Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Mad Writer’s Tea Party—Let’s Have Tea!

A traditional English Afternoon Tea is one of my favorite indulgences. If you’ve had the opportunity to enjoy this little luxury, you’ll know exactly what I mean. Just forget about counting calories and fretting over carbs!

A pot of tea is, of course, a requirement, and might be served in a china or a silver pot, with milk and sugar. Some restaurants also offer a glass of sherry or wine.

The food, typically served on a two-tiered cake stand, consist of small sandwiches (cucumber, egg, salmon or ham are all common), scones served with butter, jam or fruit preserves and Devonshire cream, an assortment of pastries, such as small chocolate cakes, lemon or butter tarts and shortbread, and an assortment of fresh fruit. The fruit may be served in a nappy or arranged on the tiered stand.

This is me, about to indulge. And no, I did not eat all that food. That was tea for two, I so only ate half of what you see!


One of today’s giveaways is a copy of If Teapots Could Talk by Muriel Moffat.


This delightful little book looks at the history and etiquette of Afternoon Tea, and includes a chapter on Afternoon Tea at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC, and some great recipes if you decide to make and serve your own tea.


Cucumber sandwiches are my favorite and, in my opinion, tea isn’t complete without them.

Cucumber Sandwiches

2 slices of white bread
English cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
butter
mayonnaise
salt and pepper, to taste

Lightly spread butter and mayonnaise on one side of each slice of bread. Place slices of cucumber on one slice of the bread, and season with salt and pepper. Top with the second slice of bread. Trim off the crusts and cut the sandwich into four triangles or four rectangles.

Optional: The chef at the Empress adds a dash of horseradish to the mayonnaise, but this is not traditional.
I’m giving away some great prizes today. To be eligible to win one, simply post a comment. Winners will be announced tomorrow on The Writer Side of Life.

Ready for more tea? Please follow these links to a chat about tea parties on The Writer Side of Life, and some interesting tidbits about exotic teas on the Wet Noodle Posse blog.

Lee

22 comments:

Jennifer Faye said...

I really enjoyed your string of blog posts about one of my joys in life, tea. Cute picture of you with all the delicious treats. I've never had high tea but it's on my list of things to do. *G* I wonder if it's hard to find a place that serves afternoon tea in the US. Hmm...

Thank you for sharing.

Gillian Layne said...

You know, if we all stopped the daily madness for an afternoon tea, I bet the need for blood pressure meds would plummet. What a gorgeous hotel!

Lee R. Duncan said...

Your photos look so absolutely scrumptious I'll have to make a tea date.

Lee McKenzie said...

Jennifer, I'm sure Google can you help you find some wonderful tea rooms near you. Good luck! It'll be worth the effort.

Lee McKenzie said...

Gillian, I totally agree. Afternoon tea is a great reminder that we sometimes need to slow down the pace. Although we probably shouldn't indulge in two tiers of goodies every day ;)

Lee McKenzie said...

Waving "hi" to another Lee! Enjoy your tea date!

Susan Lyons said...

Love the picture of high tea, Lee. I've had the pleasure of enjoying the abundant one at the Empress Hotel in Victoria. But my favorite ever is a place I doubt exists any longer. It was called Fernie Farm (somewhere near Victoria - maybe Saanich Peninsula or Metchosin?), and you ate in a garden. It was a very simple tea: a pot of tea, homemade scones, Devonshire cream, homemade strawberry jam. Absolutely delicious! (If you come across a great recipe for scones, do share.)

Lee McKenzie said...

Hi, Susan. I've never heard of Fernie Farm, but it sounds wonderful!

I've had tea at the Empress several times. Such a treat! While it's quite expensive, it's definitely the most elegant and elaborate Afternoon Tea I've ever had.

Ros said...

There's nothing quite like afternoon tea. I've been lucky enough to have it the Empress, and oh, what a delight that was! But like Susan said, simple afternoon tea with a plate of scones and jam can't be beat, particularly if held outdoors in a garden! And tea really does taste better in a china teacup.

As a real tea nut, I'm enjoying these blogs, Lee!

Ros

Lee McKenzie said...

Ros, I agree with you and Susan. Simpler is often better. And a lot more "heart smart"! Still, there's a lot to be said for the occasional overindulgence.

penney said...

I enjoyed reading your blog today and love cucumber sandwiches.
Thanks
Penney

Lee McKenzie said...

Thanks for joining my tea party, Penney! Glad you enjoyed the sandwiches.

Estella said...

I enjoy a cup of tea occassionally.
The food looks incredible!

Lee McKenzie said...

Enjoy, Estella! So glad you could join me.

Sara said...

I had the honor of having tea at the Empress - it forever changed me...and made me a tea drinker...

Lee McKenzie said...

Thanks for joining all the tea drinkers at my party, Sara!

Jane said...

Cookies and other treats go great with tea. I like sugar and cream with my tea.

cas2ajs said...

I've actually never tried cucumber sandwiches with my tea but they sound delicious. I think I'm going to have to give them a shot. Thanks for a wonderful post.

Cheryl S.

Lee McKenzie said...

LOL, Jane! I'm all about the cookies!

Lee McKenzie said...

Thanks, Cheryl. I hope you enjoy the cucumber sandwiches!

Anita Mae Draper said...

I really enjoyed your post. In the early 90's, I stood before the doors of The Empress Hotel and stared in through the glass windows. I wanted to go in for Tea so bad but wasn't dressed up to snuff (dress code was posted on the door).

Ah, but the stuff of dreams...

Lee McKenzie said...

Anita Mae, the Empress still has a dress code. Many people find their Afternoon Tea to be a bit pricey, but lots of places offer a very nice tea for much less. Still, there's nothing quite like the Empress...

I hope someday your dream comes true!