Sunday, November 5, 2017

Roomie's Birthday Afternoon Tea.. The Process.

Dear Readers will kindly remember I am working on a selection of gluten free baked goodies suitable for a modern traditional Afternoon Tea for my Roomie's Birthday.

7:15 am I begin to assemble ingredients for Battenberg Cake. This is the most complex recipe, so I will start with it. Disaster Strikes! I just KNOW I have baking powder around here somewhere!
After a frantic search of every cabinet and pantry and cubbyhole in the kitchen, we establish that if we have baking powder, it will not be found today.

7:30 am Emergency run to the grocers.

8:00 am Ingredients assembled, I begin the Battenberg Cake.

9:00 am As the cake for the Battenberg Cake bakes, I begin the Unadorned Scones. I really like this recipe, though it's much more crumbly than I'd like.

9:25  As the Scones are baking, I take a breather to have some breakfast and update the loyal readers on FaceBook with photos.

9:45am Here we are with another challenge. One of the pink sections of cake collapsed. Well, one Battenburg cake and one Victoria cake it will be then. I'm not about to let a good cake go to waste.

10:00am As the honoree is getting her breakfast together, I begin the Salmon Corn cakes. I decide we'll make a double batch since we really like these a lot and don't make them often. Each batch makes 11 cakes that fill two large baking sheets. That's 20 minutes cooking time for each sheet and four sheets. We'll be at this awhile.

10:30 am As the salmon corn cakes are having a hot time in the oven, I flour the counter and prepare to assemble the Battenberg cake. I've not done rolled marzipan work before, so I prepared by watching videos. I learned how to do the neat roses too.  A quick caution, while marzipan would seem to be naturally gluten free, a few brands (including some from Odense, sold commonly here in the US) have some cross-contamination concerns. Make certain yours is labelled specifically gluten free.
The greatest challenge here was trimming the cake. The recipe was very moist and had the typical gluten free crumble, so it didn't slice well. Some apricot jam glued the pieces together.
My Battenburg Cake may not have been as pretty as a professional, but I think it came out very well.

11:40 am With the end of the salmon corn cake baking in sight, I put together the dough for the Cheddar Scones. I've already confessed this was a box mix, a really terrific box mix.

12:20 pm The oven is now ready for the cereal crusts for the tarts. Crushed cereal, butter, and sugar and then baked stiff... easy as pie.

1:00pm With only the sandwiches left, I take a break for a quick visit to furry friends.

2:30 pm Disaster number two strikes. I intended to layer the tarts with lemon curd, lemon pudding, and whipped cream. I bought cook-n-serve lemon pudding instead of instant and didn't have sufficient eggs to cook the pudding. Well, just lemon curd and whipped cream it is.

2:45 pm While peeling and slicing the cucumber for the sandwiches, I cut my finger on the mandolin slicer. Yep, fully expected to do this and here I did. Ouch!
The Sam's Choice Gluten Free Classic White Bread is kinda small, especially when trimmed up and the crusts removed. I used four pieces for two sandwiches. The sandwiches were very tasty and really hit the spot.

2:50 pm We set the tea water to boil while I put together the ham and havarti pinwheels. I used Mission Gluten Free Tortillas. They're fabulous when fresh, but gummy when they sit with toppings in them.

3:05 pm. With photos taken and plates assembled, we sit down to enjoy the eating of all this food. We're groaning about being over-stuffed and in a sugar coma in short order.  Success!

Looking down the spread

Impromptu Victoria Cake
Cheddar Scones
Unadorned Scones
Battenburg Cake

Lemon Tarts
Cucumber Sandwiches
Ham & Havarti Pinwheels
Salmon Corn Cakes

...and Tea, of course!


Saturday, November 4, 2017

Roomie's Birthday Afternoon Tea...yes, it's gluten free

My Dear Readers will forgive me a quick trip into the modern era, I hope.
My Roomie enjoys the British tradition of Afternoon Tea. I suppose it makes her feel elegant and special. Every lady ought to feel elegant and special on her birthday. BUT... as a sufferer of Celiac disease on a gluten free diet, the baked goods of an Afternoon Tea leaves her drooling sadly at the bakery window. That will just not do for this special lady, so I'm turning my hand to some traditional afternoon tea components in gluten free recipes.

