Tag Archives: Virtual Tea Party

November’s Tea Time

Here it is, the middle of November, and time for another virtual tea party.

Welcome, everyone! I’m especially delighted to see you!

After what we’ve all been through one way or t’other, can’t say we’re not ready for a hot cup and a warm scone or two. It’s been quite a month, and frankly, I’m glad to see the back of it.

But I’ve always been one for phone calls and now FaceTime and Zoom and Skype.  (Did you know I was teaching a monthly vocal workshop, including a Spanish soprano in Málaga (Spain) in 2000?) I’ve been waiting a long time for video teaching to come of age. 🥴

Can you see cranberries sticking out?

Back to our tea. . .  My little scone & biscuit book (here it is in U.K. and U.S.) has a cranberry scone recipe that I decided to try out. Have been having a thing for dried cranberries lately (with chicken, but that’s another story) and decided to try the recipe.

The dough is very soft and makes huge round scones. As usual, I skimped on the sugar and the taste was fine. But I should have soaked the dried berries first. Duh! Luckily, most of them were plump anyway, so the occasional chewy one didn’t bother me.

However, their size had me eating half a scone, and saving the rest for later. So I decided the next batch should be half size, and baked for a shorter time. Now they’re much more appropriate for tea time nibbling! But everything went so quickly I forgot to photo the scones, so have to rely on the photo through the oven door (the first batch, above). Sorry! 😥

Savory digestives waiting for a topping of your choice ~

Then I decided to do my favourite digestive biscuit recipe. Strangest thing – they decided to become savory instead of sweet. Found myself adding  garlic, pepper, and basil and leaving out most of the sugar. After rolling them out much thinner, I left them in the oven longer so they’d crisp up.

They looked about the same, and the taste was wonderful! Love that peppery note on the back of the tongue, and will try more garlic next time!

Virtual Tea Party
When Su (Zimmerbitch), a talented New Zealand photographer and  crafter,  mentioned a monthly virtual tea party last year it seemed a wonderful idea to me, so I asked if she’d like to go international, and if so I was volunteering.

Little did we know what was about to happen . . . . .

So we’ve continued inviting everyone to join us virtually around the middle of each month, for a cuppa and some goodies. As Su  writes, the tea is always hot, and the calorie-free goodies never run out. So come as you are, when you feel like company.

For those who favour IG, we can be found at #virtualteaparty2020.

You’re welcome to bring something to share, or a recipe, or just your own Good Selves.

Updates!

Deb, aka The Widow Badass, has brought the most amazing lemon-almond cake we’ve ever tasted! Her post describing it is here!

Wishing you all peace, joy, and good health!

❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

Save the date – 15 November, Virtual Tea Party!

The experimental bake that is definitely going to be repeated!

I feel a bit weird inviting anyone over for a cuppa just now.

But as it’s virtual, and there are goodies included for you lovely visitors, it might be the perfect thing.

Hope you’ll plan on hopping over – it’s virtual, so no calories and no jet lag!

Silly Saturday

A pile of Oatmeal Chews

Also Known As  the Virtual Tea Party continues!

For several reasons.  First off ~~~

I forgot to thank Cathy (nanacathy2) for her suggestion from several posts ago that I look for the telly program Heartbeat.

BritBox carries it, but only the first season.  😡  However, there are more episodes listed on YouTube.

Huge Thank You’s, Cathy — I loved it! Both for the scenery and for the look back at how restrictive the 1960’s were for women. For instance, there’s no mention of the brave Dagenham sewing machinist women at the Ford plant, and their strike for equal pay for equal work.

For those who don’t know about Heartbeat, Wiki says, “Heartbeat is a British police drama series set in 1960s North Riding of Yorkshire based on the “Constable” series of novels written by ex-policeman Peter N. Walker, under the pseudonym Nicholas Rhea, and broadcast on ITV in 18 series between 1992 and 2010.”

The other reason to celebrate is New Zealand’s re-election of their Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, who’s been a shining light through the C-19 crisis. So many of us outside New Zealand are delighted for her, and for all New Zealanders!

October’s Virtual Tea Party

Nothing beats a hot cuppa & a bickie on a rainy morning!

Tautimai! (Welcome!)

