GO SEE: Stateside Spots for British Fare

The kind folk from the fantastic Laura Ashley Blog did a lovely post about their favorite English eating places in New York. Guess who was featured?! We love the photos and we’ll take their compliments about our food, but the interior design too? We’re in heaven!

The Great British Summer is coming to a close but not so are our cravings for English fare. Thankfully, a few stateside chums are satisfying our longings by catering to the tastes of home.

Our lunch favourite is Tea and Sympathy, where the menu of the traditional British kind defies any notion that the nation’s food is blasé and includes bangers ‘n mash, shepherd’s pie, welsh rarebit, roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and more. The setting– a delightful interpretation of a quintessential English corner in the heart of Greenwich Village– is cosy and eclectic with an assortment of mismatched china for tea service that is just simply charming.

Founded by the able hands of south London native Nicky Perry, Tea & Sympathy serves up an ample British plate and cuppa for our homesick bellies.

Nicky Perry delights in her heritage and it’s seen in the details. Guests can pick up a British newspaper, browse the shop for take home teas, sweets, and gifts, or schedule a special delivery by way of an authentic London cab. Tea & Sympathy is a must try for all, especially culinary starved Brits.

You can read the full post here, along with more lovely photos.

Tea & Sympathy’s Queen’s Jubilee Menu

It is finally upon us! This weekend is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee: a celebration of Elizabeth II’s 60th year on the throne that will go down in British history. We’ve put together a recommended menu to help you commemorate the event in truly regal style.

Feel free to give us a call (212-989-9735) if you’re planning a party and are looking for supplies – we have everything you need for an authentic British knees-up!

Coronation Chicken Finger Sandwiches

The perfect savory to serve at your party. Easy to make, easy to eat, and invented for the Queen’s coronation. A lightly spiced creamy chicken, coronation chicken hints at the Raj while finger sandwiches evoke a dainty English civility. Most importantly, these little morsels are utterly delicious.

Ingredients:
Makes about 10 sandwiches

Good quality, thinly sliced bread of your preference
Coronation chicken
Very thinly sliced peeled cucumber, tomato or lettuce (optional)
Salt and Pepper

  • Choose a selection of good-quality, thinly sliced white, wholewheat and seven-grain breads.
  • Peel the dark green skin from the outside of the cucumber with a vegetable peeler if using.
  • Spread a good amount of coronation chicken on to the bread, and add cucumber, lettuce or tomato if using. Season to taste
  • Top with a plain slice.
  • With a sharp knife, cut the crusts off of the bread and discard. Cut the sandwich diagonally into triangles or finger shapes.
  • Serve garnished with a sprig of fresh watercress.

Victoria Sponge

Named after the last monarch to spend 60 years on the throne. Queen Victoria favored a slice of sponge cake with her afternoon tea, and this is an especially decadent version: two layers filled with cream and jam and topped with confectioners’ sugar.


Serves 8-10
Preparation Time: 35-40 minutes

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
A few drops of pure vanilla extract
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder

  • Preheat  the oven to 350F
  • With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time , along with the vanilla.
  • With a spatula, fold in the flour and baking powder and mix until smooth.
  • Divide the batter between 2 buttered and floured 8-inch cake tins and smooth the surface by tapping gently on the side of the tins.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • As with all cakes, the best way to make sure the cake is done is by inserting a thin knife or skewer into the center of the cake: if it comes out clean, then the cake is done. Turn out onto wire rack to cool.

Royal Chocolate Biscuit Cake

We originally featured this cake during last year’s Royal wedding. William selected this childhood favorite as his groom’s cake. According to royal chef Darren McGrady, it is also one of the Queen’s top picks. Daily Candy stopped by to film Nicky preparing the cake. As you can see, it’s extremely simple and my-oh-my is it yummy!

There are more recipe ideas here. Please send us pictures if you do have a party – and we hope you have a fantastic Jubilee weekend!

