Afternoon tea, or low tea, is typically a light meal served between 3 and 5 p.m. Loose tea is brewed in a teapot and drunk with milk and sugar; accompanied by cucumber, egg and watercress, ham, or smoked salmon sandwiches; and scones, cakes and other pastries. High tea, also called meat tea, is conventionally a meal eaten between 5 and 6 p.m. and including cold meats, eggs, fish, pastries and sandwiches.
The words "low" and "high" here are referring to the tables from which the meals were served: low tea was eaten in a sitting room at a table akin to our coffee tables placed near sofas and armchairs, while high tea was eaten in the dining room.
Traditional Cream Scones by Esther Brody: Scones are a must for a traditional "cream tea" or "Devonshire tea," which includes tea taken with scones, clotted cream and preserves. The Devonshire method is to split the warm, freshly baked scone in half, cover both halves with clotted cream and top with strawberry jam.
Strawberry Jam by Kim Boyce: This delightful strawberry jam is perfect for springtime, and makes a lovely and inexpensive gift as well. Optional ingredients to add a unique layer of flavor are lime zest, balsamic vinegar, lavender stems or fresh oregano.
Date-Sweetened Walnut Loaf by Sharon Crayton: This teacake is a conventional addition to British teatime, scrumptious served warm and spread with butter.
Spiced Tea by Dave DeWitt and Nancy Gerlach: While traditional English teas such as English Breakfast, English Afternoon and Earl Gray usually contain a blend of black teas such as Assam, Ceylon, Kenyan and Pekoe, this spiced tea is known as Chai (simply the generic word for "tea" in most of South Asia) and combines brewed black tea with milk and a mixture of spices like cardamom and ginger.
Goat Cheese and Olive Finger Sandwiches by Debbie Gore: These elegant and dainty tea sandwiches pack a surprising punch of flavor. For an extra special presentation, try cutting them out with a shaped cookie cutter (a crown, perhaps?).
Coconut Macaroons by Nigella Lawson: Chewy English coconut macaroons make for a perfect ending to a British afternoon tea party. Sweet and light, just like William and Kate's fairytale wedding.