Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hosting A Tea

Its simple.

Equipment You will need:

Three-Tier Curate Stand (s) or decorative platters
Tea cups
Tea Pots or a large (linen wrapped) thermos for individual cups of tea
Linen napkins
Silver teaspoons, dessert forks, butter knives
Sugar bowl and tongs
Milk container

To serve:

Tea
Scones
Assorted savories
Small desserts
Whole Milk
Sugar
Lemon
Honey

done.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

3 Tiers for 2-4

Afternoon Tea food placement for a three tier curate stand:

Top Tier = Scones

Middle tier = Savories and Tea sandwiches

Bottom tier = Sweets

Using three tiers for more than just a few guests - use more curate stands.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

A fun addition to your tea. Choose large berries with stems attached. Wash gently and air dry completely.

Melt 1 cup of milk chocolate or white chocolate chips with 1 teaspoon of vegetable shortening.

Dip strawberries in chocolate halfway and lay on wax paper until cooled. Serve among your tea desserts. These will be a hit at a Tea where Champagne is served.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Devonshire Cream (Mock)

½ cup heavy cream or 8 oz. softened cream cheese
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
½ cup sour cream

In a chilled bowl, beat cream until medium-stiff peaks form, adding sugar during the last few minutes of beating. (If you are using cream cheese, just stir together with sugar.) Fold in sour cream and blend.

Serve with your favorite, scone, soda bread, muffin or quick bread.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Savory Tea Sandwiches

Tea sandwiches are tiny and made with thinly sliced breads with crusts removed.

Tip: spread on a thin coat of mayonnaise, butter, or cream cheese to keep the bread from getting soggy. This will enable you to prepare sandwiches much in advance. Next add the filling, which can be really anything you like.Cut off the crusts using a serrated knife. Sandwiches are easier to cut into shapes when they are cold, so wrap them carefully and chill in refrigerator first. Then they can be cut into squares, triangles, long strips or cut into fun shapes using cookie cutters.

Tea Sandwich Filling Suggestions:
Sliced turkey or chicken with raspberry jelly
Cream cheese with nuts, whipped cream cheese mixed with diced celery and chopped walnuts
Tomato and cucumber, chopped fine and well drained on top of a thin layer of mayo
Ham and apricot preserves
Ham salad
Egg Salad
Liver Sausage with minced onion
Roasted vegetables

Be creative. There are no rules. Sandwiches can be served on a variety of breads. Try pumpernickel, soda bread, quick breads such as pumpkin or banana. Savory breads work very well with the meat fillings. The varieties are endless.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tea Cup Candles

Kate at Design Sponge has complete and clear instructions for making your tea cup a candle. http://www.designspongeonline.com/2008/11/diy-project-kates-teacup-candles.html

Nine Chic Holiday Accents from Felt

Count them - Nine quick and classy tabletop projects! Check out Midwest Livings 9 chic holiday accents made from felt. The instructions come complete with patterns. Do-it-yourself pillows, throws and more. Holiday decor designed by Mother Nature - no sewing required. http://www.midwestliving.com/mwl/

Lemon Curd

4 tablespoons lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 5 lemons)
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons butter
3 eggs, lightly beaten

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar. Bring just to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 5 minutes. Add butter and stir until it has melted.
Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Beat eggs into cooled lemon mixture until well blended. Return to heat and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, 10 to 15 minutes or until mixture thickens and coats spoon. Remove from heat. Store in refrigerator.
This sweet and tart spread is fabulous – like velvet. Serve it on scones (outstanding on blueberry scones), muffins and sweet or quick breads.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gatherings

There is nothing like a spontaneous gathering of two or three friends over a cup of herbal tea and some delicious cucumber sandwiches. But with the popularity of afternoon tea, many tea rooms and restaurants require reservations weeks in advance, making spontaneity difficult. If you can work it out, it is especially fun to have tea for a shopping trip break, nothing could be more relaxing. For my love of “tea”, I started to have it more with activities at home. With any gathering of friends, a girls night in, craft night or a family occasion such as a shower – do a tea.

