Friday, April 11, 2014

Tea time at A Tray of Bliss....

High Tea seems to be all the rage these days.
Offered at many upmarket café`s and lounges, it seems the five star hotels are making a motza from them.
They vary enormously from a tiered confabulation of confectionery, to a full scale meal.
So then, what's Afternoon Tea, or Low Tea, for that matter?

Well, for a start, it doesn't have to be served in a Tea Salon, although this one at the Salon The` Musee`d Orsay in Paris is certainly sublime. This photo taken when we were there a few years ago.
It does require teacups...

Prettified cakes....
...these ones made by cutting a home baked vanilla slab cake into tall cubes, which then have a thin, baby pastel pink sugar icing poured over, and topped with edible rose petals...
...or this one which I lovingly prepared for The Diva Child's fourteenth birthday...a pastel rainbow iced fudge cake...
....or perhaps some Raspberry Iced Tea Muffins...recipe following...
...then there's Aunty M's Rock Cakes for something a little more substantial...
...or prepurchased meringues for the time poor, filled with Lemon Curd or whipped cream....mmmm...
One this is for certain. The tea must be brewed in a pot....this one gifted to me by The Musician Husband for Valentines Day this year...
....and one must use loose tealeaves, or it's just not right!
High Tea in it's original form was really more like lunch. It came with Cornish Pasties and sandwiches filled with thin slices of roast beef and home made pickles and had more substantial cakes like a...
.. Three Ingredient Fruit Cake..
Soak 600gms of mixed dried fruit in 600mls of liquid....try milky tea, herbal tea like Raspberry or a favourite blend like French Earl Grey with 3-4 tablespoons of cream added to the brew for richness, chocolate milk or iced coffee....leave overnight in the refrigerator, then add 2 cups of self raising flour, pour in to a 20 cm lined tin and bake in a 180C preheated oven for 90 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the cake in there for another 30 minutes. Perfection!
...or my Aunty M's Rock Cakes...
This makes about a dozen Rock Cakes

2 1/4 cups self raising flour, sifted
1/2 cup butter
Pinch nutmeg
3/4 cup any mixed fruit
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons milk

Line two cookie trays with baking paper and preheat the oven to 200C.

The flour goes into a large mixing bowl with the butter. Rub that in with clean fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. This will take no more than a minute or two.
Add the cinnamon and the dried fruit, and combine lightly.
Add the sugar and milk to the beaten eggs and beat with a fork.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and stir with the fork until well mixed. The mixture should be really firm and stiff.
Take two dessertspoons, and scoop a generous spoonful of mixture with one, and slide it onto your lined tray with the other. Continue until all the mixture is used.
Six rock cakes to a standard sized tray is about right. They'll rise and expand, so don't crowd them too close together.
Bake them in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until lightly golden.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool before storing in an airtight container.

Low Tea or Afternoon Tea is actually the 'tea' we're more accustomed to seeing as a celebratory tea here.

You'd include soft crustless sandwiches cut into elongated fingers, that are spread with real butter and have fillings like cucumber or thinly sliced radish, smoked salmon with fresh dill and capers, watercress or wild rocket, and cream cheese seasoned with chopped fresh herbs.

Your cakes would be of the more delicate kind like my faux petit fours above, or my pastel iced fudge cake, or even a real Victoria Sponge.

Or you could try this great egg free recipe, which is fab baked as muffins or cupcakes as I've pictured above...

Egg Free Raspberry Iced Tea Muffins

1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup strong brewed raspberry herbal tea
1 teaspoon strawberry essence
1 tablespoon white vinegar
6 tablespoons neutral flavoured oil
1 teaspoon Bicarb-Soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line muffin pans with papers

Combine the flour, sugar, tea and strawberry essence in a bowl. Add the other ingredients and beat with electric beaters on high until smooth. Note that this is a rather thin batter.

Pour into the prepared pans and bake for 20-30 minutes or until firm to touch in the centre. Remove from the oven and cool before icing with a simple icing sugar icing made by combining sifted icing (confectioners) sugar with some more of the strongly brewed raspberry iced tea.

Decorate with gel icing tubes as desired.

So, who's coming for tea?




  1. What a lovely post! I do enjoy tea, but I don't really have a tea time. Perhaps I should!
    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

    1. Hi Laura. Teatime is for those of us who still remember a more genteel time. Perhaps you're too youthful for tea? Hehehe! Thanks for stopping by. I love your blog :)

  2. I do adore a scalding cup of tea. And your recipes look perfect for serving a special treat! Would love for you to share at Fridays Unfolded!


    1. Hi Alison. I'd love to pop over to Fridays Unfolded. Thankyou for inviting me, and thanks for your lovely comment..x

  3. Love this, Mimi! The girls and I have tea party often. It is a whole big production because their mama can't do anything small. I took the girls to an afternoon teatime once. I sounded really good in my know..the three of us sipping tea and giggling away. That did not happen. : )

    1. I agree Victoria. Tea is something worth doing WELL! I can only imagine the three of you at tea...the best laid plans, eh? Thanks for popping

  4. Your teapot is so lovely and all your treats look so tempting.

    1. Thankyou kitty. It IS a particularly beautiful teapot, isn't it. My Honey is such a honey. Thanks for stopping

  5. Hi: I am running late but I am so glad I stopped by to visit. Your post is lovely. I have a granddaughter and we have tea all the time. Thanks for the great visit. Have a wonderful week. Blessings, Martha

    1. Thankyou Martha. I love your blog and I'm looking forward to becoming a regular

  6. Hello Mimi, It is lovely to see you at Tea Cup Tuesday! This is a gorgeous tea post. That tea pot is so beautiful. As you know, I love doing tea well too. The rainbow fudge cake looks incredibly delicious! Thank you for joining in for tea.

  7. Thankyou Terry. Tea Cup Tuesday is a feast for the eyes, and I really wanted to find a way to be part of it. I'm pleased you enjoyed my post and can confirm that the rainbow fudge cake is indeed delicious! Can you believe that my husband chose that teapot all by himself?

  8. I just love the rock cakes recipe thank you. My Nan made these and we just loved them! Memories! Also the pink ombre cake... gorgeous!

    1. I know, right? The simple things are the loveliest sometimes. Mimi xxx

  9. Lovely post. Your husband has beautiful taste, as do you. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thankyou PP. Glad you could stop by. Mimi xxx

  10. Oh, lovely, I want to have a tea party! Thanks for sharing @DearCreatives hope to see you again this week. Theresa

  11. Thank you especially for the egg-free muffin recipe. I have saved it to make for my granddaughter, who has egg and dairy allergies. But she loves a tea party!

  12. Well, aside from drooling on my keyboard, I thoroughly enjoyed your post! Just gorgeous! The recipes look wonderful too. Thanks for linking to Tuesday Cuppa Tea!

    1. Lol Ruth. I'm glad you enjoyed my post! Mimi xxx

  13. What a beautiful post you featured today. Everything looks amazing. Have a great week. Blessings, Martha

    1. Thankyou Martha. It's always lovely to hear from you. Mimi xxx


I love hearing from you! I always respond to comments, so don't be shy! Mimi xxx