Friday, June 3, 2011

Tea Party Part2 - The Menu

What makes a tea party great?  The conversation!  But almost always, the conversation after the tea party will revolve around the food.  I got together with Lisa & Debbie from church for another teatime tasting, to determine our menu for our church's Mother-Daughter tea, which we named:  A Supercalifragilistic Proper English Tea.

[If you want to start at the beginning, be sure to check out my first posting: Tea Party Part1 - The Theme.]

Lisa has done nearly all the cooking/baking for the church tea parties in the past, so Debbie & I hooked up at her house to finalize the menu details--and taste test, of course.  This time we had poppy seed muffins w/lemon curd, strawberry salad w/poppy seed dressing, and honey fruit salad (made by Debbie).  Ooo so good!  I was supposed to bring strawberry meringues--but after three attempts of them all falling flat (like liquid flat) I gave up.  I did eventually figure out WHY they went flat--the strawberry extract I used was oil based!  Now who does that?!  I love to cook, but was begining to get a complex--until I thought to check the extract bottle.  Go figure--but my mistake is your gain.  Now you know what not to do.  Ha ha!

Anyway, needless to say, we were able to finalize the menu!  I used MS Word to create our table menus, taking part of the images from the invitation as the menu graphics.  It took quite a bit of image & text piecing, but I was happy with the way it turned out.  I printed them out on parchment paper, in keeping with our invites, and laminated them for durability.  You can click on the picture to enlarge it for better reading.  [To look at a picture or link in a new tab/window, right click on the picture or link and click on "open in new tab/window".  You'll then be able to enlarge it by clicking on the picture].

Our Menu:
On the Table:  Poppy Seed Muffinettes & Lemon Curd
                         Still Water for Drinking & Hot Water for Tea
                         Tea Samples, sugar & milk
                         Poppy Seed Dressing (for salad)
                         Butter & Jam (for scones)

Tea Plate:        Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
                         Traditional Ham Sandwiches
                         Cheese & Pineapple Nibbles
                         Apricot Scones w/butter & jam
                         Fresh Strawberry Salad w/ Poppy Seed Dressing

Pudding:         Custard Pie & Honeyed Fruit Salad
                         Jam Tarts

Take Home Treats:  Satchel of Cloudless Sky Meringues

Beverage Table:      English Lemonade Fizzy Drink & Squash
                                  Tea Samplings from Suffolk, England

Below I've included a few of my recipes you might be interested in trying.  They're all delicious...but if you only try one, you gotta give the lemon curd a go.  It's sooo good! 

~ Note:  all purpose flour is used in all these recipes.  Enjoy!!

LoveLee Lemon Curd   (lovely on crumpets or toast, or on top of a meringue)

5 tbsp unsalted butter
1 c. sugar
Juice & Zest of 2 lemons (approx. 1/3 - 1/2 c. juice)
3 eggs
- Place all ingredients in saucepan, except eggs.  Heat to boiling, then remove from heat & strain out zest.
- Wisk the eggs and temper with the hot lemon sauce a bit at a time. 
- Once eggs have tempered, add to lemon sauce in pan and cook over a low heat until thickened.
- Remove from heat.  Pour in tempered glass to cool.
* Stores up to 10 days in fridge.
**Note: Do not use aluminum pan!**

Custard Pie  (my MIL's recipe)

3 eggs
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. flour
2 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
- Blend together well. 
- Pour into ungreased pie pan & bake 45 min. at 350'F.  Will be soft set & golden.
- Cool completely before serving.  Refridgerate remaining.

Honeyed Fruit Salad  (a sweet & tart scrumptious fruit salad--and easy!)

Toss together 2 c. each of the following:
  Seedless Red Grapes
  Strawberries, halved
  Kiwi Fruit, sliced
Mix together honey & lemon juice:
  1/4 c. Honey
  2 tbsp. Lemon Juice
Pour over fruit and toss together. 

Cheese & Pineapple Nibbles

Cheddar Cheese (or cheese of your liking)
Pineapple Chunks
- Spear together on a toothpick for a tasty snack (and healthy too).

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches  (you won't know how delicious they are until you try them!)

4 oz. Neufchatel Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 tsp. dried dill
1/2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
dash of pepper
1 small cucumber, peeled & thinly sliced
6 slices white or wheat bread
- Mix cream cheese with dill, parsley, & pepper. 
- Spread each slice of bread with a layer of the cream cheese mixture.
- Place cucumber slices on 3 of the bread slices, and cover with remaining bread.
- Trim crusts & cut each sandwich into four sections.

Apricot Scones  (my favorite are Pineapple & Banana**)

2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, cut into small cubes
3/4 - 1 c. dried apricots*, chopped
3/4 c. buttermilk, + extra for glazing
Demerara, Turbinado, or Raw Sugar for sprinkling (regular sugar would also work)
- Preheat oven to 400'F.
- Combine first 4 ingredients in electric mixer. 
- Using the paddle attachment, mix in the butter just until coated with flour.
- Add the dried fruit.
- With mixer on low speed, add buttermilk and mix until just absorbed.  Stop mixing when the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Dough should be somewhat sticky.
- Scrape dough onto lightly floured surface and shape into ball (important that you do not knead dough, which will make the scones tough).  Flatten ball to a wheel size, approx. 1" thick.  Cut into 8 pie shapes slices.
- Arrange on baking sheet covered with parchment paper.  Brush scones with buttermilk, and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake until golden brown, approximately 25 minutes. 
* Note:  any dried fruit will work with this recipe
** Note:  if you'd like to try the pineapple & banana, substitute the dried fruit with 1/2 c. dried pineapple chopped, and 1 banana, chopped.  Reduce buttermilk to 1/2 c., adding extra only as needed.

By the way, did you catch our menu's thematic food inclusions?  Poppy Seed Muffinettes, Poppy Seed Dressing, Satchel of Cloudless Sky Meringues ... in honor of Mary Poppins, of course.  =)

Join me in an upcoming post for "Tea Party Part3 - 1200+ Cricut Cuts".  I'll share some of the things made for our tea tables...including the satchel I talked about in part one of my five part Tea Party series. 

Thanks for stopping by!  Lisa

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