How I Threw A Champagne Afternoon Tea Party For Two At Home For My Birthday

Although most cafes and restaurants are now open in London, I am still not confident enough to go out there and socialise. I believe that the virus is still very much with us and I don't want to take the risk. J and I have been very good in the last four months (only going out for essentials), so I know we can do more no matter how long it will take- even it means sacrificing my birthday traditions and doing things differently. 

This year, instead of travelling or having an afternoon tea with my friend somewhere in London, I decided to throw my own Champagne Afternoon Tea Party at home with J. It turned out to be one of the best afternoon teas I have ever had since I fell in love with the British tradition sometime in 2006.

It took me at least two weeks to formulate my menu. I am not a baker, so it was quite challenging to decide which pastries and cakes to bake. I escaped savouries as I am not very keen on them. Besides, I don't really know how to make them. So in the end, I came up with a very simple Afternoon Tea menu. 

Homemade Cupcakes
- I played safe with the cupcakes and baked what I thought would be easy. It was my first time to bake lemon cupcakes and red velvet cupcakes, but thanks to Mary Berry for her easy to follow recipes. I think I did well considering I don't really bake (except banana bread). One thing that I really need to work on though, is my frosting. I am still quite impatient but I know I'll get there one day. :)

Homemade Plain and Fruit Scones
- I learned how to bake scones back in 2016 when I was living in New Zealand and trying to learn new skills. So, apart from banana bread, scone is the only other thing that I can bake confidently. I have always used Mary Berry's recipe for my scones. On this occasion, I moulded the plain scones first, then added raisins in the remaining dough. The scones were served with clotted cream and strawberry jam.

Selection of Homemade Sandwiches
- I am not normally a fan of sandwiches, but I always enjoy them at afternoon teas. For my afternoon tea party, I chose to make three of my favourite sandwiches - tuna, egg and coronation chicken. J made the tuna sandwich and I used my own recipe for the egg sandwich. For the coronation chicken, I used the recipe I found on BBC Good Food. I used both white and brown bread for the sandwiches. 

Selection of Teas
- As this was an afternoon tea, I thought I'd present the teas that I have available at home.  I am a fan of Jasmine Green tea, so I have Queen Jasmine Tea from TWG, Blossom Tea  from a shop in Chinatown and Jasmin Zhejiang from Thé & Co (Strasbourg). I also have Fortnum and Mason's English Mint Tea, Rose Pouchong, Apricot Honey and Lavender and Camomile and Bee Pollen Infusion Teas. J had the choice between Harrods Afternoon Ceylon No 16 Tea and PG tips. Of course, he opted for the PG Tips (his favourite). :) I chose the Jasmin Zhejiang only because I haven't had it in a while. 

My Birthday Cake
- Who would have thought that I would be baking my own birthday cake this year? My original plan was to bake my favourite ube cake but I have failed twice already, so I didn't want to risk it on my birthday. Somehow I find the whole process of baking an ube cake tedious! Anyway, the only other cake I could think of was pistachio cake. And so I baked it- for the first time ever and voila!

The Champagne
- Our choice of Champagne that day was Moët. Nothing much to say really. :)

So, that's how I successfully threw a Champagne Afternoon Tea Party at home. I haven't had an afternoon tea with J before, so this was a good opportunity for us to experience it together in the comfort of our home. Although the whole preparation was not that easy, I really enjoyed it. In fact, I can now invite my friends for an afternoon tea at home. Perhaps when the virus is totally gone. 

The older I get, the more I prefer simple birthday celebrations. For the last few years, I have been celebrating my birthday with only a handful of friends - before or after my birthday, and separately. Then J and I would do our own thing in the evening of my birthday. I realised through the years, and most especially during the lockdown, that doing the simplest of things make me genuinely happy. That I certainly don't need fancy things to complete my birthday. So yeah, I now find more pleasure in doing simple things at home like throwing my own Afternoon Tea Party. :)



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