A former Royal chef has revealed how the Queen likes her afternoon tea and scones.
There was strict protocol for staff to follow at the time he worked there, and the Queen allegedly has ‘frugal’ tastes.
Darren McGrady spoke exclusively to Coffee Friend, a coffee machine retailer, sharing that Her Majesty enjoyed afternoon tea every day while he worked for the family.
He said: ‘The Queen had afternoon tea every day, wherever she was in the world. If we were at Buckingham Palace and she was on her own for tea, or whether she had Prince William come and join her, or whether she had a garden party for 6000 people or even if she was on the Royal Britannia in Australia.
‘The Queen loved afternoon tea, I would say it’s probably one of her favourite meals. Certainly when I was there, she would sit down religiously for tea.’
The menu had to involve two types of sandwiches with scones – one day it would be plain, the next it would have raisins.
Darren shared that bstaff would always call down and double check what flavour scones were had the day before, just so they wouldn’t serve the same two days in a row.
This would be followed by a small cake, such as a mini chocolate eclair, a Queen’s cake, honey and cream sponge, a fruit cake, gingerbread, banana bread, chocolate biscuit cake, or a chocolate ganache cake (her favourite).
With this, she would have Earl Grey tea – which must be piping hot.
How to make Darren McGrady’s Royal Tea Scones
Ingredients: (Makes about 12)
- 3 1⁄4 cups all purpose flour (450grams)
1 stick soft butter (113grams)
- 1⁄2 cup plus 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1 egg
- 3⁄4 – 1 1⁄4 cups of milk
- 1/2 cup raisins (if making fruit scones)
- 1 egg yolk for glazing
- 1 jar strawberry jam
- 1 jar clotted cream (or sweetened whipped cream)
- Set the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, add the flour, baking powder and sugar. Add and rub in the butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Make a well in the center and add the beaten egg and about 3⁄4 cup of milk. With a metal spoon bring the mixture together making sure you do not over mix it or you will tighten the dough. If the mixture is a little dry add more of the remaining milk gradually.
- Lightly dust the table with flour and roll out the dough to about 1″ thick. Then cut using a 2″ round cookie cutter. Place on a baking sheet about 1″ apart and brush the tops with the beaten egg yolk.
- Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes. When cooked, lift onto a wire rack to cool.
- Serve the scones with the jam and cream.
Darren added: ‘The one thing you can say about the Queen is that she is very frugal.
‘It was one of the things that really surprised me, when I moved from The Savoy to Buckingham Palace. I thought every day would be smoked salmon, foie gras, caviar, but no.
‘The Queen is very, very frugal and it’s simple and plain foods. That comes from her early years of growing up during the war.’
As for Prince William and Harry, they would love a chocolate biscuit cake as children and would sometimes join the Queen for tea.
But their ultimate favourite was a caramel banana cake, which would be requested when they were dining.
How to make William and Harry’s childhood favourite: Caramel Banana Cake
Ingredients: (Makes 24 good size teacakes)
For the cake:
- 1 cup plus 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 1⁄2 cups light brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups mashed bananas (about 5 medium)
- 3 cups self rising flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1⁄2 cups sour cream
- 2 Tbsp milk
- 2 tsp vanilla paste
For the frosting:
- 1 1⁄2 cups unsalted butter
- 2 cups light brown sugar
- 1⁄2 cup sour cream
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla paste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 1⁄2 sheet pan tray (12 x 18 x 1)
- Prepare the sponge by creaming the butter and sugar using an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs and banana and beat together. Stir in the flour, soda, sour cream, milk and vanilla paste until there are no lumps and the batter is smooth.
- Pour into the prepared tray, smooth out and bake in the centre of the oven for about 40 minutes or until the sponge springs back when touched and is a golden brown.
- Allow the sponge to cool completely before frosting.
- Prepare the frosting by melting the butter and sugar in a pan. Stir without boiling for about 2 minutes. Add the sour cream, bring to the boil.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla paste. Leave the frosting to cool slightly and thicken before carefully frosting the sponge.
- Cut the cake into fingers and serve.
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