Mother’s Day High Tea 2015 (and Deviled Tea Eggs)

Time for the annual Mother’s  Day round up! As you might know, every year Miss J and I put on afternoon tea for our mum, with a selection of little baked treats and (usually) fizzy wine. This year was no different, and without further ado I present to you our table:




There are some items that come back year after year, and some new ones that pop up as we see fit. It’s nice to have a mix, and it’s fair to say we always eat well. Let’s take a closer look.


One of the stalwarts of the Mother’s Day spread is the deviled egg. I still resent spelling ‘devilled’ with one l. It bothers me every time. This year I made Chinese tea eggs, and filled them with an Asian-inspired mix with hints of ginger and sesame oil, as well as mayonnaise and wholegrain mustard. They were finished with a haphazard sprinkling of black sesame seeds.




As well as being a feature of Mother’s Day, deviled eggs are one of the recurring recipes that show up here on Rock Salt. I’ll give links to previous years at the end of the post, but you can also check out my Maille Mustard Deviled Eggs and my Truffled Eggs post (that one’s from way back in 2011! Eek!).


Tea eggs are a beautiful way to make hard boiled eggs even more appetising – once the eggs are boiled, you crackle the shells by rolling them around on a cutting board, then soak them in a solution of strong tea plus your favoured spices for a day or two. I also add a dash of soy and a dash of sesame oil, for good measure. Or, you can always speed things up by boiling them in the spice mix for 40 minutes or so, and peeling and eating them on the day. The texture will change as you soak the eggs, but they taste just as good.




Note: one thing I did wrong with these was to work hard to separate the membrane round the egg and the shell when I was peeling them. Sure, it gives you a sharper pattern on the eggs, but the texture? Well, it leaves something to be desired.


Another common feature of our tea table is the mini bagel, although this year a combination of over-eager kneading and under-eager hole shaping left us with mini-rolls instead. We served them toasted, with cream cheese, cucumber and smoked salmon.





Another familiar item was the ham and cheese gougeres, adapted from the Prosciutto and Parmesan Puffs recipe on Leite’s Culinaria. I swapped the Prosciutto for diced smoked bacon, and the Parmesan for Pecorino. It’s the fresh herbs and black pepper that really take this one off the chain, though.




The last repeat offender (or unoffender, really, since we love them) was a plate of scones. This time, Wensleydale and blueberry scones, made to the Stilton and cranberry scones recipe I shared just after Christmas. I had intended to make the same ones again, but when I saw this more unusual cheese next to the Stilton, I couldn’t resist. These scones sit right on the border between sweet and savoury, and go well with too much butter.




We had two new entries for 2015. One was the beautiful butterfly cakes that Miss J whipped up in no time flat – I had suggested them because they reminded me of my mum baking when I was little. We gussied them up with vanilla buttercream and some pretty pink glitter. Don’t they look ready to daintily fly away? No? Well, no, alright, that would be terrifying and make us suspect that someone had drugged the cocktails.





Finally, I made a batch of mini doughnuts, following (and occasionally veering off from) Joy the Baker’s recipe for Baked Brown Butter and Pistachio Doughuts. I skipped the pistachios in the batter (I only had enough in the cupboard for decoration), and replaced the milk in the glaze with buttermilk. The glaze is absolutely heavenly, let me tell you.




These doughnuts also account for my most-ever ‘liked’ picture on Instagram. It’s been a thrill, seeing the love pour in for them!


That lovely moment where a crushed pistachio looks like a heart. Brown butter and pistachio doughnuts by Joy The Baker, only minified.

A photo posted by Carol Anne @ Rock Salt (@thisisrocksalt) on


We also created this rather beautiful cocktail, after a little trial and error in trying to get the layering right. It’s called the Red Meg, in honour of my mum, who has bolshie tendencies (don’t tell the Thought Police). It’s made by pouring a light sparkling wine into the bottom half of the flute, filling to the three-quarter mark with fresh orange juice, then pouring cranberry juice across the back of a spoon, and down the side of the glass, to give it the pretty colour variation from top to bottom.




Thus concludes our feast from 2015! If you’d like to see what we served up in previous years (and marvel at how my photo editing skills have improved), you can take a look at the last three years here:


Mother’s Day 2012 (with Deviled Eggs)

Mother’s Day 2013 (with Deviled Quail’s Eggs)

Mother’s Day 2014 (With Beet Pickled Deviled Eggs)


I almost forgot – we got mum a wee present, too. I’m sure it’s not being abused, and my dad is finding it as hilarious as we did…





Stripey Arm Warmers

Sometimes, you see two colours of wool on the shelf and you think YES. THOSE. And you specifically think that they will knit up into a nice present for your wife (note: in this instance, wife-friend may be a clearer phrase, but it’s not the one we use. In case you were wondering). So, you buy the wool, but it lives in with the rest of your wool stash for a while. Then, it is nearly your wife’s birthday and you haven’t magically gained the ability to knit whole stylish cardigan works of art overnight, so you need an achievable but still kind of cool project to make for her.




