If you’re having some friends over to your place for an Outlander on STARZ premiere party, chances are that your planning is already well underway, but there’s always room for a little more inspiration, aye?
This Ladies’ Afternoon theme was suggested to me by Outlander Kitchen friend Aaron, who hosted her own artfully presented tea party at her home in Texas last year. I have never hosted my own tea party, though in my short career as a caterer, I prepared more finger sandwiches and delicate fancies than I can count!
I did a little bit of poking around on The Internets, and found this tea party guide from the BBC. It’s up to you to decide how fancy and pretty you want to go. If you have tea-loving mom or grannie, a rummage through their cupboards and drawers will add to your party props, but if not, thrift shops are a great source for old tea sets, doilies, etc.
The choice of tea to serve is another big decision. Again, I have to admit to a lack of experience here. I’m a coffee girl through and through.
That said, I’ve got two suggestions for you, both with Outlander connections. First is Old Wilmington Tea Co’s Lord John Grey blend, which has been around for several years. The other is a Highland Breakfast tea from Seattle’s Queen Mary Tea Room. This blend was commissioned to celebrate the launch of MOBY, and was very well received by all the fans at the Random House Retreat in Seattle in June.
After that, you have to decide with what, or if, you’re going to spike that tea. Brandy-laced tea abounds in the Outlander series, so I thought it was appropriate.
Crustless finger sandwiches are a must have for an afternoon tea. I suggest baking a couple of loaves of Honey-Buttermilk Oatbread from Voyager to hold the fillings.
Popular fillings include egg salad (I love mine with minced green onion and dill), or cucumber and cream cheese. A good vegan option is to replace the cream cheese with avocado. Downtown Abbey Cooks has more suggestions for sandwich fillings here.
Jenny’s Onion Tart is the perfect addition to your tea table. It’s mild, creamy flavour is delicate enough even for those who claim not to be onion fans. If you’re short on time, buy a frozen pie shell and just make the filling yourself.
A beautiful salad will add colour to your table. Dandelion greens are available at many farmers’ markets, and pair beautifully with edible flowers, herbs, carrot curls and thinly sliced radish. A light dressing of lemon juice, olive oil and s+p would be my choice for this Claire-channeling salad.
We should see Claire in the manse kitchen with Mrs. G enjoying some scones, clotted cream, tea and a bit of fortune telling in the premiere episode of Outlander on STARZ, don’t you think?
These Oatmeal Scones are quick and easy, but if you want to prepare ahead, mix the dough and form the scones, then freeze them until the big day on August 9. When you’re ready to bake, remove the scones from the freezer, brush them with melted butter and bake from frozen – they may take 5 more minutes in the oven, but other than that, nothing else changes.
Nothing goes better with scones and clotted cream than a pot of jam! My little island is covered in Blackberry bushes, so my pantry shelves are lined with jars of Battlefield Blackberry Jam, an old-fashioned, pectin-free preserve.
And of course, no afternoon tea is complete without at least one tray of shortbread. I published Colum’s Shortbread on Outlander Kitchen just last week, and already it has become a fan favourite. It’s simple list of ingredients results in a pan of delicious, melt-in-your-mouth squares that won’t last long, no matter how demure your guests may pretend to be.
And since that whisky snuck into the picture with the shortbread, you may decide to serve a wee dram as you turn down the lights and turn up the volume on the TV to launch into this new adventure with TV Outlander on STARZ. You’ll find all of OK’s whisky reviews here if you need some help choosing a bottle.
Ith gu leòir! (Eat Plenty)