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.

 

Getting ready

Preparation. Join me tomorrow for another virtual tea party and find out what I’ve got planned for these ingredients.


In January, when I posted the first monthly virtual afternoon tea, it just seemed like a nice excuse to bake a cake and share a few random thoughts with you.

I had no idea that within a few weeks millions of people would be living our lives in an increasingly virtual space; avoiding overseas travel, working from home, stock-piling loo paper (NOT GUILTY OF THAT ONE) and suddenly showering elderly relatives with the attention they have always deserved.

Self-isolation, social distancing, flattening the curve; phrases that meant little or nothing in January, have become not only part of our everyday speech, but principles guiding daily life.

Luckily, my local grocer has been spared panic-buying of baking ingredients, so I’m off to make a few treats to share with you tomorrow.

Hope you can join me. Face-masks NOT required, and virtual hugging positively encouraged.