Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Herb of the Year 2012–Rose

This year the Rosa species has been chosen as herb of the year.  Beautiful bouquets and flower covered trellises come to mind when I think of roses, but I don’t usually think of the rose as an herb.

But then I remember all the recipes that I’ve seen using rose water, or the many times I see rose hip tea mentioned, or pretty tea time treats with candied rose petals.  So the rose is so much more than a favorite ornamental plant.

Rose tea

I’ve read that rose hip tea is a digestive aid (medicinal) and since rose hips are  high in vitamin C, they may provide relief for the common cold.

Rose water (made from the petals) is an astringent and helpful to treat acne.  It is also used in cosmetics.

Candied rose petals (culinary) are used as a pretty garnish for baked goods.

Since I don’t grow roses myself (just one bush), I’ll have to see if I can find a source for organic roses.  I’d like to try some of the many recipes I’ve seen using roses.  This one for Drop Scones with Rose Petals and Pistachios sounds good.

Do you have a favorite rose tea or baked good?  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Lavender Sugar

Isn’t it fun to be the winner of a blog giveaway?  I recently won a jar of Lavender Sugar on Donna's Designs blog.



I was surprised that this was not granulated sugar, but a powder.


Angustifolia Lavender is also known as English Lavender, or True Lavender.


I can see why it would make sense to strain the sugar before using it in tea, but I just added it right to the small teapot and then strained the tea into my cup.  Some little bits made it through the strainer, as you can see. 

The Lavender sugar gave the green tea a pleasant and delicate flavor.  I’d trying to decide what else to try this in next.  Perhaps some shortbread or a cake frosting.  Have you tried it yet?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine’s Day Tea Time


Miss Cavendish – and no doubt Jolly – had created an enchanting setting for a tea party.  An assortment of little tables had been brought out and laid with lace cloths, an elaborate silver tea service, as well as a staggering assortment of sweets and cakes and sandwiches heaped on porcelain plates.  There were bowls of jam and sugar and little candies dotted here and there, and petals dropped from the trees like silken confetti spangling the grass.

- from Dark Road To Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn

Take time to treat yourself to a special tea today. 

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Eating Royally

This book by Darren McGrady is full of wonderful photographs, recipes and anecdotes. 


The chapters are set up by The Royal Year and then The Royal Residences (Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, HMY Britannia, Balmoral Castle, Sandringham House, and Kensington Palace).  The author has worked for the Queen and was private chef to Princess Diana.

It’s interesting that the first recipe in the book is for Royal Tea Scones.  These were served every day.  There is a cute story about how the Queen didn’t actually eat the scones, but at the end of her tea she would crumble them on the floor for the corgis. 

P2073753Since scones are one of my favorite teatime treats, I decided to try the recipe.


Scones are very simple to make.  I usually cut mine in wedges, but the recipe called for 2 inch rounds.


They baked up nicely, but since I didn’t brush the tops with beaten egg yolk before putting them into the oven, they are not as brown as they could be.  I ate them warm with butter and strawberry-blackberry preserves.  A cup of Darjeeling tea was perfect with these.


There are photos of each of the beautiful Royal residences.  This is Kensington Palace, the home of Princess Diana and her sons William and Harry until her death. 

There are also photos of the many recipes which include Battenberg Cake, Chocolate Biscuit Cake, Spring Asparagus Soup, Salmon En Croute, Roasted Spring Vegetables and dozens more. 


The Queen’s birthday tea looks delicious and includes Royal Scones as well as her favorite chocolate cake.  I’m going to enjoy trying many of the recipes in this interesting book.  You can check out The Royal Chef at his fun website. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Pu-erh - What a Surprise

I’ve heard so much about this tea, most of it good.  On the negative side, I’ve heard that it’s an acquired taste.  I’d only tried Pu-erh once before.  I shouldn’t say tried - I brewed it, but didn’t actually sip the tea because I couldn’t get past the extremely earthy fragrance.  


A while ago I posted about a company called Tea Vivre.  The tea samples they sent to me were wonderful, high quality tea, but due to my previous experience with Pu-erh, I was reluctant to sample their Mini Tuocha.


These are small cakes of ripened Pu-erh tea flakes.  They are individually wrapped and the little cakes of tea are shaped like birds nests.  They can be aged for many years, like fine wine.  The package said that these were produced in May 2007.


What a surprise – this is nothing like the Pu-erh from my first experience.  The flavor is very mellow and I did not find it too earthy.  It was interesting to read on the company website that this tea is served after large meals since it breaks down fat (may be helpful for weight loss).


I’m glad that I finally sampled the Ripened Aged Pu-erh Mini Tuocha.  This could easily become a favorite.  Have you tried it yet?

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