Friday, June 01, 2012

Diamond Jubilee Celebrations

Looking for somewhere to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in Oxford this weekend?  
Here's a very brief list of what's going on where: 

Oxfringe Jubilee Weekend Oxford Castle, Sunday 3rd June, 12 - 5.30 pm  
The Jubilee East Oxford Street Party Magdalen Road, Sunday 3rd June, 12 – 6pm
Jericho Jubilee Street Fair Canal & Cardigan Street, Monday 4th June, 12 – 6pm

For further details and a full list of events, check out the Oxford City Guide

A joyful proclamation of queenly support - by Twisted Twee

In keeping with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations this weekend I thought I'd share a few 
of my favourite British treats... What do you love most about being an expat in Britain? I'm certainly feeling the love for the Queen this weekend; bring on the four-day weekend!

Jubilee sandwich cake - A twist on the classic Victoria Sponge.

The Victoria Sponge
If you're planning a Jubilee themed party this weekend, how could you resist this cheeky twist on 
the classic Victoria sponge? Whilst traditionally speaking, a Victoria Sponge would never be iced 
or decorated like the one pictured here, I'm sure Queen Victoria would let it slide just this once... Sponge cake was her favourite after all.  

A typical Victoria sponge consists of raspberry jam and whipped cream sandwiched 
between two sponge cakes, finished with a light sprinkling of icing sugar.

Pimm's - the quintessential summer tipple.

This classic British beverage is almost as much a tradition as the cup of tea, and during the summer months, the British down it by the gallon. Those of you who read my post entitled, 'It's Pimm's O'clock' way back in March, will also know that I am quite partial to Pimm's advertising campaign. It's oh so refreshing and fabulously fruity; take a look for yourself

Elderflower Pressé
Another of my new found favourites is elderflower cordial. Mix this with some soda water, fresh lime and lemon juice and a little bit of mint and you'll have an elderflower pressé. The Old Parsonage on Banbury Rd also make a delicious cocktail called an 'Elderflower Collins', which I highly recommend.
There's nothing quite like a homemade scone fresh from the oven, but mastering this simple tea-time treat is harder than seems. I'm told that the secret to a perfect scone is all in the butter, (which should always be at room temperature and rubbed quickly into the flour), but mine always pale in comparison to my Nan's. Topped with jam and cream, (which is always clotted in the UK), Ruby's scones were always crisp and golden on the outside and delicately light inside - Scrummy scone perfection. (A British blend of scrumptious and yummy).

Clotted Cream
Thick, rich and indulgent with the consistency of soft butter, this sweet yellow cream is an essential ingredient to all cream teas and is traditionally made in Devon and Cornwall. It has a very high fat content, (at least 55-65 %, which in the United States would be Classified as butter) and is often topped with a deep yellow crust. Truth be told, I prefer double whipped cream with my scones, but these sorts of opinions are best kept to oneself when taking tea in Britain.

Summer Pudding recipe from Peyton & Byrne - British Baking

Summer Pudding
I still can't quite get my head around why all desserts are called 'puddings' in the UK, but at least this one fits the bill. Summer pudding is deliciously moist and made of sliced white bread, (preferably stale), which is layered in a deep bowl and then packed with juicy summer berries. It's much easier than it looks! You just leave it to soak overnight and then turn it out onto a plate before serving.

Cuppa tea time
Nothing is considered as quintessentially English as a good old cup of tea and I fear the whole nation would come to a stand still without it. Each year the average person consumes 2.5kgs of the stuff, contributing to Britain's long running title as the largest per-capita tea consumer in the world. With all the 'tea breaks' going round I'm not in the least bit surprised!

Everyone has an opinion on how to make a ‘proper’ cup of tea, but I've never taken this as anything more than a bit of British banter. Boy was I wrong. Preparing tea in this country is a very serious matter! Did you know that scientists recently discovered 'that the key to the best tasting brew is to let it sit for six minutes?' I had to laugh. (Telegraph, Sat 02 June 2012).

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