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Morning Tea


Snadra
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So, I'm a newly minted teacher and am now living in a very small town some 600km inland from Sydney, slowly getting into country town life and working out how to survive teenagers in the wild. At my new school (like at all the schools I've done professional experiences at) there is a weekly morning tea for teachers. Here it's hosted by a different faculty every Friday recess on a four week rotation and it's something we all look forward to.

I would love to hear any ideas or suggestions you might have for things to bring. In the common room we have an oven and a microwave, so I can do some limited reheating, but i prefer to keep it fairly simple and not too messy, as forks and plates are at a premium! I also don't have a fully equipped kitchen here yet (most of it is still in Sydney), although I do have my kitchenaid and a mini-processor and most of my baking pans, including a brand new mini muffin tin.

Some of the things I have seen here and elsewhere include sausage rolls and party pies, mini quiches, purchased biscuits/cookies and cakes, cut-up chicken, chips or crackers and dip, cut up fruit (there's been watermelon every Friday at the moment as it's grown here), cheese and a few simple cakes. And someone brought curried egg sandwiches last week which disappeared in a flash.

I also have a faculty meeting every second Tuesday afternoon which I'd like to bring something too, as we are usually all starving by then!

They are all interested in the fact I'm originally from Canada, so I'd especially like any suggestions that seem particularly Canadian or at least north American. Keep in mind that I can't get many north American products here (ie graham crackers, flavoured baking chips, jet-puff marshmallows) but I can usually find a substitute. Mind you, considering all roads east of us are closed due to flooding, I may not be able to get any products at all if the rain keeps up!

On my list of potential candidates so far are:

  • Buttertarts
  • Nanaimo bars
  • Brownies (already a hit in my staff room and at a pre-deluge BBQ)
  • Blondies
  • Chocolate chip cookies (I use Abra's recipe in recipe gullet)
  • Devilled eggs

Any good suggestions? Ideally I'd like to take two things along each turn, plus something on ocassional Tuesdays. In return I'm happy to let you know what does turn up on the menu (fairy bread, honey jumbles, etc).

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My first thought was chocolate chip cookies. To me they are the cookie of the US at least, generally embraced when served, and simple to make. Can be done ahead and frozen for example.

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I spend a lot of time on Forum Thermomix, with mostly Australian members.

Besides the numerous Thermomix recipes, the forum includes a list of Non Thermomix recipes, many of which may be helpful to you.

See the three pages here.

Also many of the recipe that have been converted to Thermomix, began life as regular recipes and the friendly folk on the forum are always happy to PM a copy of the recipe to other members.

It doesn't cost anything to join and I'm sure you will find kindred spirits there. A large proportion of members are mums (and a few dads) with kids in schools and I'm sure will have excellent suggestions as they already know what goes in your situation.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Some excellent ideas here! I'm especially looking for savouries too, so tourtiere might hit the spot (and Aussies love a meat pie!).

And tarte au sucre and and and... I'll cast my net wider into other forums too when I get a few moments - thanks for the tip, Andie!

I actually hadn't thought of freezing the cookies in advance, but I think that's a perfect idea - let's me make something on the weekend. Choc chip cookies here tend to be drier and shorter, so when I make the flat and chewy ones they're really popular (the issue of course is making them rather than just eating the dough myself).

California rolls would probably work really well, but they are a step or two beyond what I can easily get my hands on. I'm living in a town of less than 3,500 and while the local grocery store is pretty good (a surprisingly wide range), it's also fairly small. The nearest big grocery store is over an hour away and right now the roads are all closed due to flooding. I should probably start a thread on living in isolated communities. :laugh:

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Savories:

Cheese straws can be baked ahead, and eaten with or without reheating. They go well with grapes, apples, pears....

Gougeres - see notes above.

Dip with cut-up vegetables

Nachos

Can you buy a 'Rice Krispie' sort of cereal? If so, I have some non-marshmallow bar cookie recipes that you could use.

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What about stuffed bannocks? They can also be made ahead and then ovened if you wish them hot, and it doesn't get more Canadian. Also, they're both a sweet and a savoury, depending on what you stuff them with. I'm very fond of lightly seasoned ground pork with blueberries or strawberries.

