Monday, April 25, 2011

A Feast Fit For A Princess…

Get out your Wellies because we're going to London.

Maybe you’re not as excited about the Royal wedding as I am but I will be watching along with half of the rest of the world.

Speculation is that between 1 and 2 BILLION people will tune in for the wedding on Friday.People will be watching the ceremony on computers, cell phones, iPads, or in their neighbor’s home theater like me.

I’ve been following the Royal family for a long time. Not because they are royal but because we have a remote connection. You see, the loop that binds us is that I was born (11/20) just 6 days after Prince Charles (11/14) in the same year. I thought that was noteworthy but then we married the same year (1981) and had our first born sons in the same year (1982), there became a history that makes me feel connected and duty-bound to follow the storyline.

Now, I’ve never been the Princess type but I could be for a day. Give me a tiara, plop me on a pillow and spoon feed me a Trifle. I can so do this.

If you are planning a viewing party like my neighbor, here are a few recipes that you will want to cook as people come throughout the day.

You don’t need to break the royal bank to put on the show. Most of these recipes are inexpensive and you can utilize what you have on hand.

We are starting at 3 AM but you wouldn’t find a seat in the front row.

My name has been on the 2nd chair to the left for weeks.

Sorry - probably have to take a seat on the throne.

My Neighbor bought this...especially for her royal guests!

Bon Appetit!

Cucumber, Cream Cheese and Dill Tea Sandwiches

This sandwich is so refreshing and with 4 basic ingredients…well, you just can’t mess it up.
Tip: Use a mandoline to slice the cucumbers super thin. It makes 32 sandwiches…enough for all your friends and then some.

1 seedless cucumber, very thinly sliced

1 package (8 oz.) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened

16 slices very thin white bread, crusts removed

Chopped fresh dill, for garnish

Salt for sprinkling

Spread a thin layer of the cheese mixture on each slice of bread. Arrange cucumbers in a single layer on 8 of the slices. Sprinkle with salt.

Place remaining bread slices over the cucumber, cheese-mixture side down.

Slice each sandwich into 4 triangular tea sandwiches.

Dip one edge of each sandwich in a dish of chopped herbs. Serve immediately or keep in an air-tight container until ready to serve.

Princess Bride Cakes

                                             Photo: The Middleton Family

I love this photo of Kate released by the Middleton family. She could be anyones niece, daughter, sister or friend. In fact, she reminds me of my niece Callie who always has that look in her eye like she's with you but she left you behind in the conversation an hour ago.

What are bride picks anyway? I so improvised and found a Princess cupcake kit at William Sonoma… except the Princess was blonde so I had to color her hair.

1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist yellow cake mix

Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box

3 containers (12 oz each) Betty Crocker Whipped fluffy white frosting

12 decorative bride picks (4 1/2 inches)

Candy decors and sprinkles, if desired

Heat oven 350 degrees F. Make and cool cake mix as directed on box for 24 cupcakes. Remove paper baking cups; cut off rounded tops of cupcakes.

To assemble each bride cake, place 1 cupcake, cut side down, on individual serving plate. Spread cupcake bottom with 1 teaspoon frosting. Place another cupcake, cut side down, on top of frosted cupcake.

Spread frosting over stacked cupcake with downward strokes to make ruffled skirt. Add decorations to skirt if desired. Insert bride pick in top of frosted cupcake to complete princess. Continue with remaining cupcakes and frosting, making a total of 12 bride cakes.

Bacon Sandwich

I love everything bacon and someone mentioned to me the other day that the Brits are known for their Bacon Sandwiches. This is a staple of the British male. The recipe calls for loads of bacon piled between two slices of bread (sometimes toasted) but it varies on the correct composition of the model sandwich.
Brits consider this the best 'hangover-reducer’ so you may want to try it if you decide to start celebrating early and pull an all nighter.

Cottage Bacon

Thin White Bread – toasted

Royal Blue Cocktail

If this isn’t the royal blue connection, nothing is. I had two small – I mean petite - glasses and fell promptly to sleep. I woke up just in time to make a bacon sandwich! Doesn’t one cancel out the other?

