What we really didn't expect was for it to become a massive part of our lives and something that would open up so many wonderful foodie opportunities to us, help us meet new friends and even be reunited with some old ones! Clandestine Cake Club, Twitter, supperclubs, Foodie Penpals, all of these are things we probably would never have gotten involved in had it not been for the blog.
Having a food blog has made us more adventurous with cooking and has made us want to try out new restaurants and hunt out new experiences. One of the things I have always loved about cooking and eating is that it takes your mind off things. Being a teacher can be tough and it is one of those professions where people can let it take over their entire life. Writing our blog has helped me avoid that!
One thing we never expected was for other people to like reading our blog too. But we were really pleasantly surprised to find out that people do!! I love it when people come up to me and say how much they like looking at our posts and we now have nearly 600 followers on Twitter! We were also really excited a few months ago when we realised that we'd had almost 100,000 hits so decided that we were going to plan a celebration. A celebratory Tea Party for our favourite Manchester foodies when we hit the big 100,000.
So last Sunday was Tea Party Time! We had our lovely new foodie friends Sheila, Karolina and Hannah coming for tea and cakes and there was much to be done! It all started the weekend before when we razzed around Levenshulme Market and picked up a gorgeous three-tiered cake stand and also the Chorlton charity shops where we got a new tea set for a bargainous £3.99!
Our tea party was very much inspired by our trip to Gwyn's Secret Afternoon Tea Party (unfortunately Gwyn herself was unable to come to ours - maybe next time!) and I did think of her as we got everything ready!
The day before was a baking day and we spent Saturday afternoon making the cakey parts and getting things ready. This left Sunday free for us to put our menu together and ice all our cakes! It was all very relaxing and I'd have to say a lot easier than doing an ordinary dinner party!
We decided to make a selection of finger sandwiches to start off with and went for Goat's Cheese and Beetroot Chutney (chutney home made by the lovely Denise Madigan - an absolute winner), Ham and Mr Vikki's Piri Piri Mustard and Peruvian 'Triples' sandwiches of egg mayo, tomato and avocado.
We also made a batch of homemade fruit scones by adapting a BBC Food recipe which we served with Amaretto cream and Bonne Maman Berries and Cherries Conserve. I can't remember ever making scones before but I must have done at school. These were OK though and very simple to make!
Cakes-wise, Bailey was in charge of making two and both were from the Hummingbird Bakery. He made a batch of his Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies. This is the second time he's made them and I was really impressed - he is really good at these!
He also made a batch of Mojito Cupcakes with some lovely smooth rum-infused buttercream icing!
I made some French Tigré cakes and a Pear and Honey Cake. Unfortunately my cake turned out to be a bit of a cake wreck but Bailey fixed it up real nice so it didn't look too bad and it surprisingly tasted very nice! Everyone was banging on about it in the staffroom at work the next day!
Bailey was also in charge of laying the table which he did very nicely indeed. He has a real eye for the presentation! I just love all of our new teacups and thought they looked great. Can't wait to use them again.
Unfortunately I completely forgot to take any photos actually during the tea party but I guess this is a good indicator that I was having a really lovely time. Thankyou to the ladies for coming and also for bringing us lovely pressies!
We will definitely be having more tea parties as it was a really lovely way to spend an afternoon. As I said earlier although there's a lot of baking involved it's really not difficult to do and definitely less washing up than with a dinner party. I can't wait to have more friends over for tea, cake and lovely civilised chats. Any excuse to get the pretty china out again anyway!