Friday Food: Cranberry and Pistachio Scones

If I’m honest, it has been years since I have made scones. Despite the fact that I have made them successfully in the past, I have been a little afraid of attempting them and having a failure in the kitchen. When I stumbled across this recipe I was not only scared of the scones but a little bit wary of messing with a good formula with the additions of cranberry and pistachios. I can however report back that not only are these easy to make, but they taste fabulous – never be afraid to try something new!

Ingredients:
300g plain flour, sifted
75g caster sugar
1tbsp baking pwder
1/2 tsp salt
120g chilled unsalted butter, cubed
165ml milk
75g dried cranberries
75g pistachios

  • Preheat the oven to 20 degrees C and prepare a baking tray with some baking paper.
  • Mix the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a bowl and add the butter.
  • ‘Rub’ the cubes of butter and the dry ingredients between your finger tips. Slowly work through the whole mixture, making sure not to leave any lumps of butter. Eventually it will resemble fine breadcrumbs
  • Add the fruit and nuts plus your milk and mix to combine – do not over mix, just bring the ingredients together.

  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface (you’ll need plenty on the surface and your hands,) pat down to 3cm thick and make a round-ish shape.
  • With a floured knife cut the round up like pizza into 8 triangles.
  • Brush the tops with milk (and I think a little granulated sugar would be nice here,) and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden.

Eat while they are hot, with butter on a rainy afternoon 🙂

Decadent as I am, it’s been a long time since I ate a scone as anything more than a vessel for the cream and jam I piled on it. These were beautiful and reminded me just how delicious scones are. Try them for yourself this weekend.

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS Recipe from Delicious Baking – £5.99 in your local W H Smiths or Tescos, or order online by clicking the link. If you’d like a traditional scone recipe – this one is Florence’s – my Nanny. 🙂

Florence’s Manchester Afternoon Tea

Last weekend was the Florence Finds afternoon tea in Manchester and what an afternoon it was. Despite some people feeling distinctly worse for the wear from the Saturday night before I was beyond honoured that people hauled themselves out of bed to support me and Florence Finds – thanks guys 🙂



Bottom Image: Top right, Laura Lawson. Bottom, Myself and Mahj.
All Images by Laura and Peter Lawson of Lawson Photography

It’s ironic that one of the things I fear the most about the blog, its diversity, is actually the thing that marks it out for readers as different, and also acts as a benchmark for the readers. I sat amongst Doctors, Florists, Photographers, stay at home Mums and a dairy farmer for good measure! Readers journeyed from as close as Didsbury, to as far afield as Shropshire, Halifax and Nottingham – I was blown away.


Top, Ruth. Middle, Laura and Vicky of Bride and Chic. Bottom, Elissa from Magpie Miller.
All Images by Laura and Peter Lawson of Lawson Photography

Topics covered included maternity benefits, how to change a tap washer or fix a toilet, house prices and of course nail polish, with everything in-between. I love you guys for being so intelli-fabulous.


Vicky and Fran (top), Zan, Mahj, Me and Becky Hay from Blossom (bottom).

Laura and Peter Lawson.
All Images by Laura and Peter Lawson of Lawson Photography

Laura and Peter Lawson were roped in to bring their cameras along so I owe them a massive thank you for tirelessly snapping and capturing it all for me to share with you. We held the tea at the Great John Street Hotel, part of the Eclectic Hotel group and one of my favourite places in the city. not only was the decor fabulous, but the afternoon tea was delicious and the service brilliantly organised – I can’t wait to organise the next one with them. If you’re ever in Manchester and want to treat yourself to staying somewhere nice, definitely check them out. The rooms are seriously decadent.


Elissa, Mahj and Becky.
All Images by Laura and Peter Lawson of Lawson Photography

Thank you so much to everyone for coming and a big shout out to Jillian who missed her train from Edinburgh. Roll on the next round of teas… I just need a little break to recover first!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS have a look in the gallery below for more images – Thanks Laura and Pete again!

