Project Food Blog Entry 6: Road Trip – More Tea, Vicar?


So I guess you guys must like what I do, because I’m through to round 6 of Project Food Blog, hosted by Foodbuzz.com! Thank you all SO much for you votes. Am thrilled to pieces. For this round we were told to create a meal that would travel well for a road trip, including an entree, side, dessert and drink.

So when you’re planning a road trip one of the key parts of said trip is transportation, right? Well. Next to food, of course. However, with my car currently out of action the travelling part of this challenge was going to prove tricky, so I got to thinking about where I was going to go and how I was going to get there, and more importantly about what I was going to make to eat. This then led to me thinking about this city I live in, and all of its transportation options, and how freakin’ proud I was to be the only Londoner in this competition… and then it hit me: I have to make High Tea and go see The Queen. And as for transport? My preferred mode is public, because if it doesn’t travel well on a double-decker bus and the Tube then, baby, it ain’t gonna travel at all.

My day started at 7am and it was horrible, grey and rainy outside. Not that unusual for London, but not great for the purposes of a public transport road trip. I was somewhat comforted, however, by the knowledge that it was also grey and rainy across the pond, so at least we were all on equal footing.

Butternut Squash & Blue Cheese Tartlets: preheat oven to 200 degrees C and cube 4 tbsps worth of butternut squash. Roast with olive oil and salt and pepper for about 15 mins until soft. Meanwhile, roll out some ready-made shortcrust pastry onto a lightly floured surface, lightly dust some small tartlet moulds, fill with baking beans and blind-bake for 15-20 mins. Beat together 2 tbsps double cream and 2 eggs, and season with salt & pepper. Fill your tartlet shells with 1-2 tbsps of the butternut squash and top with about 1 tbsp of crumbled blue cheese. Fill the shells nearly to the top with the cream/egg mixture, then place back in the oven for 10-15 mins until the filling is set.

I started making the components of my Miniature High Tea (High Tea because it’s so very British, darling, miniature because… well. It’s miniature) when suddenly disaster struck: power cut. There’s an age-old British adage which states that in times of adversity one should “keep calm and carry on”. Well. I didn’t. I freaked out. Eventually, however, I just got on as best I could with no power (the gas hob was still working, thankfully) and after about half an hour the electricity came back. Hallelujah! Ten minutes later it went again. And so went my morning. The third time the power went I didn’t care anymore, and I did manage to keep calm and carry on, doing all the Brits out there justice.

Coca-Cola ham (featuring Momma Lee’s hands): boil a medium ham hock in 2 litres of Coca-Cola with an onion and 3-4 star anise for at least 2 hours. Remove from the liquid, place on baking tray, remove the skin, score the fat, brush with a mixture of honey & English mustard and stud with cloves. Sprinkle with a little golden caster sugar and place under the grill for about 5 minutes, until golden and bubbling. Allow to cool slightly and slice.

I had decided on a menu of Miniature Coca-Cola Ham & English Mustard, and Cream Cheese & Cucumber Mini Sandwiches (very British, don’t you know), followed by Butternut Squash & Blue Cheese Mini Tartlets, a side dish of Quail’s Tea Eggs (a Chinese twist on an old favourite), Mini Scones with Mini Pots of Clotted Cream & Strawberry Jam, Mini Blackberry Cheesecake & Lemon Iced Tea (this is High Tea, after all, the key is in the name!) and, despite the power cut and general panic, managed to get it all made just in time.

Lemon Iced Tea: boil desired amount of water, then take off heat and steep 3 teabags in for a few minutes. Slice up a lemon and throw it in too. Remove the teabags, add sugar to desired sweetness and stir to melt. Allow to cool to room temperature, then remove, add ice-cubes and a little more cold water (optional), stir and serve.

Quail’s Tea Eggs: hard-boil 6 quail’s eggs. In another saucepan combine hot water with 2-3 strong teabags, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp sugar, 2-3 star anise & a chicken stock cube. Cool the cooked eggs, then crack the shells all over and steep in the tea mixture for at least 15 mins. Remove and allow to cool. Eggs will have a beautifully marbled effect when peeled.

Delia’s scones.

