Afternoon Tea at the Bramble Cafe by Mat Follas (book review)

If you are lucky enough to live in Dorset then there is a chance that you may have visited the Bramble Cafe and Deli in Poundbury and if you haven't then at least you have an opportunity too being so close. For the rest of us unless we are planning a visit the only way we can try Mat's delicious treats is by trying them at home with his new book Afternoon Tea at the Bramble Cafe. Mat was the winner of Masterchef in 2009 and opened the cafe with his wife and business partner Kate in 2016.

Each chapter covers the essentials of a perfect afternoon tea. Most importantly the Introduction teaches us how to make the perfect cup of tea. Although I have lived in the UK for 12 years this is something I still struggle with. After the tea the most important part of any afternoon tea is the cake and scones, which is why it's the first chapter. All the classic cakes like lemon drizzle, coffee walnut, and Victoria sandwich are covered in this chapter 

The next chapter covers a wide range of slices and tarts - brownies (my favorite), Millionaire's shortbread, white chocolate & strawberry tiffin, jam tarts, and bramble cheesecake. Biscuits and Cookies are in the next chapter and you can't go wrong with buttery shortbread, but Mat gives us a couple variations to spice it up. He also gives us recipes for treacle oaties, macaroons, and bright colored fairy rings. 

Dainties & patisserie is what we have next and is usually the chapter that seems daunting to me, but Mat has eased my fears and given me confidence to try out a few of the recipes like lemon posset & raspberry terrine, crème brûlée spoons, macarons, Camp coffee & caramel eclairs, and raspberry meringue kisses. 

Afternoon tea isn't just about the cakes and I love that this book covers Savouries & sandwiches. Not only does it cover things you can put between bread like cucumber & mint and smoked salmon & dill mayonnaise, but he gives us a recipe for milk bread to put those fillings in! There is also a recipe for Welsh rarebit, which if you are like me wasn't 100% sure what that is it's essentially cheese on toast Mat makes his with a ale-infused béchamel sauce between the toast and cheese. 

The last chapter covers Preserves & cordials, it might the chapter you over look, but with anything it's the attention to details that makes something absolutely perfect. So, don't over look this chapter because the recipes for bramble & rose jam or strawberry & elderflower jam look amazing!! And as for the cordials, not everyone is a tea drinker and on a hot sunny day cordials are a nice alternative. There are recipes for blueberry, elderflower, apple & pear, and raspberry & blackcurrant cordials and all of them look so refreshing and delicious. 

* I was provided a copy of Afternoon Tea at the Bramble Cafe by Mat Follas to review by the publisher, Ryland Peters & Small, retails at £16.99 and available now from your local book retailers or online! All opinions are my own, I was not given any other compensation nor was I asked to give a positive review, please see my contact/policy page above for more information. 

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