The Secluded (Xmas!) Tea Party was hosted on Sunday 12th December at 2pm with the help of my very handy and supportive mister (Who doesn't like to be called *Mister Flay* so is now nicknamed "Mister Scott Chegg"! ; )
And this time it went glitch free : ) Hurrah! - Apart from one of my guests who could not make it at the very last minute, which was a real shame (We missed you Mr Beer!), and for some reason it really threw me as we started haha - I was sat next to the empty seat looking very sorry for itself, but it meant that it didn't matter if I made a mess....and of course I did exactly that at various points throughout the afternoon.... I wouldn't ask my guests to expect anything less sometimes hehe ; )
I set up the room itself with various xmas decorations, wrapped boxes placed in the centre to hold the plates and bowls at different levels and candy canes placed in small vases for guests to help themselves to...and tinsel as well as miniature xmas trees dotted around the room as well as on the table itself.
I was hoping to be able to make the room feel as festive as possible, with the help of some *Tasteful* xmas music in the background. However, this music did seem to make my guests chuckle at just how cheesy it really was, and we ended up changing it to something a little more upbeat and retro, which was welcomed from myself as well as my guests I think!
The menu was a little trial for me, as certain recipes I had never tried before, so it was a little risky from my point of view...but it paid off....The Chocolate Yule Log being my piece de resistance!.... The Hairy Bikers just get better and better in my eyes! Great, tasty and easy recipes....with a wow factor! The chocolate ganache was heavenly...and it was so much fun to actually make the day before, I was just beaming from ear to ear when it was finished...having not taken as long as I had expected either, much to my surprise!
It looked FANTASTIC and it was just so much fun to make, I wouldn't have minded if it didn't look perfect! I decided to decorate with some tasteful non-edible decorations, and served on a raised glass cake stand.... and when they saw me bring it in at the end of the afternoon, it made my guests groan in both hunger for it....but at the same time.... not having enough room to eat enough of it haha! Brilliant.
I also attempted their Brandy Snaps with cream recipe (And again, amazed at the outcome!) I was scared of making these little blighters, but in fact again, they were great fun to make!
I did have to take some help from Mr Chegg for the wrapping of these around the wooden spoons, as I was burning my pinkies whilst trying to spin them haha (I was a little too excitable and keen to wait!)..... We got the knack in the end though and steamed ahead with them....a great team building exercise hehe!
They looked so pretty when they were complete with chocolate drizzle and cream prettily piped into the ends, I nearly didn't want to serve them : )
The menu also consisted of my ever increasingly popular Ham & Garlic Jam sandwiches which went down extremely well again, so I have confirmed that this is not just MY taste buds thinking this is good hehe....it really does work and will be making a regular appearance at the table for my guests to enjoy....a large order of the sweet stuff has been placed to cater for you all! - Enough Garlic Jam to last a few months yet hurrah!
The scones (Again, a tried and tested Hairy Biker recipe) were warmed and served this time with a locally made Peach & Amaretto Jam which is just delicious and went down very well with my guests.
I also decided that as one of my guests was not a fan of mincemeat (Which was used for my Mincemeat parcels with Bourbon Butter!), I would make up some sweet peach and amaretto parcels with the jam for him to try instead. These in fact were tastier than expected, and I will be making this again in the future! The jam is just so versatile and to die for! Highly reccomend it.
With the mild weather, I decided to opt for a variation on my lemonade recipe and made a pink (raspberry) lemonade for my guests to enjoy on arrival. It was great fun to make, and Nigella was used to make life easy and stress free with this recipe : )
Also, due to it not being the snowy/frosty day that I had hoped for hehe...the spicy winter tea mix didn't seem so appropriate, however a variation of all the teas were tried and tested including teapigs.co.uk's Bollywood Chai Tea, Darjeeling Earl Grey and the English Breakfast tea.
They were perfect to wash down all of the tasty treats : )
We had such a great afternoon, my guests didn't know each other, so hearing the conversation and laughter taking off whilst busying myself in the kitchen was just fantastic to hear! And it didn't stop all afternoon.
In fact, half an hour past the end we were all still chatting away and enjoying each others' company, so again it was just brilliant to see my guests getting on so well : )
I just want to thank my guests SO much for coming and making my second event such a blast! I really enjoyed hosting it and really hope that the elasticated trousers have now shrunk back down hehe!
Until next time.....
Miss Sue Flay