It was four years ago today we lost our mother unexpectedly. At the time I was living way over in England and had no way of getting home. She had been in hospital, but was doing well. We had no reason to believe that she wouldn't fully recover.
I miss her every day. We were always very close. It still pains me that I was unable to say goodbye properly.
I decided to make myself a picky-bits Teatime Supper today to help distract myself from the nasty weather we are having outside and to cheer me up. Just because I now live alone, that doesn't mean I can't enjoy a nice teatime supper ever now and then.
This was something I often did when I was in the UK. You don't always feel like making a bit meal do you? Sometimes picky bits are just the ticket for filling that gap! Supper in the UK was always something quite different than dinner.
Supper is meant to be something much more casual than dinner. Supper can be an evening meal but normally when one is invited to supper the invitation is quite different than when one is invited to dinner, which is usually more formal. Supper can also mean a hot or cold snack before bedtime.
It is not meant to be meat, potatoes and veg, but rather a rather informal gathering of picky bits and cakes. Not as formal as a high tea, but meant to be enjoyed on a small plate, next to a fire and, if you are so lucky, enjoyed with some bright conversation and company.
It is a delicious opportunity to gather together some picky bits that you have in house into a simple repast of tasty delights that will please everyone, all washed down with hot cups of tea of course!
Some things to bear in mind when making Cheese and Tomato Sandwiches. One, make sure you use a really nicely flavored cheddar cheese. I used some cheese that I had leftover from Christmas. It had not gotten used. A two year aged cheddar that was nice and sharp and well flavored.
Grate your cheese by hand on the large holes of a box grater.
Use a serrated knife to cut your slices of ripe tomato thinly, and then leave them to drain on some paper towels for about 10 minutes. This helps to prevent them from making the bread soggy.
Butter both slices of bread. This not only helps the cheese to adhere, but it also keeps the bread from drying out and getting soggy as well.
I add the grated cheese to the buttered side of one slice of bread, top with the sliced tomato, add a grinding of black pepper, and then place the other slice of bread on top, butter side down. Slice as you wish.
Something crunchy is also very nice to add to the table. Today I added some sweet mixed pickles and slices of sweet eating apples. Oh, how I miss the pickled onions you get in the UK. They are rather larger than our pickled onions and not so sweet, having been pickled in malt vinegar.
You could do crisp raw vegetable sticks such as carrots and celery, or thick slices of cucumber. Potato Chips/Crisps also go down very nicely if you are so inclined.
Of course, one of the highlights of any supper/tea table is something sweet to end the meal. This can take the form of cakes or cookies, just whatever tickles your fancy really. Today I had a few cakes leftover from Christmas and some small dainties (Queen Anne Slices, date squares, etc.)
It is beautiful cut into thick slices and enjoyed with a hot cup of tea, or coffee for that matter. It's also very nice served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
Rich and fudgy with a beautiful chocolate flavor. Simply put, it's delicious and something I think you and your family will really enjoy!
Sour Cream Chocolate Loaf
- 6 TBS Dutch cocoa powder, sifted
- 2 tsp instant coffee powder
- 3/4 cup (180ml) boiling water
- 1/2 cup (120g) of butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups (300g) of soft light brown sugar, packed
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 medium free-range eggs
- 2 cups (280g) all-purpose plain flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (60g) of full fat sour cream
- Preheat the oven to 160*C/325*F. gas mark 3. Butter a 9 by 5 by 3 inch loaf pan and line with baking paper.
- Combine the water and coffee powder. Allow to cool. Stir in the sour cream. Whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, soda and salt.
- Beat the butter together with the brown sugar. Beat in the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet, beginning and ending with dry. Mix well together. Pour into the prepared baking pan.
- Bake for 60 to 70 minutes until risen and the top springs back when lightly touched. Cool ten minutes in the pan before tipping out to cool completely on a wire rack. Wrap tightly once cooled and let stand overnight before cutting.
You can also fold in up to 3/4 cup (170g) of semi sweet chocolate chips.