Just like the person and the tea party this was made for - an instantaneous connection made just by reading each other's blogs. Sensing the similar wavelengths, appreciating the passion for food, the honesty and the humility which shines through. So, when the opportunity came to meet - couldn't pass it up. Not even if the both of us were on the last weekend before we went on a trip and had a million things to do. And it all came together so beautifully - a perfect tea party (though coffee was drunk!) with the right company and some stimulating conversation.
As some of you may have guessed by now, this was me meeting up with Anita of Mad Tea Party. For our own Mad Tea Party. Exchange of mails, telephone numbers, calls and we had a tentative plan to meet on the weekend. So Sunday morning, Anita called and we fixed up for that afternoon 3 30pm. My relatively free Sunday had by then transformed into a matinee show of Beauty and the Beast with kiddo followed by lunch with friends, so I knew I wouldn't have time to serve up an elaborate spread. BUT when you have a food blogger coming over, you have to have food!
I had a couple of tangerines at home and I knew a tea cake would be nice and light for that time of the day. So, I quickly looked for an orange based cake, which I found on the Whole Foods Market website - scanned through the list of ingredients to check that there were no exotic deal breakers. The main ingredient was Greek Yoghurt - which I thought could be substituted with hung curd. So, I tied up some home made yoghurt to hang in the fridge and then left at 10am to return only at 3pm.
I then raced around roasting the cloves and then grinding them, combining the eggs with the yoghurt, honey and zesting the oranges and lemon, while Tara (my girl Friday) tried to get some semblance of segments from the tangerines without mangling them. Managed to get everything together and into the oven by 3 30pm and 5 minutes later Anita and her husband were at the door! So, the cake baked itself while we chatted and caught up on who we were and what we did and all the things that connect us in this small world.
And as the filter coffee perked, hubby joined us too after his brief siesta while my daughter came back from our neighbour's place and we talked some more.Finally, time to check the cake (I had set it for 45 minutes but it was done in 35) and it looked gorgeous - lovely brown crust with the oranges peeping out. It smelt delicious too - the cloves and the orange filling up the house with their aroma.
By then the dance of the cameras had begun, with my daughter pitching in for good measure, insisting that she wanted to take a pic too - talk about seizing the moment! The husbands waited patiently ("long suffering" were the words used I think) while we took our pics. And then we sat back and did what we do best - eat!
I had made some khari biscuits too - with my latest discovery of readymade puff pastry from a local gourmet chain. I really, really miss my khari biscuits and the puff pastry makes it as easy as one- two- three! Roll it out, cut and bake. But more on that later.
The cake was moist and had that lovely citrusy flavour - a little sweeter than the recipe said it would be, but not as sweet as a dessert cake. Went well with the coffee - despite what one might think about a citrus cake.
Orange and Clove Tea Cake (adapted from here)
1-2 oranges cut into peeled sections - I used one large kinoo (mandarin) orange.
1 cup whole wheat flour (atta)
1 cup refined flour (maida)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp clove powder (1 tsp cloves, roasted for 3-4 minutes and then ground) (the original recipe calls for 1.5 tsp but I didn't want to experiment with that much; this quantity gave a gentle bite to the cake without overwhelming it)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup castor sugar
1 1/2 tbsp orange zest
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp orange extract
1 cup hung curd (hang about 2.5 cups of homemade yoghurt or 2 cups of store bought yoghurt for atleast one hour)
6 tbsp honey ( I would reduce this to 5)
3 eggs at room temperature
1/3 cup pure olive oil
1. Grease and flour an 8" cake tin. Pre heat the oven to 350C
2. Combine the dry ingredient - sieving the whole wheat flour before adding to the refined flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, clove powder and salt.
3. In a large bowl, mix the castor sugar with the lemon and orange zest with fingers. Add the eggs and honey and essence and beat till well combined,.
4. Add the olive oil and the hung curd and beat again till you get a smooth, thick batter.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and arrange the orange segments on top so that they are half in and half out of the batter.
6. Bake for 35 minutes or till a skewer comes out clean.