With final preparations being made in London for The Royal Wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, and the Royal Horticulture Society's Chelsea Flower Show opening three days later, it is the perfect time to plan how you will celebrate with some Royal Noshing (also a sweet little collection).
We also have selected some delish recipes to share with you to make for your own garden party or spring-into-summer celebration.
A rose is a rose is a rose. And what a wonderful cocktail it makes! Especially when combined with the French wine-based aperitif, Lillet Rosé, which is made from Grand Cru Bordeaux grapes and combined with fruit liquors. (Lillet Blanc also makes a lovely summer cocktail — just get fresh peaches, slice and marinate them in a pitcher of Lillet Blanc that you place in the refrigerator for several hours. Then, serve the peaches alone or spooned over angel food cake or ice cream for a refreshing dessert. AND sip and enjoy the peach-infused Lillet!)
This recipe is from the very talented mixology pioneers at New York's highly rated cocktail sanctuary, Death & Co., and it comes from their classic, beautiful, recipe-laden, encyclopedic, must-have book on Everything Cocktails.
4 heaping teaspoons of dried rosebuds (Mountain Rose Herbs is a great source for organic ones!)
1 750-ml bottle of Lillet Rosé
In a container, combine 4 heaping tablespoons of dried rosebuds and one 750-ml bottle of Lillet Rosé and stir well. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour and 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain through fine-mesh sieve and pour into glass of choice.
Photo: Kristin Peters
One (10 by 4-inch) loaf cake, which cuts into 8 slices
All our lemons at Violet come from the Amalfi coast of Italy. They are large and sweet and have a very thick and pithy peel.
(OUR NOTE: If you don't happen to live near the Amalfi coast or your local market does not have lemons from there, remember to choose a lemon that's heavy for its size and has a pleasant fragrance. The skin should be bright yellow with no wrinkling. A thinner-skinned lemon will yield more juice, while a thicker-skinned one may be better for zest.)
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 1/2 tablespoons milk
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pan
1 1/3 cups sugar
Zest of 3 or 4 lemons (save the juice for the lemon drizzle and icing)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Preheat your oven to 355°F . Butter a 10 by 4-inch loaf pan and line the base and sides with parchment paper, extending the paper about 2 inches above the top of the pan.
First make the sponge (cake). In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar well, though you don’t want as fluffy a mixture as you would for a layer cake. Zest the lemons into the butter mixture and mix thoroughly. Beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure each one is thoroughly mixed in before adding the next.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix half of this into the creamed butter mixture, scraping down the sides, until barely combined.
While the mixer is still going, beat in all the milk. Then add the remaining flour and mix until just combined. Scrape the bowl and give it one last mix.
Scoop the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an icing spatula or rubber spatula.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the top of the cake is springy and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
To make the lemon drizzle, combine the sugar, water, and lemon juice in a small pan and heat just until the sugar is melted. Do not let this boil, or the fresh flavor will be lost.
Use a skewer to poke holes evenly throughout the baked loaf. Pour the lemon drizzle over the loaf and let it soak in while you make the icing.
In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice until smooth.
To remove the loaf cake from the pan, run a small paring knife along the inside of the pan, then tilt the pan on its side and coax the loaf out, using the parchment paper as a handle. Peel off the paper and turn the loaf upright on your cooling rack or worktop. Drizzle the icing over the loaf and let it drip down the sides. Use a spatula to lift the loaf onto a serving dish. This keeps well for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
Reprinted with permission from The Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak, copyright © 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photograph copyright © 2015 by Kristin Perers.
24 ounces bittersweet chocolate — preferably Valrhona Manjari 64% (not too bitter and not too sweet, perfect!) — finely chopped
8 ounces milk chocolate — preferably Valrhona 42% — finely chopped
2 2/3 cups heavy cream (not ultra-pasteurized)
6 ounces of Smith Teamakers Lord Bergamot Tea , plus a little extra to decorate truffles. (You can substitute an Earl Grey tea, but the flavor will not match that of the Lord Bergamot!)
11 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups cocoa powder (not Dutch processed), preferable Valrhona, for rolling truffles in
1. Line a 13-by-9 1/2-inch rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap; set aside
2. In a heatproof bowl, set over simmering water (don't let bowl touch water), melt 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate and milk chocolate together until it reaches 120 degrees.
3. Place cream in a small saucepan over medium heat; heat until cream just comes to a boil. Place loose tea in a medium, stainless steel bowl. Pour cream over tea and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain the cream mixture through 4 layers of cheesecloth.
4. Remove chocolate mixture from heat and add 1 1/3 cups cream mixture, reserving remaining cream for another use. Using a heatproof spatula, mix together, starting from the center of the saucepan and working your way to the outer edges until mixture is emulsified.
Add butter and and mix with an immersion blender until well combined. Pour mixture into prepared baking sheet, evenly spreading mixture with an offset spatula; cover with plastic wrap, pressing down gently on chocolate mixture to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, and up to overnight.
5. Line the back of another 13-by-91/2-inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Uncover chocolate and invert onto parchment paper; remove second piece of plastic wrap. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, and a ruler as a guide, cut chocolate into 1-inch squares.
6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Roll each square of chocolate between your hands to form a smooth ball. Transfer chocolate balls to baking sheet; refrigerate for 1 hour.
7. Melt remaining 16 ounces of bittersweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl, set over (but not touching) simmering water. Place cocoa powder in a shallow dish. Place some of the melted chocolate in the palm of your hand and roll a chocolate ball in the melted chocolate to coat, then roll in cocoa powder. Sprinkle some of the extra Lord Bergamot loose tea on top of truffle and press in gently.
Repeat process with remaining chocolate balls. Transfer truffles to an airtight container, stacking truffles no more than 2 to 3 inches high, and refrigerate up to 2 weeks. Bring truffles to room temperature just before serving. ENJOY!
Recipe inspiration from Smith Tea