I’ve got the top down on the car, the summer breeze in my hair and Neil Diamond blaring out from the stereo. Perfect… or at least it was until I’m left red-faced at a set of lights by my embarrassing taste in music! Today I’m off to see Jane Devonshire, Masterchef 2016 winner and good friend, in the depths of rural Hampshire.
Jane and I love to get involved in a bit of playful Twitter banter. But rather than debate the important points in life like nature versus nurture or liberalism versus conservatism; we keep it real with Cheese versus Trifle and more recently #gameofscones, the famous debate of jam on cream or cream on jam. These are some of life’s most important dilemmas, and being both as stubborn as each other, it’s obviously trifle and cream then jam!
As if planned to perfection, I arrived on none other than #NationalCreamTeaDay, but this was merely a brilliant coincidence. Today we were making a batch of gluten-free scone muffins. Jane is a strong supporter of the Breast Cancer Care charity and we are baking today to support the charity’s national campaign. The campaign is urging people to get their friends round for afternoon tea in a bid to raise money. In the final episode of Masterchef, Jane announced her 10- year battle with cancer, so it’s a cause close to her heart.
It’s no secret that I’m not a chef, cook or baker, I simply enjoy a damn fine bit of exquisite patisserie. However, you probably don’t know that having the pressure of mylegoman in your kitchen can throw even the greatest of chef into a spin… and true to form this recipe that Jane has perfected suddenly suffers the curse of mylegoman. As Jane attempts to rescue her scones, the Bake Off jokes about soggy bottoms are unleashed!
Jane often cooks gluten-free so that the whole family can enjoy her exquisite cooking. Her home-style cooking won over the hearts and minds of both the public and the judges as she battled it out in the Masterchef kitchen to become the champion.
I’m all baked out now and relaxing in Jane’s kitchen with a bit of Lego, a cup of tea and a gluten-free scone with cream then jam – or as Janes describes it – the dark side! I suggest that Jane should consider changing her name to ‘Jane Cornwallshire’ if she persists with jam before cream!
Afternoon tea with great friends is a superb thing to do and an indulgence that should be enjoyed as often as possible in my humble opinion! If you can raise some money for a worthwhile cause like Breast Cancer Care at the same time as treating yourself to some tasty baked goods, then there’s no excuse for not getting involved. If you’d like to have a go at making some gluten-free scones yourself, you can find Jane’s recipe with a video here.
August is the month of afternoon tea. You can choose to host your own and raise some money in the process, or book yourself in for an afternoon of scones and the like during Afternoon Tea Week which starts on Monday 14th August. If you’re looking for inspiration for the top places to sample the best out there then look no further – the recent afternoon tea awards saw 5 establishments sweep the board:
Best Traditional Afternoon Tea: Hotel Cafe Royal
Best Contemporary Afternoon Tea: The Mirror Room at Rosewood
Best Themed Afternoon Tea: Churchill Afternoon Tea at The Wellesley
Best Children’s Afternoon Tea: Millennium Hotel London Mayfair
Best Tea Service: Fortnum & Mason
My next task is to check what the winners have to offer as part of my survey of afternoon teas… poor me?