Today may be dark & dank outside, but inside it’s bright and cheerful, with the kettle steaming quietly in the background as friends drop by virtually for a cuppa, a nibble and a natter.

After visiting Su’s glorious tea party yesterday down in New Zealand, it’s nice to share some of that conversation with friends up here, and catch my breath, so to speak. 😉

Toast & apricot puree ~ yummy, if I say it meself. 🤣

We seem to have a “normalising” in the whole wheat flour production industry up here, so I’ve splurged a bit and made an extra wholemeal loaf for everyone to enjoy. Also on hand is an apricot spread I pureed as part of an experiment. 🤫

The homemade digestives are in the tin, and there’s also a plate of oatmeal chews for those with a sweet tooth (the recipe is here.)

Yummy, chewy, with almost a caramel flavour.

Visiting with Su (Zimmerbitch) creator of our virtual tea parties, I learnt Americans aren’t the only peeps worried about elections.

The NZ election for their Prime Minister is this Saturday (our Friday, so today), and they’re sounding a great deal like many of us up here.

But we’ve got three more weeks before our official election day. (Although several million of us voted early).

How’m I coping? By almost totally not watching telly. I do check several online newspapers each day (headlines only), local online news (mostly for weather), etc. And for entertainment, I’m leaning more and more on BritBox shows with absolutely no mention of anything political.

For example: Has anyone seen a current program, Shakespeare and Hathaway? If you haven’t you can read about it on Wiki here, and do a bit of watching over here. I like the actor playing Hathaway and that led me to watch the first episode.

Then I became intrigued with the other main cast members, not the least of which is the town (city?) of Stratford. I haven’t seen much architecture from Shakespeare’s time, so I’m watching more than just imaginative costuming. (Why do the British love dressing up so much?!)

On another note, somewhere around late Spring I discovered, from one of my lovely blogging mates whose name I don’t remember (sorry, luv!), Kate from The Last Homely House. Do you know her? She’s a crafty, gardeny, cooking sort of person living up on a Northumberland farm.

I find her YouTube videos calming, humourous. and thoroughly addictive. If you don’t know Kate, sit yourself down, click over to her YT channel, pick out a subject and begin watching. (I’d recommend this one , which is a charming introduction to herself and her videos.)

Thank you for coming round today for our little tea party. Sit yourselves down, have a hot cuppa, we’ll toast you some bread and pass down the digestive tin and the oatmeal chews. They’re virtual, so no calories or allergies, and no worries about indulging yourself at the end of the week.

#virtualteaparty2020 for anyone on Instagram who wants to post images over there.

And so, on with the conversations! Any good programs to suggest? What do you think about the ones I watch? D’you think the chews are too sweet? I shorted the sugar, but don’t trust my un-sweet tooth which thinks they’re still too sweet. (Remember, I drink my cocoa without sugar, so . . . 🙄)

Thank you all for coming and being such delightful guests! Until next month, everyone please be safe, take care, and come back soon! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

(not so) Silent Sunday

It’s been one of those weeks.
Again…

Hello, Lovely Readers!

An unexpected hardware glitch last Monday took me off-line for the rest of the week. . . and I’m not talking about any “conversion” by WordPress to their new editor, either. Speaking of which . . .

(The Widow BadAss has written an encouraging post all about that.)

Anyhoo, I’m back today with a tardy invitation to our monthly Tea Party this coming Friday, 16th October.  EVERY ONE of you wonderful peeps are invited!

I’ve tried keeping in touch visually with as many of you as possible, and IG has been usable. But this is scooping even IG.  It will be loverly getting back in touch, dear friends!

Yummy, chewy, with almost a caramel flavour.

I’ve been trying out new recipes, and think you might like this one, from Marion Cunningham’s The Fannie Farmer Baking Book.

Pardon my brevity ~  will try to return later today.

Until then, toddle pip and Cheerio!  💋  💋

PS/ Here’s the recipe:

A Scraphappy Virtual Tea Party

(In an earlier post’s comments, someone mentioned tea & sewing, which I thought would be a great idea, so I’m combining them. Tea first!)

Kia ora whānau! (Welcome, friends!)  He kapu tī māu? (Would you like a cup of tea?)

