Friday, December 21, 2012

On the Road Again

Today the Traveling Teapot and I are heading to south Florida, to spend the Holidays with my sisters and their families.

I have an adult, special needs niece, and Mindy has been wanting to try to live alone.  Her mother just remarried a month ago, and now lives only about 3 miles from their home, so the decision was made that Mindy could stay in the house until it is sold.  [I don't think she is capable of living alone permanently, but she's wanted to try.  She is very social, so I don't think she'll like living alone -- and so this is a good solution, she can discover that for herself, rather than us dictating to her].  And so I am to be her very first houseguest! 

My sister tells me that Mindy has a full agenda scheduled for me, and I am sure that it will include Tea!  Mindy works part-time for the Marriott Corporation, setting up the salad bar, plating desserts, etc.  When she visits me, she is my "sous Chef" for preparing Tea.  So I'm looking forward to surprising her with her first Tea in her new, independent home.

I expect the roads to be busy today, so prayers for safety are appreciated!  And for anyone else who is traveling, be careful!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Happy Birthday Celebration

Yesterday [December 18] the Traveling Teapot and I went to the Assisted Living Center, to celebrate the birthday of my dear friend, Mrs. Virginia Dean.  Mrs. Dean has just obtained the age of 97!!

We have been friends now for 22 years, sharing common interests in music, travel [especially to England, she is an anglophile] and, of course, Tea.  When I am traveling abroad, she receives a daily postcard, and when I return, she is the one most eager to hear all the adventures, look at all the photos, and asks questions for more details.

Our Tea/Birthday Party was a delightful surprise.  We enjoyed cucumber sandwiches and salmon sandwiches, scones [made from the recipe of "Two Fat Ladies"] with clotted cream and kumquat butter [made from the microwave lemon curd recipe of The Teawife, Kathy], and ended with trifle.  I had made the trifle especially because I knew that she had a sweet tooth and loved it.  Once, after hosting a tea, I had brought her a HUGE bowl of trifle along with other goodies; I figured it would last her at least 3 days. ... She called me that evening to say that she had devoured the whole thing, that she could not have stopped even if the devil had stood in front of her!  For tea, we drank English Breakfas Tea I had brought home from a Tea at Claridge's in London.

And so we had a delicious Tea and enjoyed swapping tales from visits in London over the years.  And Mrs. Dean sends greetings and thanks to you all. 

Speaking of "Two Fat Ladies" [Clarissa Dickson Wright and Jennifer Paterson], how I miss their cooking program!  Rarely did they prepare something which I thought I would do, but I always enjoyed their banter, and especially enjoyed the glimpses of the countryside, visits to the markets, etc.  And while I said that I rarely was interested in their recipes, one of their books had a super easy scone recipe:

Two Fat Ladies Scones:

1 2/3 cups self-rise flour
small pinch of salt
4 tablesppoons butter
2/3 cup milk, fresh or sour, or buttermilk

Mix the flour & salt in a large bowl.  Rub in the butter with your fingertips until it all resembles crumbs.  Mix in the ilk.  Form into a soft dough with a metal spatula.  Knead lightly on a floured board, then pa out into a round 3/4 inch thick.  Cut into 2-inch rounds with a cutter or little cup.

Place on a greased & floured baking sheet and brush with milk.  Bake in a preheaded oven at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, until well risen and brown.  Col on a rack, but eat when still warm, with lots of butter, clotted cream, and jam.

sweet scones:  add 1/4 c sugar to the dry ingredients.
fruit scones: add 1/3 c dried fruit and 2 tbl sugar
savory scones: add 3/4 c grated hard cheese and 1 tsp dry mustard, or 1/3 c inched olives, anchoives, or whatever you fancy.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Arrival in Florida

The Traveling Teapot arrived safely, bringing a note of cheer while I was under the weather.  Thanks for brightening my day!!

Its introduction to Florida was at my annual Cookie Exchange Party on Sunday.  A dozen ladies gathered, all bearing [bad pun!] assorted cookies.  We happily munched on cookies and sipped Candy Cane Tea [a black tea flavored with peppermint] from The Baron's Tea house in Crestview FL.

We already have 2 more events scheduled, and hope to have many more.  Details and photos to come soon!