High Tea Sandwich Highlights

High Tea has to one of the best ways to wile away the hours in the afternoon. Well, that’s what my girlfriends and I firmly feel and as such we try and get together throughout the year to enjoy a lovely lunch of sandwiches made just so, pots of tea and coffee and petite sweet treats. High Tea sandwiches aren’t your run of the mill vegemite or peanut butter offerings but a choice of fairly traditionally fillings made with care and restraint. Perhaps the most well known High Tea sandwich is a cucumber sandwich, immortalised in Oscar Wilde’s hilarious play ‘The Importance of Being Earnest.’ It may sound awfully plain when compared with the stuffed focaccias and baguettes that adorn Australian bakeries and cafes but the combination of crisp, fresh cucumber, lightly seasoned and sitting inside oh so soft bread is a delight. The trick with making a fabulous High Tea sandwich is really good ingredients, careful seasoning and incredibly soft fresh bread. Crusts can come off of course, although as someone who has always wanted curly hair and hates waste, I always keep those babies on!

For other treats you might like to make for a tempting High Tea spread, consider my orange and poppy seed cake or for an Australian spin on this British tradition, how about mini versions of my lovely lamington recipe!

Top 5 High Tea Sandwich Fillings

  1. Cucumber sandwiches – Don’t use cucumbers with very thick skin or too many seeds for this high tea sandwich.  Spread some high quality lightly salted butter on the bread and top with a few layers of finely sliced cucumber. Season with a tiny amount of salt and grinding of pepper.
  2. Chicken, mayonnaise and celery – Use a free-range or organic roast chicken. If you are buying one from a store, try to get one that has not been roasted with strong flavours such tarragon or lemon, or with stuffing (which you do not use).  Remove skin, shred chicken into strips and then chop into small pieces. Avoid any meat that is too dark. Finely dice celery and mix into the chicken along with a few spoonfuls of whole-egg mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper before filling your buttered sandwich points.
  3. Egg and cress – Boil some free-range or organic eggs, allow to cool and peel. Dice eggs and mix with a little whole egg mayonnaise in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and put a dainty amount in a buttered sandwich before topping with cress. A more recent spin on this high tea sandwich is to replace the cress with a little bacon, for a lady-like spin on a classic English sarnie.
  4. Prawn or lobster – cook your prawns (after removing intestine track) or lobster in lightly salted water then peel. Peel away the shell until you are left with the softest flesh. Chop into small pieces and mix with a little whole egg mayonnaise, a squeeze of lemon and salt and pepper. Butter the bread and fill sandwich with the seafood.
  5. Smoked salmon – you can use your own gravlax salmon recipe for this high tea sandwich as well as store bought slices. Smoked trout would also work. Prepare fish by cutting into small pieces. Take some cream cheese out of the fridge a little in advance to soften then mix in some finely chopped dill in a bowl. Add a layer of dill cream cheese to one side of the sandwich. Put a single layer of salmon on top. Smear a scraping of the dill cream cheese on the other side so the halves stick together.

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