Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tea Party!

"Tea is wealth itself, because there is nothing that cannot be lost, no problem that will not disappear, no  burden that will not float away, between the first sip and the last."

                -The Minister of leaves
"I am your little flower Mom, please help me grow and bloom. Take the weeds, but leave the roots and give me lots of room. Mom, you are my gardener; my sunshine and my rain. Too little will make me wither with enough, I'll bloom again! I am your little flower Mom, I am different from the rest; don't pick me Mom just help me grow to be my very best."

              -Rebecca Armstrong

I have always loved the Victorian Era, and enjoy having tea parties with the girls. Today I thought it would be fun to share some tea time etiquette, as well as recipes and quotes for you to enjoy. If you have little girls of your own or Grandchildren, they will love stepping back in time and learning about tea parties. Won't you get cozy and pour a nice hot cup of tea and go along this small journey with us today?

                                                 Tea Time Etiquette

If hosting the party be sure to send invitations specifying date, time and other important details.

In Victorian England, it was often common for people to bring their own tea cups to formal teas, if you'd like to carry on this tradition include a note on your invitation. ( No emails!)

When pouring teas be sure to ask guests if they need room for milk and as far as sugar ask one lump or two?

Sugar should be served using tongs, never fingers :-)

Food items are usually arranged on a 3 tier serving tray. Arrange them by putting scones on top, sandwiches and savories in the middle and sweets on the bottom.

When drinking always remember to sip, not gulp

Hold properly by pinching the handle between the thumb and index finger, raising the pinkie finger for balance. Don't try to loop it through handle, that would be considered impolite.

Unless you are at a formal table always lift your saucer along with the cup.

To stir tea, place spoon at 6 o clock position, add milk and gently fold it by moving the spoon towards the 12 o clock position.

Don't use circular motions or stir too hard. When done place spoon on the right side of the saucer.

To eat a scone: break off small portion and using a knife cover with jam then the cream.

It is considered rude to serve yourself with a used utensil (for jam and cream)

Always place used utensils on the right side of the plate never on the table.

Always place a napkin in your lap when eating, after finishing place it on table to the left of your plate.

These are just a few fun facts from the formal tea parties held years ago. The girls and I had a great time being creative with our own rules. :-)

Of course we had to have pretty fresh flowers for our table.

Then the tea pot and cups, along with lace tablecloth and a nice candle.

Yummy scones!

Cucumber sandwiches, with chocolate covered strawberries. :-)

Some guests came to visit in their royal carriage :-)

Princess Kathleen arrived

Then Princess Hayley joined us

The girls requested lemonade for their "tea" LOL

Look Mom! My pinkie is up!

Cream and sugar? Said with a mouth covered in chocolate and blueberries.

We had a royal time creating our own special tea party and I encourage you to try it as well. You're never too old for tea and great conversation. I treasure these days with my girls, chatting over tea about our hopes and dreams. :-)

Our sandwiches were super simple, just cut cucumbers up into small pieces, mixed with cream cheese and put on the bread that I used a heart cookie cutter to shape.

For a more sophisticated sandwich you can try the following recipe:

Cucumber Sandwiches

1 large cucumber peeled, then sliced thin
3/4 cup soft butter
2 tsp. minced  fresh garlic
20 slices of bread
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
pepper to taste

Lightly salt the cucumber slices and place in colander to drain for 1 to 2 hours.
Then combine butter and garlic and apply to each side of bread.
In small bowl, stir together lemon juice, olive oil and pepper.
Add cucumber slices coating them well.
Arrange cucumbers on ten slices of the bread, top with other 10 slices, remove crusts, then quarter.
Serve immediately.
Makes 40 tea sandwiches.

You can make tea sandwiches with many different ingredients such as egg or ham salad, nuts etc.

Another yummy recipe is the Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze:

Blueberry Scones

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing scones
1 cup fresh blueberries

Lemon Glaze

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 lemon, zest finely grated
1 tablespoon unsalted butter


Preheat over to 400 degrees

Stir together dry ingredients; the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Using 2 forks or a pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat the pieces with flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream. Fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough. Fold the blueberries into the batter. Take care not to mash or bruise the blueberries because their strong color will blend into the dough.

Press the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12 by 3 1/4 inches. Cut the rectangle in 1/2 then cut the pieces in 1/2 again, giving you 4 (3 inch) squares. Cut the squares in 1/2 on a diagonal to give you the classic triangle shape. Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush tops with heavy cream. Bake for 15 to 20 mins. until beautiful and brown. Let scones cool a bit before you apply the glaze.

Technically you should make this simple lemon glaze in a double boiler, but it's even simpler to zap in the microwave. Mix the lemon juice and confectioners sugar together in a microwave safe bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon zest and butter. Nuke it for 30 seconds (may have to do a little longer) Whisk the glaze to smooth out any lumps, then drizzle the glaze over the top of the scones. Let sit a minute before serving.


( I got this recipe from Tyler Florence)

Another fun thing to do after the tea party is over is to play charades, this was a popular game to play at the formal teas. The girls had a great time and lots of giggling going on!!

We also read a fun book called George and Martha One Fine Day by James Marshall. I remember reading this series when I was little and it still makes me smile.

Hope you have a blessed day!


Sheila said...

Wow--I want to have a tea party now. It sure looks like y'all had fun.

Jill said...

Thanks Sheila! We sure did!