Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Fruit Curd

Curdelicious produces an assortment of fruit curds including Lemon, Orange, Raspberry, and Key Lime. They are loaded with everything that makes a true English curd delicious and flavorful. They are thick and creamy and bursting with intense flavor. We are excited to introduce this product line to the shelves of The Rosemary House and served the Lemon Curd recently in the tea room at our Downton Abbey events this past week.

Curds may be enjoyed in many different ways. The most popular and well known is as a topping with freshly baked scones of course. They are perfect with toast and bagels. We also like to make a petite fruit tart by filling the tart shell with the curd, topping it with a variety of petite fresh fruit pieces and lightly glaze with gently warmed jelly. Want to take a plain cheesecake to the next level? Spread a layer of curd of your choice over the top of the baked (and cooled) cheesecake, garnish with whipped cream and edible flowers if they're available. So pretty!
Want to make your own Lemon Curd? That's easy, too. Follow this simple recipe for a Microwave Lemon Curd and impress your guests!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Earl Grey Tea Caramels

As part of the Chocolate and Tea Pairing event, there was an array of candies and caramels that could be purchased that evening. Presently, the small batch creations crafted by award winning chocolatier Frederic Loraschi are available to purchase on the Internet. They have plans on opening a store front soon, but in the meantime, we had a fun selection of sugary goodness to purchase.
Among the selection were these amazingly creamy Earl Grey Tea Caramels. The essence of Earl Grey has been captured in each individually wrapped candy. The candies are made in small batches, with the finest ingredients and without preservatives. Currently available on the website are Spiced Caramels or Coffee Pecan Caramels. There will certainly be a fresh batch of Earl Grey Tea Caramels soon!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Chocolate and Tea Pairing

One of our recent events in the tea room featured an evening of Chocolate and Tea Pairing. Working with Frederic Loraschi of Chocolat Loraschi, we selected five flavors of  hand crafted single origin gourmet chocolates and paired each one with two types of tea. We provided a worksheet for tasting notes that included the names of the chocolates and the types of teas.

 The first pairing featured Mango Passion Fruit White Chocolate which captures the exotic tangy flavors of mango and passion fruit with a white chocolate coverture. This was paired with a Japanese Sencha considered an everyday Japanese green tea with vegetal and grassy notes and also with Gunpowder, a Chinese green tea with a slightly smoky flavor.

In the background, the kitchen staff was busy plating chocolates and preparing tea for the next tasting. The teas were served in individual compostable cups, marked with the first letter of the tea so everyone was assured of having both teas to taste. We paired a Formosa Oolong from Taiwan with a toasty, nutty flavor and Darjeeling from India with floral undertones to sample with the Moroccan Mint Milk Chocolate.

Black tea blends, Windsor Castle with honey toasty notes and Palm Court, a classic Harney & Sons blend of four teas were served with the Black Currant Violet with 33% milk chocolate. As we sampled darker chocolates, we served heartier black teas. A Tippy Yunnan with its assertive balance of sweet earthy notes and a Keemun with its slight smoky flavor was paired with a Mexican Origin 64% Dark Chocolate. Lastly, an Assam with malty, honey notes and a Puerh with its aged earthy flavor was paired with a Tanzania 72% Dark Chocolate.
Marcella Farina, The Tea and Hat Lady posted this comment on our Facebook page: "The selection of chocolates certainly complimented the chosen teas. All palettes were tingling by the end of the evening."

