Virtual Afternoon Tea, February 2021

Peach galette. Image: Su Leslie 2021

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

I don’t know about you, but I really need this cuppa. What a week it’s been.

First of all, some minor eye surgery I was meant to have on Monday was rescheduled … to this afternoon. Then Auckland went into a mini Covid lock-down and I was sure my appointment would be moved again.

It was, but was brought forward to this morning.

So by the time you read this I should be back home, though probably with blurry vision.

Just as well this is a virtual tea party; you won’t be able to see if I drop food or slop my tea.

Homemade oatcakes. Image: Su Leslie 2021

I love Scottish oatcakes and have been thinking for a while I should make some. I found a recipe in Maw Broon’s Cookbook (my bible for Scottish cooking) plus many more online. I also found huge variation.

Some recipes specify wheat flour as well as oats. Some include a raising agent; others not. Some contain sugar (ugh). The proportions of dry and wet ingredients varies; as does the ratios of different kinds of oats. Most include butter or lard, but one suggested goose fat.

Needless to say, I’ve experimented (though not with goose fat). The Big T and I have (stoically) chomped our way through several batches now and I’m generally happy with the results.

Especially with a little bit of brie and some peach and Scotch Bonnet preserve.

Oatcakes, brie, and peach chilli preserve. Image: Su Leslie 2021

You may have already guessed that my favourite golden queen peaches are still in season, still utterly delicious, and still on the menu.

I’m not really a pastry lover, but I found a nice-looking recipe for a peach galette, which was also ridiculously simple. And since the Big T made such positive noises when I suggested it, what could I do?

Just baked. Peach galette. Image: Su Leslie 2021

I confess I modified the pastry slightly, replacing some of the flour and butter with almond meal. That accounts for the slightly darker, mottled colour and crumblier texture — which I liked — but I think T would prefer it if I just stuck to the recipe.

I also baked some banana walnut bread, which turned out super-moist and more like cake. You could butter yours, but I think I prefer it without. Just a nice flat white.

Banana bread and a flat white. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Pull up a chair, grab a plate and help yourself. Tell me what you’ve been up to? What’s happening in your world?  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.

#virtualteaparty2021 for anyone on Instagram who wants to post images (or video?)


Despite a fierce storm, my co-host Del (CurlsnSkirls) has made some delicious cranberry bread, and shared the recipe.

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind has baked what looks to me like a wonderfully gourmet damper — which is Australian bush-bread.

Fellow Kiwi Leanne joins us this month, with a wonderful Blueberry Lemon Verbena Bundt Cake. Please visit her at The Herbalist’s Cottage and say hello.

Janet at This,That and the Other Thing has made some totally yummy-looking macaroons (not macarons).

Sarah from Art Expedition has baked some oat shortbread cookies which look utterly delicious. Pop over to try one, or some pomegranate turkish delight. You can also find out what Sarah’s been reading — a great source of book recommendations don’t you think?

Irene at My Slice of Mexico is celebrating her third anniversary blogging, and has shared an absolute feast with us. Do visit her post to see the yummy dishes and recipes.

Jo at RestlessJo is sharing treats from Valentine’s Day and a special family birthday.

Ladyleemanila is enjoying a slice of apple crumble cake amidst some beautiful flowers.

Deb at The Widow Badass has not only created a wonderful comfort food feast (hint, pasta, pancakes and rice pudding), but has wrapped it all up in a lovely, funny post with lots of photos. Go and see for yourself.

ReginaMary at Cosmicknitter has some very elegant-looking tea and chocolate chip scones.

Streusel-topped blueberry muffins from Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful. What can I say ….. yuuuum.

Yvette at Priorhouse Blog has found a delicious combination of English Breakfast tea and Frooze Balls — a little sweet treat made here in Auckland. How cool that Yvette can buy them in a shop near her place.

Virtual Afternoon Tea, January 2021

Image: Su Leslie 2021

Major General Urquhart:
Hancock. I’ve got lunatics laughing at me from the woods. My original plan has been scuppered now that the jeeps haven’t arrived. My communications are completely broken down. Do you really believe any of that can be helped by a cup of tea?

