The Silver Teapot of Glory

Readers, I’m on a quest. A quest like no other. It’s a quest for the Silver Teapot of Glory.

Mr M is a keen cricketer and for the past 5 or 6 years on Saturdays throughout the summer, he makes his merry way from our home London to a little village in the leafy environs of Henley on Thames. As club captain he’s always striving for ways to get both players and families more involved in the club and the past few years have seen the support swell. We have regular BBQs, Ladies’ Days with bunting and fizz, and even the occasional spot of camping at a nearby pub. Sometimes we even see a decent game of cricket…

I don’t know if you’re a cricket fan but for the non-aficionados out there, it’s a peculiar game made all the better for the fact they stop half way for a rather civilised tea. Village cricket teas can take many forms, from the ‘here’s 4 unwrapped loaves of bread, a tub of marg and some tired looking spam; build your own sandwich’ (boo hiss) to the incredible spread with triangular sandwiches with their crusts cut off, cakes oozing with cream and wobbly-crusted jam tarts. The sort of heaving table of delectable goodies that look like they might teach Mary Berry a thing or two. At the risk of a rather loud tut from my husband, I will tell you that their club always used to be firmly in the mediocre camp. Sorry, husband, it’s true. Though, year on year, there were notable exceptions.  Credit must go to village stalwarts, the Wickens family, who create the best lemon drizzle cake I’ve tasted (nb, I’ve never tried Anna’s). They have lived in the village for generations and can always be relied on to put on a good show. When it’s their turn to do tea, people cheer. Relative newcomers, The Grays, put on an epic spread with chunky sarnies with delicious fillings and plenty of buns and other yummy things. Recently the Indian contingent have started to charge forward with samosas, bahjiis and the like, gracing the green for the very first time.

Despite such culinary progress several families haven’t yet risen to the challenge, embarrassingly ours included, so at the end of last season, my husband made a purchase. A purchase that set the cat amongst the pigeons.

Behold.  The Silver Teapot of Glory.

Image source

At the end of the season it will be awarded to the family who create the best cricket tea. When I heard this, my competitive flame began to flicker. 2012, the year of the Jubilee, the Olympics and surely a Team Manning S-T-O-G win? Surely, you might think, as wife of the Club Captain, the prize is in the bag? Sadly not. Mr M is nothing if not fair. He’s even assured me I can’t sleep my way to the top. I need to win this fair and square, and that, lovely AOWers, is where you come in.

You see, I need your help. I need this teapot in my life, if only for a season. I need to create the most epic of picnics. A spread that even the most hardened of cricketers would bow down to, sobbing on their knees at the sight of the glorious creations before them. Normally I’d lean towards my picnic staple. Pork. Roast pork in sarnies, cocktail sausages in mustard and honey, homemade scotch eggs, gala pie and sausage rolls. But alas, the pig has no place here. Due to the dietary requirements of the teams and their fans it tends to be best to stay away from too much pork. I need choices that are vegetarian, halal, appeal to both spicy and the more bland of palates but then also meat to feed the more ruddy of men. So, ladies and gentlemen, I need you to reach into the very centre of your picnicking beings and share with me your very best recipes or ideas. I need inspiration for sandwiches, for rolls or for wraps. I need cakes, buns, scones – the more failsafe the better, I bake like a child. I need anything that is quirky but awesome. Even accompaniments that are easy to assemble and can be eaten with one hand. Think ‘Wow and then scoffed’. There is no place for cutlery, these men have no time.

Help me, good people, there’s eternal glory and a mention in my winner’s acceptance speech for you. Let’s bring the Silver Teapot of Glory home.

Categories: Food, Frippery
32 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Sandra C
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Awesome! I used to contribute to a buffet at work and would make sausage parcels, but chicken mince could be substituted.

    Minced chicken, chopped onion, sage and onion stuffing-mash up in a bowl. Make puff pastry (or buy a block-I can’t make pastry) and roll out into little round/square shapes. Put a blob of the mix in the middle, gather up the corners hankie-fashion, egg wash, bake at 180 for 10-15 mins, until golden. Voila!

    Stuffing can be substituted for leek, mushroom or whateer you fancy. It can also be made spicy as required.

