Spring tea time

My first spring in Switzerland!

My street is surrounded by nature; each week brings new surprises in terms of plants and flowers, flowers that come in rainbow of colors.

When you live in a big city, as I used to do, spring’s arrival is much more subtle and less impactful than when you live so close to the countryside as I do now.

With the new season and its warmer temperatures entertaining is moving outside; dishes are lighter and more colorful. It is a great time to call friends to come over and try some new seasonal dishes.

I miss teatime in London, where I used to live, because it is a place where you can see all the creativity that goes into preparing a great variety of teatime “menus”, not only at high-end hotels, but also in smaller coffee shops.

The challenge is that some of these treats are quite sweet. If you are like me and can’t resist tasting everything that is on the plate in front of you, the calorie count can be overwhelming!

For the outdoor teatime menu, I am going to share with you, I made classic mini-egg sandwiches with dill, choux profiteroles filled with rose cream, and fruit skewers with lemon-grass syrup.

Because we are now coming to the time-of-year when fresh fruits are becoming more abundant, I am adding them to my menu to bring freshness and vibrant colors.

This treats are also appropriate for an Apero, a Swiss form of socializing that includes finger-food and a glass of drink.

Egg Sandwiches (around 12 petite sandwiches)

  • 8 slices of wheat bread
  • 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh dill
  • salt and pepper
  1. Put the eggs into a saucepan and cover with cold water.
  2. Bring to boil, then immediately lower the heat and simmer for 10 min. Never boil the eggs.
  3. Put cooked eggs into cold water to stop cooking process and peel.
  4. In a small bowl mesh them well with a fork.
  5. Add two tablespoons of mayonnaise and one teaspoon of chopped dill to the eggs. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
  6. Divide the filling on one side of bread slices, and then top with other slices.
  7. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge if not serving within one hour.
  8. When ready to assemble, cut of the crust with serrated knife and then cut the sandwiches into small squares.
  9. I like to use small square cutters.
  10. Just before serving dissolve butter in a small pot and add one teaspoon of dill.
  11. Lightly apply butter mixture on top of each sandwich using a small kitchen brush.
To add a little colour.
Fruit skewers
  • 1 ripe mango
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 watermelon
  • 1 honeydew melon
  •  lychees (10-12), peeled and pitted
  • fresh mint (optional)
  • 12 bamboo skewers
  1. You can first remove the skin with a serrated knife before cutting the mango or first cut mango into two halves and then remove the skin. If the mango is not  too soft  you can use a peeler.
  2. Slice the flash of mango by placing the knife slightly away from the center and cut downwards. Repeat on the other side.
  3. Cut the flesh lengthways into strips, then crossways into squares.
  4. Squeeze a little lime juice over the mango to prevent discoloring.
  5. Peel and take the pits out of the lychee. If fresh lychee are not available use caned ones in syrup.
  6. Cut the cantaloupe and the watermelon. Remove the seeds and scoop-out the flash with a melon baller.
  7. Thread the pieces of fruit on the skewers; in between pieces of fruit you can decorate with fresh mint.
  8. Arrange them in small transparent glasses.
  9. Put little bit of lemon grass syrup over.

Lemon grass syrup

  • 1 lemon grass stem, bruised
  •  80 gr granular sugar
  • 135 g water
  • juice of one lime
  1. Place sugar, lime juice and water in a saucepan on low heat until sugar dissolves.
  2. Bring to boil, add  lemon grass stem and cook for three minutes or little longer if you want thicker syrup.
  3. Cool. Put into refrigerator overnight.

Choux profiteroles with a rose cream

 

  •  55 g  butter
  • 170 ml water
  • 55 g plain flour
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • a pinch of salt
  • 200 ml double cream
  • 2 teaspoon rose-water
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dry rose petals
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C.
  2. Sift the flour with a pinch of salt.
  3. Put butter and water in a saucepan and melt the butter over medium heat.
  4. Increase the heat and bring it to boil.
  5. As soon as the liquid boils add the sifted flour in one go. Remove from the heat and with a wooden spoon mix quickly until mixture is smooth and leaves the sides of the pan. Don’t  overbeat.
  6. Spread the mixture on the plate, until it cools slightly, about 10-15min.
  7. When cooled put the mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer.
  8. Incorporate eggs a little bit at-a- time so that each addition is well incorporated. In the beginning mixture may look like it is splitting. Continue mixing until smooth and glossy.
  9. Put the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a  nozzle ( I used 8mm ) and pipe small chouxs buns 3-4 cm size on a nonstick baking paper. I like a thin silicone sheet that you can reuse and is easily available.
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the choux buns are golden and firm.
  11. Place them on a wire rack to cool.
  12. Whisk double cream with rose water and icing sugar.
  13. Cut the tops of the pastry cases.
  14. Put the cream into a piping bag with a small nozzle and pipe into the pastry cases.
  15. Ground some of the rose leafs using paste and mortar.
  16. Dust choux  profiterloes with icing sugar and sprinkle with ground rose leafs.
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