THE ART OF DAINTY THINGS

What is it about diminutive food? People love Lilliputian. It allows us to enjoy variety without having to commit to anything in particular. Then, company and pride permitting, you can return to collect the most irresistible morsels. This past weekend, I created a tea party menu of dainty delights for my brother’s lovely bride-to-be. Whatever appearance of effortlessness these pictures might convey, rest assured that my kitchen was a total disaster zone. Dainty ain’t no cakewalk!

IMG_7812

 MENU

Dungeness Crab and Avocado Tea Sandwiches

Serrano Ham, Manchego, and Quince Tea Sandwiches

Egg and Watercress Tea Sandwiches

Smoked Salmon Lollipops

Champagne Soup with Mara de Bois Strawberries

Rose Rhubarb Cakes

Lemon Poppy Seed Scones with Clotted Cream and Jam

IMG_7803

ROSE RHUBARB CAKES
adapted from a recipe by Kellie of Food to Glow

for the cake: 
150ml plain Greek yogurt
150ml grapeseed oil or light olive il
150g unrefined caster/superfine sugar
3 medium eggs
240g all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
5 drops orange blossom water
1 tsp finely zested orange peel
1 tsp finely zested lemon peel
100g rhubarb, diced not bigger than 1 cm
several drops of natural red food coloring

for the icing: 
50ml rhubarb juice (or more to your taste)
4-5 drops rose water (or more, depending on the strength)
200g unrefined icing sugar
1 drop of natural red food coloring

Preheat the oven to 340F. Use oil spray or paint oil in a bundt or savarin tin. Sift together the flour and baking powder; set aside. In a large mixing bowl whisk the yogurt, oil, sugar, eggs and bergamot/orange blossom water. Add the flour and zest and mix until no flour is visible. Add the food coloring if desired. Pour half of the mixture into the tin, top with the rhubarb, pushing some into the batter. Pour over the rest of the batter, smooth it a little then pop the tin into the preheated oven. Bake the bundt or savarin tin/cake for 35-40 minutes, or the loaf tin for about 50-60 minutes. Cover with foil if necessary towards the end to prevent over-browning. Test for doneness with a skewer – it should come out clean. If not, pop it back in to the oven for a further five minutes. Carefully upend the cake onto a wire cooling rack and leave to cool. While the cake is cooling, make the icing/glaze. Add the icing sugar to a bowl, followed by the rose essence and drop of red coloring. Gradually add the rhubarb juice until you have a thickish glaze.

IMG_7801

CHAMPAGNE SOUP with MARA DE BOIS STRAWBERRIES 

for 12 dainty servings:
0.25 liter dry Riesling
30-40g sugar
60 ml water
2.5 sheets of clear gelatin or about 5 tsp gelatin powder
0.375 liter rose champagne
strawberries, raspberries, and fresh mint leaves for garnish

Chill the Riesling and champagne in freezer for at least 30 minutes. Bring water and sugar to a boil then let cool down slightly. Soak gelatin in very cold water for approximately 5 minutes, squeeze to get rid of excess liquid, and add it to the sugar syrup. Let this mixture cool to room temperature but make sure mixture doesn’t start to solidify. Fill a large bowl with water and ice cubes and add a smaller metal or glass bowl over it. Pour the chilled Riesling into the smaller bowl and slowly stir in the sugar syrup mixture using a rubber or plastic spatula (metal tools will kill the bubbles once the champagne is added). When the syrup-wine mixture is just starting to thicken slightly, slowly pour in the ice cold champagne so as to lose as little of the fizziness as possible. Gently stir again to incorporate the wine and champagne. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. Serve with garnishes of small Mara de Bois strawberries or raspberries, and fresh mint.

IMG_7818

SMOKED SALMON LOLLIPOPS with RED ONION CREME FRAICHE

for a dozen:
12 slices smoked salmon, cut into 2 rounds
6 ounces cream cheese
12 lollipop or popsicle sticks
1 bunch chives, snipped fine

for the red onion crème fraiche:
1 tablespoon finely minced red onions
1/2 cup crème fraîche
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
freshly ground white pepper to taste

Prepare 3/4″-diameter balls of cream cheese. Roll and refrigerate. Cut circles of smoked salmon. Wrap salmon circles around each ball of cream cheese. Twist a sheet of plastic wrap around each ball to form a round shape. Place each ball in the refrigerator until ready to use. Dip both sides of smoked salmon ball in snipped chives. Place lollipop or popsicle stick into bottom of smoked salmon. Serve chilled.

IMG_7798

DUNGENESS CRAB & AVOCADO TEA SANDWICHES

2 pounds Dungeness crab, cooked and shelled
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons celery, finely minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
several sliced avocados
white sandwich bread

Combine the crab meat, mayo, celery, lemon juice, salt, and white pepper. Spread the mixture over white bread. Arrange sliced avocado over it, then top with the other slice of bread. Slice off the bread crusts and cut the sandwiches as desired. Serve immediately at room temperature.

Advertisements

React!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s