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Old 10-01-2005, 07:17 AM   #1
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A Tea Party

I have a British friend, and my husband has always had a love of the concept of afternoon tea. So later today (i've been up half the night, and will crash soon for an hour or two) we'll be having tea. There will be a half dozen of us (yes, believe it or not, women AND men). So ... has anyone else done this? (Hey, anyone out there living in places where afternoon tea is a regular part of your life, please chime in!!). What did you serve? I've already got my "menu" set, and two guests are bringing in tea pots so that I can serve more than one kind of tea. I'm not looking to totally reproduce the British experience, can't be done (clotted cream? in the American Midwest?), just to have some cross-cultural fun. I'll report later on what we served and how well it went over, meanwhile, tell me how YOU would do it!


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Old 10-01-2005, 07:42 AM   #2
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I won't claim it's authentic, but, here's a recipe I have for clotted cream.

Clotted Cream

pt whipping cream
1 T sour cream
3 T Confectioner’s Sugar

Whip all ingredients together in bowl. Keep refrigerated. Serve on scones, over the jam (it’s easier to spread that way).

I've had to prep food for a few "High Tea" parties at the clubs I've worked at. Mostly, Tea Sandwiches and fruit. Don't ask me what's supposed to happen, as all I did was prep the food.

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Old 10-01-2005, 07:47 AM   #3
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I know Ishbel has talked of having teas, so I'm sure she'll have some wonderful responses to this post!
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Old 10-01-2005, 07:57 AM   #4
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We've had many tea parties, but don't go to the full trouble of an English tea. I started having tea with my kids when they were 7 or 8 and we'd just have cinnamon toast and tea or something similar when they came home from school. We've taken tea parties to homebound ladies and they really appreciate the trouble. We take everything except the water. The last one was about 3 weeks ago. A lady who is 94 and had a stroke isn't able to get out so two of my friends and I took tea to her and invited another friend and the honoree's daughter and grandaughter. We even served the spouse (no hot tea, but he ate the goodies and enjoyed them). We took two different sandwiches, sliced chicken, cucumber, scones, two fruit breads and an assortment of fresh fruit, and a couple of kinds of cheese. We used tea bags to cut down on implements. Once I took tea to a lady who wasn't able to get out and about and discovered it was her birthday. A surprise for both of us. My suggestion would be to make it your own - as good as can be without two much trouble. You will all enjoy it for sure. Be sure to take some pictures.
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Old 10-01-2005, 08:03 AM   #5
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Wow don't they have afternoon tea in the US?? We often have people over for afternoon tea, i guess we just have tea or coffee and maybe cakes, biscuits or slice. I think the English High Tea is different, you'll have to get advice from an English person on that one.
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Old 10-01-2005, 08:09 AM   #6
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what a generous and lovely idea, licia!
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Old 10-01-2005, 08:41 AM   #7
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Hello Claire in all my experience what i have seen & used for high tea or afernoon tea is a variety of small tarts , cakes , slices , friands , ribbon sandwiches , petit fours , cup cakes & things like these hope this helps a bit...
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Old 10-01-2005, 09:48 AM   #8
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Here in Australia, both morning and afternoon teas are commonplace. They can be very formal (becoming more and more rare), or very informal.

Depending on the number of guests, you might find dainty sandwiches, small cakes, scones (usually with strawberry or raspberry jam and lightly whipped cream) or pumpkin scones with butter, pikelets, a 'slice' or two, some home-made biscuits (cookies), or even a cheesecake. For larger occasions, lamingtons are usually on offer, and perhaps a sponge cake or a teacake, or even a fruitcake. It should not become a meal, as such, so the food offerings should be on the light side, and hot food is not offered. The sandwiches are for those who don't like too many sweet things.

Recently, when entertaining just ONE new friend, I made some individual elderberry tartlets, some lavender muffins, a chocolate slice, and some ginger biscuits. It was a very casual thing. I had a small bowl of lightly whipped cream on the table, to go with the tartlets and the muffins.

I no longer serve 'teas' with fancy teacups and silver sugar-bowl etc, or even a teapot. These days, unless you are REALLY out to impress (or be pretentious!), most people are happy with a mug and a teabag. But a small plate and a cake-fork or teaspoon for each person are essentials, especially if the 'tea' is taken while sitting down at a table. For a crowd, where most people remain standing, you should provide foods which are easily eaten with one hand without too much spillage.

Occasionally, you will get somebody or prefers to drink coffee. Most hostesses will provide for such people, but it isn't really the done thing to drink coffee for morning or afternoon tea.