  2. Posted August 20, 2012 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    S, your writing makes me giggle. If only because I know how deadly serious you are!

    For desserts, I’m your woman. Easy breezy painfully delicious baked goods is what you need – not cupcakes, but read round and square cakes you can cut huge wedges from, preferably fruity filings (raspberry frosting that will reduce you to tears), sinful squares of brownie. I do a hell of a vegan chocolate cake. Trifle (can be made with cake filling leftovers).

    Recipes upon request!

    I vote for Any Other Tea Party to trial all this out…

    • Frances
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Anna, you have leftovers from cake making? Mine always seem to ‘disappear’ after about 5 minutes…

      • Katielase
        Posted August 20, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        I’ve had cake-making leftovers. Never for very LONG, mind…. :-p

        K x

        • Frances
          Posted August 20, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

          Oh, I’ve HAD them. Just never for long enough to do anything more constructive than dipping them in any leftover icing…

  3. Hannah
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Oohhh cricket teas. Some of my fondest childhood memories centre around them. Give me a salad sandwich, on plastic white bread, with thick spread marg and salad cream and I am transported back to hoovering up the bits that my dad didn’t like, aged 5…

    Anyway, I digress…

    I agree with Anna on the cake front – you need big bakes and slices – which transport well and can easily be cut up on arrival, with no need for fancification. Delia does a fab banana and choc chip slice, which I can thoroughly recommend…

    Don’t forget you’re promarily catering for fellas – and I assume that it is they who will be voting? – so I would avoid anything too “poncy”. How about mini yorkies with roast beef and horseradish, frittata, savoury muffins (cheese and onion for the non meat eaters)? And crisps, lots of crisps…

    Despite the fact that it is pouring down outside, this has made me hanker for a picnic this weekend…!

  4. Posted August 20, 2012 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    You can’t go wrong with a party hedgehog (half a melon, insides scooped out, turned upside down and covered in tin foil. Insert cocktail sticks with mini pickled onion, squares of cheese and bits of pineapple and/or chunks of sausage. Voila, party hedgehog. Some people might put eyes on it too. Proper, stick-on googly eyes). I’ve never been to a bad ‘do with one of these…!!!!


  5. Zan
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    I second the ‘savoury muffins’ call from Hannah – I’ve got a very simple recipe (from a supermarket website) that always goes down well!

    And cakes – Nigella has a great chocolate and banana loaf recipe that has gone down very well with the menfolk in my family. I also made an orange and yogurt loaf cake not long ago (in the Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days book) – dead easy and lush.

    And chocolate brownies are ALWAYS a winner!

  6. Frances
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    I LOVE baking! I suggest big slices of ‘teatime’ cakes (I have great recipes for an apple cake, cardomom loaf, chocolate and currant loaf if you like). Tarts or quiches – you can put anything in a quiche and can cut slices from them. Seconded on the sticky sausages too for those who can eat them. Falafel/couscous/pasta salads perhaps?

    I’m hungry now…

  7. Yanthé
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Sarah, this chocolate brownie recipe has yet to fail me. My colleagues make noises about how there haven’t been any brownies for a while if a month passes without me bringing some in. My top tip is to get some of those cheap foil square tins (pound shop will do) so once they’ve completely cooled you can just tear the tin away and they don’t fall apart trying to get them out!

    Hope that helps!

  8. Jessie
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    I’m so envious! I’m a cricket girl through and through. Mr D is a rower – this is an OK substitute but it can be a bit too serious and the teas aren’t so great. I think mini versions of any cake work well, or ‘slab’ cakes. Nigella does a good looking gingerbread, and a very spectacular dense chocolate cake both which actually improve for a few days wrapped in tin foil. This is pretty key because you don’t want to leave yourself everything to do on the morning of the match – especially given how far you have to travel with your tea.

  9. Carly
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Eton Mess with a few cheeky maltesers thrown in is a firm family favourite and couldn’t be easier to make but it can’t be eaten with hands. Maybe it could be served in a little paper cone with a spoon, yummy!

    Lorraine Pascal made an amazing chocolate orange stripy cake on her programme on Thursday, recipe will be on internet if you didn’t see it. Was a slight faff to put together but the mixture was oil based so no creaming involved and it looked pretty spectacular!


