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I had 5 friends and 2 delightful little girls over for afternoon tea today. I love afternoon tea as it gives me a reason to dust off and use my collection of chinaware amassed from visits to second hand stores, markets and ebay.
On this occasion, I decided to make egg sandwiches, the quintessential cucumber sandwiches, steak wraps with cheese, spinach and onion jam, a beetroot dip served with carrot sticks, celery and crackers, and a pandan and coconut sorbet. Because I’m somewhat of an ice cream monster and this is my favourite thing to make. Simple yet crowd pleasing. The table was finished off with some strawberries, cheese, pretzels, nuts, salted caramel filled donut balls from Coles, a selection of chocolates, and the most delectable chocolate almond cake brought by one of my guests. Yes, a lot of food for 5 adults and 2 kids, but I always feel a bountiful table looks more attractive.
I had originally intended to make egg and cress sandwiches, but was unable to find cress at my local Coles. No matter. A short google search soon led me to this recipe. Quick and easy – basically eggs with mayo, jazzed up with the addition of some mustard, spring onions, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. The result was just the right amount of creamy with a slight tang.
The cucumber sandwiches were an adaptation of this recipe. I didn’t have garlic powder, onion salt, Worcestershire sauce or lemon pepper, so I substituted each of these things with freshly fried garlic, chicken salt, vino cotto + Tabasco sauce, a squeeze of lemon juice and some freshly cracked pepper, all whizzed up with the cream cheese and mayo in my Thermomix. Again, a nice combination of creaminess and tanginess.
The onion jam and beetroot dip recipes were from my Quick Fix in the Thermomix book, but I’m sure they could just as easily be done with whatever you have in the kitchen. For the onion jam, just finely slice 4 brown onions with 2 garlic cloves and cook them in 60g olive oil with some salt for 45mins until soft. Then add 40g each of brown sugar and balsamic vinegar and cook for a further 40mins. The Thermomix just makes life easier in that you don’t need to keep stirring the mixture yourself. You can walk off and do whatever else needs to be done while the Thermomix does all the hard work for you. I served the onion jam in a wrap with slices of steak, cheese and some baby spinach. The beetroot dip is super easy. 500g tinned beetroot with a handful of fresh mint, 150g Greek yogurt, 1 garlic clove, juice of 1/2 lime and salt to taste. Just process it until it’s a purée of whatever consistency you desire. I love this dip for its salty sweetness and freshness. Lovely for a warm day like yesterday.
Finally, the day’s winner – coconut and pandan sorbet. I adapted the recipe in my Gelato Messina book so that I could make it in my Thermomix and so that I didn’t have to look for dextrose, maltodextrin and stabiliser. I used my Thermomix to chop up 2 pandan leaves which were then infused overnight in 750g coconut milk. I then strained away the pandan leave pieces and froze the pandan infused coconut milk in ice cube trays. When ready to make the sorbet, mill 150g raw sugar in the Thermomix for 10s/speed 9. Then add in 350g coconut milk ice cubes and blend for 20s/speed 10. Finally, add remaining ice and blend a further 1min/speed 10. Serve immediately. This went down a real treat with both kids and adults alike. So much so that I forgot to take a photo. My only comment is that it was slightly icier than my usual ice creams but more creamy than my usual sorbets. I might try blending a bit longer next time to see if that takes away some of the icy texture.
There you have it, a nice easy afternoon tea. I started prep at noon and was pretty much done by the time my guests arrived at 3pm. Now to tidy up the kitchen…
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