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3 Afternoon Tea recipes for your Fruit Bush Harvest

afternoon tea recipes


Could this be the gourmet gardener's trifecta? July marks National Picnic Month, it's National Preserving Week from 24th July to 1st August, and Brits celebrate Afternoon Tea Week from 8th to 14th August. It's the perfect gastronomical excuse to use your glut of summer fruit bush pickings to their best advantage by crafting delicious recipes for an afternoon tea picnic!

Let's start by sharing our three favourite soft fruit recipes to pay tribute to the nation's favourite pastime – Afternoon Tea. 

Blackberry Fool 

Jamie Oliver's super easy Blackberry Fool cooks in 20 minutes, serving 6-8 people.


1 vanilla pod

500 g blackberries

100 g caster sugar

1 lemon

330 ml double cream

200 ml fat-free Greek yoghurt


  1. Halve the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds, then place in a large pan along with 350g of the berries, sugar, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  1. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, or until syrupy and the berries are soft but holding their shape. Set aside to cool.
  1. In a large bowl, whisk the cream to form peaks, fold through the yoghurt and swirl through a third of the syrup.
  1. Layer the rest of the syrup and cream in dessert glasses, and garnish with syrup and fresh berries.

Strawberry and Vanilla Shortcake 

A test kitchen-approved Strawberry and Vanilla Shortcake from Delicious Magazine. Whipped cream and fresh, juicy strawberries are sandwiched between layers of buttery shortbread to make this afternoon tea recipe. Traditionally, the top is cut into wedges and arranged on the filled, whole base, then cut right through when serving.

Ingredients for the shortcake:

300g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting

2 tsp baking powder

100g chilled unsalted butter, cubed

60g caster sugar

1 large free-range egg, lightly beaten

2-3 tbsp milk

Ingredients for the strawberry and vanilla filling:

2 punnets (about 500g) of strawberries, hulled, halved or quartered depending on size

2-3 tbsp icing sugar, to taste, plus extra for dusting

½ vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped

284ml pot double cream

25g caster sugar


Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6. Sift the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a food processor. Add the butter and whizz briefly until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Tip the mixture into a bowl and stir in the sugar. In a separate bowl, beat the egg with 1½ tablespoons milk and add to the flour mixture. Stir with a fork until the mixture starts to stick together in small clumps. If it’s a little dry, gradually add the rest of the milk until the dough comes together into a ball. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead briefly and very gently until smooth.

Lightly roll out the dough to form a 24cm round x 1cm thick disc and transfer it to a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 15-20 minutes in the oven or until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool the shortcake on a wire rack, then cut horizontally into 2 rounds using a serrated knife. Store in an airtight container until ready to assemble the complete cake, or for up to 2 days.

To make the filling, put the strawberries in a bowl with the icing sugar and vanilla seeds. Mix gently, cover and chill. In a second bowl, lightly whip the cream to soft peaks with the caster sugar. Place the shortcake base on a plate. Spread with cream and spoon over the berries. Cover with the shortcake top, dust with icing sugar and slice.

Herby Gooseberry Focaccia

Jelena Mardere's delicious Italian-English inspired Herby Gooseberry Focaccia is inspired by her travels in both Italy and England. Focaccia, of course, is a classic Italian bread, and tart gooseberries are traditionally grown in English cottage gardens. This recipe is a marriage made in heaven.


500g Bread flour 

1 tbsp Sea salt 

7g Active dry yeast

1 tsp Sugar 

350 ml Warm water 

6 tbsp Olive oil 

2 sprigs Rosemary

2 sprigs Sage

½ bulb Garlic 

175g Gooseberries 

Optional: Cheese to serve


Mix the yeast sachet with 1 teaspoon of sugar and the warm water. Pour in 1 tablespoon of the oil and whisk until fully combined. Set aside for 5 minutes to allow the yeast to activate. 

Meanwhile, mix the flour with ½ tbsp of sea salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour and slowly pour in the wet mixture, stirring gently. Mix until all the liquid is incorporated. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-8 minutes until you have a smooth, elastic dough.

Lightly coat the same mixing bowl with oil and place the dough in it. Dust the top with a little flour and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave to rise for an hour in a warm place. The dough should double in size.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line with parchment paper and grease a 9 by 13-inch pan with a tablespoon of oil.

Pick leaves from the herbs and place them in a pestle and mortar with the remaining salt. Crush until lightly broken down. Add the unpeeled garlic cloves and crush lightly before mixing in the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil.

Knead the dough gently once or twice to knock out the air. Push the dough into the prepared baking/roasting tray, working it all the way to the edges to give a thin layer. Press into the surface of the dough with your fingers to create a dimple effect on the top.

Press in the gooseberries and drizzle with the herbs and garlic oil mixture. Rub it all over to coat the top of the bread. Leave to proof at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes until golden brown on top. To serve, drizzle with remaining olive oil and serve with slices of cheese or cured meats.

Bonus Recipe 

This simple Blueberry Jam recipe is made with just three ingredients and no added pectin.

Did you know? Jam is made with mashed fruit. Preserves have whole fruit or large pieces of fruit.

Your very own Fruit Bushes 

UCS Fresh Garden introduced an impressive range of fruit bushes this year, offering varieties of blackberry, blackcurrant, blueberry, gooseberry, raspberry, redcurrant, rhubarb, strawberry and white-currant. 

If you missed out, be sure to diarise April next year, when the best quality fruit bushes will be ready for delivery to your door. For new arrivals next spring, keep an eye on our fruit bush collection [Link to:].

Good read: Care Tips for your Fruit Bushes 

What's left to say, but Happy National Preserve Recipe Afternoon Tea Picnic Month!

Have any prized family fruit and preserve recipes you're willing to share? Perhaps a fool-proof recipe that works for you every time. We'd love to try yours!

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