Monday, January 31, 2011

Traditional Teatime Recipes Book

Traditional Teatime Recipes
by Jane Pettigrew is a publication of The National Trust

Traditional Teatime Recipes was originally published in 1991 and has been reprinted several times.  My copy was published in 2007.  The book can be purchased from various book vendors and the National Trust shops. 

The book is a collection of recipes for breads, scones, cakes and biscuits (cookies) served in National Trust tearooms and restaurants in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as some traditional regional specialties.  Tips for successful baking and a conversion chart of  British measurements to "American equivalents" are included.

I admit I have not made any of these traditional British recipes, but reading the recipes and looking at the photos have brought back a lot of memories from various visits to National Trust properties. 

Author and tea specialist, Jane Pettigrew begins the book with  a comprehensive four-page introduction to tea and afternoon tea history in the UK.  All recipes include a brief description, a tidbit of history, a little tea education.   Several recipes have suggestions for tea pairings.     

The second photo above features Bath Buns, left, and Ginger and Treacle Scones, right.  Bath Buns originated in the 18th century. The Ginger and Treacle Scones recipe comes from Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire.   The comments and tea facts make for very interesting reading.  
Here is an example:
The description for Apricot Almond Shortcake recipe reads...
"A delicious combination of almonds and apricots, this (shortcake) goes well with a golden Ceylon tea.  Ceylon tea is often marketed as Orange Pekoe, which causes confusion as the name has nothing to do with orange flavouring or the colour of the leaves.  Today Orange Pekoe (OP) is used as a grading term for denoting the size and appearance of the leaf but the origins are more complicated.  When the Dutch started importing tea to Europe it was so expensive that only the Royal family, the House of Orange and other wealth aristocrats, could afford to buy it so the royal name became associated with tea.  Pekoe is a Chinese word that refers to the fine downy hairs on the underside of the leaves, know in French as the 'duvet'."

*I need to give copies this Orange Pekoe description to the servers at American hotels who tell GJ Orange Pekoe is caffeine free.  So often they tell him OP is a decaf orange flavored herbal.   On such occasions, GJ looks at me and I give him a slight shake of the head.  He usually ends up asking for hot water to brew the decaf tea bag he carries with him.*   

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