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High Tea Menu Help Please

In honor of the Queen's Jubilee, I'm going to make High Tea for the 30 children and 10 adults at my daughter's preschool. I'd love help coming up with a menu that (a) can mostly be made ahead (but assembled at the school); (b) is not completely unhealthy; (c) has NO nuts; and (d) includes a few things kids maybe haven't tried before.

So far, this is what I've come up with --

--Tea sandwiches: cucumber & cream cheese; egg salad; other ideas? I think there's a traditional sandwich with watercress, but how does that work? Served on thin white bread -- no crusts! -- cut into triangles. Assembled before serving.

--Scones & butter & strawberry jam. Would it better to make ahead, freeze and then warm up? Or to freeze unbaked dough that's been cut? What's a good basic high-yield recipe?

--Melon balls or some other pretty fruit.

--I want a bit more protein, so I was thinking of looking for a crown cookie cutter and cutting out cheese crowns.

--Decaf tea with LOTS of milk.

It might be fun to have something from other parts of the commonwealth -- I have no experience with Indian food, though, so not sure what I could do with that. Other ideas?

Thanks, CHers!

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  1. I've never hosted a tea, but enjoyed reading through the replies on this thread for new ideas for things to munch on/serve with tea for myself, at any time of day.

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/835249

    1. Maybe a curried egg salad or put some chutney onto the bread. I would assemble the sandwiches ahead with a thin bit of softened butter on the bread so nothing gets soggy and then wrapped in plastic film. I think the rest of the menu sounds fine and I would cook the scones and cheese crowns ahead and then serve warm/room temp

      7 Replies
      1. re: escondido123

        Unfortunately, because of my schedule, any baking would have to happen the night before and the tea will be at around 2PM. I don't think scones can hold that long. That's why I was thinking of freezing them, but I'm not sure if I should freeze the dough or the cooked scones. (There is an oven at the preschool and I have about 45 minutes before kids start coming to the snack table.)

        Edited to say: first off, thanks so much for the feedback and link to the other thread, Calmossimo!

        1. re: jessinEC

          If you have to, freeze the dough instead of the cooked scones. Also, I'm guessing these will be miniature sized scones for the young ones, so you can put quite a few onto one baking sheet. Is it possible to begin earlier than the 45 minutes in advance? Baking up all the scones that afternoon seems like it would be pretty rushed...

          1. re: jessinEC

            I have baked scones (not getting them too brown) and then reheated with much success. As to chutney, being someone for whom cilantro tastes like soap, I would vote against a cilantro chutney. I find Major Greys chutney to be fairly mild so would suggest that.

          2. re: escondido123

            Also, LOVE the idea of chutney. Do you know a brand that's not too spicy for 3 and 4 year old palates?

            1. re: jessinEC

              Coriander (cilantro) chutney is great on sandwich bread. Probably simplest to make your own rather than trying to kind it -- search for 'dhania chutney' for recipes.

              Samosas, pakoras and mitthai (sweets) are also Indian tea-time options.

              Is this for an afternoon tea or high tea? Scones, sandwiches etc. are often afternoon snacks; high tea is traditionally more substantial fare.

              1. re: jessinEC

                If you are looking for a protein, why not sausage rolls? They are often served cold, and you can make a fairly simple version by rolling strips of puff pastry around pre-cooked small sausages and baking them until the pastry is done. The sandwiches sound very nice, watercress sandwiches are just made like cucumber sandwiches, only with watercress, which you can usually find at any Asian or international grocery market. You usually find tea sandwiches made with butter spread on to the bread instead of the mayo you are more likely to find here in the states. Scones should hold up just fine...maybe just underbake them by a few minutes, pop in the fridge, and then re-warm at school The ONLY brand of chutney my kids will even look at (and the most popular brand I encountered in the U.K.) is Branston Pickle. You know, if you want to go all out, you could make a few Marmite or Vegemite sandwiches...they'll probably hate them, but they'll be a conversation starter.

                1. re: jessinEC

                  most English chutneys are not spicy at all.

              2. You're describing a low tea rather than a high tea - even more specifically, a full tea.

                It is a popular misnomer that high tea was enjoyed by royalty. It wasn't. Royalty and upper class enjoyed low tea. High tea was for commoners.

                High tea is heavier with regular meal items on the menu and is served at regular (high) tables.

                Low tea involves lighter fare and is served at coffee (low) tables that are gathered near sofas and chairs in a sitting room. Your menu is a low tea or full tea offering.

                Concerning your menu ideas, everything sounds great. Some additional ideas could involve:

                Devonshire cream (clotted cream) with some sort of pastry and possibly jam
                Chicken salad (by itself or on a sandwich)
                Quiche (any type)
                Tomato soup (my favorite is fire-roasted tomato and basil soup)
                Thumbprint cookies (if you could get your hands on a tea pot shaped cutter that would be great)

                By the way, if you want some variety in your sandwich shapes, try long rectangles (without the crust). Simply make the sandwich, cut the crust off, then cut the remaining square into thirds thus yielding three rectangles.

