Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Jubilee Tea Party

It all began with our lovely friends Jan and Dave arranging to come and stay with us during the English half term holiday this week. Jan posted jokingly on Facebook, why not celebrate the Jubilee in a republic?! So tick tick tick went the little grey cells and I thought how good it would be to have a typical afternoon tea and invite some of our new friends and neighbours. We planned the menu via the telephone and Jan and Dave arrived on Monday with a bottle of Pimms - so uniquely English that all our guests were intrigued - what was in it they asked amazed that unlike France a bottle containing alcohol could be sold without any reference to the ingredients on the bottle. Truly a secret! But they really loved this and were fascinated to find cucumber, strawberries and mint in their glasses!

In the meantime the men had got out the ladders, flags and the bunting and had hung them outside in the garden to welcome the guests. We were blessed with a lovely day - not too hot, but with sunshine and puffy white clouds scudding across the sky.

Meanwhile back in the kitchen preparations were well under way. Yesterday I had cooked Chicken breasts and put them in the fridge when cold ready to cut up into small pieces today. I had also made a version of Coronation sauce, - mayonnaise, chopped apricots, cream, and curry powder. This was also in the fridge.
After going to the market and buying strawberries and also some strawberry jam  made just down the road in Cortambert, we came home to make the rest of the food. The Victoria sponge was filled with strawberry jam and butter cream and dusted with icing sugar. The Dundee cake made earlier in the week was sliced ready for eating. The muffins were iced and the buns had cherries put on them.The cakes completed we set about the sandwiches - egg mayonnaise, salmon and cucumber, and coronation chicken. The crusts were trimmed although with such lovely French bread we could not cut them off completely!
With help from Google Translate Jan wrote on little union Jacks the name of each plate of food in French as well as English - that is, apart from the scones which are so unique that there is no adequate translation - that did not stop our guests who really loved them!
The conversation flowed with the Pimms and the food was both a talking point and eagerly consumed! After almost 2 hours we were left with a few pieces of cake and some delightful comments in our visitors book! It was an international occasion and we were so pleased that our friends could share it with us! God bless the Queen, God save the Queen!

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