Care to join me for a cuppa?

img_6701 Afternoon tea; carrot cake and mango coconut tarts. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Wherever you are, and whatever is happening in your world, welcome.

Since Covid 19 is such a huge issue impacting all of us, I’ll get my update out of the way and let you all decide whether you want to discuss or ignore the virus in your own comments and posts.

Here in Aotearoa New Zealand we have, to date, been extremely fortunate that the number of cases is still in (low) double digits, and all of those suffering seem to have relatively mild cases which have required minimal or no hospital care. They have all occurred in people who have either returned from overseas, or are family members of those people, so we’ve so far avoided the sort of local transmission that will produce exponentially more cases.

I don’t think any of us are kidding ourselves that things will stay this way, but our government does seem to be proactive in taking steps to try and limit the spread, and help those affected financially as well as medically.

The Big T is fortunate that he already works remotely a lot of the time, and since I’m also home-based (and let’s face it, seriously introverted), social distancing feels much like business as usual. Things are tough for our son though, who is a student and works in a retail business in the CBD. He’s struggling emotionally and we’re doing all we can to make sure he knows that we will always be there for him. I flip flop between  being really proud of his resilience and wishing he was two again so I could at least feel like I was protecting him.

‘Nuff said. Let’s talk about food.

The menu

This month, I’m testing out a couple of recipe ideas on you (as well as offering tried-and-true carrot cake).

The first I alluded to in yesterday’s post; the second has sort of evolved as I’ve gone along.

img_6709 Fairy bread for grown-ups? Image; Su Leslie 2020

The strange places my brain visits

I’m not sure if it’s just an Antipodean thing, but when I was a kid, birthday parties weren’t really complete without a plate of fairy bread — thinly sliced white bread, buttered and sprinkled with hundred and thousands (AKA sprinkles or jimmies if you’re not British apparently).

Since I have an on-going interest obsession with updating old (and nursery) recipes, I got to wondering what fairy bread for grown-ups might look like.

And this is my take on it; homemade sourdough (crusts removed), spread with my friend Duncan’s wonderful raw honey, and edible flowers. At the moment the garden is a bit drought-challenged, so the mix is viola, borage and lemon bergamot, with a few petals of rosemary and thyme, and lemon balm leaves.

To be honest, it looks pretty but taste a bit medicinal. So back to the drawing board.

img_6706 Mango coconut tarts. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Instant(ish) entertaining

My second dish, you lovely culinary guinea-pigs, is a mango coconut tart. It contains a sort of instant custard of cream cheese mixed with coconut cream and lime juice, and it’s topped with fresh mango and toasted coconut flakes. The pastry is genius (I’m allowed to say that because it’s not actually my idea). I bought dumpling wrappers from the local Asian supermarket and baked them blind in a muffin tray.

img_6708 The big reveal — “instant custard” of cream cheese and coconut cream. Image: Su Leslie 2020

The Big T says they are delicious and I agree.

Finally, we have slices of carrot cake with lemon cream cheese frosting. It’s a recipe I’ve made lots of times before and it is yummy, though quite sweet, so I’ll cut thin slices (at least to start).

img_6707 Carrot cake. Image: Su Leslie 2020

I’ve brewed English Breakfast tea this time, but I can offer you coffee or green tea if you’d prefer.

Why a virtual tea party?

When Del (at CurlsnSkirls) and I started talking about a virtual tea party, we saw it as a fun way to share our love of food and conversation. It is that of course, but for me at least, it’s also an affirmation of how important you — my blogging whanau — are to me. Over the years you’ve shared your thoughts, stories, advice and support and I really would like to invite you all round to mine and cook for you.

But since that’s not going to happen anytime soon, I hope this will do instead.

The invitation

I’d love to hear from you. What are you doing/reading/making? Your thoughts on the food, the drinks, and whatever I’m rambling about. What’s making you happy or pissing you off?  Your comments make blogging so much more interesting.

And if you’d like to contribute a post of your own — even better. Maybe a shot of your cuppa and/or whatever you’re having with it. A recipe if you like.

