Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Strawberry Coffee Cake Recipe and Celtic Inspired Shawl ~

Do you ever feel the need to slow the pace of your life down?  I'm feeling that way now and one way that I find helpful to regroup and refocus to a slower pace is to cultivate and enjoy the niceties of life. Such as enjoying a proper slice of cake with a cup of tea and my feet up and a good TV show on. Sadly I think that afternoon tea has largely disappeared.  But I grew up with an English mum and every afternoon of my childhood my Mother brewed a pot of tea, set out teacups and a plate of cookies and put the television on and so the tradition is firmly ingrained in me.  I enjoyed it then and I enjoy it now. There were many bits of advice my mother and father would have preferred that stuck but really what took was the importance of taking a break in your day.  It's much easier to cope with whatever life throws your way.

After taking a hiatus from watching my favorite TV shows during my teatime I'm back enjoying some of my favorite series again.  Some of the characters have become so familiar it's like visiting old friends.  Below I've shared a list of what I think are the best in British dramas and while these are largely older productions and "dated" to modern eyes the wonderful acting and stories more than compensates.  And to complete your viewing enjoyment I'm sharing a truly delicious coffee cake recipe.  The tea choice is up to you but I recommend either Yorkshire Gold (strong black) or Roobios Queen's Red Roses (caffeine free herbal).

I hope that you will find this combination as wonderful a respite from a hectic and upside down world as I do.  No allusions to current politics whatsoever.

Favorite British Drama TV Series* ~

The Darling Buds of May
The Pallisers
To Serve Them All my Days
All Creatures Great and Small
Poldark (original version)
Upstairs Downstairs
Horatio Hornblower
To the Manor Born
Summer's Lease

Favorite Mystery/Crime TV Series ~

The Bridge (subtitles)
Foyle's War
Midsomer Murder

*All links are to Amazon for convenience which is not necessarily the best price.

Without further ado ~ the accompanying cake recipe.

Strawberry Coffee Cake Recipe ~

1 1/4 C plus 1/3 C flour, divided (the 1/3 C flour is used later for the topping)
3/4 C. granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tbs plus 2 Tbs unsalted butter, softened and divided (the 2 Tbs butter is used later for the topping)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 C. milk
1/2 Tsp almond extract
1 1/2 cups quartered organic strawberries
4 TBS organic brown sugar
1/2 Tsp cinnamon

1 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
1/2 C powdered sugar (sifted) 
3 Tsp milk (approx.)
1/2 Tsp almond extract


1.  Preheat oven to 350 ~ and butter and flour an 8" springform pan.     

2.  Combine 1 1/4 C flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, and 6 TBS butter and combine with a pastry cutter until consistency becomes similar to corn meal;
3.  In a separate bowl combine egg, milk, and almond flavoring.  Add to dry ingredients and quickly mix until just combined;  Pour into prepared cake pan.
4.  Prepare strawberries by washing, drying and dicing.  Spread evenly over surface of cake mix (they will sink to the bottom during the baking process);
5.  Combine remaining 2 TBS butter, brown sugar, remaining 1/3 C flour, and cinnamon with pastry cutter - and sprinkle mixture over plums.
6.  Bake 45 to 60 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before removing from pan.  Pour glaze over cake (glaze is made by combining butter, powdered sugar, milk and almond flavoring). 
7.  Serve warm or at room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Recipe adapted from a Plum Coffee Cake recipe by South Cliff Inn.

 Celtic Design Inspired Shawl ~

I love this beautiful Celtic inspired shawl.  I finished it last Spring but for various reasons it never fit into a blog post.  I actually knit more projects than I have time to blog (I do have work commitments lol) and this shawl is a gem that missed it chance to shine.  It may not be apparent from the picture but It's a good sized shawl (66" x 24") but as it's knit in a light fingerling yarn it's not too heavy and makes a perfect transitional season piece.  I love the Celtic cabling along the edging which is the main reason that I chose to knit it.  Be warned however because I found that cabling a pain to knit.  But as I look at it now it was worth all the effort.

Particulars:  Ishneich designed by Lucy Hague; US 6 needles; 2 skeins Sundara Yarn Petite Sock Yarn 490 yds per skein (colorways Travels to Japan #18 / Travels to Japan #8). N.B. I only had 14g of the light color leftover and 48g of the dark, which means I used substantially more yarn than the pattern indicates despite using the recommended needle size, i.e. based on my rough math calculation I used 431 yards of the light colored yarn instead of 370 yards as indicated in the pattern so you might want to have a little extra yarn on hand to be on the safe side.

Until next time be well and love well.  For those who observe Passover (as I do) please accept my apologies for the timing of this recipe!  You'll just have to wait a week to give this recipe a try and in the meantime simply enjoy strawberries naturally ~ 


Allie-oops Designs said...

I've always wished I could experience a high tea - the closest I got was in the tea room at the Royal York in Toronto. Maybe I should start my own tradition, lol. LOVE that shawl, Claudia, the cables do look like a pain but oh so worth it!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this shawl Claudia. To me it is utterly gorgeously. It complements the pattern perfectly. And all the better - to me - because red is my favorite color. The strawberries n your coffee cake seem to echo the trim in your shawl. Was that intentional? I don't celebrate Passover but grew up in an area where many did, so Happy Passover to you and Steve! Chloe

Jules said...

Thanks for your British series recommendations. There are some I've never heard of. I like to watch the older ones, which are often better than some of the new. Thanks for a nice post.

Willow said...

How do you manage to knit so many shawls?? I am amazed!
I love British mysteries. Foyles War is a favorite here at Willow's Cottage.

Katherine said...

I think I have watched every Midsomer Murder show at least three times. I love it! I also like Inspector Lewis and Father Brown.

Your shawl is beautiful.

plasterers bristol said...

oh wow this sounds and looks so good. My absolute favorite recipe. Thanks for sharing.