Time for the annual Mother’s Day round up! As you might know, every year Miss J and I put on afternoon tea for our mum, with a selection of little baked treats and (usually) fizzy wine. This year was no different, and without further ado I present to you our table:
There are some items that come back year after year, and some new ones that pop up as we see fit. It’s nice to have a mix, and it’s fair to say we always eat well. Let’s take a closer look.
One of the stalwarts of the Mother’s Day spread is the deviled egg. I still resent spelling ‘devilled’ with one l. It bothers me every time. This year I made Chinese tea eggs, and filled them with an Asian-inspired mix with hints of ginger and sesame oil, as well as mayonnaise and wholegrain mustard. They were finished with a haphazard sprinkling of black sesame seeds.
As well as being a feature of Mother’s Day, deviled eggs are one of the recurring recipes that show up here on Rock Salt. I’ll give links to previous years at the end of the post, but you can also check out my Maille Mustard Deviled Eggs and my Truffled Eggs post (that one’s from way back in 2011! Eek!).
Tea eggs are a beautiful way to make hard boiled eggs even more appetising – once the eggs are boiled, you crackle the shells by rolling them around on a cutting board, then soak them in a solution of strong tea plus your favoured spices for a day or two. I also add a dash of soy and a dash of sesame oil, for good measure. Or, you can always speed things up by boiling them in the spice mix for 40 minutes or so, and peeling and eating them on the day. The texture will change as you soak the eggs, but they taste just as good.
Note: one thing I did wrong with these was to work hard to separate the membrane round the egg and the shell when I was peeling them. Sure, it gives you a sharper pattern on the eggs, but the texture? Well, it leaves something to be desired.
Another common feature of our tea table is the mini bagel, although this year a combination of over-eager kneading and under-eager hole shaping left us with mini-rolls instead. We served them toasted, with cream cheese, cucumber and smoked salmon.
Another familiar item was the ham and cheese gougeres, adapted from the Prosciutto and Parmesan Puffs recipe on Leite’s Culinaria. I swapped the Prosciutto for diced smoked bacon, and the Parmesan for Pecorino. It’s the fresh herbs and black pepper that really take this one off the chain, though.
The last repeat offender (or unoffender, really, since we love them) was a plate of scones. This time, Wensleydale and blueberry scones, made to the Stilton and cranberry scones recipe I shared just after Christmas. I had intended to make the same ones again, but when I saw this more unusual cheese next to the Stilton, I couldn’t resist. These scones sit right on the border between sweet and savoury, and go well with too much butter.
We had two new entries for 2015. One was the beautiful butterfly cakes that Miss J whipped up in no time flat – I had suggested them because they reminded me of my mum baking when I was little. We gussied them up with vanilla buttercream and some pretty pink glitter. Don’t they look ready to daintily fly away? No? Well, no, alright, that would be terrifying and make us suspect that someone had drugged the cocktails.
Finally, I made a batch of mini doughnuts, following (and occasionally veering off from) Joy the Baker’s recipe for Baked Brown Butter and Pistachio Doughuts. I skipped the pistachios in the batter (I only had enough in the cupboard for decoration), and replaced the milk in the glaze with buttermilk. The glaze is absolutely heavenly, let me tell you.
These doughnuts also account for my most-ever ‘liked’ picture on Instagram. It’s been a thrill, seeing the love pour in for them!
We also created this rather beautiful cocktail, after a little trial and error in trying to get the layering right. It’s called the Red Meg, in honour of my mum, who has bolshie tendencies (don’t tell the Thought Police). It’s made by pouring a light sparkling wine into the bottom half of the flute, filling to the three-quarter mark with fresh orange juice, then pouring cranberry juice across the back of a spoon, and down the side of the glass, to give it the pretty colour variation from top to bottom.
Thus concludes our feast from 2015! If you’d like to see what we served up in previous years (and marvel at how my photo editing skills have improved), you can take a look at the last three years here:
I almost forgot – we got mum a wee present, too. I’m sure it’s not being abused, and my dad is finding it as hilarious as we did…