Tea time in the blogosphere

img_7097 Image: Su Leslie 2020

Wherever you are, and whatever is happening in your world, Kia ora koutou katoa  (Greetings. Hello to you all). I’m glad you could join me for another virtual afternoon tea.

It’s definitely feeling like autumn here in Auckland, although we are still in drought. And though the country has loosened Covid 19 lock-down restrictions to the extent that from today most shops and cafes are open again, I’m feeling no particular desire to hit the mall. In fact, I’m pretty happy staying at home trying to finish at least some of the projects that are starting to feel like Damoclean swords over me.

Luckily, baking never feels like a chore.

I’ve temporarily abandoned my attempt to discover 101 ways with dumpling wrappers, and actually made pastry. Admittedly it’s choux pastry which is pretty easy, but I am happy with the results; crisp little buns filled with herby cream cheese.

img_7096 Choux pastry, filled with cream cheese, coriander and lemon zest. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Childhood memories

A couple of tea parties ago, I made some “grown up” fairy bread, using edible flowers instead of sugar sprinkles/hundreds and thousands. It would be fair to say it wasn’t one of my more successful culinary experiments, but it did spark a conversation with Brian (Bushboy’s World) about childhood foods, and the following month, Brian made real fairy bread.

I (as you do) promised chocolate crackles — another sweet treat that was pretty much compulsory at every birthday party in Australia and New Zealand. I’ve gone a bit off piste with this childhood favourite too, but, for an adult palate, I prefer mine to the original.

img_7099 Chocolate crackles, Zimmerbitch style. Image: Su Leslie 2020

I’ve replaced the rice crispies with broken-up rice cakes (thank you for that genius idea Tracy), used melted dark chocolate and coconut oil in place of the vegetable shortening, and dumped the icing sugar all together. I’ve kept the cocoa powder and added cacao nibs for crunch; the sweetness comes from chocolate and crystalised ginger.

The Big T approves, so I will make them again and actually take note of the quantities in case anyone wants an actual recipe.

img_7098 Fig and ginger loaf. Image: Su Leslie 2020

“these are a few of my favourite things …”

It’s interesting looking back at my earlier tea party posts. Not only do I seem to have an obsession with dumpling wrappers, but cream cheese, coconut, ginger and figs also pop up in multiple offerings. What can I say? They’re all flavours I like, and I still have figs on my tree.

But we’re at the end of the fig harvest, and the fruit are smaller and less plumscious; better for baking than eating straight.

The loaf recipe is more or less from The Spruce Eats — minus the cinnamon and pecans, and with lots of grated fresh ginger. It is a bit crumbly; I’ll need to work on that before I post a recipe.

img_7095 Fig and ginger loaf. Image: Su Leslie 2020

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?)


Janet at This, That and the Other Thing has made a cinnamon chip Danish which looks utterly delicious. And she’s serving pu-erh tea in a beautiful clay pot.

Check out Ju-Lyn’s recipe for lemon drizzle cake at All Things Bright and Beautiful — and wish her a speedy recovery from a dislocated toe. Ouch!

Little Pieces of Me joins us too, and you might want to send best wishes to her too — an injured knee is causing pain.

Irene at My Slice of Mexico has made some wonderful chocolate pineapple-jam filled sponges, with jam she made too. She has included her recipe, and a really fascinating history of the pineapple, so please visit.

Lois at On Pets and Prisoners has brought some fragrant magnolia and cinnamon sticks to adorn our table.

A Wonderful Sheep has visited Veganique, a vegan bakery located in her Seoul neighbourhood, and bought a delicious banana coconut pound cake and Earl Grey Tea. Like so many small businesses, the bakery is suffering during the pandemic. You can check out their goodies on Instagram, and in these times, even social media support is helpful.

LadyLeeManila is sharing some delicious chocolate cupcakes and marbled brownies. Yum.

Sarah at Art Expedition has baked a beautiful flour-less hazelnut cake from her grandmother’s recipe. It looks delicious and is all the more special for being part of the thread that binds generations of women together.

Jo at Restless Jo is enjoying a luscious-looking carob and orange cake and a rather yummy-looking filled doughnut.

