As part of our summer schedule of events we thought we’d do a British inspired, ‘posh picnic’ afternoon tea. We’ve held a couple of afternoon tea’s in the past as private events and love the opportunity to bake, serve our guests and still have time for a night out afterwards!! We always feel the Manor is better suited to cosy winter nights, so an afternoon tea seemed apt in light of the scorching summers day we were being treated to this weekend. We were a bit worried that the weather might impede our guests’ appetites for cake and tea, but they did us proud!
We didn’t really use any cook book to specifically inspire this event. However our go to baking bible is Dan Lepard’s ‘Short and Sweet’, which is great for core basics such as breads, pastries and cakes. We love all the dainty things we get to make and bake for our teas, as well as all of the vintage china we get to display it on. There’s already talk of us doing an Autumnal tea for our next round of events so keep your eyes peeled if this tickles your fancy.
In classic British summer style we welcomed our guests with a cocktail of fruity Pimms punch. This was Pimms that came mixed with homemade elderflower cordial, sparkling water and lemonade. Glasses were crammed full of strawberries, lemon, orange and then some mint and elderflowers from the garden. Non drinkers had some sparkling elderflower cordial.
We went all French and kooky this weekend when we held an afternoon tea inspired by Rachel Khoo’s Little Paris Kitchen cookbook. This was a private event for a gaggle of hens who were celebrating the impending wedding of bride to be Lisa. Following a can can lesson in town they joined us for a selection of savouries and sweets washed down with teas, coffees and the obligatory kir royale. There was not a willy deelie-bopper in sight, and very well behaved they all were too!
This was a private event and we only do afternoon teas every now and then, on request. We like the fact that we can do far more in advance, plus it means we get to break away from the norm we have established with our usual Manor menus. We both love baking too, so it’s great to have a chance to challenge ourselves in this area.
Once again, we were without expert photographer Nick, however Susie did manage to take some snaps with her phone!
In terms of savouries we served up a range of treats inspired by Rachel’s book. I adapted the Nicoise wraps, stuffing the salad inside tortilla wraps instead of the suggested lettuce leaves, to make them a bit more substantial. I was impressed by the flavours of these – which consisted of sweet and crunchy green beans, radish, spring onion and tomatoes; piquant black olives and capers; and creamy free range egg – all bound together with a yummy red wine vinegar and lemon juice dressing. Atop homemade bread was a choice of radish with salted butter or a decadent fig, goat cheese and walnut option.
Susie’s offerings included gigantic platters of roasted root veg (including carrots, parsnips beetroot and apple). This was accompanied by a luxurious and creamy goats cheese mousse and was a popular addition to the table – only a few smears of beetroot and mousse were left! Susie also adapted the croque madame muffin recipe, making mini little bites of loveliness from quail eggs.