A Filipino Afternoon Tea  with Pauline Morrissey

A Filipino Afternoon Tea with Pauline Morrissey

Last month we visited Pauline Morrissey and her husband Kieran in their new home at the Caringal Flats in Toorak where they had recently relocated. In a short time, the Morrisseys have put their stamp on this apartment using its mid-century roots as their main source of inspiration, complementing the modernist-style furniture and collectibles they have lovingly sourced from around the world. 


While Pauline and Kieran shared heartwarming highlights from their relationship (starting when they became friends as thirteen year olds!), they set the table for a delicious afternoon tea filled with Filipino treats inspired by Pauline's heritage as a proud Filipina-Australian.

What is your go-to ingredient/recipe/cuisine when hosting a summer feast?

 

Since I’m not a keen cook, one of the main things I missed when we lived on the coast was the presence of Filipino producers, makers, and shopkeepers. Now that I’m in Melbourne, I’m really leaning on our city’s thriving Filipino culinary scene. For example, Grace Guinto, a Co-founder of The Entree.Pinays - a collective of entrepreneurial Filipinas championing Filipino cuisine, culture, and community in Australia.


Grace bakes delicious Filipino-inspired treats through Sweet Cora. I’m serving her ube-coconut shag cake, calamansi tart, and polvoron for today’s afternoon tea. 

"Hosting brings me great joy. I’ve hosted several family Christmas lunches and summer soirées, and for me, it always begins with a gorgeous tablecloth."

Where do you start when styling summer tabletops?

 

Hosting brings me great joy. I’ve hosted several family Christmas lunches and summer soirées, and for me, it always begins with a gorgeous tablecloth. On my table today is Bonnie and Neil’s Pineapple Border Embroidered Tablecloth, which, although is from a collection inspired by Waikiki, reminds me of the Philippines, with this tropical fruit being one of its main agricultural commodities.


 I also love to style the table with a selection of our ceramics - treasures we collected from our 2022 Europe trip. I collected all sorts of ceramics all over the place, storing them in our suitcase or hire car until I had enough to fill a box and post home, crossing all fingers that they would arrive safely back to Australia. My favourite finds are a set of six vintage Sarreguemines plates from an antique store in Bordeaux, France, which I then found a matching pitcher for at a secondhand store in Cortona, Italy.

What is your favourite finishing touch for tabletop styling?


Flowers. A fresh vase of flowers is truly one of my favourite things in this world. I have found a couple of great vendors at the Prahran Market, but there’s also a gorgeous communal flower garden here at Caringal Flats, which I’ve been prone to pick from frequently.

"We love a good gin and tonic. There’s a great gin from the Philippines called Proclamation Gin. Add a slice of calamansi, the Philippine lime, and you’re set."

Do you have a favourite summer drink (mocktail/cocktail)?

 

We love a good gin and tonic. There’s a great gin from the Philippines called Proclamation Gin. Add a slice of calamansi, the Philippine lime, and you’re set. The Australian-based distributor 7000 Islands also sells a curated range of imported craft spirits from the Philippines, including the Ube Cream Liqueur, a blend of sugar cane vodka with full cream and Filipino ube. It’s another must try!  

We adore going on your international travels via instagram, where did you have your most memorable meal and what was it?

 

Frutti di Mare spaghetti became my staple during our time in Italy. I ate this dish so often that it almost formed the soundtrack to our entire trip.


Although, I think most Asians who have travelled extensively in Europe can relate to how much Asian food is lacking, missed, and craved here. So much so that with every new place we visited, I would Google “nearby Asian food”. To my delight, when we arrived in Bordeaux six weeks into our trip, my search surprisingly popped up with a place called KUBO Canteen, one of only two Filipino restaurants in all of France, which happened to be 10 minutes from where we were staying. I could have cried with happiness. That visit was straight out of that scene from Ratatouille when Anton Ego tasted the ratatouille dish. 

Photography by Sarah Forgie