Lime wedge

Coarse sugar or granulated sugar

Ice cubes

1/4 cup cranberry juice cocktail

2 tablespoons (1 oz) citron vodka or vodka

2 tablespoons (1 oz) blue curacao

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Moisten rim of chilled martini glass with lime wedge. Sprinkle sugar onto small plate, and dip moistened rim into the sugar to coat lightly.

Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Add cranberry juice, vodka, curacao and lime juice; cover and shake. Strain into martini glass.

Welsh Rarebit

You can put anything on it you want but this classic English sandwich is famous without the lettuce and tomato. I remember my parents making us a simple version of this recipe when I was young… of course they left out the Guinness. The rarebit can be made in advance and saved for the final toasting.
Like the Bacon Sandwiches above, it is also a hangover cure so don’t say you have nothing to cook for breakfast if you don’t exactly feel like eating. If you like Cheddar, this will be a staple.

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon mustard powder, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste

3/4 cup strong dark beer, like Guinness

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, or to taste

1 pound Cheddar, Double Gloucester or other English cheese (or other good semi-hard cheese, like Comté or Gruyère, or a mixture), grated

4 to 8 pieces lightly toasted bread

Put butter in a saucepan over medium heat and, as it melts, stir in flour. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and very fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in mustard and cayenne, then whisk in beer and Worcestershire sauce.

When mixture is uniform, turn heat to low and stir in cheese, again stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and pour into a broad container to set (you can refrigerate for up to a day at this point).

Spread mixture thickly on toast and put under broiler until bubbly and edges of toast are crisp. Serve immediately.

Tea Sandwiches

Did I ever like egg salad at 3 AM? Remind me later…I’ve got a royal wedding to watch!


1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations refrigerated seamless dough sheet

Goat Cheese Topping:

2 oz cream cheese, softened

2 oz soft goat cheese (chèvre) Pinch garlic powder

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill, basil or thyme

Egg Salad Topping:

1/2 cup deli egg salad

Veggie Topping:

6 (1/4-inch) cucumber slices

3 radishes

1/4 yellow bell pepper

Fresh dill, basil or thyme

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Unroll dough onto ungreased cookie sheet to form 12x8-inch rectangle; if using crescent roll dough, firmly press perforations to seal.

Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 20 minutes. Cut into 24 (2x2-inch) squares.

For goat cheese topping, in medium bowl, stir together cream cheese, goat cheese, garlic powder and 1 teaspoon dill. Spoon about 2 teaspoons cheese mixture onto each of 12 crescent squares. Top with veggies and additional fresh herbs.

For egg salad topping, spoon about 2 teaspoons egg salad onto each of 12 remaining crescent squares. Top with veggies and additional fresh herbs.

Bacon and Egg Savory Cupcakes

These are so cute! I really loved this recipe and think that it’s the perfect option for a busy brunch. It takes minutes to make but once it’s in the oven, you have time to enjoy all the friends and family you invited over. This is a great recipe to make with your kids.

16 slices bacon

1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury Grands! Homestyle refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

8 eggs

Salt and pepper, if desired

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In 10-inch skillet, cook bacon over medium heat about 4 minutes or until cooked but not crisp, turning once. (It will continue to cook in the oven.) Set aside.

Spray 8 jumbo muffin cups or 8 (6-oz) glass custard cups with cooking spray. Separate dough into 8 biscuits. Place 1 biscuit in each muffin cup, pressing dough three-fourths of the way up sides of cups. Place 2 bacon slices in each biscuit cup, and crack an egg over each. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until egg whites are set. Run a small knife around cups to loosen. Serve immediately.

Curly-Endive Salad with Bacon and Poached Eggs

This salad would be perfect for a breakfast for dinner.

Croutons: Put a large frying pan over moderate heat. Toss the bread cubes with 2 tablespoons of the oil and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Put them in the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp and brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the croutons from the pan.

