There are ladies who lunch and ladies who do afternoon tea. There are ladies who would like to lunch but time and work pressures mean that afternoon tea is easier to squeeze into a busy day. And, there are ladies who like to bake afternoon tea.
Today I was delighted to welcome former colleague friends to my new home. It has been a long time in coming, we’ve only had the date in the diary for about three months!
The wait was worth it. And in fact might have been sweeter for it. It was so good to catch up with the gos’ and see what the well informed of Wellington think of the local scandals. Oh how I miss being in the know. Or rather being closer to people who are in the know that can then inform and advise me on the Wellington scene.
It was also a great excuse to work on my baking skills. The event was billed as a traditional British afternoon tea. So that means at least two types of sandwiches, a savoury and two kinds of cake. Not to mention oodles of tea and for really special occasions (which this was) some bubbly for a toast.
Once again I’ve been caught out with the tea etiquette. I thought I’d grasped the morning tea and with little kiwi tradition for afternoon tea, I was pretty certain I’d be on firm ground. Judging by the gasps at the amount of food, how wrong I was.
It seems that a kiwi afternoon tea is strictly one savoury and one sweet. Unless you’re a real traditionalist and then it’s with pikelets too. If you’re a kiwi that might be enough but hardly an occasion eh! There is nothing that the British do better than afternoon tea.
I feel I did myself proud (you can check out the picture to decide for yourself!).
Egg Mayonnaise sandwiches curtesy of Charlotte, Bess or Ann. Cream cheese and cucumber (I admit I stole this combination from our favourite suburban diner, Taste). The savoury was stilton, parsnip and celery tart (my favourite home baked savoury). And to complete the spread, chocolate and butterfly cakes. OK, I confess, I didn’t serve the butterfly cakes but did make them and guess what the neighbours will be having for afternoon tea tomorrow!
After seeing the ladies I admit to being totally excited about my chocolate cake. I’m still struggling to bake cakes that come in two halves. I’ve had some disasters in my time. The lemon drizzle cake that didn’t rise. The Victoria Sponge Cake that fell apart when I took it out of the tin. Oh, the others disasters are too horrid to mention. This chocolate cake wasn’t perfect – a little lopsided but I think my tin was too big – but the icing managed to fill in the gaps and cover it up. It was, even if I say so myself, very very tasty. Nigella to the rescue again!
Now if you’re considering afternoon tea, I’d actually recommend the British etiquette and not the kiwi one. It gives you the chance to use your tiered stand that you had especially shipped from the States by your sister. It also means there is enough left overs for supper and chicken breakfasts if need be!
If you were ever in doubt about the chocolate cake here’s what’s left. Sorry, it’s only look not touch or taste for you bloggers. And Marrisa, I promise to make this chocolate cake for you when we finally do meet!