I am playing hooky today... Well, not really, but I am getting pudding brains this close to deadline and I need all the extra bit of time I can find. After coming to the conclusion that sleep is highly overrated and lunch has been replaced by a cup of soup and a piece of toast in one hand, whisk and camera in the other, (yes, I am also amazed of my newfound dexterity!), I asked one of my favorite bloggers to come and keep you company. I discovered Cindy in one of my late night blog hopping and I instantly fell in love with hers inventive crafts, thoughtful posts and awesome pictures of New York. When I ask someone to guest blog I always tell them to do what they please and have fun. Cindy went beyond the call of duty and baked you something tasty, comforting and perfect for a little Valentine's day breakfast. I guess I am in love mode after all! I hope you'll show Cindy the same enthusiasm and support you show me day after day. Enjoy!
Hi Everyone - I'm Cindy from quaint handmade and was so honored when Helen asked me to be a guest blogger here on Tartelette. It wasn't a task to be undertaken lightly as she is an award-winning blogger. As you know, Tartelette is a serious baking destination featuring fantastic recipes all beautifully photographed. I'm not a prolific baker by any stretch of the imagination, but have been known to knock around some pots and pans in the kitchen from time to time. And, since I've been a collector of all things English for years, I thought I would write about a Sweet Tea, which would be lovely for Valentine's Day.
Now, this is a special post for a special lady and her devoted readers, so I pulled out all the stops and feature tasty delights you might want to enjoy on a special day. But, it doesn't have to be fancy. Most of the food can be found in the local market, online, or in your cupboard. I also included a simple scone recipe for a homemade touch. First up, it's time to go shopping!
Tea & Coffee
I've been coveting tea from Harney & Sons for a while now and chose their Paris blend. It's a black tea with a lovely fruity fragrance. True tea aficionados might prefer a loose tea, but I thought the sachets were pretty. As the flavors in our sweets are delicate, a subtle Jasmine Tea from Twinings or Kusmi would also be wonderful. My husband likes tea, but loves coffee. We've recently discovered Stumptown Coffee and it has a rich, smooth flavor that would also be a nice alternative.
Butter & Jam
Next up, jam to go with our scones. I've loved the preserves from Sarabeth's for years and chose the Raspberry Orange Marmalade I found in our local market. Conserves from Wilkin & Sons are also delicious as are the jams from Bonne Mamon. Be sure to have some delicious butter on hand, too.
Cookies & Marshmallows
We are lucky to live in NYC and can purchase delicious treats from Whimsy & Spice in the warm weather at a market in Brooklyn. But, it's winter so I ordered their Herbs & Spices Gift Box online. The assortment is filled with goodness and includes Honey Lavender and Chocolate Orange Cardamom shortbread cookies, Cardamom marshmallows (so fragrant), Coconut White Chocolate 5 Spice cookies, and the most intriguing, Rose & Black Pepper Thumbprints (subtle). All of the flavors are delicate and light.
Taking Tea At The Savoy
I learned about the book Taking Tea At The Savoy when the author, Anton Edelman, from the Savoy Hotel appeared on Martha Stewart's original television show. He was quite impressed with her ability to make a proper cup of tea and became a little bit flirtatious. It was kind of funny to see Martha under those circumstances. It's a wonderful book with a variety of traditional English tea recipes.
I wanted to make something for our tea and scones are traditional. This recipe is simple enough, but doesn't mention salt, so I added a pinch. I also added more flour as the dough was quite sticky.
I am a newbie photographer and have learned so much from Helen. However, ever since picking up the camera, I've become a little bit impatient as a cook. I am absolutely amazed by the ladies who bake and take photos along the way. I do try to assemble the ingredients and tools I need in advance to at least capture the beginning and the end, although I made an extra effort for this post to get the middle, too.
Resting before baking
My round pastry cutter seemed to be in hiding and after trying a few alternatives, I used a heart. I hope it was divine intervention from cupid because I'm so happy they were in heart shapes and perfect for a Valentine's Day Sweet Tea.
Baked and cooling
Out of the oven and cooling on a wire rack. I think the egg wash helped identify them as hearts since the dough rose quite a bit thanks to a box of fresh baking powder.
You should have seen our kitchen after I made the scones! I think there was too much mess for such a simple recipe. The other side of room, which is three feet away, was worse. As I mentioned, the dough was quite sticky so there was flour everywhere, including places it shouldn't be ;).
At this point, I'm just about ready to pull it all together. I've selected some pieces from our English china collection and the double tiered cake stand is the star. I've polished the silver and endlessly fussed with the arrangement.
My husband Scott went for a walk and to pick-up my one missing item - sugar cubes. I didn't ask him to come right back because I wasn't expecting to be ready that day in terms of choosing the china. By now, I really have to photograph the Sweet Tea, or I'll have to disassemble everything, and start all over again the next day. Plus, those cookies are so fragrant and look delicious.
Finally, everything is arranged and it's time for tea + coffee! Thank you for your hospitality everyone. One lump or two?