And virtually no photos by me. Tried to bribe a couple of photographer friends to come and take photos in return for heaps of cake, but to no avail, how very strange. Next time...
Fortunately bakelady found the time to photograph some of the sandwiches and cakes and the photos are contained in her blog http://bakelady.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/tea-cake-journey-day-2/
Sixteen tea-lovers this time, which necessitated an extra table and in the wrong room, because my 5 year old son decided he didn't want me to dismantle his army of toy soldiers which has taken weeks to set up, move, battle, regroup, you can imagine the scenario. So two tables next to each other in the dining room, one for ten, one for six, not too squashed although close enough for the tables to swap cakes when they needed, which was handy.
Sunday's menu is produced below. I'm continuously searching out more local produce so this time, along with delicious thick sliced cooked ham from the Cheshire Smokehouse and my own red onion chutney, I made some little tartlets with Burts Blue Cheese. Burts Blue is handmade nearby by cheesemaker Claire Burt who I met on her stall at Altrincham Producers Market recently, and has won a Gold medal at the international cheese awards in Nantwich. The cheese would make a delicious after dinner cheese or snack by itself on a lovely bread (Claire suggested a walnut bread) but I decided mini tarts with fig chutney (Trackleman's organic) would suit an afternoon tea better. www.burtscheese.co.uk
Although billed a "Secret Strawberry Afternoon Tea Party" I decided not to make strawberry sandwiches (!) and did offer a lemon cake and a Guinness Fruit Loaf alongside the strawberry cakes. I felt that too many strawberries might be too much of a good thing and could even detract from their deliciousness. I did buy some local Cheshire strawberries specially for the occasion and a very special pot of Strawberry Jam, handmade by Wendy Brandon preserves in Pembrokeshire which I find delicious (and is also served in the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, so I'm in good company). The blackcurrant jam was bought at the school fete last week and, although quite stiff, was special for the fact it was homemade from homegrown blackcurrants.
For drinks, one group brought their own Pimms which I thoroughly approve of as an accompaniment to a summer afternoon tea, as far as I'm concerned you just can't drink enough Pimms in summer months. My iced tea was a Delia recipe which I won't repeat: "refreshing" is a polite way of describing it. One guest advised me that she uses grape juice in hers, which sounds like an excellent idea compared to the freshly squeezed orange juice in mine which turned the tea cloudy and didn't sweeten it sufficiently for my taste.
My next tea parties will be in the autumn and I'll post the dates shortly on the supperclub website. I'm talking to a number of leaf tea suppliers with the intention of upping my tea game, I'll keep you posted!
Secret Strawberry Afternoon Tea Party
Sunday 10 July 2011
Iced Tea (or Pimms)
Selection of teas with milk or lemon slices: Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Chai, Strawberry & Mango, Peppermint
Smoked salmon with lemon and black pepper
Cheshire ham with homemade red onion chutney
Free-range egg and watercress
Lancashire cheese with apple, fig and cider chutney
Burts Blue Cheese tartlets with fig relish
Scones with strawberry & blackcurrant jam and clotted cream
Strawberry layer cake with cream cheese frosting
Buttermilk poundcake with Pimms-soaked summer fruits
Guinness Fruit Loaf
Lemon drizzle cake
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