I set the table out in front of a garden bed with a profusion of pineapple sage for a backdrop. I used my lace cloths and favourite china cups. Our newly created cake stands (see my last post) were ready to receive the cakes, biscuits and slices that were being created in the kitchen which was a hive of industry. A few squabbles over oven space and wooden spoons had to be sorted out. Some had elected to make family favourites to woo the judges. Others were checking out pinterest and searching the internet for new recipes.
Which is always a risk. These cookies look awesome but they were not a hit with the judges I'm afraid. I think my daughter chose them for the name 'cowgirl cookies' being a cowgirl herself. But they did not compare with her own chocolate chip cookies that she sells at the markets. Do you like my Royal Albert 'tennis set' as they are known? I found it for $3 at a garage sale during one of my china hunting expeditions!
As it was Easter one of the twins decided to make chocolate nests. They looked good and the judges agreed they tasted good even with shredded wheat as an ingredient. The other twin wanted to use what was in season and passion fruit picked fresh from the vine went into her passion fruit slice, topped with a lemon or orange jelly slice, they looked and tasted delicous. But would it win over the judges? After all the delightful daughter had chosen to make a favourite family recipe - chocolate cake!
It was the passion fruit slice! The judges know what makes good afternoon tea fare. They have been testing cakes, biscuits and slices for years and are used to giving constructive criticism. This slice had just the right crumb. It wasn't too lemony or overly sweet, even with passionfruit being the star ingredient. It had been perfectly mixed by the winning cook who because of her tender age had been allowed to receive some verbal instructions but was not given any physical help. This had been agreed upon prior to the start of the bake-off. Let's just say the older girls in the family were not allowed to forget that they lost out to their younger twin sisters, for it was the twins who claimed both first and second places. There could only be one winner though and she was presented with a pretty Kath Kidston envelope that held a crisp five dollar note. A lot more prize money was on offer here than at the local show! Needless to say she was beside herself with excitement!
The recipe for passion fruit slice features in our family recipe journal. It is so easy to make. Our passion fruit vine is dripping with fruit so it will be making an appearance at more afternoon teas this autumn and winter. If you have passion fruit do give it a try. Here's the recipe as it appears in our journal.
Have you ever held a family bake -off? Or found an affordable and fun alternative if the show is also not within your family budget? We do attend the free fireworks display on New Year's Eve where the carnival does not have an admission charge and each child is given a budget and can choose to go on one or two rides so they don't grow up being deprived of the thrill of going on the dodgems, whizzing down the bumper slide or riding the ferris wheel. But some of the best times as a family have been in our own backyard that were either free or did not cost a lot of money and these are the times I hope my children will always look back on and remember as the best times of all!