Daniela’s Cheesecake: Combine 100g melted butter with 100g crushed biscuits, press into spring-form cake tin and place in fridge. Stew 250g blackberries with about 50g golden caster sugar until soft (10-15 mins). Strain and reserve liquid. Smush stewed blackberries into simple jam and spread over biscuit base. Return to fridge. Beat together 400g mascarpone, 150g golden caster sugar, lemon zest and juice of half lemon. Mix in 250g blackberries. Soften 4 gelatine leaves in cold water and heat 150ml single cream to just below boiling point. Stir in gelatine leaves until melted, then pour into mascarpone mixture. Beat 150ml double cream to peaks, then 1 egg white to stiff peaks and gently fold both in. Pour over the biscuit/jam base and return to fridge for at least an hour. Heat the leftover blackberry juice to just below boiling point and stir in 1 softened gelatine leaf until melted. Pour over the top of the cheesecake and spread evenly, then top with some halved blackberries to decorate. Return to fridge until set.

My good friend Genie from Young & Poor had agreed last minute to accompany me on my expedition to visit good ol’ Lizzie up in the Palace, but by now it was 3pm and I was supposed to be meeting her on the other side of London in half an hour. Amazingly, throughout the course of the morning the grey had cleared away and it was now not only NOT raining, but actually sunny! I had a good feeling as I finished up the food prep, popped it into my special Project Food Blog Cooler, and rushed out of the house to catch my ride.

Here’s a hint: if you’re ever in London, riding public transport, clutching a cooler as if your life depended on it, and taking photos of said cooler as well as most of your surroundings, people are going to stare. So if you don’t like to draw unnecessary attention to yourself… maybe don’t do this.

One bus, three trains and many bewildered looks from strangers later, I had reached destination #1 to meet up with Genie and say hello to some old London favourites.

Second photo credit: Genie Lolay.

Quick photos and back on the tube then, and off to our main destination: we’re off to see the Queen, thank you very much.

Second photo credit: Genie Lolay.

So we arrived! Only to discover that Lizzie was out. Doh.

The police weren’t being very helpful, either, and the guards wouldn’t let us in… oh well. So we perched ourselves underneath another Royal figure (the Queen Victoria Memorial Statue opposite the Palace) and cracked open the cooler to see how the food had fared the rather long journey…

Here’s another hint: if you decide to have a picnic outside Buckingham Palace and bring things out like Butternut Squash & Blue Cheese Tartlets, then supply your fellow picnic-er with a little fork, and follow this up with incredibly impressive looking blackberry cheesecake, people gonna stare. And whisper. And point. So if this ain’t your cup of tea… er, maybe don’t do it.

The food fared very well, in fact, and we were particularly impressed to see just how well my little cheesecake rounds had turned out! Definitely my piece de resistance. High Tea over then and with the sun setting behind Buckingham Palace, it was time to go home. So maybe we didn’t get to share High Tea with the Queen, but y’know what? It was her loss.

Photo credit: Genie Lolay.

Hope you enjoyed! Special thanks to Genie for being so very wonderful all day, for happily posing and nomming, and particularly for her patience & understanding when I was half an hour late to meet her because of public transportation issues! Typical, innit? Voting opens on Monday – thank you again for all of your lovely votes and comments! Until next time, peace and love.

Jax x

50 Responses to “Project Food Blog Entry 6: Road Trip – More Tea, Vicar?”

  1. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite Says:

    What an absolutely brilliant post! Love every aspect of it and am glad you took my (slightly joking) suggestion to take the cooler for a spin on the Tube!! LOVE that you went to Buckingham Palace too. Start thinking about your recipe to video!!!!

  2. Brian @ A Thought For Food Says:

    You are just too freakin’ adorable… I wish I lived in London so I could eat one of those mini cheesecakes. That would have made my day. Everything looks great!

    And, of course, you have my vote.

  3. January Says:

    i love every detail of your post :) the photos are great, the food look delectable, and the entire post is so you :) congrats! i’m really glad that you’re still in round 6 and all the best in future rounds!

  4. saltyseattle Says:

    OMG- we both did tea parties- how fabulous:) Of course yours has so much more authenticity than mine, being that it was pretty much with the frickin’ Queen. Love the travel, the documentation the story, and, oh yeah, the food.

  5. Mara @ What's For Dinner? Says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS!!! Great job, as always my dear!!

  6. Monet Says:

    You are amazing. This exceeded my wildest expectations. Not only does the food look amazing, but you girls look beautiful and it seems like you had so much fun. You will always have my full support. You are one of my favorite blogging people in the world!

  7. Sam Says:

    What a marvellous post, darling! I loved the photos and your food looked absolutely delish! I was particularly impressed with the tartlets since I never thought to consider butternut squash with bleu cheese! Plus, I have a weakness for pastry!

  8. Winnie Says:

    You are adorable and you did a terrific job with the food and the entire post. So impressed, and so glad to have found your blog through PFB. Will definitely be voting for you this week ;)

  9. Tiny Urban Kitchen Says:

    What a cute post! And your food looks like it traveled perfectly fine to Buckingham Palace – hee hee. Great job!

