Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Afternoon tea, al fresco

With the sun’s rays beaming down announcing the long-awaited arrival of summer, here at Roost HQ we’re making the most of it and taking to the garden for afternoon tea and cake!

We know outdoor spaces come in all shapes and sizes too, so whether yours is a sprawling countryside paddock or a minimalist urban balcony, our refreshing ideas make for the easiest of treats that can be enjoyed almost anywhere.

Rose hip tea

For a refreshing take on tea, try swapping your usual builder’s best for a cuppa infused with summer blooms. Simply add one handful of rose hips (available from good whole food stores, or your garden!) to five to six cups of boiled water. Allow the tea to infuse, then add honey to sweeten and decant into a gently warmed teapot. Potter Linda Bloomfield’s classic shape is just the ticket! Prefer a more thirst-quenching option? Allow the brew to cool, and ease into a large jug filled with crushed ice and slices of lemon.

Homemade old-fashioned lemonade (the cheat’s guide)

Nothing says summer quite like a cooling glass of traditional homemade lemonade. However, if you’re short on time (or just desperately thirsty!) mix lime juice cordial with soda water and serve with hunks of ice and a straws for fast-track refreshment.

The sweet treat

The pièce de résistance! No afternoon tea is complete without classic English scones, fresh berry jam and clotted cream. They’re so easy to make, why not try our simple recipe to impress your guests?


350g Self-raising flour, plus more for dusting

¼ Tsp salt

1 Tsp baking powder

85g Butter, cubed

3 Tbsp of caster sugar

175ml Milk

1 Tsp vanilla extract

A squeeze lemon juice

One beaten egg, to glaze

Jam and clotted cream, to serve

1. Sift the flour into a large bowl and mix in the salt and baking powder. Adding the butter, rub the mixture with your fingertips until it looks like breadcrumbs, then add the sugar.

2. Warm the milk (for around 30 seconds in the microwave) then add the vanilla and lemon juice and set to one side. Put a baking sheet in to a preheated oven - 220°C (fan) 200°C (gas).

3. Make a well in the middle of the mix, add the milk and stir fairly quickly. Once you have combined all the mixture, scatter a little flour on your work surface, pop the dough onto it and add a little more flour to both this and your hands. Fold the dough over two-three times, and then pat it into a circle about 4cm deep.

4. Take a flour-dusted 5cm cutter and cut four scones, and repeat, refolding the dough as needed. Brush the tops of the scones with egg, then place them onto your preheated baking tray and bake for 10 minutes until risen and golden-topped. Place your freshly-baked scones onto a cake stand (we love the one above by London-based ceramicist Fliff) and serve with a selection of jams and lashings of clotted cream!

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