Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Favorite Childhood Christmas Memory

When I received a letter from Santa before Christmas at the sweet age of four, you can imagine how thrilled I was.  Santa wrote that since I had been such a good little girl that year, he was going to show me one of his reindeer.  Needless to say,  Christmas could not come soon enough.  My mom awakened me to  the sounds of Santa's sleigh bells.  I ran downstairs as fast as my 4 year old legs would carry me.  And there to my surprise, Santa was outside the dining room window with one of his reindeer.  He never told me which one it was.  After that Christmas, I was a true believer for many years... Which reindeer do you think it was?  Do you have a favorite Christmas childhood memory?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Quick Christmas Tea Favor Chocolate Peanut Butter Kisses

Chocolate Peanut Butter Kisses

From The Cottage Journal

Put these tasty morsels in a festive little bag for a take home teatime treat.  
1C creamy peanut butter
2 C bittersweet chocoalte chips
2 C confectioners sugar

  1. Line 2 sheets with wax paper
  2. In a double boiler placed over simmering water combine peanut butter and chocolate chips.  Stir frequently until melted & smooth.  Remove from heat.
  3. Gradually add sugar and beat with electric mixer.
  4. Spoon into large pasty bag filled with medium star tip and pipe 1" stars onto baking sheets.  Makes about 10 kisses.  Refrigerate 1 hour before serving.  Store in Fridge.  For favor place a few Chocolate Peanut Butter Kisses in a small gift bag and tie with festive ribbon.  I buy clear bags at A. C. Moore or Michaels. You can also present them as shown in the picture compliments of The Cottage Journal.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Tea Latte

Pumpkin Cream Tea Latte
3 t  Pumpkin Cream Tea or a pumpkin tea of your choice brewed in 6 oz of water for 3 minutes
1/2 t vanilla
1/4 t cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
3 oz skim milk
3 oz half & half (can use fat free)
Light brouwn sugar to taste
Whipped Cream
Cinnamon Stick for garnish

Brew tea.  Heat milk and half & half  until steaming.  Add to hot brewed tea.  Add vanilla, sugar and spices.  Garnish with whipped cream, dash of cinnamon and add a cinnamon stick.  For an adult "after dinner drink" add 1/2 oz of vanilla vodka.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Victoria Sponge Cake

I recently made Victoria Sponge for a group where I was also asked to give a tea presentation.  In addition to the classic Victoria Sponge I  made one with lemon curd.

Victoria Sponge

1 C flour
1 t baking powder
2 T sour cream
1/4 C butter, melted
2 C favorite preserves or lemon curd
3 eggs
1/4 t salt
3/4 C sugar
1 T lemon juice
Powdered sugar for dusting

Beat eggs with sour cream.

Add sugar and beat on highest speed of mixer for 5 minutes until light.  

Beat in melted butter.

Stir in lemon juice.  Make sure you have removed the seeds,  unlike mine in the picture.

In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Fold gently into wet mixture.

Spread batter into  a greased, wax paper lined 11x15 jelly roll pan.  Make sure you grease the pan before putting in the wax paper and then grease the wax paper before pouring in the batter.  Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes or until cake springs back when touched in the center.  You don't want to over bake it.  The cake will crack easily when you roll it if you do.  If it does crack, you can cover the cake roll with a little more powdered sugar.  

This tea infuser is also great tool for dusting with powdered sugar!

Cool baked cake in pan for 5 minutes.

Dust a tea towel with powdered sugar.  Turn cake out onto the towel and remove the wax paper.  Spread with jam leaving a 1/2" border on all sides.  Roll up in jelly roll fashion and refrigerate for 1 hour to set.  Remove from fridge 15 minutes before serving.  Dust cake roll with powdered sugar and cut into approximately 1 1/2" slices.  Garnish each slice with whipped cream,  fresh fruit and mint.  

For the lemon cake I used the lemon curd recipe in the preceding post.  I definitely liked the lemon much better than  the strawberry jam.  Which one would you prefer?

Monday, April 18, 2011

How to Make Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd made from scratch is a little time consuming but the simply luscious result is well worth the effort.

Lemon Curd
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1 1/2 T freshly grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 C freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 6 T butter, cut into 12 pieces

Ingredients and cooking equipment you will need.

Beat eggs with whisk in top of double boiler.  If you don't have a double boiler, you can use a smaller pan that  fits into a larger one.