  10. Wei-Wei Says:

    I love love love love loooooooooooove this post. You’re so amazing! I’m definitely impressed. And congrats on making it this far! I think you’ve got it in the bag ;)

  11. Tunde Says:

    What a great post !! The photos are great and it must have been fun with everybody watching and thinking ” what these girls doing :P ?”

  12. Baking Barrister Says:

    Completely awesome & unique–way to use your hometown to your advantage ;) and damn, you made a lot of food! it all looks great though. I would have had a picnic in front of the palace with tartlets and forks as well–the staring is just jealousy!

  13. Kirsty Says:

    This is amazing! Definitely my favourite post so far. Completely hooked to your whole site ever since Ady passed it on, so keep up the good work :) x

  14. chanel11 Says:

    Wow dude – that is like the best picnic food ever!

  15. Reeni Says:

    It is her loss! And mine! I wish I was there to share in your fun. I love this idea – all of your food looks incredible! Especially the cheesecakes. I bet the guards and policemen wanted to join in the eating. Best of luck, my sweets! xoxo

  16. sophia Says:

    I wanted more pics of you! Your friend is very very pretty like a model…and girl, LOVING your coat! But if I were to wear that, I would come off looking like Jack the Piper or something.

    Oh, and I love this post, DUH. I LOVE tea parties, though I’ve never had a formal one, and boy oh boy, I wish I could visit London! My heart is just tearing up right now, wanting to be there, despite the horrid dreary weather.

  17. sophia Says:

    p.s. Sorry I took so long to comment! I had visited before, but just didn’t have the time to comment…I’ve been so freaking busy!

  18. Ben Says:

    Given that we’re the same person, I had to drop by to see what I’ve been up to. Wow. Didn’t know I had that in me. I already knew I had a soft spot for pigs cooked in Coca-cola, but I had no idea that I was such a fantastic baker. Well done, me!

    I (you?) also went to visit the Queen in 1998, and she would see us either. Must be somethin’.

  19. Lucy Says:

    Your mini high tea is the cutest ever! The tea stained quails eggs and cheesecake look incredible. Shame Lizzie was out.

    Got my vote wonder woman.

    Questions…. 1) why didn’t you include the traditional London cuisine of jellied eels?
    2) can I PLEASE be involved in the next task?!

    Big love x

  20. megan @ whatmegansmaking Says:

    I loved this! So unique and creative. I was in London for the first time this past June and it was so fun to see your pictures and think to myself “I’ve been there!” Random piece of information – we were walking in front of buckingham palace when the police stopped us from crossing the street, and all of a sudden a little motorcade came out of the gate, and there was the queen in the backseat waving at us! I couldn’t believe it. Anyway – you’ve got my vote :)

  21. Isabelle Says:

    Awesome post! I just love everything about it… the tongue-in-cheek story, the gorgeous photos, the delicious food, and the mini-tour of London. Looks like Queen Lizzie missed out on a good thing. :)
    Good luck with this round… you’ve totally got my vote!

  22. Duchess Says:

    So charming. Great job.

  23. cookeatlove Says:

    I absolutely love this post!

  24. Ashley Says:

    This post made me soooo hungry!! :)

    Love looking at all those pictures of London, and wish I could be eating one of those tartlets by Buckingham Palace!

  25. elizabeth Says:

    What a lovely, impressive spread! I was in London at the end of July and all of your photos completely brought me back. When I’m in the mood for a little English fare I’ll have to keep these recipes in mind! You have my vote!

  26. Annalise Says:

    Wow, what a post! Love all the pictures and recipes. I spent a few summers in London as a student and this makes me miss it all the more. Good job, you have my vote!

  27. Jackie Says:

    Thank you for all of your lovely comments and votes, guys! I had a lot of fun doing this challenge (as you may be able to tell)…

    Ben – well aren’t you/I quite the special individual ;) Actually, true story, I was once allowed inside Buckingham Palace and saw the Queen from not-too-far: my grandmother received an MBE when I was about 10, so we went as her guests. I remember the Palace being quite cold and covered in a lot of gold leaf… fun times!

    Lucy – I was saving the jellied eels for you, my dear. We’ve got a date with some traditional English pie!

