Afternoon tea

We held an afternoon tea at our house a couple of weekends ago for Jac’s family and friends. It wasn’t a special occasion – Jac decided to have an afternoon tea after one of her cousins teased her for not inviting her over to check out our “new” house after all this time. It’s been almost a year since we moved in – I can’t believe it myself, a year! Jac loves to play hostess and socialise with friends and family, so she was thrilled to have an excuse to put on an afternoon tea.

Jac used white and multigrain bread to make three different kinds of sandwiches – hard-boiled egg and lettuce; cucumber dipped in apple cider vinegar and seasoned with salt and pepper; and her favourite, smoked salmon, thinly sliced red onion, chopped capers and cream cheese.

Sandwiches close-up - hard-boiled egg, cucumber in vinegar, smoked salmon with cream cheese and capers

If Jac was chef in the kitchen, I was the apprentice, helping with small tasks whenever needed. It’s not that I didn’t want to do more – I think Jac was having too much fun and didn’t actually want much help! So anyway, once the sandwiches were made I arranged them on a tray while Jac moved on to another task.

Sandwiches - hard-boiled egg, cucumber in vinegar, smoked salmon with cream cheese and capers

Jac then used smoked meats we bought at the Good Food and Wine Show Perth to make a selection of three “gourmet” sandwiches: smoked emu with mild English mustard; smoked kangaroo with Swiss cheese; and smoked chicken breast with lettuce and Beerenberg tomato chutney.

Smoked kangaroo, smoked emu and smoked chicken sandwiches

She chose a recipe to try out of the Australian Women’s Weekly BAKE book – spiced coffee cupcakes. While the cakes cooled, I followed made the icing. You start off with a butter and icing sugar base, then divide it into two bowls to create two different icings – coffee and chocolate. It was a cold day and the atmospheric temperature meant the icing wouldn’t stay soft/liquid enough to drizzle as per the recipe instruction, so we simply spread it on top of the little cakes. Both icings were really nice, buttery, flavoursome and not too sweet. The coffee icing was made with ground coffee and the chocolate icing included cardamom. I was a little worried initially that the cardamom flavour would be too strong but you couldn’t taste it at all – the chocolate icing was delicious!

Spiced coffee cupcakes with coffee icing and chocolate icing

Jac also bought pastry tart shells and made custard filling for them. She sprinkled ground nutmeg on top of each tart.

Custard tarts

She baked a batch of triple choc cookies using the fridge cookie dough we bought as part of a fundraiser for her niece’s school. They have dark and white chocolate chips on them. I find the cookies too sweet, but everyone else who’s tried them loves them.

Triple choc cookies

Jac pre-ordered a selection of pastries at La Galette De France patisserie (Shop 3, 25 Mends Street, South Perth), including some lovely mini strawberry tarts.

Strawberry tarts

She got some of the pear tarts I enjoyed so much the last time, as well as berry, peach, and almond and cherry ones.

La Galette De France pastries

But the most popular of the pastries were the gorgeous lemon curd tarts, each topped with a tiny wedge of fresh lime. The lemon filling was lusciously tangy and creamy.


La Galette De France pastries

La Galette De France pastries

Our friend D brought along a dish of nibblies – sliced cabana sausage, sweet gherkin pickles, black pepper crackers and Camembert cheese. I love the combination of salty sausage and sweet pickle on a cracker.

Sausage, sweet pickles, crackers and cheese

Jac’s mum made lovely iced carrot cake.

Iced carrot cake

Jac’s mum’s friend E brought homemade spring rolls. They were really tasty! I ate four spring rolls at afternoon tea.

Spring rolls

E also made sausage rolls, which everybody loved. Savoury pastries, sweet pastries, I just loved this afternoon tea! Jac would’ve been perfectly content with a stack of the smoked salmon sandwiches. :)

Sausage roll

It was quite a feast!

The feast

I’m annoyed with myself for not taking a photograph of the self-service drinks station to show you all. Earlier that week, we bought a 40-cup/8 litre urn, which we set up on another table along with mugs, glasses, teaspoons, tea bags, coffee and sugar. In the bar fridge next to it we had orange juice, soft drink, water, cow’s milk and soy milk. Jac and I had talked about getting an urn for ages and I am so glad we finally did. It was so handy! No need to ask anyone how they like their coffee or tea – everyone could make their own hot drinks whenever they wanted. We’re bringing the urn to the next family feast – breakfast at my parents’ home next weekend. I imagine it will be very useful at all kinds of family events like birthdays and Christmas.

In addition to the drinks table and the food table we set up a third table for people to sit at. Some people preferred to stand near the food table and graze as they chatted, while others (like me!) would load up a plate, sit while eating and talking, then go back for another round of food. And another round. And then maybe yet another round!

It was a fun and delicious afternoon. Our guests were quite intrigued by the smoked meat sandwiches, especially as a few people had not eaten smoked emu before. Pixel hung around the kitchen while Jac made the sandwiches and got to sample some of the smoked meats too (she loved it all – Billy Lee was not interested). But once our guests arrived, both cats decided to hide out in the master bedroom. They slept while we ate and then emerged ready for their dinner when everyone had gone home.

Jac took the leftover sandwiches to work the next day and shared them with her workmates. I took the leftover spiced coffee cupcakes and triple choc cookies to work and my workmates demolished them. We were selfish and kept the leftover strawberry tarts and lemon tarts for ourselves as rather little decadent desserts for the next two evenings. :)

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