The Menu
Layer of Scones
Cheddar Scone
Unadorned Scone (cream and jam)
Layer of Sandwiches
Cucumber Sandwich
Ham, Havarti roll-up
Salmon Corn Cake
Layer of Cakes & Pastry
Battenburg Cake
Lemon Tart


For the Cheddar Scones, I'll be using LiveGFree's Cheddar Biscuits box mix. Roomie bought this Aldi's product in quantities and wrote the company begging for it to be made a permanently available item. That's high praise.

For the Unadorned Scones, I'll be baking. Here's the recipe:
2 cups all purpose flour (Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour)
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons butter
2 large eggs
3/4 cup yogurt
Fills... 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 cup fruit (no fills for us, thanks)

Oven at 400*
Mix Flour, Sugar, Baking powder, Baking soda, spices
Add butter
Add eggs and yogurt
Add extras

Turn onto a floured surface and shape into a round 1" thick by 7" wide.
Cut into 8 triangles.
Transfer to baking sheet

Bake 8-10 minutes.

For the Cucumber Sandwich, we had to delve into which gluten free breads will stand up to such an august sandwich. Gluten Free breads are notorious for being crumbly, gritty, and coming across stale from the start. Roomie often solves this by toasting. I had to ruin the surprise to have her opinion. We agreed to give Sam's Choice a try.  Roomie prefers cream cheese to the traditional butter, so that's what I'll use.

For the Ham & Havarti Pinwheel, I'll use Mission's Gluten Free Tortillas. Knowing the Bread Issue, I wanted something else for a second sandwich offering. 

The Salmon Corn Cake is a family recipe that Roomie adores. I've made a few tweaks from Grandma's recipe.  Here is the recipe with gluten free tweaks:
1 can of responsibly caught salmon flaked, clear out the skin and bones
1 can of whole kernel sweet corn, drained of packing water
4 eggs
1 box of Lance Baked Original Crackers, crumbed into grainy pieces

Pre-heat the oven to 400*
Prepare the salmon and cracker crumbs.
Mix the salmon, corn, eggs, and cracker crumbs together in a large bowl.
Grease a baking sheet. 
Form the mixture into cakes and place on the greased sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes, flip, and bake another 10 minutes or until both sides are a light golden brown.

The Battenburg Cake required some British to American measurement conversions. Thanks to Traditional Oven, this task wasn't too difficult. This is Roomie's most dreamed of Tea goodie, so the pressure is really on. I'll do a separate post detailing this addition to our tea table.

The Lemon Tart gave me an excuse to try some fun recipes, including breakfast cereal pie crust. Here's a recipe for this:
2 1/2 Cups vanilla Chex cereal
1-4 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter
lemon pudding, lemon curd, whipped topping

Oven at 375*
Crush cereal.  Mix with sugar and butter
Bake-7-9 minutes.   Cool completely and fill.

And that's The Plan. What could possibly go wrong? Check back tomorrow and I'll tell ya.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Series: Further Adventures with the 80th Anniversary Dinner of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick- Grocery and Day One

We were last preparing for a tasting dinner for my friends in the 28th Mass to sample selections from the menu of the 80th Anniversary Dinner of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, a final hurrah for the 2016 Challenges of the Historical Food Fortnightly.

Such a massive menu meant an involved trip to several grocers. I needed a spreadsheet to organize the ingredients lists. It also involved some creative challenge-meeting as items weren't available that I thought would be. And then there is the age-old pondering of the non-drinking hostess, "how much of each kind of wine to buy for that many people?"

Here's the fridge, invaded with the immediately perishables. I stashed the "keep cool" perishables in a cooler with ice packs, which mostly worked. The shelf stable ingredients were organized on what is usually my sewing tables.