Friday Food: Florence’s Scones

This week it’s a very special Friday Food in honour of the Florence Finds Afternoon tea tomorrow! When I started Florence Finds, the food section was intended to share recipes that came with a seal of approval and perhaps even those family favourites that came from your grandmother’s recipe book. This week I have exactly such a recipe from the original Findette, Florence herself! (If you’re wondering what I’m jabbering on about and who the heck is Florence, then you can read about her here.)

Image from BBC Good Food


If there’s one recipe that ought to be a hand-me-down, it’s a scone recipe and what could be more appropriate before the Afternoon Tea meet up tomorrow? Today I’m sharing Florence’s original scone recipe, even with her original writing on it 🙂

Method

  • Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl and then add the butter in cubes.
  • Using your fingers rub the mixture into the butter with your finger tips (with your palms up, rub your thumbs over the tips of your fingers.)
  • You should end up with a bowl full of dry fine crumbs. At this point make a well and add your beaten egg and stir gently to bring the mixture together.
  • Add a little milk to help but keep the whole thing as dry as possible without it falling apart.
  • Once brought together, turn the ball of dough out onto a floured surface and roll out to about half an inch thick, or slightly thicker.
  • Flour your cutter and cut out as many scones as you can. Brush each with a bit of beaten egg or milk and I like to sprinkle mine with sugar too. Then pop into the oven and cook until golden brown on top.

I used to make these with her as a little one, although I don’t remember and my Mum (not the world’s best baker) can even get them to turn out beatifully, so I hope you’ll give them a go this weekend. Print out the recipe, stick it into your recipe books and enjoy it! The secret to making them rise is that you need to flour the cutter before pressing out each one and then the edges don’t stick together preventing them from rising.

It seems a good time to once again ask if you have a any family heirloom recipes to share, perhaps a fruit bread, shortbread, cottage pie or lasagna… just shoot them over to me on hello@florencefinds.com.

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Save the Date! [Manchester and London]

Update! This is a reminder post for those attending the London afternoon tea, and the release of the Manchester afternoon tea date.

For London Attendees: Thanks to those who have already emailed and paid – I do have to meet a minimum spend in order for the event to go ahead and need numbers and payments confirmed by March 9th so if you haven’t yet paid, or need to send me your email request in please hurry! (Don’t forget to specify the location of the tea you want!)

For Manchester Attendees: Florence’s Afternoon Tea will be held on SUNDAY 1st April between 2 and 5pm at the Great John Street hotel. It’s a stunning venue and perfect for Florence’s stylish readers. Champagne afternoon tea is £29* (with the option to take tea only.) Being a Sunday, I understand if people need to shoot off, but early drinks can also be arranged afterwards. If you would like to come, just email me now on hello@florencefinds.com to confirm your place, with the subject titled INVITE ME!

Hooray!

We have a confirmed date for the Florence Finds Afternoon Tea (London) at Beas of Bloomsbury’s St Pauls branch!

Unfortunately I couldn’t arrange payment by you directly to Beas, therefore I am going ask those who wish to attend to email me directly and ask for an invitation, at which time I will send a paypal request for your £26.88* (or more if you are bringing a friend etc, just let me know.) Hopefully this will give you a degree of protection and you’ll have to trust I’m not about to run off with your money. I also promise faithfully that should the very worst happen and the whole plan disappear in a puff of smoke, I will not, and will return all funds to each of you directly.

Please note, there is a maximum capacity of 50 persons, so get in quickly to make sure your place is confirmed. There is also a minimum spend which depends on at least 29 of you attending for the full champagne afternoon tea, so don’t be shy! (If you prefer to have the tea-only package at £18/head please let me know and as long as we achieve the minimum spend this shouldn’t be a problem.)

