Russian beetroot salad

Russian beetroot salad

Another delicious salad that I love, and that is the perfect accompaniment to barbecued meat, is a beetroot salad I’ve been making for years (if not decades!). This recipe was originally shared with me from the wife of a very good friend’s cousin.

Back when we were teenagers with driving licences and too much time on our hands, my friend Helen and I would race around the country on a whim, visiting wherever we thought was a good idea on that day! One day we decided to go and visit (unannounced – I now realise how irritating we must have been!) Helen’s cousin and wife in Southend-on-Sea. They were so welcoming to two crazy teenage day-trippers and gave us a meal that included one of the most delicious salads I have ever tasted. I LOVE beetroot, and it also includes cheese (which is something of an addiction for me) and garlic – yes please! Helen’s cousin had married a Russian lady and she said she’d brought this recipe with her from Russia.

What is so great about this salad is that its really yummy the day after, spread thickly on a piece of crusty baguette. The only thing is, it’s so delicious it may not last until the day after!

Grate equal parts of cooked beetroot and cheese (I like to use a mature cheddar) and mix with a couple of spoonful’s of sour cream and crushed garlic (I’d suggest two cloves of garlic for every four cooked beetroots). It really is that simple!

A fond taste of summer

This week the cold weather has well and truly arrived and at Willow Bough Tea Rooms we’ve been missing the summer. So we were inspired to make this delicious lemon and coconut cake which takes us back to the sunny days of summer not too long ago! And our customers agreed that it was a much-needed slice of sunshine served with a nice cup of tea!

Lemon and coconut cake

Ingredients

12oz butter

12oz sugar

6 eggs

12oz self-raising flour

One lemon (zest and juice)

3 desert spoons of desiccated coconut

Icing sugar

Method

Cream together the butter and sugar, adding the eggs one at a time. Sift in the flour and then add the lemon zest and 2 desert spoons of desiccated coconut. My top tip for keeping a cake light and fluffy is to not over-mix at this stage, a quick blast on a high setting should do the job just fine! Bake in greased and lined cake tins (I use 8” tins) on 150 for around 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure you do the skewer test (insert a skewer in the cake, if it comes out clean the cake is ready) before cooling the cake!

Once the cake is cooled sandwich together with the lemon curd. Make the icing with the lemon juice and icing sugar and drizzle over the cake, topping with the remaining coconut. Enjoy with a fruit tea or a traditional cuppa!

A taste of summer: cherry and coconut flapjacks

Hello and welcome to my new blog. In this blog I’ll be writing about baking delicious sweet treats, afternoon teas and other tea-room-related fun…

Afternoon tea has always been a hobby of mine, from the early days of baking cakes and sharing them with childhood friends, teddy bears and bunny rabbits (yes, real ones named Miffy, Buffy, Peter, Chocolate and Delilah) on a picnic rug on the playroom floor to my excitement as an adult visiting national trust properties and quaint villages where sandwiches, scones and clotted cream were the first priority!

I also developed an addiction to vintage china and pretty things, which started when I inherited tea sets from both my grandmothers. I can’t explain it but I really do think a cup of tea tastes so much better from a cup and saucer! My collection/addiction – whatever you want to call it – grew and now I have my beautiful little tea room in Wimbledon where my customers are treated to good old fashioned cakes which are all baked on the premises and afternoon teas which are all served on beautiful vintage china. If you’re in the area please do call in and see us!

Baking the cakes myself is definitely one of the really fun parts of my job! We get to make traditional favourites such as Victoria sandwich, lemon drizzle and coffee cake as well as trying out new recipes and adapting recipes to give our own take on the classics. One of my personal favourites, which I think works well all year round is coconut and cherry flapjack. I really think the flavours complement each other and, for me, both cherries and coconut evoke memories of both family Christmases and long, lazy summers in the south of France.

Flapjacks are a relatively new cake, having been around in the UK since the 1930s and are still popular today – they’re great for picnics and packed lunches and go wonderfully with a lovely cup of tea. They’re an easy bake which makes them perfect for children – this is probably why I first made them with my Grandmother as a small child. And they can be cut into bite-size pieces suitable for children or larger slices for grown-up children!

 

Cherry and coconut flapjacks – makes 12

Ingredients

6oz butter

3oz golden syrup

3oz honey

6oz sugar

12oz oats

5oz glace cherries, halved

1oz desiccated coconut

Method

Melt the butter, syrup, honey and sugar in a saucepan. Once fully melted, stir in the oats. Add the cherries and coconut a bit at a time, stirring in as you go to get an even distribution.

Pour the mixture into a greased baking tray and bake in a pre-heated oven (150c) for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Leave in the tray until cooled as removing warm flapjacks from the tray will result in a big, crumbled mess! Once cool, slice into twelve pieces, put the kettle on and indulge!

 

Willow Bough Tea Rooms is open 9am-5pm Monday to Saturday and can be found at 11 Merton Park Parade, Kingston Road, Wimbledon SW19 3NT.