I organized my cooking by like processes together, what would take several days, what could stand reheating, and what needed to be made on the day it was served. On Day One, I tackled Fruits De Macedoine, Lemonade, Brunoise (dumplings would come later), and Gelee Madere.

Fruits De Macedoine (follow the link)

Gelee Madere

Bruniose, or Brown Soup

Rich Brown Soup.
--Take six pounds of the lean of fresh beef, cut from the bone. Stick it over with four dozen cloves. Season it with a tea-spoonful of salt, a tea-spoonful of pepper, a tea-spoonful of mace, and a beaten nutmeg. Slice half a dozen onions; fry them in butter; chop them, and spread them over the meat after you have put it into the soup-pot. Pour in five quarts of water, and stew it slowly for five or six hours; skimming it well. When the meat has dissolved into shreds, strain it, and return the liquid to the pot. Then add a tumbler and a half, or six wine glasses of claret or port wine. Simmer it again slowly till dinner time. When the soup is reduced to three quarts, it is done enough. Put it into a tureen, and send it to table.

From: Directions for Cookery, In it's various branches by Eliza Leslie, 1840

--Take a small teacupful of flour, a pinch of salt, and butter the size of a walnut; rub well with the flour; sprinkle in a little pepper; add sweet milk enough to form a stiff dough; flour the board and roll very thin; cut in small squares; drop into the soup, and let them boil ten minutes.
From: The Presbyterian Cookbook by Ladies of the First Presbyterian Church in Dayton, Ohio, 1873


From: The House Servant's Directory, Or A Monitor For Private Families: Comprising Hints On The Arrangement And Performance Of Servants' Work… And Upwards Of 100 Various And Useful Receipts, Chiefly Compiled For The Use Of House Servants… by Robert Roberts, 1827

*45. Lemonade That Has the Appearance and Flavour of Jelly
Pare two Seville oranges, and six lemons, as thin as possible, steep them for four hours in one quart of hot water, then boil one pound and a quarter of loaf sugar in three pints of water, skim it, and then add the two liquors to the juice of six good oranges, and twelve lemons; stir the whole well together, and run it through a jelly bag until clear, then add a little orange water, if you like the flavour, and if wanted, you may add more sugar; if corked tight it will keep a long time.

In the next installment, we'll continue with Day Two.

Series: Further Adventures with the 80th Anniversary Dinner of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick- Introduction

When we last left each other, we had received the news that the Historic Food Fortnightly would not have official challenges in 2017. For the 2016 challenge set, I had dedicated the season to the recreated 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, company B by working my way through the menu for the 80th Anniversary Dinner of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. I wanted to give the honorees a chance to taste these dishes and give the whole Thing some closure; so I rented a hall, sent out the invitations, and started making Plans.

The first challenge was solidifying the menu. I knew some ingredients would be cost prohibitive, some ingredients would be unavailable, and our vegetarian honorees would appreciate considered choices.

So here's the menus, side by side, and then my notes:


Dishes in GREEN are substitutions from the original menu.
Grilled Shad in White Wine Sauce- Shad is a protected species due to over-fishing. Another comparable Whitefish is substituted.
Quail in Perigneux Sauce- Quail is no longer readily available and Perigneux Sauce includes significant amounts of truffles, which quickly becomes cost prohibitive. We show our House Specialty Macaroni Pudding instead.
Grouse- Grouse is an import item, available seasonally. Cornish Hen is substituted.
Turkey Galantine- This dish includes five kinds of meat, which quickly becomes expensive. Instead, we offer an onion and herb tart, similar to a quiche, which will be more welcoming to our brothers who follow a vegetarian diet.

Russian Salad- the Russian preparation for salad includes a number of meats or seafood, which becomes expensive. We offer a vegetarian salad instead.

Next I choose the recipes I would follow. Some were brushed off from the HFF Challenges of the previous year and some were new. As always, Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project proved an invaluable resource.

With menu and recipes selected, it was time to start cooking, baking, and fussing. More about that in the next installment of the Series. :-)