Espionage Tea Party: Virtual Reconstruction

Spy Cam, originally uploaded by So Misguided.

A glimpse into the world of espionage and how the tea party went... Including some revealing shots from the preparations for such a risky operation. Many thanks to Monique Trottier and James Sherrett for their help and for documenting the event. I'm so thrilled with how fun it was and I'm particularly proud of my menu this time. I think for once I made exactly as many items as needed and they really felt like they belonged together.

There will be more tomorrow - about the presentation, for instance, and also about the very special teas and cocktail that were served to all the agents during the events.

Tools of the Trade, originally uploaded by So Misguided.

Tier 5: Espionage Truffles

Espionage Truffles, originally uploaded by So Misguided.

Of course, we had to have some of these... No other truffles would do!
50% dark chocolate (that's bordering with the milk, actually!), smoked salt, lapsang suchong, tonka bean and Hendricks gin!
This is the second recipe of this flavour concept, and I think it's perfection in both flavour and texture. Not that I'm the one to define perfection...

Tier 4: Sweets

Sweets, originally uploaded by So Misguided.

I'm so proud of the chocolate & orange flower Madeleines (on the left) - they turned out amazing, and this is my first time making Madeleines!

The brownies, which I intended to infuse with thyme (bad idea, so I backed up on that plan, even though the idea came from a very innovative French patisserie). Instead, I created the most perfect (in my opinion) chocolate brownies with a bit of caramel and roasted walnuts. A simple and honest yet absolutely decadent flavour, which is my own recipe, and has no gluten! I'm so proud of this number I will be making it again and again and again.

And last but not least - in the background are my almond & grapferuit friands. Friands are moist and buttery little almond pastries made with almond meal, egg whites and little flour that are drenched in syrup. In this case: ruby red grapefruit and lemon verbena syrup. I'm so smitten with them, and also very glad to report that after 3 days they are just as good!
My recipe eliminated flour altogether because I had to accommodate some wheat intolerant guests - I used potato flour instead.

Tier 3: Rosemary Cheese Scones

Scones, originally uploaded by So Misguided.

These are basically my dad's classic scones (no sugar!), with some of the buttermilk substituted with plain cottage cheese, about 1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese, some chilli pepper, fresh rosemary leaves and ground pepper and salt.
I served it with clotted cream, and caramelized onion marmalade which is warm and deeply flavoured with a tad of cinnamon (this was a gift from a friend and I can't think of a better pairing for it!).

Tier 1 & 2: Sandwiches and Savouries

Eggplant and Polenta Appies, originally uploaded by So Misguided.

Here's a closer look at the assortment of savoury canapes and tea sandwiches we served at the party. At the bottom: curried egg salad sandwiches (with a bit of raisins - that was Lucy's idea!) on fluffy brioche; Smoked salmon tea sandwiches with capers, dill and chives (a classic!) - made with Russian rye bread; and behind them (you can't see them) - smoked cheddar & gala apple sandwiches, on multigrain bread.

2nd tier featured roasted eggplant rolls filled with chevre and fig pesto (recipe to follow); and wheat & dairy free "bruchetta" - polenta slices with tomato, basil and black olives drizzled with the lightest sprinkle of balsamic vinegar. The olives makes a good substitute for cheese (this would more typically be served on bread with a sliced of bocconcinni - fresh mozzarella cheese).

8 dried figs
1/2 cup red wine
12 dry black olives (pickled in coarse salt, rather than brine), pits removed
1 cup walnuts
2 Tbs. fresh tarragon leaves
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs. walnut oil
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Soak figs overnight in red wine. Strain, remove stems and chop figs up. Blend with other ingredients in a blender until a chunky pesto-like consistency is achieved.
This pesto can be used on breads, cheeses and appetizers as well as pasta sauces.

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