I just love high tea and despite the fact that I am a mother myself and should enjoy a day off on Mother’s Day, I just can’t help organising a tea for my family with my sister Mia. I love everything about hosting high tea, from the savouries to the sweets, the tea to the table setting and of course THE SCONES!
Now, I have hosted a few high teas before and feel that I have pretty much worked out the essentials for a delectable spread sure to please! I have taken the liberty of including a couple of lovely recipes which have been tried and tested too.
Firstly, tea sandwiches, I love to do a couple of varieties for the occasion...chicken & cucumber or perhaps ham and salmon with cream cheese or even egg. I think for this weekend I will stick with the two classics chicken and cucumber. Below is a great recipe by Bill Granger for a chicken sandwich...I often cheat and buy a charcoal chicken and have even added some chopped walnuts...Play around with the recipe and see what tickles your fancy.
The best chicken sandwiches
500g poached chicken breast (see below)
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed, outer layer removed, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, finely diced
1 tbsp freshly chopped chervil
2 tbsp freshly chopped chives
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
125ml ( 1/2 cup) good quality whole egg mayonnaise
Sea salt and black pepper
12 slices soft white bread
Softened butter, to spread on bread
Finely chop the chicken and place in a bowl with the fennel, celery, herbs, lemon zest and mayonnaise. Stir until all ingredients are well combined and coated in the mayonnaise.
Season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Cut the crusts off each slice of bread then butter. Divide the filling between
6 slices of bread, top with another slice of bread. Cut each sandwich into thirds to make 3 finger sandwiches.
Now, ideally another savoury item is required, not an essential but certainly balances out the sweeties for those who don’t have much of a sweet tooth. I have often made salmon & white sauce vol an vants..a bit retro but always goes down a treat. The Gunners Barracks in Mosman offer asparagus tarts and samosas, which are simply delish so either of these would be lovely too.. For a quick no fuss solution why not opt for premade mini quiches or mini spinach and cheese triangles.
Lastly for the sweets!! Of course it would not be high tea without scones, inclusive of strawberry jam and whipped cream....YUM! These are a rare art form and one I am afraid to say I am yet to master! I have tried many recipes including ones using lemonade and others where you only mix using a knife, but alas they have never been fabulous. Please let me know if you have a fool proof scone recipe!
I also like to make cupcakes in a mini form (see my vanilla cupcake recipe in an earlier post) as well as these divine passionfruit melting moments...fruity, tangy and melt in the mouth!
Passionfruit Melting Moments
Makes about 25 biscuits. Biscuits can be made a week ahead. Join with butter cream close to serving.
250g butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (80g) soft icing sugar
1 2/3 cups (250g) plain flour
½ cup (75g) cornflour
PASSIONFRUIT BUTTER CREAM
80g butter, softened
2/3 cup (110g) soft icing sugar
Preheat the oven to moderately slow (160°C/140°C fan-forced). Line three baking trays with baking paper.
Remove pulp from passionfruit; place pulp into a fine sieve and press down with the back of a spoon. You will need 1 tablespoon passionfruit juice for the Passionfruit Butter Cream.
Beat the butter, vanilla and sifted icing sugar with an electric mixer until pale. Stir in combined sifted flours in two batches then stir in passionfruit pulp.
With lightly floured hands, roll two level teaspoons of mixture into balls and place on oven tray about 3cm apart. Dip a fork into a little extra flour, press biscuits lightly.
Bake in moderately slow oven for about 15 minutes or until biscuits are a pale straw colour. Stand the biscuits on the trays for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool.
PASSIONFRUIT BUTTER CREAM: Beat the butter and sifted icing sugar mixture in a small bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Beat in the reserved passionfruit juice.
Sandwich biscuits with a teaspoon of the Passionfruit Butter Cream. Dust with a little extra sifted icing sugar, if desired.
You really can incorporate any sweet treats for your high tea, think mini lemon meringue tarts, mini fruit flans or a gorgeous slice.
Although not necessary and probably a bit over the top, I like to make a cake as a centrepiece and also for complete indulgence. For this Mother’s Day I will either opt for a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting or a banana & butterscotch syrup cake...YUMMMM!
Now although this post was about the food, I just can’t help myself, don’t forget to set your table with tiered cake stands, pretty pastels, vintage crockery and dainty cocktail sized napkins..DIVINE
Happy high tea & happy Mother’s Day!