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You are cordially invited to host a royal wedding watching party

  • This March 21, 2011 photo shows bubble and squeak in Concord, N.H. So named for the sound it makes while it's cooking, bubble and squeak is a breakfast hash of sorts designed to use leftovers from the previous nights' boiled dinners. (AP Photo…
    This March 21, 2011 photo shows bubble and squeak in Concord, N.H. So named for the sound it makes while it's cooking, bubble and squeak is a breakfast hash of sorts designed to use leftovers from the previous nights' boiled dinners. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
Published April 27. 2011 05:00PM

Throwing a watching party for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton doesn't have to be a royal pain.

But with the wedding scheduled for 6 a.m. East Coast time you probably are going to find that plenty of coffee is, so to speak, your cup of tea.

Patra Wroten, who lives in the Washington, D.C., area and writes about parties and other occasions on her blog, I Do Declare, has found a workaround to the inconvenient timing - a slumber party for some friends.

"We just love weddings," she says. "It really was just a great excuse to get a group of our girlfriends together, take off work and theme a party around such an exciting wedding."

The party will start on the evening of April 28 and go right through to the April 29 festivities with a few hours set aside for rest.

They plan to watch a tape of the marriage of the prince's parents, Charles and Diana, eat English food such as mini shepherd's pies, and may just have a little drinking game - a sip for every time someone says "future princess," for instance.

And, of course, there will be fake tiaras.

For Penny Bradley, co-owner of the Lyon restaurant in New York's Greenwich Village, throwing a wedding party took a bit of smooth-talking.

Specifically, she had to persuade her partner in the restaurant, French chef Francois Latapie, to be English for a day.

He agreed and now neighboring businesses, including the British restaurant Tea & Sympathy, are joining in. Festivities will start with a Champagne breakfast and screenings of the ceremony, with reruns for later in the day.

On the menu: bacon and egg sandwiches, smoked haddock with scrambled eggs and Buck's Fizz (mimosas to us Yanks).

There'll be bunting, big hats are encouraged, and the dinner menu will include such notable items as toad in the hole and Lancashire hotpot.

Raffle tickets are being sold to benefit a local park and, with interest already high, there will likely be a silent auction.

"It's getting quite exciting," says Bradley, who already has gotten reservations for the 6 a.m. seating.

Though the wedding isn't making quite the same splash that Charles and Diana's did 30 years ago, it's launched many a promotion.

Among them, the Rosewood Sand Hill luxury hotel in the San Francisco Bay area is offering a "Your Royal Princess," package that includes a sugar scrub infused with gold. (Prince Charming not included.)

And Beefeater Gin has come up with a cocktail for the day with a cheeky nod to the late Queen Mother's reported fondness for gin.

The cocktail, called Beefeater Royal Punch, consists of gin, Dubonnet, pomegranate, lemonade and Angostura bitters.

Bradley, a native of Yorkshire, England, sees the occasion as a break from everyday life, one that is especially welcome considering all the grim news that's been happening of late.

"These are events that don't happen very often in anyone's lifetime and people love to celebrate them," she says. "They really enjoy watching the wedding and all the glitter of the carriages and the spectacle. It's something that's really amazing."

Ready to host your own wedding watching party? Here's our suggested menu for early morning eats:

Fruit and Chocolate Scones

Classic to afternoon teas, scones are commonly baked plain or studded with currants, then accompanied with jam and clotted cream, a thick, creamy spread.

You can make your version with any dried fruit, such as blueberries, cranberries or apricots. You also can add chopped nuts or chocolate chips.

Start to finish: 1 hour

Servings: 8

2 cups all-purpose flour

cup sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup heavy cream

cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups dried fruit, nuts and/or chocolate bits

Coarse sugar, optional

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the melted butter and stir until well distributed. Add the cream, sour cream and vanilla.

Mix until almost combined, then add the fruit and nuts and mix just until distributed.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Pat the dough into a circle about inch thick and 10 inches across. Cut the circle into 8 wedges, then transfer each wedge to the prepared baking sheet.

Refrigerate or freeze until well chilled, 15 to 30 minutes.

While the scones chill, heat the oven to 400 F. Sprinkle the tops of the scones with coarse sugar, if desired.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool before serving.

Fruit Bismarcks

Bismarcks also are known as Dutch babies and German pancakes. Though this oven pancake isn't commonly served as a breakfast item in England, its savory counterpart, known as a Yorkshire pudding, is served for Sunday dinner with leftovers being served with jam for dessert. Use any fruit you like for the filling; fresh berries are particularly good, but sauteed apples with cinnamon and sugar are tasty as well.

Start to finish: 35 minutes

Servings: 8

1 cup milk

4 eggs

1 cup bread flour, sifted

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch salt

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter

1 1/2 cups fresh fruit, such as sliced peaches, citrus segments or berries

Powdered sugar or whipped cream, to garnish, if desired

Heat the oven to 450 F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, flour, baking powder and salt until smooth.

Place the butter in a pie plate or oven-safe skillet. Set the pie plate or skillet in the oven. When the butter has melted, swirl the pan around to fully coat the bottom and sides. Pour the batter into the hot pan and immediately return to the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375 F and continue to cook until browned and puffy, about another 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven. Heap the fruit in the center, then serve dusted with powdered sugar or topped with whipped cream, if desired.

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