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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Muffins. Canadians seem to be the chief muffin eaters in the world. My favourite is Orange muffins made from the entire orange. Muffins freeze well.

Empanadas of almost any kind would be my other thought right away.

Good luck. :smile:

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Actually you can get North American products here if you know where to look. Try USA Foods. You will have to mail order though.

I don't know what the tea time culture is like at your place, but I have stopped bothering with mine. I used to try to bring nice things in for tea - but you will find that half the people will bring in Tim Tams or carrots and dips or open a pack of biscuits or corn chips. Bad food is the norm in much of Australia :)

There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw
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What about stuffed bannocks? They can also be made ahead and then ovened if you wish them hot, and it doesn't get more Canadian. Also, they're both a sweet and a savoury, depending on what you stuff them with. I'm very fond of lightly seasoned ground pork with blueberries or strawberries.

Stuffed bannock?? Never had that. Just the basic fried dough. What do you stuff it with?

Edited by haresfur (log)

It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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Savories:

Cheese straws can be baked ahead, and eaten with or without reheating. They go well with grapes, apples, pears....

Gougeres - see notes above.

Dip with cut-up vegetables

Nachos

Can you buy a 'Rice Krispie' sort of cereal? If so, I have some non-marshmallow bar cookie recipes that you could use.

Gougeres is a brilliant idea! And they're quite quick too.

We absolutely get rice krispies here and I'd love a recipe that doesn't rely on marshmallow. I'm not that fond of local ones, although they do the trick, and rice krispies squares are uncommon here.

Honey joys are something I've seen a few times at morning teas, and I understand they used to be a mainstay at school fetes.

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Actually you can get North American products here if you know where to look. Try USA Foods. You will have to mail order though.

I don't know what the tea time culture is like at your place, but I have stopped bothering with mine. I used to try to bring nice things in for tea - but you will find that half the people will bring in Tim Tams or carrots and dips or open a pack of biscuits or corn chips. Bad food is the norm in much of Australia :)

It's middle of the road here - a few rather nice home made things and a few packets of random stuff. On my first prac my faculty put on hot chip butties and the next week it was pizza hut. On another prac it was a competition to make the most fabulous thing on the table, and on my last one there was barely anything at all laid out. I don't want to make the most amazing things, but I enjoy cooking, and it makes a good excuse (plus ensures few leftovers!). And there are definitely those who appreciate it. Ask me how I feel in October!

I've gotten a couple of things from USA foods, but I find it pretty pricey for anything but a treat, to be honest. Or to share with the hordes...

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Honey joys are something I've seen a few times at morning teas, and I understand they used to be a mainstay at school fetes.

Right away, I'm adding some kind of chile powder, ancho or chipotle, to the mix.

Edited by Darienne (log)

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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What about stuffed bannocks? They can also be made ahead and then ovened if you wish them hot, and it doesn't get more Canadian. Also, they're both a sweet and a savoury, depending on what you stuff them with. I'm very fond of lightly seasoned ground pork with blueberries or strawberries.

Stuffed bannock?? Never had that. Just the basic fried dough. What do you stuff it with?

My woodland Cree friend Wendy, who taught me how to make them, swears by sweet ground venison with a hint of garlic and brown sugar, and wild blueberries. They turn out sort of like a Canadian take on pasties - which is to say, delish! When I want sweet ones, I use wild strawberries all on their own, and fold the bread into triangles before frying it. The plain fried barnbrack style bannocks are good as well, but my fave remains the stuffed.

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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I worked in a school last year and was in charge of quite a few teas. Though people love sweets, the savory items were usually the first to go. Here are some popular items:

*Tea sandwiches - chicken salad and smoked salmon with cream cheese are good. For vegetarians, maybe a grilled vegetable.

*Quiches/frittata

*Mini sausage rolls/pies

*Savory bread rolls/pull apart bread - bacon and cheese, spinach and feta, etc.