                Look to this authentic tea room's menu for more inspiration http://www.thepottedgeranium.com/html.... The Potted Geranium is one of the highest rated tea rooms in the entire country. I have been their and it is simply stunning, from the food to the decor to the service. Magnificently and almost flawlessly executed.

                7 Replies
                1. re: 1POINT21GW

                  Thanks so much for clarifying low vs high tea -- and the explanation about the tables is great. I will share this with the kids!

                  1. re: jessinEC

                    You're welcome!

                    PLEASE take pictures and post them along with how everything went! I'd love to hear about it!

                  2. re: 1POINT21GW

                    Thank you for posting this! High vs low tea is one of those questions I always meant to look up, but never got around to, so now I know. Sounds like the OP (and the kids) are going to have a wonderful time.

                    1. re: 1POINT21GW

                      For some reason, (we) Americans REALLY REALLY want a 'high' tea to mean a fancy meal with pinky-fingers-extended and teacups with rosebuds painted on 'em. High tea actually just means a hearty kind of meal in the early evening...and yes, quite common. The fancier meal is usually an afternoon tea or, if a scones/cream/little cakes kind of thing...a 'cream' tea. I'm a limey by marriage, but I'm pretty common no matter which side of the Atlantic I'm on. (Why yes, I'd love beans on toast for my tea...unless you have canned spaghetti on toast...even better...) Let us know what you decided to serve and how it was received?

                      1. re: tonifi

                        Cream tea means scones, clotted cream, and jam with tea. But maybe the little cakes you refer to are what we call scones?

                      2. re: 1POINT21GW

                        am late to this thread and thanks 1point. this high tea vs. afternoon tea is a pet peeve of mine and a very common american blunder.

                        http://coffeetea.about.com/od/history...

                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                          I was confused with what the OP wrote until you pointed out she's American! To me my daughter has high tea at nursery and they definitely don't get to drink tea. It's more soup, sandwiches, or macaroni cheese. It's commonly used to refer to a evening meal served early. I didnt know about the table height origin. But I think upper classes do have them, but only the very young children as they have their dinner before their parents. Also tea is dinner in the UK if you refer to a meal. Its afternoon tea if you are having scones with tea.

                      3. Here is a picture of the tea pot shaped thumbprint cookies I mentioned in the previous post.

                        (I would have simply edited the previous post, but this handicapped, antiquated forum platform won't allow me to.)

                         
                        3 Replies
                        1. re: 1POINT21GW

                          You can edit within two hours of posting.

                          1. re: chowser

                            How do I go back and add a picture?

                            I tried to edit the original post, but I didn't see anything that would allow me to attach a picture. Maybe I missed it.

                            1. re: 1POINT21GW

                              Sorry I posted early in the AM and didn't catch the adding a picture part. I haven't tried but if I figure it out, I'll post. Most of my pictures are too big and I can't be bothered to resize them.

                        2. You can make mini quiches in muffin tin.

                          Just like you would make quiche but instead pour it out into a greased muffin tray. There's are crustless, so healthier?

                          you can decorate the tops with some mushrooms, make them vegetarian, add ham bits etc...
                          Once baked, just heat them up to reserve.
                          it's not bad cold either

                          1. High tea is beans on toast. Afternoon tea is the fancy one. It sounds like you are hosting afternoon tea. Americans never seem to get this right.

                            Does it need to be vegetarian? Becase smoked salmon or shrimp marie rose are also traditional as a thin roast beef. Chicken salad of some type is too. (Wouldn't work at our school though)

                            I include a healthier type mini muffin, even if it isn't traditional. One of the weelicious ones (berry, chocolate chip banana if allowed) are quite good.

                            Maybe a fruit tart of some sort

                            The mini quich is a good idea too.

                            Remember, the goal is snack + fancy.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: JudiAU

                              Beans on toast is definitely a favourite. Forgot to mention it in my post up thread.

                            2. I did a tea a few years ago - if you are still looking for a protein perhaps you might enjoy this - I can vouch that it is a great recipe - especially the shallot jam!
                              http://www.chow.com/recipes/10912-chi...

                              Also - an idea for a dessert which I had made are mini lemon curd tartlets. you can make the curd a few days in advance and also the tart shells the day or two prior - and just fill the day of.

                              1. Thanks everyone! I stand corrected on the high tea vs. afternoon tea! I hereby promise to spread the word among the Yanks, starting with the impressionable young I will be feeding on Monday. I'm pretty psyched about this, so will keep you posted on how it goes.