Of tea rooms and tea

 

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I have fond memories of tea. Sipping tea while perusing cookbooks with my mom or enjoying a pot of tea and toast when I lived in Ireland.  Other memories include watching Pride and Prejudice for the first time and fretting about whether or not Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth were going to end up together. There is something comforting about tea. Spain (where I now live) is not really a nation of tea drinkers, but around the time when I was first married and was having an exceptionally bad day, my husband told me he was going to take me somewhere to cheer me up. He said it was a place that I would absolutely love.
He was right!
It was a tea shop.
And it was beautiful.

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It reminded me of a Jane Austen or Agatha Christie film.  How Iove Miss Marple and Poirot! It was lovely.

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Living in London..a slice of English life in Madrid with the atmosphere of a different time.

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The place was packed with people chatting away and enjoy their tea and cakes. Yes…cake! I will be honest, I am not wild about sweets. I like them but I am no chocoholic or cakoholic ( not an official word but I will use it anyway), but when in Rome, do as the Romans do. We ordered a pot of Earl Grey tea and a slice of cake each.

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The carrot cake.

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The chocolate cake.

The cakes were served with ENGLISH cream. And they were wonderful. The tea (made with loose tea, not the tea bags) was the perfect accompaniment. And yes, everything cheered me up and I felt so grateful that my husband knew me so well.

Over Christmas, I was perusing recipes online and found, to my surprise, figgy pudding! I decided to make it, and when I did, I was stunned by how it reminded me of something I would taste at our tea room. I decided to whip some cream (not English, but it didn’t matter) and served the cake. Well….it has become a favourite in our house and I just have to share it.

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I know…there is too much whipped cream here and the size of my behind is probably expanding as we speak, but next time, I will put less. The cream is wonderful. Ok, enough with my reminiscings about tea. On with the recipe! (It was found on http://www.about.com)

FIGGY PUDDING
Figgy pudding is a spicecake-like souffle made with figs and walnuts. It is moist, delicious, and easy to make.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
1 cup molasses
2 cups dried figs (about 1 pound), stems removed, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Garnish: Whipped cream
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Total Time: 75 minutesYield: 12 servings
* PREPARATION In an electric mixer, cream the butter until fluffy. Add the eggs and molasses and beat again. Add the figs, lemon peel, buttermilk, and walnuts. Blend 1 minute. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Blend until everything is incorporated. Grease and flour and 8 by 4-inch souffle dish and pour in the batter. Bake in a 325-degree F. oven for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Spoon the pudding out onto plates or cut it into wedges. Garnish with the whipped cream. Yield: 12 servings Recipe Source: The Frugal Gourmet Celebrates Christmas by Jeff Smith
Some notes about this recipe:
*I used a cake pan not a souffle dish.Worked perfectly.

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*All ovens are not created equal. I baked it for about 30 to 35 minutes and had to cover the top with foil to prevent it from burning. Keep an eye on it.
* No buttermilk? Don’t panic. I can’t find it in Spain so I make my own.

1. Place a Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup.

2. Add enough milk to bring the liquid up to the one-cup line.

3. Let stand for five minute. Then, use as much as your recipe calls for.

Enjoy!! Xxxxxx Natascha