The dough should be full of lovely little holes.

Stir in water mixture.

Stir in water mixture.

You want the consistency to be like heavy cream.

You want the consistency to be like heavy cream. Cover and let rest 20 minutes.

On medium heat, using a griddle or cast iron skillet, heat a little oil. You will need rings (and you can purchase crumpet rings, but I used these pancake rings I had on hand. You could also use a round cookie cutter, a jar lid, etc.) Make sure the rings are well greased then spoon in batter.

On medium heat, using a griddle or cast iron skillet, heat a little oil. You will need rings (and you can purchase crumpet rings, but I used these pancake rings I had on hand. You could also use a round cookie cutter, a jar ring, etc.) Make sure the rings are well greased then spoon in batter.

 

Cook about two minutes, until tops are bubbly. Remove the ring then turn over. I used a regular dinner knife to flip them over and it worked great.

Cook about two minutes, until tops are bubbly. Remove the ring then turn over. I used a regular dinner knife to flip them over and it worked great.

 

See the holes in the surface? Holes mean places for butter to drip into and create all manner of deliciousness.

See the holes in the surface? Holes mean places for butter to drip into and create all manner of deliciousness.

Eat them hot out of the pan with butter, top with some jam if you want a little sweetness to it. If you don't serve immediately, make sure you toast them before eating. They are much better warm than cold.

Eat them hot out of the pan with butter, top with some jam if you want a little sweetness to it. If you don’t serve immediately, make sure you toast them before eating. They are much better warm than cold.

Crumpets

2 cups flour

1 package instant yeast

1 tsp. granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups warm milk

2/3-1 cup warm water

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

oil for cooking

Mix flour and yeast in a bowl. Set aside.

Warm milk until it no longer feels cool to the touch, but isn’t hot. (Think baby bottle temperature.) Add sugar and stir until dissolved then stir into flour mixture with a wooden spoon.

Continue stirring 3-4 minutes until batter is smooth. (This is great exercise for your arms!) Cover and set aside for at least 20 minutes, up to an hour.

It should rise up in the bowl and have holes on the surface.

Fill a measuring cup almost full of warm water. Stir in the baking soda and salt until dissolved, then slowly add to the batter. You want the consistency to be like heavy cream. If it still seems too thick, add a little more water. Cover and set aside for 20 minutes.

Heat a griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Pour a little oil in the bottom. You will need rings for cooking the crumpets. I used pancake rings, but you could use a round cookie cutter, a jar ring, etc. Make sure your rings are well-greased inside. (You can also purchase special crumpet rings if you are so inclined.)

Spoon the batter into the rings until they are about three-fourths full. Cook a couple of minutes until bubbles appear and the surface looks set. Remove rings, turn over and cook another two to three minutes.

Serve immediately or toast before eating with plenty of butter.

She Who Needs Some Tea with her Crumpets

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You are cordially invited to a bridal shower

Tea Party

Please wear a Victorian Hat

That’s what the delightful invitation I received a few weeks ago read.

The first thing I did was an excited little dance at the prospect of going to a bridal shower for my friend’s daughter and attending a tea party. One that required a Victorian hat.

tea party hatI set about fashioning a hat using a bridal hat for a base. I couldn’t find any colored feathers, so I used a mixture of food coloring and vinegar to die a few white ones. They turned out perfect!

tea party polka dot bow 1

I think my favorite thing on the hat is the polka dot bow. I used a length of organza to sew a long strip then crimped it into a bow and sewed the middle together to hold it in place.

With my hat done, I was ready to party.

And, oh, what a beautiful party it was.

tea party table 2Guests walked in the door to find this absolutely amazing table.

tea party silverComplete with silver service, lovely tea cups and decadent treats.

tea party snacksI did mention the treats, didn’t I? There were scones with  lemon curd, strawberry jam and cream. We also enjoyed finger sandwiches, sweet strawberries, lemon tarts, and, of course, tea!

tea party cupI was in love with this tea cup. Just so pretty!

tea party table 1It was a blissfully wonderful way to celebrate a bridal shower. In addition to the delicious food, we enjoyed a few games, laughing at each others’  hats, and watching the bride-to-be open her gifts.

tea party hostsA huge thank you to our beautiful hosts for creating such a fun afternoon! You two outdid yourselves!

And congrats to L – may you have a long, happy life with your sweetheart!

She Who Loves Tea Parties and Bridal Showers

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Since the Fourth of July is tomorrow, I thought I’d share some of my favorite recipes…

Devour in bliss.

Fruit Salsa

Top with paprika and parsley then dig in!

