Post-holiday tea

The Victorian Tea Society held their first tea of 2013.  With the busy winter holidays behind us, Lady J. hosted a post-holiday tea for the ladies to start off the new year!

Background note: Lady J. is the reason I so enjoy afternoon tea!  I attended my first afternoon tea about 6 years ago at Lady J.’s home.  My senses were completely bombarded by the sights, smells, tastes, and feelings of peace and relaxation.  I was delighted by the dainty china, cute foods, little details (oh, so many details!  I love details!), good tea, and of course, HATS!  I didn’t realize it at the time but I believe the reason I love afternoon tea so much is because it combines so many of my favorite things: food, details, friends, hats, and tea (not necessarily in that order).  To this day, the first tea I attended at Lady J.’s house is still the standard to beat.

Lady J. is also known as the “Lavender Tea Lady” and you will see why!  🙂  I was greeted by this lovely tree upon entering Lady J.’s house.

One of Lady J's many festive Christmas trees

One of Lady J.’s many festive Christmas trees

Lady J. has a beautiful house with many tea related artifacts including this framed print:

DSC01359 (Small)I was so thrilled to see this because I am a huge fan of Susan Branch.  She’s one of my favorite artists and has been my inspiration for journalling, blogging (before blogs existed!), and calligraphy.  I collected all her cookbooks up until 1999, after which her artwork got translated into products such as calendars, stationery, stickers, ceramics, household decor, etc. and I could no longer keep up my collection.  Seeing this print was like reconnecting with an old friend … 😉

Are these the cutest soup bowls or what?

Are these the cutest soup bowls or what?

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Pretty purple table

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Close-up of the lovely decorations on the dining room lights above us

Mad Hatter tea from the White Heather Tea Room in Victoria, BC. Look at the cute teacup shaped butter pat next to the tea!)

We enjoyed Mad Hatter and Winterberry raspberry champagne teas from the White Heather Tea Room in Victoria, BC (check out the cute teacup-shaped butter pat next to the tea!).

Lady J's sweet potato soup

Lady J.’s sweet potato soup

Sweet Potato Soup
(From Making It Your Own Afternoon to Remember, by Amy Lawrence)

2-3 cloves of garlic
½ onion, chopped
¼ c. butter
¼ c. flour
3 c. chicken broth
2 c. milk
½ c. whipping cream
5-8 sweet potatoes (depending on size)
¼ c. green onions, finely chopped for garnish
1-2 tsp. curry powder

Wash the sweet potatoes.  Cut off the ends and poke holes in each with a knife. Microwave for 20 minutes or until soft.

Sauté garlic, onion and butter until golden about 25 minutes.  Add flour.  Cook another 2 minutes.  Add chicken broth, milk and cream and stir until smooth.  Peel sweet potatoes and add to broth mixture.  Puree mixture with an immersion blender or food processor.  Add 1-2 t. curry powder, depending on your taste.  Heat soup until warmed but do not boil as it will curdle.

Garnish with the green onion.  Enjoy!

Lady B's mesclun salad with dijon vinaigrette (with a touch of maple syrup)

Lady B.’s green salad with Dijon vinaigrette (with a touch of maple syrup)

Fruit course

Fruit course

Henni's Spinach, artichoke, and Parmesan mushroom caps (very had to photograph appetizing)

Henni’s Spinach, artichoke, and Parmesan mushroom caps (trust me, they taste better than they look!)

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Lady MH’s chicken salad croissant sandwiches, Lady J.’s open face cucumber sandwiches, and Lady T.’s smoked salmon sandwiches in the background (smoked salmon, lettuce, dill cream cheese, on rye bread)

Lady T's dragonfly shaped cranberry orange scones (dragonflies are good luck for the new year!)

Lady T.’s dragonfly-shaped cranberry orange scones (dragonflies are good luck for the new year!)

Lady J's pavlova (fresh fruit pie on a meringue crust)

Lady J.’s pavlova (fresh fruit pie with passionfruit jelly on a meringue crust)

It was as light as Pavlova!

Yes, “it was as light as Pavlova!”

Lady P.'s shortbread cookie tea favors

Lady P.’s pretty shortbread cookie tea favors

And last but not least, I can’t end this post without some tea fashion!

What’s not to love about Lady B’s fascinator?!  Very 1920s!

Thank you Lady J. for another wonderful tea!

“What is the most wonderful thing for people like myself who follow the Way of Tea? My answer: the oneness of host and guest created through ‘meeting heart to heart’ and sharing a bowl of tea…you feel one with nature, and there is peace… ”

–Soshitsu Sen XV (Japanese teamaster), Tea Life, Tea Mind

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