    I’m also loving how many of you have visited/lived in London and are having memories evoked by my jaunt around town! Brilliant :D

    Jax x

  28. sippitysup Says:

    Great timing for a great trip. How fun for you and now for me as I get to “read all about it”. GREG

  29. Andres Says:

    If I didn’t already know and love you this would surely make me become a stalker. I would travel to London only to catch a glimpse of you while you were making all this deliciousness. You are too lovely! <3

  30. Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels Says:

    I just LOVE your entry for this challenge. All of your food is making me drool and I love how you went to Buckingham Palace! What fun. I voted for you! Best of luck and great job :)

  31. Chef Dennis Says:

    what an incredible feast, I love all the images, I have only been to London once, but I recognized just about everywhere….You know you have my vote!! Good luck in this round of the challenge!

  32. elisabeth@foodandthriftfinds Says:

    You created some pretty, and impressive spread for the #6 challenge. Also, the photos of London are awesome. I am not surprised you came this far in the challenge. You are very talented and creative in all that you do!
    Good Luck! For sure I will vote for you!

  33. Marcy Says:

    Wooowww beautiful post…picnic food at it’s finest eh!! I love the “High Tea” thing..so fitting. High tea is something I’ve been obsessing over recently actually lol! Everything looks delish..but especially the tarts and the coca cola ham and the cheesecake..oh what am talking about..everything does!! Good luck :)

  34. Vicki @ Wilde in the Kitchen Says:

    This post is fantastic, I love the whole story. I think I’ll make some of these mini cheesecakes this weekend!

  35. Vanessa Says:

    CLOTTED CREAMMMMMMM!!!!!! nom :)

  36. Vanessa Says:

    I lol’d. I literally lol’d… more than once. Hilarious and wonderful as usual! Keep doing you, Jax!!!

  37. IslandEAT Says:

    Hi, Jax. This was hilarious, and I especially enjoyed your post after our trip to your land of clotted cream and cuppas….

    Congratulations on making it past another round!!


  38. Jacob's Kitchen Says:

    Jinx you owe me a pumpkin! =) Delicious spread! Your tarts looks dreamy, and that cheesecake looks like a little piece of heaven. Nicely done, friend. Your photos are gorgeous as always, and it looks like you two had a fun day. =) You always have my vote! =)

    Best of luck to you!

  39. Moon H. Says:

    Wow! You are great! So wonderful to see your pictures and your interest in cooking. Must taste your cooking one day, ok!. Keep going and do well.

  40. whatsfordinneracrossstatelines Says:

    What a fun picnic! I really like your tart recipe, that is going on my must try list for sure! I’d love to see London one day, but I feel like I’ve seen a little of it now!

  41. Spicy Green Mango Says:

    Hehe, thank you for your lovely (heartwarming) comments on my blog. This is so cute, too! I love the cloves nestled in the ham b/c it looks like a savory pineapple! Good luck, my dear! It feels great to be in such amazing company of foodies!

  42. riceandwheat Says:

    Ok NOW I miss London – thanks a lot. ;) That high-tea picnic looked awesome…the Queen missed out yo. If royalty cannot be bothered to come eat some delicious, homemade coca-cola ham, then something’s seriously wrong with our world. I also love that last photo of you all bundled up and with your PFB-approved cooler bag. Too cute! :D

  43. Daily Spud Says:

    I say old bean – cucumber sandwiches, Delia’s scones, clotted cream – all that and her indoors at Buck Palace couldn’t be bothered to turn up? Well, her loss indeed!

  44. Julie @ Willow Bird Baking Says:

    Love your spirit and the inspiration for your tea! Great entry! You have a vote from me!

    For my entry, I wanted to create a road trip and picnic for my boyfriend, who had recently given me a “do over” of one of my childhood memories. I decided to give him his own “do over” — a special birthday picnic with a heart-themed meal. Come see if you’d like :)

  45. jen cheung Says:

    Congratulation for making to challenge #6!!! You’ve got my vote again this round! Congrats & Best wishes to making to next round :)

    Have a great week
    jen @ http://www.passion4food.ca

  46. Sues Says:

    Those tartlets are absolutely beautiful!! And your photos are so, so pretty :) Good luck!! :)

  47. Damaris @Kitchen Corners Says:

    Those little tarts… FEED ME!

  48. Mariko Says:

    Cute tea time. And what a perfect setting!

  49. pat Says:

    LOVED the TRIP! Hope to see you in the Foodbuzz winners’ circle.
    cheers from Canada, pat

  50. Heather Says:

    What a lovely looking picnic for a day in London-town!

    The little tarts look absolutely scrummy, and I love the idea of packing a cream tea of sorts with home-made jam and clotted cream in jars with those delicious looking scones.

    Looking forward to seeing how you fair! Good luck!


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