Mondays can go in one of two directions, depending on how well planned we are for starting the week. To keep some consistency laid out for the beginning of each week, I’ve added the Monday Make as part of our routine to kick start the week of snacks off better. I find when there are snacks made and available in the house for those in-between meal hours, then everyone stays content (for the most part). So, new to the blog will be our weekly Monday Make to share snack recipes with you for your home school break time. And I always welcome suggestions so forward your own recipes and we’ll add them to our baking sessions and post them, making sure we give credit where it’s due.
Today’s recipe comes from a book named Tea with the Bennets by Margaret Vaughn that my sister brought back from her trip to visit our Aunt for her 80th birthday in England. Knowing I love the Pride and Prejudice movie (Collin Firth version of course!) she thought this a good choice of British paraphernalia to bring home with her for the wishing to live in another era sister of hers.
She was a lucky one having the chance to visit Burghley House where they filmed the newer version of Pride and Prejudice. Unfortunate that Mr. Darcy wasn’t home; nor did she spot him walking out of the slough all broody and disheveled, and nonetheless handsome for it. But she got to England, so how about that?!
There are definitely some unknown ingredients in a few of the recipes in the book that I’m sure my real British counterparts would laugh at my ignorance for but I think overall this is a gem of authenticity for British fare. You will find daily bread recipes as well as muffins, crumpets and scones. She features a Side Table section of savoury tarts, puddings, and loaves. There are the traditional tea table recipes including cakes, buns, biscuits, and preserves. Creams, puddings, and moulds are also part and parcel of this pretty book. And to wrap it all up, she even includes a U.S. conversion chart at the end.
The author retired to the village of Lacock in Wiltshire where they filmed some of the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice (calling it Meryton). She was told she has the habit of describing people in culinary terms thus the reason she attributes her Simpering Cake to none other than Mr. Collins, her Brittle Bites to Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and her Indelicate Pudding to the crazy and impulsive Bennet daughter, Lydia, alongside the “rascally Mr. Whickham” as she puts it.
I ended up choosing two recipes to use for our special tea at three: Cheese Straws and Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s Brittle Bites or Snaps.
My Cheese Straws were a tad over-cooked so keep a good watch on them in your oven, especially if you tend to have an especially hot oven (which seems an odd thing to say when I see that in print). I may have rolled the dough a bit too thin so that may also be the reason for their more brown instead of golden look. But I was pleased with the kick they had to them with the cayenne pepper.
Some of my Brittle Bites were more chewy, and others, just like Lady Catherine de Bourgh, brittle. I’m a fan of the chewy kind, but I know many who prefer the brittle, so again, adjust your timing accordingly in the oven.
I couldn’t for the life of me find a nice white tea table cloth in the depths of the basement storage bins. I know, I know. You thought I cleaned the basement 10 posts or so ago. So I pulled this one from the linen closet that my sister’s mother-in-law brought from Germany. It’s more Fall-like I realize, but it did the trick for a tea time gathering all the same. And it helped add a bit of colour to my un-thought out table setting. I should have bought strawberries rather than blackberries to add colour to the tea time, however, I’m so partial to blackberries that it didn’t really matter to me in the end. Lady Catherine de Bourgh wasn’t in attendance so the fancy and formal were kept to a minimum.
I did, however, have the privilege of entertaining a girl of the past who happened to own a Regency dress of her own for my tea with the Bennets post. Don’t we all have one of these tucked away in our closets? She’s a dear to put it on for mummy and pose like this isn’t she? It was a collective effort (of hers) with a friend to work on this dress a few years back. I seem to be passing on the desire to live in another era around my family.
Thought mum’s tea cups and saucers seemed suitable for our special Regency Tea.
So, on this blustery snowed-in part of the world today, from our house to yours, warm yourself with a spot of tea alongside your Brittle Bites and Cheese Straws. We can only hope that Mr. Darcy himself will come calling (with happy Mr. Bingham, too, because he did really help the conversations along some.) Happy Monday Make!