Sunday, 11 September 2011

Rose tea cake

We did not own the Hesslewood House and neither were we farmers.  Bumps worked as the book keeper for the local farm store.  The farm house and farm store was owned by a lady called Mrs Chetwynd and she lived in a very posh double story house on the hillside. 

Once a week I would go down to the store with Bumps, and he would drop me off at Mrs Chetwynd so that I could go for a swim in her enormous pool.  She was a short and stout old lady – so very different to Mama.  She was one rinse away from purple...  She wore 1940s style dresses with sensible shoes and had soft grey hair brushed back in a tight bun.

I did not like her much, but was ever so grateful to be able to use her pool.  Back then, I did not mind that the pool was green or the sides were slick with algae.  It was a delicious respite from a very hot summer day and I swam with relish.  Mrs Chetwynd used to sit on a bench watching me to make sure I did not make too much of a splash and waste water.  She never spoke a word expect for the instruction to not splash and to announce it was time to come up for tea.  She would then leave and tell me to come to the sun room as soon as I was dry. The few minutes I had alone were magical.  I would get out of the pool and try achieving the biggest splashes by bombing into the pool! 

I gulped cups of weak tea to wash the dry crumbly tea cake down.  Yeugh...Mrs Chetwynd’s tea cakes were horrendous! But I was raised to always be polite and no matter how disgusting, it was expected to eat what I was given.  This painful ritual happened at least once a week and I returned to be beautiful and sweet smelling grandmother – each time more and more grateful that I was her granddaughter and not Mrs Chetwynd’s.

Mama would send me off to have a warm bath with some of her special rose water oil after which I would sit cross legged next to her on the settee and sip on a ginger ale. I would recount how horrid Mrs Chetwynd’s tea cake was, or how awful Mrs Chetwynd’s shoes some way – as best as a young girl could - tried to show Mama how happy I was that she was my granny.

Mama’s DELICIOUS rose flavoured tea cake

What you need:
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • The zest of one lemon
  • 1 table spoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon rose water (never more or it’s a perfume cake)
  • 250 grams caster sugar
  • 175 grams sifted cake flour
  • 100 grams ground almonds

How to make:
  • Beat egg yolks with lemon zest, lemon juice and rose water until thick and pale.
  • Beat the egg whites until soft peaks, and add caster sugar in small amounts.
  • Fold in the egg yolk mixture alternating with the sifted flour and ground almonds.
  • Turn into a greased cake tin and bake for 1 hour on 150 degrees.
  • Allow to cool then dust with icing sugar and decorate with fresh rose petals.
  • Delicious with lemon tea

Want to make your own rose water? Click here...

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