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Shall we fika?!

We dispelled all January blues a couple of weekends ago  when we brought the wonders of Scandinavian fika and hygge to the Manor! Fika is a Swedish term for a kind of coffee break, a conscious pause in the day to stop, reflect and enjoy a liquid refreshment and baked good! Hygge is that intriguing Scandinavian term for all things cosy, except we don’t have an English word for it so it’s nigh on impossible to explain! We created a lovely afternoon tea using the new Fika and Hygge cookbook from the guys at London’s Scandi Kitchen and some of our other favourites including Scandilicious.

Our adventurous diners were welcomed with a revitalising shot of aquavit – the Scandi water of life that comes flavoured with fennel and caraway. We served it Swedish style, over lots of ice and bitingly cold.

Our Nordic savouries included homemade rye crisp breads with caraway. These were topped with a soft gravadlax mousse and home pickled samphire – a creamy, salty and sour mini bite. Our rye bread open sandwiches came topped with a luscious dill mayonnaise, soft boiled egg and tomato.

Also on offer was a creamy, decadent mushroom tart. Mushroom, tarragon and shed loads of creme fraiche, baked and encased in a crisp shortcrust pastry shell. Finally was our take on Swedish meatballs! Little pork and fennel balls, with a dill and cucumber pickle and cranberry, wrapped in a soft home made brioche roll.

For our sweets we tried to use some seasonal produce and also serve some slightly unusual bakes. For seasonality our first nod to fika was a cute little rhubarb and custard bun spiked with cardamom and drenched in rhubarb syrup. A last minute addition to the tiers was a lightly spiced gingerbread cake filled with a raspberry cream. We had initially intended for this to be a Danish honey cake square but having tried the recipe twice over we could not get it to work and so had to bake a last minute alternative! To make up for the lack of honey cake we also offered an extra treat in the form of a mini fig tart. These were soft and chewy almond cakes filled with a lovely fig jam.

If that wasn’t enough other fika treats included mini cardamom buns filled with almond custardThese buns are traditionally served at Easter – almost a baked Scandi version of a doughnut! To finish off was the traditional Swedish chocolate sticky cake, Kladdkaka. A rich, dense chocolate cake with a gooey centre. This was served with fresh raspberries and clotted cream to make it even more decadent!

So, we’re glad to have started 2017, but it was a bit of a stressful event to break us into the new year! I’m not sure I’d recommend the Scandi Kitchen book – as beautiful as it is the recipes are complicated, confusing and not always very reliable! Having said that it’s Ottolenghi coming up next in February – now you can’t get more reliable than that! See you then…

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January ’17 Menu – Scandi Afternoon Tea

Happy New Year to you all! We’re feeling rested (albeit still hungover) after the festive break and in a week’s time we’ll be kicking off our 2017 events.

Our first event of the year is an afternoon tea, using Scandinavian influences as our inspiration. We’ll be inviting out guests to partake in some Fika within the Hygge surroundings of the manor.

Think open sandwiches and rich bakes, this is a great way to start off the new year!

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A Taste of India

Back at the beginning of the month we hosted our first Afternoon Tea in a very long while and we were very much looking forward to rolling our sleeves up and baking. As usual we had a Manor theme to the afternoon’s proceedings, and this time we used Chetna Makan’s Cardamon Trail as inspiration, giving everything an Indian twist.

Our guests arrived to our usual welcome cocktail, this time a spicy, sour, ginger punch – whilst they settled down, got to know each other and awaited their savouries.

The savouries were a delightful mix of fragrant, spiced and hot dishes. There were chilli chicken flatbreads – homemade mini chappatis topped with marinated chicken, spinach, pink picked onions and cooling mint yoghurt. alongside these were aubergine and onion tarts – puff pastry tarts of tomato, caramelised onion, roasted aubergine and fiery coriander chutney. 

This fiery chutney also accompanied Dan’s magnificent paneer pie, which was a ton of paneer bound in a yummy masala sauce and wrapped in crispy puff pastry. The final savouries were little potato cups filled with a mung daal. This was a tiny morsel that packed a punch!

After a bit of respite we moved onto an array of delicious sweets, starting off with our classic buttermilk scones accompanied with cardamom clotted cream and homemade jumbleberry jam.

Next up were some zesty black sesame and lime cakes, little sponges packed with lime and black sesame and then topped with a lime icing for an extra hit! In contrast to this there were also some little choux buns filled with mango and praline and topped with a chocolate glaze –  a different yet delicious combination.

That wasn’t the end of the sweets – there were three more delectable delights!

Dan made small versions of Chetna’s almond, rose and honey cakes. These are a bit like a friand but Dan spiced his with fennel, cinnamon and cardamom. Chetna fills hers with cream but Dan doused his in a light buttercream, for extra naughtiness. Also on offer was a saffron sponge full of crunchy almonds and fresh cream. Saffron can be a challenging flavour for some people but it really worked in this very sweet and luxurious cake slice. Finally little mango lassi possets were a great palate cleanser as well as a pretty addition to the table.

This was a brilliant, fun afternoon with a lovely mix of old and new faces round the table. What with all of the lunches and evening events we’ve had recently it was great to get baking again.

Next month comes our 5th birthday event! Gosh, where does time go? We’re looking forward to celebrating with great guests, Korean food and Mikkeller beer!

