I hosted our annual royal tea party earlier and it was such a lovely (and tasty) morning! This is the sixth tea party for my friends - aka Princess Di, Grace Kelly, and Queen Elizabeth (sadly Pippa and Meghan are out of town) - and I. It was so great to see them and catch up since we are all living in different places now. See my tea party post from last year for some history on this annual celebration and for my menu last year (and some good throwback photos).
Here is the menu for this year:
My tea party staples are tea sandwiches, scones, and a summer berry shortcake. I make different varieties of the sandwiches and scones each year to switch it up! Technically my sandwiches are small toasts, but it is easier to eat, decorate, and photograph when they are open-faced.
To make the sandwiches, I sliced a baguette and toasted the slices, then added the toppings. I placed the sandwiches with cheese in the warming over so the cheese would be warm and melty before the meal. The rosemary on the brie and fig sandwich got slightly roasted and crispy, which I didn’t plan, but it actually turned out really great!
The nice thing about this grain salad is that all the roasted veggies and chickpeas can be cooked simultaneously. You just have to keep an eye on them because depending on the size of your veggies they may cook at different speeds. The chickpeas add a great crunch to the salad! Also, I guess I should work on my classification because this is more of a grain bowl than a salad since there are no greens...but it is still yummy!
Lemony Summer Salad Recipe
About 16 oz quinoa and rice blend (I used a pre-made microwaveable package)
1 ½ cup cooked green peas (I used a frozen microwaveable package from Target)
1 package (2 lb) Trader Joe's Organic Carrots Of Many Colors, rinsed and dried
1 package (1 lb) Trader Joe’s Organic Rainbow Cauliflower
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas
Lemon infused olive oil (regular olive oil would work just fine)
Seasonings: salt, pepper, thyme
1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
2. Clean the carrots and lay them on a baking sheet. Drizzle some lemon infused olive oil on top and sprinkle salt, pepper, and thyme on them.
3. Add the frozen cauliflower to a large bowl with lemon infused olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme. Spread on a baking sheet.
4. Rinse and peel the skin off of the chickpeas. Toss with lemon infused olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme.
5. Cook the carrots, chickpeas, and cauliflower for 25-30 minutes. Check on them about half way through and shake the pan and/or flip the carrots and larger cauliflower florets so they cook evenly.
The carrots and cauliflower will be soft and golden brown to slightly blackened on edges when done and the chickpeas will be crispy.
6. While the veggies are baking, microwave (or cook depending on your choice of rice and peas) the peas and rice and set aside.
7. Toss all cooked veggies and chickpeas with the rice blend. My original idea was to sprinkle lemon zest on top, but I forgot - so I guess you could say this is infused with the concept of lemon zest, if you want to sound like a pretentious cooking show!
For dessert, I made the classic berry shortcake, which I have made every single year of the tea party. It is probably the fanciest looking item, but it is the easiest to make! I get an angel food cake from the grocery store, slice it in half horizontally, spread whipped cream in the middle (homemade so it is thick and can hold the cake up) and arrange berries on the bottom half, then add the top slice and add more whipped cream and berries.
Before and after decorating the middle
To make homemade whipped cream: Add heavy whipping cream (I got the smallest size at the grocery store) to a mixing bowl. Mix in sugar until it is as sweet as you like. Beat until the cream forms stiff peaks. Make this right before you serve the cake because it will gradually deflate over time.
Note: I don’t have exact measurements for what I used - my mom has been making homemade whipped cream for years and she showed me how to do this! She just eyeballs it and it always turns out great!
The scones I made this year were lemon blueberry, which is one of my favorite flavor combinations. It’s not too sweet and it’s a very summery taste, so I thought it would be perfect for our summer tea party. I decided to make homemade lemon curd as well, since when I went to English-style afternoon tea at the Boston Public Library earlier this year, they served lemon curd on scones and it was amazing!
Lemon Blueberry Scones with Lemon Curd Recipe
Makes about 12 scones
2 tbsp milk, some lemon juice (about a spoonful, but it is ok to add slightly more as it will contribute to the flavor)
¼ cup melted and cooled coconut oil
¼ cup honey and/or maple syrup (I did half of each, no particular reason though!)
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp lemon extract
⅛ tsp almond extract (optional)
1 ¾ cups whole wheat flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
Dash of salt
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of turmeric (optional)
1 cup blueberries
1. Preheat oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Pour the milk in a bowl and add a small amount of lemon juice or vinegar until it curdles (it should curdle quickly - see image below for what it will look like).
3. Mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls then mix together. Fold in the blueberries.
4. The dough should be crumbly, but able to hold a shape (see photo below).
5. Gently pack the dough into scone shapes using a large spoon and your hands and place on the baking sheet a few inches apart. I sprinkled a dash of turmeric on top of each scone for color, but this is optional.
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes. While baking, start on the lemon curd!
7. The scones will be golden brown when done and still slightly crumbly but will become more firm as they cool. Let cool, then add lemon curd and enjoy!
Look at this adorable mini spatula!! Is it not the cutest? I love mini kitchen things if you haven't figured that out yet.
For the lemon curd:
I followed this Bakerita Blog recipe for a healthier lemon curd. I didn’t need to strain it to remove any cooked egg - I guess that means I did a good job of mixing it evenly while cooking! - but otherwise I followed it exactly.
I also never connected the fact that the name says “curd” with the concept that it involves curdling in the process - I had no idea what lemon curd was made of or that it was so easy and quick to make! It turned out so tasty and even though it is a healthier recipe, it tastes just like the lemon curd I have had at fancy teas. So I am pretty excited about that!
My third dessert (because you can never have too many desserts, especially at a tea party!) was dark chocolate coconut heart-shaped donut holes. I intended for these to be muffins, but I found a fun baking tray with heart shaped indentations to use, and they ended up being somewhat of a hybrid between a donut hole and muffin! Very tasty, but I am still working on an official name - duffin? monut? So far, not having much luck. So right now they are called heart-shaped donut holes!
Anyways, here’s the recipe:
¼ cup honey
⅓ cup coconut oil
1 cup milk
½ tsp coconut extract
Splash of vanilla
½ cup almond flour
¾ cup coconut flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
About ½ cup shredded coconut
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of salt
About ¼ cup melted baking chocolate
Preheat your own to 350 F.
Whisk the wet ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and add to the wet ingredients. Mix well.
Add in the melted baking chocolate.
Pour the batter into a lightly oiled muffin tin or donut pan (or unspecified fun heart-shaped pan like mine).
Bake for 10-15 min (depending on the size of your muffin tin). When they are done, a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.
The most important thing about a tea party is that you must dress fancy and have tea! That’s the whole fun! So put on something fun and maybe a silly hat or crown, feel regal, stick your pinkies out, and drink some tea!