Teatime need not be a colonial hangover of cucumber sandwiches, scones and cream and Victoria sponge cake. Delicious as it is, it can be composed of whatever goodies you like.
Those used to all too common hunger pangs experienced on arriving home from work and facing hours of waiting until dinner is served, will find that indulging in leisurely teatime treats fills the gap and provides instant energy to tackle whatever comes next. The same goes for busy housewives and children returning, hungry and exhausted, from school or associated activities.
Teatime could, quite conceivably, be renamed ‘Boost time’ or ‘Pick-me-up time’ as a nicely balanced array of mouthwatering treats has the potential to provide the calorific boost so many of us need by the time the afternoon is on the wane.
The selection given here, is just an example of the myriad things which can be served as teatime specials.
The daal or lentil kebabs are a highly nutritious, fortifying twist on the regular daal and, as with all recipes, you can add or subtract ingredients to meet your own personal taste.
The herbed tomato scones are another recipe to play with and the peach surprise, a personal version of a pineapple upside-down cake, is, no matter which seasonal fruit you choose to use, a wondrously sweet delight which will, no doubt, have you begging for more.
Some easy-to-make and filling tea treats to make your evening teatime a delicious affair
Herbed tomato scones
300g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano, basil or thyme or a combination of all three
1 tablespoon tomato paste
150ml milk or water
Put flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl and mix well. Rub in butter/ margarine until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the selected herbs or blend of herbs. Next, add the tomato paste and milk/ water and mix to a soft, but not sticky, dough. Add a little more milk/ water if necessary.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out into a square or oblong shape about 1cm thick. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 16 squares, each measuring approximately 4cm by 4cm.
Place on a lightly greased baking tray, brush the top of each one with a little milk and bake in a medium-to-hot oven for approximately 10-15 minutes, or until well risen and golden brown.
Serve hot or cold, with or without butter, and accompany with a salad if you like.
2 cups red lentils
1 medium-sized onion, minced or finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup fresh coriander, finely chopped
3 teaspoons whole black cumin
2 teaspoons ground red chillies
2 teaspoons crushed garlic or garlic paste
1 teaspoon salt
A little plain flour
Chopped coriander or parsley to garnish
Wash the lentils, place in a pan, just cover with water, cook until soft, adding more water if necessary. The cooked lentils should be dryish not sloppy.
Allow to cool and then stir in all the other ingredients except the sesame seeds and the coriander/ parsley for garnish. Turn on to a floured surface and knead well.
Take tablespoons full of the mixture and shape into round or oblong kebabs. Place on a lightly oiled baking tray, sprinkle each one with sesame seeds and bake in a hot oven for about 10 minutes until lightly browned.
Serve hot or cold with a dipping sauce, chutney or with a salad of your choice.
3 large peaches or the equivalent in other seasonal fruit, such as mangoes, apricots, plums, apples or pineapples
11g butter/ margarine
100g soft brown sugar
250g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon mixed cake spice or cinnamon powder
Wash and clean the fruit, slice into segments about 1cm thick. Line a 20cm cake tin with tin foil. Arrange the fruit in the base of the cake tin on top of the foil.
Cream butter/ margarine and sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat in an egg, followed by a tablespoon of flour, until 3 of the eggs and all of the flour is used up. Beat in the baking powder and mixed cake spice or cinnamon powder. If the dough is a little stiff/ dry, beat in the remaining egg.
Spoon the mixture on top of the fruit, spreading it level.
Bake in the middle of the oven at about 180C for approximately 30-40 minutes or until the cake is nicely browned and cooked through.
Allow to cool completely and then turn out on to a serving plate, upside down. Then carefully peel away the foil to expose the fruit.
Serve with cream or vanilla ice cream.
Originally published in Dawn, EOS, October 3rd, 2021