Visiting New Zealand for originator Su’s virtual tea party earlier in the week, I learnt it was Maori Language Week. So I had a special treat, seeing Su and enjoying her delicious tea whilst learning a bit of Maori.

Su is the originator of these monthly teas, but had been a bit poorly, so some of us brought along contributions for all to enjoy. I brought some of my crispy digestives as Su is a dunker, and I wanted her opinion.

Su’s crispy crackers with cheese were fabulous! (I love crisps & cheese and these were sooo delicious!) I’m not much for sweets, but I know Su’s brownie isn’t too sweet, so had to enjoy a bit of that, too. Rich, dark chocolate & beetroot = a chocky lover’s heaven on earth! 😇

Back on my home turf to welcome my Northern Hemisphere friends, I’d made a coconut cake to go underneath fresh strawberries and blueberries.

Using the Foundation Cake recipe, I added about half a cup of desiccated coconut. Will do this again, as I think the chewiness of the coconut lifts the combination above a traditional shortcake.

I also have my latest bake of digestives biscuits (cookies). This batch is crunchy, and perfect for dunking. As I have no cookie cutters,  these are in a different shape, but I’m sure they taste the same. 😉

Here’s the recipe I use, from King Arthur Flour.  King Arthur uses both American and British measurements, so you don’t have to convert.

My variation:  I skimp on the sugar.  After rolling out the dough to about 3 mm (¼”) I left them to cook a good 6-7 minutes longer. They definitely didn’t burn, just got wonderfully crisp after thorough cooling.

And now to Scraphappy sewing ~

Chiming in rather tardily with Kate’s band of scrap happy peeps, I finally got several large-ish pieces of cotton fabric out of stash and onto hangers this month. Everything can be worn with either fabric to the front, providing versatility.

You might think making tops from different fabrics is totally bonkers, and you’d be well within your rights to do so! However, in this wacko country I’m considering myself in quarantine, so am not out except for very local walk abouts.  When I’m out I’m always wearing a duster over whatever top I’m wearing, so nobody sees my back anyway.

The vintage red that I thought would become a bag refused, and has become a top instead.  Ditto the blue combination. I’ve worn each over top of my scrap denim shorts.

Good news has been that Hurricane Sally came & went without doing tremendous damage to this little part of the world. My rellies on both coasts are in good shape, but for the horrible air out West.

Still, there’s lots to be thankful for as everyone is safe. Hope all you lovely peeps are in good shape, being well in yourselves, and able to enjoy your weekend safely.

Haere tū atu, hoki tū mai.

(Go safely and return in good health.)

❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

 

 

☕️ 18 Sept~Time for A Virtual Tea Party !

How about next Friday, 18 September or virtually anytime?

I know this is a bit past the 15th.  😉It gives me time  to travel down under to say a quick G’day to  Su (of Zimmerbitch, in New Zealand),  and wish her well. It would be grand to meet her, and perhaps a few of her lovely tea party friends.

As these events are virtual, anyone is welcome to join in with us on the 18th, or any other day that suits. So, fancy a cuppa another day? The virtual kettle will always be on the hob, and the scones will always be fresh. 😘

Sewing — belatedly

I managed to make up a piece of quilting cotton purchased during long ago California years, which means a seriously long sojourn in stash.

With only 1 yard of 45″ rather heavy cotton, I didn’t have a clue what to do with it. But . . .

Something kept reminding me of it in June (so this is really late). It’s almost the weight of my shweshwe (see shweshwe posts of 2016  here & 2020 here).

Emboldened by all I’d seen, read, and heard during June’s virtual Sewing Weekender, I cut the piece in half and made a simple gathered skirt (sans pockets).

One of my favoured skirt lengths is about 21″ and this really came too close for comfort. So I fudged both the waist band (which I would normally turn under for a casing) and the hem.

I used cotton hem tape to extend things a bit around the bottom hem. Searching through my odds of bindings I discovered some wide santiny blanket binding. Using narrower than usual elastic, I just had room. But no pockets for this skirt.

(Ooooo . . . I just remembered where I put my rayon lining yardage, so there’s hope yet!)

