Hosting high ‘chai’

While the term ‘high tea’ has a rather aristocratic ring to it, it’s far from a boring, staid affair. In fact, it offers the perfect blend of formality and fun. And it’s also a lot less daunting than putting together an elaborate dinner.

In fact, a few entrees, a few teas and the right cutlery are all it takes to get your high-tea right. To make things even easier, we have put together two sets of menus, one for a group of five and another for a group of up to 10 people. So, go ahead and host a hot and happening high-tea party…

Intimate high tea (5 guests) – Menu
Raisins scones
Mini apple and orange cake
Pistachio financier
White chocolate
Cucumber, mascarpone and arugula finger sandwich (veg)
Smoked salmon pumpernickel

1) Jungpana tea (Second flush)
Since this tea has a strong flavour it goes well with a menu which is rich in desserts. The flavour of a mild tea would be lost with a rich menu. Second flush refers to tea leaves which are part of the second harvest, thereby making the tea heavy-bodied. Brew for a maximum of four minutes or the flavour of the tea may overpower the food. Add milk to taste and serve hot.

2) Arya Emerald (First flush)
This tea is for the health conscious as it is a green tea and hence doesn’t undergo the process of fermentation. The first flush refers to leaves that are part of the first harvest. Overall, the tea has a strong aroma and flavour. Brew for a maximum of three minutes and serve without milk.

Raisin scones (Serves 5)
Ingredients – 200 gm sugar, 200 gm butter, 2 eggs, 300 gm fresh cream, 700 gm flour, 25 gm baking powder, 60 gm raisins

Method – Mix the fresh cream, butter and sugar until it reaches a soup-like consistency. Add the eggs and stir thoroughly. Mix flour and baking powder together and add this to the cream mix. Leave out raisins if you want plain scones. Roll the dough and cut into circles with the help of a sharp bowl. Bake at 200 degrees centigrade for 12 minutes. 
Mini apple and orange cake (Serves 5)
Ingredients – 3 eggs, 150 gm sugar, 300 gm flour, 15 gm baking powder, 200 ml milk, 150 gm 
oil, 75 gm butter milk, 15 gm vanilla extract, ½ tsp salt, 150 gm apple cubes, 15 gm orange zest

Method – Whisk together eggs and sugar. Add flour and baking powder to the mix. Next, add milk, oil, butter, vanilla and salt. Finally, add apple cubes, orange zest and stir till mixture reaches puree consistency. Set into separate moulds and bake at 200 degrees centigrade for 15 minutes.

Pistachio financier (Serves 5)
Ingredients – 100 gm pistachio powder, 300 gm sugar, 100 gm flour, 240 gm egg white, 125 gm butter (melted), 100 gm frozen raspberries

Method – Melt butter until it turns brown. In a separate bowl, mix pistachio powder, sugar and flour. Add egg white and whip together. Add the hot butter and pour the mix in to square moulds and add the frozen raspberries. Cook at 200 degrees for about eight to ten minutes.

Cucumber, mascarpone and arugula finger sandwiches (Serves 5)
Ingredients – 50 gm cucumber, 50 gms mascarpone, 10 gms arugula leaves, 2 slices white bread

Method – Spread mascarpone cheese on bread. Arrange cucumber slices and arugula leaves, close with another slice of bread and cut into finger-sized sandwiches.

Smoked salmon pumpernickel (Serves 5)
Ingredients – 75 gm smoked salmon, 6 red currants, 4 black olives, 6 slices pumpernickel bread, 30 gm sour cream

Method – Cut the bread from the rear end and apply sour cream. Roll the salmon and add on top of bread. Garnish with black olives.

Elaborate high tea (10 guests) – Menu
• Raisin scones
• Mini apple and orange cake
• Pistachio financier
• White chocolate
• Ham and cheese pinwheel sandwich
• Vegetable and cheese pyramid
• Wok fried corn in tart shells
• Tofu with ekura

1) Arya Ruby (second flush)
Since ham and tofu can leave a lingering flavour, this strong tea helps clean the palate and is best enjoyed at the end of meal. Brew for four minutes and serve black.

2) Goomtee (first flush)
Ask any tea connoisseur and they wouldn’t be able to turn down a cup of Goomtee from Darjeeling. Grown at high altitudes, the flavour is unlike any other type. It is neither too intense nor too mild and to truly enjoy it, serve without milk. Brew for a maximum of four minutes and sip at the end of a meal as it leaves a pleasant, lingering flavour.

3) Arya Pearl (first flush)
It’s part of the first harvest and undergoes no fermentation or withering. Hence, it has a mild colouring which is in contrast to its rich and strong flavour. Brew for no more than three minutes and serve with or without milk.

Wok-fried corn in tart shells (Serves 10)
Ingredients – 100 gm corn kernels, 50 gm shitake mushrooms, 40 gm mixed pepper squares (red, yellow, green), 10 tart shells, 10 gm oyster sauce

Method – Stir-fry corn kernels, mushrooms and pepper squares. Add oyster sauce and mix thoroughly. Add salt as per taste. Spoon mixture into tart shells.

Tofu with ekura (Serves 10)
Ingredients – 200 gms tofu (diced), 60 gms tobigo (salmon fish roe)

Method – Cut the tofu into small dices and place in shot glass. Sprinkle ekhora and serve.

Ham and cheese pinwheel sandwiches (Serves 10)
Ingredients – 50 gm ham slices, 50 gm cream cheese, bread slices

Method – Spread cheese on bread slices, place ham and roll the bread. Wrap with cling-wrap to maintain the shape and set aside for some time. Cut into slices and serve cold.

Vegetable and cheese pyramids (Serves 10)
Ingredients – 5 gm butter, 10 gm finely-chopped carrots, 10 gm finely-chopped leeks, 10 gm finely-chopped celery, 10 gm finely-chopped French beans, 5 gm fresh red chilies, 40 gm Parmesan cheese, 50 gm oatmeal, 10 gms cream, 15 ml water

Method – Sauté carrots, leeks, celery and French beans in butter, then add fresh red chilies. Add oatmeal and sauté till oatmeal is cooked by adding water. Add cream and cheese, mix properly. After seasoning, put mixture in a pyramid mould. Now, put aside to set in the fridge for about half an hour. 

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