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Guest Blogging : Quaint Tea

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 After coming to the conclusion that sleep is highly overrated and lunch has been replaced by a cup of soup and a piece of toast in one hand, whisk and camera in the other, (yes, I am also amazed of my newfound dexterity!), I asked one of my favorite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.

Homemade Scones
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.

Beautiful mess
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.

Sugar Cubes
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?

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Rita February 12, 2009 um 6:43 am

I love to be introduced to new beautiful blogs, thanks! Loved the tea set, makes you feel like Alice in Wonderland…
Good luck with the deadline, I am sure you will be fine!

Deeba PAB February 12, 2009 um 7:42 am

Thats a beautiful post Cindy & how wonderful to meet a talented blogger like you at Helens'. I love your attention to detail, how you've fussed over the table, each part of this layout, & the very English china you possess…enviable collection!! I'm glad the round cutter got lost…these heart shaped scones are precious!! :0) Deeba

Leacayoungart February 12, 2009 um 8:13 am

We had tea time once at a gathering with friends. It was so much fun. Great idea.

Sunshinemom February 12, 2009 um 11:33 am

Hi Cindy, right from the start to the end you held my attention. I loved the way you gathered the things, put them together and invited us over to tea. The Chinaware looks very pretty and…a lump for me please:) Thank you!!

Helen, thanks for introducing me to another lovely blogger, and wish you lots of luck and loads of energy!!

Cindy February 12, 2009 um 12:28 pm

Thank you Helen and to all of you. It was fun creating this post about a special tradition. xo, Cindy

MyKitchenInHalfCups February 12, 2009 um 1:15 pm

Such a beautiful tea with scones to be invited to. One lump please. Sigh . . . how will I ever make a choice with so many good things.
Lovely post. Thank you!

Anonymous February 12, 2009 um 1:16 pm

I love your "English" display, so pretty. Being English I think it’s such a shame that I don’t know any English person who has ever served me tea like this, normally in a Mug with a teabag (no teapot). Such a shame, I’d much rather come for tea with you! so lovely!

Bonbon Oiseau February 12, 2009 um 1:36 pm

oh cindy! what a wonderful post! your tea party looks incroyable! so pretty and dainty and…englishy!

LizNoVeggieGirl February 12, 2009 um 1:50 pm


Evelyn February 12, 2009 um 1:55 pm


Joyce February 12, 2009 um 1:59 pm

What a wonderful piece. I love scones! In fact will be making some this weekend.

Whimsy & Spice is a new fav of mine!

Thank you for sharing!
Have a golden day!

Oh I'll take 2 lumps please… I'm off to see your blog. xoxo

Kannada Cuisine February 12, 2009 um 2:05 pm

Such an elegant spread!!! perfect..

Hayley February 12, 2009 um 2:54 pm

I love this! What a thoughtful and sweet post. Perfect for Valentine’s Day. I’ve always wished Americans had tea time, and this shows me how much fun creating my own setup can be. Thanks for sharing, everything looks wonderful!

Anonymous February 12, 2009 um 3:15 pm

Wow! You have great instinct for wonderful guest posters Tartelette. I love how detailed and thoughtful this post is, much like the English tea time! My favorite teas are from Marriage Freres and I always try to get my old roomie to send me some.


blue moss February 12, 2009 um 3:28 pm

cindy….fabulous post and everthing looks so yummy!

Anonymous February 12, 2009 um 3:48 pm

I would love to sit down to that tea! Or any tea, really, but especially one with such a great spread of goodies.

Anonymous February 12, 2009 um 4:04 pm

Afternoon tea is such a treat! I love the Sarabeth’s strawberry rhubarb jam; I think I would use that one instead.

minisuperbias February 12, 2009 um 4:15 pm

from one traditional afternoon tea-er to another, this is lovely!

Botany's Desire February 12, 2009 um 4:18 pm

Love your guest blog today…so very sweet!! Also, thank you for your mention of Whimsy & Spice I have already contacted them to get their yummy treats in my shop. PS. We love Sarabeth Jams as well.


Manggy February 12, 2009 um 4:20 pm

Aww, what pretty scones (I need to make those, stat!). Pass the clotted cream and jam, please 🙂

Rosa's Yummy Yums February 12, 2009 um 5:41 pm

Marvelous! these scones look really cute!



please sir February 12, 2009 um 7:13 pm

WOW Cindy – such a great post filled with amazing photos!

Karynefoodaddict February 12, 2009 um 7:26 pm

très belle vaisselle! j’adore!!! et le famaux bazar de la cuisine me rappelle …la mienne!!!
va falloir que j’en fasse des scones…

Julia February 12, 2009 um 7:59 pm

Cindy! This is incredible! I love the idea of a high tea 🙂 You did such a great job!

Laura February 12, 2009 um 9:02 pm

I LOVE this. I spent most of this past summer sitting in Tea and Sympathy here in New York eating (and drinking) cream tea. And I have to say that I adore Martha in flirtatious mode…it absolutely cracks me up.

