Making money for charity
Aga-Queen Mary Berry has enticed us back into the kitchen. Fans of this delightful cook(she doesn’t swear or flirt with the camera – perhaps that’s why she is so popular?) have been encouraged back into the kitchen, to revive long-lost cookery skills.
Why not follow the trend, and bake for charity? Marie Curie’s Blooming Great Tea Party, or Breast Cancer Care’s Strawberry Tea, Prostate Cancer’s Tea for Victory, the Yorkshire Tea Party and Mad Hatter Tea Parties – there is something for everyone, and all for cancers.
Tea Parties are one of easiest and cheapest ways of entertaining friends, and raising money at the same time; even if friends can’t come, they will often send a donation anyway. Everyone likes an excuse for a chat, and this type of occasion can be fitted around work, treatment, housework or kids. Basic ingredients are much cheaper than wine and dinner party food.
Hints and tips to help planning
Contact your chosen charity – as most of them issue a ‘party pack’ to help anyone organising an event on their behalf. These might contain decorations, invitations, recipes, ideas, etc. and are all fun and useful.
If you are entertaining a large group, ask friend/s to be in charge of boiling the kettle and handing round teas.
Friends are often flattered to be asked to supply a cake – or biscuits. And if you have any left over give them to the nurses, or auction to make more money.
- Keep portions small – people want finger-food they can pick up and eat in one mouthful – so if you are making scones or cup cakes make the smallest size.
- Cut sandwiches into eighths. Easier to eat and go further.
- About only food that can be full-sized is cakes – but friends like to cut a sliver so supply a sharp knife and let them cut their own.
For sandwiches, use best bread (at least a day old to make it easier to cut), and don’t forget many small bakeries have slicing machines.
Many sandwiches can be made days before, wrapped and frozen.
- Use butter – apparently this is healthier than spreads (now nutritionists tell us!) tastes better and is easier to spread if kept out of fridge
- Vegans and vegetarians love cucumber sandwiches – both make very inexpensive but glam fillings, but have to be made on the day. Although you can butter slices and store in deep freeze (wrapped) to fill on day.
- Smoked salmon bits are sold in good supermarkets – and go a long way to make glamorous sarnies!
- If you want to lay things out on a valuable table, cover it with a blanket under a lace cloth (ask Great Aunt – she’s bound to have an old treasure, and it looks really glamorous)
- Involve Kids – they love to help, both with cooking and handing round food on the day
- Supply sweeteners and sugar lumps – which look more glamorous than plain sugar
- If weather is warm, don’t forget ICED TEA and ICED COFFEE – both glam alternatives
- If entertaining a lot you will often find major supermarkets will help with supplying tea bags, sugar and milk if it’s in aid of a local charity event – say it’s the Women’s Group of XXX’s party in aid of the cancer charity, and stress that it’s a LOCAL event when you ask. If your store manager sees you as regular customer, they usually have a budget to support local charities.
When you send out invitations, if you want to make the event extra special, you could include a blurb on background history.
First, invite friends to AFTERNOON TEA. Contrary to mis-informaton in magazines, HIGH TEA was what servants and labourers ate – and included something substantial such as meat, fit for a working man. AFTEROON TEA was what family of Downton Abbey would take!
Tea probably originated in China as a medicinal drink. Early records date back to the 3rd century AD, in a medical text written by Hua Tuo.
Tea was first introduced into Europe by Portuguese priests and merchants visiting China during the 16th century, and when Catherine of Braganza, a Portuguese Princess, married King Charles II after the Restoration, she bought the custom of tea drinking with her to England.
Drinking tea became popular in Britain during the late 17th century. The British introduced tea production, as well as consumption to India, in order to compete with the Chinese monopoly on tea.
My favourite Cake
Angel food cake is made with egg whites and no butter, which makes it low in cholesterol and virtually fat-free. It is white, so looks stunning with Strawberries for decoration. This is a Mary Berry recipe:
- 125g/4½oz plain flour
- 300g/10½oz caster suga
10 large free-range egg whites (yes, 10)
2 large lemons, grated zest only
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cream of tartar
½ tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 (fan 160C) and arrange an oven shelf in the bottom third of the oven. Sift the flour and 100g/3½oz of the caster sugar together in a bowl and set aside.
- Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl with an electric hand whisk or mixer on a high speed for one minute until frothy. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, cream of tartar and salt and continue whisking for 2-3 minutes, or until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl. Increase the speed and add the remaining 200g/7oz of caster sugar, one tablespoon at a time to form firm, but not stiff peaks.Sprinkle over one-third of the flour mixture and fold gently to combine. Repeat with the remaining two-thirds of the flour mixture folding gently to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.
- Transfer the batter to a 25cm/10in angel food cake pan. Gently run a knife through the centre of the batter to remove any pockets of air. Cook for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and immediately turn upside down onto the tin’s cooling legs, or place over the neck of a wine bottle. Leave to cool for at least one hour.
- Run a knife around the inner and outer edges of cake to remove it from the pan. Invert onto a plate. Carefully use a palette knife to separate the cake from the base of the pan. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
- If you want to give this cake a “Victorian” feel, do as they did- line the cake tin with washed scented Geranium leaves. About two or three. Throw away once out of tin.
Enjoy! And send us a photo of party, cakes etc.