Afternoon tea is a tradition in England, and London has some of the best spots to have a decadent tea. You can use this as a theme for an afternoon brunch or get-together. You can choose to stay traditional in your offerings or take some traditional elements like scones, and add something of your own, like a light quiche. Whatever your decide, have fun and play with a bit of whimsy. Do you have a unique teapot, quirky napkins or mis-matched china? This is a great way to use some of the items in your kitchen that you don’t get to use as often. Try using lots of pastel colours, florals like bunches of English roses or peonies, and of course, the most delicious tea. Traditionally, you would use loose leaf tea and a strainer, however if you don’t already have the necessary things, just use a great quality bagged tea. Have a few tea options like English Breakfast, Earl Grey and an herbal tea.
A traditional tea always has three elements: sandwiches, scones and pastries. Try:
Thinly sliced bread, both white and dark, like a pumpernickel, with various fillings:
- smoked salmon with horseradish
- cucumber with butter or cream cheese
- egg salad with watercress
- ham with light mustard
For Scones, try this wonderful recipe. Clotted cream is readily available in Europe and in specialty stores, but if you can’t find it, you can make an easy, similar version at home. Simply combine 1 tub of marscopone, 1/2 cup of heavy cream (or whipping cream), 2 teaspoons granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix together so there are no lumps and refrigerate until it is well chilled. Voila! Your own clotted cream!
Traditional British Scones
(we have altered the measurements from grams to ml. Even though ml are used for liquids, for the sake of ease, they will be fine to use for all of these ingredients).
- 500 ml of soft flour
- 28 ml of baking powder
- 85 ml of butter
- 60 ml of sugar
- 1 handful of currants
- 1 handful of saltanas
- 140 ml of cream
- 140 ml of milk
- Preheat the oven to 325F. Sieve the flour and baking powder together, add the sugar then rub in the butter
- Add the sultanas and currants if you would like fruit scones or leave them out for plain
- Gently mix in the milk and cream to form into a dough being careful not to overwork it
- On a floured surface, roll the dough out until its 2.5 cm thick. Cut to desired size and shape using scone cutters or a knife
- Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and cooked all the way through
- Serve warm with plenty of clotted cream and home made strawberry jam
For desserts you can do a variety of finger pastries that you can easily pick up at a specialty bakery or grocery store. If you want to try your hand at something a bit more substantial, why not try a delicious white cake smothered in crushed strawberries with dollops of whipped cream….so decadent.
Recipe Credit: Chef William Drabble