London: wonderful afternoon tea at Berners Tavern!

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When my friend Therése came to visit in April we had a really lovely weekend with shopping, dinner in and amazing sushi out. And the last day we went all out with a trip to the V&A and the dreamy Dior exhibition followed by a wonderful afternoon tea at Berners Tavern, that I will tell you all about now, and some beauty shopping in Liberty’s. Such a perfect girlie day!

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As we walked into Berners Tavern we were overwhelmed by the beauty of the dining room with its pretty chandeliers and amazing ceilings and picture covered walls, which felt both grand and relaxed at the same time.

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We sat down at our table and immediately admired the china (you may know I have a thing for blue and white china!) and were greeted by our lovely waiter explaining the menu in details with us.

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What I really like about an afternoon tea, is of course all the goodies, but also the ceremony around it; the nice china, the silverware, the pouring of the tea and just letting everything take its time.

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With the napkin in my lap I once again admired the china pattern when our kind waiter told me it was especially made for the restaurant, and the pattern is made up of the chandeliers in the ceiling that are originals from when the building was first built. Isn’t that amazing?! I love the attention to detail.

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Just as much attention to detail had been put into the sandwiches, scones and sweet treats for the afternoon tea. Such a stunning spread!

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The savoury spread from left to right; chicken and mushroom mini baguette; smoked salmon, cream cheese and dill sandwich and savoury scone with mild goat’s cheese and herbs. All delicious!!

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The scones were also perfect and came with and without raisins and we got individual silver pots of clotted cream and jam!

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The sweets were gorgeous too! From left to right; strawberry macaron with creamy ginger filling (my favourite!); chocolate and yuzu tart and a creamy raspberry and meringue cake.

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Just look how beautiful the sandwiches are close up! Love that the chefs take such care in the presentation.

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The same goes for the sweets; they were like little works of art! Our whole afternoon here was puree perfection from the service to the tea refills to the food and ambiance. Berners Tavern definitely have that little extra that makes it feel like a special place without being stuffy at all. We could just relax and chat away – which we do so well!

Berners Tavern, 10 Berners St, London W1T 3NP

Cooking, series and a lovely weekend!

Hello,

And sorry for the silence. I’ve spent most of this week in bed being poorly but am finally on the mend. And since I’m behind with my weekly “report” I thought it best to write it up straight away. So, here’s what I got up to last week…

I had a quiet week without too much socialising and I noticed how much more energy I had in the evenings when I just went home to cook (which I did every night) and watched a few episodes of a series or read my book, than when I’m out for dinner and drinks several times a week.

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Cooking wise it was quite simple meals, proper weekday grub, which was nice. I made a batch of tomato sauce on Monday for supper that same evening and the night after (love planning ahead like that!). Half of the tomato sauce was used for shakshuka (isn’t it just the best supper dish?!) with onions and carrots and topped with creme fraiche and feta. Similar recipe here.

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On Tuesday I spiced up the rest of the tomato sauce and used it to make enchiladas. Yum! Wednesday I cooked a new recipe but I want to photograph it again before I put it on the blog, so stay tuned.

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Thursday I had a sudden craving for dauphinoise potatoes and so made a small gratin and ate it with some roasted chicken from the freezer and steamed broccoli.

I continued to watch The Truth of the Harry Quebert Affair (not many episodes left now!) but also started watching Killing Eve on the BBC which is really good!

Friday night we went out for a pub supper before seeing First Man at the cinema. Great film – highly recommend it!

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On Saturday I met up with my foodie friend Anna and her daughter, visiting from Sweden, for some shopping and a lovely afternoon tea at Zetter Townhouse in Marylebone. In the evening I went for drinks before cooking a late pasta supper at home.

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Sunday we had a lie-in and a nice cooked breakfast at home before going for a pub lunch and a walk by the river. It was freezing so afterwards we cosied up on the sofa watching Murder on the Orient Express (which wasn’t that great but had an amazing cast) followed by some more of  The Handmaid’s Tale. For dinner I made this chicken gratin and for pudding we had vanilla ice cream, homemade raspberry coulis and  crushed biscuits, for a bit of crunch.

Apart from the sudden cold weather it was a good week!

Quiche Lorraine

When Anna turned 30 she had an afternoon tea party at her house, and with plenty of guests she had asked a few of us to help with the baking. Ian’s mother made lovely scones, lemon drizzle cake and coffee cake. Anna and her mother made blinis with smoked salmon and sandwiches (ham; egg salad; smoked salmon) and I made a quiche.

Quiche Lorraine is a French classic containing bacon and cheese. I also added chives and parsley to the cream mixture.

I got plenty of compliments for the pie crust, which I was very pleased with, only a week after they made shortcrust in the great TV show The Great British Bake Off, so every one was well aware of soggy bottoms etc.

Quiche Lorraine, serves 4-6 as a meal, 8-10 on a buffet

Crust:

120 g soft butter

300 ml plain flour

a pinch of salt

1/2 beaten egg

Filling:

1/2 onion, finely chopped

300 g smoked and cured streaky bacon (fried in pieces, then drained on kitchen towel)

butter and oil for frying

150 ml grated cheese (I used Monterey Jack)

1/2 bunch parsley, chopped

1 bunch chives, chopped

300 ml single cream

3 eggs + 1/2 left over from the crust making

white pepper (no salt needed)

Pinch together the ingredients for the dough, do not knead it. Place in the fridge for 30 mins-1 hour. Roll out the dough or push it into place in the quiche tin. Use a fork to make holes in the bottom, pre-bake in 180C for 10 mins.

Fry the onion soft on medium heat. Place in a mixing bowl. Fry the bacon crisp in the same pan, remove to the mixing bowl and leave to cool slightly. Add the cheese, eggs, cream, herbs and pepper. Fill the quiche and bake for 35 mins in 180C (or until set and golden in colour). Enjoy it hot or cold or in between.