How to Host a Victorian Tea Party

Sandwiches, Scones, and Tea, Oh My!

My first high tea experience was at Harrods in London back in early 2011. If you know anything about Harrods, you will know that this set my expectations quite high! Last week I decided to have my own Victorian tea party, and I wanted to share some pictures and tips in the hopes that it would give you some ideas if you would like to host one as well.

Enjoy!

1. The Decor

Your table must be visually appealing. I decided to accomplish this with freshly cut flowers from my backyard.

The Place Setting

Roses From My Garden

Try Adding a Bow to Your Vase!

2. The Scone

As you probably know, the scone is an essential part of English tea. The ones you see below are delicious cranberry-orange scones, and the recipe can be found at food.com.

Cranberry-Orange Scones and Raspberry Jam

3. The Sandwiches

Tea sandwiches can be your chance to experiment with culinary creativity and mix interesting flavors! Below are the four tea sandwiches I served my guests.

Salmon and Cream Cheese Sandwiches (Sprinked with Dried Dill)

Chicken Salad with Cranberries & Walnuts

Sliced Pear and Brie Cheese Sandwiches

Dried Fig and Honeyed Goat Cheese Sandwiches

Colorful labels for your sandwiches are helpful for your guests, and red or pink rose petals make the overall food presentation more lively!

Mmmm!

4. The Dessert

This portion can vary based on your preferences which can depend on your time constraints, baking skills, etc.

Clockwise: Walnut Pastries, Coconut Cookies, French Truffles, Yogurt Pretzels, French Macarons; Center: Walnut Tart

5. The Tea

Ah yes, good tea is integral to any Victorian afternoon tea. After all, with the tea is where it all began! It is a good idea to be well-rounded with your teas and have one black tea, a green tea, and an herbal tea:

Cup of Earl Grey

My Cute Owl Teapot Filled With Orange Blossom Herbal Tea!

Blooming Flower Tea (Green Tea)

So next time you’re wondering what to do over the weekend, throw a fancy tea party! Your friends will rave over the delightful afternoon you prepared for them. I hope you enjoyed the pictures and thanks for reading 🙂

Advertisements

Saladini Pilastri Rosso Piceno 2008

Classy and Flavorful!

I was looking for a nice Italian wine when I came across the Saladini Pilastri Rosso Piceno 2008 from Marche, Italy. You might look at the long exotic-sounding name and think “Wow this must be a fancy schmancy expensive wine”. Except it wasn’t. For $8.99 this wine is a steal!

Rosso Piceno is a red wine blend made from 70% Sangiovese and 30% Montepulciano, both which are the two most harvested native grape varieties in Italy. This particular one also happens to be made from organically grown grapes!

So when I first opened this bottle of wine and tasted it, I was underwhelmed by the flatness and lack of flavor. However when I let the wine breathe (by pouring it through a nice Vinturi aerator my mother bought for me), the flavors seem to come alive and I was able to taste things that were masked before! The change was pretty astonishing and I was pleasantly surprised what a difference aerating makes on this one.

The wine starts out quite dry, and as mentioned before, letting it breathe is extremely crucial! Post-aeration this Rosso Piceno blossomed into a fruity, lively, and very enjoyable red. The flavor is fresh and bursts with personality, and it leaves a nice, light aftertaste after it has left your mouth. The lightness combined with the mesmerizing flavors really make it an experience that is flirtatious and pleasing to the senses.

I enjoyed a glass of this wine with some Pepperidge Farm jam cookies which proved to be a pairing that is truly divine. Yum!

A Match Made in Heaven!

What the Heck is a MOFONGO??

Mofongo de Camarone

Mofongo de Camarones YUMYUMYUM!!!

Mofongo. What a funny word! However there is nothing funny about how delicious that thing up there can be. This is the story of how I discovered scrumdiddlyumptiousness called Puerto Rican cuisine.

The story is actually quite simple. I wanted to take one of my dear friends out to dinner. I found a Groupon for a restaurant in North Hollywood called “Mofongos” with stellar Yelp reviews. We went to eat and I was blown away.

So here is the answer you’ve been waiting for: A Mofongo is basically a fried, mashed plaintain bowl that can be filled with beef, chicken, or shrimp and poured with a stewed sauce. The one that I ate was made with DELICIOUS spices, mashed plaintains, and was filled with lots of JUICY shrimp and olives. The plaintain also had pieces of crunchy pork rinds which made it even more nomlicious and the plaintain just soaked up all the broth to make a surprisingly delicious (probably unhealthy but besides the point) and unforgettable dinner.

We were pretty stuffed but just had to try the Tres Leches. This dessert is a cake that is soaked in tres leches (or three milks): evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream. The cake was surprisingly light and not too sweet. There were moist cake pieces between layers of fluffy whip cream which made it slightly reminiscent of tiramisu. A delectable way to end our lovely dinner!

Tres Leches SO GOOD!!

Later that night I started craving Mofongos. All I could think about was eating delicious Mofongos. Could it be the beginning of a Mofongo obsession (Mofession? Obfongo?)??

I will DEFINITELY be back.

 
Mofongos Comida Caribena
5757 Lankershim Blvd North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 754-1051
Be sure to make reservations!

Smoked Salmon and Brie Cheese Bites

A Match Made in Heaven

Do you love salmon? Do you love Brie? Then this appetizer is for you!

