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Y’all I am so excited about today’s guest post. She is so talented and creative, you will just love her post on hosting a tea. And, joy of joy, she includes recipes! So without further wordiness from me, I introduce Vickie…

The Joy and Art of Hosting an Afternoon Tea: 

Maybe the idea of a tea party takes you back to childhood. Dressing up in your mothers old clothes and setting a special table for your dolls and you to enjoy a pretend tea. Maybe some of you remember your first real tea in the company of a special friend at her home. The discovery of quiet conversation, sharing confidences over steaming cups of tea. Perhaps there are some of you have never experienced a TEA PARTY, and the ahha moment of Serenity in an ocean of chaos.

 

There are all types of Tea Parties, if you have imagination to create them. Then if you are like some of us, we need a little help in creating the tea party atmosphere. I hope some of the ideas I am about to share, you too, will discover the joys, and the fun of creating special memories with friends and family.

 

Tea takes time— that is part of the magic. You can’t hurry it without losing something vital. The act forces us to slow down from our frantic pace. You simply cannot hurry a good pot of tea.

 

Decide what type of Theme you want to use for your tea party. 1) Mad Hatter 2) Teddy Bear 3) Costume tea party 4) Friendship Day 5) Picnic basket tea 6) Princess 7) Novel Tea 8)Peppermint Tea or 9) An Afternoon Tea 10) Solitary Tea for one. 11) Garden Party. The ideas are only limited by our imagination.

 

1. Guest list. 2) Sample Invitation:  Mary Lamb, Requests the pleasure of your company for   ___________________ (insert type tea party i.e. Mad Hatter, Afternoon, Garden Tea etc), Saturday Nov 9th, From 3pm until 5pm., 1313 Mockingbird Lane.  RSVP By:  Nov. 1st    (if there is any special attire your guest should wear i.e., hats, etc let them know.)  The hours a tea party is normally given can be anywhere between 1pm-6pm. The general rule is that the earlier tea is served, the lighter the refreshments. At 2pm tea is usually a snack, dainty tea finger sandwiches, petits fours, fresh strawberries/fruit, scones. At 6pm it would be considered a “High Tea” and more of a meal. Sausage rolls, marinated meatballs, soup, salad, scones, hearty finger foods. Desserts….always, always desserts!!

3. Menu (Sample Menu):

Tea sandwiches (remove crusts), canapes, pesto/cream cheese roll ups, lemon mousse fillo cups, mini pizza swirls, scones, spring salad with apples, pecan, cranberries., Choc. dipped Strawberries, dessert(s) and of course Tea.  * condiments …lemon curd, devonshire cream, jam, sugar CUBES.

(if you are having a Garden Tea on a hot summer day it is OK to serve iced tea.)

  

Brewing the perfect pot of Tea is part of the ritual. A ceremony of loveliness. Use fresh good quality tea, which should be kept in an airtight container. Fill the kettle with freshly drawn cold quality water and bring it to a boil. Meanwhile warm the teapot preferably china or earthenware, by rinsing it with hot water, so that the boiling water is not cooled as it touches the tea leaves. Put in 1 teaspoon of tea leaves per person, adding an extra spoonful “for the pot”. Take the teapot to the kettle and pour the water over the tea as soon as it comes to a rolling boil. Put on the lid and leave it to brew for approximately 3-5 min. 

 

These rich tasting scones are a favorite. An English afternoon tea would not be complete without them.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

6 tablespoons unsalted cold butter

1/2 cup currants or white raisins or diced dried apricots etc
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 tablespoon cream
1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat the oven to 400º F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and soda. With a pastry blender, cut in butter, mixing it until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix in currants.

Whisk buttermilk and egg together, then add to flour mixture. Stir together until a soft ball of dough forms. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently, turning five or six times.

Roll out dough with a floured rolling pin to about 1/2 inch thickness. Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut scones out and place on the baking sheet. Brush the tops lightly with cream and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown. Serve warm with lemon curd, clotted cream, or preserves. Makes one dozen scones.

Time Saving Hint: Raw scones may be frozen and then baked fresh as you need them.

 

Pizza Swirls

 1  17oz package of puff pastry sheets, thawed.  24 slices pepperoni divided,  2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided.  1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided. Marinara sauce.

Preheat oven 400

Line several baking sheets with parchment paper (set aside)

unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry onto lightly floured surface. Roll into a 9×13 inch rectangle.

Arrange 12 slices pepperoni in a single layer across puff pastry, leaving a 1 inch border on 1 long edge. Sprinkle 1 cup mozzarella and 1/2 cup parmesan over pepperoni.  Roll up jelly-roll style toward edge with border. Press long edge to seal. Slice into 1/2 inch thick sections.  Place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.  Bake until golden. 12-14 min. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping if desired.

 

Lemon Mousse Filo Cups

1/4 cup sugar

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cold water

1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon unsalted butter

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 (1.9 ounce) boxes mini filo shells

Garnish with lemon zest and fresh mint

 

In med. sauce pan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt.  Add water, and whisk until sugar and cornstarch are dissolved.  Add lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk and butter.  Whisk constantly over med. heat until mixture boils and thickens, approximately 6 min.  Remove from heat. Transfer custard to a bowl and press plastic wrap onto custard’s  surface.  Refrigerate until cool about 30 min.  In a med. bowl, beat cream at high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Add custard, and beat until stiff peaks form.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.  Spoon lemon mousse into  filo shells. Garnish with lemon zest and mint if desired.

 

Lemon Curd

(very common English preserve. It is use as a spread for scones, muffins also makes a delicious tart filling)

Grated peel of 4 lemons

Juice of 4 lemons (or 1 cup)

4 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup butter cut in small pieces

2 cups sugar

 

In the top of a large double boiler, combine lemon peel, lemon juice, eggs butter and sugar.  Place over simmering water and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Continue to cook stirring occasionally, until thickened and smooth.  While hot, pour into hot, sterilized 1/2 pint canning jars, having about an 1/8 inch for head space.  Run a narrow spatula down between lemon curd and side of jar to release air. Top with sterilized lids, firmly screw on bands.  Place in a draft free area to cool and store in a cool, dry place (I keep in refrigerator).  Lemon curd doesn’t keep indefinitely, so make only as much as you will use in a couple of weeks.  Makes about 1 pint.  

 

The Beauty of Tea:

Creating is work of course, but that is part of the JOY.  When I invite my friends to tea and having an elaborate assortment of tea foods, soft music in the background, and the hum of conversation as guests gather.  I benefit too, because the work of creating something beautiful enhances the satisfaction of it.  Beauty is all around us of course. Our world brims with breathtaking loveliness, if we have eyes to see.  When I sit quietly on our patio in the morning with a cup of tea, I find I am much more acutely aware of the natural beauty around me…the majesty of the sunrise, the humming birds, the flowers by the door. It is a wonderful tradition to carry from Grandmother, daughter, grand-daughter. The delight of shared conversation, funny stories, laughter, hats, flowing dresses, flower brimmed tables and the sparkle of Tea China sitting on the table.

  The Beauty of Tea….Is Thee  

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