Sunday, 23 April 2017

Hosting a Beauty & the Beast afternoon tea

I love a theme. I love cake. I love Beauty & the Beast. I love to plan, execute and host. I didn't need a reason to host a Beauty & the Beast afternoon tea, I wasn't even sure we'd bother to go see the new film! (We did though and I'm glad as it was great).

My Wiltshire friends had been talking excitedly on facebook about the Tale as old as time afternoon tea at the Kensington. Which looks beautiful and much fancier than mine! Mine wasn't £35 per person though. I resent how expensive afternoon teas can be, especially when they have no adjustments for vegetarians or dairy intolerences. Anyway, the proper fancy one is booked up for months so I decided to host my own version.

I kept my afternoon tea simple (I've not hosted one before so I didn't want to make it too stressful. And part of keeping it simple was making it vegan. Gemmie is vegan and rather than make her special specific vegan stuff, I made the same for everyone as everyone can eat vegan food. I did provide real cream and milk as well though.

I started with a pinterest board where I pinned my menu ideas while I organised my guests. Although my flat is small, I invited all my Wiltshire friends as I thought it unlikely that everyone would be able to come. Three of them ended up coming plus Gemmie which was perfect. Five fit neatly round my table! I would have worked something out if there had been more of us though.



Roasted red pepper and parsley pesto
Houmous and caramelised onion
Lemony avocado and white bean


Scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam

Chocolate brownies

Raspberry tarts and blueberry tarts

Heart shaped rose shortbread biscuits

Black sesame pudding (Try the grey stuff, it's delicious!)

The theme is a little tenuous but I think it's a bit tenuous at the fancy one as well! I did do grey stuff and a rose reference though. Plus I borrowed my niece's Mrs Potts and Chip toys to decorate the table, as well as getting some real roses.

I had intended to practise my menu and I did practice vegan scones and black sesame ice cream but didn't have time to practice anything else. Then I decided to make black sesame pudding instead of ice cream (avoiding the melting issue) so I actually only practised scones. It was fine though. Everything had a tiny flaw but it didn't matter. I didn't point them out to my guests, just noted them to myself for next time. I'm sure they didn't care that my biscuits were slightly overbaked and if they did, that's kind of wank.

What I did do, was carefully plan my time, with lists and tick boxes. I did my shopping on Thursday, made half my stuff on Friday night, then finished the rest Saturday morning. I told everyone to come at 12, knowing they'd never make it. I only wanted Gemmie to arrive on time, which she did, like a total star. She brought the Disney cartoon on DVD and helped me make caramelised onions and helped me ice the biscuits so everything was pretty much ready when the others arrived.

Time plan

Thursday - shopping and message group to make sure details are clear

Friday - make brownies, black sesame puddings and rose biscuits, clean the flat

Saturday -  make fruit tarts, scones and sandwiches, ice the rose biscuits and lay the table

Then we had a super relaxed afternoon, with plenty of tea and cake! We chatted, we watched the cartoon, then headed to the cinema to watch the new live action version. Yay!

My pinterest board is here, and my menu is adapted from recipes on there. I adapted the black sesame pudding recipe to make it vegan and the shortbread recipe to make them rose flavour (let me now if anyone is interested in getting my methods) and I cheated on the fruit tarts. I bought Alpro custard and ready rolled pastry. A lot of shop bought pastry doesn't use real butter and is accidentally vegan.

It was so fun to have my Wiltshire friends over, to make them food and show them my home and watch a childhood favourite together <3 I don't often host anything in my little flat but I love it. I used to do an annual Christmas party but I stopped for a few years because I lost the desire to host. It's lovely to want to do it again. I think the most important thing about hosting is wanting to do it and going in to it with good feelings, otherwise pressure can get on top of you and it's easy to focus on flaws and worry too much.

Do you like to host?

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