A tea party might seem like a strange party to throw in Singapore but there’s really nothing uppity about it. It’s the perfect day-time gathering and allows for an array of pretty small bites (which, of course, we’re always up for). Here, we lay out the basics of setting the table and curate a collection of easy-to-follow recipes.
THE BASICS TO A TEA PARTY
If you want to impress, you have to use your best. If you or even your parents have one of those old multi-tier cake stands, now is the perfect time to bust it out and dust it off. Not only are they the best way of helping your guests to find their favourites among your mini banquet, they are also the ultimate space saver. If you don’t have one, you’ll quite often stumble across them in discount and vintage stores, as well as flea markets. Also, don’t forget to get out your best chinaware, including a teapot, teacups, and cutlery. Who cares if the patterns don’t all match, as long as they look good.
If you’re having your tea-party indoors, you might want to dress the place up a bit too, starting with a nice tablecloth. If you don’t have one, just get some cheap floral material from a stall that sells fabric and also see if you can get it hemmed as well.
A great way to make your guests feel welcome is with a personalised place card, but it’s even better if it is something you can eat, such as personalised cookies that both adults and children will like.
Place card sugar cookies
Rosemary and lemon shortbread place card cookies
NOT YOUR USUAL TEA
Being a tea party, the drinks are already spelled out, but you’ll want to have a variety available — English Breakfast and Earl Grey are the standards, but you should also have options such as peppermint, camomile, fruit, or herbal varieties and probably some coffee as well. Don’t forget that some people like milk or sugar in their tea so have plenty on hand. Also, not everybody enjoys a hot drink in this climate, especially kids, so iced tea is a good back up (perhaps with a cheeky dash of Pimms for the grownups) and the options for flavours are limitless:
Basic iced tea
Watermelon iced tea
Chamomile, strawberry, and orange cold-brewed tea
Iced green tea mojito
PRETTY TEA-TIME TREATS
You can’t go wrong with sandwiches, whether they are in triangles or little finger sandwiches that allow your guests to sample a wider variety. Every child’s favourite is peanut butter and jelly, and the British love a cucumber sarnie with their afternoon tea, however, just because a sandwich is simple, it doesn’t mean you can’t show off your creative prowess, either:
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Perfect cucumber sandwiches
Porchetta sandwiches with marinated onions and salsa verde
Fig, goat cheese, and caramelised onion sandwiches
Face it, it’s not a tea party without scones so you’re going to need a few of these, some clotted cream, and a variety of jams on the table to keep everybody happy, maybe even Nutella for the kids. These are something that are best eaten the same day they are made, but luckily they are quick to prepare. Still, that doesn’t stop you making a bunch a few days earlier and freezing them either, just make sure you serve them warm:
Rich buttermilk scones
Chocolate chip scones
Apple and brie scones
Whole wheat raspberry and ricotta scones
If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could even have a go at making your own jam.
Cupcakes are perfect for people of all ages; children can’t get enough of them and most adults don’t mind a sneaky one on the side either. Again, cupcakes aren’t that difficult to make and you can get a little experimental in the process:
Simple vanilla cupcakes
Turkey cupcakes for kids
Red velvet cupcakes with creole cream cheese frosting
And other yummy desserts!
Now that the staples are sorted, it’s time to throw something else in the mix to give your tea party that extra pizazz to have everyone begging for more and talking for weeks after:
Doughnuts with grapefruit curd and citrus sugar
Apple and sour cream coffee cake
Steamed cake (mushi-pan)