Witches Tea

It’s my favorite time of the year again, Halloween!  Hosting the annual Witches Tea is one of my little joys!
2015 witches tea invitation

New tablecloth!

New tablecloth!  Like the candy corn teeth? 😉

Place setting

Place setting

Witchy details

Witchy details

Napkins

Printed and themed paper napkins are a great way to dress up glass plates.  I own a set of clear glass plates and teacups so I can have this flexibility when decorating.

napkins

Themed napkins for dressing up the table and glass teacups

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Witches' brew (matcha latte)

Witches’ brew (matcha latte)

Witches’ brew (matcha latte)

1/2-1 tsp. matcha powder (I use Royal Matcha)
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. almond milk
1 tsp. agave (or sugar)

Heat water to 180 degrees.  Add matcha powder and agave to a cup.  Pour 1/2 c. of water into the cup and whisk the tea until bubbly.  Warm up the milk (optional: use a milk frother to make foamy).  Pour milk over the top of the matcha tea.  Dust the top with more matcha powder if desired.

Halloween elixer (pumpkin chai latte)

Halloween elixer (pumpkin chai latte)

Halloween elixer (pumpkin chai latte)
(yield: four 6 oz. cups)

1 cup of strong brewed chai tea (from tea bag or from scratch)
1/2 cup milk or non-dairy milk
2 Tbsp. pumpkin chai latte mix (recipe below)

Add 2 Tbsp. of pumpkin chai latte mix to the tea.  Mix until smooth using a whisk or hand blender.  Fill a cup 3/4 with tea.  Warm the milk (optional: use a milk frother to make foamy) and pour enough milk over the tea to fill the rest of the cup.  I usually use a 3:1 ratio of tea to milk but you can use 1/2 tea, 1/2 milk.  Serve hot and enjoy!

Pumpkin chai latte mix

1 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup light brown sugar (or more to taste)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Mix ingredients together.  Use right away or keep in fridge for up to a week.  Use as needed.

Sweet potato shepherd's pie

Sweet potato shepherd’s pie by Witch Broomhilda

Purple monster eater

Purple monster eater (open faced eggplant tartine sandwitch by Witch Agate)

Dragon's eggs

Dragon’s eggs by Witch Henni

Rat tails and lizard cheeks sandwitches (see the rat tails?) :)

Rat tails and lizard cheeks sandwitches (see the radish rat tails?) 🙂 by Witch Henni

Golden enchanted pudding

Golden enchanted pudding by Witch Henni

Squeamish scones

Squeamish scones

Pumpkin guts

Pumpkin guts cupcakes by Witch Hazel

Tea party favors

Spooky tea party favors

We concluded the Witches Tea by drawing some cards from (what else? :)) the Halloween oracle!  The cards held us in thrall, revealing uncanny truths, keeping us mesmerized to the very end.

The witches outdid themselves this year.  The food was wickedly delicious and the afternoon spellbinding.  Thank you, ghoul friends! 🙂

 “As spirits roam the neighborhoods at night,
Let loose upon the Earth till it be light…”

–Nicholas Gordon

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The Witches’ Tea 2014

It’s THAT time of the year again, when the witches, spirits, and vampire rule the nights.  It’s also time once again for my witches, Witch Agate, Witch Broomhilda, and Witch Hazel, to gather for our annual ritual, The Witches’ Tea!

It wouldn't be a Witches' Tea without a proper Witches' candle!

It wouldn’t be a Witches’ Tea without a proper Witches’ candle!

DSC040272 DSC040334

BLT salad with bleu cheese dressing

BLT salad with bleu cheese dressing

Roast beef with horseradish cream, smoked salmon and cream cheese, hummus and cucumber, and Nutella and biscoff sandwiches

Roast beef with horseradish cream, smoked salmon with dill cream cheese, hummus and cucumber, and Nutella and Biscoff sandwiches

Mocha pyramid, raspberry cheesecake, chocolate moussecake

Mocha pyramid, raspberry cheesecake, chocolate mousse cake

Assorted French macarons, petit fours, brownie triangles, and lemon squares with clotted cream

Assorted French macarons, petit fours, brownie triangles, and lemon squares with clotted cream

Witches Tea favors, ripe with magick herbs and spices

Witches Tea favors, ripe with magick herbs and spices

DSC03998 (Small)Masala chai
(adapted from Anupy Singla’s Vegan Indian Cooking)

1 3 in. cinnamon stick
4 green cardamom pods
1 black cardamom pod
1 star anise (or 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds)
1 (1 inch) slice of fresh ginger
2-4 whole cloves
2 black tea bags or 2 tsp. loose leaf black tea
1/2 cup milk or non-dairy milk (optional)
1 tsp. sugar, or sugar to taste (optional)

Using a mortar and pestle, lightly pound the spices until scents are released.  Add the spices to 4 cups of water in a saucepan. Boil water until it turns light to medium brown. Add 2 black tea bags and simmer for 2 minutes until dark brown. Discard tea bags. Add ½ cup milk and 1 tsp. sugar, or sugar to taste. Strain tea before serving. Enjoy!

