Finger-food for thought: why we have afternoon teas.

From an evolutionary perspective, fattening up for winter is imperative if we are to stay warm, and it is therefore only natural that we should be hankering for afternoon teas in Autumn as intensely as we hunt for a mate in Spring. It was this deep-rooted, almost primal instinct to indulge in an afternoon tea that got me pondering the philosophical question: why is it that we have afternoon teas? Continue…

How to make a traditional cucumber sandwich

Cucumber sandwiches. The mascots to any cricket match, the emblem of Victorian and Edwardian aristocracy, and, naturally, the stubborn patriarch of today’s afternoon tea. Like the greedy inheritor of a great fortune, the cucumber sandwich sits on its three-tiered throne and stubbornly refuses to give way to other, more modern, culinary delights. It outlives the comings and goings of the ham, smoked salmon, and egg mayo sandwiches: but has the cucumber sandwich compromised itself in order to keep the throne?  Continue…

A Fairytale Picnic

The beginning of May. Bluebells battle through the hard earth and populate the woods, blossom trees burst their scent into clean air. In a matter of days, Winter has been defeated and we are subject to a new ruler: Spring.  Continue…

How to have a winter picnic

Winter picnics. They ring rather like strawberries and cream in January, or mince pies in June. Something that’s not meant to be, out of season. But a winter picnic is something quite different to a summer picnic. Winter picnics are lined with luxury, fueled with festivity. They’re a kind of novel celebration, marked with prosecco in plastic glasses and mini Christmas crackers hiding in the hamper. They’re a chance to get out of the stuffy indoors and feel the fresh air pinch your cheeks like a fond grandparent. So don’t get cold feet about midwinter picnicking; go all out and go for it. And wear warm socks. Continue…

A festive picnic.

Picnics and barbecues seem so inextricably tied to the summer, but in my own, humble opinion, they are made for the British winter (it’s never exactly the arctic here). What could be better than the fresh air on your cheeks, a hot cup of tea in your hands, and a flaming barbecue to warm your cockles?  Continue…