On Sunday 18th July there was an excellent feature in the Sunday Times ‘Style’ supplement about the gentle pleasures of taking afternoon tea – all the benefits of hosting a get together at that time of day, the excuse to dress up and eat wonderful cakes – our thoughts exactly! My idea was to paste the link here so that you could read the interesting article and see the photos but of course the Times and Sunday Times Online are now by subscription only! If you happen to be a subscriber take a look as it is well worth a read.
They gave a recipe for ‘Earl Grey Surprise’ – basically iced Earl Grey tea with gin! I’m sure that would make the party go with a swing. There was also a Jasmine Tea recipe involving Champagne or Prosecco, which also sounds rather appealing.
One of the people interviewed for the article said how comforting the nostalgia of afternoon tea is. I couldn’t agree more and in these times of austerity and uncertainty afternoon tea is a really cost-effective way of entertaining without compromising on luxury.
I made this dessert using raspberries I picked at Country Market near Bordon. I went out early on Thursday morning before it got too hot (it actually rained briefly – bliss!) and I have plenty more fruit to make some jam, which will be the first batch of the year. I love making jams and chutneys and am lucky to have been given a proper jam kettle, which I am sure will make my life much easier… I’ll let you know how it goes.
Unfortunately this pavlova disappears slightly on my white cake stand – I obviously need to add a coloured stand to my collection!
This is Nigella Lawson’s pavlova recipe and it turned out very well. Really dry and crisp on the outside but very gooey in the centre. I think maybe I have perfected small meringues too and am wondering whether they could feature in a Lavender Sugar afternoon tea at some point. They would be wonderful for a summer tea party in the garden, with plenty of fresh fruit and lashings of soft, whipped cream.
Lavender Sugar always puts a pretty posy of flowers on the afternoon tea table and I don’t feel that my house is quite ‘right’ if there are no flowers in it! I found this very late camellia in the garden the other day and used the two little blooms on the lunch table. I was using pink, blue and green floral placemats and bright green napkins, so these looked good. I had planned a much larger bunch of flowers for the table centre, but by the time all the food is out there is never enough room! I need a bigger table…
A few days later a friend came to visit and brought me this beautiful bunch of tulips. I took the photo from above as I just love the centres of these beauties!
This beautiful vintage teacup was a birthday gift from Elaine. I remarked on how lovely it was when we were out shopping for tea sets for Lavender Sugar’s first event back in September ’09. Little did I know she had been back to the antiques centre in Farnham to buy it for my birthday!
This gift has given me the idea that when our breakfast room is finally decorated (soon!) I am going to have a dresser in there, and start my own collection of pretty china… When we got married we opted for plain white crockery, which is brilliant in most circumstances, as I can use whatever table linen or flowers I like. However, a girl does need a bit of pattern and colour in her kitchen! At least now I can indulge my need for pretty china when we do afternoon tea.
Last month Lavender Sugar provided afternoon tea for a hen party. The strong blue and deep lavender coloured roses were requested to fit in the with bride’s colour-scheme for flowers and decorations. The piped buttercream is on Luscious Lemon Cupcakes and the pure white glace icing is topping Classic Vanilla cupcakes.
The day of the Hen Party dawned clear and warm and the hostess had provided a beautiful setting with pretty bunting and decorations in the garden so that guests could take afternoon tea outside in the sunshine. We were thrilled to hear how much everyone enjoyed themselves.
(Apologies for the slightly blurry photo – I left the ‘big’ camera (as I call it!) at home and had to resort to a mobile phone image…)
On Sunday we provided afternoon tea for a baby girl’s Christening celebrations. This gave us the perfect opportunity to indulge our passion for very pretty cupcakes! There were Classic Cupcakes piped with a shell pink buttercream and topped with a dainty pink rose, and Lavender Cupcakes in silver cases topped with a delicately flavoured and coloured lavender glace icing. My photography left a lot to be desired on the day and I should have adjusted my camera settings properly, as the flash totally changed the colours of the icings and didn’t do them justice at all! So, for now here is a photo of the lovely flowers for the tea table. We found a good selection of spring flowers in the garden and managed to get hold of some very pale pink rosebuds to carry through the theme. The viburnum is beautifully scented and left a nice perfume in the warm room on a very cold Spring afternoon.
These lovely little masterpieces were created by Lavender Sugar’s 3-year old twin apprentices. This is what happens when you get out a large selection of cupcake sprinkles and let them loose! Just the thing to brighten up afternoon tea on a cold Spring afternoon.