Tag Archives: Afternoon Tea Sandwiches

Lily of the Valley Afternoon Tea

 

Lily of the Valley
Lily of the Valley

The sweet little Lily of the Valley, with its dainty bell-shaped flowers, has long been a favorite flower of mine. Close to 40 years ago, a very dear friend of mine had a cottage on the shores of Rosebank (now Stratford), PEI.  Every spring, I’d make the trek to the cottage to pick a couple of bouquets of these fragrant flowers and there would be a posy on the dining room table and another on my desk at work.  I was thrilled when the offer came for me to dig up a clump of the Lily of the Valley roots from the prolific crop by the cottage front step.  I transplanted them at our family home. A cottage and two house builds later and transplants of the lilies have occurred at each property, all derived from the same clump of lilies that came from the Rosebank cottage. When I see the lilies bloom each spring, particularly by the cottage front step, I am reminded of sweet memories of another cottage long ago and its owner who is no longer with us.

The birth flower of May, Lily of the Valley has various meanings and significance. Said to signify traits of humility, trustworthiness, chastity, sweetness, and purity, it is also believed to bring luck in love and mean the return of happiness. This, undoubtedly may be the reason why it is often used in wedding decorations and bridal bouquets. There have been some very famous brides who have incorporated Lily of the Valley into the composition of their bouquets. Kate Middleton, in her 2011 wedding to Prince William, included Lily of the Valley in her bouquet as did her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana, when she wed Prince Charles in 1981.

Lily of the Valley Afternoon Tea
Lily of the Valley Afternoon Tea

I often feature different favorite flowers on my tea tables but I have never featured Lily of the Valley, primarily because it is a short season flower and it is always in bloom during a very busy time of the year for me. This, despite the fact that I have cups and saucers and plates that have Lily of the Valley designs.  So, this year, I decided I would make time for an afternoon tea that features Lily of the Valley and my themed cups and saucers.

Valley China Cup and Saucer
Valley China Cup and Saucer

It’s not necessary to have matching cups and saucers on a tea table. In fact, I think it’s much more interesting to have a variety of China cups and saucers.

Adderley (England) Lily of the Valley Cup and Saucer
Adderley (England) Lily of the Valley Cup and Saucer

Not all afternoon teas have to have three distinct courses – scones, sandwiches, and sweets.  Today, my tea table has only two courses – sandwiches and a single dessert.  In keeping with the freshness of early summer on PEI, I have opted to go with open-faced sandwiches, providing three varieties — Island lobster, egg salad, and ham.

There are two different trays of sandwiches on the table – the ones with a white bread base (shown in the photo below) are gluten-free.

Gluten-free Open-faced Tea Sandwiches
Gluten-free Open-faced Tea Sandwiches

And, of course, for tea sandwiches, the crusts must always be removed.

Open-faced Tea Sandwiches
Open-faced Tea Sandwiches

The little purple pansy adds a burst of color to the ham sandwich and dresses it up for the table.

Open-faced Ham Tea Sandwich
Open-faced Ham Tea Sandwich

Lobster is very common on PEI and lends itself well for presentation on an open-faced tea sandwich. Can’t you just taste that succulent lobster!

Open-faced Lobster Tea Sandwich
Open-faced Lobster Tea Sandwich

Egg salad makes a wonderful topping for open-faced tea sandwiches.  A burst of purple color from the pansy and the green alfalfa sprouts make these sandwiches stand out on the tray.  I picked up the fresh alfalfa sprouts at the Summerside Farmer’s Market. They were grown locally in Pleasant Valley at “Our Old Island Market Farm”. I frequent both the Charlottetown and Summerside Farmers Markets and I love to make new discoveries of products being produced by our Island farmers.

Open-faced Egg Salad Tea Sandwich
Open-faced Egg Salad Tea Sandwich

Curious as to what’s in the little white teapots? One of my favorite teas is Assam Banaspaty which I buy at David’s Tea in Charlottetown. That’s the blend in the individual teapots on today’s tea table.

Individual Tea Pots
Individual Tea Pots

Assam Banaspaty is a lovely rich, smooth tea from India. It has some honey notes with malty undertones. It boasts a lovely amber color. I like a spot of milk in my tea and Assam Banaspaty has enough tannins that it can take a splash of milk without the tea’s flavor being smothered. I’d class this as a robust tea yet it is suitable for all courses of an afternoon tea. I am, therefore, serving just one blend of tea at my afternoon tea today.

Assam Banaspaty Tea
Assam Banaspaty Tea

I like tea cups that carry the design to the inside of the cups. It makes them just a bit more interesting.

Assam Banaspaty Tea
Assam Banaspaty Tea

Rhubarb is in season in PEI around the same time as the Lily of the Valley bloom and, of course, one of my all-time favorite desserts is Rhubarb Custard Torte which graces my table for the dessert course today. Sometimes, it is nice to have a variety of dainty tea squares and cookies and, other times, a signature dessert like this torte make a splashy and ever-so-tasty statement.

