Thursday, 1 September 2011

Bottoms Up

Every morning at 05h00 sharp, we would have tea in Mama’s bedroom and listen to the BBC stir us to patriotic English-ness.  Bumps would add to the pomp and ceremony by wearing the tea cosy on his head in a “pope-like” manner.

We would listen to the news, well Mama and Bumps would - and I would try to make sense of their “tsk tsks” and mutterings about what was happening to the world. At about 05h30, we would head our separate ways to get ready from breakfast which was always served at 07h00 sharp. 

Tea bound us.  There was never a day without tea. Mama always said there's the wrong way to make tea and then there's the right way to make tea.  Loose tea leaves, fresh water, warmed tea pot, tea strainer, a smidgen of milk and most definitely tea served in a cup and saucer.

We would have tea during breakfast, but percolated coffee after.  We would have tea at “elevenses” with a biscuit or two.  We would have tea after our lunch of crust less sandwiches. 
Then of course came the delicious afternoon tea...which was always served with something yummy like a fresh Victorian sponge or lemon curd tarts or date and walnut loaf.

I have become very lazy over the years and no longer make tea like I was taught.  I now bung in a tea bag and barely wait to add my milk.  I certainly never drink it out of a cup and saucer...unless I am in a restaurant and feel like being posh. But the familiar smell of tea warms my soul and reminds me of my dearest loving grandparents. “Bottoms up” as Bumps would say!

How do you make your tea? In a mug or cup 'n saucer?  I'd love to know...

Date and walnut loaf

What you need:
  • 1 cup of dates roughly chopped
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 1 t-spoon soda bicarb
  • 1 egg
  • 1 table spoon butter
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 t-spoon baking powder
  • ½ a cup chopped walnuts

How to make:
  • Sprinkle the soda bicarb over the chopped dates and pour in the boiling water.  It will fizzle and foam... this is correct.  Leave to stand for 10 minutes as the chopped dates turn into a delicious sticky gooey syrup.
  • Beat the butter, egg and sugar together.
  • Pour the date mixture into the butter mix and add in all other ingredients.  Mix till thoroughly combined and pour into a greased loaf tin.
  • Bake in the oven for about an hour on 150 degrees.
  • This is delicious spread with butter and of course... served with tea!  YUM

1 comment:

  1. Mmm, date and walnut loaf, love it. My Gran still makes tea this way and I love her tea but I'm the same as you. Throw a tea bag in my favourite mug and add milk and sugar. If I have a lot of visitors who all want tea, I do try to dig out the old teapot but this is not often. Love this blog, brings back memories of me baking with my Gran in her kitchen in SA.