Afternoon tea is traditionally enjoyed between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Although it is an Irish tradition of serving tea with milk and sugar, it is perfectly acceptable to also serve flavored tea, coffee, or iced tea. You can make your tea unique to you.

The crusts are cut off of soft bread slices to make small sandwiches of smoked salmon, cucumber and butter, or egg salad and watercress. Scones are served with butter, clotted cream and strawberry jam. The light meal is finished with sweet cakes, tarts, petit fours, and other pastries. One of the advantages of preparing a tea is that most of your prep can be done ahead of time so you can enjoy all of your time with your guests.

Next time you are planning, see how you can incorporate tea into your event. Your family and friends will love it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Name That Tea

Before sending invites think of a name for your tea. This will help you design the entire concept. You can find inspiration in many places. Look at a flower of the month list. Your tea could be “Forget Me Not” or if you are planning a knitting club gathering, name it “Forget Me Knot” along with a pretty picture of the flower. Name your tea along with the season or holidays or what is happening in that month. A Gratitude Tea in November or Christmas’ Remembered Tea. For a Birthday theme, name your tea for your guests of honor, using their name or their passion. An activity can also be part of your Tea – how about a “Bring a Tea” for your guests to share their favorites along with your delicious bites.

Even if your tea is not formal perhaps one that is served during a craft night you can make it as fancy or casual as you like. Casual or dressy - print a menu with the title of your tea, your guest of honor or your theme and place it on your Tea table.

Setting Up Your Tea

Afternoon tea should be served in the living room, on low chairs and sofas, with the food and place settings arranged on a tea (coffee) table.

Kitchen setup: Where you will stage things. Where water is boiled and food arranged. Have enough space set aside for the curate stand, tea pots, tea tins, and trays of savories and desserts.High Tea is served in the dining room in a tradition formal dinner manner.

Tea Table: A linen table cloth is a must for a formal tea. On top of the table cloth sits the Three-Tier Curate Stand (s) somewhere in the middle leaving enough room for the teapot(s) and place settings to be arranged around it. Fresh flowers add a nice touch. Don't forget your printed menu.

Place settings: Small plate in the middle with fork on the left, and knife and spoon on the right. Above the plate sits the tea spoon, and above this to the right is the teacup and saucer. Use a folded twelve inch linen napkin placed to the left of the setting. The napkin should be folded with the closed edge to the left and the open edge to the right.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Open-Faced Cucumber Sandwiches

1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
½ teaspoon of garlic salt
½ teaspoon of dill weed
1 teaspoon chopped chives
8 slices of white bread
1 seedless cucumber

Combine the cream cheese, garlic salt, chives and dill in a bowl. Mix well. Cover and chill 1 hour. Cut the cucumber into rounds. Set aside. Using a biscuit cutter or the top of a glass, cut the middle out of each slice of bread. Top each slice with some of the cream cheese mixture, then a slice of cucumber. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with additional dill and chopped chives.

Cinnamon Pecan Bundt Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1. c. sour cream
¼ c. vegetable oil
¾ c. hot water
1 pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix
1 tsp. vanilla

Pecan mixture:
½ c. sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
½ c. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 F. Blend all ingredients in mixer and mix well at high speed. Grease bundt pan well. Pour 1/3 of batter in pan, then ½ of the pecan mixture, then another 1/3 of the batter, remaining ½ of pecan mixture, ending with the remaining third of batter. Bake one hour. Let cool in pan 15 minutes before turning cake out. Freezes well. Serves 10-12

Honey Butter

1 pound Kerrygold Irish butter
1/4 cups honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Beat butter at low speed until softened. Add the honey, cinnamon, and vanilla and beat on medium until well combined, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove butter from bowl and spoon onto plastic wrap. Roll into a log or place in small mold and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Spread on warm scones, dessert breads or popovers.

Irish Ginger Snaps

1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream sugar, egg, salt and shortening together. Add flour, baking soda and spices. Mix well. Roll teaspoonfuls of dough into balls and roll the balls in sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 to 6 minutes.