Royal wedding is just our cup of tea

13 Apr Royal wedding is just our cup of tea

 Here comes the bride … the beautiful Miss Cather­ine Middleton with her handsome prince, His Royal Highness Prince William Philip Arthur Louis of Wales. As their special day rapidly approaches, preparations are being made to ensure the royal wedding goes off without a hitch.

Two thousand guests have been invited to attend the ceremony at Westminster Abbey on April 29 at 11 a.m. London time, while a closer clus­ter of 600 then will cele­brate with the royal cou­ple at a lunchtime recep­tion at Buckingham Palace. Twenty-one chefs are preparing some 10,000 canapes, one-bite wonders to savor while sipping champagne.

All of us can share in the excitement of the royal wedding by getting up bright and early and watching it live on televi­sion at 4 a.m. our time or by logging on to www.roy­alweddinglive.tv which will stream the wedding  live if you’re on your com­puter at this hour.

If waking before the crack of dawn is not your cup of tea, but you’re still interested in finding out more about the royal cou­ple, you can whet your wedding appetite and catch “William and Kate,” a movie about the royal romance on Lifetime on Monday at 7 p.m.

Kate’s choice of wed­ding cakes will be an icing-covered brandy-fla­vored fruit cake, made by British celebrity baker Fiona Cairns. This multi­tiered floral-themed cake will showcase the English rose, Scottish thistle, Welsh daffodil and Irish shamrock, as well as the bridal rose symbolizing happiness, ivy leaves for marriage and lily of the valley for sweetness and humility.

As for Prince William, he has chosen a second cake — a childhood favorite — the Chocolate Biscuit Cake. Using a secret royal family recipe, the cake will be made by McVitie’s Cake Company, famous for the rich tea bis­cuits (cookies) used in the concoction.

What’s a biscuit cake, anyway? Also known as achocolate fridge cake, it’s really not a cake at all, if you think of a cake as a mixture of eggs, butter and flour beaten together and baked in the oven. The chocolate biscuit cake is made with four basic ingre­dients (dark chocolate, but­ter, English tea biscuits and golden syrup). After the ingredients are melted and mixed, the “cake” is put in the refrigerator to chill and set, hence its nickname, the fridge cake. Easy to make and a real hit with kids, you may want to whip one up to enjoy while watching the royal wedding.

Wishing the royal couple love, laughter and happily ever after, I give you my Special of the Day: Tea for Two— Raise Your Cup to the Royal Couple. The menu includes Cucumber Sandwiches with Smoked Salmon and Dilled Cream Cheese, Orange Almond Scones and Chocolate Bis­cuit Cake, of course.

Cucumber Sandwiches with Smoked Salmon, Orange Almond Scones

CUCUMBER SANDWICHES WITH SMOKED SALMON AND DILLED CREAM CHEESE

» 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
» 1 tbsp. fresh baby dill, minced
» 2 tsp. whipping cream
» Dash of salt
» 8 slices country buttermilk bread, crusts removed
» 8-ounce smoked salmon fil­let, cut in thin slices
» 1 cucumber, sliced into thin round slices
» 1 cup fresh watercress, stems removedBeat cream cheese, dill, cream and salt in mixer until well-mixed. Spread a thick layer of dilled cream cheese over bread slices.
Arrange smoked salmon slices over half of the bread slices. Top with smoked salmon with cucumber slices.
Top other half of bread slices with watercress to cover. Press lightly to adhere. Place watercress halves on top of smoked salmon halves and press lightly to adhere.
Using a sharp knife, slice sandwiches diagonally.
Garnish with a small sprig of baby dill.
Serve immediately.
Makes 16 small tea sand­wiches These will dry out quick­ly, so cover with a damp paper towel if you have to make them ahead.

ORANGE ALMOND SCONES

» 2 cups flour

» ½ cup slivered almonds
» ½ cup sugar
» 1 tsp. baking powder
» ½ tsp. baking soda
» ¼ tsp. salt
» ½ cup butter, cut in 1 tbsp. pats
» ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
» 2 tsp. orange peel » ½ cup buttermilk
» 1 egg yolk
» 2 tsp. almond extract
» 2 tbsp. milk
» 2 tbsp. sugar for sprinklingPreheat oven to 400 °.
Process slivered almonds until finely ground. Com­bine flour, ground almonds, baking powder, baking soda and salt in mediummixing bowl.
Cut in butter using pas­try blender, just until incor­porated. Add orange juice, orange peel, buttermilk, egg yolk and almond extract and stir just until dough comes together and forms a ball. Do not over­mix.
Remove dough to floured work surface. Work in additional flour if dough is too sticky to handle. Roll dough out to 1-inch thick­ness.
Cut into desired shapes.
I used a 3-inch heart cook­ie cutter.)

Place scones on buttered floured baking sheet, leaving space between.
Using pastry brush, brush scones lightly with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake on upper rack in preheated oven for about 12 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before removing from bak­ing sheet.
Serve with whipped but­ter and orange marmalade.
Makes 12 3-inch scones

Chocolate Biscuit Cake

CHOCOLATE BISCUIT CAKE

» 12 ounces good quality dark chocolate

» 5 tbsp. butter, cut in 1 tbsp. pats
» 2 tbsp. dark corn syrup
» 7-ounce package English tea biscuits (Petit Beurre European Biscuits from Albertsons cookie aisle)Put biscuits in large bag­gie, seal and “bash” with rolling pin until you have 1­inch pieces. Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler (or in a bowl set on top of a small saucepan filled with 2 inches water and heated to a simmer). Add butter and stir to melt. Remove from heat and stir in corn syrup.
Place broken biscuits in medium bowl and pour chocolate mixture over the top. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold in biscuits, being careful not to break them into crumbs.
Line an 8-inch loaf pan with aluminum foil. Pour chocolate biscuit batter into pan, smoothing top.
Place in refrigerator for several hours until set. Cut into slices and serve.

Serves 10 to 12.

You might need to use a sharp knife warmed in hot water to cut. Cake tends to break apart easily when slicing. You could make it in a 9-inch square baking pan and cut it into squares, too. I’m guessing this would be easier to cut,

Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photogra­phy. She can be reached at sydnegeorge@hotmail.com

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