23 January 2015

A Family Tea Party (and a Savoury Muffin recipe)

When family arrives from the other side of the world to visit your country for the very first time (and you want them to LOVE it) you go all out to make every occasion special for them - dontcha?

Your eagerness to impress might see you investing in flash new bedlinen, DIYing your dated bathroom, and even painting your hallway the day before you go camping. Every BBQ is strung with lights, every meet-the-neighbours becomes an event to remember as you introduce them to outdoor kiwi living and the joys of toasting marshmallows. This is the very first time your husbands English rellies have ventured downunder, after all. They will go back to the motherland with glowing reports of their magical holiday, and maybe MORE of them will come visit...?
So when your own Kiwi mum and dad are scheduled to come for afternoon tea to meet Uncle and Aunty for the first time, well, it was never going to be just afternoon tea, was it?

No, of course not. It was going to be a tea party, with THE WORKS.

Bunting, Iced Tea, Daisies and Cake, all presented to the best of our ability in crates and holders with milk bottles and paper straws and the best china...

Iced tea: in a container place 4 green tea bags and add 1 litre of boiling water; add a squirt of liquid honey, the zest and juice of a lemon, half a cup of frozen berries and a couple of sprigs of mint. Chill. Once chilled, strain into a glass jug half filled with ice, add half a litre of apple juice and top with soda water. Garnish with mint. Yum yum! Enjoy!

You know we like to make the ordinary beautiful, and the everyday special, round here...

Almond Cake with Cherries & Cinnamon Streusel topping: strain a can of dark de-stoned cherries and sprinkle on top of the almond cake batter. Then mix together sliced/slivered almonds with a generous amount of brown sugar and cinnamon and a das of melted butter. Sprinkle on the cake for the crunchiest yummiest topping

I made Grandma's favourite dark cherry and almond cake with cinnamon streusel topping and the best savoury cheese muffins EVER (scroll down for the recipe).

Of course they loved it. Of course they did. How could they not?

(Of course the blokes may have needed a beer to offset all that bunting and tea)

Here they are: the long-awaited, much-feted Aunty Irene & Uncle Allan
fresh from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK...

Here's me with my Kiwi mum and dad...

And here's Aunty Irene with Grandma a.k.a. my mother-in-law Winnie who reluctantly left NZ yesterday to face the English winter after seven weeks of summer (can you tell they're sisters???)

Apparently they love New Zealand already, even though they're yet to leave Auckland. I'm preparing myself for the next wave of the British Invasion once they return home to Blighty and tell all the rest of the rellies: "Forget Benidorm - you have to get yourself to New Zealand!"

Now Aunty Irene, here's the recipe you were after for...

Simone's Savoury Cheese Muffins*

1 cup of diced shaved ham
2 Tablespoons of finely diced sundried tomato
2-3 tablespoons of Basil paste or pesto
1 cup of grated cheese (plus extra for sprinkling)

Combine these ingredients in a bowl then add...
2 cups of all purpose flour (or Gluten Free baking mix)*
4 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
a couple of pinches of cracked black pepper

Stir these ingredients in then quickly and lightly (without over-mixing) add:
2 eggs, beaten
100g butter, melted
1/2 cup milk

Once all ingredients are *just* combined, spoon muffin mixture into silicone baking cups (or lined muffin tins) and sprinkle the tops with extra grated cheese.

Bake at 200oC for 12-15 minutes (on fanbake) or until golden and firm.

Yum yum yum - ENJOY!

* I made these muffins Gluten Free by using all-purpose GF baking mix and gluten free "Beehive" shaved ham. (Recipe adapted from the NZ Edmonds Cookbook)


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