Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tea, Punch and Flummery Flops!

A while ago now, I played hostess to a tea party for a bunch of my girlfriends.  It was months ago now but never too late to blog a thing. Right?

The venue:
I held the party in my home, which is a beautiful old Queenslander house.  Though it was a little bit squishy, we all fit into the dining area with a table full of food and a sideboard for drinks and crockery.

The guests:

I had some of my favourite girls around, nine guests in total.  The only rule I specified on the invitation was that a dress was mandatory!   This wasn't a problem for the dress veterans who came in their own flavour of fashion.  We did have one guest who was wearing a non-historical-costume dress for the first time in her adult life bought especially for the day. (Insert shocked face here)

Sassy D wore a gorgeous black vintage hat with a 50s frock and cardi while her sister Classy K was beautiful in 20s style.  PoisonedKitty wore a very cute outfit in the gothic lolita style (a Japanese street fashion) while Little L wore her own personal brand of vintage meets sweet gyaru style.  I tried to steal her hat... but she was too protective of it for me to get close.

The menu:
Drinks included  Stockholm Blend tea (my favourite!) and punch made from the recipe I've already blogged about here.

Tea was served in a fine china tea service I inherited from my Nana with a Japanesque pink carnation pattern on the side (with a few non-matching trios to make up the numbers beyond what the tea service catered for!).

Punch was served in a large punch bowl my sister had inherited from my Nana and kindly loaned to me for the day with dainty sized matching punch cups.

Food included afternoon tea favourites like egg and lettuce sandwiches, brie and cranberry sandwiches, chocolate cake with chocolate ganache icing and scones with lemon and vanilla jam (generously bought along by a friend), Parmesan and tomato pesto pinwheels, lavender shortbread and a flummery charlotte.  There was also a gorgeous berry tart generously bought by another guest.

The outfit:

I've already posted a full shot of my outfit for the day (a while ago, just after the party happened).

I wore a navy dress with red and olive paisley print over it.  My favourite brooch, a Victorian-era bar brooch with little pearls and rubies pinned the front flap of my dress closed.  I was still sporting my neat and newly cut hairdo, topped with a midnight blue hat which I'd scored for $5 from Retro Stop when it was closing down. 

Black gloves and black pumps completed the outfit.

The Great Flummery Flop:
I had hopes and dreams pinned on the flummery charlotte.  I had found the recipe in one of my old 50s cookbooks and loved the picture of the dessert.  I was charmed by the idea of serving such an unusual and sweet looking dessert.  In my mind's eye, guests would enter, appreciate the gorgeous pink flowers and then be distracted by the flummery charlotte beside it.  They would be intrigued and would eagerly want to try a bit of that tasty treat. "Oh! I really must get the recipe! What is it called again!?"

Yes. My imagination really is like that.  

It seemed simple enough.  lady finger biscuits, banana slices across the bottom and then 'flummery' filling ontop.  The recipe didn't include how to make flummery - it only called for an instant flummery mix made by a company that no longer exists.   My mum offered me a recipe to make my own flummery but I had 'better ideas'.  I would substitute instant chocolate pudding, the kind you just add milk, whip and then chill.  Easy peasy.  Instant dessert success!

In reality, the dessert looked like some unimaginably foul brown mix loaded ontop of unevenly stacked biscuits.   Guests admired the flowers but then turned suspecious eyes on the ugly duckling dessert beside it.   Only I and one other person tried it.  It tasted awful.  (Note to self: Never have instant chocolate pudding again.  That which tastes awesome to a kid is not necessary awesome to an adult's palate.)

Now is the perfect season to hold a tea party, with temperate weather and that lull before Christmas parties start in earnest.   How about you play hostess at your own party soon.... just forget about the flummery charlotte! 

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