Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Red & Black Tea...

Dearest Friends!
Welcome to The Red & Black Tea, the very first Teeny Tea!  So much work and preparation has gone into this fun event and we couldn't be happier that you could join us here today!  We are all so grateful for the beautiful day!

As always, please click any of the pictures to see them larger.

First of all, please take a peek at the menu.  I had a lot of fun rubberstamping and adding red and black Stickles to it!  As some of you might remember, I taught the rubberstamping class when I worked at Paper Source in Georgetown and I still enjoy it.  Expect to see more rubberstamping for the next Teeny Tea, which will be The Pansy Tea, which is already being planned!

The day was a perfectly beautiful one.
Here are a few pictures of the table, set and ready
for the guests to arrive!

I made the table as well, from a cardboard box, brown and white paper and white glue.  I could have looked forever for a table this size and shape, so instead, I made one!  I must admit being quite inspired by the furniture design of the great Scottish architect/designer/artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

As I pointed out in an Instagram post a few weeks ago, curating is its own art form.  Gathering together vintage doll dishes and decorative items from things that had belonged to my mother, things I own and things I found from various sellers on Etsy was just another aspect of this tea.  You can expect to see this eclectic collection more in future teas.

Here's a close up of one of my favorite vintage pieces, a tiny vase I bought many years ago at an antique shop in Gray, Maine.

Another aspect of this project was making new dresses for Thursday and Hyacinthe!  As always, I sewed the dresses and accessories by hand, without patterns.  I used the gorgeous "Madame Rouge" fabric from French General and used bits of ribbon and vintage buttons from my collections. Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle also had a new dress for the occasion.

Here are they are together in their new dresses!

Now everyone is seated at the table, ready for the party to begin!

The girls have been very excited for this party!

As you may have seen in the last post,
Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and I have been so busy
making all the food for this lovely day!

Mr. Bear and his old friend Parsnip
can't wait to see what tea treats will be served!

Mr. Mookie and Teddy have asked to sit with
Baby Hoobert because they thought he might
need help eating.  What helpful family members
they are.

Of course, what is a party like this without music?
Dear Brownie McNutt entertains us on the toy
piano!  Plinka-plinka-PLINK!!
But do not worrry!
He will be having his tea and treats along
with everyone else in sips and bites between songs!

Who is this?
We do not know who this kittycat is,
but he invited himself to the party
and spent most of the day on the porch
with us.

Mr. V did a good job keeping him distracted,
as he was rolling all over my feet as I was
trying to photograph the party!

Now, which of our tea selections would you like?
This is the Black Forest Cupcake Tea, the hot tea
selection.  It's a delicious chocolate/cherry tea,
made with cocoa nibs and hibiscus for tartness!
It's scrumptious with just a bit of milk and some sugar.

I love to see the milk swirling in the cup!

This tea really is best with a bit of sugar to bring out
the cherry flavor.  We have some turbinado sugar here.

Or perhaps, like Mr. Bear, you would prefer our iced
tea selection, the Brambleberry, which is quite
perfect just as it is.  It's an herbal infusion of
hibiscus, cinnamon, peppermint, lemongrass,
rose hips and orange peel, with
marionberry and apple juices.  And, as you can see,
we prefer to drink our iced tea from a proper
tea cup!  It just tastes better that way!

Oh look!  Here comes Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle with
the serving cart and the first of the tea treats!

The first course!  The sandwiches!

The round sandwich is kalamata olive, blended into
neufchatel cheese, on pumpernickel-rye.
The other sandwich is goat cheese mousse with
heirloom grape tomato slices on Italian pane bread.

Here are the cheese scones!

Would you like butter with your scone?

Here we are, enjoying our savory treats!
Some of us are saving our appetites for the sweet
treats to follow!

You might not think that Thursday would be one to
have a sweet tooth, but she is!  She's having only a
scone, so she has room for dessert!
But the sandwiches do look delicious, don't they?

Some like Mr. Bear and Parsnip want to have a bit
of everything!  They are each having both kinds
of sandwich and are sharing a scone between them.

Time for checkerboard cookies!

A cookie for Teddy?  Yes, please!

Or perhaps you'd prefer a slice of jam tart?
We have made cherry and blackberry!

Thursday gets her wish and has both kinds of sweets:
a checkerboard cookie, as well as a piece of the
cherry jam tart!

Mr. Bear and Parsnip wanted both sweets too,
but they chose the blackberry jam tart.

