Recapture the charm and elegance of this simply splendid English tradition in your home. Every proper English afternoon tea has three basic elements – savoury, sweet and of course the centrepiece – the tea. Here is a sample menu taken from our website. Feel free to experiment and adapt the menu to suit your taste!
Afternoon Tea Menu
English cucumber sandwiches with fresh garden mint
Sandwiches with smoked salmon and lemon butter
Classic English scones with clotted cream and preserves
Tea, sugar cubes, lemon slices, milk
Let’s start with the bread: Fresh and various kinds, such white, whole wheat, pumpernickel, multi-grain. For an attractive sandwich presentation, use a different bread for each filling.
Next comes the butter – must be unsalted! And at room temperature to allow easy spreading. Unsalted butter enhances the flavour of the fillings and acts as the glue that keeps the bread and the filling together. Spread a thin coating of butter on the inside of each slice of bread. We use 3 slices of bread per person; this allows 1.5 sandwiches per person. We remove the crusts and cut each sandwich into four.
Fill your sandwiches, trim the crust and cut into various shapes. Display on a plate and garnish with finely chopped parsley and edible flowers.
Watercress, a green in the mustard family, is associated with beautiful sandwiches made for afternoon tea.
Cut the stems from a bunch of watercress and use later in soups or salads. Rinse watercress thoroughly – this perennial grows by the water – usually on the banks of a river, hence its name. Remove leaves from a the larger stems; dry in paper towel, toss lightly with salt and pepper and apply a bunch to cover one slice of bread.
Cover with second slice of bread and apply a little hand pressure to the sandwich to flatten.
English cucumber with mint butter
Chiffonade a dozen or so fresh mint leaves and toss into half a cup of butter and stir vigourously until all the mint is spread through the butter; butter the bread and spread a layer (or two) of thinly julienned English cucumber.
Zest one tablespoon of lemon peel into half a cup of butter.
Our next post will explore the sweet elements of the proper English afternoon tea. Send us a comment with your favourite sandwich filling for afternoon tea.