Gluten Free Afternoon Tea at Brown’s Hotel, London

Last weekend I went to the fabulous Brown’s Hotel with my two partners in crime. Usually this would involve large quantities of something sparkling (and sometimes a bit of karaoke!) but as I’m not drinking alcohol at the moment, we decided to try out Afternoon Tea.

Initially I’d tried to book a table at Claridges after such a fantastic gluten free Afternoon Tea there last year. You can read my post here. Sadly, even though I called 6 weeks in advance for a Saturday in January, there were no tables. Nevermind, Claridges’ loss was our gain!

Browns Hotel offers Afternoon Tea with champagne if you wish (I wish!) and either regular or gluten free. Interestingly, they also offer a ‘Tea Tox’ for guests looking for a healthy version of Afternoon Tea. This is not gluten free but some items are.

Browns offer 17 different varieties of tea and even have two tea sommeliers to assist in choosing, should you require it. I went for a peppermint tea (yep, caffeine’s off the agenda at the moment too) but it was lovely and refreshing.

So what do Browns serve for gluten free Afternoon Tea?:

The bottom layer contained sandwiches made on different types of gluten free bread. My favourites were the ham and piccalilli, salt beef and the egg mayonnaise. Gluten free version of Afternoon Tea is on the right of this photo.The bread was soft and seemed to be made in house because it had a home-made texture to it, and tasted unlike commercially produced bread. It did dry out a little as the afternoon went on but I’m reliably informed that this was no more so than the regular sandwiches.

The middle layer of the stand contained gorgeous fruited scones. These were taken by the waitress back to the kitchen to be kept warm until we were ready to eat them with cream and delicious home made strawberry jam. A nice touch.

And the top layer? All these treats were sugar free. Yes, you read that right, sugar free! I am at a total loss as to how the following delicious treats could possibly be made without sugar (how do you make chocolate without sugar?) but I asked several times and they were…

So how did the gluten free Afternoon Tea compare with the regular? The stand on the left is the regular afternoon tea, and on the right is the gluten free version. Looks pretty good, right?

As the afternoon progresses, empty plates can be replenished if you wish and at no cost. In addition a cake trolley does the rounds. Sadly no, there were no gluten free options on the trolley but I can honestly say I had more than enough gorgeous gluten free treats of my own!

I thoroughly enjoyed gluten free Afternoon Tea at Browns Hotel and can’t wait to go back for a catch up with good friends and ponder just exactly how did those fabulous cakes and pastries get made without gluten or sugar.

Gluten free Afternoon Tea at Browns Hotel costs £38. Should you require gluten free, nut free or other allergy friendly Afternoon Tea, 48 hours advance notice should be provided.

Gluten Free Chocolate Brownies….Thanks, Nigella!

I think I’ve got into the habit now of carefully checking and monitoring what I eat at home and when I go out for dinner. But once in a while a little curve ball comes along and a new challenge appears. And so it was that I received an email inviting me to a “bring and share” event at work for the team I work in. Uh oh. First of all, what do I bring? Then what will I be able to share?

I quickly realised that giving was going to be SO much better than receiving for this so I set about thinking what to bake. It had to be easy to transport on the commute to work, not difficult to bake and most of all something that everyone would like. One option. Chocolate brownies. Who doesn’t love them?

I looked for some of the Hale & Hearty Chocolate Brownie mix but couldn’t find any so decided I’d have to make my own. So I turned to Nigella for help in the form of her Flourless Chocolate Brownies.

Nigella’s recipe called for a LOT of butter:

I haven’t made anything with gound almonds before but was interested to see how these would add to the texture of the brownies..

Yummy melted chocolate…..

Fresh out of the over…….the fresh hot baked brownie mix smelt huh-mazing……

And here’s the final product!

Nigella’s flourless chocolate brownies were incredibly easy to make and tasted absolutely amazing. I think the ground almonds added a real depth of texture which is sometimes lacking in gluten free baking. I’d like to experiment a little more with cakes using this ingredient.

Luckily for Mr D, everyone else at work had the same bright idea to make brownies so I was able to bring a few home. Who needs flour when you can make something this good?