Bologna to Bolognese: Adventures With Food

Food is necessary. Food is fun. Food is an adventure!

My name is Shannon and this is my adventure, my love affair with food.

I hope you'll come along for the ride.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tea Time

I find there is something about the ritual of brewing a pot of tea that calms me, but no traditional tea is complete without a selection of tea snacks and goodies. These can range anywhere from sardines on toast to delectable cream pastries and finger sandwiches.

As I prepare for an upcoming party I found I needed to test some of my most recent recipes, so today we will explore the wonderful world of tea sandwiches.

You will find any number of recipes on the net and the most common are of course, Cucumber, Watercress, egg salad, chicken salad and various cold meats. While I find all of these enjoyable I want to add a bit of panache to my sandwiches so we will focus on Four that made the top of my list.

The first is my own recipe based on a delightful dish I enjoyed at an Indian restaurant we used to frequent in England. 

Royal Curried Chicken

12 oz diced Chicken
1 tsp Curry Powder
2 tsp Apricot Jam
Pumpernickel Bread (I use Pepperidge Farms)
Ground Cardamom
Fresh Cilantro

Shred the chicken with a fork and add the curry powder and apricot jam. Mix well. Spread two slices of bread with a thin layer of butter and sprinkle with ground cardamom on one slice of bread arrange a layer of cilantro leaves and add the chicken salad. Top with the second slice of bread and cut as desired. Decorate with a sprig of Cilantro and serve.

My second choice is a very basic tea sandwich with a modern twist. The watercress sandwich.

Watercress Tea Sandwich

Whole wheat bread
Cream Cheese (room temperature)
1 bag of your favorite flavored black tea (something mild and sweet is advised)
salt and pepper to taste

Empty the contents of one tea bag into a mortar and crush to a fine dust with a pestle (I used Lipton Vanilla Caramel tea). Add the ground tea to 1 oz of softened cream cheese and blend well. (it gets better if it has time to rest) Spread a thin layer of cream cheese mixture on two slices of bread. On one slice of bread add a generous amount of watercress. Add a dash of salt and ground black pepper and top with second slice of bread. Garnish with a leaf of cress, cut and serve.

Another time tested favorite given a flavor filled boost, this is not your grandmother's Cucumber sandwich.

Cucumber Mint Finger Sandwiches

Thinly sliced English Cucumber
Mint (thinly sliced)
Whole Wheat Bread
Salt and pepper to taste

Spread a thin layer of butter on two pieces of bread. layer with thinly sliced cucumber. Add the minced mint and salt and pepper to taste then top with the second slice of bread cut and serve. Garnish with a single mint leaf and a twist of cucumber.

My final choice is another veggie delight but this time the main satr is a fruit, the tomato!

Tomato goat cheese sandwiches

thinly sliced tomato
goat cheese
basil pesto
thinly sliced leeks
salt and pepper to taste

Mix some of the basil pesto with the room temperature goat cheese and blend well. Spread the goat cheese on whole wheat bread. add slices of tomato to one piece of bread and leeks to the other. Salt and pepper to taste then close the sandwich, cut and serve. Garnish with fresh shredded basil and leeks.

Some of the other combinations pictured here are a ham, cream cheese and jam sandwich on pumpernickel, a ham and leek with cheese on pumpernickel, radish, leek and butter on wheat and carrot and cucumber wrapped in wheat bread with wasabi cream cheese.

The options for fillings are limited only by your imagination so play around and get creative. Some of the sanwiches I made for this installment are still a work in progress but with a little thought and creativity almost anything you have on hand can become the next star of your afternoon tea.

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