Now that the sun is finally out and it really does start to feel like summer, it’s time to get those garden chairs and tables out of the shed and plan your weekend party. Summer tends to be short and temperamental in this country and we really should make the most of it while it lasts. An afternoon garden party that might extend into the evening is possibly the best way to do this, wouldn’t you agree? I mean, is there anything more British (ok, apart from Fish and Chips and rainy days in August) than a traditional garden party with sandwiches and Victoria sponge cake? So, in order to get your party as perfect as possible I’ve put together the recipes for pretty much everything you might need. So, what are you waiting for? Send out those invites and enjoy an afternoon with friends in your garden.

 

What you'll need...

For the iced tea (makes 1.5l)

  • 2 heaped tbsp. dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1 large (or 2 small) sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1 lemon – juiced
  • 150g sugar
  • 300ml water for the syrup
  • 1l water for the hibiscus tea
  • 3 handfuls (or enough to fill the jug to the top) ice cubes

Ice Tea Ingredients Resized-min

For the finger sandwiches (each makes 12 small sandwiches):

Avocado & Egg Finger Sandwiches: 

  • 8 slices white or wholemeal sandwich bread
  • 2 medium avocados
  • 3 hard boiled eggs
  • 2 heaped tbsp. good quality crème fraîche
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
  • salt & pepper to taste

Chicken & Herb Mayonnaise: 

  • 8 slices white or wholemeal sandwich bread
  • 220g cooked chicken breast
  • 3tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 bunch spring onions
  • 1 small bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 1 small bunch dill
  • ½ cucumber
  • salt & pepper to taste

Finger Sandwiches Ingredients Resized-min

For the mini Victoria sponge cakes (makes 12):

  • 125g plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 125g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 3tbsp milk
  • 200ml double cream
  • 2tbsp strawberry jam
  • optional: tiny strawberries & icing sugar for decorating (not shown)
  • muffin tin & 12 muffin cases
  • optional: piping bag for the double cream

Mini Victoria Sponge Cakes Ingredients Resized-min

 

Tip

I don’t usually advocate throwing away food (ever!), however, this is one of the very few occasions where the presentation is simply nicer without the crusts. If you prefer, you can of course serve the sandwiches with the crust on.

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Ice Tea 1 Resized-min

 

Ice Tea 2 Resized-min

 

Finger Sandwiches 1 Resized-min

 

Finger Sandwiches 2 Resized-min

 

Mini Victoria Sponge Cakes

 

Citronella Candles Step 8 resized

here's how it's done...

  • 1

    For the iced tea:

    Place the 300ml water, sugar and rosemary in a small pan. Bring to a slow boil and then simmer on a medium heat until reduced by half

    Ice Tea Step 1 Resized

  • 2

    Put the 1l water into a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the hibiscus flowers to the 1l boiling water and steep for 10 minutes.

    Ice Tea Step 2 Resized

  • 3

    Pour the rosemary syrup through a sieve into the hibiscus tea. Add the lemon juice and stir. Now pour all the ingredients through a sieve into a large jug. Leave to completely cool, the place into your fridge over night. Just before serving add the ice cubes and decorate with a large sprig of rosemary.

    Ice Tea Step 5 Resized-min

  • 1

    For the finger sandwiches:

    Avocado & Egg Finger Sandwiches

    Peel and chop the avocado into small pieces, place into a large bowl. Peel and chop the eggs into small pieces and add to the avocado. Add the crème fraîche, salt, pepper and chilli powder. Mix all the ingredients until well combined.

    Finger Sandwiches Avo_Egg 3 Resized-min

  • 2

    Place ¼ of the mix onto a slice of bread leaving space around the edges and then place another slice on top. Now cut off all the crust/edges and cut the remaining sandwich into three equal parts.

    Finger Sandwiches Avo_Egg 5 Resized-min

  • 1

    Chicken & Herb Mayonnaise:

    Clean and trim the spring onions and then chop into thin slices before placing into a large bowl. Finely chop the parsley and dill and add to the spring onions mixing them together.

    Finger Sandwiches Chicken_Herbs 2 Resized-min

  • 2

    Chop the chicken breast into very small pieces and add to the onions and herbs, add the mayonnaise, salt & pepper and mix until well combined.

    Finger Sandwiches Chicken_Herbs 5 Resized-min

  • 3

    Cut the cucumber into thin slices. Place ¼ of the mix onto a slice of bread and 6 cucumber slices (two for each sandwich) on top. Put the second slice of bread on top and proceed the same as with the other sandwiches, cutting off the crust and dividing the sandwich into three equal pieces. Decorate with a slice of cucumber on top.

    Finger Sandwiches Chicken_Herbs 6 Resized-min

  • 1

    For the Mini Victoria Sponge Cakes:

    Preheat your oven to 180C. Line your muffin tin with the cases. Place the butter, sugar and vanilla extract into a bowl (or stand mixer) and mix until light and fluffy. Add each egg one by one and mix for 3 minutes after each one.

    Mini Victoria Sponge Cakes Step 2 Resized-min

  • 2

    Mix the baking powder and flour together then add to the mixer and mix until completely combined. Add the milk and mix for another 2 minutes.

    Mini Victoria Sponge Cakes Step 3 Resize-min

  • 3

    Divide the batter equally into the muffin cases then place into the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

    Mini Victoria Sponge Cakes Step 6 Resized-min

  • 4

    Remove the cakes from the oven and leave to cool completely. Whip the double cream until you have stiff peaks.

    Mini Victoria Sponge Cakes Step 7 Resized-min

  • 5

    Once cooled, remove each cake from the cases and cut them into halves – this is best done with a bread knife, slowly “sawing” through the cake without much pressure. Place some strawberry jam onto the bottom half. Fill your piping bag with the cream and place a dollop onto the jam.

    Place the top half onto the cream and pipe another bit of cream onto the top. Now you can either leave the cakes as they are or decorate with a tiny strawberry and some icing sugar.

    Mini Victoria Sponge Cakes Step 11 Resized-min

Celebrate the little things and make the most of your #94summerdays

Be inspired

 

By Carole Poirot on 13.07.18

Guest Contributor

2 responses to “How to Throw Your Own Great British Garden Party”

  1. Denise Hulme says:

    Some lady very ideas thank you so much .Keep them coming!

  2. Anne Steele says:

    Lovely little Victoria sponge cakes, but don’t seem to find the ingredients. I may have missed it. Perhaps you can let me have them.
    Many thanks
    Anne

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