My niece Erika is having a baby, so a few weeks ago I threw her a baby shower. A big baby shower. Around sixty people showed up for the English tea party themed celebration. She’s decorating baby Weston’s nursery with a London theme, so an English tea party seemed very apropos. Her very talented graphic designer sister, Alexa, designed (and mailed – thank Goodness) brilliant London themed invites. I am always thankful to host an event every so often as it is vital to the sanitary condition of my house ; it makes me clean….it makes me clean, thoroughly!
I started baking a couple of days ahead of time and froze ahead what I could. I definitely had enough for 60 people, perhaps even 70 or 80, and I didn’t even make all that I had planned. A fun resource for all things english tea party is downtonabbeycooks.com. For decorations I bought twenty 4″x6″ British flags, removed the sticks and sewed them to red double fold bias tape for a festive garland, used british toothpick flags to hold the sandwiches together, union jack and royal guard napkins and plenty of tea pots.
Here was my menu for the day:
- Pimeneto Cheese and Arugula Sandwiches
- Benedictine Cucumber Sandwiches
- Egg Salad Sandwiches
- Coronation Chicken Sandwiches
- Open faced Tomato Pesto with Bacon Sandwiches
- Mushroom Turnovers
- Tomato Tart
- Spinach Balls
- Cheese Boxes
- Blackberry Jam Cake
- Lemon Drizzle Cake
- Apricot Glazed Pound Cake
- Scones with Strawberry Jam
- Louise Cake
- Lemon Almond Bars
- Nanaimo Bars
- Welsh Cheescake
Today I’ll share the sandwich recipes with you. With the exception of the open faced tomato pesto sandwiches, I used buttermilk white bread from Costco. I didn’t keep exact count of how many sandwiches I made. I used approximately half of the pimento cheese and cucumber fillings and three quarters of the chicken filling and still had leftover sandwiches. The egg salad ran out, so next time I will double the amount. Of course, I cut off the crusts of the sandwiches to fancify them and cut them into different shapes, i.e. some were little triangles and others rectangles.
I am fascinated with all things southern. Who knows why….perhaps it was my birth and first years of life in Meridian, Mississippi? What’s not to like about a culture where sweet tea is the norm? So, when I was thinking up fillings for my English tea sandwiches I immediately thought of pimento cheese, a sandwich staple of the south. I love my Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook that I got in Oxford, Mississippi while on our Tennessee College Road trip, so I used a recipe out it. I had never actually tried pimento cheese, so now was my chance. I like it. I made way too much of it by doubling the recipe, but I like it. I served it spread over the white bread with baby arugula on top. Colorful and cheesy!
Great Aunt Ellas Pimento Cheese
adapted from The Southern Foodway Alliance Community Cookbook
- 20 oz. (about 5 cups) cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 (4 oz.) jar whole pimentos, drained
- 1/2 cup – 1 cup, divided best foods mayonnaise
- 1/4 t. onion powder
- 1/4 t. ground cayenne pepper
- 1/4 t. worcestershire sauce
- pinch of sugar
- Pulse the cheese and pimentos together in a food processor until pimentos finely chopped.
- Add 1/2 cup mayonnaise and pulse to combine.
- Add the onion powder, cayenne, Worcestershire and sugar and pulse to mix until smooth.
- The pimento cheese should be a solid color; the pimentos don’t show. It should be the consistency of thick paste, but if it is too dry, add more mayonnaise and pulse to combine.
- Makes 3 cups.
From the same Southern Food Alliance Community Cookbook I got the recipe for Benedictine Spread, a mainstay of Louisville, Kentucky parties. It’s a cucumber spread and is often paired up on sandwiches with bacon.
adapted from The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook
- 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and grated
- 10 oz. cream cheese, at room temp
- 2 T. grated onion
- coarse sea salt
- ground black pepper
- Drain the cucumbers in a colander set over a bowl in a refrigerator for about 2 hours.
- Discard the liquid and transfer the cukes to a food processor.
- Pulse with the cream cheese and onion to combine.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Cover a refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Great for finger sandwiches.
- Makes about 2 cups.
I love egg salad sandwiches and so, apparently, did the ladies…..they devoured them! Next time, I will double the recipe.
Egg Salad for tea sandwiches
- 14 eggs, hardboiled and peeled
- 1 cup plus more as needed best foods mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
- 1/8 cup chives, chopped
- 1/8 cup capers, chopped (optional)
- 1/8 cup sweet pickles, finely chopped (optional – I didn’t add this time)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Smash up eggs with the tines of a fork (or any way you like to do it).
- Add the mayo gradually until you have the consistency you like. Add more mayo if it is too dry.
- Mix in the chives, dill, capers and pickles. Feel free to adjust the amounts to your taste – nothing is sacred here.
- Salt and Pepper to taste.
You have to have some coronation chicken salad at a tea party. Delicious!
Coronation Chicken Salad for a lot tea sandwiches
- 4 cups chicken breasts, cooked and chopped into small chunks
- 1 1/2 cups best foods mayonnaise
- 2 T. curry powder
- 1/2 cup Major Greys mango chutney
- 1 cup celery, diced
- Here is a reminder….buy your chicken breasts with the skin on and bake with a little oil and salt and pepper for the juiciest chicken salad meat.
- Mix together the chicken, celery, mayo, curry powder and chutney. All of the amounts can be adjusted per your palate. I like a lot of curry powder.
Late last year I discovered Cibo Naturals Sundried Tomato Pesto with basil. This stuff is amazingly delicious, so I thought I’d make some open-faced sandwiches of pugliese bread slices spread with the tomato pesto and topped with a slice of bacon and cherry tomato half secured with a British flag. Okay, maybe a more Italian themed sandwich, but delicious and adorable, right? So, imagine my horror when I went to Costco and there was no tomato pesto. Luckily, I had an old jar of it in the fridge so I could see the ingredients….So, I’m sure this is not an exact replication, but I was pretty pleased with it and it tasted good.
- 2 1/2 cups sundried tomatoes packed in oil (I used the Costco kind), do no drain the oil
- 2 red pepper, seeded and chopped up
- 3/8 cup basil, chopped
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 T. balsamic vinegar
- 1 t. plus more as needed salt
- pepper to taste
- olive oil as needed ( I did not need any)
- In a food processor, blend together tomatoes, red peppers, basil, almonds, garlic and vinegar until you have a smooth paste about the consistency of basil pesto. Add salt to taste.
- You can add some olive oil if it is too dry…I did not need to using the Costco sundried tomatoes packed in oil.