Irish Tea Cake anyone? I do love a good tea party. Ever since I was young and my Mom would allow a tea party it was always a lot of fun and a real treat. Visiting my Scottish grandmother meant that we had tea often and it always seemed to turn into a bit of a party.
Fast forward to having a daughter to share my love of tea parties with and here we are. Since she was quite young she would host tea parties. In her room, outside, on the floor in the family room…wherever and whenever she could she would host a tea party. Even if it was just her and I. We have the Fairmont Chateau Laurier in Ottawa and they hold a High Tea. One of our daughters friends was going for a birthday party so I got all the questions. And then realized that I had never taken her! What have I been thinking? Since we can’t go yet, I figured I would make some tea treats to enjoy with a nice cup of Earl Grey. First up was the Irish Tea Cake. Not too sweet, not too dense, not too dry, just right. The perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee. At first our daughter was wondering where the icing was, but once she tasted it with the sprinkled sugar she understood. It would have been too much to put icing on it. Although, when fresh strawberries and raspberries are out, we will be sure to make this again and enjoy with a bit of each. Want to try it for yourself? A simple, quick and easy recipe that you can whip up in no time for guests to enjoy, or just for a random Friday.
I followed this recipe from Let’s Dish Recipe’s that I found on Pinterest. I had made one in the past, but couldn’t find that recipe and this one was as close as I could get. Enjoy!
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
Powdered sugar for dusting
Fresh berries and whipped cream, for topping (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-inch round pan.
In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated. Stir in the vanilla.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into the batter alternately with the milk, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutess, then turn out onto a serving plate.
Just before serving, dust with powdered sugar. If desired, top slices with fresh berries and/or whipped cream.
When June finally arrives, there is nothing like farm fresh strawberries that we turn into our Farmhouse Strawberry Jam. The warmer the weather, the sweeter the strawberry. Last June we did an experiment, a batch of early Farmhouse Strawberry Jam and a batch of late Farmhouse Strawberry Jam. The early one was lighter in colour and a lot softer in flavor and sweetness. The later batch was darker red and had a full bodied strawberry flavor and was so naturally sweet.
While both are delicious, it depends on how you like your jam. For us, both are welcome, for some they like consistency of one flavor so they only do early or only do late strawberries.
Strawberries in a bowl
Biscuits are a family favorite here and it takes just a few minutes to whip up a quick batch to taste test our jam. I use my grandmother’s stir and roll biscuit dough recipe from the 60’s and I think of her every time I make some.
Farmhouse Strawberry Jam on fresh biscuits
Never turn down a bowl of fresh strawberries!
Bowl of Farm Fresh Strawberries
60 min prep
longer to sit
makes 8-10 half-pint jars
2 quarts fresh hulled strawberries
1 1-3/4oz package powdered pectin
1/2 tsp margarine or butter
7 cups white sugar
Crush berries a cup at a time in a large pot. Stir in pectin and margarine (or butter). Heat on high, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a full rolling boil. Add sugar all at once. Return to boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; skim off foam.
Ladle at once into hot, sterilized half-pint jars, leaving a 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims, place lids. Process in a boiling water canning bath for 5 minutes. Remove jars: cool
*You will know they are sealing when you hear pops as the jars cool.
Server on biscuits, toast, ice cream… your options are endless, we even just eat it with a spoon!
We have a new puppy at the farmhouse!! While we are all very excited, it is a little bit of a happy/sad tale to tell and I have my daughters permission to share.
Late one evening in early February, our dog Bear bit our daughter in the face. While she is ok, she did have 17 stitches to put her lip back together. The plastic surgeon feels she will always have a scar, but we are doing everything we can to minimize that as much as possible. Our daughter is one of the strongest people I have ever met. Although she did absolutely nothing wrong and only went to kiss Bear on the head, when he snapped, she still felt in her heart it was her fault. We have reassured her many times that he had mental health issues and we had seen a few things that led us to be careful and to increase his training.
On the other side of that coin, our wonderful son, feels responsible because he played with him as a puppy a little rough. We have reassured him over and over that is is not his fault that Bear was just not right.
Hubby and I feel responsible because we feel we should have let him go when we first saw signs of him not being quite right. We truly felt that he was 95% amazing dog, but 5% not quite right. We felt in time, that that 5% would go away, unfortunately it did not. We consulted with the vet and even they couldn’t recommend re-homing him given what had happened. We had to say good-bye to Bear and start the healing process, both the physical and the emotional ones.
We promised the kiddos that there would be another dog in our life and it wouldn’t be too long. Just the right amount of time for everyone.
So, here we have…. well, he doesn’t have a name yet, but we have our new puppy. He is a border collie/Australian shepherd mix and so far a delight. It has been less than 24 hours, but he has adapted to his new family quite well and is already having me regret an upstairs office!
We love him and are looking forward to warmer weather and fun times outside! He is super fluffy right now and loves to chase me and his tail, all around the living room. I will update with his name as soon as we figure that part out.