AUG 2023: Afternoon Tea Tradition

It may have been Afternoon Tea week at the start of the month, but we love any excuse to partake in this quintessentially British tradition!

Steeped in history and elegance, this elegant pastime is favoured by people of all ages. For some of our residents, afternoon tea can be more than just a meal; it's an experience that sparks conversation and evokes memories.

The history of afternoon tea can be traced back to the 19th century and is closely associated with Anna, the Duchess of Bedford. During the early 1800s, it was common for people in England to eat two main meals each day: breakfast and dinner. The gap between these meals was quite long, so the Duchess began requesting a pot of tea and light refreshments, such as sandwiches and cakes, to be brought to her private quarters during the mid-afternoon. This practice soon became a regular habit, and she started inviting friends to join her. The concept quickly caught on, and afternoon tea gatherings became a fashionable social event among the upper classes.

It wasn't long before other social hostesses and establishments began to adopt the idea of afternoon tea, and by the 1840s, it had become a popular tradition across England. During the Victorian era, afternoon tea evolved into a more elaborate affair, especially among the wealthier classes. Tea rooms and hotels began offering elaborate afternoon tea services to attract clientele, and the tradition continued to spread across the country.

The afternoon tea that we all know and love today features a delightful spread of finger sandwiches, scones, and cakes, sitting on an elegant tiered stand, served with a selection of fine teas, it’s the ultimate tea time treat!

In our homes, our residents love enjoying a spot of afternoon tea with their friends and loved ones in our beautiful dining areas, and when the sun is shining we often take the tiered tray of treats into our gardens to enjoy alfresco!

Afternoon tea is something we can all easily re-create at home, you only need a few simple ingredients to make an afternoon with friends and family even more special.

Cucumber Sandwiches:


  • Thinly sliced cucumber
  • Softened butter or cream cheese
  • Fresh dill or mint
  • Salt and pepper
  • White or whole wheat bread (sliced and crusts removed)


  1. Spread a thin layer of butter or cream cheese on each slice of bread.
  2. Arrange the cucumber slices on one slice, sprinkle with chopped dill or mint, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Top with another slice of bread and press gently.
  4. Cut into finger-sized sandwiches.

Smoked Salmon Pinwheels


  • Smoked salmon slices
  • Cream cheese
  • Lemon juice and zest
  • Fresh dill
  • Thinly sliced white bread


  1. Mix cream cheese with lemon juice, zest, and chopped dill.
  2. Spread the mixture on to the bread slices.
  3. Lay smoked salmon over the cream cheese mixture.
  4. Roll up tightly and slice into pinwheels.

Plain Scones


  • 240g all-purpose flour
  • 30g granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 115g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 120ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Egg wash (1 beaten egg mixed with a little milk)


  1. Mix dry ingredients, then cut in butter until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Add milk and vanilla, mix to form a dough.
  3. Roll out and cut into rounds.
  4. Brush with egg wash. Bake at 220°C for about 12-15 minutes, until golden.

Victoria Sponge Cake:


  • 227g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 240g all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Raspberry jam
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting


  1. Cream butter and sugar, then beat in eggs and vanilla.
  2. Fold in sifted flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Divide between two greased and lined cake tins.
  4. Bake at 175°C for 20-25 minutes.
  5. Once cool, spread jam on one layer and sandwich together.
  6. Dust with powdered sugar.