Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Tea Party Tips

On Saturday afternoon Bob invited round a crowd of musicians from the church. We are blessed with a diverse group of people who both sing, and play various instruments- and a congregation spanning more than 90 years in age. Bob wanted to establish with them exactly which songs and hymns should form our ‘basic core repertoire’ for Sunday worship services. My job was to organise the tea. [I have no musical skills whatsoever] I decided on ‘small and dainty’ finger foods, as we would not be sitting round a table.


I’d spent all of Friday back up in Leicester, and knew my baking time on Saturday might be limited, so gratefully accepted offers of help from two friends, who brought pretty little scones and delicious fairy cakes.That proved a wise move – the thunderstorm kept me awake and I was not up particularly early.

Here are my tips for producing a load of sandwiches that look more Vicarage Tea Party and less Builder’s Packed Lunch! Choose a variety of fillings [mine all came from Aldi] Four sandwich fillings – cucumber, ham [with a smidgeon of mustard], paté&tomato, and cheese. I wanted to serve two shapes -triangles, and rectangles.

P1010685Stack an even number of slices of bread [6 0r 8] and cut off the crusts with a sharp bread knife before you make the sandwiches. Put the crusts in a box and freeze them immediately.

That way you can use the crusts to make croutons, bread pudding, breadcrumbs etc. If you cut them off afterwards, they will have butter, cheese, ham etc stuck to them! Make sure your butter is soft, spread thinly,make sure you go right to the edges of the slices. Buy a white loaf and a brown loaf, to get colour contrast. Cheese slices are a great time saver [the thicker ones - not those dreadful plastic wrapped things]


If your cold meat is in circular slices, cut  in quarters- arrange on the bread with right angles at the corners. I use scissors for speed and convenience. Cut into triangles .

P1010687Spread the paté thinly on to top and bottom pieces of bread. Arrange the thinly sliced tomatoes across the middle of one piece and put the other on top. Now slice lengthways into thirds


Each little rectangle has a pop of colour in the centre.

Leave the skin on the cucumber, but use a potato peeler to cut it into very fine slices. Cut these sandwiches into triangles.

As well as all the sandwiches, I put out little dishes of cherry toms, olives, Stackers crisps and grapes [pre-cut these into bunches of 4 or 5] Small sandwiches dry out quickly in hot weather – so wrap them well in cling film if there is to be a delay in serving.


As well as regular tea and coffee, I also provided a flask of hot water and selection of ‘fancy’ tea bags. And just to be different, instead serving the scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream, I had some dark blue lingonberry conserve from Ikea – and half-fat crème fraiche. Less sugar and less fat! [sorry, forgot to photograph the cakes and scones – but thank you Sue and Jenny for making them]

The afternoon went well – Bob was happy with the progress made with the music, and people certainly tucked into the tea!


  1. Great tips! They look very professional. The sandwiches are my favourite part of afternoon tea!x

  2. I wish afternoon tea were a custom here! Your sandwiches look lovely.


  3. You have done this before, I can tell


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