The British Sandwich Industry Awards 2012

While the Oscars and the Olympics dominate calendars the year round, some just as important events go by barely noticed. They may showcase talent, flair, and near perfectness in equal measures, but – for whatever reason – the world turns a blind eye. One of these events came to pass last week, and we feel it our duty to bring to your attention The British Sandwich Industry Awards 2012. Known by those in the know as ‘The Sammies’ they bring together the finest artists (yes artists) from across Britain to show the heavenly peaks that can be reached between two slices of bread.

The glamorous event takes place annually, with the ‘New Sandwich Product of the Year’ category providing the piece de resistance. The shortlist for 2012 offered a culinary world tour of flavorful fillings, with Chicken Jalfrezi Flatbread appearing alongside Cranberry, Wensleydale and Bacon. But there could only be one winner, and this year the bready crown went to Marks & Spencer’s Ultimate Chicken, Mango and Sweet Chilli Sandwich. Delicious!

While we don’t want to attract from the utter fabulousness (and utmost importance) of this event, we do have one question for the organisers: where the devil were our world famous finger sandwiches?!?

The height of English refinement: our finger sandwiches are available in-store or for delivery. Just give us a call on 212-989-9735.

Tea & Sympathy’s Tea Guide

As the name suggests, tea is what we’re all about. There is no underestimating how central this brewed beverage is to the British way of life. 120,000,000 cups are drunk in the UK every day, while “Fancy a cuppa?” and “I’ll put the kettle on” must be two of the nation’s most spoken phrases.

Continuing our campaign to get you lovely yanks taking Afternoon Tea, here’s the first instalment of our Tea Guide. Originally published in our cookbook ‘Tea & Sympathy: The Life of an English Teashop in New York‘, it gives the lowdown on all the major brews.

Along with last week’s guide to making the perfect cuppa, and our recipes for finger sandwiches, scones and Victoria sponge, you have no excuse not to start taking British Afternoon Tea! So wherever you are, make sure you have a kettle and (at the very least) a couple of scones to hand come 4pm!

And if you don’t feel like making it all at home, have it in our restaurant – or we’ll deliver to your door! Give us a call on 212-989-9735 if you’d like to order, or if you have any questions at all.

ASSAM - This is a rich, full-bodied pungent tea that is a perfect all-occasion drinking tea. It is grown in the Assam region of northeastern India, where it was discovered growing wild in the 1830s by the Scotsman Robert Bruce. Prior to his discovery, all teas came to the West from China.

DARJEELING - Grown in the high Himalayan foothills of India, this black tea is considered one of the world's finest, and accordingly a quality example can be quite expensive. The delicate flavor is among the most subtle of the black teas, and connoisseurs describe it as having a hint of blackcurrant.

EARL GREY - This flavored black tea originally from China is said to have been brought back to England by the Second Earl Grey in the 1830s. It is actually a blend of black teas that are flavored with oil of bergamot, and Italian citrus fruit. This is an ideal afternoon tea, which can be served with or without milk or sugar to taste.

ENGLISH BREAKFAST - A blend of Assam and Ceylon tea. As its name implies, it is a perfect tea for mornings, and its full, well-rounded flavor stands up well to bold foods - like the classic British fried breakfast.

LAPSANG SOUCHONG - This black Chinese tea has a very distinctive smokey taste and aroma. The "souchong" refers to the leaf size, meaning the third leaf down from the top of the plant. Some people fin the smokiness a little bit of an acquired taste, but we recommend it as a very elegant tea that is better sipped and enjoyed rather than gulped from a mug.

…And what to drink at your garden party? Pimm’s, of course! The perfect accompaniment to finger sandwiches

Pimm’s is THE drink of British summertime. If you haven’t tried it, do your best to get your hands on some – it’s stocked at some of the larger liquor stores. It will keep you thirst-quenched and merry (in, of course, that most civilised of ways that the Brits do best – think “elegantly wasted” in that old classic ‘Withnail and I’) for the remainder of the sunshine months.

Pimm's!

