With summer in full swing, plenty of colour and freshness would be the theme of the day; there would be time enough for comfort food come the autumn. My guests were both newbies and ‘repeat offenders’ – the latter being a difficult thing to achieve given my ever growing waiting list and the inadequate frequency with which I feel I am able to host events. It is both very humbling and gratifying that Chez Shamwari has become such a favourite.

Here is the final menu:

20150726 Afternoon tea


It was a very happy occasion which grew from an idea to have a private event for one of the guests (my most eminent ‘repeat offender’) but as a ‘full house’ couldn’t be attained by them, I offered to fill the rest of the table. And so it was; a meeting of new people, reunions from across the globe, birthday and work promotion celebrations.


With hungry expectant guests, it was time to eat …

Finger sandwiches:

  • Egg & cress – I ensure egg filling is well seasoned which includes a little cayenne pepper and paprika. The seeded brown bread makes these into an egg sarnie like no other.
  • Tuna with a dill mayo – only fresh dill will do for these.
  • Piquanté peppers & cream cheese – an interesting creamy combination of sweetness and ‘heat’ from the peppers.



  • Smoked chicken, mushroom & wild rice muffins with a porcini ‘butter’ – these muffins are very unusual with the rice texture. The porcini ‘butter’ was made mixing powdered porcini (which I recently discovered at a local farmers market) into cream cheese.


  • Cheese & cracked black pepper biscuits – only a strong flavoured cheese will do in these along with cracked black pepper and a sprinkling of cayenne giving just enough pepperiness. The downside is they are rather moorish!




  • Melktert (Milk tart) – a classic dessert from South Africa. It’s similar to a traditional custard tart but not as rich. It has a sweet pastry crust with a filling consisting of milk, eggs, sugar and flour and is finished off with a light dusting of cinnamon. It’s really rather yummy.


  • Caramelised banana mousse & rum truffle chocolate cups – I made the chocolate cups using a half Easter egg mould and then put a little rum truffle in each before covering them in the mousse. The decoration was some more handmade chocolate work and mini chocolate meringues dipped in chocolate.


Before anyone asks, I am sworn to secrecy over the banana mousse I’m afraid. I visited a local eatery and was blown away by their banana mousse dessert. I couldn’t resist asking for the recipe to which the chef very kindly obliged as long as I abided with ‘no telling’!



  • Strawberry ‘polka dot’ cake – I think this cake epitomises the British summer with strawberries at their finest. The génoise sponge is filled with a light strawberry mousse and then topped with all those delightful strawberries.


I had made this cake once before at our Saltaire Clandestine Cake Club celebration of when the Tour De France came to Yorkshire for the Grand Départ a few years ago. I had forgotten about this until it was mentioned how the dots on the cake reminded them of the polka dot jersey worn by the ‘King Of The Mountains’ leader. It was uncanny when we all realised that the finish of the 2015 Tour De France in Paris was actually taking place as we enjoyed our afternoon tea! I must have had some premonition that this was very much the cake for the occasion.


  • And then scones – not any old scones, but my utterly delicious buttermilk scones, served fresh straight from the oven, with clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam. It was definitely a day for the old strawberry!


As the clock waited for no one, with goody bags packed up and another happy afternoon spent, it was time for adieu. A thank you to my guests; I hope to see you all again to claim ‘repeat offender’ titles.