I love going for afternoon tea, we usually go to celebrate a special occasion such as my mums birthday or my hen party. There are so many great places with unique takes on the classic tea party and many do vegan and gluten free options now.
Afternoon tea is a really old tradition that started in the nineteenth century when people would only eat breakfast then dinner. The 7th duchess of Bedford noticed that she would feel lacking in energy in the afternoon so she started to have tea and a snack to keep her going until dinner. This lead to friends joining her and finally it developed into a really trendy way to socialise. You can read more about this delicious tradition here.
Modern day afternoon tea includes finger sandwiches, mini cakes and pastries and scones with jam and cream.
I like the idea of hosting an afternoon tea at home and I wanted to share some ideas of how you could host a really impressive spread of sandwiches without spending a lot of money.
For this selection of sandwiches I only bought one loaf of gluten free white bread but by using it in different ways you can make the selection look really interesting! I decided to make the classic cucumber sandwiches, open top hummous and roasted pepper toasts and avocado, cream ‘cheese’ and cress rolls.
The crusts must be removed (freeze them to make breadcrumbs another day) and the sandwiches must be dainty and elegant to eat. You can be as adventurous or as traditional as you like and of course serve this with your favourite tea (or a cheeky glass of champagne)!
The cucumber sandwiches are classic, I cut the crusts off and sliced the cucumber very finely. Instead of butter I used a vegan cream cheese and I added a little sprinkle of black pepper.
To contrast the pale elegant cucumber sandwiches I decided to make an open sandwich using bright and glossy roasted peppers. This adds some much needed colour and interest to the spread. I cut the crusts off and then toasted the bread, then I spread hummous on top and finally topped it with roasted red and yellow peppers.
I cut each slice into 4 pieces to make a bite size easy to eat open sandwich.
The final sandwich was my favourite! Cut the crusts off then using a rolling pin roll the bread out so it is only 1mm thin. Smash some avocado and season gently. Spread the slice with vegan cream cheese lightly then place the smashed avocado in a line down the middle. Top the avocado with cress then roll the slice up and secure closed.
Slice into 4 mini rolls.
By trying different techniques with the same loaf of bread you could save loads of money buying different types of breads or crackers.
I will be posting some ideas for simple and budget friendly sweets to go with your afternoon tea tomorrow!
Have you been for an afternoon tea? What sort of sandwiches did they have? What’s your favourite sandwich?