 

To whip up this most delectably, lightly-spiced of beverages – Take a jug and fill it with ice, mix one part Pimm’s with three parts chilled lemonade, add some mint, cucumber, orange and strawberry and you’re good to go!

Cucumber Finger Sandwiches – another summer classic

Oh, we do like to spoil you. Here’s a third summer classic from our cookbook ‘Tea and Sympathy: The Life of an English Teashop in New York’. For many, finger sandwiches are the height of refined English summertime. Classically held between the forefinger and thumb, with a glass of Pimm’s in the other hand, while standing on an expansive lawn, as the warm summer sun begins it’s afternoon descent and jovial conversation fills the air. No village fete or garden party is complete without this must-have summertime culinary accessory.

A typical British garden fete

Here we provide instructions for cucumber and cream cheese finger sandwiches on white bread. This is the most typical of finger sandwiches – the soft give of the crustless white bread complimented perfectly by the luxuriance of the cream cheese and the satisfyingly crisp bite of the cucumber. A good tip – with a simple recipe like this, seasoning is the key: be especially liberal with your salt to coax out the subtle flavor of the cucumber, while making sure not to overdo it! And it’s a good idea to peel the dark green skin from the outside of the cucumber which can often be bitter and ruin the delicate flavor of the sandwiches.

Finger Sandwiches

The finished product!

Finger Sandwiches are great as lunch or a snack and are a must at afternoon tea. The thinner the bread the better, however, some whole loaves are difficult to slice thinly, especially when they are very fresh, so try to choose quite dense bread when slicing yourself. To help the sandwiches stay fresh before serving them, cover with paper towels sprinkled with a little water, or wrap in cellophane. Do not refrigerate as they will go soggy. White bread goes stale much faster than seven-grain or wholewheat.

Makes about 10 sandwiches

Ingredients:
Cream cheese, softened
Very thinly sliced cucumber, peeled
Salt and Pepper

  • Choose a selection of good-quality, thinly sliced white, wholewheat and seven-grain breads.
  • Peel the dark green skin from the outside of the cucumber with a vegetable peeler.
  • Spread a little cream cheese on one side of each slice of bread, then layer cucumber to desired thickness. Season to taste
  • Top with a plain slice.
  • With a sharp knife, cut the crusts off of the bread and discard. Cut the sandwich diagonally into triangles or finger shapes.
  • Serve garnished with a sprig of fresh watercress.

Here are a few other ideas for fillings:

Chicken salad
Tuna Salad
Egg Salad & Watercress
Cucumber & Cream Cheese
Ham & Cream Cheese

Yum, yum, yum – now everyone out to the lawn before it rains again!

CBS – The Royal Wedding at Tea & Sympathy

Here are a few articles on our Royal Wedding celebrations from the lovely people at CBS:

Tea & Sympathy Prepares For Royal Wedding Bash
April 25, 2011 12:11 PM

Prince William and Kate Middleton (credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There will be several places around the City where you can watch the royal wedding this Friday.

A royal block party is being planned outside Nicky Perry’s Tea & Sympathy restaurant on Greenwich Avenue.

“It’s all I’ve done for the last month it’s been unbelievable. It’s like royal wedding central,” Perry said. “We’re going to be up, I’m sure, all night, because we’re going to decorate the block with bunting, and we can’t do that the night before.”

The festivities begin at 6 a.m.

“The most exciting thing will be the dress. The second most exciting thing will be the kiss on the balcony because, do you know the first royal couple to kiss on the balcony was Charles and Diana?” she said.

“I can’t wait to see the dress. I just want to take it all in,” one patron said.

Perry regards the royal wedding as a tribute to Princess Diana.

“I think it just destroyed people emotionally. I know it did for me, and I think that this is now the opportunity for us all to get behind her son and wish him happiness,” she said.

Perry was expecting hundreds to attend the party on this side of the pond. Champagne included.

“I’m probably going to have 8 million drunk and disorderly people out here. Thank goodness I get along with the Sixth Precinct,” she said.

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