Sunday, 29 October 2017

VeganMoFo 2017 #29: Afternoon Tea for Miss Austen

29th: History – What would you cook for your favourite historical figure?

I struggled with this prompt. Initially I thought Elizabeth I, because I am quite interested in her, though I don't know if 'favourite' is the right word because she did some fairly horribly things. And I guess that is the problem with a lot of historical figures. You can be fascinated by them, but often they have some pretty significant baggage. Then I thought maybe I would make a 17th century French-inspired menu, because my current favourite history-based TV show is Versailles. How do those men keep those long locks so smooth and shiny? It is a mystery! But the way things worked out I didn't have much time. So I decided to pick Jane Austen, who is well known and is responsible for my very favourite book, Pride & Prejudice.

To start my planning, I had a suitable breakfast of a crumpet with Nuttelex and golden syrup and a cup of chocolate chai. From my reading, it seems that while afternoon tea was becoming common in the Regency era that Jane lived in, the more lavish and fancy affairs that we think of as high tea was really perfected in the later Victorian era. This is a gross oversimplification, but there is some interesting food history on afternoon tea and high tea on the internet if you care to search. However, if you were to visit the Jane Austen tea rooms in Bath, the menu certainly does have a nice fancy high tea theme. So we'll go with that.

Crumpets and Chocolate Chai

First up, what to serve? A selection of savouries and sweets. I went with the classic cucumber and cream cheese combination for my little sandwiches. I used a local cashew cream cheese from Primal Foods, which I am sad to say I won't be buying again because I am not a huge fan of the flavour, but it was OK when added to the sandwich. A hot pastry is also often served, and I had this handy roll kicking about in my freezer that I zapped in the microwave and diced into dainty pieces. It was not bad!


For sweets, I made two recipes. First up, the Apple Sauce Coconut Cupcakes from Wing It Vegan. I made a couple of changes, that I hope River will allow. First of all, River is adamantly against cinnamon in these, I love cinnamon! But I was willing to forgo it. Except then I remembered that I had some leftover chai-spiced sugar sitting around that I needed to use up, that has cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves in it, so I used that as the sugar. I also left out the almond extract (I find it overpowering) and added some coconut extract instead. It was definitely a spiced apple coconut cupcake, but I really liked the flavour! I do have a toaster oven, but it sounds nothing like River's, so I baked these in my regular oven. I did 20 minutes at 180dC, but they were still a bit blonde on top and soft in the middle, so I put them back in for 10 minutes and turned it up to 200dC and it was perfect.

Spiced Apple Coconut Muffins

Scones with Jam and Cream from Taste of Life by Animals Australia: Of course scones have to make an appearance, though there is some debate as to whether these were commonly served in the Regency era, they were definitely seen in the Victorian era. Proper UK/Australian scones are not the same beast as what the US considers a scones... they more closely resemble US biscuits, I think. These scones are super easy to make, with only three ingredients! I made a quarter batch and got two large scones. The batter was quite sticky, and I just patted it into shape rather than cutting it, so you can see my scones are a bit flat. But they tasted good! I skipped making the vanilla coconut cream and used some Soyatoo Rice Whip, and I also served them with some St Dalfour's Blueberry Jam.
Rating: :)

Scones with Jam and Cream

In added some additional things to my plates. Some grape tomatoes for the savoury plate for freshness. And for the sweet plate I added some dates, blueberries, and some Treat Dreams Speculaas Dark Chocolate squares. I hope Jane would be happy!

Savoury Plate

Sweet Plate

And of course, some tea! With the exception of an occasional cup of black-tea based chai (see above) and the odd matcha, I generally avoid caffeine-based hot drinks. So I brewed up a pot of one of my favourite caffeine-free teas, the Vanilla Rooibos from T2. Served in my cute little kitty pot and mug set!

Tea Set

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post - Month of Sahara

Sahara and Emma

Last year I re-read all of Jane Austen's books. Sahara thought that Emma made a good pillow.


  1. This is basically my perfect meal! I love afternoon tea because nibbling on lots of different things is a delight, I especially enjoy cucumber cream cheese sammies and scones. I think that Jane would definitely have been happy with this!

    1. It was so fun having all the different things to nibble and try.

  2. I recognise that edition! <3

    1. All my Jane's are from those editions. I think I've had them since high school.

  3. I think Jane would have loved this meal! I agree with vegan in brighton that nibble-y meals are the best!
    Dylan always loved using my books for pillows too!

    1. If they are using your book as a pillow, you can't read it and so you have to focus on them. ;)

  4. Oh, yes. Jane would be most delighted with this afternoon tea. I'm sure that even Mr. Darcy would have a good opinion of this afternoon tea. And that's nice, because you know that once his good opinion is lost...

    And there are the little wing-it cupcakes! Recipes are made to be tweaked to our tastes, so I am very glad you added some flavors that you like! I keep meaning to try a few of the toaster oven recipes in my regular oven to see how the baking time and temperature would change but I never remember to do it.

    Your little kitty pot and mug! So cyoot!

    Sahara had excellent taste in books. <3

    1. My Darcy... swooooooon!
      The muffins were so good!