Those are the times when you turn to this pattern for two-hour fingerless gloves. I’m still not at the stage where I can do them in two hours, if I’m honest, not even two hours a piece, but they are certainly quick to make. I had them finished over the course of two evenings. Bearing in mind that I used two colours, which takes longer, and extended the wrist cuffs into longer arm warmers, it’s fair to say that a fast knitter could rattle them off in two hours

I worked ten rows of each colour, and worked the arm section to about mid-forearm on me. I felt like there wouldn’t be a great disparity in how long our arms were. I questioned the length of my arms only a small amount during the making of these arm warmers.




When it came to making the gloves up, I closed them with a kind of weird, on-the-hoof seam, which you can see in the picture above. I need to learn more about sewing edges together (which you can also see in the picture above). The seam runs up the inside of the arm, so you’re not looking right at it. This does mean knitting the thumb hole in two halves, and splitting the work onto three needles while you’re making them. This might seem off-putting, but the pattern talks you through it one step at a time. Plus you look like an absolute pro, as long as you can perfect your ‘I’m so casual right now’ face and not your ‘argh there are four needles happening in my hands and my knitting feels like a porcupine stay back!’ face.




The wool came, once again, from the pound shop. Once I was finished, I washed the gloves with plenty of fabric softener, and they came out beautifully cosy. I hope Miss M is going about touching people on their faces while she’s wearing them.





Here’s the link to my Ravelry project page for these. Let’s be Ravelry friends!

Hummus for Goths (or, Black Garlic Hummus)


This post was made possible by Sainsbury’s, who sent me some black garlic to try. The opinions in the post are, as ever, mine, and the review is honest.

I heard about black garlic a couple of years ago, and went as far as to see where I could buy it, and then… stopped. I kind of forgot about it. It was there in the back of my mind, but I never took the extra step of actually getting some until Sainsbury’s asked if I wanted to try it. So really, it’s worked out for the best.


Black Garlic Hummus 008


I think the first thing to note, as was very much noted on Facebook when I posted this picture there, is that ‘jelly-like’ is not the best way to describe any food that isn’t jelly. Even then… there’s something offputting about it.



Looks innocent enough…


Depending who you ask, black garlic is preserved, fermented or plain old caramelised. Fermented is the most on-trend word to use right now, but sadly it’s also the least accurate. In fact, it’s completely inaccurate, there’s no fermentation whatsoever going on. It’s heated and heated and heated, but not fermented.


Black Garlic Hummus 020

Wait, what?


This is what lurks inside that papery husk. Cool, isn’t it? Think of it as super-duper roasted garlic – it’s sweet, and mild, with (as the packaging promises) balsamic and treacle notes. And it’s black as the depths of the ocean, if not blacker.


Black Garlic Hummus 024


You can use it in any recipe that calls for garlic, and even some that traditionally don’t, since the garlic flavour is so much more subtle than its white counterpart. Which is really counter-intuitive, because just look at it. It looks like death metal garlic. It looks like it’s going to taste really strong, and maybe of liquorice. It’s a little sticky, too, so if you’re chopping it up, a swipe of oil along the blade of the knife might not be a bad idea.



I can confirm that I’ve never had jelly of this consistency.


The first thing I wanted to try was hummus – it’s delightfully easy to make, so I wouldn’t have to wait long to taste test it. But, of course, I wasn’t going to make a plain old ordinary hummus. No, no. It was hummus for goths I was planning. Goths need snacks, too, you know. I assembled a trifecta of pitch-black ingredients: black garlic, black sesame seeds, and black salt.




The black salt – which you can see featured in my banner photo above – is flakes of sea salt mixed with carbon, for the distinctive colour and a hint of scorchy bitterness in the flavour. The black sesame seeds are more commonly found round the outside of sushi. In fact, when I was buying them, the woman on the checkout asked me if that’s what I was making. I hesitated for a moment before saying no, I was actually making a black garlic and sesame hummus. She was briefly fazed, before saying ‘sounds perfectly normal to me.’ Good job, checkout woman.


I made this hummus in the food processor, though it can also be done by hand, either with a fork or with a knife and patience. This was how I did it:

  • 400g tin chickpeas in brine – drained, but with 1 – 2 tsp brine reserved
  • 2 cloves black garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 – 2 tsp black sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp black (or plain) sea salt
  • a squeeze of lemon juice, to taste

Everything except the brine from the chickpeas and the lemon juice goes into the bowl of the food processor. Whizz it all up until the black garlic is evenly dispersed, and then add enough of the brine so that the hummus is smooth – I used about a teaspoon. Have a taste, and add lemon juice until it’s the way you like it. A couple of small squeezes were enough for my liking. You could also add black pepper (goth pepper), if you fancy it.




Sprinkle with more sesame seeds – the tiny crunch you get from them is great – and serve.

I’ve looked up some more ways to use black garlic, and I do believe there’s a risotto on the cards, but for a quick way to get trying, this hummus is the way to go. It’s not what you might call a traditional recipe, but that’s never stopped me before.

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