DSC04008 (Small)Masala chai powder
(adapted from Anupy Singla’s Vegan Indian Cooking)

2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground cardamom
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 black cardamom pod
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/4 tsp. ground fennel

Ground the black cardamom pod in a spice grinder.  Mix spices together.  Keep in airtight container for 6 months.  To make chai, add 1 tsp. of the masala mixture to boiling water.  Add 2 black tea bags or 2 tsp. loose leaf black tea, 1/2 cup milk or non-dairy milk and 1 tsp. sugar, or sugar to taste (optional).  Enjoy!

Last but not least, the best part of the Witches’ Tea … Witches tea fashion!  Fantastic fascinators!

Spiders and sparklies, oh my!

Spiders and sparklies, oh my!

Halloween elegance at its finest!

Halloween elegance at its finest!

Everyone has a few bats in the belfrey!

Everyone has a few bats in the belfrey!

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Black rose with black feathers and white pearls, yes please!

Happy Halloween!  Happy Samhain!

“When witches go riding,
and black cats are seen,
the moon laughs and whispers,
‘tis near Halloween.”

— Author unknown

Disclaimer: Tastes Like Tea is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Culinary magick

NOTE: Autumn cannot come soon enough for me!  So I am posting this Witches’ Tea from 2013.  Apologies for the old posts as I am still catching up and repopulating this blog.


It’s been quiet on my blog. I’ve been sick since the beginning of October and can’t seem to shake it.  I’ve had chronic nausea and though it’s getting better, I’m still not myself.  Since food plays a center role in almost all my daily activities, this illness has been especially challenging for me.  I got to a point where I could not stand the sight, smell, taste, or thought of food or eating.  I couldn’t watch any food related shows or read any of my magazines, which are all food-related!  I started to feel robbed of even the simplest joys in life such as being hungry, sipping a cup of hot tea, enjoying the smell of baked bread, or taking in the aroma of garlic sauteing in olive oil.  Imagine what my days were like … not being able to cook, bake, eat, or even talk or write about food!  What’s left to do in a day?  I’ve lost 20 lbs. and have not been able to eat enough to exercise.  It’s been a difficult journey as I struggle to find joy in Life again.  My perspective on food and eating has been challenged as I have been forced from living to eat to eating to live.  What once held pleasure for me has now become a source of anxiety.

A counselor recently asked me, “When are you most at peace?”  I thought, what a great question!  It certainly deserved an enlightening, insightful answer but at the time, I drew a complete blank.  I promised to mull it over.  I later told D. about the question (over dinner) and he answered immediately, “Oh, that’s easy!  YOU are most at peace when … you’re eating!”  🙂  Whaaat?  A lightbulb went off in my head!  He was right of course.  I can’t believe how simple the answer was all along.  In fact, it was so simple that I cannot believe how I missed it, especially since my entire being has been topsy-turvy ever since I got hit with this nausea.  Sometimes the simplest things in life ARE the most important ones. 😉

I thought it was high time for some good collective magick to heal myself and try to enjoy Life food again.  I missed my favorite holiday and decided to make up for it by hosting a Witches’ Tea in November!  I invited my friends Witch Agate, Broomhilda, and Witch Hazel who brought their culinary magick and potent friendship energy to help me with my healing spell:

Mother Earth, Fire, Wind,
Water, and Spirit,
I ask thee to cleanse my body
of all negative energies.

Blessed be.

You are hereby summoned to …

Witches' Table

Witches’ Table

Guardian of the Witches' Table

Guardian of the Witches’ Table

Witches' favors

Witch Henni’s magick gift to her witches

Witches' favors--gifts from nature

Witch Agate’s magick–scented gifts from nature

More Witches' favors -- portable meditation candle

Broomhilda’s magick — gift of portable meditation candles

"If you've got it, haunt it!"

“If you’ve got it, haunt it!”