I’ll update each of my posts with a ping-back to everyone’s in the same way as I do with The Changing Seasons.

#virtualteaparty2020 for anyone on Instagram who wants to post images (or video?)

And finally

I found these, and rather liked them.

“I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.”  ― Fyodor Dostoevsky

“Honestly, if you’re given the choice between Armageddon or tea, you don’t say ‘what kind of tea?” ― Neil Gaiman

An update

Both Del at CurlsnSkirls, and Brian at Bushboys World have baked delicious bread for us to share. Thank you both — bread is my absolute food weakness!

Aggie at Nomad brings us some delicious mint and rosewater tea.

A Wonderful Sheep has brought some Golden Milk — and her recipe.Yum!

And if you scroll through the comments you’ll see Karen/Elizabeth‘s fabulous afternoon tea at Sydney’s QVB Tearooms.

Ju-Lyn At All Things Bright & Beautiful has baked some fabulous PB&J bars.


158 thoughts on “Care to join me for a cuppa?

  1. …. wouldn’t be invited back. Also, as there is *as per one of my sisters voice* only one carrot cake worthy of attention, hers…. I must opt out of that offer. And I don’t like Mangoes. I must have overeaten on them in a former life (w/Ex) when visiting Mexico. At the border to the US we were forced to either throw away (couldn’t even gift it) or eat our abundance of exotic fruits. Since then mango is off my food plan.
    I will therefore gladly bring a cheese platter, some rye bread and have an English breakfast tea with you.
    Thanks for the invite.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is such a lovely idea Su, especially in the present crazy social distancing, self isolating world when we are told not to touch, hug, or socialise. Virtual get togethers are going to be life savers for our sanity. I just adore the food you have lovingly prepared for us. Mangoes are my favourite fruit and I am so sad that now their season has come to an end over here and tinned mangoes just don’t taste the same. Carrot cake is also a big favourite. Being a Pomme English Breakfast is perfect. So cheers my blogging buddy let’s get out the art gear, the ebooks from the library and get our hands in the dirt as we lovingly tend to our gardens in the isolation we are being forced into. And long live blogging….

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Pingback: I bake bread – bushboys world

  4. I’ll take Kiki’s portion in addition to mine! I think your mango tarts are gorgeous and love the idea of using dumpling wrappers for the shells. I must steal that idea.. and perhaps use chocolate pudding inside..or bananas and custard cream.. or. I’ll come up with something so long as I don’t have to make the pastry.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Great idea Su! We’re in government imposed lock-down in the south of France and I dare say I’ll be doing a spot more baking during however long it lasts. Some of this will be shared with my neighbours who fall into the most vulnerable group, the rest will go into the freezer. Stocks have recently been depleted and I’ll want to be ready for when we can once again entertain guests.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Baking is such a relaxing way to spend time — and even better when you can share the results with people. We have a few groups here who bake and cook for charities, especially those that help the homeless. The baking/cooking has had to be suspended because of the virus, and I am worried about how the charities will cope with the same or greater demand, and less help.

      Liked by 1 person

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  7. Your food experiments always engage me. But although the tarts look gorgeous I’m not a big fan of coconut, though it depends how strong the flavour is. But carrot cake is good, so I’ll have a slice of that and a nice strong flat white if you can make me one. Like you I’m not a social person but I was looking forward to getting out to the gardens, now it depends if they will stay open.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jude. You’d probably not love the tarts if you don’t like coconut. The toasted stuff on top might be ok — T thought it was toasted almond at first. But the coconut cream in the base is fairly coconutty.

      I do (if I say so myself) make a very respectable flat white (strong), and I’ll cut you a piece of cake.

      It will be a shame if the gardens close. Being outdoors and in nature is probably the best thing for people right now.


