Time for tea

PUBLISHED: 05:42 09 February 2015

Mary Kemp, Vanessa Scott and Melinda Raker.

Mary Kemp, Vanessa Scott and Melinda Raker.

Archant 2014

For the past few months I have been working with two dynamic women, Vanessa Scott and Melinda Raker, creating a cookery book to raise money for Norfolk’s Marie Curie Nurses.

Chocolate and maple syrup brownie.Chocolate and maple syrup brownie.

Marie Curie Cancer Care fundraisers celebrate afternoon tea and host Blooming Great Tea Parties across the country, raising money to support their teams of inspirational nurses. Melinda, as the charity’s Norfolk patron, approached us with the idea of writing a cookbook in aid of the charity, and the idea for Everything Stops For Tea was born; a beautiful cookbook celebrating Norfolk ingredients, with recipes from some of the county’s amazing producers, chefs and good food lovers, from wonderful cakes to savoury dishes, jellies and ice-creams.

Melinda’s recipe for Everything Stops for Tea

Raspberry and hazelnut creme fraiche layer cake. Photographer Keiron Tovell taking images for the new book.Raspberry and hazelnut creme fraiche layer cake. Photographer Keiron Tovell taking images for the new book.


Melinda Raker - patron of Marie Curie in Norfolk

Vanessa Scott – hotelier and food hero

Mary Kemp - cookery writer and champion of local food

Keiron Tovell - photographer

Niki Medik - book designer

Mari Roberts - editor

Seasoned with an amazing team of help and support.


1 Mix a patron of the charity with three Marie Curie fundraisers. Blend until idea for baking combined with fundraising arises.

2 Approach the county’s two leading food promoters, broadcasters and demonstrators with basic ingredients and leave to simmer for two weeks until idea for cookbook emerges.

3 Add 85 supportive contributors; combine with generous sponsors (although more sponsors would make the mix even better!)

4 Source the best designer and professional editor, and introduce professional cookery photographer.

5 Fold all the ingredients together with great care and dispatch to designer for baking.

Remove and pass to editor for topping, returning to designer for sugar sprinkles finish.

6 Send completed proof of the puddings, cakes and biscuits to printer. Nervously await arrival of finished product!

7 Share with 5000 keen cooks, supporters and all those who love Norfolk produce. Relax in bain marie knowing that every single book sold will fund one hour of Marie Curie nursing.

Everything Stops for Tea will be published in May. Find out more about our creative journey at www.norfolksowncookbook.com

Here are two of Vanessa’s and my favourite teatime recipes.

Raspberry and hazelnut crème fraiche layer cake

9 medium eggs, separated

375g golden caster sugar

525g roasted ground hazelnuts

2 level teaspoons baking powder, sifted


25g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

250g Marybelle crème fraiche

300g raspberries, coarsely mashed, plus a handful of whole ones to decorate

Sprigs of fresh mint to decorate

1 Preheat oven to 200°C/180° fan oven/Gas mark 6 and butter three 20cm sandwich tins with a removable base. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar, but don’t let the mixture become too pale and thick. Stiffly whisk the egg whites and gently fold into mixture. Fold in ground hazelnuts and baking powder.

2 Pour cake mixture evenly into the tins. Give them a couple of taps on the worktop to bring up any air bubbles. Bake cakes for 20-25 minutes or until the top feels springy to touch, the sides are shrinking away from the tin and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove the collars from the cakes and leave them to cool.

3 Fold icing sugar and vanilla extract into crème fraiche in a bowl, then stir in mashed raspberries.

4 Place first cake on a cake plate. Spread with half the filling, put second cake on top of it and spread with remaining filling, then top with third cake. Pile the raspberries in the centre of cake with the fresh mint. Dust with icing sugar.

Chocolate and maple syrup brownies

Makes 24 squares

375g soft unsalted butter

375g Bourneville dark chocolate

6 large eggs

400g caster sugar

100ml maple syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

225g plain flour

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 Line tray-bake tin measuring about 33 x 22 x 5½cm with baking parchment. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas mark 4.

2 Melt butter and chocolate together in bowl over simmering water, making sure the base of bowl is above the water. In a bowl or large wide-mouthed measuring jug, beat the eggs with sugar, maple syrup and vanilla. Sift flour and cocoa powder into another bowl and add salt.

3 Let melted chocolate mixture cool a little before beating in eggs and sugar mix, then fold in flour and pour into tin.

4 Bake for about 25 minutes, until top has dried to a paler brown glaze, but the middle is still dark, dense and gooey; don’t be tempted to over-cook them, brownies will continue to cook as they cool.

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