Sunday, 31 March 2013

Afternoon Tea Baby Shower

For my "baby shower" I decided that I wanted to invite all of the female members of our family over for afternoon tea and some games. I wanted it to be a relaxed environment giving people a chance to catch up and nibble on some good food. 

I've spent time planning and choosing some yummy recipes for the gathering. I knew there'd be loads of food for the number of people but I wanted there to be lots of choice and plenty of each item so should something be more popular there was enough. I hadn't made any of the recipes before, which was part of the fun, so everything was new and exciting. It took 12 hours of baking but we ended up with a great feast of food and I think it was all very nice. I will be making posts of all of the individual baked items over the coming weeks so more detail will follow, however, I'll add in a little teaser that one of the items got 30/30!! 

All the goodies ready to be eaten
To plan and pick all the recipes I did some google searches for afternoon tea recipes, I found that the BBC food website was really helpful and gave me plenty of ideas, in fact, most of the recipes I ended up using came from there and they worked well. 

So let's start at the beginning, my first thoughts went to what savoury items we should include. I wanted a traditional tea so we couldn't have any of the pizza or crisps ideas that my mum suggested!! So we had to think a little harder. Of course sandwiches were essential but what flavours? After some thought we decided to keep it simple and go with some tried and tested fillings:
  • Tuna and Sweetcorn
  • Ham
  • Cheese and tomato
  • Smoked salmon and cream cheese
We made all the bread fresh so on Friday, using a bread machine borrowed from my mum, which was baking away producing 3 loaves for us. I cut off the crusts and made them into neat little squares, originally I was thinking of making sticks but this would have resulted in tiny sandwiches so it wasn't worth it. 
Tuna and Sweetcorn

Ham on the left and Salmon on the right
So to go with the sandwiches I wanted a couple of other items. Years ago I remembered making some mini quiches that my mum liked, I didn't still have the recipe and I haven't made them since but I thought they would be a good addition. To go with these we looked through the recipe books and chose parmesan and sunflower biscuits. 

All afternoon teas have to have scones so of course these were a necessity along with some kind of fruity cake. We decided on a a fruit tea loaf which could be neatly sliced up. 

Finally the cakes element of the meal, and this is where we had the most fun, I looked through the lists and my "short" list ended up being quite long :-\ so then came the process of narrowing it all down. I wanted a balance of fruits and chocolate so we didn't have too many similar items but I also wanted things that could be made in bite size pieces. So we finally narrowed it down to:
  • Chocolate tarts
  • Lemon tarts
  • Double Chocolate Loaf Cake
  • Bakewell Cheesecake
  • Pineapple and Coconut Cupcakes
I hoped this would create a nice mixture of items and have something to suit everyone. 

The food went down very well and I only received nice comments on it all, as I said, I will be writing about each item and marking them all separately with links to the recipes. There was lots of food left over, as expected, so my guests also got to leave with goody bags of their favourite items. Poor Nanna had 2 bags of salmon sandwiches as no one else wanted those!! 

Now a quick diversion off of baking to show some of the other things we also had going on. Last minute this week we decided that some bunting might look nice around the room, so my mum rushed out on Wednesday to try and find some that we could personalise. We ended up with 3!! 

Firstly the fabric bunting, we got a fabric one from Lakeland, which was a lovely mix of colours in checks and strips. To personalise this she purchased some stickers and iron on pictures to put on each flag. She chose some baby designs and some tea party designs along with Mia's name (our expected baby). 
Fabric Bunting in room
She also got some paper bunting as back up but we decided to put these up as well. The first was a flowery design and the second had bears, horses and solid colours to mix it up. 
Flowery Bunting

Bear and Rocking Horse Bunting
These made a nice difference to the room and made it feel a little more partyish!! 

Finally I'll finish with a big thank to my mum, who worked SO hard to make my vision come to life; my husband, who was lumbered with all the cleaning and tidying up; and to my guests who came with wonderful gifts, lots of chatter and provided fun. 

Overall a great day was had, hopefully, by all. :).