I live in a small village in the north east of England where baking is competitive sport played at Olympic level. I am on the coffee morning rota and when I’m on duty I have some serious baking anxiety. It has to be easy to bake in bulk, easy to cut up, not require any obscure ingredients or complex baking techniques, not messy to eat, and finally pretty foolproof – I cannot start again at 9am on Wednesday morning! For those who find themselves in a similar fix I usually go for Lemon Drizzle Cake, Brownies, Date flapjacks or chocolate fridge cake (a million variations).
There are some one-off events where the ante is upped, soup recipe induced paranoia anyone? But I digress. Back to baking.
For anyone who has not visited Shetland let me introduce you to Sunday Tea. This is not merely tea that happens to be held on a Sunday it is an Event with a capital E. Usually fundraising events, they are held in community halls and comprise bountiful cakes and savouries, tea (of course!), often music and crafts for sale. For the small price of a ticket you can spend an afternoon of pure bliss eating, shopping and tapping your toes to the music.
First obtain a copy of The Shetland Times, consult the small adverts for the listings of this week’s Sunday Teas and plan your day.
I went to my first Sunday tea last week at Brae in the northern mainland. Stuart’s eyes practically popped out of his head as he surveyed the bakes on offer, this man was in business and he disappeared at high speed towards the rolls and sandwiches, planning his savouries whilst eyeing up the cakes at the other end of the enormous table.
Meanwhile I headed into the knitting display.
When I finish my tam I have a vintage cardigan pattern waiting (and the wool already from Jamieson and Smith) it is this to which I aspire.
These lacework pieces are things of true beauty and if you could only touch the whisper that is the wool you too would weep with joy.
A simple short row becomes a shawl that is almost alive.
Weaving the landscape into pieces of art.
Back in the hall the teas are going down well.
Even the World’s Fastest Knitter, the wonderful Hazel Tindall puts down her needles and mucks in.
The band is getting toes tapping across the hall.
Eventually we had to tear ourselves away and head down to the harbour to take the ferry home. But my first Sunday Tea will stay with me …. until my next one in June!
Love Gillie x