I love High Tea. Who wouldn’t enjoy lounging around for hours, surrounded by friends, eating and drinking to your heart’s content? What’s not to love about having an excuse to dress up, the miniature portions (so I can have at least two of everything), and the mix of sweet to savoury where I don’t have to wait until the end to enjoy dessert?! When I was invited to cater a High Tea for a the young women from my church, I couldn’t wait to get stuck into it.
The ladies decided to host the High Tea at a park in the autumn sunshine – using two sheltered picnic tables sitting on top of a hill, it felt like we were on top of the world. Apart from a brief shower, the dark clouds that threatened were nothing but a dramatic backdrop for a beautiful day on the green.
the mini quiche were the first to disappear
Then, of course, there was the tea. We were in a park, with no electrical outlet, so I improvised. To serve the tea (and coffee) hot, I made use of a 3L thermos filled with freshly boiled water, and for those who felt inclined, tiny bottles of UHT milk. Unfortunately, I forgot the sugar =(
It was such an indulgent day – I’m glad to report all the lovely ladies thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon.
Recipe: Chicken Pistachio Sandwiches
Makes approximately 12 sandwiches
I had the honour of working with cheflings Genessa, Aileen and Karen. They were a huge help with the ever important prep work – I left much of the chopping in their capable hands. Ladies, thank you so much.
- One whole, roasted chicken
- 1 medium carrot, peeled
- 2 stalks of celery
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachio nuts
- 2 teaspoons onion salt
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground pepper (to taste)
- 4 cups whole-egg mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 24 slices of square bread, white, brown or multigrain (2 loaves contain 32 slices, excluding crusts)
- Using your hands, strip the cooked chicken from the bones. Discard all the bones (or reserve to use as chicken stock). Finely dice the chicken, and transfer to a large bowl.
- Finely dice the carrot, celery and pistachio. Add this to the chopped chicken. Gently toss to combine.
- Add the onion salt, garlic powder, salt and ground pepper to the chicken mixture. Give it another gently toss to combine.
- Add the mayonnaise and apple cider vinegar. Mix thoroughly.
- Lay 4 slices of bread on a chopping board. Spread a generous layer of chicken pistachio mixture, right to the edges, then place a naked slice of bread on top, pressingly down gently. Trim off all crusts, then slice into manageable bites (rectangle, square, triangle, or even use a cookie cutter, whatever you fancy).
Note: The filling will keep in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 48 hours, but once the sandwich is assembled, it’s best consumed within 3 hours.
Recipe: Tangy Cucumber Sandwiches
The inclusion of the cucumber sandwhich was by special request (thanks Karen). To be honest, I’d never eaten a cucumber sandwich before in my life. But after making this, I think I’ll be eating a whole lot more of them. The pickling of the cucumber and zesty sour cream mayo makes this a surprisingly yummy sandwich.
Makes approximately 8 sandwiches
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons caster sugar
- 1 continental cucumber, sliced thinly
- 1 loaf of sliced bread
For the tangy mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup whole-egg mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons onion salt
- Freshly crack black pepper
- In a medium bowl, combine the apple cider vinegar and caster sugar, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the sliced cucumber and set aside to pickle for 10 minutes.
- While the cucumber is pickling, in a medium bowl, add the tangy spread ingredients, stirring to combine. Chill until needed.
- Once the cucumber has pickled for 10 minutes, line a large plate with absorbent paper. Place the slices in a single layer on the absorbent paper. Allow to drain for at least 20 minutes.
- Working with 4 slices of bread at a time, trim off all crusts. Lay the 4 crust-less slices of bread on a chopping board. Spread the tangy mayonnaise on all 4 slices. On 2 slices, arrange a layer of drained cucumber. Place the other 2 slices of bread on top, tangy mayonnaise side down. Cut into sandwich fingers, triangles or use a cookie cutter to make fun shapes.
Note: The cucumber and tangy mayonnaise can keep for up to 48 hours, but once the sandwich is assembled, it is best consumed within 3 hours.
Recipe: Scones with Jam and Cream
Based on the Basic Scone recipe, Bake by the Australian Women’s Weekly
Once the wet ingredients have been added to the dry, pat it into shape, and avoid kneading the dough. This will help the scone develop a fluffy, cake-like texture.
- 600g self-raising flour
- 2 tablespoons icing sugar60g chilled butter, chopped coarsely
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 3/4 cups water, approximately
- 500ml thickened cream
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar
- Jam (whatever flavour you like)
- Preheat oven to 220C/200C fan-forced. Grease 20cm x 30cm lamington pan.
- Sift flour and sugar into a large bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips, until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
- Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Add milk and half the water. Use a knife to “cut” the milk and water through the flour mixture. It will become a soft, sticky dough. Add more water if the dough is too dry.
- Tip the mixture onto a generously floured countertop. Using well floured hands, pat it into a round shape. Working from the middle, gently flatten the dough with the palm of your hands, until it is about 2.5 cm thick.
- Using a 6 cm round cookie cutter, cut out rounds. Place the first one in the middle of the greased lamington pan, then as you continue cutting rounds, place them side-by-side, just touching. This clusted formation helps them rise upwards as they bake.
- Gently press scraps of dough together, repeat the pressing and cutting of the dough. Brush the tops with a little extra milk.
- Bake scones about 15 minutes or until browned and scones sound hollow when tapped firmly on the top with your finger-tips.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly in the baking tray. For crusty scones, transfer them to cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack. For softer scones, wrap the scones in a clean tea towel, and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Whip the thickened cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Refrigerate until needed. Serve the warm scones with generous lashings of whipped cream and jam.