Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tipsy Tea Party

Welcome to homemade Afternoon Tea. This is not the first tea service we have hosted, but while we're not professional, we like to think we've got the stuff to make you satisfied and rub your belly happy. You can make an Afternoon Tea set-up at home too! It can be a full Afternoon Tea, a smaller Cream Tea, or even High Tea! Angela hosted at the Tipsy Tea house and she also prepared most of the food. J.K. provided homemade bread for the sandwiches, as well as the adorable (and tasty) Dr. Who stamped shortbread cookies, plus earl grey flavored Madelines. Another guest brought two lovely traditional Eastern European holiday cakes to share as well.

Desserts- petit fours from Dianda's, cookies by JK, chocolate cheese by TJ's and cakes by Gabriela.
 This collaborative effort made hosting the tea party a cinch. We had a beginning course of Sweet Potato and Carrot soup with Candied Pecans for garnish. Pureed soups are easy to make and a great alternative to stews. Since we're into the bosom of winter now (happily SF Bay area dwellers are spared the snow and Zero degree weather) soup is a hearty meal that can carry you through the day. Angela enjoys cooking up whatever is in the veg drawer and if you use the stick blender at the end, it becomes a world class soup! If you want a textural contrast, maybe add meat or potatoes in the bottom of the dish plus some garnish on top (toasted nuts or croutons?) and, voila!, you have made lunch or dinner a meal to remember.

Pumpkin and sweet potato soup with candied pecan garnish.
  You can't host a tea without scones. This time we made scones from scratch, but you can also purchase bakery scones, or make some from a box mix. Just make sure you have your double devon cream, jams, and curd to be spread on top. We had both lemon and lime curd (purchased), as well as four kinds of jam. They included homemade blackberry, homemade strawberry, imported fancy pants grapefruit/gin flavor from Harrods and homemade pomegranate/plum. The homemade jams were collected from the Swap or gifts from talented friends with an abundance of fruit. We had two types of scones, triangle pastry type scones and biscuit scones. Angela used the Cheese and Apple scone recipe published by Craftsman and Wolves and while it was a bit labor intensive, it yielded an amazing amount of scones (everyone got to take some home too)! It was a bit of a trick to make it by hand (sans stand mixer), but the end product is well worth the effort! The great thing is that since the CAW tea menu is always changing you can score your favorites to make at home.

Thanks to CAW for sharing their recipe. We loved your afternoon tea too.
No, there can never be too many jams!
Double Devon Cream and Key Lime Curd, plus milk and sugar for tea.
 Angela also created four kinds of Sandwiches which included Salmon and herbed butter, cucumber/cream cheese with mint, roasted red pepper with crushed white beans, plus roast beef/cheddar with mustard.These were paired with a homemade red cabbage coleslaw. A no mayo coleslaw, for the non-mayonaise eating guests. I looked at several cookbooks before deciding to ad lib on this coleslaw. I was inspired by several things, such as adding the sunflower seeds for salty contrasts and green apple for the tart sweetness. It was delicious (if we do say so ourselves).

Four kinds of sandwiches and a little coleslaw.
Let this official meeting of the unofficial Coleslaw Meetup group commence!
Tea sandwiches with scones and fruit.
Biscuit scones, fruit, sandos.
For beverages we enjoyed a variety of teas which included Shanti from the Tao of Tea, an herbal berry blend from Aroma Tea Shop, and a flowering rose tea from the Imperial Tea Court. We enjoyed the teas to our personal preference, with milk, sugar, or straight. Why is this a Tipsy Tea? We were keeping warm with a mulled wine alongside our tea-filled cups. Tipsy Tea can include a special cocktail made with tea, or a tea-infused syrup that you can use to flavor sparkling wine. (If you're interested in learning more about Tipsy Tea, you can come to the 7th Annual SF Bay Area Chocolate Salon and check out the Tipsy Tea booth where there the Tipsy Tea Mavens will be selling Chocolate Teas, shaped sugar cubes, and tea infused syrups as well as tea accessories.)

We hope you're inspired to host your own Afternoon Tea party. Make it a potluck and nothing could be simpler. If you feel inspired to host(ess) then be prepared to bathe in the oooo's, ahhh's and yums that will come your way during the meal and thank you's that will come after it's complete.

The Feast is prepared!
Let us Eat.