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind has made a delicious platter that includes fresh fruit and some cheesy Vegemite crackers. For everyone who doesn’t know about Vegemite (or its rivalry with Marmite), you have to read the comments on Tracy’s post.

Del at Curls and Skirls has made a delicious spice cake, and is trying out a cornmeal cookie recipe. It’s wonderful,how bakers are being so inventive in the face of the flour shortages.





83 thoughts on “Tea time in the blogosphere

  1. Pingback: Tea-rrific! | This, that and the other thing

  2. Pingback: Lemon Drizzle Cake for a Virtual Tea Party – All things bright and beautiful

  3. My word Su you are a creative pastry cook extraordinare. I smiled as you put in the throw away line, choux pastry that is “pretty easy” I’ve only tried it once with disastrous results, but I love your savoury offering. It certainly is good to have more freedom and, so far, people seem to be sticking to social distance guidelines. I’m looking forward to meeting a friend for a picnic in the park, but weather has turned a bit cold this week, maybe next week will be better….like you I have a number of projects on the go so don’t plan on going out for a while yet. I actually am enjoying the stay at home lifestyle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Pauline.
      I was really lucky to find the Edmond’s recipe for choux pastry and it seems failsafe. I did try an alternative; complete disaster. And of course I was baking for a party so much panic ensued!

      I’ve had a couple of medical appointments re-booked for next week, so I think it may be when I finally face the world again. I am enjoying being at home very much too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I still have that Edmonds cook book tucked away in the cupboard. It was one of my first cook books way back in the 1960’s when I was a beginner cook and housewife. Should fish it out again. I tend to use google if I want a specific recipe, but still love browsing cook books.


  4. Pingback: Hi Ho, It’s Off To Tea We Go – Reflections of An Untidy Mind

  5. I’m really getting into the spirit of this, Su. Thank you for connecting us. That all looks delicious. You’ve gone to a lot of trouble. The fig and ginger loaf is taking my fancy this month. You can never have enough ginger. ❤ Love that gorgeous pink tea cup and saucer too.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. I might think I’d died and gone to heaven if you offered me a slice of that fig and ginger cake, Sue! 🙂 🙂 And that delightfully dainty cup and saucer reminds me of something from my Mam’s old china cabinet. How full of memories that was! Mostly gone their separate ways, sadly. And that’s a bit how I’m feeling this week. I’ve been playing with a postcard collection that dates back to the 1960s- some happy memories, some not and I find myself in a bit of a trough of despair. I need to give myself a shake and get out n the sun, while it’s there, because it’s been a mixed bag of weather.
    I forgot to prepare you a post, Su, but hopefully I can pop back later. Have a good week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jo, I’m so sorry to hear you’ve got the blues. I hope some sunshine, a good walk and maybe cake will help (not being flippant; I really do understand the dark days).

      Sending hugs and virtual cake to you.


      • Just hard to plot a course right now, Su. I’m happy enough if I can’t travel outside of Portugal, but I’m desperate to have James and his family here at the end of July, and there’s so much conflicting information! I’m up and down like a yo-yo! Thanks for understanding 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: A flawed invitation! | restlessjo

  8. I am drooling at the thought of choux pastry filled with cream cheese and the chocolate crackle. That fig and ginger cake is certainly to die for! I find baking a stress-buster and often turn to it these days.
    Lovely tea spread, Su. Thanks a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Aww – I’m drooling, Su!! So many delicious baked goodies!! You quite overwhelm me and my tastebuds (not complaining though 😉 ). 😀 The choux pastry looks so good, I need to give that a try too one day! And the chocolate crackles sound and look great! I’ve never heard of them before but can imagine what a success they were at every birthday party. 😀 Anything chocolate in it is awesome, and ginger too. But the fig and ginger loaf now that has stolen the show (even if you’re not happy with it being too crumbly, which I don’t care a fig for since it’s the taste I’m after 😉 )! There can never be enough figs – they’re one of my favorite fruits. 😀 What a lovely tea time I had with you – and now excuse me please, I need to tidy up: I’m covered with crumbs and saliva from head to toe, not pretty!! 😂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much.
      I found a choux pastry recipe that seems fail-safe (my attempt with a different recipe was a massive fail) so I make it quite often as T loves eclairs.
      I will definitely try and perfect the loaf, as I really like it too and would love to share the recipe. I think I may have to use dried figs though; our tree is nearly bare and I won’t be able to buy fresh figs.

