This weekend saw us host our last event for 2012 and close up the Manor for this year with our Vintage afternoon tea! This was a private event which we held for two lovely groups of ladies who wanted to start their Christmas celebration with some savoury and sweet delights! We love putting on these afternoon teas, if not only so Dan can whip out his fine array of vintage crockery, which I am very jealous of!
Once again we were able to put our baking hats on to create our version of an afternoon tea. Yes, it’s a tradition but we like to put our own spin on the proceedings, serving some hot and cold savoury treats alongside the usual sweet morsels.
We kicked proceedings off with a bit of Christmas cheer with some fizz, kir royales to get the festive juices flowing. This was swiftly followed by our selection of savouries. Platters of lentil, beetroot and radicchio salad spiked with goats cheese. Dan even pickled his own beetroot for this salad, which was a beautiful combination of tart, bitter and creamy. Alongside this were hot squares of Yorkshire ale rarebit on his homemade white bread. Tangy, cheesy mouthfuls topped with some wonderful Christmas chutney. I could’ve eaten them all to myself!
To complement Dan’s dishes I made a Quiche Lorraine, served warm from the oven. Crisp pastry encasing a soft set custard speckled with salty bacon, nutty gruyere and the non traditional addition of buttery leeks. Our guests seemed to love this too and the lack of any leftovers confirmed this! the other savoury was an open sandwich of smoked mackerel “coleslaw” essentially a pâté mixed through with grated celeriac. This was served with a fennel and caraway black bread, the sweetness cut through the rich fish perfectly.
For sweets we didn’t break too much with tradition as we were asked by our guests to make some scones. These were paired with the classic clotted cream and jumbleberry (not jungleberry :-)) jam. I also made some chocolate and chestnut macarons. I had a bit of a nightmare with these as my first batch went wrong even though I make macarons quite often! It just goes to show how temperamental they can be! I still didn’t think the second batch were as good as I wanted them to be but Dan promptly told me off for being too much of a perfectionist!
Next up was a moist, sweet and moreish pear and mincemeat crumble cake. Dan always has an abundance of pears every year at the Manor and this was the perfect foil for the fruit. His pear and honey mincemeat created a beautiful cake which our guests loved. Dan’s only comment in the cake is not to underestimate the cooking time – rather than the stated 90 mins it needed over 2 hours to cook!
Dan then went a bit Heston on us and made some delicious ginger biscuits, which he served up on the Christmas tree and invited our guests to pick their own! A fabulous interactive element to the afternoon!
We really enjoyed this event – it seemed strange that we were saying goodbye to our guests at the same time we would normally be inviting them into the Manor. It was a calming sedate affair which we welcomed after the frenetic weekend before!
Thanks to our lovely guests for making our last event of the year a fun one, we hope they loved it! After the Christmas break we’ll be back and raring to go with our Mexican event. We can’t wait!