Tara de la Motte, creates the perfect traditional English afternoon tea sandwich selection.
Welcome to my “Culinary Delights” page, which is dedicated to bringing you simple, quick, easy and tasty recipes that you can prepare with ease in your very own kitchen.
I have always loved cooking for my family and friends and i’m always trying my hand at coming up with quirky little recipes, that are pleasing to the palette, so my children suggested that I should share some of my culinary ideas online and make my very own recipe programmes.
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The Origins of Afternoon Tea
One lump or two?
Afternoon tea is a civilised affair; it has all the sophistication of smart entertaining but in a relaxed environment – a meal of informal elegance that can be enjoyed in the cozy, relaxed environment of your sitting room or garden.
Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford is often credited with the invention of the tradition of afternoon tea in the early 1840’s.
Traditionally dinner was not served until 8:30 or 9:00pm in the evening and the Duchess often became hungry, especially in the summer when dinner was served even later.
She ordered a small meal of bread, butter, and other niceties, such as cakes, tarts, and biscuits, to be brought secretly to her boudoir.
When she was exposed she was not ridiculed, but her habit caught on and the concept of a small meal, of niceties and perhaps tea, became popular and eventually known as “afternoon tea”.
Obviously the origins of the well known British tradition of afternoon tea cannot be credited to only one woman, but evolved over a period of time, as many cultural customs do.
How to Serve an Afternoon Tea
Not only does Agatha Christie’s quintessentially English detective, Miss Marple, knit and solve crimes but she also serves a traditional afternoon tea to die for! Here’s how you can do the same.
Select the prettiest, most delicate, china tea service that you own.
Make sure your cutlery is gleaming bright. Set the table with a snowy white lacy or linen table cloth. Add matching napkins.
Use tea leaves rather than teabags, if possible, and provide a tea strainer. Set out the essentials. As well as milk and sugar, provide a small dish of thinly sliced lemons.
Provide two teapots. One teapot should contain the actual tea. The other one should be filled with hot water.
Serve dainty finger sandwiches, and scones with clotted cream and home made jam, delicate sweet golden crumbly biscuits, mouthwatering slices of buttery, freshly baked cakes and other fancies such as meringues and fruit – filled tartlets..
Have a three-tiered cake stand with sandwiches on the bottom tier, freshly baked scones on the middle tier and a selection of fruitcake and fairy/cream cakes on the top tier. Set out the condiments. Put jam, honey, clotted cream and butter into small individual pots or dishes.
All these delicious treats create the quintessential English teatime experience.