I like the body of the fabric! Barely knee length, it stands away from the body as a shweshwe fabric might. By some miracle the width reacts well to the gathers of the elasticated waist so it’s cool during these humid summers.

Discovering I couldn’t get black or beigy knits for tank tops, I forgave myself and  ordered them from L.L. Bean.  I suspect mask production and slowed importing are responsible for the shortages, so I was grateful to find these!

The tanks were too long for my torso, so I immediately shortened their lengths — an easy fix. Both of them work well with this skirt and have been worn.

To illustrate why I’ve kept this cotton fabric for so long, you might should know I’ve specialised in teaching vocal technique of the classical kind for over 40 years.

So you can see how close the skirt art is to the iconic Puccini poster art of yore, I’ve chosen the above three as examples. Via Amazon, here are reproductions of the originals for Madama Butterfly, Tosca, and Turandot.

Hope to see you Friday-ish!

PS/ For those of you on IG, find us at #virtualteaparty2020

PPS/Just linking the bottom half of this post with Wild Daffodil’s Textile Tuesday series. Even though I know today’s Friday. 🤣

August’s Virtual Tea Party

From the top: Spiced Foundation Cake, grapes, and Aldi’s scrummy Garlic & Chive Pita Crackers with Swiss cheese and tomato.

Welcome, Everyone! I’m so delighted to see you! The virtual kettle’s on the boil, and the goodies are all ready. Come in outta the heat and, as the Welsh might say, “fill your boots!”

There are lots of summer berries and grapes in our shops just now, so I’ve got selections of a few favourites, plus some new flavours for you to try.

Goodness! Are we really half way through August? It doesn’t seem possible!

See top photo for slices of Spiced Foundation Cake

There I was yesterday, anticipating greeting you lovely blogdom friends, whilst mixing up my American granny’s Foundation Cake recipe.

I’ve no idea where she got it. It almost reads like an offshoot of the Depression and war-era recipes I’ve served in the past, until you get to the then-expensive or rationed eggs and milk.

Taking time, I measured out everything before getting out the mixer and really doing things thoroughly. The result is a very light cake with a lovely texture. (See top photo)

I added “pumpkin pie” spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice), but no raisins. You might think it would be too much like a Raisin Spice Cake, but to me it’s lighter in flavour.

Blueberries & cream over chocolate cake!

Ripe berries are now in season, so strawberries and blueberries are on offer for today’s tea, along with the lightly spiced Foundation Cake, and chocolatey Wacky Cake, which I made in a loaf pan this time.

The recipe says you can do that, so I lengthened the cooking time and it turned out beautifully. I did the same with the Foundation Cake, so there were the two loaves to slice and sprinkle with fruit and cream, as desired. (Sorry, I didn’t get a piccie.)

Now let me tell you a bit more about grannie… She never talked much about her childhood, and only came to stay with us when widowed. Even then she shared her time between her two sons, so she wasn’t always with us.

The only thing better than strawberries & cream is adding chocolate cake!

As a child, her family traveled westward from the Ozark Mountains by covered wagon, settling in what’s now Oklahoma. (“Indian Territory” was the government’s designation then.) I learned more recently that the boundary between Texas and Oklahoma was very fluid then, which today’s genealogists find very confusing.

Growing up in the heart of the Depression’s Dust Bowl region made for a hard life, and neither dad nor uncle talked much about their experiences. My uncle said sometimes they would shell pecans for a nickel a bucket. If you’ve ever shelled a pecan, you know how hard that it.

Many of our ancestors have known and survived hardships and deprivations over the years.  I hope that remembering them can help bring today’s problems more into perspective.

Meanwhile, go in Peace and Be Safe, Dear Friends. . .

❤️     ❤️     ❤️   ❤️     ❤️     ❤️

I’m joining in with Su’s Virtual Tea Party. Do go over and try one of her tarts – they look amazing!

A virtual invitation!

Celebrating!

Nearly forgot to remind you all that it’s time for our monthly Virtual Tea Party!

And since it is virtual, you can come any time and find the kettle on, and goodies ready to gobble up.

Hope you’ll stop by and start your weekend early on Friday afternoon, or whenever the fancy takes you!

See also Su over at Zimmerbitch, who started the idea back in January. She always has something special fresh from her cooker.