  8. I’ve never heard of fairy bread before but the idea sounds delightful. While you might not be impressed with the taste of yours, it looks lovely.
    So if no birthday was complete without fairy bread, does that mean it is/was your birthday? Tomorrow is mine, and I thank you for my first plate of fairy bread 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve come completely empty-handed, Su. Your post though did fill a spot. You did warn me there would be more than enough for everyone. 🙂
    Unfortunately, I got distracted. And cross. Again! So unlike me really. 🙂 I feel for your son. The whole world has gone mad. It must be very disturbing for sensitive young people who can look at what is happening now and project forward a few years.
    Take care, dear Su. I couldn’t eat another bite.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is always more than enough to go round Tracy. Feeding people is my love language (if you’re into that sort of thing) 🙂

      I feel for our children too; bush-fires and pandemics and global chaos is their reality. I keep hoping some good will come out of all this madness, and at a local level I see kindness and compassion all around me. I just wish I understood how that goodness can’t make the leap to the global.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Su, this all looks lovely and what I’ve sampled is delightful! Sorry to have been chatting with other guests before greeting you – please forgive me! Would love a bit of each, but please cut that carrot cake veeery skinny, cause I’m not!!! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I just returned for good to Switzerland after 12 years in France. I’m cheese addict and basically we be happy to eat a good, strong bread (YEAH, being yours along. I’d love it) with some strong cheese, and a glass of red wine, anytime, any day…. but then there are also delicious goats’ cheeses, creamy brie and nutty flavoured ones are you battling with ripe and gooey stuff, and look, there are pears, grapes…… I could go on for hours, once I start!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Chatty little introvert that I am, I am so in love with presentation so would be in utter awe of your beautiful table setting. Fairy bread? I’ve never heard of that before, so just a small piece, please. Coconut mango tarts? Oh my goodness-yes! Virtual hugs to you for doing this, Su. If misery loves company, than I am more than happy to be in the company of my blogging buddies. You all are my saving grace. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. If things are calm there and if NZ is smarter than the US and Italy and learns from our experience, perhaps you will all be better off. For what I am experiencing, check out today’s Brotmanblog.

    Liked by 1 person

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  15. Su, my post is here:
    Meant to compliment you on your fairy bread with edible flowers. Stunning! And delicious, too. 😉 Such a rushed morning here, getting everything ready. I love mangoes and your combination was delicious! Must remember it. Time to start loading the dish washer… just one more minute with my feet up… Be safe, Lovely! 😘😘

    Liked by 1 person

      • Will take your word on the fairy bread, Su! Don’t know as I’d ever had edible flowers, so can’t be much of a judge on that combination. Perhaps if you did fewer of them… or it might just be the wrong time of year down your way. Come to think of it, it’s probably worse up here, at tail end of winter!

        Liked by 1 person

          • Interesting idea. Sugar would sweeten and definitely add sparkle. Am trying to imagine sweetened dill … might be a bad example… Basil? Noooo… sage… oregano… rosemary ….. what about rooibus? Maybe that’s South African only… Maybe a savory fairy bread, if its for adults… lame, definitely, but all I can think of…

            Liked by 1 person

          • Cannot recall how that process works… was thinking more of sprinkling that dipping. I’d suggest being careful of setting them out to dry afterwards. Might get some weird shapes otherwise. Will have a mooch around my books and see…


  16. I am never late, especially when invited to morning tea with scrumptious food on offer. Though I must warn you, I am a coffee snob, and only the best will do 🙂 Love a cup of tea in the afternoon as coffee is my morning addiction.

    To be honest, I am over the whole virus conversation. It has increased anxiety in the elderly with the media saturating the news. With Les being on chemo, he is at high risk and so is my aged parents. Though the younger aged dying from it is more of a concern.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m having a few friends round for a farewell coffee and cake (chocolate- and maybe one of them will bring her scrummy lemon drizzle 🙂 ) in the morning. They’re packing up early and going back to the UK because they have elderly parents who might need them in the current situation. Part of me wants to go with them because I really want to see my son again and it looks like our pre-Easter trip won’t happen. I’m sure there’ll be a few photos so I’ll join you later, if I can. if not, mine’s the carrot cake, please, Su 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I am so glad a lot of friends could make it and some new friends for me. It was a lovely tea party Su 🙂 I think real fairy bread is needed to let our OS visitors share in the sugary delights of childhood. Fairy bread and a cup of red cordial…..try and stop me now 😀 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I’m glad your Prime Minister was quick to close your borders, Leslie, for it triggered ours into tightening ours a little more. Fortunately, Mr R. and I keep pretty much to ourselves and rarely see anyone local now that we’ve retired from cleaning. I wish my mum didn’t live ten hours away. She 84, lives alone, but is quite fit and not at all phased by the current events. I like that word scunnered. I reckon it sums up her reaction to the fallout from the current events.