Mr. Mookie, Baby Hoobert and Teddy are all having the cookies.

Mrs. Tiggy Winkle has a cup of iced Brambleberry Tea
and a checkerboard cookie!  She deserves it after having
worked so hard to help me prepare for the party.

And a cookie for Brownie, as he continues to
entertain us!
Plinka-plinka-PLINK PLINK!

Eggsy and his friends are having cookies too!

Now our first Teeny Tea is finished.

Thank you so much for joining us here today
for tea!

Please check back soon for the next Teeny Tea!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Making of a Teeny Tea...

Hello to you, Dear Friends of The Gossamer Tearoom!

Thank you so much for visiting with us here today!  Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle is very excited to share with you the makings of our very first Teeny Tea, The Red & Black Tea!

As much fun as it is to eat all of the lovely sandwiches, scones and sweets for afternoon tea, we think that cooking all of these things is just as much fun!

The first thing we do is get our cooking equipment organized.  Please notice the beautiful little cookie/biscuit cutter on the left!  It's a tiny vintage piece and it perfectly cuts little 1-inch circles of dough!

"Sifting the flour is very important," instructs Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle.

Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle demonstrates carefully stirring
the dry ingredients.  The use of a Betty Boop spoon
just makes it more fun!

I help Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle by cutting out the scones after 
briefly kneading the dough and patting it out on the
floured board.

Here are the scones, all ready to bake!

Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle dons the hedgehog-shaped
hot mitts I made for her, ready to remove the delicious
hot scones from the oven!

Almost done!

Perfectly golden-brown...

...and served with tiniest pat of butter!!

Also, here are a couple of yummy marble cookies!

Here are the recipes for both!

Tiny Cheese Scones
2 cups flour
1 1/2 Tbls. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp. milk

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Stir in cheese.  In a small bowl, whisk egg together with sour cream, olive oil and milk.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and put in the wet ingredients. Stir until just mixed.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Turn the dough onto a floured surface.  Knead the dough briefly (10 or 12 times), pat to 1/3 inch thickness.  Cut into 1-inch circles.  Place tiny scones onto greased baking sheet 1/2 inch apart and bake 12-15 minutes until golden (Since they are tiny, watch them carefully so they don't burn!)

Tiny Marble Cookies
3/4 cup softened butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
1 3/4 cup sifted flour
1/2 tsp. of baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt (I like cooking with salted butter,
but if you use unsalted butter, increase the
salt to 1/2 tsp.)
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate

(Note: I will instructing you to freeze the dough several times while constructing the cookies.  Because of the butter, it does soften quite quickly, making it difficult to handle.  The final freezing of the individual pieces is important if you want your final result to be square, otherwise they melt too fast in the oven and tend to spread more.  The process takes some patience, but they are worth it in the end result!)

Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.  Beat in egg.  Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Mix flour mixture into butter, sugar and egg.  Divide into two parts.  Set one part aside and mix the chocolate into the second part.  Refrigerate both parts for several hours or overnight.

When dough is very cold and hard, place between two pieces of waxed paper and roll each piece until it is 5/8 inch thick.  Wrap each piece in waxed paper and freeze for several hours or overnight.

Unwrap each piece.  Lightly wet your hands with water and moisten the surface of one of the pieces of dough.  Top with the other piece of dough and press together firmly.  Wrap up the dough and freeze it again for several hours or overnight.

Unwrap the dough and using a large, sharp knife, dipped into hot water and then dried, cut the dough into slices which are 5/8 inch thick.  Starting with one slice of the dough, lightly pat water along one of the cut sides.  Take another of the dough slices and flip it so that when you press it into the first piece, the chocolate square is next to the vanilla square and vice versa, so that when you look at the end of the dough stick, it looks like a checkerboard pattern.  Wrap the dough and freeze it again.

Cut each stick into 1/4 inch slices.  Place the slices on a tray that you can put into the freezer one last time.   When hardened, remove the cookies from the freezer, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, place the cookies on un-greased cookie sheets and bake for 8-9 minutes until golden. (Since they are tiny, watch carefully so they don't burn!)

I adapted the scone recipe from one given to me by a friend.  I adapted the cookie recipe from one that I was taught in 8th Grade cooking class.  I copied it out from the blackboard onto a piece of Mickey Mouse notebook paper.  Look!  Here's the Mickey on the bottom of the page!

Please keep watch for our next blog post,
The Red & Black Tea,
the first Teeny Tea, in the porch garden!