Sunday, August 21, 2016

Enjoying an English Afternoon Tea at Home

During our June vacation in England this year, my husband and I indulged ourselves with having tea almost everyday. From the relatively simple Cream Tea (scones, jam and clotted cream), to having a cup of tea with a piece of cake, to the very elaborate English Afternoon Tea (sandwiches, scones and sweets) we always loved the experience very much. One of the most memorable English Afternoon Teas we enjoyed in Bradford on Avon at The Bridge Tea Rooms, which I blogged about here already, which was truly one of a kind.

Being back in America, we miss having tea the way the British do and this has inspired us to celebrate the art of having tea at home now. My husband and I have even started to bake our own little tea treats for these special occasions and have so much fun doing it.

In this post I show you our first attempt to prepare a full English Afternoon Tea. We set up our little tea table in the family room, since unfortunately it was too hot to have tea in the garden. And this is what it looked like!



We had whole grain rolls with chicken-celery salad, scones with clotted cream and jam, smoked salmon-cucumber canapes with Nicoise olive tapenade. Instead of further sweets we went with a healthier version and had a mix of fresh fruits. 



Traditionally you will find finger sandwiches as a first course for an English Afternoon Tea, but we chose our home made gluten-free whole grain rolls with chicken-celery salad for a little bit more of a heartier version. I really have to praise my husband, as the rolls were ultra delicious and so was the chicken-celery salad. Unfortunately I can not point you to the recipe, since my husband googled it on the internet and can't remember which one it was anymore.



The gluten-free scone was my doing, you see it cut into two halves on the lower tier, between the rolls with the chicken-celery salad. Usually you cut a scone horizontally and not vertically to spread the clotted cream and jam onto it, but my scone didn't rise enough to do this or maybe I distributed the dough to thin on the baking sheet. The taste was very good though. I used the standard gluten-free recipe from epicurious.



My simple scone became a delicious, melt in your mouth experience, which in my mind transported me right back to England, with a decent amount of clotted cream spread on top of it...



...and the clotted cream had to be crowned by an equally thick layer of jam, of course. Yum!



We found the English Luxury Clotted Cream from The Devon Cream Company at Jimbo's, our local health food store, which has a really authentic taste and texture.



The jam we brought back with us from England. It is an organic strawberry jam from Tonda Terra, which we bought in the little village shop in Blockley, England. What I really like about this jam is, that it wasn't overly sweet and it had a truly great fruity strawberry taste. The little jar is long gone and I haven't researched if the brand is available in the US as well.  



The creme colored roses on the table were coming from my own garden. The variety is called 'Auckland Metro'. The petals of this rose have a good substance, so they make a great lasting cut flower.



Coming to my second contribution to our tea time: The smoked salmon-cucumber canapes with Nicoise olive tapenade garnished with parsley. I wasn't too happy with those, I have to admit. First of all the visual presentation is not so appetizing. The cucumber pieces had to be cut smaller and I would have loved to be able to bring the salmon slices into a more rose or rosette shape, but my clumsy fingers just wouldn't do the job.



The tapenade was a little too salty for my taste, but maybe I have not followed the recipe precisely enough. I still think the idea of having these canapes for Afternoon Tea is great though, so I might try to do them again.



The recipe for the canapes is from the July/August issue of the Tea Time magazine, which I have subscribed to and truly enjoy reading. 



The fruits were a nice little finish for this rich Afternoon Tea and I didn't miss having any "real" other sweets at all.



We served an organic Darjeeling Tea to complement the tea treats. The china I set the table with is called Dibbern, from the maker Schoenwald Germany, which I brought with me from Germany, when I moved to the US many years ago. 

Honestly, I can't wait until we have time to prepare the next English Afternoon Tea for us! Do you also spoil yourselves with a lovely tea time occasionally? I sure hope you do, since it is such a pleasant experience.

Wishing you a wonderful week!

Warm regards, 

Christina



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27 comments:

  1. It looks so lovely Christina. Enjoy your tea.
    Have a wonderful day.

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  2. I just came back from the UK. Oh Christina, I loved the afternoon tea also. But alas, it is now round my hips. No scones for the rest of the year! Loved the pictures of your blog! Groetjes Hetty

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    1. Hetty, ooooh, how wonderful that you could visit the UK! No surprise to me, that you have fallen for the Afternoon Tea as well ;-)! Thanks for your nice words about my photos. Some pictures in this post are from me and some were taken by my husband. I find food photography quite fascinating, but also very challenging at the same time.

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  3. Wow, how lovely and delicious it looks. What a wonderful thing to do and enjoy together.

    Thanks for sharing ~ FlowerLady

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  4. Hi, was für eine tolle Idee. Ich mach das auch öfter mal. Die gefüllten Gurken habe ich so noch nicht gesehen. Na und dein Geschirr, das hab ich sofort erkannt, es gefällt mir nämlich auch sehr gut, leider hab ich gar keinen Platz mehr in den Schränken.

