Each Friday at 10am we invite a Foodies100 member to share their favourite ten posts with us. If you’d like to share some of your favourite reads then get in touch with our editor Alison at firstname.lastname@example.org. You’ll get a link back to your own site and other social platforms, as well as the opportunity to introduce yourself to a bunch of new readers.
This week, we say hello to Mairi from The Weegie Kitchen – Mairi is a Glaswegian food blogger (you might have guessed that) who might be a self-confessed junk food addict but you wouldn’t know it from looking at her blog – recent posts include meatballs and polenta, lasagne and a roast with all the trimmings. Here, she rounds up ten recipes that make perfect touches to afternoon tea.
OVER TO mairi…
Mealtimes don’t get more quintessentially British than afternoon tea, but it’s an event I fear we aren’t making enough use of. OK we have busier lives nowadays than those chilled out Georgians. So stopping every day, mid-afternoon, to indulge in a spot of tea and French fancies is sadly no longer an option for most of us. However that’s not to say we can’t introduce this fabulous mealtime into our lives one way or another. Whether it be for Mother’s Day, Easter lunch, birthdays or a pre-wedding day soiree with your bridesmaids, I say we bring this tradition back! So here are my pick of the best teatime treats to tempt you.
- In true British form let’s start with the cuppa. Making a cup of tea can be a straightforward affair: cup, teabag, hot water from the kettle. Boom! 15 minutes of chilled out bliss in a cup. When you’re doing an elegant afternoon tea, however, why not take heed of KaveyEats’ advice. Think about the tea you’re drinking, where you’re brewing the tea and if you’re a really keen tea drinker, consider investing in a special tea brewing kettle.
- Next up are the savouries. Now we have savouries in afternoon tea purely to reduce the guilt of eating cakes for lunch, so don’t feel you have to provide a lot. Yes sandwiches are the easy option but I like to offer up something different, yet still in-keeping with the elegant and genteel theme. This caramelised shallot tarte tatin from Sudden Lunch can be made as one large tart or as individual tarts. I particularly like the dollop of cream cheese on top. In for a penny, in for a pound. There’s no messing around with calorie counting in an afternoon tea!
- Anything you can make ahead of time is always welcome in my book and Belleau Kitchen’s chilled pea & mint soup has this covered. You can keep the soup in the fridge until ready to serve, but rather than serving in bowls, why not halve the quantities and serve in little glass tumblers? You can even stick your pinky up when drinking.
- There is elegance and then there are sausage rolls, but who says the two can’t be combined? The fennel sausage plait from The British Menu brings elegant ingredients (fennel sausages, prosciutto, roasted peppers and caramelised onions) to the humble sausage roll in a combo I reckon would go down a storm in an afternoon tea. Make a large one and serve in slices with a fork or make miniature versions to be eaten in one bite.
- After all those savouries, you also need to consider tea’s lack of thirst quenching capabilities and have a beverage or two to hand. Sparkling wine or Champagne are strong contenders but I recommend a non-alcoholic option as well. The Little Loaf’s pink grapefruit & rosemary fizz is both refreshing and sophisticated. If you leave out the gin and serve with soda water, I can see these going down a storm. If you really want to up the elegance ante, consider serving it in a teapot and pour into teacups.
- And so to the sweet treats. I’ll kick off our sophisticated dining with an earl grey and rosewater bundt cake from Cake and Feminism. I selected this not solely because of its tea connections but because you really have to include a mixture of very sweet and not too sweet treats in afternoon tea. Too much icing, glaze, chocolate and cream will make someone with even the sweetest of teeth, feel a little sick after a while.
- The elderflower madeleines from How To Cook Good Food offer a delicate bite sized sponge which has afternoon tea written all over it. I’m a huge fan of madeleines but I worry they get overlooked on account of not being elaborate enough, in the way a cupcake can be. I find madeleines are a lovely filler between the savoury and sweet snacks and the flavours in this version are inspired.
- And so to something which still retains the delicate elegance of afternoon tea but ups the ante on the indulgence. These chocolate and violet fancies from Lavender & Lovage won me over instantly. The name alone conjures up images of the Bennett sisters sipping tea in their drawing room. Yes, the crystallised violets are an indulgence so maybe keep this recipe for a special occasion afternoon tea.
- The Georgians had their kitchen staff to slave for hours on sweet delights. We on the other hand, have to rely on the domestic goddess lurking within. This means when hosting an afternoon tea, we must strike a balance between those treats which take hours to make and those which take mere moments. Maison Cupcake’s plum & almond galettes are firmly in the latter group. Make life easier and use shop-bought pastry. No one will mind.
- Finally, the piece de resistance! Every afternoon tea must have its centrepiece to sit proudly on the table and be the sole reason we bought a pretty cake stand for. I give you the strawberry, rhubarb & clotted cream pavlova from Lancashire Food Blogger. Not only can you make a pavlova base a day in advance and decorate it minutes before serving, the beauty of the pav for the afternoon tea is that it is a light pudding. No one ever gets full up eating the pav so it won’t put you off eating the rest of what’s on offer.