Tag Archives: Virtual Tea Party

(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.

You’re invited to tea!

Always have a raisin spice cake on hand, and somewhere there’s a bowl of whipped cream, if anyone would like to sample what we call Heavy Cream up here.

Hope to see some new faces coming for tea this month!

Su has gone out of town for a richly deserved change of scenery, so I’ve invited everyone from her New Zealand tea up here.

She always has such wonderfully exotic creations for her teas and we shall miss them this month. Hopefully some of my efforts will fill in.

Thought I’d put a bit of chocolate icing on the chocolate cake. 😉 If it’s too rich add a dollop of cream!

I’ve got a question for everyone, to start the ball rolling:

When making traditional cheese & pickle sandwiches, describe the pickle. And do you use mustard on the bread?

I’ve used diced small sweet gherkins, which Americans call sweet pickle relish and use on hamburgers. The mustard (on the white/whole meal ones) is called Spicy, but that’s a relative term.

The cheese is a thick-sliced Swiss. Probably not neeearly as good as a British cheese, but easier to get over here.

Now please don’t stand on ceremony! If inclined to speak your mind on something, then do.

Above all, a HUGE welcome to my little patch and thank you so much for coming. Virtual hugs to all!

 

PS/ If you’re on Instagram, see #virtualteaparty2020

Updated ~

Virtual Tea Party

Welcome, dear ones! So glad to “see” you this month!

A word before we begin . . .

I know many parts of my  country are in varying stages of reopening, but my city’s mayor, concerned about rising numbers, has mandated mask wearing. And social distancing. All of which makes it a bit diffy to eat and converse.

So let me welcome you  to this virtual feast, and let’s pretend our conversations are in person instead of in the Comments section.

What a month it’s been over here.

I thought twice about this tea party, but decided everyone might need a moment to gather together and enjoy the singular pleasure of a cup of their favourite hot or cold beverage, and a bite of something decadent to go with.

I’ve mixed up a slight variation on the Wacky Cake recipe, and I think I like it better that my family’s recipe. (It has more cocoa. 🤣)

Alas, I’ve scraped the bottom of the whole wheat barrel, and wasn’t able to do our usual bread & butter, but there’s always scones!

Had difficulty deciding what recipe to make, but in the end, since there was already a sweet, decided on a savory recipe. I’ve made these olive oil and herb scones before, and they’re delightful, especially with a hunk of cheddar on the side.

Chatter on amongst yourselves. In my little world, it’s been difficult to decide who to pay attention to. However, there’s no doubt as to what I shall ignore.  Honestly! Anyone who insists on spouting outrageous lies doesn’t deserve anyone’s time.

I’ve been doing lots of research-style reading, and will write a bit more about that later this month. Su (Zimmerbitch) sent interesting links to a New Zealand virtual film festival! But everything I wanted to see is not available in this country. Pooh! I understand why, but am still disappointed.

There is a short about one of the films that I found fascinating. If you’re feeling sad and would like a change of perspective, take a look.

Oh! Lynn (Tialys) mentioned The Clangers this week. Anybody  heard of them? Adorable episodes are available on YouTube!

Su will be out of town next month, but I plan on being here, so everyone is invited up here. I warn you, it’ll probably be hot! And might be rainy. But we shall let the good times and conversations roll on!

Cheers, everyone! Please go gently with all, especially your own lovely selves.

xx

Come for Tea!

Quality Control: Everyone’s favourite spice cake

Chiming in with the North American edition of Su’s Tea Time in the Blogosphere.

Welcome! It’s good to see you! Hope you all have been keeping well and are ready for a gentle entry to your weekend.

If tea seems a bit sparse this month, flour is getting worrisome yet again, so I’ve included an unusual ingredient, and we don’t usually feature a cookie.

The South is teetering on the brink of summer heat & humidity today, but don’t worry! The air con is working, so we can talk up a storm in comfort.

What’s happening in your world? What “stage” are you currently in? How’s that being interpreted? As usual, feel free to bring your latest completed or in-progress project to show off, or work on whilst having a sit down and a bite to eat.

Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until pale gold.
Store in air tight container up to two weeks. Can also be frozen. Makes about 4 dozen.

A special request: Only honest opinions on the cookie, please!

Personally, I’m of two minds. Corn meal isn’t a particular favourite, but when I tried a sample of today’s cookie with tea, without thinking I dunked it.  Then another.  They didn’t disintegrate, and kept the distinctive corn meal crunch. So dunkers, please give it a go and let me know your verdict!

Made the batter Thursday, rolled into 2 logs and froze them overnight, then cut & baked this morning. Knife does need to be sharp.