    Sigrun

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  5. Wow !!! Only coffee and maybe a cookie for us in the afternoon :)

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  6. I've always thought afternoon tea was the most civilized of practices. Yours looks lovely.

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  7. There is nothing better than a real English afternoon tea. As a real Anglophile we have often English afternoon teas, especially in the weekend. Great pictures and recipes of delicious things, I love the fruit on top. I buy here exactly the same bottles of clotted cream in our small village.
    Regards, Janneke

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  8. Oh, Christina! You brought back happy memories of afternoon tea with good friends with whom I have visited some wonderful tea houses in our area. Your presentation is every bit as lovely! I was immediately drawn to the smoked salmon-cucumber canapés. I know they were not your favorite, but I think I would love them. Surely your afternoon tea with your husband, if it becomes a tradition, will make for some great bonding time and happy memories!

    I do have a question: After such a wonderful afternoon tea, do you still have a full evening meal?

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  9. Hi Christina! Lookes delicious.
    Best regards / Marika

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  10. Preciosa, me ha encantado. Un beso.

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  11. Lovely! I am so glad you found the clotted cream...that's the best brand in my opinion...we used to stock it in out antiques and English tea items store. You did a marvelous job recreating the quintessential English experience! BrillianT! Thanks so much for linking to Tuesday Cuppa Tea!
    Ruth

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  12. Christina, your afternoon tea looks delightful! I've been doing afternoon tea all my life, and there's simply nothing like it, is there? I'm doing an organic tea giveaway this week; hope you'll check it out! I make gluten-free scones for several of my friends who've gone gluten-free in the last few years. And, like you, I find the scones/jam/cream all the sweets I need. I'll put out other sweets for guests, but I hardly touch them.

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  13. That looks fantastic! I have eaten many afternoon teas/ cream teas and have to say that yours looks delicious! There is so much lovely tradition and ritual around them, and it is such a pleasure to continue it!

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  14. Your tea is lovely, Christina! Such beautiful details with the roses and the china and delicious tea offerings. I think it is wonderful to have an afternoon tea, especially with someone special :) I just subscribed to Tea-Time magazine and I love all the recipes and pretty table settings. You have inspired me to try an afternoon tea sometime. xx Karen

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  15. Your afternoon tea is delightful! I agree that Devonshire or clotted cream always elevates the tastes of scones.

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  16. Interesting! I want to enjoy the tea time too.

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  17. Christina, your tea is lovely! I haven't had many full afternoon teas on my blog. I have more of what I think of as a cottage tea, just baked goods and a cuppa. I think your tea presentation is just fabulous. I do love making a fuss about all of the food and having afternoon tea though. Thank you so much for sharing this with Home Sweet Home! I have been trying to follow with GFC but it's giving me an error message right now. I'll try back later.
    Sherry

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  18. Your tea time looks just wonderful. I have a friend, Lorna, that has a tearoom you would love near San Diego. It is called Aubrey Rose. Look for it, as I think you would love it.

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  19. Oh, Christina! What a delightful post! I am a tea lover, and I really-really-really enjoyed looking at the pictures and reading your comments! You reminded me that having several little tasty things can be more enjoyable than having one big piece of cake! Thank you!!!

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  20. Your afternoon tea sounds so nice! Does this take the place of lunch? Now it makes me wish we would have had an afternoon tea experience while in London. At that time I didn't even think about it. Nancy

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  21. Christina:
    You both did a fabulous job in preparing this Afternoon Tea. I am most impressed and each item looks and sounds delicious. I am so glad you shared your experience from England and brought it to life again at home! Thanks for sharing and linking.

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  22. How lovely - I want a cup of tea now...

    Best regards

    Maria - Denmark

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  23. Dear Christina, the name of the plant you liked so much is Thalictrum Splendide. I have planted this one last autumn. Now I want to add some Plox to the combination. They flower at the same time. Oh, next year..... Groetjes Hetty

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  24. I will feature this tomorrow at Home Sweet Home!

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  25. What a charming, beautifully planned and carried out tea party! It's simply lovely, with all the colours and shapes and those delectable tea dainties.

    Don't you just LOVE Tea for Two? It's one of the great luxuries of an ordinary week, even if just a pretty little pot and some little sweets on a pretty plate, between everyday tasks.


    My own dearest neighbor of twenty years is a lovely woman who left her home in Germany to marry a soldier back in the early fifties. She's one of the reasons we bought this house---her sweet personality in our many talks "across the fence" while we were choosing a home. We just celebrated her ninetieth birthday with our annual Strawberry Tea on the patio in her honor.

    rachel

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  26. Hello Christina, I really enjoyed you and your husbands photos of your teatime treat – taking photos of food is not easy and is a skill I would love to learn more about. Here in Britain, afternoon tea is an occasional treat for us, although many visitors believe that the British still have afternoon tea every day! But modern life means most of us just grab a mug of coffee or tea during the day instead and the more elaborate afternoon teas are probably enjoyed more often by tourists :-)

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