Saturday, May 16 saw Dulwich College Beijing (DCB) celebrate Founder’s Day and 10 years in Beijing. The school and wider community came together on a beautiful blue sky day. At 3pm the day began with a rousing dragon dance and the International Flag Parade. Activities for children included a slippery slide, bouncy castle, face painting, kite making, paper cutting, and water games. There were a few sports events on, including DCB vs Harrow in rugby and netball cup matches, and soccer, volleyball and basketball for everyone. Live music was on the main stage throughout the day. In the afternoon, the Early Years and Junior School music groups entertained the crowds. There were ten finalists for Junior Pop Idol and for the first time, the whole Junior School filled the stage, singing African inspired piece Kusi Mama.
In the evening, after the speeches, the Senior School musicians took over the main stage. Talented DCB DJs and bands warmed up the crowd before the five Dulwich Idol finalists took to the stage. This year, the finalists were accompanied by a live band. Other musical performances included light a cappella singing from the Dulwich Singers, some dramatic favorites from the orchestra, before the whole event was wrapped up by a combined Orchestra, Choir, and Percussion Army performing Christopher Tin’s Grammy-Award Winning BABA YETU complete with pyrotechnics.
The highlight of the day was the International Food Festival. It featured food and cultural showcase from 17 country and regional tents, plus exquisite raffle hampers prepared by the parents. All profits made from the food festival and all drinks sold on the day will go towards the Dulwich Student Enrichment Fund and the Nepal Earthquake relief efforts. For the fifth year running I was part of the team running the British and Irish Food Stall, serving up hundreds of glasses of Pimm’s, and dozens of traditional British and Irish cakes and breads. I thought I’d share a few of the recipes, of some of the delicious things that were on our stall at this year’s Founder’s Day.
Trifle is the quintessential pudding that has graced British tables for more than four centuries. This decadent, rich dessert is simply delicious. Recipes vary, but the more traditional versions include jelly mixed with fruit, sponge cake soaked (if for adults) in sherry, a thick layer of creamy custard and a deep layer of lightly whipped fresh cream to top it off. You can make life easier by using a ready to mix pack of jelly, a packet of sponge fingers, and ready-made topping. A home-made trifle however cannot be beaten, and here’s an easy recipe for you to try.
For the base
500g frozen summer fruit (raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, blackcurrants)
50g caster sugar
500ml cloudy apple juice
5 sheets leaf gelatin
250g Madeira cake
For the custard
500ml ready-made vanilla custard
For the topping
300ml whipping cream
Put the fruit into a saucepan, add the sugar, then cook gently until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid is slightly syrupy. Remove half of the berries and juice to a bowl and set aside to cool. Add the apple juice to the fruit in the pan, and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat. Soak the gelatin leaves in a bowl of cold water for five minutes, until soft and floppy. Lift the gelatin from the water and squeeze out the excess liquid. Add the gelatin to the fruit in the pan and stir until it has completely dissolved. Remove from the heat, and transfer the jelly mix to a bowl. Allow to cool, then chill in the fridge until the mix has set to a softly wobbling jelly.
Cut the Madeira cake into 1cm slices. Give the fruity jelly a stir – it should be softly set. Layer the cake, jelly, fruit and juice in the bottom of a glass dish 20cm/8in diameter. For the custard layer, put the mascarpone into a large bowl then add the custard. Whisk together until creamy and smooth. Spoon the custard over the fruit and sponge. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Spoon the cream over the top of the trifle. Chill the trifle for an hour before serving.
Irish tea cake is a traditional Irish fruitcake which is also knows as Barmbrack depending on the time of year that you’re eating it. This recipe makes a really beautiful moist fruit loaf which is packed with flavor from the mixed spice and dried fruit, which sits overnight in cold tea and whiskey to soak up all the goodness. You can drop the whiskey if it’s for kids, but I think it adds another flavor kick and makes it perfect for St Patrick’s Day. This recipe makes one 900g loaf.
225g plain flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
375g packet of mix dried fruit
250ml cold tea
50ml of whiskey
125g light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice
Place the fruit mix in a bowl and pour over the whiskey and cold tea. Allow to soak up the liquid overnight. Preheat the oven to 170˚C/Gas Mark 3 and grease and line a 900g loaf tin. Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, and mixed spice in a mixing bowl. Make a well and break in the egg, using a wooden spoon, mix the egg with the dry ingredients. Add a little bit of the liquid the fruit mix is sitting in and mix it through. You’re looking for a wet dough mixture. Stir through the fruit mix until everything is thoroughly combined. Spoon the wet dough into the lined loaf tin and place in the oven on the middle shelf and bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool slightly, before removing from the loaf tin and placing on wire rack. Cover in cling wrap and tin foil and allow it to sit for 1-2 days before cutting into it. Serve in slices spread with a little butter.
Scones got their start as a Scottish quick bread. Originally made with oats and griddle-baked, today’s version is more often made with flour and baked in the oven. As for the origin of the word, some say it comes from Stone of Destiny, where the Kings of Scotland were crowned. According to Webster’s Dictionary, scones originated in Scotland in the early 1500s. Scones became popular and an essential part of the fashionable ritual of taking tea in England when Anna, the Duchess of Bedford (1788 – 1861), one late afternoon, ordered the servants to bring tea and some sweet breads, which included scones. She was so delighted by this, that she ordered it every afternoon and what now has become an English tradition is “Afternoon Tea”. The secret of good scones is not to handle them too much before baking.
450g self-raising flour
2 rounded teaspoons baking powder
75g butter, at room temperature
50g caster sugar
225 ml milk
Lightly grease two baking trays. Pre-heat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Measure the flour and baking powder. Rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar. Beat the eggs together until blended and make up to a generous 300ml with the milk, then put about 2 tablespoons of the egg/milk aside in a cup for glazing the scones later. Gradually add the egg/milk mixture to the dry ingredients until you have soft dough. It is far better that the scone mixture is on the wet side, sticking to your fingers, as the scones will rise better. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and flatten it out with your hand to a thickness of 1-2cm.
Use a 5cm fluted cutter to stamp out the dough by pushing the cutter straight down into the dough (as opposed to twisting the cutter) then lift it straight out. This ensures that the scones will rise evenly and keep their shape. Gently push the remaining dough together, knead very lightly then re-roll and cut more scones out as before. Arrange the scones on the prepared baking trays and brush the tops with the reserved beaten egg/milk mixture to glaze. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the scones are well risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack, covered with a clean tea towel to keep them moist. Serve as fresh as possible, cut in half and spread generously with strawberry jam and top with a good spoonful of thick cream.
beijingkids Shunyi Correspondent Sally Wilson moved to Beijing in 2010 from the UK with her husband and son. Her daughter was born here in 2011 and both her kids keep her happily busy. In her spare time, Sally loves to stroll through Beijing’s hutongs and parks. She is a (most of the time) keen runner and loves reading: books, magazines, news, and celeb websites – anything really. Sally is also a bit of a foodie and loves trying out new restaurants.