Virtual afternoon tea, December 2020

Christmas shortbread cookies. Image; Su Leslie 2020

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

Way back in January when Del and I started talking about a virtual tea party, we had no idea if anyone would read our posts — let alone want to join in. We just saw it as a fun way to share our love of kai and korero.

But perhaps because this extraordinary year has isolated, confined and frankly frightened so many of us, the idea of sharing virtual food and drinks doesn’t seem so strange after all.

And so we’ve reached the final tea party of 2020 and once again you’re giving me the chance to let you know how important you — my blogging whanau — are to me. Over the years you’ve shared your thoughts, stories, advice and support and I’m very grateful for that.

In an ideal world, I’d invite you all round to mine for a meal. But as that isn’t going to happen any time, I hope this will do instead.

Lettuce cups. Image; Su Leslie 2020

For many of you, Christmas is a mid-winter festival, and most of the associated foods are more appropriate for cold weather. But my Christmas will be spent in a humid Auckland summer, and my food choices reflect that.

Pomegranates don’t grow well here, so we only have them when they are imported from the US. And this is pomegranate season. I’ve used the tart juicy little arils as garnish on some lettuce cups — filled with orange, a feta/ricotta mix, mint and walnuts — and with some pea, feta and mint fritters. The recipe is from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Simple.

Yes, my garden is full of mint and it’s a taste I associate with summer.

Thank you Yotam Ottolenghi for this yummy and easy recipe. Image; Su Leslie 2020

The iced Christmas tree shortbread biscuits above were a bit out of my comfort zone, but I confess I did have fun making the little squiggly things — eventually.

And for those who aren’t fans of royal icing, I also baked some plain lemon shortbread and dusted them with rosemary flavoured sugar.

Lemon-rosemary shortbread. Image; Su Leslie 2020

Chocolate dipped strawberries. Image; Su Leslie 2020

And to finish … some fresh, locally-grown strawberries dipped in dark chocolate.

And maybe a glass or two of bubbles.

The invitation

I’d love to hear from you. How are you doing in this Covid-crazy world? 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 from This, That and the Other Thing has baked some delicious black forest biscotti.

Sarah at Art Expedition has made beautiful matcha and redcurrent cookies; her take on the German classic “Angel Eyes”. They look so delicious.

Joining us this month, Thistles and Kiwis has baked up a storm with some tomato toasts, buckwheat chocolate chip cookies and date scones (you all know my weakness for scones). Please pop over and say hi.

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind has laid a beautiful table in her outdoor lounge area. She has lots of yummy things to eat; including fresh cherries.

Lois from … On Pets and Prisoners … has joined us on her beautiful rustic horse. I love the magic of the blogosphere.

Aggie at Nomad joins us with a lovely tin of Farrah’s toffee. Yum!!!

Deb from The Widow Badass has shared her Christmas culinary adventures in a post that will have you laughing out loud.

Irene at My Slice of Mexico takes us on culinary Christmas tour of Mexico. And as always she includes links to her recipes.

Ju-Lyn from All Things Bright and Beautiful has baked scones (one of my favourite things to eat) and served them with lemon curd (one of my absolute favourite things to eat).

Yvette at Priorhouse blog has some zesty lemongrass tea to accompany a delicious chicken salad.

Coconut macaroons and ginger orange tea with Ladyleemanila? Sounds delicious.

Maybe you’d like to try Cranachan and raisin spice cake with Del at Curls n Skirls?

65 thoughts on “Virtual afternoon tea, December 2020

  1. Hurrah! It’s time for tea. I’ll have one of everything and two strawberries and glasses of bubbly. 🙂 I’m so glad you started this, Su, although like you, I’d love it if we could all be together in person.

    We’re doing well in the not-so-brave new world of 2020. Although we’ve called off Christmas at our house, leaving one daughter in Philadelphia, a sister-in-law in Ohio, and a daughter and son-in-law in California, we’ll be spending part of Christmas with my parents for the first time in many, many years and some time on Christmas Eve Day with my brother and his family. We’ll Zoom with everyone else at some point. What makes me angry this year? The incivility and downright nastiness of so many and it’s not limited to one political group or side. I ditched FB after one such nasty response to a very calm comment. (And I’m loving be off!) I miss being able to go to the library and browse and not being able to look for a new church yet because my husband’s worried about Covid. I’m also not happy about the Covid conflict of some people taking Covid seriously and others not and each side putting down the other. I’ll also be happy to be able to travel again. 🙂

    All in all, it hasn’t been a bad year for us, but so many are in dire financial straits and so many businesses are folding. I’m very thankful for the many blessings we still enjoy and always looking for ways to help.

    Anyway, cheers to the end of 2020 and hopefully of Covid. Thanks to all of you lovely people who so enrich my life. Here’s my tea offering. Enjoy.


