Last week I became a proper lady and hosted a high tea for other proper ladies. I had been wanting to make little delicious things to share with friends so putting on my lady-like airs, I opened up my beautifully manicured garden (actually, there’s enough space to play croquette if need be) to girlfriends who could spare a couple of hours on a Tuesday to sip tea and nibble daintily on cucumber sandwiches.
A week prior, I vaguely had an idea of what to prepare for the ladies but come the weekend before, I realised that I didn’t really have much of a plan after all. In spite of being excited about making the said little delicious things, I sure did a lot of procrastinating. Monday was a total write off in terms of preparing tart shells and the like so I threw in my towel and decided to rely on Aunty Coles to provide me with a few bits and pieces. As such, please don’t compliment me on how perfect my meringue shells, chocolate cups and tart shells are. I had no hand in them! :P
I’ll happily own up to my fillings however. I ended up trying to use up ingredients I already had at home and winging most things but I don’t believe anyone was poisoned or rendered ill by my offerings. I had a nice selection of sweets and savouries, and finished up with a serve of colder sweets. I should point out here that I started my high tea quite early (11am) as Perth was really turning up the heat and the thought of sitting outside drinking hot tea at 2pm was not appealing to me. So technically, I guess I didn’t put on a high tea :|
So, my menu. I had grand plans of blinis and macarons for my first high tea but with about eight people attending, I realised that I should concentrate on keeping things simple (and actually getting things made…). I didn’t even end up baking my own baguette in the end but at least I remained sane on the day. My sweets line up consisted of lavender shortbread (lavender ‘borrowed’ from next door and dehydrated by moi) and black cherry frangipane tarts (I had stewed some cherries in Chambord some time ago and used the syrup in place of some of the sugar). For savoury bites I made some retrolicious vol-au-vents (or vols-au-vent?) with a prosciutto and gorgonzola filling, topped with grilled pieces of peach, as well as the more traditional item of cucumber & radish open sandwiches with minted creme fraiche.
Once the ladies had their fill of these and washed them down with a good cup or two of tea, I brought out my cold sweets: lemon and blackberry cheesecakes, mini pavlovas, salted caramel chocolate cups with my pretzel peanut crunch topping (from this month’s Daring Bakers challenge) and my highly experimental dessert of Coca Cola jelly with very vanilla mousse. They appeared to be a winner!
Tea was kindly brought along by my guests (I thought it would be cool if guests could bring along their favourite leaf tea if they had some on hand) and sadly in my usual rush, I neglected to open the bottle of champagne one of my friends brought along (Grrr!!). I guess that means I should save it for another high tea some time this summer :) More planning and time management next time though!