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Inspired by the afternoon tea at Belgique I was treated to some weeks ago by a friend and mentioned previously, I thought I would try something similar for my mother as a Mothering Sunday treat.  Our tea at Belgique came on a tiered cakestand: little filled rolls on the bottom layer, cakes in the middle and chocolate-y nibbles on the top and with individual pots of tea.  (I have a cake stand hidden away somewhere, but was unable to track it down so instead tea was served at table on separate plates – I could have asked mum to bring hers, but it would have spoiled the surprise!)  What did we eat?  I knew that everyone would have had Sunday lunch so I decided not to serve anything too heavy.  I made two types of cake: a Boiled Fruit Cake (recipe to follow) and Whole Orange Cake, baked a batch of Delia Smith’s Devonshire Scones for a cream tea and alongside these cooked some part-baked half size French sticks from the supermarket.  When these were cooled I sliced each stick in half lengthways and added butter, then filled one with mashed tinned salmon and thin cucumber slices (one of mum’s favourites) and the other with sliced roast ham and tomato.  Each stick was cut into six pieces making a dozen large-bite sized ‘sandwiches’ (mini baguette bites) which nestled on a bed of lettuce and was scattered with a little mustard and cress.  For full menu details see further down…

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

A word about Mothering Sunday, which here in the UK we celebrate at a different time to the USA.  Its origins are actually not really about celebrating motherhood.  I am currently reading a very helpful Lent book (spiritual reading for the six and half weeks of Lent: Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday) called Giving it Up by Maggi Dawn.  Today she writes:

‘In 16th-century Britain, the fourth Sunday in Lent was called Refreshment Sunday.  All the Lent rules were relaxed and the church expected people to return to their ‘mother’ church or cathedral for that day’s service.  The day became known as Mothering Sunday, not through association with mothers but because of the journey made to the ‘mother’ church.  In an age when children as young as ten left home to take up work or apprenticeships elsewhere, this was often the only day in the year when whole families would be reunited.  By the 17th-century it had become a public holiday, when servants and apprentices were given the day off so that they could fulfil their duties to the church.  They often stopped to pick flowers along the way and some brought with them a special cake made from fine wheat flour called simila, which has evolved into the simnel cake…  The tradition of keeping Mothering Sunday was strengthened in the 19th-century when those in domestic service were allowed to return to their own communities, as they would not be home for Easter. … Over the past few decades, Mothering Sunday has been recast as Mother’s Day, a move that has grown out of consumerism rather than theology.  Turning Mothering Sunday into Mother’s Day has almost eclipsed the original meaning of the day …’

I do agree with her, but nonetheless it was good to treat my mum – and my dad – and the rest of the family!

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Afternoon Tea for Mothering Sunday

Mini Baguette Bites: Salmon & Cucumber
Mini Baguette Bites: Ham & Tomato
(alternatives: egg mayonnaise & cress, tuna mayonnaise & cucumber – brie & cranberry sauce – cheese & pickle or chutney – cheese & tomato – bacon & tomato relish – avocado & bacon – Mexican Style Chicken & Pepper Salad – Coronation Chicken – mashed avocado & grated carrot …)
Garnish: Lettuce – Mustard & Cress

Cream Tea: Devonshire Scones
with butter, jam (blackcurrant) and whipped double cream

Whole Orange Cake
Boiled Fruit Cake (recipe to follow)
(and some chocolate biscuits …)

Tea to drink

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

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