  10. Posted August 20, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    This is basically the kind of sport I can get behind – it involves an epic picnic? Count me in!

    Well I personally think you want to do some things with a bit of a twist as you say. So rather than only having fruit scones for example do some cheesey ones too (serve with butter and then some with thick slices of ham, some without for those that don’t eat pork). It’s just that little bit unexpected you know? The kind of thing people will remember. I’ve got a good recipe – not to toot my own horn too much, which people always love. Just click through to the blog and you should find it easily.

    Depending on how much you want to cook yourself you could always do mini pavlova style desserts as someone mentioned but buy the meringue (bash it a bit to look homemade if you must!) and top with whipped cream with a bit of vanilla in it and then add berries of you choice. They’d look fab on a tiered cake stand.

    For an epic chocolate cake try nigella’s devil’s food cake – it looks really impressive with thick glossy frosting and though it’s dark there’s enough sugar to make it sweet and not at all bitter. Again photos and recipe on the blog, but you can just google it and find it.

    How about doing cheese and onion rolls and some sausage ones? Or else mini pasties? They’re so easy just cut a circle of readymade shortcrust pastry using a cutter, put in a spoon of the filling of your choice (say chicken, leek and potato) and then fold the circle in half, crimp with a fork and egg wash before baking.

    Also, just thought (sorry this is the kind of thing I LOVE!) how about getting some plastic shot glasses and doing pimms jelly with fruit floating in it. I bet that would be a bit different and go down a storm!


    • Katielase
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      I want to go to Hollie’s house for a picnic. Who’s with me?!

      K x

      • Carly
        Posted August 20, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink



      • Posted August 20, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        Me three…this is making me hungry enough to eat my own hand. I am setting off to track down the nearest cake so I can submerge myself in it.

        • Katielase
          Posted August 20, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

          I have eaten five Thornton’s chocolates during the time it has taken me to read all these comments. They’re not the same as a cheese scone, mini pasty or chocolate cake though!

          K x

    • Helena
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Ooh, I love the jelly idea! Especially if the kids get a vote too (and there’s a non-Pimms option!).

  11. Alex
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    I am a pretty useless cook, I so wish I could suggest some amazingly delicious recipes for your tea so you could nab the teapot!!! Alas I will just have to read everyone elses suggestions and drool onto my lap instead.

    However, I have since getting wed, started making an effort to bake. I have to say Anna’s lemon drizzle cake recipe was amazing and everyone absolutely loved it!!! I would definately go with something you can cut big chunks off!! I recently made a super light fluffy sponge cake, triple layer, with fresh whipped cream centre and strawberries stuffed throughout it and that also went down a storm!! And I did it in a new square tin to mix it up a bit….massive pieces winner!!

    Good luck and I hope we get to see photo’s of the winning afternoon cricket tea you create!!


  12. Alice
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Raspberry and chocolate cheesecake brownies (recipe on green and blacks website) is always a favourite amongst my male friends, and very easy to make.

    Another idea is a banana loaf or muffins with a salt caramel drizzle (mix golden syrup, brown sugar and salt to taste). Personally I like to throw a few pecans in (not good for many nut allergy sufferers sadly) and put a few on top (the glaze holds them in place).

    A red velvet cake is also very popular – most people like the colour of the sponge and the fact that it tastes chocolatey!

    Good Luck!

  13. Posted August 20, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    These are amazing suggestions, thank you so much! The Teapot dream has never looked so achievable!

    I am actually on a cricket tour in Devon at the moment so am sampling their fabulous cream teas. I shall take some photos for inspiration and will certainly let you know how our tea attempt goes. Cricket tea is one of my favourite meals.

  14. Katielase
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    There are so many good suggestions above, I’m not sure I can offer much else! I can say that baking like a child does not necessarily equate to bad baking. I bake chaotically, and it works out okay MOST of the time!

    You could do mini fruit pies? Everyone loves apple pie. I have an epic shortcrust pastry recipe handed down from my Grandpa to my Mum to me, which makes incredible mince pies and, I assume, fruit pies too. I also have a very good plain scone recipe.

