Oh, what a lovely treat! Those beautiful tins. And you can always ask Mrs Jolly to pack the hamper for a picnic... Betty Anonymous feeling peckish can almost smell the crispy biscuits and a moment ago was sure she could smell the abundance of fruit in the cake
Betty Barbara here--Well, how absolutely lovely! and it all looks soooo yummy.What a fabulous treat.
Sigh, I had better go make myself a pot of Earl Gray in my Brown Betty teapot, long night ahead of me, I must write 1,000 times:Thou shalt not covet thy co-bloggers hamperThou shalt not covet thy co-bloggers hamperBetty von Susietoo cool girl-Happy Belated!
OK, so here's the lowdown on the food!The assam tea with milk was very good. I've had several cups of it. The orange pekoe tea was good too, but I think I like the assam better. I'm not a huge tea drinker, but I can see my ordering more of it!The golden crunch biscuits are gone. (hanging head in embarrassment but also saying the PRT helped) The clotted cream biscuits... so rich and so good and almost gone. ;)The Dundee cake. Well. Hmmm. It is loaded with raisins, and the top has a beautiful arrangement of almonds. I have never been a fan of fruit cake, and, well, it is a fruit cake. I did eat my slice, and the PRT ate a slice. Hopefully it will stay moist in the tin. I think the PRT will finish it. I wish my dad was still alive. He would have wolfed it down. He loved fruit cake, and my mom always made him a batch at Christmas. I can at least say I have had a piece!! I'll keep the tins for sure.I really wanted a Fuller's chocolate cake, but the business went under. :(The hamper is now at home with my other baskets and is sitting in my guest bedroom. The strainer is silver-plate and really pretty. I didn't really have a need for the cup and saucer, but darn it, I wanted it just because it said F&M on it. haThe book about tea has a section on the history of tea, a section on types of teas, and many recipes of things to serve with tea. Scones, biscuits, cakes, sandwiches...If you go to the Fortnum and Mason website (www.fortnumandmason.com), you can see all the hampers and food and tour the floors. I really wanted the Jubilee Tea Hamper, but it was 350.00 British pounds. The one I ordered was 75.00. Just look under exportable hampers if you live outside the UK. Word of advice: clear it with your credit card before you order. It ended up taking three tries on my end. The credit card people kept blocking it since it was overseas, even though I called them. I finally called them 10 minutes before I tried the third time, and it went through.Thanks for letting me show the hamper. It's probably silly to some, but I just really did want it!Betty AnoninTX
Betty Barbara here--Not in the least bit silly! Don't ever think that!!Yeah, fruit cake is not to everyone's taste and there are so many variations on the theme. I grew up with (and still love) the cake from Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, Texas--lots of pecans, very little candied fruit(a staple of American style fruit cakes, it seems) and no raisins. I've never had an English style fruit cake.....hmmm..........
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Boy, oh boy, look at all the fruit cakes in Neelsdom. (Betty van den Betsy, do we know how many there are?)Not silly at all, Betty AnoninTX! Last night, I started reading Fate Is Remarkable, somewhere in the middle, but I didn't get to the point where Fortnum & Mason is mentioned because I had set my alarm for 6:25 a. m. (and had to get up at 5:05 a. m. yesterday). I'll continue reading tonight.Betty Anonymous
You can refill your now empty basket with F & M tea and preserves that you can buy on-line from Williams-Sonoma here in the US. They used to sell their biscuits, but no more :( .Betty von Susie
Dipped into Fate Is Remarkable again.'Never silly,' he stated positively. 'And now what about that cup of coffee?'Thought it was funny that he said to Sarah what we've been saying to you. Would have been even funnier if he'd said cup of tea.Betty Anonymous
Ha! Like that!Betty AnoninTX
I make a "Christmas cake" every year for the Brit Hubs. (It was Betty Henry who first expected it, but Betty Ross also enjoys it, and who am I to say no, particularly as I love it too.)The recipe I use is a Craig Claiborne one called The Nova Scotia Black Fruitcake. (Here's a version of it; there are other places on the Web where you can find the verbatim recipe without modifications, but this page has no pesky ads & pop-ups.)A proper English Christmas cake has a fondant icing over an almond paste layer. I've tried various things, but in the end, I do the almond paste layer and then a cream cheese frosting. The resulting cake is a brown so dark as to be nearly black, very moist (it sits for a month, being drizzled with brandy, rum, or bourbon), and very sweet. Super good, and if you don't like fruitcake, well, more for me! :-)I'm sure I have a recipe here for a Dundee cake, but my favorite English tea-time treat recipe is banana bread made with cherries and golden raisins. Very rich and very yummy. If Betty Cindy or Betty JoDee happen to see this comment, they can attest to its yumminess.