Witches' Tea menu

Witches’ Tea menu (click to enlarge)

Toadstools and vittles soup capped in a puff pastry

Witch Henni’s Toadstools and vittles soup capped in a puff pastry

Toadstools and vittles soup

6 cups water*
1 tsp. veggie bullion*
1 1/2 cups diced potatoes (any variety)
2 cups mixed mushrooms, diced (I used shitake, crimini, trumpet, oysters)
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1/2 c. frozen peas
1 1/4 cups chopped leeks or scallions
6 oz. grilled or baked tofu, small dice (optional)
4 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Italian Herb blend
1 bay leaf

1 sheet of puff pastry (optional)

*or use 6 c. veggie broth

Saute mushrooms, onions, and leeks until soft.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant.  Add all other ingredients and cook until potatoes and carrots are tender.  Enjoy!  If capping with puff pastry, cool soup to room temperature or chill before capping with puff pastry.  Fill ovenproof bowls or ramekins 3/4 with soup.  Cut out circles of puff pastry to fit your bowls/ramekins.  Seal dough by pressing edges with a fork.  Brush the tops of the pastry with a beaten egg (optional).  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes until tops are golden brown.  Serve immediately or keep in warming oven until time to serve.

Witch Agate's Purple People Eater (Eggplant Parmesan Sandwitch)

Witch Agate’s Purple People Eater (Eggplant Parmesan Sandwitch)–Lions and tigers and bears!  Oh my!  Witch Agate makes the best Eggplant Parmesan of anyone or restaurant I know–hands down!

Tea caddy

Tea caddy

Witch Hazel's Mystical Chicken salad (hibachi grilled chicken salad with celery and apples on a mini croissant)

Witch Hazel’s Mystical Chicken salad (hibachi grilled chicken salad with celery and apples on a mini croissant)

Squeamish scones with matcha green tea Devonshire cream, lemon-ginger curd, and lingonberry preserves

Squeamish scones with matcha green tea Devonshire cream, lemon-ginger curd, and lingonberry preserves

I’ve never been a big fan of any type of cream (though I’ve been known to crave a creamy pasta occasionally!) but I know it’s a big deal to have it with scones for afternoon tea.  So I’m always looking for ways to make it different and make it healthier.  My next experiment is to try making it with coconut  milk.

Henni’s matcha green tea (mock) Devonshire cream
(serves 4)

1/4 c. whipping cream
1/2 tsp. matcha powder
2 Tbsp. nonfat Greek yogurt
1 drop almond extract
1 Tbsp. confectioner’s sugar (add more to taste if you prefer it sweeter)

Whip the cream, extract, sugar, and matcha powder until stiff peaks form.  Fold in yogurt until blended.  Serve immediately or refrigerate up to one week.

Henni’s vegan lemon-ginger curd
(serves 4)

1/2 c. water or non-dairy milk*
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. ginger powder
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 drop yellow food coloring (optional)

*non-vegan version: may use 1/2 c. water + 1 Tbsp. buttermilk powder

Whisk ingredients until smooth.  Microwave for 1 minute until bubbly and thick.  Reheat in 10 second increments if not bubbly and thick.  Chill the curd.  Before serving, use a whisk or hand blender to whip and make creamy.

Haunted Forest Fruits (raspberries, kiwi, pomegranate seeds, and spearmint)

Haunted Forest Fruits (raspberries, kiwi, pomegranate seeds, and spearmint)

Beetle burgers (assorted French macarons)

Beetle burgers (assorted French macarons)

Witch Broomhilda's Curse of Lady Grey (Earl Grey and lavender cheesecake)

Witch Broomhilda’s dessert, Curse of Lady Grey (Earl Grey and lavender cheesecake)–love the cute skull cupcake holders!

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Happy witches–An enchanting time was enjoyed by all!

Gift of sunshine

Witch Hazel’s magick–gift of sunshine

Samhain Greetings and Happy new year!

sipback

The Witches’ Tea

You are hereby summoned to …

I summoned thee from far and wide
These witches gathered by my side

Table centerpiece by Lady Henni: Ceramic Japanese house lantern with an arrangement of tree branches and flying bats

To celebrate All Hallows Eve
And settle debts for less to grieve

Witches’ brooms parked outside of Henni’s dungeon

A piece of silver was required
For cards of fate to be inspired

Luminaries lighting the way to Lady Henni’s Reading Room where fortunes were told

The table was set with broomstick place cards, protection spells, and ribbon bats holding the menus together

The twisting wire wrapped around
The order for where you’re bound
For who could know if you’d be
The sacrifice at this tea!