    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Heavens, what a feast! On any other day I’d be giddy with excitement, Su, but today I have some farewells to say and I will be glad when the day is over. Much love to you and many thanks for being the perfect, sympathetic hostess. Wishing you peace and joy this Christmas 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ll have everything, Su. Wonderful, artistic post. You do know that you have singularly done what would normally be done by a whole team of very creative people? You are so incredibly talented. I am blown away by the “sets” – the food, the decorations, the photography, the presentation. Bravo! Amazing effort.
    I would also like to add how much I admire and appreciate you. Despite your own stresses and anxieties early on in the year, you have never failed to be anything but supportive and compassionate to your readers. Thank you so much.
    I need to ask one question though. Is this the end of our virtual afternoon teas? The Big T will be crushed and so will we. ❤
    Happy Christmas to you and your family, Su. May your 2021 be filled with kindness, family, friends and good health.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you so much Tracy for such lovely comments.

      These tea parties have grown and developed in ways I never imagined and I enjoy them so much. I originally committed to hosting for 12 months, but am happy to continue as long as people want to join in.

      Happy Christmas to you and your whanau.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It may be too much to do this type of activity so frequently, Su, so no pressure. It is really great to see these models of inclusive creativity being so well received. It is the complete opposite to the competitiveness of the likes of Masterchef, which, by the way, I find a complete turn-off. A metaphor for the covid era, right?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Monthly projects seem to be my forte Tracy. Any more often (especially with food challenges) and I’d hardly be able to move after a while, but if I leave things too long I forget them.

          Interestingly, I don’t mind Australian MasterChef precisely because, although it is competitive, it is the kindest version of any of these shows I’ve ever seen.

          Liked by 1 person

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  6. Wow! Just wow! This is definitely the most wonderful Christmas Tea party I ever had the good fortune to be part of! Feel free to fill my plate up with everything, please. 😉 Your Christmas cookies are a dream! I’ve never done any icing on my cookies – I’m far too lazy for that, but I now you’ve convinced me to give it a try one day. Although part of me thinks it’s a shame they’ll be eaten, artful as they are. 😉
    And those fritters are right up my street – actually I’m quite hungry now even though I just had breakfast – LOL!
    It’s been such a tough year for everyone, and I want to thank you for coming up with this wonderful idea to get together like this if only virtually to share our food and drinks and stories just as we’d love to do in person. I’ve been looking forward to our little parties every month, and I hope it will continue in the next year?
    Sending you a huge hug and much aroha, dear friend! xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much my dear friend. I’ll just go find a slightly larger plate for you 🙂

      Seriously; I so appreciate your company and friendship. The tea parties have taken on a life I never imagined and I really enjoy hosting them. I’ll continue as long as people want to join in.

      The icing took a bit of practice (on a sheet of parchment), but turned out to be easier than I expected. It does make the cookies very sweet though, so I’d recommend using lemon juice in place of water when you make the icing.

      The fritters are delicious, and quick to make. I’ll send you the recipe.

      Sending you much aroha xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Alright, alright – to be honest with you, I think it is a tad cruel to offer us strawberries dipped in chocolate when we’re in the midst of winter and most certainly should NOT buy straws in December….. but of course, you’re in the middle of the hot season – and what is actually more surprising that you still feel like baking Christmas cookies, which to me (again) sounds difficult to stomach when I only know them to be available in the cold weather! So, may I please go for those lovely looking lemon-rosmary short bread (sounds SO yummy!) and maybe after the red wine (or tea or Christmas Punsch or anything with cinnamon in it) we could change for the Christmas cookies (they look deli too!) and some of those strawberries? I know that sounds greedy but if there isn’t enough for everybody, I come back to my offer of a Kiki-Original-crisp-cheese-bacon-maybe-pear-and-walnut tart I sent over last week?? It only takes a slim slice (for an afternoon tea) so we can feed 10-12 on a 33cm dia tarte…. bon app

    Liked by 1 person

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  9. PS I’m not gonna comment on C19 or the political situation. You probably are, same as us, in a still rather privileged situation in your corner of the world and at least we here would complain on a very high level (if we were complaining, which we try not to!)

    Liked by 1 person

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  11. Su–I am standing in the doorway, not having walked into the party yet, and am in absolute awe of everything. The photos alone are a feast for the eyes, but the food….!! Everything, absolutely everything, looks delicious. I think I like the idea of you have summer food when, even here in sunny Florida, it is cold and the heat is coming up as we speak. Thank you for these lovely teas. I look forward to them every month. Cheers! **Now I fill my plate**

    Liked by 1 person

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  15. Su, I’m so glad you like to make cookies, ’cause I don’t! Your shortbreads look scrummy, and their decorations are exquisite!!! And those fritters are a must try for me!
    It’s been quite a wild year, hasn’t it? Up here it will probably get wilder the closer we get to 20 January, but at least an end is in sight. Sort of… sigh!
    Thank you so much for this past year of working together, Su. It’s provided some of my best memories of 2020 ~ I can think of it as the year we started the virtual tea party.
    Many warm hugs and best wishes!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. The presentation and photography of your scrumptious food makes it all the more inviting in this virtual world we now almost call normal. I have not done much blogging this year (apart from the monthly “changing seasons” ) but I love scrolling through my reader and catching up with my favourite bloggers and you are most definitely on that list. That last bubbly photo is so artistic I will definitely raise a glass to 2021, May, hopefully, even get to NZ next year… oh and I’d love a couple of those strawberries. Hope you have a peaceful and joyous Christmas and best wishes for next year.


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