*Cheese and crackers

*Dips and vegetables

*Guacamole/salsa and chips

*Cheese straw/pinwheels

*Sweet of just about any kind (just thought, mini cheesecakes/fruit tarts would be lovely)

Rice bubble treats without marshmallow: http://www.food.com/recipe/crunchy-chewy-milo-slice-224560

Instead of dried fruit, I use shredded or dessicated coconut (try both as they give you different texture and you may prefer one over the other). Also, I find the recipe too wet so I generally add some more rice bubbles.

I know it's hard to get graham crackers here, and the ones at USA food is ridiculously priced. I did come across this recipe: http://www.kitchenkonfidence.com/2012/02/homemade-graham-crackers/

Haven't tried it yet though

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Thanks again for all the great ideas. It's our turn again tomorrow, so I've made browned butter cocoa brownies, simply because I had the ingredients in the house and knew they would work. The shelves looked pretty bare ar the market last night - I gather the roads are still flooded. We haven't reached the peak flood yet - it's due Tuesday.

However, I am collecting the ideas presented here and will let you know how things go!

Any more ideas? Let me know!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Well, last day of term today (two weeks off school!!! Wooooooo!!!) and my faculty put on morning tea again. This time I made a proper effort, although unfortunately I used none of the suggestions here - I went with what I had available.

It's the fifth day of autumn (and a balmy 30C!) so there is still some stone fruit around, and plums were on sale at the IGA. I made Pille's Estonian Rhubarb Cake, replacing the rhubarb with plums and not mixing them with sugar. I LOVED it, but it wasn't the most popular dish on the table and probably would have been better made this morning instead of last night. Next time I make it I will use closer to 500 grams of fruit, but it may well be my new standard fruit cake.

I also made a Lighter than air chocolate cake as we have a few gluten free people and can't have things with nuts in them at school. It was a huge hit (chocolate, say no more) and still manageable with a handheld mixer, although it was a huge amount of batter to put together.

Finally I made a stack of cucumber and herbed cream cheese (parsley, basil and green onion cause thats what i had) finger sandwiches which flew off the plate. There was a lot of sweet stuff this morning, which probably helped. I will definitely make more savouries from now on. Of course,I rushed out leaving a total disaster in the kitchen to come home to. Sigh...

Next term I will definitely make some mini tourtière and more sandwiches!

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Check out USA Foods. They probably stock a lot of the products you miss.

For the last teachers' morning tea I was responsible for I served everyone lots and lots of icecream.

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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I made Pille's Estonian Rhubarb Cake, replacing the rhubarb with plums and not mixing them with sugar. I LOVED it, but it wasn't the most popular dish on the table and probably would have been better made this morning instead of last night. Next time I make it I will use closer to 500 grams of fruit, but it may well be my new standard fruit cake.

Hi Sandra. About the 500 grams thingy...would you also use 500 grams of rhubarb. I am thinking of trying it for the Easter weekend and don't want to mess it up time #1.

Thanks. :smile:

ps. My DH just pointed out to me that I am somewhat lacking in sense. :raz: It's only the 5th of April and we live in the far frozen north. There is no rhubarb ready to eat. It snowed here just last week. Oh well...Margarita pie it is.

Edited by Darienne (log)

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Well, last day of term today (two weeks off school!!! Wooooooo!!!) and my faculty put on morning tea again. This time I made a proper effort, although unfortunately I used none of the suggestions here - I went with what I had available.

It's the fifth day of autumn (and a balmy 30C!) so there is still some stone fruit around, and plums were on sale at the IGA. I made Pille's Estonian Rhubarb Cake, replacing the rhubarb with plums and not mixing them with sugar. I LOVED it, but it wasn't the most popular dish on the table and probably would have been better made this morning instead of last night. Next time I make it I will use closer to 500 grams of fruit, but it may well be my new standard fruit cake.

I also made a Lighter than air chocolate cake as we have a few gluten free people and can't have things with nuts in them at school. It was a huge hit (chocolate, say no more) and still manageable with a handheld mixer, although it was a huge amount of batter to put together.

Finally I made a stack of cucumber and herbed cream cheese (parsley, basil and green onion cause thats what i had) finger sandwiches which flew off the plate. There was a lot of sweet stuff this morning, which probably helped. I will definitely make more savouries from now on. Of course,I rushed out leaving a total disaster in the kitchen to come home to. Sigh...

