Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Yee ha! Giddy up for a cowboy afternoon tea.

When I was a girl, one of my favorite games to play with my childhood friends was cowboys and indians. Yee harring on horses and making oo-oo-oo  red indian sounds depending which particular side we were on that day. 

  

So on my honeymoon when I had the chance to stay on a real life ranch out in the Grand Canyon I was in my element. My trip was just as wonderful as expected, out in the desert it was like being on a different planet, with an overwhelming  peace and tranquillity from living alongside  nature.  We met cowboys, ate giant steaks, sang under the stars and had a narrow squeak when a bullock made a breakaway straight for our teepee (yes teepee).  It is a trip I shall never forget.

With this unusual afternoon tea I bring you a taste of ranch life, with drama, spice  and a dash of hi ho silver!


Sandwiches

You want to keep your cowboys driving all day, so they need something substantial to keep them going.

Whisky marinated steak wraps will keep the hungriest of your crew satisfied.

In a non metallic dish mix equal quantaties (we used about 5 tablespoons) of whisky, soy sauce and brown sugar with two peeled and finely chopped garlic cloves. Add salt and pepper to season. Marinade your steaks (rib eye is a good choice) in the mixture for 2 - 24 hours in the fridge, turning every few hours or so. Allow  1/2 to 1 steak per person depending on their size.

Cook your steaks to taste on a grill or griddle/frying pan or even a BBQ. Rare: 2½ minutes on each side, medium: 4 minutes on each side, well done: 6 minutes on each side. Then leave to rest on a warm plate.

Meanwhile heat your wraps as per instructions on your packaging allow to cool for a moment or two. Spread thickly with cream cheese.

Slice your rested steak downwards on a diagonal. You are aiming for thin slices. Top your wraps with the steak.  Sprinkle with chopped fresh herbs basil or coriander are good choices and roll up.

Eat immediately.


Scones 

There is nothing a cowboy enjoys more than a flash of hot spice.  Go savory of the second course serve homemade cheese scones with a slathering of  chilli  jam.  Tracklements does a nice one that is widely available.  To stop things getting too hot by adding a blob of sour cream on top.


Cakes

Cowboy Coffee Cake

Although this cake contains no coffee itself, it is ideal served with a nice strong cuppa. All measurements are given in american cups (for conversions see here)

What you will need:


2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter
1 cup milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


How to make it:


Mix flour, sugar, salt and butter together until crumbly. Keep 1/2 cup of this mixture to one side.

Then add baking powder, soda, and spices and mix well.


To this mixture add the milk and egg and mix well.


Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 inche greased and floured tin.


Top the batter with reserved crumbs.


Bake the cake at gas mark 5 / 190 c/ 375F for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool, slice and serve.

Drinks

Forget the tea and serve up plenty of ice cold beer.  For tea totallers serving Sarsaparilla with still or sparking water  is authentic and delicious.

Decor

You can have lots of fun creating cowboy theme. Dress your table with red and white gingham table cloths, using brightly coloured cowboy badanas instead of napkins.  

Use tealights in jam jars and use ceramic cups and plates to serve up the food.  Give everyone a cowboy name and write these on sheriff style star badges as place holders.  For a bit of fun supply fake moustaches and ten gallon hats to wear.

As dusk falls why not take everyone outside aftewards for a good old sing around the campfire, think Johnny Cash and Hank Wiliam for inspiration.  Don't forget the hay bales to sit on and cosy woollen rugs to keep off the chill.