“Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21) The Reverend Jeffrey Miller always knows just the right thing to say when an appropriate sentiment is difficult to conjure. This was his Facebook post on Thursday morning, moments after Buckingham Palace announced the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. Anglophiles all over the world mourn her death. Queen Elizabeth was a pillar of dignity, honor and stability. In a world that publicly shares every thought or feeling, Queen Elizabeth was able to stay unbiased for 70 years. Politically neutral and diplomatically useful, she avoided controversy. By doing so, she triumphed in her role as the head of her nation. She devoted her life to her people and they loved her. We all respected and admired her.

In loving memory of Queen Elizabeth, this week’s column features afternoon tea recipes. Afternoon tea, also known as ‘low tea,’ involves things like manners, lace, and dainty foods. It’s typically served in the mid-afternoon and it was traditionally served on low tables, hence its name. An afternoon tea menu is light and focuses on scones and finger sandwiches. Favorite teas for afternoon tea include black teas like Earl Grey and Assam as well as herbal teas like chamomile and mint. (Photography by Susan DeLoach.)

Cranberry Tea

Brewing a pot of tea can be a pleasure!  It’s a comforting circle of ritual and tradition – and the opportunity to hold and handle your great-grandmother’s precious china cup and saucer.

8 cups water

2 cinnamon sticks

5 whole cloves

2 cups pineapple juice

2 cups cranberry juice cocktail

4 tea bags

1¾ cups water

½ cup brown sugar

Bring water to a boil.  Add cinnamon and cloves. Simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, add tea bags; steep for 15 to 10 minutes.  Remove tea bags, cinnamon, and cloves.  Add juices and sugar.  Heat until warmed through.  Do not boil. Serve hot. Serves 10 to 12.

Jalapeno-Pimento Cheese Tea Sandwiches

Jalapeno-Pimento Cheese tastes best if prepared a day in advance, allowing time for flavors to blend.  Be sure to put lots of filling on the sandwiches.

4 cups (16 ounces) shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimentos, drained

¼ cup diced pickled jalapeno peppers, drained

1 cup mayonnaise, or enough to blend mixture smoothly

Sandwich bread (white or whole wheat)

Mix first four ingredients together in a large bowl.  Adjust amount of mayonnaise to make mixture spread easily.  Cut bread into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Spread cheese mixture evenly on bread.  Garnish with sliced grape tomatoes and sliced pickled jalapenos. Serves 12 to 15.

Asparagus Tart

Use a tart pan with a removable bottom, any shape you choose!

1 refrigerated pie crust

1 bundle fresh asparagus spears

1 egg, beaten

¼ cup milk

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

4 ounces fontina cheese, grated

Dash grated nutmeg


Freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon pimento, drained

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unroll pie crust. Using a rolling pin, roll crust to fit tart pan. Gently place pie crust in pan, pressing crust into pan evenly. Remove excess dough from edges. Prick bottom and sides of crust many times with the tines of a fork. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake until crust is almost done. Remove crust and let cool for 5 minutes. Cut asparagus spears to fit the crust. Line asparagus tips in a row on bottom of crust. In a medium bowl combine egg, milk, mustard and cheese until mixed. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper, to taste. Pour cheese mixture over asparagus, to cover. Place any additional asparagus tips evenly on top of cheese mixture. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and egg is set. Garnish with pimento before serving. Serves 6.

Brie and Sun-Dried Tomato Tartlets

The yummy filling for these tartlets can also be used as a baked dip served warm with cocktail crackers.

16 ounces brie

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained and chopped

2 packages frozen filo tart shells (15 per package)

Fresh thyme, to garnish

Remove rind from brie and cut into small pieces. Place brie in a medium bowl. Add garlic, thyme and sun-dried tomatoes. Mix to combine. Fill each filo shell with cheese mixture. Place filled tartlets on a lightly-greased baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until cheese is melted. Garnish with fresh thyme. Serve warm. Makes 30.

Peach Jelly Roll

Use your favorite fruit preserves or jam to fill this delicious cake roll.

½ cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

4 eggs, yolks and white separated

½ teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup sugar plus ½ cup sugar

Confectioner’s sugar

8 ounces peach preserves

Combine flour and baking powder; set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks with vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed for 5 minutes until thick and lemon colored. Gradually add 1/3 cup sugar, beating on high speed until sugar is nearly dissolved. Thoroughly wash and dry beaters. In another bowl, beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add ½ cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Fold yolk mixture into beaten egg whites. Sprinkle flour mixture over egg mixture; fold in gently until just combined. Spread batter evenly into a greased and floured 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched near center. Immediately loosen edges of cake from pan and turn cake out onto a towel sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar. Roll up towel and cake, jelly roll style, starting from one of the cake’s short sides. Cool on a rack. Unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cake evenly with peach preserves to within 1 inch of the edges. Roll up cake. Dust with confectioner’s sugar. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving. Serves 8 to 10.


The writer owns Catering by Debbi Covington and is the author of three cookbooks, Celebrate Beaufort, Celebrate Everything! and Dining Under the Carolina Moon. For more great recipes and to view her cooking demonstrations, visit and subscribe to Debbi’s YouTube channel. Debbi’s website address is www.cateringbydebbicovington.com. She may be reached at 843-525-0350 or by email at dbc@cateringbydebbicovington.com.