There are few things more quintessentially British than afternoon tea, so when we decided to do a blog to mark afternoon tea week it made perfect sense to choose a New Zealander to do it.

To be fair, I have lived in the UK for a while now and have had my fair share of afternoon tea, some bad, some very good, so I think this just about qualifies me!


The origin of afternoon tea is believed to have begun in England with Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford in 1840. Anna, who struggled with hunger pains every afternoon, began having small sweets and snacks with her tea in the afternoon, in order to help her last until the evening meal that was usually served around 8pm.

Whether this really was how afternoon tea then caught on, who knows, but it makes a great story nonetheless!

Some fine examples

In my research for the blog I wanted to look at the weird and wonderful when it comes to afternoon tea.

So, it made me smile when I read about a bar in London where drag queens are used in an all-singing, all-dancing, all-glittering What’s The Tea? menu, with fantastically themed food served in a sparkling cosmetics case.

Inside the case is The Glitter Ball, a white chocolate-coated lemon and blueberry cake-pop, while the chocolate and vanilla Red Velvet roll is named Red Lip Sync. Best of all are the scone toppings — Clotted Night Cream and Lip Jam. Genius!

If you like the thought of food theatre and audience participation, another London (yes, it’s always London) hotel is offering an ‘immersive; comedy theatre performance which takes place around you as you tuck into sarnies and scones.

If that’s all a bit too much for you, then The Devonshire Club in London (afternoon tea is available outside the capital I promise you), then how about an Indian-inspired afternoon tea. The Club resides in a building that used to be an East India Company warehouse, so the two organisations have collaborated for this new afternoon tea, which takes inspiration from the goods and spices that were traded between Europe, South Asia and the Far East in the 18th century.

So, scones are served with rose petal preserve, and sweet highlights include a Oolong tea infused crème brûlée and dark and white chocolate, pink peppercorn and nutmeg delice.

Even Branston Pickle is trying to get into the afternoon tea act, with a pickle-infused tea. I am all for PR stunts Branston, but not sure this one will get you any more customers!

SK Afternoon Tea

Anyway, now for the recipe, or in this week’s case recipes. I have created an afternoon tea using only ingredients and products from the SK kitchen, just don’t ask me to come and sing for you as well!!

Bhaji Fries



– 450g prepared chilled onion bhajis (obviously we used our own)
– 160g spicy batter mix
– 290g of cold water
– Splash of red food colouring for colour


– Preheat your deep fat fryer or pain with oil to 180oC.
– Mix the batter mix, water and food colouring together to create a smooth batter.
– Slice the bhajis lengthways into fingers approx. ½ inch thick pieces. Then roll in breadcrumbs before dipping them in to the batter mix for better adhesion.
– Fry in oil for approx. 3 minutes until crispy. Serve with a little added salt

Chocolate Macaroons



– 330g desiccated coconut
– 175g raw cocoa powder
– 105g honey
– 22g coconut oil
– Tbsp vanilla essence
– Pinch of sea salt


– Preheat oven to 180oC.
– Combine all the dry ingredients in bowl. Melt the oil and honey together in a pan and then add to the dry mixture and mix until well combined. Using a measured scoop (or an ice cream scoop) scoop onto a greased tray. Bake for approx. 14 mins or until cooked through. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack and garnish with glace cherry.

Kaffir Lime Chicken Lollipops



-500g of free-range chicken breast diced ¼ inch
– 1 large fresh red chilli minced
– 2 cloves fresh garlic minced
– 2.5cm fresh ginger minced
– 4 kaffir lime leaves
– 25g low sodium soy sauce
– 2 tbsp of corn flour
– Bhaji batter (see above)


– Combine the chilli, garlic, ginger, soy and kaffir lime leaf and marinate the chicken in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
– Once chilled roll the chicken pieces in the corn flour and then dip into bhaji batter to coat and then deep fry for approx. 3 ½ mins. Serve on mini skewers.

John Connell
About John Connell
Development & Innovations Chef of SK Foods.
Your food. Our Passion.