Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Remembering Jane Austen

Jane Austen, born Dec. 16, 1775, died July 18, 1817


I love all things Jane Austen and today I remembering her with a Breakfast Tea, from the book Tea with Jane Austen.  This book shares the secret of one of her favorite rituals--teatime. Each chapter includes a ritual of how tea was taken at a particular time of day, along with the history, recipes, and excerpts from Austen's novels. 

Jane Austen novels pair well with tea and tea is frequently mentioned in her work.  Jane was the keeper and maker of tea in her family and was in charge of making her family's breakfast at 9 am every morning.

This book begins with tea drinking in the morning and ends with tea in the evening--at balls and other gatherings.


This morning we are enjoying a "Grand Breakfast with the Austens at Stoneleigh Abbey."

Menu
Pound Cake
Toast
Butter
Raspberry Jam
Orange Juice
Tea




I think Jane Austen would have loved setting her table with blue and white china.


Jane loved Twinings tea and this morning we had their English Breakfast Tea...a great tea to start the day!  Twining's founder Thomas Twining opened Britain's first known tearoom in 1706 at 216 Strand, London, where it still operates today.  The business started as Tom's Coffee House, where men (not women) would gather to drink, gossip, and do business.  Thomas Twining decided to turn his love of tea into a business going against the existing coffee trend.  He came up against great opposition in the way of ridiculous taxes, thus being a beverage only the upper class could afford.  His passion and dedication would turn a little-known drink into the nations "cure all" beverage of all time. 


The loose tea is steeped in the teapot and then poured through the tea strainer, which is then placed on top of the tiny silver strainer base.  Milk and sugar may be added to a black tea. 
 
 
 
"But indeed I would rather have nothing but tea."
~Jane Austen
 
 
 
 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Prince Louis’ Christening Photos

The 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th in line to the throne of England—all five of the Cambridges together for the first time!

Kate greets the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, Baby Louis in her arms.

She arrived looking very princess-like, wearing a bespoke ivory dress by Alexander McQueen and a lovely headband by Jane Taylor.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Prince Louis’ Christening





Tomorrow will be the first time we have seen His Royal Highness Prince Louis of Cambridge in public since his birth.  His christening will be held at 4pm London time at the Chapel Royal, St. James's Palace.

The service will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby (who recently wed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle).  The Royal Family, godparents, and guests will stand near the font, and the baby will be carried into the chapel by his nanny and a lady-in-waiting. 

This Chapel is steeped in royal history.  Queen Victoria was married to Prince Albert there in 1840, as were King George V and Queen Mary in 1893.  This is also the Chapel where the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales, was taken before her funeral at Westminster Abbey.


A small choir of six men and 10 boys will be seated beneath the stained-glass window as they perform a selection of spiritual songs.


The 5th in line to the throne (behind Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince George, and Princess Charlotte) will be christened with holy water flown into the UK from the River Jordan (specially sterilized, of course).  The Lily Font bowl is a silver-gilt Font used by the Royal Family since 1840.
 It will be brought in from the Tower of London, where it is kept with other royal treasures.
See the source image

Prince Louis will wear the same gown worn by his brother Prince George and his sister Princess Charlotte.  It is an exact replica of the gown commissioned by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert when their first child, Victoria was baptized.  Sixty two royal babies were christened in that gown, including Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince Harry.


See the source image
Christening gown commissioned by Queen Victoria

Lady Louise Windsor was the last royal to wear the gown as it was deemed to be too fragile to wear.  Queen Elizabeth II then commissioned a new gown and her royal dressmaker Angela Kelly made the gown.

So what will Kate wear?  For Prince George's christening she wore an Alexander McQueen creamy white dress with ruffle detail. 

Mother and son in outfits that dreams are made of!!!


The immediate family in the official portrait for Prince George's christening, October 23, 2013.


For Princess Charlotte's christening, Kate chose an Alexander McQueen cream-colored coat dress.


The official family portrait for Princess Charlotte's christening, July 5, 2015.


Thank you for joining me today.  Have a wonderful week.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Cream Tea at The Queen’s Pantry




Today, I did some shopping in Atlanta and since it is National Cream Tea Day in England (International Cream Tea Day to me), I celebrated at The Queen's Pantry in Marietta. 


Samantha, the owner of The Queen's Pantry, offers Cream Teas on Fridays.  She has three seatings and if you are visiting Atlanta or live in the area, you simply must call for a reservation at 678.483.0900.  They are located at 4235 Merchants Walk Drive, Marietta, Georgia.

This is the menu for the Cream Tea:


The Queen was watching so I made sure to mind my tea's and q's.


The tea sandwiches were served with a side of Branston Pickle, which I love.


The scone was served with clotted cream and strawberry jam, of course.


Perfectly steeped black tea in a dainty teacup.


I was very impressed with the presentation of the check...it arrived on a tea plate and doily, with an after-dinner mint, and a thank-you note from Samantha!  Now I am spoiled and will be disappointed at restaurants in the future when I receive my check without a thank-you note!


Customer service is everything and Samantha went out of her way to make my visit a memorable one.  She deserves my "5 Silver Teaspoons" award!


After tea, I did a bit of shopping.  The Pantry has a wide assortment of tea accoutrements and British foods & party supplies.


Thank you for visiting with me today.  I hope that you have enjoyed the Cream Tea posts this week and that you might have learned something new about Cream Teas!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Recipes for a Cream Tea

Whether you entertain friends for tea or just enjoy a tea by yourself, a Cream Tea is a delightful way to relax.  The de rigueur scones with clotted cream and jam is not something one should probably eat every single day--just a once in awhile decadent treat.

