At Christmas I decided to host a Christmas themed afternoon tea party for my family. I thoroughly enjoyed putting together a menu, searching for unique recipes and creating my own. I also learnt some valuable lessons when it comes to hosting, time keeping and preparation.
Despite buying in ingredients weeks before and being incredibly organised, luck it seems, was not on my side. As I merrily began preparing the pastries and baking the cupcakes on Christmas Eve, fate decided to test me. There were terrible storms in Somerset with entire towns losing power, so it was incredibly unfortunate that a power surge caused my oven to break just as I put it in the first batch of stilton puffs. A visit from the electrician revealed the needed part couldn’t be ordered until after Christmas, so a state of panic began to set in. Thankfully my mum saved the day and rushed out to buy a mini worktop oven, just before Christmas eve closing hours. But just as I thought everything was back on schedule, the cupcake baking tray wouldn’t fit into the mini oven. Panic round two! Luckily a neighbour came to the rescue providing baking trays! Remarkably despite all of these complications, the afternoon tea was a success!
I wanted to create a twist for each dish so instead of just chocolate truffles, I had whiskey chocolate truffles with chocolate and raspberry shards. Even the pineapple, ham and cheddar appetisers were made a little more interesting by caramelising the pineapple – which tastes absolutely heavenly!
My Christmas Afternoon Tea menu
Cranberry bellinis to start
– Savoury –
A selection of festive finger sandwiches
Toasted walnut and stilton slices
Goats cheese and caramelised onion tartlets
Sugared cranberry and brie bites
Melting stilton puffs
Mini jacket potato’s with sour cream and chive
Caramelised pineapple, cheddar and ham appetisers
– Sweet –
Raspberry, cream and white chocolate tartlets with shimmering almonds
Whiskey chocolate truffles topped with chocolate and raspberry shards
Chocolate medallions adorned in gold lustre dust and raspberry flakes
Christmas red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
Tea served with Christmas sugar cubes
The whisky truffles with raspberry chocolate shards were a real treat! Made using Beurre noisette they had a delicate hazelnut taste which was just sublime
The cream and raspberry tartlets with shimmering almonds were my own recipe. I had alot of fun putting flavours together, and the almonds and white chocolate flakes on top worked wonderfully. These were the first tartlets I have ever made, so the shape needs some work, but I was so pleased with them!
What afternoon tea would be complete without a selection of finger sandwiches. Filled with a variety of festive fillings it was a great way to use left over ingredients and cheeses
These miniature baked potatoes with sour cream and chives are so easy and quick to prepare and still taste delicious.
I made these angel, christmas tree and candycane sugar cubes to add some christmas spirit to tea. These are ever so easy to do and can be done using a variety of shapes and colours. I used miniature christmas cookie cutters which were perfect! To make the candy cane sugar cubes I made both the red and un-coloured sugar in separate bowls, created lines on a sheet of baking paper and then used a cookie cutter to shape them. They were a little fiddly but looked charming!
These indulgent chocolate medallions are so easy to make but make wonderful gifts. You can top them with dried fruit and nuts but I went for freeze dried raspberries and edible gold lustre dust for added glamour.
Instead of just vanilla cupcakes, I wanted to make some red velvet cupcakes for a festive twist. This was a big risk as the only time I’d made red velvet cupcakes prior to this was a few years ago, and they didn’t turn out too well. These were made using a recipe from Lily Vanilli’s Sweet Tooth – my holy grail of recipe books and my go-to kitchen aid. Having tried several of her recipes with every single one turning out brilliantly from the first try, I decided to trust Lily Vanilli’s recipe and baked these on the day. They turned out perfectly! I used cream cheese frosting and made some holly leaves and berries using royal icing.
Sugared cranberry and brie bites are so simple but look so festive. A cracker, a slice of brie, a little cranberry sauce and then sugar dipped cranberries to add some sparkle and voilà!
The cranberry bellinis were just divine! Made using the juice of fresh cranberries, orange juice and prosecco these bellinis are as delicious and as merry as they look. They really are christmas in a cocktail.
I took a lot of risks when making this afternoon tea as I hadn’t had time to test out any of the recipes. I felt like I was baking blind at first, but to my surprise each dish received an abundance of compliments. I was also shocked by how much food I had actually made when I finally put it out on the table, prior to this I was fearing everyone might starve because I’d made too little – my judgement was way off!
The most I host the more I learn about getting in spare ingredients, considering other peoples dietary needs, what I can prepare in advance and how much to make for a certain amount of people. Although I have learnt to prepare for any situation, I will admit a freak storm causing the oven to break and then not having small enough baking trays for a new mini oven were not scenarios I had considered! But I am glad that despite all these obstacles I entertained my loved ones with delicious food and had so much fun doing so. I am incredibly proud of this tea party!
I want to thank my mum and sister for allowing me to take over the kitchen, helping me when I nearly had a break down upon realising our oven was broken, rushing into town to buy me a new one and patiently assisting me before the afternoon tea. I couldn’t have done it without you so thank you! I also want to thank my Grandparents who kindly allowed me to host it at there house and bravely tried my food!
I cannot wait to host again and I’m planning a summer afternoon tea party this year! Expect lots of pastels, flowers and fruity treats!
My favourite recipes! Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting the following recipes so you can create your own treats at home ! Perfect for Valentines day, your own dinner party or a celebration!
Whisky chocolate truffles with chocolate shards
Chocolate medallions with gold lustre dust and raspberry flakes
Raspberry, cream and white chocolate tartlets with shimmering almonds
I’m Jenna! A photographer, stylist and recipe developer constantly seeking and sharing life’s little tonics. Here is where I share delicious, sparkly stories from Somerset, with my rescue dogs in tow.
In short, I’m usually behind a lens, eat a lot and often lose 4G.
Jenna Fifi is where you’ll find everything from indulgent recipes and hotel reviews to skincare recommendations and interiors inspiration. Life natters are complimentary. It’s a varied mix of late-20s souvenirs, the best bits of course, all jumbled together and served with a sprinkling of humour and a slice of the bright side.
This space is made to be rummaged through, and I hope you find something that leaves you full with life lustre, rippling ideas and hungry for cake and beyond.
So pull up a chair, pour yourself a drink and don’t forget to say hello! 😊