    Anyway, I snuck in while you weren’t looking, I was sitting quietly in the corner, munching away, when bushboy mentioned Honey Cornflakes. We call them Honey Joys. I’ll eat them anyday, no matter my age, and also the good old Chocolate Crackles. Your fairy bread looks divine. I’ve never managed to conquer the feeling of wrongness when eating flowers. LOL. Reckon a sprinkle of rainbow-hued coconut flakes might do, instead. I’m quite full of tart but that carrot cake smells awesome, so please do cut me a slice.

    To drink? I’ll have whatever’s still hot. I’ll drink anything. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Those mango coconut tarts sound fabulous. I’d like to try one! The first time I heard the term “fairy bread” in Sydney, I had to have it explained to me. Then I was grossed out! I’m not much of a baker any more so I won’t offer a recipe, but here’s a photo of afternoon tea at the QVB Tearooms in Sydney last week — that’s me with my little finger stuck out so elegantly.

    Liked by 2 people

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  23. Just yesterday I read in an opinion piece that mentioned New Zealand as the exception to the Western world’s… how to say… less-than-ideal responses to Coronavirus. I’m glad to hear your government has been proactive, buying time seems to be really essential in all of this. Thank you for hosting this virtual tea party. Your post and lovely photos of yummy foods really did brighten my day. I think delicious comfort foods are just the sort of thing we need more of nowadays. Wishing you and your family, especially your son, good healing vibes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s interesting. I do think we’ve been fairly proactive, but am not sure it’s been enough. Though it’s easy to criticise when I don’t have complete information. I was talking to my, quite conservative, 87 year old father yesterday. He was effusive in his praise of Jacinda Ardern — not something I ever expected to hear!!

      Liked by 1 person

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  26. Ha! Absolutely awesome quotes!! Never heard them before but they’re perfect – and are going to be copied down in my journal the instant I’ve finished writing my comment. 😉
    Your virtual tea party is such a delight, Su! I can almost taste all those lovely cakes and tarts – what a brilliant combination! And who cares about what tea you serve – I’m all concentrated on the treats and will center in on them like a starved bee for honey. 😉 (But just in case that you insist, I think English Breakfast tea would be perfect for this. 😉 )
    I wish I could join you in your baking spree but I’m rather low on flour (damn panic buyer bastards!) at the moment. 😂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

  27. 3 fabulous treats, Su!

    I must say this is the most sophisticated Fairy Bread I have ever seen! I guess the medicinal-taste comes from the pretty pretty flowers? Would sugar glazing them help any?

    Love the sound & look of the mango coconut tarts – and the idea for the pastry: genius!

    Lemon cream cheese frosting for carrot cake? I HAVE to try that out – it sounds so refreshingly different from what I’ve had before.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did wonder about trying to glaze the flower petals. I’m not good with fiddly work though, so that might have to wait until I am really bored with the lock-down.
      Lemon cream-cheese frosting for carrot cake is normal here, and now I am curious as to what you’re used to.


      • I don’t do fiddly – that’s Older Daughter’s job. I don’t even particularly like fancy frosting – that’s Younger Daughter’s thing. But slathering or drizzling over a traybake, that I can do.

        Our carrot cakes are usually topped with a cream cheese & icing sugar. I usually opt for marscapone because I like the texture and milder taste better. When I want to be fancy & grown up, I throw in a little rum.

        Liked by 1 person

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