As any of you following my journey will know, Room Forty Afternoon Tea was set up not quite four months ago after a year of planning, scouring charity shops and vintage fairs for crockery and endless baking experimentation. Some say it took guts or madness or both to pack in a steady, reasonably well paid sensible job as a marketing manager and follow my dream, but when the inspiration struck to combine my love of tea, baking, fine bone china and vintage glitz, I knew I had to give it at least a good try, and I’m pleased to say I haven’t looked back even once. The moral of the tale? seek your goals, take a deep breath and have a go, there's no such thing as failure, just a new direction!
The pop up afternoon tea in Woolston in July was a brilliant success. I was so nervous, but everything went smoothly and our guests gave such lovely feedback. I’ll definitely be using the same venue again in the future, possibly with some more craft stalls at Christmas, but excitingly, the Institution Bar in Palmyra Square have invited Room Forty to host an afternoon tea in their lovely private room on 24 September (tickets available from the Institution).
I Iove this time of year and the wonderful abundance of fresh produce and so have had great fun experimenting with different flavours for my home-made jams and chutneys, the first batch of which, I’m proud to say, went on sale at Snoutwood Trotters, Great Sankey and will soon be available at Tom@101 Stockton Heath and Rowles Butchers. Do let me know what you think – and if you have any gluts of fruit that you don’t want, please give me a call and I’ll happily collect them from you, turn into something yummy and of course give you some.
Bread baking workshops – now taking bookings
I‘m thrilled to be launching the first of Room Forty’s classes. The bread class is designed for those who long to recreate the delicious pizza they had on holiday, or want to create a loaf with no additives, our workshops are suitable for any age or ability.
Each hands-on class will last approximately three and a half hours and will guide bakers and would-be-bakers through all the steps to making a perfect loaf, pizza dough and soda bread. Classes will start with a slice of home-made pizza bread tasting before getting to grips with the dough. Guests will learn about bread and how to make it and leave with the fruits of their labour, recipes, fully equipped to have a go at home and, importantly having had fun.
We’ll be running more classes in the future, so if these dates aren’t great for you, or if you want us to run a class at your venue let us know!
22 September and 13 October £45 each or 2 places for £80
Clandestine Cake Club
Anyone who knows me, knows that I love a bake and a chat, and the Clandestine Cake Club is the perfect way to do it. If you fancy making a cake and bringing it along, the next two dates are set for 8 September and 1 December. All you need to do is log on to www.clandestinecakeclub.co.uk and join the Warrington group to find out more. There’s no competition involved, so don’t worry that you won’t fit in, or aren’t a baking expert- its just for fun and a bit of baking banter. All you need to do is bake a whole cake, no brownies or cupcakes, come along and have a cuppa, we’d love to see you!
Apologies, this blog has a lots of dates in it, so here’s a summary!
8 September Clandestine Cake Club - Secret location
22 September bread making workshop JD Kitchens
24 September Pop up afternoon tea at The Institution, Palmyra Square
8 October bread making workshop JD Kitchens
1 December Clandestine Cake Club Secret location
150g pitted soft dates (roughly chopped)
125ml cold water
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
150g butter (softened)
150g light muscovado sugar
2 medium eggs (beaten)
1tsp vanilla extract
175g self-raising flour
6tbsp caramel toffee sauce (Dulce de Leche)
Preheat the oven to 180*c
Lightly grease a 28 x 18cm tin and line the base
- Place the dates in a pan and add the water, bring to the boil and remove from heat, add the bicarb and leave to fizz and cool slightly
- Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl, beat till fluffy and then add the eggs and vanilla extract
- Fold in the flour, then the date mixture
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until risen
- Cool in tin for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack. When cold cut into 24 squares and spread the caramel over each slice with a palatte knife.