Afternoon Tea at Fortnum and Mason

Mother’s Day is commercial bunkum. However, there’s nothing bad to be said about treating your mum to a never-ending tower of little treats and a decent cup (or three) of tea.

I went for classic Earl Grey but, if you’ve got more ambitious tea tastes than me, Fortnum’s offers many rare teas including the amazing Cornish offering Tregothnan Black Tea which is grown on a hillside in Truro.


The sandwiches (ham & mustard/salmon & dill/cucumber and soft cheese/rare breed egg and watercress), goat’s cheese tartlets and salmon and cream cheese terrine. These savoury bites were replenished as soon as the plate was emptied. Yum! There is nothing more to be said except for a note to find a good recipe for the tartlets – they’d be ace for upcoming picnics.


Fruit and plain scones with Somerset clotted cream and strawberry jam. Having grown up in the South-west (the home of the cream tea) I take mortal offence when anybody suggests – so, so wrongly – that the cream should go on top. Mind you, this was irrelevant here as F&M seemed to be having a shortage of both gooey cream and glossy, sticky preserve. Scones = good. Toppings = mediocre. There’s a scone recipe further down the page if you fancy making some and doing them justice with a two inch-thick layer of cream and jam.


Four patisserie cakes. One teeny-tiny éclair, one raspberry tart, two little vanilla sponges. The chocolate ganache covered cake was supposed to look like a little hat. The winner of best sweet treat went to the purple-coloured cake which had violet flavoured icing and was topped with crystallised flower petals. It tasted like summer (and thankfully not like soapy Parma Violets).


I’m planning to make a heap of chocolate profiteroles that will knock spots off the F&M éclair using this recipe for crème patisserie.


340ml milk
3 egg yolks 

  • 60g granulated sugar
  • 15g plain flour
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons corn flour

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


In a small saucepan, warm the milk over low heat until it is just hot enough to steam. While the milk is warming, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, flour, and corn four until the mixture is completely smooth.
 Once the milk is steaming, add half of it, whisking constantly, to the egg mixture. Tip the milk and egg mix back into the remaining hot milk, continue stirring, and heat it for 1-2 minutes, until the mixture turns custard-y in consistency. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla extract, and chill before use.

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