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Scrumptious Summer

PUBLISHED: 17:53 30 August 2011 | UPDATED: 19:55 20 February 2013

Scrumptious Summer

Scrumptious Summer

Make the summer sizzle whatever the weather with these mouth-watering treats using Somerset's fine larder of produce.

Lavender Cupcakes

Recipe by Sarah Calhaemof The Tea Tree of Ilminster

Makes 12

Oven temp: 200C

Prep time: 30 minutes

Bake time: 15 minutes

For the cakes

100g plain flour (sifted)

100g caster sugar

100g margarine/unsalted butter

2 eggs

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp dried lavender flowers

For the icing

125g unsalted butter

150g icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Few drops food colouring if desired

I love this recipe, its so simple and quick, and makes a beautifully fragrant and very English cupcake with a difference. And if nothing else, the smell of the lavender will repel any unwanted insect guests to your picnic.

1 Pre-heat the oven to 200C and set out 12 cupcake cases.

2 If using an electric mixer, sift the flour into the bowl, then add all the other ingredients and mix until just combined. Dont mix it too much as you will knock any air out of the mixture. If mixing by hand, cream the butter and sugar together until - light and fluffy, and then add the eggs one at a time followed by the rest of the ingredients.

3 Spoon the cake mixture evenly between the 12 cases and bake for 15 min or until golden brown.

4 Remove from the baking tray and cool on a wire rack.

5 While the cakes are cooling make the butter icing. With the butter at room temperature, beat on its own until light and fluffy.

6 Add the icing sugar and vanilla extract. There is no need to sift the icing sugar at this stage as the longer you beat the mixture the better the consistency: I normally leave my electric mixer on full power for about 5 minutes until the icing has gone pale and fluffy and almost doubled in quantity.

7 Finally add some food colouring as desired. I normally add red and blue to this recipe to make a soft lavender purple; be brave with this as, depending on the type of butter, the mixture can turn an unappetising grey just keep adding a few drops of colouring at a time and you will get there.

8 I like to using a piping bag, but you can just as easily spread the icing on to the cakes with a knife, then finish off with an extra sprinkle of lavender flowers perfect for an English summers picnic.

Somerset Apple and Sausage Chaussons

Recipe by Michael Parham of The Tea Tree of Ilminster

Makes 6

Oven temp: 200C

Prep time: 60 minutes

Bake time: 15-20 minutes

For the pastry

400g plain flour

200g butter

1 egg (plus one for sealing)

Pinch salt

1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

Milk for brushing

For the filling

500g good-quality sausage meat

Few sprigs fresh sage leaves

2 local apples

Pinch salt and pepper

Somerset cider brandy (just enough to cover the apple chunks)

This is a handy little recipe for a picnic, as it makes little chaussons (French for slipper) parcels of meaty goodness, somewhere between a sausage roll and a pasty that you can eat with your fingers, with no plates or cutlery required. You might like to make smaller versions to serve as buffet food with a nice homemade tomato relish.

1 To make the pastry, sift the flour and rub in the butter by hand until fully combined.

2 Add the pinch of salt, mustard and egg and fold in with a knife.

3 If the mixture is a little too dry to bind add small amounts of cold water until you have an even ball of pastry. Wrap with cling film and chill in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.

4 Meanwhile core, peel and dice the apples into small chunks, pour over the brandy and leave to marinade in the fridge for 20 minutes. The brandy will stop the apples turning brown.

5 Chop the sage and mix with the sausage meat and salt and pepper. Strain and add the apple chunks (you may find they have fully absorbed the brandy and there is little need to strain) and set to one side.

6 Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and cut around a small side plate 6 times to create the individual pasty packets, or chaussons.

7 Spoon some of the filling onto half of each circle, brush round the edge with beaten egg, fold in half to create a semi-circle and crimp the edges together.

8 Brush with milk and place on a baking tray. Repeat until all the filling and pastry have been used up.

9 Bake at 200C for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot or cold.

The Tea Tree

Situated in the traditional market town of Ilminster, this beautiful Grade II Listed tea shop offers a unique range of specialist teas and homemade cakes.

11 West Street, Ilminster, Somerset, TA19 9AA


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