Whether you’re a sympathetic monarchist or staunch republican, there’s one thing we can all share on the Queen’s Birthday – high tea.
4 Jun 2014 - 3:47 PM  UPDATED 2 Jul 2014 - 11:04 PM

1. Dot your ‘i’s, don’t cross your teas

We lured you in with the promise of hoity-toity treats, but first, you need the truth: low tea is high tea, and high tea is dinner. Say what?! Well, traditionally English royals enjoyed ‘low’ or ‘afternoon’ tea from small side tables and low-set chairs. This roast eggplant dip from Feast was likely a hit.


2. Never act high and mighty

‘High’ tea, on the other hand, was a basic dinner of meats, starchy vegetables, baked goods and tea. Commoners would sit around a high-set table and fill up on heavy fare after a hard day’s yakka. Please plebs and royals alike with these Matthew Evans’ crumpets from Feast.


3. Play by the rules

Let’s travel back to the 21st century, where high tea is a special affair. Serve your delicacies on a three-tiered stand and consume in the correct order: savouries, scones, and, only then, sweets. Polish pasztet (pate) is a delectable option for the opening course.


4. Or break them with gusto

Swap mini quiches for an egg-y alternative, like this Japanese chicken omelette from Charmaine Solomon's The Complete Asian Cookbook. Politely portioned into bite-sized pieces, no royal could object.


5. Reinvent the sandwich wheel

Why should cucumber get all the credit? There are dozens of sandwich fillers deserving high-tea status. Feast’s caviar, crab and cream cheese and capsicum variety is a supreme choice.


6. And give chicken the Jubilee treatment

Served on sandwiches and in salads, Jubilee or Coronation chicken contains dried fruits, herbs, spices, mayonnaise and the secret ingredient: curry powder. In this version from Feast, cook your chook with thyme, bay leaves and white wine.


7. Keep your crusts for cutlets

It’s a well-known fact that crusts just don’t make the cut for high tea. That doesn’t mean they should go to waste. Use your leftovers for these Indian banana cutlets and heck, while you’re at it, decorate the table with Bollywood bling.


8. Save cream for the scones

Cream is a no-no when it comes to tea. The beverage is best served black with a slice of lemon, or sweetened with sugar and dash of milk. Keep the velvety accompaniment for Feast’s chai-infused scones.


9. Maybe spike it with cider

If you’re feeling a little more lavish, combine your cream with cider and cloves. The spicy, fruity undertones work wonderfully with native Australian flavours. Add to Matthew Evans' baked apples, homemade marzipan and bush honey, from Feast.  


10. Serve tarts with a side of history

Taking tea may be a tenet of English etiquette, but the tradition actually came via Portugal. Bride of Charles II, Catherine of Braganza, brought over a casket in 1662 and soon became England’s first tea-drinking queen. Share Portuguese tarts (from Feast), and this new-found knowledge, at your next sitting.


11. “Let them eat cake”

It’s a line famously credited to the French Queen, Marie-Antoinette, and another important rule in our guide to living like royalty. Cake is a crowd pleaser (when revolutions aren’t involved), so serve these lemon meringue cupcakes from Bitesize, and impress the empress. 


12. Ditch the cutlery  

When it comes to consuming tiny morsels, three is the new five. A trio of fingers will assist eating endeavours in a far more graceful fashion than a lumbering hand. Use your digit dexterity to enjoy these Dutch coconut rocks.


For more high tea treats, check out our Queen’s Birthday recipe collection here.