Virtual afternoon tea, November 2020

Strawberry season has arrived. Image: Su Leslie

Wherever you are, and whatever is happening in your world, Kia ora koutou katoa  (Greetings. Hello to you all). 

As we approach the end of a year unlike any that most of us have experienced, it feels more important than ever to connect in whatever way we can. For me, sharing food has always been an expression of aroha (love); even when it’s delivered virtually.

This month, we’ve got some little mini pancakes with a mix of toppings; avocado, creme fraiche, smoked salmon, roasted cherry tomatoes and prosciutto. I first made these for a whanau get-together and they’ve proved popular ever since.

Canapes. Mini pancakes with a variety of toppings. Image; Su Leslie

This fruit bread uses surplus sourdough starter in place of a portion of the flour/liquid. It’s the first time I’ve made it and confess I find it a little sweet. Perhaps I’ll serve it with a sharp cheese next time.

Spiced fruit bread and tea. Image; Su Leslie

Strawberry season has arrived in New Zealand, with my local greengrocer stocking berries from one of the few remaining local growers. When I was a child, strawberry growing was common all around Auckland’s rural fringe, and it was a regular part of our summer to be taken berry picking. When I think how much fruit was diverted into our mouths instead of the picking buckets, I wonder how the growers made any money.

Lemon shortbread, mascarpone and strawberries. Image: Su Leslie

I knew I wanted to include strawberries in our afternoon tea fare, but also to keep things simple. The biscuits are lemon shortbread, the cream is mascarpone and the strawberries were macerated for about 30 minutes. I think the lemon and the tart cream work quite well to offset the sweetness of the shortbread and berries. And the Big T says “yum” — so I’m considering them a success.

Pull up a chair, grab a plate and help yourself. There’s some English Breakfast tea and a lemon verbena and apple tisane brewing — and the coffee machine is on.

Tell me what’s happening in your world.

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 kai and korero. 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?)


Aggie at Nomad has brought a pear and almond tart — one of my favourite combinations.

Jo from Restless Jo is sharing her birthday cheesecake — raspberry with a chocolate base. Happy (belated) birthday Jo.

Sheree at View from the Back joins us with a lovely tea from Mariage Frères, and pistachio financieres.

Amanda from Surprising Lives has some delicious-looking breadsticks. Yummy and crunchy.

Sarah at Art Expedition has baked cinnamon rolls, and found this wonderful quote “Anyone who gives you a cinnamon roll fresh out of the oven is a friend for life.” Daniel Handler. I think you’ve totally cemented our friendship Sarah.

Irene at My Slice of Mexico is a wonderful cook and food writer. Not only does she share some delicious treats, but also the recipes. This month we’re trying Cocadas de yema – Yolk Coconut Sweets. Yum.

Kristine at Candid Kay joins for the first time with a heartfelt post about values and hope.

Amanda’s (A Home by the Sea) chocolate orange cake looks yummy — and she’s shared the recipe.

Deb at The Widow Badass has tested out a new recipe for limoncello and ricotta almond cake. It looks delicious — and she’s linked to the recipe.

Del at CurlsnSkirls has baked some cranberry scones and some savoury digestive biscuits. I am definitely going to try these.

Ju-Lyn from All Things Bright and Beautiful not only makes the most delicious goodies, but shares the recipe too. This month we’re enjoying cornflake chocolate chip marshmallow cookies.


85 thoughts on “Virtual afternoon tea, November 2020

  1. The strawberries look especially delicious, Su. I wish I were joining in, and I meant to, but worth being under the weather it just didn’t happen. I have plenty tea but no goodies. Think how many calories I saved, though. ☹️


    Liked by 4 people

  2. That looks delicious, Su. If the Big T is recommending the lemon shortbread, then that is what I’ll have.
    I had planned to be organised this month, but it didn’t happen. I’ve been working on my mosaic so it is hard to concentrate on anything else.

    I was going to make a run to the cafe and pick something up for today, but I had a terrible bout of hayfever/asthma last night. Worst hayfever season in 30 years apparently. There is a current thunderstorm asthma warning in place here so I’m pretty sure my symptoms are related. However, best to be on the safe side by keeping away from people. If it doesn’t resolve in the next day, I’ll pop off for a covid test, but I am confident that won’t be necessary.

    Have you got any plans for the weekend?

