Friday, January 5, 2018

Fortnum & Mason's "The Cook Book"

As longtime readers of this blog have heard me say quite a few times over the years, the tea- and teaware-filled Fortnum & Mason department store in London is my idea of the perfect store, so when my husband asked for suggestions for Christmas gifts, I told him I'd like Fortnum & Mason's The Cook Book by Tom Parker Bowles. (And yes, he's the son of the Duchess of Cornwall.) I love everything about this book, from its gorgeous cover in eau de nil, the signature blue-green color of Fortnum & Mason, to its beautiful photography and witty narratives. The recipes aren't bad, either!

I was delighted to see inside the book some of the whimsical archival drawings I've seen in Fortnum & Mason advertisements before. I was especially delighted when I flipped through my new book and realized it has chapters on both Morning Tea and Afternoon Tea! Were you aware of Morning Tea? I was not, and this is apparently a cup of tea served with a cookie (or "biscuit," to use their terminology).

And I was irrationally happy, I suppose, to turn a page and discover a photo, preparation advice, and recipes for the very tea sandwiches I've eaten and loved at Fortnum & Mason! Here's an excerpt from  "The Art of the Sandwich" page: "The process is as strict as it is unbending. Fresh bread, obviously. Fillings mixed fresh every few hours. Not too soggy or wet, as this would stain and sully the bread. And just the right amount of filling, about a quarter to half of the sandwich. Then they lose their crusts, and are sliced into soldiers of exactly the same proportions before being gently pressed, for 30 minutes, beneath a light wooden tray. Nothing is left to chance." Who knew!

These are the sandwiches I had at Fortnum & Mason on my 50th birthday in 2014, and indeed, they look as uniform as the ones in the book. The sandwich recipe I'm most pleased to have is for F&M's Coronation Chicken, as I plan to make this when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wed this year!

And I'm suddenly interested in ordering a Battenberg cake pan so I can make one of these beautiful cakes! I can see I'm going to have a lot of new recipes to try out in 2018. For fellow Anglophiles interested in some new "Morning Tea" and "Afternoon Tea" recipes, I highly recommend this book!


  1. This cookbook looks like such fun!

  2. What a fun book! I must admit, I saw the book in September when I was there, however I was turned off by the cover. Yes, never judge a book by it’s cover, is playing in my head right now! Thank you for sharing! I love F&M, first stop after landing at Heathrow. Let us know how the Battenberg cake turns out. Morning tea, elevenes and afternoon tea, I am in heaven!

  3. That looks like a very interesting cookbook. The Battenberg cake DOES look like fun. Do the recipes use British measurements only?
    --from Vernona in DC

  4. Looks like a nice cook book. I didn’t realize there was a special Battenberg cake pan. I’ll have to google. If you buy one please share the cake making process.

  5. This looks like a great book, Angela. Thanks for the heads up! Kudos to Alex for getting it for you.

  6. Sounds like a good book. The sandwich instructions are interesting. I have never heard of putting them under a wooden tray for awhile. I will say everywhere I had sandwiches in England they were cut in the very even soldiers. Love Coronation Chicken sandwiches too. The perfect thing to celebrate the wedding. That also was on every afternoon tea plate.


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