      Liked by 1 person

      • May I ask if you’d share your choux pastry recipe with me? I tried baking a French Tarte Tatin last weekend for Mother’s Day and completely failed making the caramel. 😂 So now I’ve lost faith in my baking powers. 😂 I rescued it by using chestnut cream instead which was rather yummy but looked like it had already been eaten! 😂😂 (will share pics in the changing seasons 😉)

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Tea time in the blogosphere with Su Leslie – Ladyleemanila

  11. Pingback: Veganique – Vegan Bakery in Seoul – A wonderful sheep

  12. Chocolate crackles must be bird’s nests! Yes please to the recipe. This looks like a no-bake dessert I can make. 🙂 Rice cakes and crystallized ginger are something I can easily get! I also love the designs of the tea cups and saucers in today’s tea party.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I bought the cup/saucer/plate set in an antique shop (probably for too much money) because I love the design.
      The crackles are quick to make; as long as you can heat water to melt chocolate and coconut oil, you’re in business. I need to try and get the quantities right before I share the recipe — this batch is more crumbly than the last and I am terrible at just throwing in whatever it to hand and not documenting it.


  13. So glad you made Chocolate Crackles Su 🙂 I am very remiss in not being able to get myself together to contribute this month. I love the idea of a grown up version of CC’s Maybe next month my inner child may create a blast from the past.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Lovely tea party! Your sweet treats look delicious especially the chocolate crackles! Here is the UK the lockdown has started a phased return to “normality” which could change depending on how the virus develops! I’m still at home writing posts and photo projects keeping myself busy! Light is at the end of the tunnel! Have a fab weekend xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much.
      We are also in the next phase, with shops and cafes, etc open again. Schools re-open next week so it will be interesting to see what happens in the coming weeks.
      Wishing you a great weekend too.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Chocolate, ginger, fig – all favourites just add some orange! I’d love to join you, but I don’t have any baking to share, I tend not to bake as then we’d have to eat it and my waistline is already wide enough 😢 I did make courgette and feta muffins at the weekend, but forgot to take a photo and I don’t have any pretty cups.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: rdp: pronounced…for a tea party | ….on pets and prisoners…..

  17. Pingback: Chunky Pineapple Jam – My Slice of Mexico

    • Thank you so much for joining us, and for sharing the history of pineapple. I actually had wondered about why pineapples appear on building facades — I’d never have guessed the reason.


  18. Pingback: Tea With Su – Little Pieces Of Me

  19. Su, snap regarding the chocolate crackles as we were talking yesterday about what treats we enjoyed at our childhood birthday parties.

    Those were the days when brought goods were a big no-no, and baking at home was compulsory. If you didn’t know how to bake you soon learnt. Do you remember that no older ever came visiting without a Tupperware container full of goodies for us all? I did bake some pumpkin and turmeric muffins though too late for morning tea as I was pounding the pavement 🙂 Love the tea set and the fig loaf, yummy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do! Baking is such a useful life skill and it is a shame that fewer people seem to be doing it now. My son used to love baking with me when he was little and I was so proud of him a few weeks ago when he baked a cake for his girlfriend’s birthday. With their flat in lock-down, they couldn’t go out to celebrate so all the flatmates got together and made food to share.
      I love the idea of pumpkin and turmeric muffins. Yum!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Pingback: Come for Tea! | Curls n Skirls

  21. Oh dear, I’m really late to this tea party, and I expect I’ll find nothing but crumbs! I’m not keen on figs, but everything else looks delicious and now I know where the dark chocolate was going. Those rice crispy cakes (or cornflakes sometimes) were also a staple of childhood parties here. I think mum put sultanas in them too, and I do remember them as being quite yummy.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Su I love your tea party blog.
    Alice came to my tea party but the food was not as tasty as yours.
    When Pauline and I next visit Aotearoa we will let you know and you can bake a cake, or those chocolate crackles with the ginger would be delectable.


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