    Liked by 4 people

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  5. You are such a fabulous hostess. You put me to shame, Su. But I’m with you in spirit despite being a rubbish cook.
    A bit of a rough ride here right now. Having maintained a good record so far, the virus has crept up on us. A friend is critically ill in hospital, on oxygen and various drips, and a neighbour is confined to home. I didn’t want to write about it in my post. Let’s keep it light, but there’s no doubt we’re all feeling a lot more cautious. We have a small group of friends whom we see often and will continue to walk with them when we can. Sorry to be gloomy, Su. I do love your lemon shortbreads. 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Well I am going to be greedy and have one of everything. I love avocado and roasted tomatoes and all those pancake toppings. And a couple of the strawberry shortbread. We like marscapone on top of an oat and ginger biscuit. Less sweet, but very yummy. A strawberry on top would be nice. I’ll pass on the fruit bread and tea. Thanks for the invitation 😘

    Liked by 4 people

    • Lovely to have your company. I’ll pinch your idea of mascarpone on an oat/ginger biscuit; thank you. I haven’t used it on bikkies before, but I dislike whipped cream so I always need something else to pair with strawberries.


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    • I used a recipe for sultana quick bread that I found on It wasn’t specifically a sourdough discard recipe, but I substituted the starter for some of the flour and water. I can’t remember the exact proportions (and I am hopeless at remembering to write these things down). But I will probably make it again and post the recipe if that helps.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Awesome. That will be perfect, Su. I look forward to seeing it. I like experimenting with recipes but I didn’t know you could substitute starter for flour and water, but it makes perfect sense as that is what starter is, isn’t it?

        Liked by 1 person

          • I did make some sourdough starter ( leftover ) pancakes with some garlic and butter and they were delicious. However, as the mix soured they did get a bit too tart to eat regularly. I must google some more ideas.


  8. I think I’ve said it before but I’m happy to say it again: every time I come over to your tea party I think ‘she can surely not be better than last time’ – and you ALWAYS proof me wrong, Su!! 😂
    This looks just all so very delicious I could take a bath in it (and thus, purely accidentally of course, keep everyone else from having a nibble 😉)! The combination of lemon shortbread, mascarpone cream and strawberries sounds just utterly amazing! I’m salivating just thinking how it must taste! 😄
    And the canapes look so perfect- one bite is all it takes and another, and another… 😀😉 And that porcelain accompanying the fruit cake is gorgeous!! Best party ever! (I know, I’ll say this again around the same time next month 😉) 💕💕

    Liked by 2 people

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  13. Hi there! I’m finally joining a tea party in proper fashion:). Just linked to your post from my own fresh post. Look to the bottom for my contribution–nothing beats a mini bundt cake on a cold autumn afternoon. Thanks for organizing! The treats look mouth-watering, as usual.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lots of shortbread left; I’ll make up a few more!
      I don’t buy imported strawberries either; partly because they never taste as good and partly because I can’t bring myself to contribute to the environmental consequences. I actually think part of the joy of food like strawberries is the anticipation of “the season.”

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m a lazy cook. There’s a key lime tree in my backyard (yellow key limes) and I love key lime pie, but most recipes require too much work.

    I’ve come up with the lazy person’s key lime pie:
    5 whole eggs, 3 cans of sweetened condensed milk, 2 tablespoons zest, 2/3 cup key lime juice.
    Create the tablespoons of zest by grating the key lime peel until you have 2 tablespoons (3, if you like a pie with more tart).

    To juice the key limes, squeeze them over a strainer that’s in a bowl until you have 2/3 cup of juice. Or you could do it the hard way and try to use a juicer. Really, it’s easier to squeeze it over a strainer.

    Mix the hell out of the sweetened condensed milk, 5 raw eggs, and zest. with an electric hand-held mixer. Then add the key lime juice and mix until just blended.

    Pour into 2 ready made graham cracker crusts. Bake at 3:50 for 15 – 20 minutes. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

    No, it’s not beautiful and it doesn’t glisten, that’s what whipped cream is for. But it does taste good.

    Liked by 2 people

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  19. I just did a virtual tea party post that kind of turned into a Covid19 when will everyone start making better choices rant. But there was comfort baking and a lovely photo of my saskatoon chocolate rye loaf. New to this concept of a virtual tea party – I did tag it as such but it there a “general site” for them or just post on my site and hope people explore the hash tag (like I am doing seems I have insomnia because I can’t sleep because of my head spinning)>

    Liked by 1 person

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