Corporal Hancock:
Couldn’t hurt, sir

From the film, A Bridge Too Far (1977) Dir. Richard Attenborough

On that note; wherever you are, and whatever is happening in your world, Kia ora. Tau Hou mai i Aotearoa  (Greetings. Happy New Year from Aotearoa).

With Auckland’s hot, dry weather showing no signs of easing, I’ve made my first ever iced tea.

My past experiences with this drink (generally the sort that comes in a bottle from the corner shop) left me a bit underwhelmed. Then I read about cold- brewing; which is essentially adding cold water to tea leaves (it works best with green or white teas apparently) and allowing them to infuse for a long time (think 12 hours in the fridge). This avoids the bitterness, and consequently the (for me, excessive) sugar which is meant to balance it.

It works — certainly for the Big T and me. I’ve experimented with adding kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and mint to different brews (lemongrass is my favourite), and stirring through about 1/2 teaspoon of coconut sugar per cup to the finished product. I’ve experimented too with warmed honey (which certainly dissolves better), but I’m keen to hear from any iced tea drinkers your preferred sweeteners — and additional flavourings.

Iced green tea. Works well with these mini tartlets. Image: Su Leslie 2021

So on to the food.

I’ve just bought a copy of the new Yotam Ottolenghi book — Flavour — and am in love with all things charred. I hope you don’t me experimenting on you with these little tartlets (using my “cheat” baked dumpling-wrapper pastry).

First of all we have grilled prawn with charred fennel and lemon sorrel mayonnaise. I love prawn and fennel together, and the mayonnaise is based on one we were served in Matisse — a wine bar in Napier. My version uses Rick Stein’s Lemon Mayonnaise recipe (from Fruits of the Sea) with a big handful of blitzed-up sorrel from the garden.

Grilled prawn, charred fennel, lemon sorrel mayonnaise. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Or, if you prefer, we have grilled peach with Kapiti Baby Kikorangi blue cheese and thyme.

Grilled peaches, blue cheese and thyme. Image: Su Leslie 2021

My favourite Golden Queen peaches have quite a short season, so I’m making the most of them at the moment. This is the first time I’ve served them grilled in a savory dish, and I quite like it.

The cheese is quite mild, but does seem to balance the (fairly sweet) peach. If there’s a Mark #2 version, I’ll be adding some acid. A balsamic glaze would work — even though the Big T will have a field day reminding me of all the things I’ve said about the ubiquity of this in NZ restaurants.

Homemade Christmas cake and English Breakfast tea. Image: Su Leslie 2021

And if none of this is appealing, hopefully a slice of Christmas cake and a proper cuppa will hit the spot.

As we begin a year that shows no signs of being easier than the last, it feels more important than ever to connect with the people we care about. For me, sharing food has always been an expression of aroha (love); even when it’s delivered virtually. So pull up a chair and help yourself.

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.

#virtualteaparty2021 for anyone on Instagram who wants to post images (or video?)


Janet, from This, That and the Other Thing has an Irish theme with Irish Breakfast tea AND home-made soda bread. Yum!

Irene at My Slice of Mexico has made some delicious waffle-iron churros; perfect for dunking in hot chocolate. And she’s included her recipe.

Aggie from Nomad joins us from her new(ish) home in London. A hot cuppa is perfect in an English winter.

My lovely co-host, Del at Curls n Skirls has produced a feast. Cheese, fruit and crackers, chicken sandwiches and chocolate cake. Can I go straight for dessert please?

Yvette from Priorhouse Blog has brought some key lime cheesecake to have with tea.

Ladyleemanila is serving pancit, coleslaw and vegetable quiche with some hot apple tea. Perfect!

Be sure to pop over to Deb’s (The Widow Badass) and drool over her Christmas Black Forest Trifle. And read the hilarious back-story!

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful has brought us a wonderful persimmon loaf. I love persimmons and can’t wait until they are in season to try the recipe she’s thoughtfully included.