Book review: The Vintage Tea Party

2 Sep

The Vintage Tea Party Book

Full disclosure first up – I used to live with the commissioning editor of this book and so have known about this book since its conception. I remember her excitement when she had approached Angel “drunk in a bar” (from the acknowlegements in the book!) and saw early page spreads of the book as it came together.

So I might be a little bit biased, but I will try to be as impartial as I can in my review of the book…

First of all, it is an absolutely beautiful book. And I’m really not just saying that because of my ex-flatmate. The illustrations are wonderful – really quirky images of foxes dressed in evening wear, magpies, badgers – all with such personality and done with such a fun spirit – I really love them.  What I especially love about the design is that it is completely un-twee. There is bunting, but no pastel shades, apart from on the china.  I’m not 100% sure about the cover – I think it is a bit difficult to make out what the illustrations are actually of – but the insides are lovely.

The photography also has a real sense of fun to it – there are photos of things like a crab crawling on top of a cake stand to get to the Crab Choux alongside that recipe, which I loved.  Using the recipes an some of the design ideas from this book, I think you could really put on a fabulous tea party.

There are a lot of recipes I would like to try. Basically the entire ‘Brunch’ section is a cut out and keep for me. I want to taste all of the recipes – from Courgette Frittatas to Baked Brie in Puffed Pastry and Potato and Bacon Pancakes. Yum! My ex-flatmate bought me some egg coddlers for my birthday (while she was working on the book), so I have long been convinced in the joys of egg coddling, but there are some slightly more interesting coddling recipes in here that look very tasty (rather than ‘bung an egg with some butter in an egg coddler, which I usually do), which I would also like to try.

Brunch: my favourite meal

I also think that several people on my Christmas list might be getting Engraved Earl Grey Truffle Hearts from me this year – what a lovely gift idea (and not expensive either)!

Engraved Earl Grey Truffle Hearts

Overall, this is a lovely book to read through and the recipes look amazing.

However, I was disappointed with the projects. I thought that there would be more interesting craft projects, and more of a ‘make do and mend’ angle (which I expected at least a little of as her look seems so based on the post-war period).

They also look like they could be quite complicated to follow. There is a project to create fabric butterflies, for example, where I genuinely cannot see how the instructions (stick fabric on to interfacing or cardboard and then cut out your butterfly shape) could ever generate the pictured result (which look like individually cross-stitched butterflies). I haven’t tried out any of the craft projects, but if you have, let me know what results you had.

As a recipe book, though, this is full of really inspiring ideas, which I will definitely be cooking from next time I have people round for  brunch. There are also some yummy sounding cocktails which I will be trying out soon. It is also a gorgeous coffee table book.

Thanks very much to Octopus for sending through this review copy.

Buy the Vintage Tea Party Book on Amazon

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