GBBO on catch up

So we are a bit behind on bake off, the baby has been ill and as you will remember from my last post we had a bit of a disaster, this week was no different.

so Saturday I decided to make delicious apple tarts for dessert for our weekend dinner guests.

  I used the recipe from the Lauderee recipe book so it was destined to be tasty.  An almond pastry and apple cooked in two different ways. I spent most of the day making them, ensuring the pastry was well chilled before cooking and  after assembly finished off with an apricot glaze.

You can see from the picture they were quite impressive. I was so pleased I showed my husband, then as moving to put them into the fridge I somehow slipped and they all fell on the floor. In my shock and upset I had a delayed reaction to the dog eating them up. This all ended in a drama. The tarts contained sultanas which are toxic to dogs so we had a rush visit to the vet and ended up eating strawberry tarts from m&s for dinner.


Baking & Babies: #GBBO cake week

I was so excited to sit down to the first episode of Great British Bake Off this week.

It was cake week, my favourite and so I was all set to share with you a fabulous Gaetaeu. I planned to make an Opera Gateau. Light and airy with delicious layers of buttercream and chocolate ganache.

Now I began this on Thursday, the day after GBBO. And well, it was a great big fail. I began with all the prep, first discovering my square tin wasn’t ideal so deciding to use my loose bottom round tin. 

That was my first mistake. My second mistake was thinking I could make the cake with little baby girl sitting in her high chair watching. Now, it did initially. She sat banging her maracas. I whipped the eggs.

But as I realised I hadn’t prepared my dry ingredients, this diverted my attention, baby started crying and getting restless so when it came to folding all the components together I had baby girl in my arms. Not ideal.

A big learning was on the whipping of eggs and sugar, I had done this nicely but left it too long and it had lost a lot of air, then when I folded in the whipped egg whites it was loosing the air even more.

Then I rushed the adding of butter to my dry ingredients, so suddenly I had lumpy almond amongst the flour. And so I rushed even more and addedmy lumpy mix   to the deflating egg mix.

The result? A flat cake with lumpy cooked egg. It kind of tasted like an omlette.

So this was binned.

Now not wanting to miss out.. I did the next best thing, found a fabulous patisserie which sold Opera Gateau. Not homemade, but very indulgent.

celebrating GBBO cake week ewith Opera Gateau at Jungs


Rowan’s Garden Centre: Fruit Smoothie in the countryside

Millions of peaches… Peaches for me…

Today’s stop off included the dog and has a dual purpose, firstly the job of finding out how to save my apple trees from the terrible fungus that is killing my apples this year, and secondly to have lunch!

Rowan Garden Centre in Chalfont St Giles is the perfect spot as it is smack bang in the country side, they are dog friendly and the cafe is great for a bite to eat.

The food is very simple, but tasty and freshly made sandwiches. Today as it was so hot it only seemed right that I tried one of their summer smoothies. Peach and Strawberry – very refreshing!

Best thing about this place is the view – no traffic, just fields and horses. A perfect Friday afternoon.


Changes are coming…

So as you will see, there are plenty of changes happening at Alice’s Tea Garden. While we aren’t able to host Tea Parties in your home at the moment, we are still celebrating and enjoying afternoon tea, and our blog is going to try and help you do it more too!

While on maternity leave what better to do than be a professional afternoon tea’er?!

I’m also making some design changes to my blog… but what you can expect is:

1. Weekly reviews & recommendations on afternoon tea venues around Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and London.
2. Weekly recipes for afternoon tea ideas
3. Some mum fun… so now as a new mum I try to have as much fun as I can with my little one so will share our experiences…

Well nap time is almost over, must make a cuppa before the little one wakes..



Coos and Cake

It might seem like it has been quite quiet over here at Alice’s, well the kitchen hasn’t been – but there hasn’t been much baking going on! 

Lila Alice arrived in January and has been keeping me very busy. 

But as we are now ‘sleeping through’ the Kenwood is going to be dusted off and the oven will be baking delicious treats once again!

We are also very social bunnies so will share our favourite cakes and indulgences as we get out and about this summer.  

So watch out – delicious treats to come!

already eyein up the Eaton Mess


Dreaming of the rain and rhubarb preserves…

Alice’s Kitchen has been closed for 12-months and things are about to heat up!  As I sat in an airconditioned conference room in Chicago this morning, looking out at the dreary wet weather I began to scheme …and dream of the rhubarb growing in the vege patch.

I am in Chicago for work, well for my day job.  I am feeling desperately homesick and can’t wait to get home.  Spending a week with strangers takes it’s toll and as i sit now in the hotel bar with a glass of Savignon Blanc, I am planning Alice’s return.

Those of you who have followed Alice’s Tea Garden from the beginning know that my main focus was on the Tea Parties, but as life has changed, I have moved out of London, I am going to spend more time on helping others to create the best tea parties.  This will mean I am going to start posting more details about recipes, menu suggestions, matching teas with your menus and quirky themes to consider for your afternoon tea parties.

I am going to do more of the ‘pop up’ event style parties as it is easier for me to plan and manage these events around my calendar.

So for those people of Chorleywood and the  Chalfonts… look out soon for summer parties… a great way to meet some new local people and an alternative weekend afternoon in the garden.

Now i digressed.  What i was telling you all was that i was dreaming of my Rhubarb, and then out pops Hugh today with a great article on preserves… what better way for me to use my rhurbarb than a Rhubarb chutney.


Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's gooseberry curd

Image courtesy of the Guardian…http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/jun/21/preserve-recipes-fearnley-whittingstall