Now lets be honest, having visitors is just an excuse to bake.
Afternoon tea is one of my favourite meals and I jumped at the opportunity to create my own (and use my brand new glass cake stand) when my Grandparents visited last weekend.
As per tradition my tea included a variety of sandwiches, scones and sweet treats, all washed down with tea and pink lemonade.
Both these recipes are easy and yet they look great sitting in the centre of the table. Not to mention they are so tasty that you will have to restrain yourself from going back for seconds!
Here's how I made them...
160g almond biscuits (Amaretti)
160g cream cheese
2 large eggs
132g soured cream
1 tbsp cornflour
Break up the biscuits into fine crumbs, mix with the melted butter and press firmly into a 20 x 30cm tin, that has been lined with baking parchment (makes it a LOT easier to get it out of the tin once cooked).
Add butter, ricotta, cream cheese, eggs, soured cream and cornflour to a bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour the cheese mixture onto the biscuit base and spread evenly.
Dollop spoonfuls of the raspberry jam into the tin, then using a cocktail stick mix the jam into the cheese mixture gently to create a ripple.
Bake for 40mins at 160C/320F until it is lightly set all over. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature, then chill in the fridge overnight.
For serving, slice and sprinkle with flaked almonds.
Salted Caramel and Chocolate Tarts
Salted caramel sauce (you can slave away making this, or like me, by it from m&s)
110ml double cream
1/2 tsp caster sugar
40g unsalted butter
150g dark chocolate
40ml cold milk
Mini pastry cases (call me lazy, but small pastry tarts are a nightmare to make)
Cocoa power for dusting
Coat the inside of each pastry case with a liberal layer of salted caramel and then put to one side.
Pour the double cream into a large sauce pan with the sugar and bring to the boil, then turn off the heat. Add the butter and chocolate, stirring until both have melted into the cream. Then add the cold milk and stir until the mixture is smooth, thick and shiny.
Pour into each case, allow to cool and then chill until set in the fridge.
Before serving decorate with whole pecans and dust with cocoa powder.