Rhubarb Custard Torte
Rhubarb Custard Torte

I hope you have enjoyed a little look into the offerings on my tea table today. Can’t you just smell the intoxicating scent of this bouquet of Lily of the Valley!

Lily of the Valley Bouquet
Lily of the Valley Bouquet
Lily of the Valley Themed Afternoon Tea

On The Sandwich Board: Egg Salad Sandwich

Egg Salad Sandwich
Egg Salad Sandwich

One of my all-time favorite sandwiches is egg salad. It’s also one variety of sandwich that, when I take a plate of sandwiches somewhere, is sure to go first.  The filling can, of course, be made very simply with nothing more than hard boiled eggs, salad dressing or mayonnaise, and some celery and onion, if desired.  I like to jazz up my egg salad filling a bit by adding some ingredients that give an additional flavor boost to the sandwich – prepared mustard, sweet pickle relish, lemon juice, fresh herbs, and just a smidgen of a fine quality white truffle oil.  Add some fresh lettuce and place this filling in a good quality roll or between slices of your favorite bread for a decadent lunch.  I take my lunch to work and it’s always a special treat day when I take the time to prepare an egg salad sandwich and pack it with some fresh veggies and fruit!

And, don’t forget the pickles!  Crunchy bread and butter pickles go great with an egg salad sandwich.

The eggs for the filling can be either diced or mashed according to personal preference.  Dicing the eggs results in a more rustic looking sandwich like the one shown in the photo below.

Egg Salad Sandwich
Egg Salad Sandwich

However, if I am making egg salad sandwiches for an afternoon tea, then I mash the eggs with a fork or small potato masher as it makes a  creamier filling that stays neatly in place between the bread slices as shown below.

Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches
Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches

Either bought or homemade salad dressing or mayonnaise can be used in this sandwich filling.  Sometimes, I add a little of each. I recommend starting with a tablespoon (or even slightly less) of the salad dressing or mayonnaise and then adding small amounts as necessary to achieve the desired consistency of the salad filling.

Egg Salad Sandwich

Ingredients:

2 hard-boiled eggs, diced
¼ cup celery, finely diced
1 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
1 tsp prepared mustard
1½ tsp sweet pickle relish
1 – 2 tbsp salad dressing or mayonnaise
½ tsp lemon juice
1½ tsp chives, chopped
1½ tsp fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
¼ tsp. fresh dill, chopped (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ tsp. white truffle oil

4 slices of bread of choice or 2 rolls
Lettuce
Paprika (optional)

Method:

Place eggs in medium-sized saucepan. Cover with enough water that the eggs are completely covered by at least 1” of water. Bring to a full boil. As soon as the water is at a full boil, remove saucepan from heat and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 12 minutes. Drain the hot water and rinse eggs under cold water to stop the cooking process. Let eggs sit in a saucepan of cold water for 4-5 minutes then peel and dice (or mash) them.

Place eggs in bowl and add all remaining ingredients. When adding the salad dressing or mayonnaise, start with 1 tbsp and add more until mixture is of desired consistency. Stir well to combine ingredients.

Butter bread slices or roll halves. Place lettuce on bottom halves of each sandwich or roll. Top the lettuce with the egg filling, dividing equally between the two sandwiches or rolls. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired. Place remaining roll tops or bread slices over filling and slice as desired.

Yield: 2 sandwiches or rolls

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Egg Salad Sandwich
Egg Salad Sandwich

Egg Salad Sandwich

Yield: 2 sandwiches or rolls

A flavorful egg salad sandwich perfect for any occasion that calls for a sandwich!

Ingredients

  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, diced
  • ¼ cup celery, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp prepared mustard
  • 1½ tsp sweet pickle relish
  • 1 - 2 tbsp salad dressing or mayonnaise
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • 1½ tsp chives, chopped
  • 1½ tsp fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
  • ¼ tsp. fresh dill, chopped (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ tsp. white truffle oil
  • 4 slices of bread of choice or 2 rolls
  • Lettuce
  • Paprika (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place eggs in medium-sized saucepan. Cover with enough water that the eggs are completely covered by at least 1” of water. Bring to a full boil. As soon as the water is at a full boil, remove saucepan from heat and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 12 minutes. Drain the hot water and rinse eggs under cold water to stop the cooking process. Let eggs sit in a saucepan of cold water for 4-5 minutes then peel and dice (or mash) them.
  2. Place eggs in bowl and add all remaining ingredients. When adding the salad dressing or mayonnaise, start with 1 tbsp and add more until mixture is of desired consistency. Stir well to combine ingredients.
  3. Butter bread slices or roll halves. Place lettuce on bottom halves of each sandwich or roll. Top the lettuce with the egg filling, dividing equally between the two sandwiches or rolls. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired. Place remaining roll tops or bread slices over filling and slice as desired.
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