Afternoon Tea

It’s tea time! We’ve featured the Hockus Kocis blog before, but this picture is just too good to ignore…

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.

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.

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

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!