I decided to go fancy tonight in honor of Valentines Day (sometimes affectionately referred to as “Singles Awareness Day”), and made this delicious treat! It is actually very simple to make, and the salmon and brie complement each other wonderfully.

You will need 4 ingredients:

– Smoked Salmon

– Brie Cheese

– A Baguette

– Fresh Parsley to garnish

Your Ingredients

First take your baguette (I bought the seeded baguette from Trader Joe’s) and cut it into thin slices. Then toast them gently in your toaster until they are crisp. Then take your block of brie (my personal favorite is the “Supreme” from France which you can also find at Trader Joe’s) and slice it into approximate 1cm slices so that they are rectangular and fit right on your baguette slices. Slice the smoked salmon so that it is about 1 inch wide.

Take a slice of baguette and place a piece of brie on it. Then wrap the pieces of salmon, so that it slightly resembles a curled ribbon and artistically place on top of the brie. Add a sprig of parsley for garnish.

Voila! You now have a fancy appetizer.

The Finished Product

Mmmmm!

Enjoy!

Nectar of the Gods: Stella Rosa Orange Moscato

Sweet, Bubbly, and Amazing!

I am not usually a fan of sweet alcoholic drinks, but the Stella Rosa Orange Moscato has earned a special place in my heart.

A few weeks ago I visited the San Antonio Winery, located in the heart of Los Angeles, with a couple of friends. We went on the tour and afterwards they gave us free wine tastings! Usually they only give samples of 3 wines from a select menu, but the nice man who was helping us out gave us several additional samples which were off the menu, one of which was the Stella Rosa Orange Moscato.

This fruity, sparkling wine is a product of Italy and is made from Muscat grapes, which are harvested around the world and known for having a sweet, floral aroma. The alcohol content is a very low 6%, which explains why I can barely taste the alcohol and only deliciousness! One unique characteristic is the slightly thicker consistency which vaguely reminded me of honey. The combination of the light carbonation and the fruity, orange flavors make for a wonderful celebration drink.

Today my family and I were celebrating my sister’s visit from college, and the Stella Rosa Orange Moscato was the perfect choice for a festive evening! We also enjoyed the sparkling wine with some Sprinkles cupcakes, which were a truly delightful, drool-worthy combo.

Strawberry, Salted Carmel, and Red Velvet Cupcakes from Sprinkles!

So next time you have a special occasion to celebrate, you might want to pick up a few of these bottles. They are around $15 each, which is very reasonable for what you’re getting. If you aren’t near the San Antonio Winery you can check out your nearest location at stellarosawines.com. Enjoy!

Mud House Swan 2008 Pinot Noir

You would be crazy to walk away from this one

I was told by a fellow blogger that the Pinot Noir from Central Otago, New Zealand is amazing and I immediately started searching to see if I could get my hands on a bottle.

I finally found one that sounded interesting on the K&L wine merchants website. It wasn’t exactly the description of the wine or the pretty label that won me over either. One reviewer (Melissa Smith) commented, “Everything is in harmony with this wine. Except the price, buy this one by the case before they realize it tastes like a Pinot several times this amount. ”

Whoa.

That quote was all I needed. I ran to the closest K&L wine merchants, which happened to be their Hollywood store, because the website indicated that there were only a few bottles left at this location. As I ran in I breathlessly asked,

“DoyoustillhavetheMudHouse2008CentralOtagopinotnoir???”

I must have looked like a crazy person. Or a dedicated wine snob (awesome!). Thankfully they still had some in stock.

As I sighed a big sigh of relief I picked up a few and joyfully bounded over to the cashier to pay a very modest $10.99 apiece.

So to the important part: If I had to sum up the taste in one word, I would say elegant, because of the very clean taste. However that is DEFINITELY not to be confused with bland! This Pinot Noir is very unique, and you can taste the fruit but it isn’t exactly “fruity”. It is almost a tiny bit salty but leaves your tongue before your brain can really process all the wonderful flavors that are swimming around on your palate. It will leave you wanting more and even after many sips I was left puzzled, yet very intrigued.

So my conclusion is, I can’t describe this wonderfully complex flavor in its full glory. You will just have to buy it and see for yourself. Here is the link if you are wise enough to grab it before they run out: http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1083815

Gimme Sum Of That! Adventures in Dim Sum

As an indecisive person, I sometimes look at a menu and wish I could order a little bit of everything. Although I usually do not have the luxury of ordering everything I would like, Dim Sum allows me to do just that!

For those of you unfamiliar with Dim Sum, it is Chinese cuisine that comes in small, appetizer-sized portions, and the food is pushed around and served in carts. I do not speak Chinese, but fortunately pointing and nodding vigorously are enough to get some nommies on the table.

Today I had the opportunity to eat at the  New Capital Seafood Restaurant in San Gabriel. At $1.80 a plate, it was an amazing deal! If you aren’t convinced yet, hopefully these pictures of my lunch will put your salivary glands to work:

Dim Sum Cart

Jasmine Tea

Chinese Broccoli in Soy Sauce

Fried Wontons

Pork and Shrimp Shu Mai

Shrimp Har Gow

Yummy!

Like what you see? Here is the contact information so you can try it too!

New Capital Seafood Restaurant
140 W Valley Blvd
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 288-1899
 

Do it. You know you want to.