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Herbs for Bees

Lots of Buzz about bees. We are still losing these fascinating pollinators at an amazing rate. I loved this little poster spotted at the Garden Show of York. When planning your garden for this year keep these bee attracting plants in mind!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Wild Women Tea Lady Pin

Another fun little surprise gift from a tea room customer - this spunky little handcrafted tea lady pin easily puts a smile on everyone's face! Wild Women! The card that was tucked in the box explains that laughter is a great blessing in life... good for the heart and soul. I must admit, there was a touch of laughter when I first saw this colorful pin with the dangly legs and golden locks. And I just love her tea pot and cup! Created in an art studio in Gaithersburg, MD, you can find a wide variety of specialty Wild Women Pins. Here's the link to Wild Women Pins specifically for this clever little tea mistress. Thank you, R.C.!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Healing Herbs by Tina Sams

Tina Sams is the editor of The Essential Herbal Magazine, one of our favorite herbal publications, so when we learned of her new book we just knew it was a "must have" and it did not disappoint. 
Healing Herbs features twenty herbs and Tina Sams managed to pick the perfect 20! Rarely do I read a book cover to cover but Tina has a pleasant easy to read writing style that  makes her book very easy and fun to read.  
The book begins with general instructions for herbal preparation which Tina Sams boils down to the simple easy to follow basic instructions.   Then it moves into the twenty herbs. Each chapter is filled with interesting details or folk lore about the herbs and then multiple recipes for cooking and medicine.
Sams shares her first hand experience with herbs but has also reached out to multiple herbalists and includes a recipe from those herbalists in each chapter as well. My contribution is in the comfrey chapter. The book is nicely indexed and features over 100 recipes for tea, medicine and dinner! This is a lovely book that has earned a spot on my bookshelf! It is available on The Essential Herbal website, or via Amazon.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Easter Preparations with a nod to TBT

(Throw Back Thursday) Bertha Reppert, circa 1990
Cedar and I will begin to prepare for the upcoming family Easter festivities today. The chocolate covered eggs have been made and stowed for safe keeping, but now it's on to making the bunny cakes. These little bunny cakes have been a tradition in the family ever since I've been making cakes. Dear old mom always requested a bunny hutch of 4 cakes and they would last thru the holiday weekend as we nibbled our way through these little guys. Over the years, the number of cakes has been cut down to 2, and we now make one with coconut 'fur' and one without. A round white layer cake is cut in half, frosted between the two halves, set up on the cut edge and frosted with soft white icing. Then, it's covered in coconut and decorated with a jelly bean face, toothpick whiskers, pink and white paper ears, and a cotton ball tail and served nestled among some Easter grass.

Here's the completed project - one happy helper petting the bunny cake he named Carl.

May your Easter season be joyful!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Pamper Yourself with a Tea Bath

To make and use these bath time formulas, simply mix the tea and herbs together in a bowl and then place the mixture in the middle of a piece of cheesecloth or in a T-Sac. Draw a warm bath and add the "Tub Tea"  to the bath.  Relax for 20 -30 minutes and discard the herbs. 
Peppermint Stock Photo
Pep-U-up Bath
Feel the need for a boost of energy.   Add some rosemary and peppermint to your tea bath.   Peppermint will open your sinuses and Rosemary clears your mind.  The tea will tone your skin.
3 Tbs green tea
2 Tbs dried Rosemary
1 Tbs dried peppermint

Wind -U-Down Bath
Lavender is about as calming a herb as you can find. It soothes away stress and will help you to sleep.  Camomile is also relaxing and will soothe irritated skin.
3 Tbs green tea
Assortment Of Dried Flower Tea Stock Photo3 Tbs lavender
1 Tbs chamomile

Oh Happy Day Bath
Roses and lemons are mood boosters to turn that day around to a happy one.  The roses also nourish the skin and smell so heavenly
3 Tbs green tea
2 Tbs lemongrass tea
1 Tbs rose buds