A morning tea is usually held between 10-11am; afternoon tea is usually provided around 3-4pm. In England, I believe, 'high tea' is an evening meal, usually in households where the main formal dinner isn't served until 8-9pm or even later.

Here's a couple of recipes:

250g butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup milk

4 eggs

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda


Cream butter and sugar, add well-beaten eggs. Combine milk, bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar, and add to the mixture. Bake in a small, greased baking dish for about 30 minutes. Leave for a day or two, cut into squares, then cover with chocolate icing, and roll in desiccated coconut. Make sure the icing is warm and thin, and hold each square with two forks, to dip into the icing and coconut. If liked, the coconut may be lightly browned, and for a flavour change, try orange or lemon icing instead of chocolate. Lamingtons freeze well.

Lamington Icing:

500g icing sugar

60g cocoa

vanilla essence

1/4-1/2 cup boiling water

1 dessertspoon butter

Melt butter in 1/4 cup boiling water and allow to cool slightly. Sift icing sugar well and add to liquid, together with the cocoa, mixing to a fairly thin consistency. Flavour with vanilla essence.


1 egg, well beaten

2 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons self-raising flour

1/2 cup milk

pinch salt

Combine egg and sugar, beat well. Add flour, salt and milk, mix in well. Drop by dessertspoonfuls onto a hot greased pan, cook until bubbles appear, then turn with a spatula or knife, cook until lightly brown. Lift out onto a dry cloth and cover. When cold, spread with butter, or serve with strawberry jam and cream. [Batter is best left to settle for an hour or so before cooking. Only very lightly grease the pan - non-stick spray is good, but the really good cooks just rub over the cut side of a potato. ]

Note: For oval pikelets, drop batter from the side of the spoon. For round, pour from the top of the spoon.
Chocolate Slice (1)

1 cup self raising flour

3/4 cup coconut

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cocoa

125g margarine

Combine dry ingredients, melt margarine and add. Mix well, and press into a greased slab tin. Cook in a moderate oven for about 20 minutes. Cut into squares before cold, ice with chocolate icing and sprinkle with coconut.


2 tablespoons butter or margarine

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1 1/2 cups self raising flour

Cream butter and sugar, add egg and milk mixed together, then the flour. Cook in a sandwich tin at 180C 15-20 minutes. While hot, spread top with melted butter and sprinkle with a mixture of 1 teaspoon each of sugar, cinnamon and coconut. [Teacakes are nice on their own, but some people serve slices spread with butter. They can also be served with a little lightly whipped cream. They are many, many different kinds of teacakes, most common are those similar to this recipe, but apples are often used in a sort of streudel topping. Teacakes are sweet, but not cloyingly so. ]
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Old 10-01-2005, 10:24 AM   #9
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Thanks for posting the wonderful recipes. I was about to ask what exactly is "slice" when I saw your recipes.
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Old 10-01-2005, 06:18 PM   #10
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High Tea/Party Ideas
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Old 10-01-2005, 09:29 PM   #11
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Hi I run a Tea email list. We talk a lot about tea. High tea is more like supper and is served at a high or dinning table. While afternoon tea is lighter. I would love to find someone in the Toronto Ont. area that would like to come for tea. I love to make little tea sandwiches. I moved last fall and so don't know anyone to have tea with. A nice cake or a few squares or something else like that is also served at afternoon tea.
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Old 10-02-2005, 05:41 AM   #12
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Well, the tea was a big hit. It was really my husband's idea (he LOVED tea in the afternoons when we visited Hong Kong a number of years ago (when it still was British)) and he really got into it, pulling these 'recipes' for tea sandwiches from Joy of Cooking. We wanted to camp it up (I wouldn't say being pretentious, we just love theme parties) and took out all the good china. Two friends brought tea pots (we only have one) so we could sample various types (PG Tips, Earl Gray, Darjeeling. One freind has an infection and was told to stay away from caffein totally, and I have an individual tea pot as well and made her a raspberry tea). I was a little light on the sweets front -- I'd bought two kinds of imported shortbread, and my British friend brought scones and clotted cream (she lives in Chicago, so has access to virtually every food known to mankind). Everyone got into the spirit of the thing and we had a wonderful afternoon. We went the entire nine yards, so to speak, and cut off the crusts on the sandwiches and cut them into quarters, so everyone could sample a bit of this and that. It was great fun and I think we'll make it an annual thing. Our British friend (she's actually U.S. citizen and has been for decades) loved every minute of it, and her husband even called to "join" us from London!

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