I held my Marie Curie Blooming Great Tea Party (my original post on this is here if you’d like to read more on the charity) this past Monday and I think it went well! I opted to hold mine at work, incorporating two neighbouring offices (about a dozen people), and to my surprise, everyone was quite enthusiastic about it – no one can turn down cakes and biscuits come 4pm. There was even a theme to the tea party – food from your home country, home being quite varied in our office as we have quite an international group here.

Tea Party

It’s not a a tea party without tea and our little work kitchen (if you can call it that) with its hot water dispenser sorted us out. We drank black tea (assam) with condensed milk, a nod towards the teh tarik (only without the pulling) from my birth country.

For eats, portability was the key when I planned my tea party menu; apart from the hot and cold water dispenser, we only have a fridge and sink in our kitchenette. Almost everything I made was prepared at home and transported to work – just the sandwiches were made on site. I made a platter of savouries, kuih bakar, lemon blueberry drops, graham cracker toffee and rather experimental mango cupcakes with lime buttercream. Yes, they’re almost all linked to my growing up and I’ll be blogging most of the recipes.

I had invited my colleagues to bring food if they wished and I was chuffed that they took me up on that offer! As the general theme was foods from your country, we also had an American blueberry cheesecake, British cakes, Pakistani pastries, Taiwanese mochi cakes and Chinese sesame sweets. All very yummy and we had so much food, we were snacking on the leftovers for a few days after! (Somehow we also ended up sampling American spray cheese…)

Thank you

I do have to say a big thank you to my colleagues for coming and donating generously – we raised over £100 for Marie Curie, not a bad effort for our little party, I reckon. If you’d like to donate to Marie Curie too, you can do so online.


Recipes! I’ll split these into two posts – savouries now and sweets another time. These were the three savouries I made and I think they went down quite well as the platter was quite empty at the end!

Curried Potato Mini Croissants
My mother used to make curry puffs at home but when she wasn’t in the mood to make the pastry and deep fry, she’d just make the filling and stuff them into hot, buttery, flaky croissants. I couldn’t heat them up at work but they still went down a treat cold.

Peel approximately 500g of floury potatoes and dice them into 1cm cubes. Chuck them into a pot of water and bring them to a boil, cooking until they are soft but not mushy. Drain and set aside. Chop two medium-large onions finely and fry with a little oil until soft. Add 4 tbsps meat curry powder and 1 tsp turmeric and a little water to form a paste and continue frying. After a few minutes, add the cooked potatoes and stir well to combine – add some water if this is difficult. Continue frying until the entire thing is quite dry. Season with salt and sugar. If desired, a little chopped chicken can also be fried in too – I left the meat out for safer storage. Stuff the mixture into mini or regular sized croissants.

Sardine Rolls
Apart from curry puffs, sardine puffs are also popular in Malaysia and Singapore. When pushed to create another dish for the table (we regularly ate multiple dishes with rice for dinner), she’d put together canned sardines in tomato sauce with lots of sliced chillies and shallots and lime juice. This is based on that combination.

Take two tins of sardines in tomato sauce (mine were 120g each) and take out the fish, removing the backbone. Add about 2 tbsps of the tomato sauce and 2 tbsps of chilli sauce and mash the fish roughly. Chop an onion finely and fry in a little oil until soft. Add in the fish and fry until hot. Add the juice of half a lime and continue frying until quite dry. Season with salt and sugar. Roll out shortcrust pastry, fill with this mixture as you would sausage rolls, brush with some beaten egg and bake.

Sambal Dried Shrimp Sandwiches
I’ve described this one before – essentially this is hae bee hiam and you make it just like the filling in this recipe. I used to get bags of this stuff sent to me from my mother when I was in university for putting into sandwiches or topping boiled noodles. I was actually very surprised at how well these went down – I didn’t expect my colleagues to take to the strong dried shrimp flavour. I would have made more if I had known!

Make sandwiches with plenty of butter, a good sprinkling of the hae bee hiam and some sliced cucumber (optional). Slice off the crusts and then slice into triangles or fingers.

Ever seen someone wearing a yellow daffodil pin and wondered what it symbolised? I know I have. It’s the flower symbol used by Marie Curie Cancer Care, a charity that provides end of life care to terminally ill patients in their own homes or in one of their hospices. They got in touch recently to tell me about their Blooming Great Tea Party campaign, one in which members of the public are encouraged to throw a tea party to raise funds for the charity.

Every £20 raised goes to 1 hour of care for someone who needs it. It’s a cause close to my heart – my mother passed away from cancer a few years ago and I think she would have been more comfortable at home rather than at the hospital for her last few days. My confidence in Marie Curie grew when I was reassured by a colleague that his family had had experience with Marie Curie in the past and that the support they received was fantastic.

The Marie Curie official tea party season is from June 12 to July 12 (June 1 to 30 for Northern Ireland – not sure why!) but they don’t mind if you hold it a little late. Register on their site to receive a fundraising pack to help you with your tea party.

I’ll be holding my own tea party at work sometime in the next month and I’ll be blogging it. If you are holding one too, do tell us about it; I love hearing about a good tea party! Go on, hold a fundraising tea party; it’s for a good cause!

Marie Curie Blooming Great Tea Party

Marie Curie Cancer Care
Blooming Great Tea Party 2011