Afternoon tea for the Queen’s Jubilee

Afternoon tea for the Queen’s Jubilee

This year, Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Platinum Jubilee (the first British Monarch to do so), recognizing 70 years of service to the United Kingdom and Commonwealth. As we get closer to the Jubilee Weekend (June 2 – 5), many people around the world will be celebrating and you may think ‘What can I do for the occasion?’. Why not invite your family, friends and neighbors for a traditional Afternoon Tea?


You may think of Afternoon Tea as the epitome of British tradition, but it is actually a fairly “new” concept. While tea was first introduced to England in the 1660s, Afternoon Tea was not part of British culture until the mid-19th Century. It was first introduced by Anna, seventh Duchess of Bedford in 1840. At that time, the evening meal was not served until 8 or 9 o’clock in the evening – a long wait in between meals. The Duchess would always get hungry in the late afternoon, so she started asking for something to eat. She would request a tray of tea, bread and butter, scones, and cakes to be served. As this became routine, she began inviting friends to join her. Soon, other people in society took note and started to do the same. Thus, becoming what we know as Afternoon Tea.

Traditionally, Tea is served around 4 pm with little sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and preserves, and an assortment of cakes and pastries. But if you wish to make it simple, a nice mug of tea and cookies will do.


  • Set the Scene – Create a nice atmosphere for your Afternoon Tea. Bring out the nice tablecloths, fancy tea cups and plates, and fresh flower arrangements. If it’s a beautiful day, take the party outside!
  • Tea! Tea! And more tea! – There’s no party without tea! Favorite teas include black teas like Earl Grey, English breakfast, and Darjeeling. But there are many, many more varieties out there, especially for those who prefer caffeine free. Varieties such as chai, peppermint, chamomile, fruit, and herbal. Not a fan of hot drinks? Try iced tea or a fruit drink as an alternative. If you are unsure of what tea to get, local bulk food shops often have loose leaf teas that you can smell. This is a great way to see if the tea appeals to you.
  • The Spread – Don’t forget the food! Having a spread of various finger foods that pair perfectly with your tea is always a delight.

What to serve:

  • Little sandwiches. Traditional flavors include: cucumber, egg salad, smoked salmon, chicken, ham and cheese, and cheese.
  • Scones with clotted cream and jam or marmalade.
  • Cakes and pastries such as macarons, fruit tarts, sponge cakes, cupcakes, sausage rolls, and for a modern twist – mini cheesecakes!

Voila! Now time to invite your guests, don your party attire and hat, and enjoy your Afternoon Tea!


Recipe from Central Team Branch Assistant Nancy


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 Tsp cream of tartar
  • ½ Tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup softened butter
  • 2 beaten eggs (reserve a little for brushing on the top)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • ½ cup dried currants (optional)


  • Pre-heat oven to 425 F
  • Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar and salt.
  • In another bowl, combine butter, eggs, and milk.
  • Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix until well combined.
  • On a baking sheet covered with parchment, pat dough into a 10” circle, cut into 8 wedges and separate slightly.
  • Brush with the reserved egg mixed with a little water.
  • Bake 15 minutes until golden on top, testing with a toothpick to make sure they are completely cooked through.


  • Looking for inspiration, ideas and recipes for the party? Check out a number of resources from the Huron County Library.
  • Don’t have time to host your own Afternoon Tea? Join the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Tea, hosted by the Clinton United Church, on June 2.
  • The Huron County Museum currently has a small exhibit on display featuring artifacts related to the Royal Family and the Queen’s Coronation. Available during regular hours of operation. Admission is FREE with a Huron County Library card!


Natural Dying Easter Eggs

Natural Dying Easter Eggs

Spring is in the air and it’s almost Easter! One of the things I loved about Easter as a child was dying and decorating Easter eggs. I have particularly enjoyed decorating eggs using natural dyes. They turned out amazing, so I thought I would share the instructions so you can give it a try at home!

Many of the ingredients you may already have in your fridge or pantry. The other ingredients you will be able to find in grocery stores fairly inexpensively. I used the following items to dye the eggs:

• Tea (brown)
• Turmeric (yellow)
• Blueberries (blue/purple)
• Grape juice (grey)
• Beet juice (red)

Reading list: If you are looking to add some Easter reads to your weekend, check out these books for young readers from our collection

Image of naturally dyed eggs with labels

Dying Instructions: 

Notes: For these eggs, I hardboiled the eggs before dying them. The longer the eggs sit in the dyes, the darker the colour. To achieve a rich, dark colour, let the eggs sit in the dyes for at least 20 minutes. Let eggs dry on a cookie cooling rack.


  • 3 bags of tea (I used Earl Grey. But you can use other teas. Different teas may create other colours, such as herbal teas, which may turn your eggs a purple or pink colour)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/8 cup of white vinegar

Steep the tea for at least 5 minutes to make very strong tea. Put the eggs in the water so that they are completely covered. Let them sit in the tea mixture until the desired colour is achieved.


  • ½ cup frozen blueberries (thawed and smashed)
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar

Roll the eggs in the blueberries until desired colour is achieved. For darker colour, let them sit in the blueberries and rotate every couple of minutes.
I let pieces of blueberry dry on the egg to get the different colours.

Beet Juice: 

  • ½ – 1 cup of beet juice
  • 1/8 cup white vinegar

Let the eggs sit in the beet juice until desired colour is achieved.

Grape Juice: 

  • 1 cup of grape juice
  • 1/8 cup white vinegar

Let the eggs sit in the grape juice until desired colour is achieved.


  • 3 Tablespoons turmeric
  • 1-2 cups of warm water
  • 1/8 cup white vinegar

Roll the eggs in the turmeric water mixture until desired colour is achieved. 

Paper plate Easter basket:

Now you need a basket to put all your eggs in!


  • Paper plate
  • Paint, markers, or crayons
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Pipe cleaner or ribbon
  • Decorating supplies (optional)


  • Paint one or both sides of the paper plate. Let dry.
  • Cut four even slits (a few inches long) on each side of the plate.
  • Fold up the sides and staple them together at the top to secure. It should now resemble a basket.
  • For the handle, attach the pipe cleaner, ribbon, or twine on either side of the basket. You can either staple or use a hole punch to punch a hole on both side and secure the pipe cleaner.
  • Optional – decorate the outside of the basket with stickers, decals, glitter, etc.
image of painted paper plate
Image of stapled paper plate
Image of paper plate with pipe cleaner handle
Image of completed paper plate basket