The cauldron boiled, bubbled, and spat
Dragon’s blood fired in hellish wrath

Lady Henni’s Dragon’s blood cocktail (chilled roasted tomato soup with a provolone and prosciutto grilled cheese sandwitch with caramelized onions and Dijon mustard on sourdough) [Photo by Lady J.]

Fungus and mold hide in the dark

Lady J.’s Magick mushrooms (Insalata Caprese with cherry tomato, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil in a balsamic vinaigrette) [Photo by Lady J.]

Vittles puffed betray the spark
Of hot, then cold earthy sway
As spiced flesh burns to the core
Sweetened scents come to the fore

Lady Henni’s Toadstools and vittles pot pie (baby bellas, shiitake, peas, carrots, potatoes, celery and onions in a mushroom demi-glace topped with a puff pastry) [Photo by Lady ML and Lady Henni]

Henni’s Toadstools and vittles pot pie
(Adapted from Everyday Food, October 2012)

3 dried shiitake (soaked and diced, discard stems)
1 c. chopped fresh mushrooms (your choice)
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 potato, diced
1/4 c. peas (frozen okay)
1/4 c. diced carrots (frozen okay)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
5 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 c. vegetable or mushroom stock (I used a mushroom demi-glace)
pinch of ground black pepper
salt to taste
frozen puff pastry sheets or pie dough

Saute the celery, onion, carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms until onion is tender.  Add flour and stir to coat mixture.  Add the stock and thyme and cook until thickened.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Put filling in a casserole dish or portion into 4 oz. ramekins.  Cut out a piece of puff pastry the size of your dish and press the edges lightly to seal the dish.  Cut a slit in the top of the puff pastry so that air can be released during baking.  Brush the tops of the puff pastry with a beaten egg or Egg Beaters.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until puff pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly.

Yield: 8 small 4 oz. pot pies

Lady ML’s Secrets of Nimh (open faced radish and cucumber sandwitch with sprouts and cream cheese on Renaissance whole grain bread … see the rats’ tails?  ;))

Mystical chicken salad (curried chicken salad with toasted almonds and scallions on a mini croissant–my friend T’s recipe!)

Lady MH’s cauldron full of Lady T’s Squeamish pumpkin scones

Lady B’s Lemon curd

1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
1 T. lemon zest
1/4-1/2 c. sugar, divided
3 eggs
6 T. butter, cut into cubes

In heavy saucepan, mix together lemon juice, zest, and half of sugar.  Bring to  a boil.  In medium bowl, whisk together eggs and remaining sugar.  When lemon juice mixture reaches a boil, pour half of juice into egg mixture and whisking constantly.  Pour egg mixture back into saucepan and return to moderate heat.  Stir constantly until mixture thickens (curd will hold marks on the whisk).  Remove from heat and stir in butter until smooth.  Transfer to bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Chill over night.

Lady T.’s Teapot-shaped squeamish pumpkin scone with Lady B.’s homemade lemon curd, pumpkin butter, mock Devonshire cream, and huckleberry jam from Montana

     Lady B.’s Mock Devonshire cream

1 c. heavy whipping cream
1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar
1 1/2 tsp. white vanilla extract
1 c. non-fat plain Greek yogurt

Beat whipping cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff.  Fold sour cream into mixture and refrigerate.

Lady MH’s Haunted Forest fruit (wild berries specially foraged from Transylvanian forests)

Nectars soft and sickly sweet
‘Ware the devil you shall meet!
And weathered you through it all
Supping teas with change of Fall

Lady L.’s Banshee barmbrack Scottish honey and orange tea loaf with butter and Lady Henni’s shortbread fingers

Lady Henni’s Death by chocolate (coconut milk infused chocolate truffles with chai spices (left) and green tea (right) [Photo by Lady J.]

Witches’ tea favors: Paper cuts (jam filled shortbread fingers) by Lady Henni

Now it’s time for the witches’ fashion show …

Pentacle amulet

Dragon’s claw with onyx stone

Lady MH and Lady ML in their elegant hats

Lady T.’s creepy witch hat

Lady B.’s vintage Victorian boots with hidden Halloween socks

Lady MH’s bad witch stockings and Mary Janes

Happy Halloween!

Disclaimer: The Victorian Tea Society’s Witches’ Tea (the original Witches’ Tea!) was hosted by Lady Henni and this post features a Halloween poem by the Warlock D.