So that’s all for now – further communications will be made directly with those attending, via email. I’m so excited and can’t wait to see you there. What are you waiting for – email me now on hello@florencefinds.com to confirm your place, with the subject titled INVITE ME!

UPDATE: Once your payment is received you will receive an email invitation which acts as your ticket for the event and your receipt. You should bring them along on the day but there will also be a guest list at the door in case anyone forgets. 🙂

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS Tweet about it, using the hash tag #FFafternoontea and please make sure you are following @FlorenceFinds on Twitter or like Florence Finds on Facebook for updates nearer the time.
PPS Manchester date tbc, likely the weekend before or after Easter. 🙂

*Charges include a service charge where applicable and pay pals transaction fees.

The Soho Hotel Afternoon Tea

This morning, for Tuesday Travels we’re staying close to home, in our fair isle’s capital, London. Afternoon tea is not only a national pastime, but a completely decadent opportunity to eat cake and drink champagne tea, which makes it perfect for a get together. I think it’s a brilliant day out too, with your favourite girls, to treat your mum, for a hen do, or even as part of a weekend away with your man, so I’m happy to be sharing this review with you from Victoria of Sugar Plum Slipper.

Victoria is quite the ‘girl about town’, and I’m looking forward to hearing more from her!


Image Credit: Victoria for Florence Finds

Anyone that knows me, knows that afternoon tea is one of my favourite meals of the day, followed by brunch, midnight snacks, supper, dinner, cocktail-hour “picky-bits”, breakfast and lunch – in that order.

I love the fact that afternoon tea, what is meant to be a light, ladylike, delicate afternoon snackette to keep energy levels up for gentle croquet on the lawns and some light needlework before dressing for dinner, is basically just an excuse to eat a massive brunch. Well, I’m not eating lunch and I have to survive until 2.30pm on just breakfast… and then to stuff my face with naughty delicacies all afternoon with some of my best girls (and ladies) until they send the pastry chef home and bring in the dinner chef and then we get started on the cocktails.

I’ve worked my way around London and a few other cities sampling the afternoon tea delights on offer and thus, I feel like I’m a bit of an afternoon tea aficionado, if I do say so myself.


Image Credit: The Soho Hotel

This weekend’s afternoon tea date was at The Soho Hotel with my mum, and some close family friends. (two of whom you could refer to as my “god family”) We try to get together every couple of months for a catch up of some kind, and afternoon tea always wins out. This weekend followed the usual schedule: we met at 2pm, ate afternoon tea for three hours, then worked our way through the cocktail list for a another three hours, before rolling home! The first time we went out, my lovely hubby agreed to pick us up in the evening, but was incredulous as to how afternoon tea can last until ten pm. He has since learned that afternoon tea means that most of the weekend is a write off!

So anyway, I digress. This isn’t supposed to be about my eating habits, but about the venue, menu and service.

We picked the hotel as it’s part of the Firmdale Hotels group and I’m slowly working my way through their entire portfolio. This time I picked the Soho Hotel for the Pommery Autumn Tea menu, convenient location for us all (a five minute walk from Tottenham Court Road tube station) and it’s a funky design hotel.

The Soho Hotel was awarded the accolade “The Most Glamorous Hotel in the World” by the 2005 Tatler Travel Guide. It was a lovely, stylish, funky hotel but if I’m honest I think I’ve been to slightly more glam hotels in my time (not on my own account, unfortunately) but the accolades aside, it was pretty impressive.


Image Credit: Victoria for Florence Finds and square image (middle right, The Soho Hotel.

I’m the first to admit I’m an utter pleb when it comes to art, design and architecture but what I feel I do know is when something is aesthetically pleasing, when the surroundings are comfortable, whether the cuisine is tasty and when the service is attentive, so those are the aspects I’ll be reviewing.

On arrival we were greeted by the giant Botero cat sculpture often used in the hotel’s logo and a spacious lobby filled with colourful artefacts. We were shown through to the Refuel restaurant and bar whilst they located our table as we were slightly early.

