Sunday, June 20, 2010

Windsor High Tea & Chocolate Degustation

You must excuse this post for being a bit rambling and incoherent as I've spent the better part of this weekend consuming, and being consumed by, chocolate.

The weekend kicked off with a visit to the Windsor - a belated birthday present from bestie V - high tea seated amongst a gaggle of rather well dressed and heavily made up screeching women, all stuffing their faces on devonshire tea, french champagne, finger sandwiches, mini quiche/pies, made-to-order crepes and a mountain of assorted sweets.

I entered the beautiful restaurant at 111 Spring feeling just a tad under-dressed in my "good" jeans, new black cowl-neck knit and my face naked of makeup; finding myself juxtaposed against a room full of designer gear, stillettos, bling-y handbags and gargantuan earrings.  I soon forgot myself however, setting eyes on the dessert buffet and beginning to drool quite embarrassingly.  Sage advice from friend/colleague D was delivered beforehand:  "don't eat before; don't eat after" - I was immediately grateful for having followed the first part of the instruction. 

What blew me away the most was the dessert buffet.  So busy was I elbowing away the stilletto-wearers to get first pick of the mille fuille tower and virgin slices of the many cakes, I did not take a photos of the buffet in its entirety; rather just my plate with a modest assortment of my favourites: creme brulee, pistachio almond cake(tte), some sort of mousse pudding, and my AB-solute favourite - lemon meringue tart.  I will quietly admit that I went back more than twice, as did V (although she had the excuse of eating for two).  I would also like to say that I went home, all full and happy without eating any dinner - but that would be a big fat lie.  Later on my husband and I went out to dinner, where I ate both an entree and main course (Italian, no less).  I am truly ashamed.

This morning I awoke with chocolate on the brain - you'd think that Saturday's experience would have put me off sugar and cocoa for a while but noooooo, I got out my winter Donna Hay mag and some of my beloved dessert-y cookbooks settling on not one, but TWO things to bake.  First up was Donna's chocolate layer cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting (I justified it by promising myself I'd take it to work for D's birthday) and secondly, a mascarpone chocolate tart.  The tart was something I just HAD to do, as I needed to practice the recipe for an up-coming dinner party (honest!)

Okay, so the cake doesn't quite look as good as one of Donna's creations.  But doesn't it look just delish in all its ugly glory?

The tart looks much nicer.  I served up a slice to my non-calorie-counting husband along with a quenelle of Maggie Beer icecream.  I took a forkful from his plate and it was ... incredible. 

*undoes my jeans* ... time to watch Masterchef.  :-)

PS:  if you'd like recipes to either of the two chocolatey creations, just leave a comment.


ninevah said...

The high teas are wonderful - as are the brunches that the Windsor puts on. All very decadent and filling! You may also want to try doing High Tea with the Queen - learning how to do a High Tea at the Queen Vic (market) cooking school. Mum & I did this late last year and was well worth it, plus you get to take home copies of the recipes demonstrated/eaten.

Also - please pass on my congrats to V, thanks to your "eating for 2" comment!

Stella Hewson said...

Hi Karen, what an amazing ride you have just taken me on. Could I please please have the recipe for both the cake and the tart. What a great job you did with both.

Deb Amos said...

Hi Karen,

The cake was amazing - thank you so much for bringing it in to work. Can I have the recipe please? And I too have done High Tea at the Windsor - omg it is incredible. But I didn't eat before and couldn't eat after!!

K_Bom said...

Hi Stella, grab the chocolate cake recipe from the Donna Hay website (but double it, to make two cakes to cut in half so you have four tiers):
Omit the chocolate glaze in that recipe, instead use a cream cheese frosting: Beat together 100g softened butter + 500g cream cheese using an electric mixer for 6 mins, add 2 cups icing sugar + 1/2 cup sifted cocoa and beat another 6 mins. Sandwich the layers together as per Donna's stunning masterclass on last night's Masterchef! Alternatively, you can find the "Chocolate buttermilk layer cake" recipe in the Autumn issue of Donna Hay magazine on page 156 - I highly recommend the magazine as not only is it visually stunning, the recipes always inspire me. Back orders can be ordered from the website!

DONNA said...

Just found this entry! The Windsor High Tea looks great too! I might have to make it my quest to try ALL the High Tea venues available in Melbourne! lol! I am keen to check out the Donna Hay website also - I have collected a few of her magazines - Ive kept the Kids editions and also have some of her recipe books - Ive just moved them all from a cupboard near my kitchen to my pantry as I am going to put a lock (lol!) on my pantry door to keep my munckins out so I can finally keep it organised and have some fun in my kitchen!!! Lately I have had to put things up higher and higher to keep them from getting messed up by the kids!