    How about making fudge too? Everyone loves a mouthful of fudge as a treat. And I agree with all the sturdy cake recommendations above, loaf cakes are always a winner.

    Really really want you to organise Any Other Picnic as a trial run. I offer myself as a selfless taste tester. No, honestly, I don’t mind….

    K x

    • Frances
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      Seconded on the Any Other Picnic trial run please. I nominate myself as ‘second-opinion-no-really-it’s-just-to-check-it’s-ok’ tester.

  15. Lucy
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Aah a fellow cricket wife. Whenever I’ve done tea it’s usually the really simple things that go down well. I’m a bit of a cheat in that it’s always pre-made from Morrisons, with the exception of sandwiches. You say no pork but I usually provide meat and non meat options as pork-products are such a favourite. Mini pork pies, sausage rolls and pasties always go down well (with cheese and egg alternatives for non-meat eaters).

    Fridge cake is really simple – crush a load of digestives, mix with melted chocolate and marshmallows, pop in the fridge to set and voila! Best avoided on a hot day unless you want it to melt everywhere!

    Good luck! Wish we had something like the teapot – just get £20 fee instead!

  16. Becca
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Ladies….I feel we are getting a bit carried away with the cakes.

    A good cricket tea also needs sandwiches (crustless…this is still cricket) and meat. I would stick with roast beef or coronation chicken (something meaty) and coronation has the spice too. I’d also make strips of chicken breast in various different spices and serve with a yoghurty style dip. Tikka perhaps? I also don’t think you can go wrong with picked onions (do not serve them on cocktail sticks) and pickles and relish and red cabbage. Food their grandmothers used to make. With crusty bread. Sliced by hand into proper doorstops. None of this pre cut fancy schmancy granary bread.

    Posh crisps in manly flavours.

    For the cake side the gingerbread or brownies (less squidgy that I would usually make) is a good shout. Something dense. If you can insert the word “Guiness” before cake then do so. Like another commenter said, its the small things that bring home the gold so don’t make them too big but not too small. Two mouthful sizes. I am willing to volunteer as the mouth size tester.

    • Posted August 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Becca I love how seriously you take this.

      Please advise…what is a “manly flavour”?

      • Becca
        Posted August 20, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        I’m a litigator. I don’t lose.

        Manly favours in our house are cheese and onion, roast beef and pickled onion. Salt and Vinegar is the ultimate feminine flavour.

        Some people might say I am being unfeminist in my food choices but I say feminism is about choice and 90% of women I know would pick S & V over C & O.

        everything is a feminist issue.

  17. Helena
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Penny was right in her great post about sport – there really is a sport for everybody and it seems I may have discovered that mine is cricket! I had no idea that it all actually revolves around baking!
    I made the New York Times’ recipe for chocolate chip cookies the other day. Not only were they amazing but they have the added bonus of needing to be made 72 hours in advance in order to let the dough rest – you then just pull off blobs of dough and bake them on the day. As the eejit who gets up at 4am to start baking whenever I have people round for afternoon tea the idea of having something almost ready to serve ahead of time is rather attractive!
    Right, I’m off to learn about sticky wickets and other cricket things!

  18. Luke Gray
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    This is war Mrs M. We will fight them on square, we will fight them in the changing room and most importantly we will fight them in the kitchen. The Grays will never surrender their title! I will inform Mum of the challenge…..

  19. Jo S
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Seeing as it is cricket how about the caribbean influence, some jerk chicken wings and drumsticks, rice and peas (kidney beans) it’s lovely cold too, spicy meat or vegetable patties, Sainsburys sell them and I always warm them and cut them in half and they look home made. I know it is cheating but you do want the teapot don’t you? rum cake, rum punch!

  20. Posted August 24, 2012 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    I know a spicy potato salad that can contain bacon or not? Boil some new potatoes and leave to cool. Fry some onions with some chilli powder (and bacon if you want) and leave to cool. Put one large teaspoon of mango chutney and one large teaspoon of mayonnaise in a bowl, toss with the crispy onions (and crispy bacon if used and add the potatoes until everything is coated. This is always a success and everyone wants to know the secret but I have posted it for anyone to see here now. I hope it helps!

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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