Salad: Add the bacon to the pan and cook until crisp. Remove and drain. Put in a large glass or stainless-steel bowl with the endive. Pour off all but 1/4 cup of the fat from the pan.

Eggs: Fill a saucepan two-thirds full with water. Add the 1 teaspoon vinegar and bring to a boil. Break each egg into a cup or small bowl and slide one at a time into the water. Reduce the heat to a bare simmer. Poach the eggs until the whites are set but the yolks are still soft, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Dressing: To the fat in the pan, add the remaining 4 tablespoons oil, the garlic, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Warm the dressing over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic barely starts to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons vinegar and remove from the heat. Toss the dressing with the endive and bacon until the endive wilts slightly. Add the croutons and toss again. Put on plates. Top each salad with a warm egg.

The most traditional dish of any English Tea and hold the jam because there is some lovely Homemade Lemon Clotted Cream to follow. I can so get into these British traditions!

225g (8oz) self-raising flour

pinch of salt

1 Tsp baking powder

40g butter or margarine (1 1/2 oz)

150ml (1/4 pint) milk

beaten egg or milk to glaze

Raspberry jam and clotted cream to serve

Sift flour, salt and baking powder together and rub butter until all resembles breadcrumbs

Stir enough milk to bring it to a soft, light dough

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about 3/4 inch thick and cut rounds with a cookie cutter

Place on a greased baking sheet and brush tops with beaten egg or milk

Bake at 425 deg F for about 10 minutes or until well risen and golden brown

Serve warm, split and filled with the jam and clotted cream, accompanied by a selection of English tea blends served with milk or cream.

This is absolutely one of the best, lightly whipped cream I’ve ever had. It’s great on everything and the bees knees on your best trifle.

Homemade Lemon Clotted Cream

A personal favorite of mine. I would also use this in a trifle.

3 oz. mascarpone

1 cup heavy whipping cream

¼ tsp. lemon extract

3 tbsp. powdered sugar

Zest of 1 lemon

In a mixing bowl fitted with a whisk, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks, add the remaining ingredients and whip until evenly combined.

Hot Crossed Buns

You can't do these better than Gerhards... how easy was that?

Traditional Fish and Chips

Going from one course to the next, fish and chips is the “fast food” favorite of the English. Don’t forget that great English vinegar will bring out the flavor of the fish.

1/2 lb x 4 Cod Fillets

2 1/2 pounds Chips (potatoes sliced French fry size)

4 1/4 oz. Tartar Sauce

1/2 cup flour

1 Lemon, cut into wedges

English vinegar

1/2 pound Peas


4 whole eggs

6 oz. (approx) Beer

2 cups Flour

Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat deep fat fryer or sturdy frying pan with cooking oil to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix salt and pepper with the flour. Whisk in the eggs, then add enough beer to make a thick batter. Let stand 10 to 20 minutes.

Place 1/2 cup flour on a shallow dish. Dip cod fillets into the flour, then into the batter mix, and then straight into the fryer taking care not to splash yourself with hot oil. Cook until golden brown and a core temperature of 160 degrees is reached.

Deep fry chips until golden brown and place with the fish on a plate with the tartar sauce, salad garnish, lemon wedges and English vinegar.

Heat peas in water brought to a simmer for a couple of minutes and place on a plate.

Tartar Sauce


1 c. light mayonnaise

2 TB. dill pickles, chopped

2 TB. stuffed olives, chopped

1 TB. onion, grated

1 TB. capers

Juice of one lime or lemon.

1/4 tsp. salt
Yorkshire Puddings

I put my roast in a slow cooker with tiny potatoes and carrots and serve with Yorkshire Pudding – the English version of the American popover…only better.

1 cup of all purpose flour

2 eggs

2 cups milk

Mix the flour eggs and milk with a blender to a nice pancake type batter

Heat the oven to 450 degrees then add a little oil to the bottom on muffin pans and heat

Remove from oven after a couple of minutes and add the pancake batter don't over fill

Bake for 10-15 minutes until they are nicely risen and golden brown

Serve hot with poached fruit such as apples, pears or rhubarb.