I am a passionate tea lover. I drink tea to relax, invigorate, celebrate, comfort, warm or cool myself, in chunky mugs or china cups or from a thermos at a picnic!
So when the Novel Bakers chose The Vintage Tea Party book series for this week’s theme I was thrilled. I poured myself a cup and opened the first book, but I was not prepared for the fun and joy and inspiration each of these books held inside the clever covers! I am in love now not only with tea but with these books and their creative British author, Angel Adoree!
Ms. Adoree seems to me to be Lucille Ball, Bette Midler and Martha Stewart all jumbled together. Energy, creativity and organization. Her advice for throwing a perfect vintage tea party is simple. Four ingredients are all that is required:
an invitation to set the mood (not in electronic form!)
props (vintage style anything, including flowers, linens and dishes)
location (appropriate to the guests and theme)
tea party food (delicious and eye candy at the same time!)
I planned to throw a very pink girly tea to celebrate two June birthdays this week, my sister and my college roomie! So using her advice I chose my invitation, props, location, and food, and a very good time was had by all!
~~ The Invitation ~~
a very simple vintage postcard reproduction, but it instantly helped form an image in my mind of the mood I would like to create
~~ Props ~~
For this party props meant only dishes, linens and flowers (no hats or noise makers!). My bottomless collection of dishes includes not only things from trendy stores but lots of vintage treasures. I used newer Mikasa English Countryside dishes as chargers and topped them with vintage Wedgwood Bramble luncheon plates. I really love both of these patterns.
I knew I would be serving a nice crispy, fruity rosé and these pink glasses (another favorite) are so delicate and fun to use. They instantly add a feminine touch and make me sit up straight in my chair and sip my wine like a lady.
I have a serving bowl and a dozen of these vintage ruby beauties, and I use them for every special occasion.
A tea party requires tea of some sort, and for this one I went very traditional with an actual English teapot. I have many teapots, but this is my very absolute favorite. I use it all the time and it makes great tea!
You may have noticed my grandmother’s McCoy planter. I have several from her in different colors and I love them too! I use them as vases, with a glass liner to save them from further damage. The roses from my bushes which are finally blooming are the flower of June and of course need to be on a June birthday table!
I planned to make easy finger foods and a special dessert, so I chose this depression glass platter and the 40’s era (I think) glasses. My wedding flatware (Gorham Old French) is 35 years old so I think that it will now pass as vintage! I had to add some little poppers for fun.
My vintage linen collection is quite lacking, so I found this new pink-striped beach throw at Terrain, and topped it with a little doily carefully crocheted long ago by my grandmother or aunt. I think the pink throw keeps everything from being a little too sweet and stiff and it is backed in terrycloth so the entire tabletop is a teeny bit cushioned.
Flowers are a prop that can instantly transform any setting. Luckily my yard is in bloom right now, with the peonies just finishing, the roses blooming, and the hydrangea just beginning to open. All vintage blooms so I grabbed a handful and a piece of MacKenzie-Childs enamelware in pink stripes (discontinued!! why???), put it on the railing nearby…
and gave the rest to my bunny to hold.
~~ Location ~~
The invitation was written and the props gathered, so the next step was choosing the location. This was easy. My pink tree is finished blooming for this Spring, but I still call it my pink tree and the table under it is perfect for a little tea party. (The cardinals and robins both have nests nearby and use this tree as a stop-over, so we always need to be careful!)
As I looked a little closer at my table I realized that the easy part for me was over. But the most important part, always the hardest for me, was missing!
~~ Tea Party Food ~~
Honestly, if someone else will cook I will happily take care of all the other elements of any party!
So I started with the easiest. I already knew what would fill the wine glasses.
Hopkins Inn and Winery in northwestern Connecticut is a favorite nearby destination, and they produce several delicious wines, all with wonderful labels (this is one of my criteria for judging ! 🙂 )
A party cannot be had with wine alone (despite what my college roomie Katie and I thought all those years ago), so I turned with some trepidation to the recipes in The Vintage Tea Party and The Vintage Tea Party Year. Ms. Adoree came to my rescue with delightful and easy recipes, including this one for spinach and parmesan muffins.
The first book, The Vintage Tea Party Book, is definitely written with a British reader in mind with the usual USA/British language barrier. I easily researched “caster sugar” and “double cream” but I was still perplexed about the measurements. I remembered (from an awful college organic chemistry class that Katie and I suffered through) that dry measurements do not convert as liquids do, for instance 9 oz. of flour is not just 1 1/8 cups, and I couldn’t for the life of me remember how to convert the 190 degree centigrade oven temp to match the numbers on my oven, BUT I found an excellent site: The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, with conversions for everything I needed. I baked these muffins at 375, using about 1 3/4 cups flour.
Butter stars are easy to make with a stick of butter and a tiny cookie cutter. Put them in the fridge to harden before serving.
After this healthy and delicious meal I felt no guilt about the heavenly dessert.
A “fool” seems like a silly thing to serve in these pretty tumblers!
I always wondered about the word “fool” for these whipped desserts, and as Angel explains, the word is actually of French origin, fouler, to crush, as that is what we must do with the fruit! In typical British fashion the French word has been carefully adjusted to be sure no one can possibly imagine that there is anything French about this quintessentially English dessert!
The dessert was so tempting that I thought about serving it as an appetizer. 🙂
But I moved the fool aside and we saved it for dessert.
I used raspberries and blackberries, and my fears that it would be too much and too sweet were foolish on both counts! After tasting it I was determined to extract every last bit. I seriously considered licking the glass. Really. No fooling.
Just imagine the creamiest, lightest, just-right sweetness heavenly deliciousness.
Treat yourself to this fool and also to a little fun this summer with The Vintage Tea Party series!
I’ll be finding inspiration in these delightful books for a long time!
My thanks to the real Novel Bakers for letting me join as Guest Baker.
Please visit them for unbelievably beautiful props, locations, food, and photos!
joining the fun here: