After throwing wedding and baby showers at all times of day, with different kinds meals aimed at pleasing various folks, going for a girlie, elegant(ish) tea felt simple and fun. It's always a treat to bust out a bunch of my household wedding booty and set a festive table with eclectic vintage table linens.
The days of 100% DIY party hosting are behind me, and life is better since I learned to embrace partial catering. And because Cicely, the guest of honor who also provided me with these photos, loves Clementine. The first time we had food from the always-packed, earthy Century City cafe was when she sent us a Clementine basket after our kid was born. So it was obviously appropriate and well worth the drive to get some afternoon party staples for her baby shower.
Clementine's sweet and crunchy autumn chicken salad makes a great tea sandwich filling. Along with cucumber & watercress, and pear & gorgonzola sandwiches, they looked so pretty when set out. Deviled eggs are filling, and I can pack 'em away; all the better if not everyone else does. There was a time when I didn't mind making Martha's egg trio with my handy pastry bag, but well, I wasn't a mom then. A bright green salad and some roasted potatoes, plus a dessert sampler including my homemade macaroons (no need to only make them around Passover), rounded out a filling afternoon tea. Plus a batch of champagne punch served over my attempt at making a big ass block of ice (which could have been better, unfortunately, since the writer of the LAT article was among the guests). It's a formula I'm likely to use again.
And perhaps best of all was Clementine's frozen apricot and strawberry mini scones served with the traditional fixings. Just add a little bit of coarse sugar on top, no need to even brush with cream as directed. When people asked if I made them, I could honestly said I BAKED them fresh myself. Ahem.
But let's not forget the other featured word in "afternoon tea." I might have had to borrow an extra kettle and three teapots, but serving four kinds of tea was worth the effort. I went with two different black teas, one interesting green mint, and always the fave, the floraly green rooibos Martinique tea from Le Palais Gourmet. Oddly enough, I learned tea can be a good conversation starter, perhaps even more so than the more conventional social lubricant.