Next term I will definitely make some mini tourtière and more sandwiches!

It all sounds fabulous. Did you make the chocolate cake in layers or roll? And how soon before serving did you add the whipped cream? I just wonder how long it holds before it starts to sog. I was thinking of a layer of raspberries or some such in there...

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disclaimer as I know nothing of availability or expense to you, so feel free to laugh.

Maple syrup, blueberries, cranberries all say 'north america' to me.

Looking for a savory angle for those:

My mom used to baste spareribs with a maple syrup glaze. Could be adapted maybe to another cut of pork, for buns?

(Oh dear, now I want to make maple-glazed rib bao. And I dont have the skill nor the time.)

Chicken salad sandwiches w curry and (dried, chopped)cranberries and chopped apple in the chicken salad

blueberries just dont do savory to me - they are so sweet on their own, so its the classic: blueberry muffins

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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I made Pille's Estonian Rhubarb Cake, replacing the rhubarb with plums and not mixing them with sugar. I LOVED it, but it wasn't the most popular dish on the table and probably would have been better made this morning instead of last night. Next time I make it I will use closer to 500 grams of fruit, but it may well be my new standard fruit cake.

Hi Sandra. About the 500 grams thingy...would you also use 500 grams of rhubarb. I am thinking of trying it for the Easter weekend and don't want to mess it up time #1.

Thanks. :smile:

ps. My DH just pointed out to me that I am somewhat lacking in sense. :raz: It's only the 5th of April and we live in the far frozen north. There is no rhubarb ready to eat. It snowed here just last week. Oh well...Margarita pie it is.

I probably would use 500 grams of rhubarb as well, but I do like a "fruity" cake! It really was a lovely cake, and I think she suggests apples work well too. But anyway, aren't you diligently forcing rhubarb in your secret snow-covered hothouse? My mum just sent me pics of the spring she's experiencing...snow, snow and more snow, while here it is 30 degrees at the start of autumn....

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It all sounds fabulous. Did you make the chocolate cake in layers or roll? And how soon before serving did you add the whipped cream? I just wonder how long it holds before it starts to sog. I was thinking of a layer of raspberries or some such in there...

I baked the layers (I used a sheet pan and cut each rectangle in half) the night before and kept them in the freezer following the smitten instructions. The next morning at around 7am I whipped 500ml of cream with a little vanilla (no sugar) and layered the cake with that. I kept in the freezer until just before I left at 8.15 then in the fridge at school. We have morning tea at 10am. It kept really well, BUT the only cream I now have access to is thickened cream, which has gelatine stabilisers in it, so that could be part of it.

I have made the cake before from epicurious as a roll and it is great that way too - but for almost no more work people were wowed by the layers - and it was easy to cut into squares. As a roll it keeps overnight reasonably well, so if you're using it the same day and you've stabilised the cream I think it would be okay. The layers weren't as airy as when I made the roll, but it was probably due to mixing issues on my part - the big bowl was really full!!

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disclaimer as I know nothing of availability or expense to you, so feel free to laugh.

Maple syrup, blueberries, cranberries all say 'north america' to me.

Looking for a savory angle for those:

My mom used to baste spareribs with a maple syrup glaze. Could be adapted maybe to another cut of pork, for buns?

(Oh dear, now I want to make maple-glazed rib bao. And I dont have the skill nor the time.)

Chicken salad sandwiches w curry and (dried, chopped)cranberries and chopped apple in the chicken salad

blueberries just dont do savory to me - they are so sweet on their own, so its the classic: blueberry muffins

Maple syrup care packages arrive ocassionally and I hoard them like a really greedy girl! We do get camp syrup here, which would be fine for ocassional sharing (my turn comes every four weeks), so I might have to come up with some kind of porcine maple goodness! In fact, one of the teachers is slaughtering her pigs next term, and I'm in discussions regarding getting some kidney lard, belly and cheeks (I do not have the equipment or stomach to make a head cheese like my mother used to). I might see about getting a pork neck as well and do that with maple glaze, and then maybe into some buns?

Chicken curry sandwiches is a great idea for next time! Blueberries are pretty available frozen, so some mini blueberry muffins might work well. And now I'm hungry too!

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