Afternoon tea revisited

Afternoon teas are very popular at the moment – as can be seen by the number of venues offering them on their menus. Afternoon tea actually began in 19th century when dinner might have been eaten quite late in the evening, so a light meal, a ‘tea’, was served in the afternoon to keep the ladies and gentleman going until the main meal.

The classic afternoon tea is as follows:

  • sandwiches with a selection of fillings
  • scones, jam and cream
  • large cake and/or fancies (small cakes)

Other options include savoury scones, tea cakes, crumpets, muffins, fruit tarts.

I thought I would like to host an afternoon tea as an alternative to a dinner party and so invited some friends round for Sunday tea.  It gave me the opportunity to do some baking, get out some of my mother’s tea service (which is barely used as it isn’t dishwasher safe) and set the table with a white embroidered  tablecloth. I was aiming for the refined, dainty look!

Best China for afternoon tea

To start off the afternoon tea, I began with a selection of sandwiches. I used a mixture of white and brown bread, crusts cut off, of course! I kept the fillings simple; egg, prawn mayonnaise, smoked salmon, beef and tomato.

Sandwiches for afternoon tea

Hot sausage rolls were also on offer. (I confess that I didn’t actually make these – but I did put them in the oven to warm up!)

Afternoon tea savoury

Hot sausage rolls

Followed by homemade scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam – the jam was also homemade, courtesy of last year’s strawberry crop.

Afternoon tea scones

Scones, clotted cream and jam

Then the cakes! This is a family favourite – chocolate cake.

Cake for afternoon tea

Family favourite

Also a fruit cake.

Fruit cake

Fruit cake

And finally some cakes my friend brought, as well as my own blackcurrant cup cakes, again using some of the blackcurrants still in the freezer from last year’s harvest. I loved using my mum’s cake stand – I’ve no idea how old it is, but so pleased it’s back in fashion.

Afternoon tea fancies

Afternoon tea fancies

There’s the table ready for guests to sit down and enjoy a good old-fashioned afternoon tea! The essential component is missing from the photo – the pot of tea! I made gallons of this!

Table set for afternoon tea

Table set for afternoon tea

Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and it was a very relaxed tea party. I have to admit that I originally thought that preparing afternoon tea would be easier than cooking for a dinner party, but I’m not so sure that I was correct. However it might not have been less ‘work’ but it did seem less stressful as there was not so much last minute cooking to be done or worrying about timings. Certainly it’s a good way to entertain families as it’s much more informal and even ‘picky’ guests will find something they would like to eat! Plus there’s always left overs to eat up!

Inspired? Have a go at hosting your own afternoon tea, it’s a great opportunity to show off your baking skills and use your best china!

 

 

 

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Valentine Card

Here is a really great idea to make your very own Valentine’s card. I had been looking for some origami ideas and came across this heart, which inspired me to create a card for February 14th.

Origami heart

 

The instructions are fairly straightforwards. It looks complicated, but once you get the hang of it, it only takes a couple of minutes to make one. After I made one, I experimented with different sizes. The largest heart in this photo was made from a rectangle 21cm by 10.5cm and became a heart approx 9cm wide and 8cm high . A word of caution – the smaller they are, the trickier they are to fold.

Different sized origami hearts

Then I tried out different papers.

Origami hearts in different papers

Before long I ended up with quite a pile!

Collection of origami heartsNext step was to make a card out of this lovely selection. I decided to go for something plain and simple. I arranged 3 different sized hearts on a black background.

Valentine's card Then finished by using a gold pen to write a message.

Valentine's card with message

 

Well, that’s my card! There’s lots of other things you could do; try using one big heart and perhaps add a ribbon or lots of small hearts in rainbow colours. I hope this gives you the inspiration to have a go yourself as there’s nothing better than giving a unique card to someone on a special occasion.

In my last post I showed you my heart napkin rings. These are very quick to make and will give your table a personal touch. Look here for the instructions.

I’m afraid we ‘cheat’ when it come to a Valentine’s meal. The Husband and I went out for a meal last weekend at a local restaurant when there was a special deal available! We enjoyed a delicious meal and avoided the crowds and overpriced Valentine’s meal which will be on offer on 14th Feb. On Saturday we shall sit down to a 3 course meal with wine and chocolates, courtesy of Waitrose’s dine in deal. Of course, we will dine by candlelight, our heart garland on the mirror and our napkins in our special napkin rings. Who says romance is dead?

Valentine's napkin ring

Heart napkin ring