Sara likes tea parties. She loves “hosting” them. Most afternoons after school she likes to make tea for me. Sometimes her dolls join us too.
Often there are sandwiches, cookies and a pastry or two. I get directions on how to hold the cup, “with your pinkie out because a princess ought to behave like a princess”.
While “drinking” our tea I ask her how was school? There are days when she has a lot to tell. There are days when she doesn't. "It was good", she says. Then there are days like yesterday when she said, "Oh! it was very exciting". "Wow! Tell me all about it Sara", I said.
“I can’t remember what we did. But I remember it was very exciting!”
But I digress.
I can’t remember if as a kid I loved tea parties as much as she does. Perhaps it has got to do with overdose of all the princess books she has been reading. Alice in Wonderland too.
A couple of weeks back she got back from school and asked if she could have her friends over for a tea party. "Tomorrow evening mamma. Like real tea, mamma. Wearing princess gowns".
"I will need to make invitations", she added. "They need to go out today. I will give it to them at the park this evening".
With very little time on hand we downloaded this free printable and she wrote out her friends' and her own name in a “Royal” font no less (Read: curly plus wiggly handwriting equals royal)
"But what will we serve Sara"?
"It is my tea party, can I cook"?, she asked. "There has to be tea and cookies and those tomato squares that we made the other day".
We agreed. I did a little prep work the next morning so that she could “cook” after school.
Chocolate milk for tea in “royal” cups: Years back I was gifted these dainty china cups which I always ended up using for dips and desserts. We took them out and she helped me fill each one with some “tea”.
Teabag cookies: Because to make tea we need teabags and we also need cookies to go with it. I had been waiting for a chance to make these ridiculously cute teabag cookies ever since I saw them everywhere and now was my chance :) I prepared the dough in the morning and kept a teabag stencil ready for her to cut them out. From there on it was easy. While she dipped each teabag into the warm chocolate ganache I tried very hard to be okay with it not being “perfect” and not dipping it back in. For my little chefling's cookies were more than perfect in every way. I attached the tea bag labels (free printable) and she squealed with excitement.
Tomato, basil and goat cheese squares: These happen to be Sara’s favorite and I feel they are a nice change from the usual pizza/pasta for a kid’s party. Since they have both the tomato and the cheese the children are willing to try. Plus they look like “grown up” food which was perfect for her “grown up tea party”.
I prepared the dough and sliced the tomatoes before she got back from school. We then cut them into squares and she adorned each square with tomatoes slices, a generous sprinkle of basil and goat cheese. We painted them with egg wash and they went into the oven.
The girls had so much fun that evening. They sat on the chairs wearing their pretty dresses and dipped their teabags into their tiny cups. They drew teacups and kettles and milk pots and sugar pots and played some more pretend tea. They talked. They laughed.
My little girl was exhausted by the end of it all. "Was I good hostess mamma"?, she asked.
"The best", said her proud mum.
Does your little one like playing “tea party”?
For us this party was much more than just a game. See for yourself.
- It is nice to invite friends over and it is even nicer when the invitation is handwritten. It makes our friends feel special.
- There is a lot of work that goes into cooking for friends and family. It is exhausting but there is no greater joy than feeding your loved ones.
- Toys when shared with friends multiply your happiness.
- When you take care of your little guests you go on to become a great little hostess and get many many hugs from all of them.
- Lastly, when we pour too much of chocolate milk into a tiny cup we get a chocolate puddle on the kitchen slab which then trickles down to the floor and that means lots of cleaning :)
- All get togethers needn’t be planned. Yes, I am Monica types. Sara taught me a great lesson. Sometimes impromptu plans are way more fun than planned ones.
- What they make doesn't have to look "perfect". What is important is leading them to the kitchen and allowing them to touch, feel and see where their food come from. Trust me whatever they make with their two little paws will be beautiful and will leave you teary eyed.
- You don’t have to necessarily DIY each little element of your party. Didn't I already mention I am Monica with a DIY obsession? It is okay to take help from others. These two ladies helped us with invitations and tea bag labels and tons of you inspired us to try out your super creative tea bag cookies.
- I love having her with me in the kitchen. The questions that she asks, the advice she gives me, the talks we have, the mistakes she makes and the mess she makes, All of this and more makes my day brighter.
Would you like to have a cup of tea?
Tomato, basil and goat cheese squares.
- 450 grams puff pastry (readymade is fine) I use this recipe
- One egg, beaten
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- 1 tsp of dry basil plus more for sprinkling later
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 4 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 100 grams goat cheese, cut into tiny wedges
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with some parchment paper.
- Roll out the puff pastry thin and cut it into squares or any shape that you like. We made ten medium squares.
- Put them on the baking sheet and fold the sides of each of the squares to make a sort of slightly raised border (about 1 cm). Brush these borders with the egg wash.
- Mix the garlic paste, olive oil, basil and salt together and brush all the squares with it.
- Arrange the sliced tomatoes on the squares, overlapping a bit. About two to three slices per square. Bake for about 15 minutes. The tomatoes will be tender and light brown.
- Take the baking sheet out and add a wedge or two of the goat cheese and sprinkle some basil on to each square. Return to the oven for another 7-8 minutes. The cheese will be melty but will still hold shape.
- You can serve it both hot or at room temperature.
Images : Personal Album. All images belong to orangekitchens and are subject to copyright.