I should report I didn’t have any cane sugar, so used dark brown sugar instead, and not the full amount the recipe calls for. Corn is naturally sweet, and American recipes in general tend to have more sugar than necessary, imho, so you can go scant on that if you liked these.

(That reminds me – This corn meal’s use-by date is next month, which begs two questions: 1. Are people not buying it so it sits on the shelves; and 2., Has it gone a bit stale as a result?  Am not a connoisseur, so haven’t a clue, but am keeping the remainder in the fridge just in case. )

Cookies do not spread so I loaded up the cookie sheets and let them bake a tad longer.

My recipe, used in the dim & distant past, is from an old issue of Sunset magazine, a California publication. I’ve a caveat for the link: Sunset asks you to allow all their adverts & still inserts some if you decline. BTW, the recipe is exactly the same as the one in my photo . . . 😉

Whoops! “Times winged what’s it” to quote the murderess in Christie’s Hallowe’en Party. Better get out the china, put on me tea frock & a bit of flash & glam. Early birds get to help set table and taste test!

Note: If your oven’s hotter in one spot, turn your cookie sheet round half way through baking. I forgot, and had to “dispose” of several overly browned ones. 🤣

Happy Mother’s Day

First, hello, Lovely Readers!  How’s your week gone? Hope everyone is holding up under whatever rules & regs are in place in your space.

Today is Mother’s Day in the U.S., so Happy Mother’s Day to you all, but let’s extend that to all Mothers in any country.

And let’s extend it to all those Dads who’ve had to be both Mum & Dad.

We’ve been having wonderfully cool weather, and I’m sending a giant THANK YOU to Canada for shipping it down to us.   ❤️   🇨🇦   ❤️

It’s been heavenly — mostly breezy with low humidity and 60’s for highs. As we’ve really had no winter to speak of, the prolongation of moderate temps is MOST appreciated.

[Could we talk about repetitions in June, July, August, September…]

Having recently met folks who had no idea there was such a thing as raw peanut butter, which separates quite naturally if not stirred, I looked it up, and discovered our Northern Neighbours created it! Another reason to be grateful to Canada! 🇨🇦

🐸 Crochet 🐸
Crocheting continued until Thursday, when I thought I had finished the ski hat and could go on to the pompom. Then I tried it on. Oops.

The bulky superwash wool yarn I was using was bulkier and less stretchy than I’d bargained for.

Currently the cap would fit a very short and extra-wide head. Am preparing to rip it, and maybe do a scarf instead. . . .

Friday’s #VirtualTeaParty2020
Still unable to purchase whole wheat flour for my weekly loaf, I started reading about substitutions. Taking my own advice, I did a quick check on the Library of Congress’ website, wondering about flour substitutes. Found a few things that might be doable, if I can get corn meal. Both are circa 1918. You can see them in situ here and here.

Photo by SDP ~ thank you!

If anybody’s missed my Wacky Cake or Boiled Raisin Cake recipes, they’re here and here. And here’s a variation, kindly sent down to me from SDP’s collection.

Friday’s #VirtualTeaParty2020
Please do stop by either Su’s place, on the 14th New Zealand/Southern Hemisphere reckoning, or right here on Friday, the 15th if you’re Northern Hemisphere/East Coast North America, or both.

Come as you are, or in your best bib & tucker. No need to bring anything, but you can if you want. There’s always an interesting assortment of peoples and conversations about food, recipes, coping, whatever. But we keep it civilised. It is a Tea Party. 😉

 

P.S./ Here’s a closer look at that page with recipes . . .

Tea party menu…

Feeling knackered, but very delighted with this month’s guests, all of whom seemed to enjoy themselves.  Will report more anon.

The gingerbread was a hit. At one point I think there were several opinions on how to slice it.

(I used an 8″ square pan, and had pre-cut that into four sort of even sections. At one point I saw long slices, but am certain I also saw some square ones…)

The usual hot buttered toast appeared, and the favoured jam, and I must make a correction to the jam content. It’s not acai — I read the label.  There’s a photo above for those who live near a Trader Joe’s and want a jar for themselves.

Earlier in the week I’d tried to make a chicken & rice dish, and decided at the last minute to add dried peas. They didn’t cook long enough and were still crunchy.  I’d put the whole thing in a pot on a back burner to simmer for a few hours, figuring it would be just right after tea.

Then someone spied it, lifted the lid and inquired about the contents and intended eventual use… For a while I think some tea cups had chicken rice soup rather than tea! After a general discussion, more Seasoning was added, and pronounced “rather good.”

(It’s been a cold day, around 50 degrees, so people thought soup was a great idea, and I wasn’t about to disagree.)

Perhaps a few more photos on another day, after I’ve had a sleep.  But before I toddle off to nod, I wonder if there’s a bite of gingerbread left . . . . . 😉