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Afternoon Tea Basics: Making Tea and Magic Scones

The simple pleasure of Afternoon Tea           (photo ITV)

There is always time to stop, reflect and enjoy the simple pleasures of life that the Brits call Afternoon Tea.

It has a long history with many traditions which can be daunting at first, but with a little knowledge you too can enjoy taking tea in the most famous tea houses, or host our own tea.

A Brief History

Today’s Lesson 1:  How to Make Tea

Don’t get too stressed about making tea, particularly since much tea is now sold in teabags. To distinguish yourself as a tea aficionado, however, just follow the time-honored tradition of first warming the teapot.  Add a bit of boiling water to the pot, give it a swirl and pour it out before adding your tea. Steep 3 or 4 minutes and don’t let the tea steep too long or it will become bitter.

If you go with loose tea, the general guideline is to allow for 1 tsp per person, 1 tsp for the pot, and allow 10 ounces per person.  Use a tea strainer and pour into cups.  You may wish to fill your teapot with tap water, pour it into a measuring cup to determine how many cups your pot will hold.

Lesson 2: How to Make Scones

Once you have tea covered, next you need to learn how to make scones. This is my favourite recipe which uses a few ingredients with a variety of variations.


The Ultimate Magic Scones

This is the only scone recipe you will ever need. Easy to make and have a number of variations.
Course Afternoon Tea
Cuisine English
Keyword Afternoon Tea
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 8 scones
Calories 84kcal


  • 2 inch cookie cutter


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter frozen and grated
  • ½ cup cold milk


  • Preheat oven to 475° F
  • Sift the dry ingredients 3 times into a large bowl. Rub the frozen grated butter into the dry ingredients until it feels like sand.  Add enough milk just until you get a sticky dough.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top. Knead very gently once, then fold and turn the kneaded dough 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. Pat the dough into a rectangle about 6” x 12”, then fold into thirds.
  • Using a well-floured 2” biscuit cutter, make 6 x 2” rounds.  You can get 2 more scones from the scraps but they won’t be as tender. Alternatively, use a well-floured sharp knife to form wedges.
  • You can either brush the top of the scones with milk or lightly flour.
  • Bake on a baking sheet for 8-10 minutes until the scones are lightly coloured on the tops.  Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process.


Traditionally served with clotted cream and preserves, try a healthier option of non fat plain greek yoghurt in place of cream.


Serving: 20g | Calories: 84kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 191mg | Potassium: 18mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 92IU | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 1mg
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