Tuesday, 18 September 2012

A totally tropical tea

Tomorrow is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Have you ever wondered what you would take with you if you were shipwrecked by maurading pirates and ended up a desert island?



A book, maybe some photographs, a penknife perhaps, but how about afternoon tea?  Well you wouldn't want to starve to death would you?


Rather than keep you alive for weeks on end,whilst you wait for a friendly ship to come and rescue you, this tea is all about a lazy afternoon of sun, sea, and perhaps a just sprinkling of sand between your toes.

Sandwiches

The perfect filling for a desert island savoury would have to be crab.  You can get crab cleaned and dressed from a good fishmonger or even a supermarket these days. Serve a little of the white and dark meat in individual scallop shells (or little bowls will do if you can’t get hold of the shells) provide little triangles of buttered bread alongside. Crab is nicest with brown bread.  If you dislike crab serve prawns and Marie Rose sauce or smoked salmon with a little black pepper and a lemon slice.

For veggies serve banana and cinnamon sandwiches.  Butter your bread and top with mashed banana and a little cinnamon then another slice of buttered bread.  Cut off the crusts and cut into triangles.

Scones

Make some delicious coconut scones and spread with exotic pineapple jam.  Surprisingly pineapple jam is readily available with Hartleys, Tiptree and Mrs Darlington all producing really good versions.

Desert Island Scones

To make these scones you will need:

225g (8oz) Self-raising flour
1tsp Baking powder
25g (1oz) Caster sugar
55g (2oz) Unsalted butter
6 tbsp Coconut milk
25g (1oz) Shredded coconut

How to make the scones:

Preheat your oven to 220°C or Gas Mark 7.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl, and add the remaining ingredients.
Mix into a soft dough and knead gently on a lightly floured surface.
Roll the dough out until it is about ¾ inch thick and cut into 2½ inch circles.
Space out the scones on a greased baking sheet, brush them with milk.
Cook for 12 – 15 minutes and then remove from the oven and cool on a baking rack.

Serve with the jam and t
op with softly whipped cream with a little Malibu liqueur or coconut essence added.

Cakes

An exotic cake like Hummingbird cake would be a lovely choice; it includes bananas, pecans and pineapple and is very moist and fruity with a cream cheese icing. You can buy Hummingbird Cake from specialist bakers or have a go at making one yourself from one of the wide range of recipes available online.

Alternatively a Jamaican ginger or a coffee cake would go down well with a cuppa.

Drink

Tea

Strike up your imaginary campfire and get the kettle on; after all it’s hot on that island and what better to quench your thirst than a nice cup of tea?  It will certainly disguise the taste of the salty seawater. To get that smoky campfire flavour why not have a cup of Lapsang Souchong? The distinctive flavour of the tea actually arises from the withering of the leaves over cypress or pine wood fires after being plucked and rolled. Twinings, Steenbergs Organic and Taylors of Harrogate are amongst the companies that sell it from a variety of outlets.

Fizz

How about a delicious Mango Bellini? Fill a champagne flute one-third full with mango juice (Rubicon do a good one). Top with Champagne or prosecco and stir gently. Garnish with a slice of mango.

For teetotallers substitute the Champagne for lemonade, or try one of Rubicon’s sparking drinks which come in Mango, Passionfruit, Guava and Lychee flavours. Serve in hollowed out pineapples or coconuts with a straw.



The decor

Just because you are supposedly on a desert island doesn’t mean you have to slum it.  Lay the table with a white or sea-blue cloth and dress it with seashells and garlands of dried seaweed.  Whole pineapples and coconuts add a tropical flavour   If the weather is hot, head outside and sling hammocks between the trees and allow your guests to lie back and relax as you serve each ‘course’ waiter style.

Music
It has to be calypso or perhaps a little Reggae.  Bob Marley is sufficiently chilled and perfect for this tea.  Have a listen at Spotify or purchase at all good music shops.