Queen for a day tea

Today, Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 91st birthday.  In honor of her birthday, I’m posting Lady B.’s “Queen for a day” tea from last year! 

Lady B. surprised us all when she announced that she did not want any assistance with her upcoming tea for the Victorian Tea Society.  She said she wanted to pamper us and make us all feel like a “Queen for a day!”  Wow!  Talk about Royal Treatment!

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Royal invitation

Queen B.’s royal invitation instructed guests to “wear tiaras and bring (their) best manners.”  My favorite queen of all time is, of course, Queen Elizabeth I (isn’t she everyone’s favorite?!?).  I once went through a phase where I went crazy over everything Elizabeth I, especially books and movies.  I decided to pay tribute to Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, the epic poem dedicated to Queen Elizabeth I, by dressing up in a Renaissance costume, complete with a garland of eucalyptus, peacock feathers, and green foliage for my hair.  I planned to arrive to Queen B.’s as the Faerie Queene!

The road to Queen B.’s was strewn with rose petals and a Fairy Crossing!  My heart danced a little jig and I knew then I was in for a special treat.  Queen B. sure knows how to make a Queene feel at home! 🙂

Fairy crossing

Queen B.’s Fairy Crossing (click on photo to enlarge)

After the Fairy Crossing, the queens were invited to sit on this welcoming bench as their arrivals were announced.  Notice all the crowning touches from the pillow to the accents, the curtains, and the bench cover!

Queen B's crowning glory

Queen B’s crowning glory

Once inside the palace, we admired this enchanting table in the foyer while Queen B. made an unexpected grand entrance from the staircase!

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Enchanted welcome table made by Queen B. requiring 6 yards of tulle!

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Queen B's crowning touches everywhere!

Queen B’s crowning touches everywhere … including the “other throne” room (aka commode)! (click on photo to enlarge)

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More crowning touches and some Victorian flair!

Before Royal Tea was served, Queen B. instructed us on how to be queenly with “Her Royal Highness Lessons, course 101.”

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Click to enlarge

After we successfully completed the course, we made a Coronation Toast to Queen B. to initiate the Royal Tea.

Coronation toast

Coronation toast

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Her Royal Highness Butternut squash soup

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Enchanted broccoli avocado berry salad

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Starting at 12:00m, clockwise: Kensington Palace Turkey and Provolone, Her Majesty’s Ham and Swiss Cheese, Princess Diana’s Tiara Smoked Salmon Mousse Canapes, Once Upon a Time Egg Salad, and Royal Coach Curried Chicken Salad Croissant

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Queen’s Throne Shrimp cheesecakes (these were amazing!)

Royal scepter fresh fruit

Royal scepter fresh fruit

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Tea time double chocolate scones

Double Chocolate Scones
Yield:  12 scones

2 c. all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 c. unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder or unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 c. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. fresh orange zest
1/4 t. salt
1/3 c. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 c. dark chocolate chunks (I used chocolate chips)
1 c. heavy whipping cream
l large egg
3/4 c. pecans or nuts of your liking *optional
Preheat oven to 425F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, orange zest, and salt, whisking well. Using a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add chocolate chunks, stirring to combine. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine cream and egg, whisking well.  Add to flour mixture, stirring until just combined.  Dough will be sticky.  IF mixture seems dry, add more cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, until a dough forms.  Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet.
*Optional sprinkle scones with large decorative sugar or coarse raw sugar.
Bake until a wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean, 8 to 12 minutes.  Cool on baking sheet for 5 min. and serve warm.
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Chocolate Cream
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1/3 c. chocolate chips or more depending how chocolately you want it.
In a medium saucepan, heat cream til very hot, but not boiling.  Remove from heat and add chocolate chips whisking til melted.  Pour mixture into a heatproof glass or metal bowl and set in a larger bowl filled with ice.  Let cool whisking occasionally.  Using a hand-held mixer, beat chocolate mixture at high-speed until stiff peaks form.  That’s it.  Easy peasy!

After the scones course, we assembled outside to have dessert in Queen B.’s gazebo.

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Ha, I didn’t even notice until now that I captured a lizard running across the path in the foreground! 🙂

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Crown fold napkins, lace crowns on bottom of teacups. and embroidered crowns on lace coasters (stiched by Queen B. herself!)

Crown fold napkins, lace crowns on bottom of teacups, and golden embroidered crowns on lace coasters (stitched by Queen B. herself!)

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Dreams Do Come True strawberry cheesecake

A royal thank you!

