Catherine's Afternoon Tea 

White Plains, New York

High tea, catered, teapot, tea cup


Let Catherine Treat You Like "Royal-Tea!"


Hosting an Afternoon Tea Party

When thinking about tea parties, do you find yourself overwhelmed with thoughts of the British gentry, scenes from Alice in Wonderland, Victorian decor, blue haired ladies and pinky fingers stuck up in the air? If so, you're both right and wrong. You're right because as the tradition of "Afternoon" Tea has developed over time, it has become an elegant affair. You're wrong because "High" Tea was often enjoyed by the British working class as their evening supper, with heartier fare than the tea sandwiches and scones that are now associated with tea time.

As the custom has evolved, tea time is usually scheduled from mid to late afternoon. It's a between meal snack that is a lot more elegant than a bag of chips from the vending machine. It needn't be extremely fussy, although the meal often includes savory, bite size sandwiches, scones or biscuits, and sweets (along with a good pot of tea, of course!) Both men and women enjoy afternoon tea in England, and it's often used as a function for entertaining business clients.

An Afternoon Tea Party is suitable for many celebrations. When you'd like to host a party that isn't as involved as a dinner party, a tea party can be the answer. It's an ideal format for a bridal or baby shower, a retirement party, a birthday celebration, or time to catch up with good friends. The food is prepared before your guests arrive, and is either presented buffet style, or by passing plates of goodies at the table. The only thing you need to serve is the tea itself, leaving you plenty of time to relax and enjoy your guests. Your guest list can include dozens of people or only one good friend with whom you'd like to share an intimate conversation. It can be a very formal affair as you'll find at some of the more elegant hotels, or it can be as casual as a pot of tea and some cookies.

Setting Your Tea Party Table

In many parts of the world, tea time is an honored tradition of refinement and elegance. When you're planning a tea party -- whether for a shower, graduation, birthday, or just for fun -- adorn your table with your best china, silver, and linens. These add polish and grace to the occasion, and in our "paper cup" world they remind us fondly of earlier times.


Catherine's Afternoon Tea Recipes!

Buttermilk Scones

3 cups flour

1/3 cup sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons butter

1 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup currants

1 teaspoon orange rind -- grated (zest only)

1 tablespoon heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons sugar

PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 425F. Use an ungreased baking sheet. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir well with a fork to mix and aerate. Add the butter and cut into the flour mixture, using a pastry blender or two knives, or work in, using your fingertips, until the mixture looks like fresh bread crumbs. Add the buttermilk, currants and orange rind. Mix only until the dry ingredients are moistened. Gather the dough into a ball and press so it holds together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead lightly 12 times. Pat the dough into a circle 1/2-inch thick. TO MAKE THE GLAZE: In a small bowl combine the cream, cinnamon and sugar; stir to blend. Brush the dough with the glaze. Cut the dough into 18 pie-shaped pieces. Place the scones 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes or until the tops are browned. Serve hot.

Plum and Honey Tea Bread

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup honey

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 egg -- beaten

3 plum -- chopped (1/2 cup)

1/2 cup walnuts -- chopped

Combine flour, baking powder, soda, spices and salt; mix well. Combine buttermilk, honey, oil and egg; mix until blended. Stir liquid mixture into dry ingredients. Fold in plums and nuts. Pour into greased 8-1/2x4-1/2x2-1/2-inch loaf pan. Bake at 325 degrees F 50 to 55 minutes or until wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean. Cover top with foil after 25 minutes to prevent overbrowning. Muffin Variation: Fill 12 muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 325[F about 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean. Source: National Honey Board