Baby Food or Afternoon Tea?

It’s a curious idea, that for a posh afternoon tea we revert back to children and demand cucumber sandwiches, with the crusts cut off no less, and we want to eat with our hands in a posh restaurant. Aren’t knives and forks the tools of adults, or chopsticks depending on the cuisine? (Although my other half refuses to learn to use them- don’t get me started!)

My friend is hosting an afternoon tea as a thinly veiled attempt to make our group’s usual cocktail evenings sound a little more respectable. Starting at 2pm may just be cause for more carnage however, even if there are scones to soak up the alcohol.

I am an enthusiastic baker but not necessarily a confident or artistic one. For me the focus is very much on 1) can you eat it without poisoning yourself and b) does it taste okay? Beyond that anything else is a bonus, including does it look like a cake?

For this reason, I have volunteered to supply some of the savoury goodies instead, and my tiered cake stand for them to sit on so we can all sit around it pouring tea and saying things like “Oh la! This is divine!” and “Rah rah rah” and adding “what!” to the end of our sentences.

So I have been researching the fanciest contents of a crust-less sandwich known to man, and what vegetarian options are available. As my friend puts it, she eats “anything” apart from fish and meat. Sounds simple but when most standard sandwiches are based on a meat or tuna filling with something else, the result is you are left with cheese or humus with vegetables/salad. I’m not feeling terribly inspired…

In my mind, the best sandwiches are served in a crusty bread with meat and mustard, or smoked salmon pate, or chicken, avocado and cheese. Avocado and cheese by itself is only half a sandwich in my mind. Therefore, I’ve been looking for ways to make them more interesting. Perhaps I could cut them into small bite-sized squares and stick them with toothpicks? Or I could roll them up into tiny wraps like the photo I found on (you guessed it) Pinterest. Although I’m not convinced by the asparagus sticking out the top. It’s not my idea of a post meal to have plants growing out of the top of your food.

Personally, I have been raised to consider a quiche the height of fine dining. When we went to grandma’s as children she served us quiche on pretty plates, and when my mum wants to impress she makes one from scratch using interesting vegetables instead of a crust. But it seems that officially the traditional afternoon tea food consists solely of crust-less sandwiches (lest your hair curls), scones (pronounced with heavy emphasis on the ‘o’), and copious amounts of tea. Egg and mayo is apparently also a suitable filling for ladies’ sandwiches although it sounds like something you would receive for lunch in a school canteen that would leave you smelling funny all day.

Now, this blog is not just about researching, it is about doing rather than just talking about it, so I shall be taking photos of my resulting creations for you to judge. And in the meanwhile, if anyone has any suggestions for my fillings, please let me know!

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