Whisk in lemon peel, juice and sugar. Be sure to grate the  lemons before you cut them and extract the juice.  Place mixture over simmering water.  Check to make sure the hot water is not touching your double boiler.  If the water is touching the pan with your lemon curd mixture, it may cause cause it to curdle.  Stir constantly with wooden spoon until the mixture is hot to the touch.

When mixture is hot to the touch, add butter one piece at a time stirring until each piece is melted. 

When the Lemon Curd is ready, the mixture will be slightly thickened, glossy, translucent, creamy and should measure 145 on a candy thermometer.  Cool 1 hour , cover and store in the fridge.  Lemon Curd is delicious with scones and a cup of tea, of course.  It is equally delicious as a cake filling, a spread for toast and sugar cookies.  Enjoy and use your imagination. What is your favorite way to enjoy delicious Lemon Curd?

Friday, March 18, 2011

How to Add A Burst of Spring

Here in central Pennsylvania, spring is definitely on the way.  But of course it's still March and that feeling could change tomorrow.  I think for most of us, spring can't come fast enough after the brutally cold winter we all experienced  this year.  To make it feel more like spring, I enjoy forcing Forsythia blooms.  If you have never done this, it is an early "spring fix".  Simply cut stems from your Forsythia bush to the desired length and place in a vase of water.

And after a few days to a week or so,  you'll have very cheerful bright yellow blooms to embellish your home and teatime.  Do you force flowers to bloom?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

St Patrick's Day Dinner & Tablescape

For many years my husband and I have belonged to a wonderful gourmet dinner group. There are 6 couples in the group.  We as a group  have experienced many major lifetime events. Some among those have been   births, deaths, graduations, engagements, weddings, divorce, and job transfers. One thing remains, we are all great foodie friends.  We meet once a month from September thru April.  For our May meeting , the men treat the ladies and take us out to dinner to a fabulous restaurant of our choice.   In September we have an organizational meeting where we decide dates for the coming year, who will host, the theme, and who will bring appetizer, salad, main course, vegetable and dessert for each meal.  The host provides, the wine, bread, and clean house. 

 Pictured is my table scape for St. Patrick's Day.  The ribbons, beads and shamrocks were purchased at JoAnn's Fabrics. The glass vases and green glass pebbles purchased at Pottery Barn. The fresh flowers came from the Giant.

 The candy bags and gold wrapped coins were bought at a local candy store.  The china  pattern is Bennington  by Mikasa.  I'm proud to say it is my wedding china and is decades old.

At this dinner, our menu consisted of  Mini Potatoes stuffed with Salmon Mousse, Irish Spring Salad*, Corned Beef with Brown Sugar Glazed Brussel  Sprouts and Carrots, Baked Potatoes,  Birthday Cake and Irish Cream Tea  for dessert.

*Irish Spring Salad
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced to be used as garnish
8 asparagus spears, par boiled and sliced
1 C salad greens, spring mix
1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced

1 t finely chopped onion
1 heaping t mustard
1 t red wine vinegar
1/2 t light brown sugar
1 T low-fat mayonnaise
1 t low-fat buttermilk

Serves 2

Arrange salad ingredients on 2 salad plates.  Combine and mix dressing ingredients and spoon over salad.  Garnish with egg slices

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lenten Meat Alternative for Your Tea Time

Mini Shrimp Tartlets are a delicious Lenten Meat Alternative for Your Tea Time.  They can also be served as an appetizer or light meal.

Mini Shrimp Tartlets
1 package 8oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
2 t Worcestershire sauce
3 T finely chopped onion
1 t garlic salt
1 t lemon juice
2  packages minature phyllo tart shells
1/2 C cocktail sauce ( I used Kerchner's)
30 peeled and deveined medium shrimp, (50-60 count) steamed in Old Bay Seasoning

Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl.  Spoon into tart shells.  Top with cocktail sauce and shrimp.  Garnish with chopped parsley. Refrigerate before serving.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Welcomed Tea Break from Winter 2011

Recently, I was fortunate to leave my icy, snow filled backyard and  the winter of  2011 behind for a welcomed break to...

warm, sunny Anguilla to share vacation and iced tea on the stunning white sand beaches with dear friends.

It was delightful to see tropical flowers blooming.

And absolutely fabulous to bask in the warm tropical sunshine.

We took a day to do a little shopping on nearby St. Martins and stopped at Hediards to purchase some tea.

But of course, all vacations must come to an end.

A farewell sunset on our last night in Anguilla.

If you could take a winter break, where would you go?