Queen's 90th birthday teaLast weekend we offered afternoon tea for the first time. It was the perfect tie-in to the national celebrations of the Queen’s 90th birthday. And it was good pastry practice for the kitchen team.

As always we want to create dishes and tastes that our guests enjoy but can’t or won’t recreate at home. So eating with us should always be an experience to savour.

And in line with our ethos for quality ingredients and as much of the raw ingredient as possible being used in our dishes, the pink grapefruit jam for the macaron was made from the rind of the fruit used in the crab dish currently on our a la carte menu.

We had some fun!

Crusts off!

While we have the occasional battle with our boys to eat their crusts, when it comes to afternoon tea, the crusts definitely come off. Imagine a finger sandwich with a weighty or crusty edge – we can’t imagine Ma’am would approve! And yes, one of the options made with our homemade Miller bread was some quintessentially English cucumber sandwiches.

Jam or cream first?

There’s something very British about a good fruit scone with lashings of clotted cream, but there’s an art to getting the scone right. Too often a scone is heavy and dry. Ideally you want it light, but not so much that it doesn’t hold when you slice it or spread the jam. So the simple scone ain’t so simple after all – it gets as much love and attention as all the other items on our afternoon tea menu.

Sweet treats

The other sweet treats on the tea tray were our classic macarons – you might have tried our raspberry or chocolate ones with your coffee if you’ve dined with us before. For afternoon tea we did pink grapefruit and chocolate.

There has to be cake and so we did a deliciously moist carrot cake with creme fraiche icing – you can imagine the clammer for a taste of that!

And to round off the sugar-fest were chocolate mousse and vanilla cream cups. Yes, you need a spoon to devour these, but it’s like having a little dessert as part of your cream tea!

So for hotel guests staying with us this summer, afternoon tea will very much be on the menu – just request it upon booking.

Cup of tea anyone…?!