A royal thank you!

To Her Royal Highness, Queen B.
I rarely venture out of my kingdom so imagine my delight and appreciation for the great efforts you made to make me feel at home with reminders of my beloved Faerie Land.  I was equally enchanted by your resplendent palace, scrumptious royal tea, and the company of charming visiting queens from other faraway lands.  Thank you Queen B. for the royal treatment and unforgettable afternoon.  I hope you will visit me in my kingdom someday.

Your humble servant,
The Faerie Queene

“It’s all to do with the training: you can do a lot if you’re properly trained.”

–Queen Elizabeth II

Happy birthday to The Queen!

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!

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A New Year’s Tea Party

NY invitationI hosted a New Year’s tea party for a few friends.  It was small and intimate, the way a tea party should be!

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Cute things--tea serving utensils

Cute tea things: Tea time serving utensils, drip catchers, and small serving platter

More cute tea things: Tea bag caddy with lemon slices for tea

More cute tea things: Tea bag caddy with lemon slices for tea

All the dishes on the new year’s tea menu were chosen with attention to reflect with our intentions for the new year.

CaptureEggplant was featured on the menu because my friends and I bonded last Christmas over our love for eggplant!  I love eggplant but don’t have many good recipes for it.  This is my tried and true eggplant recipe, Couscous crusted aubergine stuffed with herbed goat cheese, which I adapted from The Cafe Paradiso Cookbook by Denis Cotter.  The Cafe Paradiso is an award-winning Irish restaurant located in Cork, Ireland.  I had the pleasure of dining there in 2006, an experience I still relish to this day.

Couscous crusted aubergine

Eggplant, the vegetable that forges friendships

It’s time to “cap” off 2012 and look to 2013 … add some green stuff for wealth!

Stuffed mushroom cap with mesclun herb salad

Spinach, artichoke, and Parmesan stuffed mushroom cap with a mesclun herb salad and black truffle vinaigrette

Every great meal (and new year) begins with Antipasto (at least in Italy it does!)!  And a “toast” to a cool and refreshing new year!

Cucumber sandwiches and Genoa salami sandwiches

A.’s cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches and N.’s Antipasto sandwiches with Genoa salami and manzanita olive cream cheese

There will be no fishy business in 2013!

Tuna salad croissant sandwiches and fresh fruit course: grape bunches

N.’s tuna salad croissant sandwiches with Genova tuna, celery, and oregano.  S. brought the beautiful grapes for the fresh fruit course

Spanish custom: Eat 12 grapes at midnight (one for every chime as the clock strikes midnight) for good luck all year long!

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Sandwiches!

Sandwiches: Antipasto, tuna salad croissant, and cucumber/cream cheese

Aren’t these scones beautiful?  Who needs to make scones from scratch when you can save yourself some work and make them from Sticky Fingers English Scone Mix?  Just add water!  These scones are better than a lot of homemade scones I’ve had.

Plain scones

Plain scones

Plain scone with vegan lemon curd and mock Devonshire cream

Plain scone with vegan lemon curd and Lady B.’s mock Devonshire cream

Henni’s vegan lemon curd
(Note: this recipe is a work-in-progress and is subject to change without notice)
Yield: 1/2 cup

1/2 c. water (or 1/4 c. water, 1/4 c. non-dairy milk)
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (add 1 more tsp. if not lemony enough)
2 Tbsp. sugar (or your favorite sweetener)
1 tsp. lemon zest
1Tbsp. cornstarch
1 drop yellow food coloring (optional)
1 tsp. dried buttermilk powder (optional for non-vegan)

Whisk ingredients until cornstarch and sugar are dissolved.  Cook in the microwave or in a pot on the stove until thick and bubbly.  Remove from heat and serve warm or chill before serving.

Mini chocolate souffle

Mini chocolate souffle

Finally, a dessert to make the coming year a sweet one!  Souffles are not my forte but this recipe makes it seem like I know what I’m doing. 🙂  This chocolate souffle is from Mollie Katzen’s Vegetable Heaven.  Although the souffles deflated before they reached the table, the ladies still declared them “Delicious!”  I am grateful to have very kind friends! 😉

Time to relax

Time to relax …

Happy new year!

“Teapot is on, the cups are waiting,
Favorite chairs anticipating,
No matter what I have to do,
My friends, there’s always time for you.”

— Unknown

Disclaimer: I am a member of Amazon Associates.  This post contains links to Amazon.com and if you click on the link and purchase something, I get a few coins tossed my way.

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.