Afternoon Tea

What a lovely institution afternoon tea is – a fabulous extra meal that revolves almost entirely around cake. But in some ways, that’s also my problem with it – the tea part is actually quite often neglected, completely ignoring the fact that a really good tea choice can make the accompanying cakes, biscuits and sandwiches even more delicious. So I’ve taken the opportunity to revisit some of my favourite baking recipes (the things I do for you, eh) and work out which cuppa will complement each of them (tea graciously provided by tea suppliers to HRH herself, Twinings). Tuck in.

Deadly Double Chocolate Cookies & Assam
If you’ve never tried Assam tea, you really are missing out, because it goes just beautifully with chocolate. Grown in North-Eastern India, this deep amber-coloured tea is strong and malt-y in flavour, and with plenty of milk it’s perfect to cut the richness of something that packs a serious chocolate wallop. That’s why I’ve paired it with my Deadly Double Chocolate Cookies, which are packed with melted dark chocolate and white chocolate chips – gorgeous.

Golden Flapjacks & Camomile Tea with Spiced Apple
Next, something completely different. If chocolate’s not your thing, give my simple flapjack recipe a go – what makes it really rich and delicious is the addition of condensed milk (wonderful stuff). To stop it being too sweet, pair with this slightly spicy, fragrant camomile tea, full of honey and cinnamon flavours.

Cheats’ Pastries & Jasmine Earl Grey
I’ve always loved Earl Grey tea, but the jasmine-scented version is a new discovery for me, and I think it’s fabulous. You can drink it black but I actually think it’s better with just a dash of milk, and the lovely flowery flavours require a little bit of richness to go with them. For something a bit different in your afternoon tea (or for a really special breakfast in bed), whip up some of my easy-peasy cheat’s pastries, and serve, oozing deliciously with golden syrup, with a cup of Jasmine Earl Grey.

Jake’s Cookies with Lemon & Ginger Tea
One of my favourite alternative fruit teas (ones that are caffeine-free) is this zingy lemon and ginger one – I’d recommend adding a spoonful of honey to make it really delicious. To complement the fruitiness, bake a batch of Jake’s Cookies – rich and chewy with plenty of sultanas.

And finally…

Chocolate Chip Madeleines with Lavazza Qualita Rossa
If you’re more of a coffee-drinker, then I’d definitely recommend you pair a cup of good quality black coffee (Lavazza Rossa is my favourite) with some freshly-baked chocolate chip madeleines. There’s something about the light, honey-scented sponge and chunks of melted dark chocolate that works just beautifully with the bitter edge of a cup of coffee.