Cindy February 12, 2009 um 9:47 pm

thank you all for your wonderful comments and stories. i can’t even tell you how nervous i was about this post.
jenny – i will look up the tea you mentioned, it’s new to me. i love how you are your husband have dueling scones.
dana – i love the strawberry rhubarb jam, too. let’s have both!
botany’s desire – great!
laura – i’ve never been to tea and sympathy, but must go.
xo, cindy

Anonymous February 12, 2009 um 10:08 pm

A beautiful post full of lovely detail and lots of gorgeous things!

Lucy February 12, 2009 um 10:15 pm

What a GORGEOUS post! I loved every photograph 🙂

Anonymous February 13, 2009 um 12:23 am

Cindy I have been craving tea and yummy scones all day! Your post was wonderful….and I am still hungry!!! 😉

Vana February 13, 2009 um 12:38 am

such a sweet post makes me want to have tea and sweets for diner…

cindy* February 13, 2009 um 1:18 am

i think this post is, in a word, lovely. there is something about a tea party that makes me smile.


Anonymous February 13, 2009 um 1:46 am

yay! great post + great pics!

Anonymous February 13, 2009 um 2:49 am

How wonderful! I love tea and scones! I am kind of glad you could not find the round cookie cutter either as these turned out just lovely!

Anonymous February 13, 2009 um 2:55 am

Cindy this post ia amazing (vintage style)!!! Love it be pround of your work!!

Anonymous February 13, 2009 um 4:27 am

I feel as if I really am invited to tea! Your post is lovely, Cindy; it defines sweetness in so many ways. Thanks for the joy of your visit.

I LOVE your beautiful dishes, too!

Manger La Ville February 13, 2009 um 4:52 am

Tea is my favorite beverage of choice. I need to get that book, Taking Tea at the Savoy.

Cannelle Et Vanille February 13, 2009 um 11:02 am

I have a fascination for all things revolving tea time. I love the table set up, the finger foods, the beautiful cups… sometimes I dream of being British. sigh… what a wonderful post cindy!

Anonymous February 13, 2009 um 1:37 pm

Your blog is super. So are your photographies. They make me hungry. I have spent a nice moment when seeing them. Thanks a lot.

Jen Yu February 13, 2009 um 2:11 pm

What a lovely spread of tea treats! I’d have to say that you have done a terrific job of assembling and photographing. Helen taught you well! I would love to have been there for that tea! So nice to meet you, Cindy 🙂

Anonymous February 13, 2009 um 6:54 pm

It’s the little things in life…like this…that make you feel good.

Anonymous February 13, 2009 um 6:59 pm

What a treat to open up Helen’s blog today and see this beautiful array of tea goodies! Well done and gald to meet you Cindy!

lynda February 13, 2009 um 11:58 pm


Very sweet display…well done! Thanks for sharing the pics of the mess, too, so I know I am not alone when I see my kitchen look like that! I am ready for my cup of tea, now!

Cynthia February 14, 2009 um 2:29 am

Oh Cindy, you went all out for us. Thank you and what a delightful spread!

Anonymous February 14, 2009 um 3:19 am

Wow, the perfect tea party. Once again beautiful photos!

Cakelaw February 14, 2009 um 8:10 am

What a devine tea party! The china and silverware is just beautiful.

Anonymous February 14, 2009 um 8:55 am

What a lovely blog you’ve got — all the special things I love to enjoy. Tea and scones are a favorite and you’ve really displayed your lovely work well. Just perfect!

Anonymous February 14, 2009 um 9:39 am

mmmm..what lovely looking marmalade. this is the perfect cream tea setting 🙂 Happy Valentine’s to both you and Tartelette! x

Jenny February 14, 2009 um 4:33 pm

Your tea service and goodies are simply stunning, just perfect for high tea.

Unknown February 15, 2009 um 12:17 am

what a wonderful guest blogger:) the images are beautiful and the goodies look delicious! You have inspired me to take out my "good" tea cups…they hibernate in the back of one of my cabinets and they are so lovely that I’m sure they would make my tea and desserts taste better. 🙂

La Cuisine d'Helene February 15, 2009 um 12:37 am

She has a beautiful blog. Thanks.

Suzanne : : S.HOPtalk February 16, 2009 um 10:27 pm

Beautifully done Cindy! I can imagine the work that went into creating this post.

I don’t know how foodies do it. Never mind that for me, cooking is a huge challenge in itself, but to then photograph it along the way and have everything come out looking so scrumptious!??! I’m so impressed that you were able to pull it off so perfectly.
xo ~Suzanne

Inkspot Workshop February 17, 2009 um 2:37 am

Thanks for the link to the photography hints! They were great and if my pictures turn out even half as lovely as yours, then I’ll be ok:*

Unknown February 23, 2009 um 6:06 pm

They are so gorgeous! -e

LILIBOX March 1, 2009 um 7:07 am

Quand je vais à New York , je vais toujours prendre un brunch chez Sarabeth’s !
J’adore cet endroit.
la prochaine fois je ramènerais des confitures.

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