Planning a party can be fun but also a lot of work and expensive. I often find items for a lower price at home sense. For an event like this I don’t want everything to be matchy matchy so I’m going to get assorted tea cups and dishes. Almost like I Mad Matters Tea Party. We’re clearly going to have a little booze in our cups! Flowers are also a nice touch for these types of events and peonies are my favourite.
Hats and Fascinator
A few can be found at Nordstrom and Chapel Hats
Strawberries Filled with “Clotted” Cream
Serves 4 to 6
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1⁄2 cup heavy cream, very cold
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
16 large fresh strawberries
Combine the mascarpone, cream, sugar, vanilla, vanilla bean seeds, and orange zest in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip until soft peaks form. Scrape the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip.
The strawberries need to stand flat. Cut the green leaves off the strawberries so they will stand upright when placed on the platter. With a small, sharp knife, cut an × in each strawberry, cutting almost to the bottom. Gently, with your fingertips, spread each strawberry apart to make 4 “petals.”
Fill each strawberry carefully with the cream and serve immediately.
Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Bites
2 English Cucumbers, peeled and cut into 1″ rounds
1 pound smoked salmon, cut into bite sized pieces
(1) 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1 tablespoon Horseradish (more or less to taste)
1 tablespoon heavy cream, optional
Toothpicks or tiny party forks
Peel cucumbers and slice them into 1″ circles. Arrange on a platter as desired. Place in the refrigerator while preparing the cream cheese.
Place cream cheese, dill, horseradish, and cream in a large bowl. Beat until well combined (a handheld mixer really helps here.)
Spread 1 teaspoon of cream cheese on top each cucumber slice (more or less to taste), then top each slice with a bite sized piece of smoked salmon. Insert a toothpick down the centre to keep in place.
Serve at once, or keep in the refrigerator until needed.
MAKE-AHEAD SPICED FRENCH TOAST
I love anything that you can make the day before. It takes some of the stress off.
Note: You do not have to make this ahead of time. The entire dish can be assembled and baked at once for crisper results.
1 loaf of sourdough bread (lightly toasted or day-old bread works best)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon crushed cardamom
pinch of salt
1 cup chopped fresh fruit (optional)
1/2 cup nuts, toasted and chopped (optional)
maple syrup, warmed, for serving
1. Slice bread and arrange in a lightly greased baking dish, with pieces slightly overlapping.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, melted butter, milk, heavy cream, and vanilla extract. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt, until sugar is dissolved.
3. If you’re using fruit, scatter it over the bread slices. Pour the custard mixture over the bread and fruit, coating each slice, and refrigerate, covered, overnight.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If using nuts, scatter them over the top of the French toast. Bake for 50 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature with maple syrup.
I picked up some tea cups at home sense for each of the girls to use during the brunch. Home sense also has some platters and cupcake towers you can place some of the goodies on.
Add the liqueurs to a snifter, add the tea bag and then fill with hot water. NOTE: Water shouldn’t be too boiling; you don’t want to break your glass. Let the tea steep for a minute or two, then sip and enjoy.