There’s something magical about the tea ritual. Even on the busiest of days simply taking the time to prepare a tray for yourself will calm you down, and then sitting quietly to enjoy that tea will leave you with a wonderfully pampered feeling. It’s also magical how sharing doubles the joy, so I heartily recommend inviting others to join you for afternoon tea every now and then.
Just as most of us get a boost from the beauty of nature the spirit of an afternoon tea gathering can do wonders for men, women, and even children. It’s not entirely about the tea. It’s also about the sharing and the friendship extended to others.
And because I have always been interested in the subject of house and garden choosing a location for each of my tea parties is part of my fun. On a Summer’s day when the geraniums are blooming nicely in my sunroom and the great outdoors is green and luscious a tea party set in the sunroom seems the perfect place to welcome friends. Come Autumn, I’ll opt for a room with a fireplace and lots of candles. Part of the job of hostess is creating the set, a setting to delight your guests.
You don’t have to fuss, but a little fussing is fun. Whenever I’m out and about I keep my eyes open for little treats to include in my tea gatherings, treats like these sugar cubes.
Aren’t they cute?
And how about this sweet little tea pot vase for just 1 tiny posy. It’s so pretty on the tea table. It’s these little details that make the afternoon tea extra special.
When we bother with the little extras that feed the soul and nurture the senses we make space for unhurried conversation and its this conversation which leaves everyone most satisfied. I suppose food is an expected ingredient too, and it can be fun to experiment with recipes for tea, but to me the food is not the most important thing. Simple cinnamon toast served up with flair, a smile, and sincere interest in others, goes a long way to make the tea party a big success.
But I do have a room full of tea cookbooks, so I do enjoy experimenting with recipes. At every tea I try at least one new recipe. For this tea it was Coconut Scones with Pineapple jam.
Here’s the recipe
2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut finely chopped and toasted, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, 4 T. cold slted butted, cut into pieces, 1/4 cup cold canned coconut milk, 2 T. heavy whipping cream.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, toasted coconut, sugar, baking powder, and salt, whisking well. Using a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture until it remembles coarse crumbs. Add coconut milk, stirring until mixture comes together. (Dough should be sticky. If dough seems dry, add more coconut milk 1 T at a time, until dough is uniformly moist.) Working gently, bring dough together with hands. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface, and knead gently 3 to 4 times. Roll dough to a 1/2 inch thickness. Using a 1 and 1/4 inch cutter cut scones from dough. Place scones 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Brush tops of scones with cream. Make until edges of scones are golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean, 6 to 8 minutes. Serve warm with pineapple jam if desired.
I also like to serve some sort of sandwich at every tea and a favorite is the Cucumber Sandwich. There are many different spreads for this sandwich and many different ways to decorate it.
I kept my sandwiches simple-looking this time and my recipe is as follows:
8 ounces cream cheese, 2/3 packet of ranch salad-dressing mix, 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 1 English cucumber peeled and sliced, butter, 1 loaf of white sliced bread.
Blend salad dressing mix, cream cheese, and mayonnaise. Spread bread with butter. Spread cheese mixture on trimmed and cut out bread. Place a few thin slices of cucumbers on mixture and top with second slice of bread. A cucumber slice is used for decoration.
I decided to whip up some Scottish shortbread for my guests as an extra item. This is one of the tested recipes in my tea file. At every tea I usually serve something old (an old repeat recipe) and something new (a recipe I’m trying for the first time). I don’t bother with something borrowed nor something blue. (Smile)
The repeat recipe I prepared for this tea was Scottish Shortbread.
I don’t mind experimenting with recipes for tea because the bakery shop is just blocks away and if my recipes don’t turn out I can always buy something yummy so my guests won’t starve. Actually, sometimes I buy something yummy just because. For this tea it was a raspberyy cheesecake.
With the food all prepared it was just a matter of going out to the sunroom and setting everything up. Come out with me.
Do sit down.
The scones and cheesecake are set on the end table and a little double decker stand holds the sandwiches and shortbread.
The table is set.
All I need now are some guests
And here they come!
They settle in.
The tea is poured, the food is passed, and the conversation flows. Girls just want to have fun and sharing at an afternoon tea is definately my kind of fun. If it’s your kind of fun too, don’t delay. Invite some friends over and enjoy a tea of your own making. You’ll be glad you did.
My friends and I say to you