Booking had been very easy, the staff were helpful and polite and when I requested that our booking be in “the pretty pink and green room with the squishy sofas” they said they couldn’t promise that area to any booking, but that they would do their best to accommodate my request.

It turned out that they had indeed honoured their promise and we were seated in the Drawing Room around one of the large shared tables – Wagamama-style.

Seeing as

a) we were early
b) one of our party couldn’t make the date
c) I spied a nicer spot across the room
d) I spent nine years as a waitress in a tea shop and so have an almost algebraic talent for table re-organisation, and
e) I’m a bossy boots

I spoke to the waitress and pointed out that by moving us, she’d have three much happier parties, with much more space. Luckily she agreed and I helped her move our crockery and glasswear across the room, and she was either a really good (but out-of-work) actress or she really was happy I’d suggested it. I like to think the latter.

While we waited for the other members of the party, and while we had the room to ourselves, I had some time to take in the décor and surroundings. There were more sculptures, carved lamps balanced on large books, the most enormous Welsh dresser I’ve ever seen and masses of soft furnishings in fuchsia and lime green. It’s definitely not a place for the guys, and the room was filled entirely with women, but it’s worth noting that the Library and the bar area were a bit more “guy-friendly”.


Image Credit: Left, The Soho Hotel and right, Victoria for Florence Finds

We ordered the Pommery Autumn afternoon tea which started with a glass of bubbles and a selection of sandwiches including cheese and chutney, ham and mustard, smoked salmon and the ubiquitous cucumber. These are replenished on request, and when I asked for a few more of the cheese I received an entire plateful. Heaven.

Just as an aside, the Great British High Tea is a bit more expensive and includes a selection of slightly more “fancy” sandwiches, and so these are not replenished. The servers do explain all this at the start though and also what can be switched in and out of the order. So we requested a few plain scones with our quince, apple and rosemary scones (which came as standard in the Pommery Afternoon Tea).

The pastries and cakes were also plentiful, and in fact we left quite a few, which is a bit of a travesty but I think I gorged on too many scones and cheese sandwiches at the start. A mistake I always seem to make!

We were advised on arrival that we’d have to vacate the table two and a quarter hours after the reservation time, which in my opinion is unusual as afternoon tea is always a leisurely, drawn out affair and most places (bar The Ritz) allow you to languish at your table for as long as you need. But I suppose it’s a popular place, and they worked hard to accommodate my wishes and were incredibly polite about asking us to move, so I can’t really complain. They helped us re-locate to the bar area where they replenished our tea, and added a few more cakes to the stand and left us to peruse the cocktail menu.


Image Credit: Victoria for Florence Finds

The cocktails aren’t cheap, and despite being used to inflated London prices, even I baulked at the pricier ones, choosing to stick with the lower end of the price scale (still costing upwards of £11 though), with one tequila and strawberry concoction and then a fruity take on a mojito. To be honest I found the cocktail menu hard to deal with as there were just so many – I find it hard to take in if there is too much choice. I spend too long focussing on the pretty names not the content! Thankfully they were separated into sections based on their key (alcoholic) ingredient so I just kept my eyes on the rum and tequila pages. A few members of our party chose wine instead of cocktails and the prices were even higher(!!) which, personally, I think is crazy – but it’s a good excuse to stick to the pretty concoctions on the cocktail pages I suppose.

After six or so hours we felt it was time to take our leave (having a few group photos with the giant cat on the way out, of course) and despite the high prices I think it was money well spent for an indulgent afternoon with my girls. The atmosphere was buzzy, the staff were great, the food was yummy, the décor was lovely and the company was divine. I’ll defo be going back!

Victoria xo

Have you taken tea at the Soho Hotel, or can you recommend another spot for delicious cakes and decadent cocktails? I’ll add your recommendations to my ‘must try’ list…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...