 

September 2016 Menu – Indian Afternoon Tea

In just under a week we’ll once again be welcoming a lovely bunch of guests to the Manor. This month’s event is an Indian afternoon tea and we will be using the wonderful book The Cardamom Trail by Chetna Makan (GBBO contestant, apt given we’re in the middle of this year’s show).

We’ll be serving up an array of baked delights, all with a spiced twist. Do let us know what you think.

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Upcoming 2016 events – Book Now!

Hopefully you’ll have seen us unashamedly plugging our forthcoming events. You should already know what the themes are, but they’re here to remind you. The good thing is that you can book on, right below… Be quick as you don’t want to miss out!

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Saturday August 13th 2016 – Small Plates Lunch
A relaxing lunch, featuring some comforting, indulgent small plates using recipes from the fantastic Spuntino and Duck and Waffle. £30pp Sorry, Sold Out

Saturday 10th September 2016 – Eastern Afternoon Tea
Join us for an afternoon tea with a difference! Taking Eastern flavours as inspiration, we’ll be baking up a storm with a selection of delightful savouries and sweet dishes with a twist. £25pp
Sorry, Sold Out

Friday 14th and Saturday 15th October 2016 – 5th birthday featuring Mikkeller beer and Korean food
We love a good old celebration for our birthday and for our 5th year this is no exception. We’re pairing up our favourite Danish brewery with our favourite food of the moment, Korean. This is guaranteed to be one not to miss! £50pp with paired beers.
Sorry, Sold Out

Saturday 12th November 2016 – Sirocco lunch
We’re paying homage to one of the original queens of the supperclub, Sabrina Ghayour and her new book, Sirocco. This is Eastern food with a Western influence and is guaranteed to be a colourful, delicious afternoon indeed. £30pp
Sorry, Sold Out

Saturday 10th December 2016 – Christmas afternoon tea
We’ll be getting all kinds of festive for our Christmas afternoon tea in December. Sweet and savoury bakes, some traditional and some with a much more modern take of Yuletide grub. £25pp
Sorry, Sold Out

Sugar, Sesame, Spice and all things nice!

Last weekend we served up our last afternoon tea of the year, a warming event full of Middle Eastern flavours to bring some spice to a cold, rainy Saturday afternoon. Anne Shooter’s wonderful book Sesame and Spice was our tome for the afternoon, serving up an array of sweet and savoury delights for our guests

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To kick off proceedings, guests were welcomed with a welcome drink, our pomegranate fizz. Pomegranate juice and cava, with a dash of grenadine. Think of it as a take on a Kir Royale!

Up first were the savoury dishes – this included a beautiful aubergine tart, which had aubergine 3-ways at the core of it! Puff pastry was topped with baba ganoush, griddled aubergine slices and roasted aubergine wedges. This was baked before being topped with halloumi and a tasty drizzle of honey, pomegranate molasses, mint, chilli and peppery oil. Also on offer were fluffy little flatbreads topped with a salty and piquant black olive tapenade, air dried tomatoes and feta cheese.

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These were accompanied with mini bagels filled with lox and a schmear (or smoked salmon and cream cheese!) and garnished with red onion and capers. A very traditional sandwich, but one everyone has got to love! Another pastry element came in the form of spinach and cheese filo parcels. Wilted spinach, feta and egg, spiced with nutmeg. A cheesy spiced delight indeed.

A short respite later, we moved onto sweet treats. As a nice lead up to the cakes, Dan made some wonderfully short, halva and sumac biscuits. This is essentially a shortbread recipe spiked with nutty halva, sour sumac and fragrant rose sugar – a new taste sensation. Dan tested these out on his colleagues who had no idea what sumac or halva was!

Swiftly after this was my fig and frangipane tart – buttery shortcrust and soft juicy figs surrounded by nutty frangipane and topped off with a honey and orange blossom drizzle and creme fraiche.

Now it was onto the cakes. Firstly spiced pumpkin cake, which was almost like a set custard! The base of this cake was pumpkin puree, lots of sugar and almonds. It came spiked with fruity raisins and festive spices. It was surprisingly light but took an age to bake!

An afternoon tea isn’t an afternoon tea without chocolate and our offering did not disappoint. The chocolate mousse cake consisted of two layers of mousse, firstly baked at the bottom and then a cool, chilled layer on top. Rich, bitter and satisfying this was an extremely light cake but very naughty!

Finally, Dan’s pretty mini saffron, almond and orange cakes were another interesting take on the traditional afternoon tea. These little, moist cakes were heavy with saffron fragrance, almond nuttiness and zesty orange. They came filled with homemade orange marmalade and an extremely naughty saffron buttercream – the leftovers of which Dan is still eating now!

All in all,  this was a very enjoyable afternoon. Food wise, Anne Shooter’s book is so full of flavourful, interesting bakes that will (and have) become firm favourites and I think our guests felt the same way. It was once again great to see an array of old faces and new, a couple of our guests last dined with us over three years ago! Speaking of time, in less than a fortnight we’ll be hosting our last event of the year, based on Ottolenghi and Scully’s stunning book Nopi. We’ve already started testing recipes and the menu will be shared in a couple of days, can’t wait!

November 2015 Menu – Middle Eastern afternoon tea

We’re swiftly approaching our penultimate event of year! Where does that time go!?

For our November event we’re treating our guests to a wonderful Middle Eastern inspired afternoon tea, where we’ll be using the beautiful book, Sesame and Spice as our guide. Bakes hailing from the Middle East, across Europe and New York all feature and we think our guests are in for something special!

Let us know what you think!

Nov 2015