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Farm to Table Dinner

Recently we were  invited by our long time friend Rob Wood of Spoutwood Farm Center to a local farm to table dinner put on  by Dickinson College Farm.  Dickinson College Farm is a 50 acre working and educational farm that is certified organic.  The harvest is used in the dining hall and the farm has a Campus Supported Agriculture Program which feeds 130 families.  In addition, they maintain a farm stand at Carlisle's producer-only farmer's market and donates produce to the local food bank.  
In addition to visiting with organic farmers in the area like our friend Rob Wood and Mike Brownback of Spiral Path Farm we were treated to a fabulous fresh local food dinner. 
This annual event was held in the social hall of the Dickinson College student union.  The tables were set so pretty we didn't feel like we were on a college campus at all.   The extensive menu featured organic, local, fresh ingredients from the vibrant agricultural community of Pennsylvania.
The soups and salads included Kale and Apple Salad, Fresh Mixed Greens Salad, a thick delicious Vegetarian Chili and  a yummy Vegetarian French Onion Soup.
Above is the "Beet Bourguigon" one of the entrees along with Apple Stuffed Pork Loin.  Side dishes included Rustic Mash Potatoes, Stuffed Mushrooms, Roasted Root Vegetables and for dessert Sweet Potato Pie.

Following the meal we enjoyed a program presented by Forrest Pritchard, a Berryville, VA farmer and author of Gaining Ground his story of farmer's markets, local food and saving the family farm.

Monday, March 30, 2015


This darling little tea ornament was a surprise gift from a good family friend and frequent tea room guest. It's always such fun to receive a sweet remembrance for no particular reason except that she was being thoughtful and knew it would be perfect for my tea tree. Such a fun souvenir from the Charleston Tea Plantation in South Carolina. Thank you for thinking of me, JP!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Renee's Garden Orange Salad Dressing

We are proud to carry Renee's Garden Seeds in The Rosemary House.  We carry her
herb seeds, heirloom flower seeds and her fine container veggie seeds.    Today's recipe
is from one of her fine cookbooks.
Fresh Orange Salad Dressing
The fresh orange flavor comes through in this light and refreshing dressing
that really makes spring salad greens sing. 
1/4 C unseasoned rice, champagne or other mild vinegar
1/2 C fruity olive or canola oil
1 tsp. freshly grated orange zest (orange part of peel)
1/3 C freshly squeezed orange juice
2 T finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
Combine ingredients and blend or shake together thoroughly.

Find more great garden-inspired recipes in
 Renee's Cookbooks:


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Seed Starting

Guest Post By Lindsay del Carlo, Trial Garden Manager of Renee's Garden Seeds. 
Renee's Garden Seeds are available at The Rosemary House (scroll down the page).

You don’t need to have a fancy set up to successfully grow your garden seedlings. Many people have that one cabinet or drawer full of plastic containers that have lost their lids, a stack of yogurt cups that have long been forgotten or the clear plastic "clamshell" containers that you’ve kept around, and maybe an empty plastic milk jug or two. Disposable containers can receive new life by using them to start seeds.

Containers that are about no more than 3 inches deep are perfect for seed varieties that will be sown close together and then transplanted. I am using these to grow tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, basil and spring flowers like calendula, bachelor buttons, Agrostemma, and Clarkia. This will insure that I’m able to scoop up all of the roots with minimal damage when transplanting. Small yogurt cups work perfectly as individual containers to sow large seed varieties like pumpkin and squash.

Food and yogurt containers or milk jugs with their bottoms cut off will need to have drainage holes. Use a drill with a ¼ inch bit to put holes in the bottom of the containers every few inches. Clamshell containers of store bought produce often already have holes in them, so this makes them very convenient for sowing seeds. These also have a lid that can be closed to hold in moisture when weather is warm. Milk jug bottoms make good starting trays; Drill small drainage holes every few inches. Clamshell containers usually have drainage holes and a lid to hold in moisture.

The zucchini and pumpkins have grown perfectly in yogurt cups. When the roots completely fill out the cup, they will be transplanted directly into the garden.

Tomato and pepper seedlings all need to be transplanted into larger individual containers when they have several sets of true leaves. Yogurt cups are the perfect size for them. When the night temperatures are above 50°F (10°C) it will be time to move them outside to harden off, and then plant into the garden.