The Afternoon Tea Diaries

Wow, its March already, where does the time go!? This past Saturday we held our fifth event of 2014 but our first afternoon tea. It was time for Dan and I to get our bake on! Our tome for the afternoon was Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries, which we used as inspiration for some of the treats on offer. An eclectic mix of savouries and sweets were offered to our guests, but kept at the heart of it was Slater’s ethos of simple food that tastes great. That’s not to say we didn’t add the usual Dinner at the Manor twists!

Our guests included a lovely couple of returning guests, but the majority were new diners, which was great to see. The welcome cocktail this time round was a Breakfast Martini. Gin, triple sec, lemon juice and our own homemade marmalade made for a zingy pick me up before the savouries.

Dinner at the Manor Salmon Celeriac Sandwiches

Savoury treats included open sandwiches of our own gin cured salmon. The salmon sat atop a creamy mustard celeriac salad and homemade spelt and fennel seed bread. The bread is beginning to be a firm favourite at the Manor, which is actually a Signe Johannsen recipe. This sandwich was a bit of a nod to Nigel’s Scandinavian influences that feature within Kitchen Diaries II – a mini smorgasbord that was fresh, sharp and salty.

The salmon contrasted well with the hearty, robust flavours of Dan’s sandwich of pulled barbecued brisket. Tender beef, cooked for hours in a homemade barbecue sauce and topped with a fresh, crunchy and sharp coleslaw. All of this was encased in Dan’s tasty carrot and cumin mini rolls. A truly amazing mouthful. So much so I made a massive batch of the brisket the next day!

Dinner at the Manor birsket and sausage roll

Dan also offered up some delicious sausage rolls to our guests. Whipping up a delicious flaky, crispy batch of pastry, he used Tancred Farm’s delicious black pudding sausages as a base, and added chilli and fennel to create a roll of golden porky goodness.

We love a quiche at the Manor and this time I whipped up a vegetarian quiche of leeks and goats cheese. Just set savoury custard flavoured with buttery leeks, a tonne of goats cheese and spring onions, this was encased with a spelt shortcrust pastry to add an earthy contrast.

Dinner at the Manor Quiche

Savouries gobbled up and plates clean, after a short breather our guests moved onto our sweeter bakes. My obligatory buttermilk scones made an appearance in all of their golden, craggy glory. These were paired with clotted cream and a jar of my homemade rhubarb and ginger jam.

Dan baked up a rich chocolate, banana and dark muscovado cake. This was sliced and piped with a naughty chocolate icing and whipped cream.

Dan’s other sweet treats were blackberry and hazelnut friandes – miniature cakes, light and airy with a fruity centre. They were so moreish and our guests seemed to agree that they were one of the highlights of the day.

Dinner at the Manor Friandes

I baked up Nigel’s lemon and thyme cake – a spin of a traditional lemon drizzle loaf, which included almonds and thyme in the cake itself. Still hot from the oven this was soaked with a lemon and thyme syrup. The end result was a sweet, sharp cake with a hint of earthiness,

Dinner at the Manor Lemon and Thyme Cake

If our guests hadn’t reached their sweet limit after these treats, the final flourish were my rhubarb crumble meringues. Lurid pink poached forced Yorkshire rhubarb nestled atop whipped cream and encased in homemade crispy meringues. For an extra texture these were decorated with a shard of crumble topping. Again, a contrasting mixture of textures and flavours and beautiful to boot!

Dinner at the Manor Rhubarb Meringues

We felt that this was a lovely, laid back afternoon at the Manor. The guests seemed to have a whale of a time and it was lovely to meet a some of our Twitter friends finally. We hope everyone had as much fun as we did.

It’s non stop for us though, in less that two weeks we’ll be welcoming 28 guests through the doors to enjoy our Tom Kerridge and Ilkley Brewery event and we’ve already started work on it!

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