Thursday, July 23, 2009

An English Afternoon Tea


Because I am hosting DK's AWED : Britain this month, you already know I love British cuisine. But really, what I like a lot more than the food are the traditions that accompany the cuisine. Take the afternoon tea. There's lunch, and there's dinner. And then, for no reason whatsoever, the Englishmen concocted an elaborate ceremony at 4 pm to not just drink tea. But drink tea alongwith sandwiches and cakes and scones.

For my entry to AWED, I decided to host a traditional Devon cream tea. I borrowed my mother's tea set (for who owns these things any longer) and set about making the cucumber sandwiches and apricot scones, topped with strawberry jam and clotted cream. The scones, just by the way, are from eatmedelicious, my taste and create partner this month. And if you must know, that is a lace tablecloth.

And here are all the recipes:

Cucumber Sandwiches : If you are using homemade white bread, slice it as thinly as possible and cut the crusts off. Spread a layer of softened butter on a slice, then add a layer of thinly sliced cucumbers and sprinkle salt and black pepper. Top with another slice of bread and cut into long "fingers" or triangles.

Scones : Eatmedelicious says these scones made her feel like a scone master. I felt like one too, even though it was my first time making scones. The only change I made in the recipe was to omit the orange zest as I just can't zest an orange. Have never been able to. But the strawberry jam and clotted cream made up for it.

Clotted Cream : To get the real deal, you have to go to Cornwall. But wikipedia offers an easy alternative. There are other recipes you can google, but what's good for Wiki's good for me. So combine a cup of milk with 1/2 cup cream and heat at the very lowest possible heat for half an hour until a skin forms, leave it undisturbed overnight, and then harvest the skin and its underclots. If you've never had the real deal, it's a cross between rabdi and malai.

Tea : That's the easiest bit. Boil 4 cups of water, add 2 tsp Assam tea leaves and turn off the heat. Let steep for 2 minutes, then strain into the teapot. Tea drinkers could either choose to add milk and sugar, or a dash of lemon.

Now the table's set. Will you come over to tea?

14 comments:

Curry Leaf said...

I am coming over Simran, with my scones as well.Perfect Tea settings.

Curry Leaf said...

Forgot to add,never tried apricot scones and also the clotted cream.Never thght of searching for its recipe.The entire setting is perfect.

Laura said...

Looks fabulous, what fun. My mom and I went for proper British high tea a long time ago when we were in the UK and we giggled the whole way through it.

I love scones.

bluespriite said...

Gladly! What a delicious invitation.

Aparna said...

Thanks. Would love to. When? :)

notyet100 said...

ummmm ya sure,..;-)

Ann said...

Hey am here Simran..with the delight that you are serving such a spread for tea..haha..looks real classic tea time..Cheers !!

Divya Kudua said...

Hmm..that table looks inviting.Can't remember the last time I had tea in a proper cup-saucer..its always a gulping down in a mug..;)

♥♥♥Ria♥♥♥ said...

I am coming over... please reserve a seat for me :D

Sunshinemom said...

Am I too late? I would love some of the scones too!

eatme_delicious said...

I'm happy you enjoyed the scones! I love having fancy tea with scones, clotted cream and little sandwiches. =)

Debbie said...

Wow ... what a beautiful tea service! An English afternoon tea would be a great "gal get-together". You out did yourself Simran!

♥Deeba @Passionate About Baking♥ said...

I ♥ your Mom's tea set & the English tea setting. Scones & clotted cream are perfect partners...delicious!

archana said...

I will, for sure ! Look at those well cut sandwiches !