I hosted my first formal tea party last Sunday, which was attended in high spirits by three friends (and my husband, naturally), and crowned by the successful production of scones in our Weber BBQ (as our gas oven and stove decided to go kaput late last week, seriously throwing out many of our cooking plans for the weekend). I admit to being dubious initially about the capacity of the BBQ to produce baked goods, but I am now a convert, and possibly likely to become an enthusiast. We’ll see.
Half the fun (or more) is in the preparation for these kinds of events; my mum and I are inveterate colour-coordinators at Christmas time, and I love setting myself a theme to work within, then hunting down the requisite matching stuff: place cards, favours, invitations, table
linen, whatever else is required. Not to mention the pleasure of rifling through the boxes in the garage, which contain all the antique china that we have no room to store in our current small, insufficiently-provided-with-storage-space house, in order to locate some of my beautiful vintage teacup, saucer and plate sets.
And of course, there was the cooking. Fortunately the scones were the only thing I needed to actually bake on the day; and the chocolate for the pistachio and white-chocolate dipped strawberries could be melted in the microwave (I do usually prefer a saucepan over simmering
water, but needs must, etc).
Other menu items included cucumber sandwiches, and horseradish-laced mini wraps containing roasted capsicum and salad greens (I think these were my favourites). Turns out my husband had never eaten a proper afternoon-tea style cucumber sandwich, crusts cut off and sliced into fingers, before this auspicious event; well, now he knows what he’s been missing out on. The scones were accompanied by lashings of whipped cream and strawberry jam; and the finale was tiny little teacups made of dark chocolate (acquired from a fantastic deli in north Canberra) and filled with my husband’s home-made strawberry gelato. Exquisite!
To serve with all this I brewed up some spearmint-hibiscus iced tea, fantastically ruby-coloured and refreshing, as well as a large pot of Ceylon tea from the Nandana estate, a lovely twisty OP leaf that gives a coppery liquor with a bright, almost fruity flavour. Once these were all consumed and our capacity for food exhausted (for the time being), I brought out some Pi Lo Chun (which I have written about here) to round things off.
On the whole it seemed to be a resounding success and I am already planning an autumn-themed tea for a couple of months’ time…
And a credit to my husband, who took the photos you see on this page, which is why they are extremely artistic and beautifully shot. Thanks honey!