One of the things that Todd and I like to do in our spare time is to visit some of the National Trust Houses that are abundant in our beautiful country. There's quite a few and in the warmer months, it's really a lot of fun walking around the gardens and of course nosing through the houses . . . We just find it so very fascinating and a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
Most of the National Trust houses also have tearooms and small restaurants on the grounds. That, of course is also one of the real treats of the day . . . spending an hour in the tea rooms partaking of a delicious cake or bun (all homemade) and a drink.
And then, there is Todd's nemesis . . . the gift shop. He tries to steer me away from them, but . . . I'm on to him now . . . the gift shop is one of the highlights of my afternoon! They are filled with all sorts of treasures . . . jams and jellies, biscuits, candy rock, toys, gardening goods, tea time trinkets and . . . delicious cookery books!
On one of our visits I picked up this lovely cookerybook filled with traditional teatime recipes.
"Food is at the heart of everything the National Trust does. Our commitment to food stretches from using high quality sustainable produce in our restaurants to supporting our tenant farmers in selling direct to the public. With hundreds of tenant farms, more than 25 working kitchen gardens and farms managed by us, the Trust has an important stake in every part of the food journey." (Excerpt from inside flap of the above book)
I just adore the traditional recipes of any country I am in, but most especially the traditional ones from this beautiful country that we live in. Teatime recipes are some of my favourites of all. They hearken me back to my childhood days of reading Enid Blyton novels and dreaming about the delicous sounding teatime treats that the children in them got to gobble down, and I could only dream of . . .
This is a great baking book, chock full of delectable sounding teatime treats! Every recipe I have baked from it thus far has been just wonderful, not the least of which was this tasty banana cake that I baked this afternoon. We sat down to a piece each with a cup of herbal tea, whilst the snow blew against the glass of our kitchen windows, and dreamt of adventures and tuck boxes and . . . warm summer afternoon walks along country garden pathways . . .
Note - the filling is not really thick, but I found that by pooling most of it in the centre, it worked out just perfectly and did not squish out the sides. Also the icing is more like a glaze than a traditional frosting. It is most delicious!
*Cornish Banana Cake*
Makes one 7-inch layer cake
Just perfect for afternoon tea! A deliciously moist banana cake layered with a buttery banana filling and iced with a cocoa banana icing.
For the cake:
8 ounces very ripe banana (weight after peeling)
3 1/2 ounces caster sugar
3 1/2 ounces butter, softened
200g self raising flour, sifted
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 TBS milk
For the filling:
1 ripe banana
2 ounces butter, softened
2 ounces caster sugar
For the icing:
1 soft, very ripe banana
1 ounce cocoa powder, sifted
8 ounces icing sugar, sifted
Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Butter two 7-inch round sandwich tins and lightly flour, tapping any excess out. Mash the bananas and sugar together for the cake in a bowl with an electric mixer. Beat in the softened butter. Add the flour alternately with the egg. Dissolve the soda in the milk and add to the mixture. Beat to a fairly sticky batter. Divide evenly between the two tins, smooth the tops and then bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the sponge springs back when lightly touched.
Remove from the oven and turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the filling, beat all the ingredients together until well mixed and use to sandwich the two layers together.
For the icing, beat all the ingredients together until dark and really smooth. Spread onto the top of the cake.
Note - If you like you can decorate the top with some blanched almonds, walnut halves or dried banana chips.