Chunky Potato Salad

finished-saladFried Mozarella Salad

pink lemonade barsPink Lemonade Bars

Enjoy the finished crisp warm with a scoop of melting ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Berry Crisp

trifle-finishedPatriotic Trifle

banana ice cream bowl 1Banana Ice Cream

Strawberry Bundt Cake

Strawberry Bundt Cake

 

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TFM Removals created a fun and humorous list of 25 signs that you’re a new homeowner.

They shared some of that humor with us today in a little excerpt from their list.

If you’re a new homeowner or thinking about moving, check this out for a laugh or two:

 

 

  • You are permanently wearing “eau de emulsion”

    You are permanently wearing eau de emulsion

    Image source

    You can’t seem to shake the smell of paint, your whole new pad smells of it and now you do too. Forget about Chanel No. 5, for the next 2 weeks you’ll be rocking Dulux Sunset Apricot.

 

Pop on over to their website for the entire list!

 

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Just a little summery thought today…

sunshine

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Beach

Around this time of the year, I start dreaming of being somewhere tropical and wonderful versus somewhere that the lawn needs mowed, the housework needs some attention, and someone needs to go to the grocery store. Again.

So to compensate for the fact that fresh pineapple is about as close to an exotic location as I’m going to get, I like to fill my home with some fun fragrances.

Some of my favorites for summer are:

Citrus

Sage

Nectar

Tropical

From candles to lotions, you’ll find me using these during the next few months.

Certain scents, like a delightful lotion that mixes tropical flowers with coconut, get me through my island-less existence. I inhale it deeply, slather too much of it on, and pretend I’m sitting in a chair somewhere close to the beach.

Find the scents that make you smile and add them to your go-to selections for the summer months.

She Who is In Need of a Vacation

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Rootbeer Cupcakes finished

The other day I discovered a bottle of root beer in the fridge and debated drinking it or doing something fun with it.

I’m glad I went with something fun. These cupcakes (particularly the frosting) are super yummy and just scream “summertime!”

Staring with a cake mix, they are easy to make and the frosting can be whipped together in a jiffy!

Ingredients

Ingredients

Mix everything together, saving the addition of the root beer for last. I loved the way it bubbled up in the bowl.

Mix everything together, saving the addition of the root beer for last. I loved the way it bubbled up in the bowl.

Pour into paper-lined muffin cups and bake at 350 degrees until the tops bounce back when touched (about 15 minutes or so).

Pour into paper-lined muffin cups and bake at 350 degrees until the tops bounce back when touched (about 15 minutes or so).

Remove from pan and cool completely.

Remove from pan and cool completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling, mix up your frosting. You'll need some vanilla (and you can use canned frosting for this or make your own. If you make your own, use  1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 cup butter, 2 tbsp. milk and 1 tsp. vanilla. Blend together and set aside.

While the cupcakes are cooling, mix up your frosting. You’ll need some vanilla (and you can use canned frosting for this or make your own. If you make your own, use 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 cup butter, 2 tbsp. milk and 1 tsp. vanilla. Blend together and set aside.

Here are the ingredients for the root beer frosting.

Here are the ingredients for the root beer frosting.

The root beer concentrate gives it the chocolatey color.

The root beer concentrate gives it the chocolatey color.

If you like root beer, the smell of the frosting will make your mouth water in anxious anticipation.

If you like root beer, the smell of the frosting will make your mouth water in anxious anticipation.

 

To get a root beer float affect on the cupcake, mix the vanilla and root beer frosting.

To get a root beer float affect on the cupcake, mix the vanilla and root beer frosting.

 

I just swirled it on. Swirling was very tasty.

I just swirled it on. Swirling was very tasty.

Root Beer Cupcakes

1 white or vanilla cake mix

3 eggs

1/3 cup oil

1 1/4 cups root beer

2 tbsp. root beer concentrate

Vanilla Frosting (optional)

Root Beer Frosting

Root Beer Frosting

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup butter (softened)

1 tbsp. root beer concentrate

1/4 cup root beer

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, mix cake mix, eggs, root beer concentrate and root beer until smooth. Pour into paper-lined muffin cups and bake until tops bounce back when touched (about 15-18 minutes).

Remove from oven and cool completely.

Mix together the root beer frosting ingredients.

For a simple vanilla frosting, mix 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar with 1/4 cup softened butter, 2 tbsp. milk and 1 tsp. vanilla extract.

If you want to give the cupcakes more of a root beer float flavor, mix the vanilla and root beer frosting together. You can also just use the root beer. If you do that, double the frosting ingredients so you’ll have enough.

Try to keep from snitching as you frost the cupcakes because the root beer frosting is amazingly delicious. Even Captain Cavedweller raved about how good it was – and that is saying something.

For an added pop of color and fun, insert a paper straw before serving.

Note – you can find root beer concentrate in the flavoring section of most grocery stores (look near the vanilla extract).

She Who Will Make These Again

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