As with most recipes, you can start from scratch or use packaged items or mock recipes. I have included both:

Scones - From Scratch:
British scones are more dense and slightly drier, and more crumbly than our American biscuits. A British scone is not as sweet as a scone you will find at your local American bakery.

British Scone
2 c unbleached all purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter, cold
2/3 c milk
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp milk (to glaze)

In a medium bowl, place the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter.  Rub the mixture together with your fingers to break up the butter, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the milk and mix with a wooden spoon just until the dough comes together and no lumps remain.
Dust the dough with flour and place it on a lightly floured countertop. Press the dough into a round that is roughly 1" thick.
Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into 2" circles.  Place the rounds onto a greased and floured baking sheet.
Let the scones rest on the baking sheet for 15 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 425F.
Just before putting the scones into the oven, brush them with the egg yolk and milk mixture.
Bake the scones for 12-15 minutes, until golden and firm.
Remove the baked scones from the oven and let them cool for 30 minutes.

Yields 8 (2") scones.
*recipe from Curious Cuisiniere
Please be sure to cut your dough into circles, not triangles!


Scones - Mix
I love Garvey's Traditional Scone Mix .  They are easy to make with half the mess of the scratch recipe.


For an even quicker scone fix, try Haywood and Padgett ‘Sultana’ scones.  They are available on Amazon or you might find them at your local British pantry. They are yummy!


Unfortunately, we can’t get the British favorite Rodda's Clotted Cream here in the U.S.  We have to make do with making our own.

Clotted Cream - From Scratch


Clotted cream is a silky yellow cream with a crust on the surface.  It is made by heating unpasteurized heavy cream which is then left in a pan for many hours, which causes the cream to rise to the surface and ‘clot’.
You will need:  1 pint of heavy cream (do not use ultra pasteurized).
Preheat oven to 180 degrees.  Pour the heavy cream into a 9 x 9 pan.  Place in oven and bake for 12 hours.  Spoon the thick top layer of the cream into a container and chill in the frig for 12 hours.

Mock Devonshire Cream
(Don’t judge.  It's easy.)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp white vanilla extract
1 8 oz carton sour cream
Beat whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff.  Fold sour cream into this mixture and refrigerate.


Strawberry Preserves
(From Martha Stewart)
Yields 2 1/2 cups
2 lbs strawberries, hulled
1 tbsp plus 1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup sugar

Put strawberries and lemon juice in a large saucepan.  Cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat until juices are released, about 40 minutes.  Stir in sugar.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture registers 210 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 15 minutes.  Let cool completely; skim foam from surface with a spoon.  These preserves can be canned and stored for up to one year.


I prefer to keep everything as simple as possible.  Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserves Is my favorite and, of course, they offer many delicious flavors.


Thanks for visiting with me today.  I’ll be back tomorrow after I enjoy a Cream Tea at a British tea establishment.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Finessing the Scone

In the oh-so proper world of tea etiquette there are rules to be followed at tea--from the way you sit to the way you hold your teacup.  You really must mind your t’s and q’s at tea!

Scones are a quintessential part of a Cream Tea.  The scone is a simple biscuit often made plain or with currants and is a perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea.  Whether you pronounce it scone rhyming with bone or scone rhyming with gone, finessing the scone at tea can be very tricky.

I studied etiquette at The Protocol School of Washington with the etiquette expert Dorothea Johnson.  Ms. Johnson has authored several books on the subject of Tea Etiquette and the following methods of finessing the scone are from her books:

~Using the tea spreader/butter knife, slice through the scone horizontally, resting it flat on your plate.  Spoon small dallops (just enough for a single scone) of jam and cream onto your plate.  Never spoon directly onto the scone.  Take only the amount of topping needed to eat that one scone and spread one bit at a time, not over the whole scone.  Use your knife to dab the edge of the scone with jam, then cream; eat that portion and return the rest to your plate.  Between bites, remember to rest the knife on the upper right side of your plate, with the cutting edge of the blade facing the center of the plate.

~Slice through the scone on your plate; lift off the top piece.  Using the spreader, spread only the bottom half first with jam and then cream.  Place the spreader on the upper right side of your plate.  You may pick this half of the scone up with your hand, but be ready to use your serviette for any jam and cream around the mouth area. (This is the way I prefer to eat my scone).

~Slice through the scone on your plate; lift off the top piece, and break off a bite-size piece with your fingers.  Repeat the procedure for adding jam and cream above.

Well-made scones can be pulled apart with the fingers; however, if the scone is not moist, then a spreader/knife can be used.  The English consider it a faux pas to slice the scone with a knife, maybe that’s because their scones are not hard like some we have in the U.S.

Scone Faux Pas:
Unless you are the Queen Of England, remove your gloves at tea.


~Never put the scone halves back together like a sandwich, after spreading on the jam and cream.


~Don’t pour whipped cream over an unopened scone--like gravy over a biscuit.

~Don’t serve the cream and jam from the container directly onto the scone--spoon it onto the tea plate first, the spread a small amount of each onto the scone.

So, which way do you do it?


What is the difference between a Devon and Cornish Cream Tea?  It is the order in which you add the jam and cream onto your scone.  Should you add the jam or cream first?  The Devonshire method is to split the scone in two, cover each half with clotted cream, then add strawberry jam on top.  With the Cornish method, the jam goes on first and then the cream on top.

The Queen reportedly prefers jam first, according to Darren McGrady, a former chef who worked for the royal family from 1982-1993. "The Queen always had homemade Balmoral jam first, with clotted cream on top at Buckingham Palace garden parties in the royal tea tent & and all royal tea parties."

It really doesn’t matter if you add cream or jam first, it’s just a personal preference.

Thank you for visiting with me today!  I will be back tomorrow with a few recipes for a Cream Tea.