Wedding cakes in England and Ireland used to be fruitcake as well. That fondant/marzipan icing seals the thing so effectively that the top layer of the wedding cake lasted until the first anniversary/first christening without any need for modern-type refrigeration or freezing. I think my mum made a fruitcake top layer for one of my sisters' wedding cakes.I'm not, as mentioned earlier, a big fan of the fruitcake, but I do like a nibble in the style my dad favors: toasted and buttered. I don't know where he got that idea. Perhaps from the hardsauce (butter, sugar and brandy) for the Christmas plum pudding.And mincemeat! for your Christmas mince pies! Traditional style: gag. Modern-day style (raisins and apples soaked in brandy or rum, essentially, and no minced beef or suet (gag gag) anywhere nearby): yum!
I once had a slice of one of those wedding cakes. I did not attend the wedding. It took place in the evening and I minded the various assorted small-fry who were too small to stay up for the festivities. But I was given a slice of wedding cake later on. I don't remember. Were you supposed to put it under your pillow?
Betty Magdalen, today is the exact opposite end of the calendar from Christmas, and I would've loved to try that Christmas cake! I'll get to it one day.
Betty Anonymous, you are Philly in An Ordinary Girl! She babysits during the wedding, and she is given a piece of wedding cake as she is leaving!And speaking of fruit cake, just minutes later in the same book, Mrs. Selby offers James and his soon-to-be-NOT fiancee Sybil fruit cake with their tea. Sybil refuses "with an, 'Oh, God no,' which made the Vicar draw a breath and bite back the rebuke on his tongue." I love that book. #7 on my top 10 list.Magdalen, your Christmas cake recipe sounds good. The icing would help this Dundee cake. I love any kind of banana bread too.Betty van den Betsy, I did warm a piece of the Dundee cake and put a little butter (fake butter, not as good) on it. Much better! I'm going to finish this off just because I bought it from Fortnum & Mason.Betty AnoninTX
Thank you, Betty AnoninTX, for the F&M review. Happy belated birthday! I was going to check out the prices of the F&M products on Williams-Sonoma (hoping to bypass the international credit card issues), but it looks like they pulled them. :(
They still have the Earl Grey and the preserves, the tea is on backorder, but it let me put the preserves in my on-line shopping basket. I like IKEA's berry preserves and cookies. Less snob appeal - but tasty.B v SP.S. I'm as bad as Hyacinth Bucket when it comes to buying anything with a royal warrant on it (but I do not have a 3 piece suite that is an exact replica of one at Sandringham House).
Thank you, Betty LuLu. And I'm glad people enjoyed my hamper. I probably won't order another one, but you never know! :)I looked at the Williams-Sonoma site, but the biscuits were my favorite part of the hamper! I wish I could try all the varieties F&M have. I wish I had ordered the iced biscuits in F&M shapes.Really, as long as you let your credit card know right before you place your order, it should go through. Do remember that the British pound is worth more than an American dollar.Betty AnoninTX
I've loved this post and have had a grand tea vicariously! Thanks for sharing, all of you!