Sunday, July 7, 2019

Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake

Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake

3 c. flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs
3 cups sugar
3 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
1-1/2 c. oil
3 c. zucchini, grated
1 c. miniature chocolate chips (or nuts if you prefer)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a Bundt pan, set aside. Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, soda, and salt) and set aside.  In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and add sugar, 1/4 cup at a time.  Add melted chocolate, then add the oil.  Add the reserved flour mixture and blend well.  Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips.  Mix well and pour into prepared Bundt pan.  Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Cool 15 minutes before removing from cake.  Liberally dust with confectioner's sugar, or make a confectioner's sugar and milk glaze to pour over the cake as shown in the picture.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Aylesbury Tea Room, Leesburg, VA

A recent Rosemary House traveling herb seminar transported us to Leesburg, VA for a tour of stately homes, unique gardens, and afternoon tea at the Aylesbury Tea Room on Market Street in Leesburg, VA. 

Our group of 40 plus garden and tea enthusiasts filled the many small rooms of this quaint British style tea room. And a photo with the Queen is an absolute must!

Once seated, tea orders were taken, and a variety of cozy wrapped teapots were offered at each table. These beautiful vintage matching Wedgwood Queensware tea cups graced our table. Made in the 60s/70s, the teacup features embossed blue grapes and vines encircling the cup and saucer. 

Susanna and David had a cozy table by the window. The three tiered tray featured assorted triangular cut sandwiches, scones with true devon cream and strawberry jelly, and tasty desserts including a lemon curd filled pound cake and a cream topped meringue.

Dainty English china adorned the walls.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Emeralds and Envy

There's a new cozy mystery nestled on my bookshelf tucked among the many cookbooks and tea themed books I collect. This new tome, Emeralds and Envy, happens to have been authored by fellow tea enthusiast and Tea With Friends blogger Angela McRae. Angela has a descriptive, easy-to-read, casual writing style with bits of humor popping up throughout the book. The story opens with a murder in the small town community of Roseland, GA. Multiple characters are introduced, friendships are formed, town gossip is shared all the while leading the reader to wonder who committed this deed. There is a strong community of small businesses within the story line that makes you want to visit the cute shops and cafes! The main character, Emma Madison creates jewelry and is always on the lookout for garage sale finds that can be redesigned into her clever designs. Emma is mostly a coffee drinker, but there is an afternoon tea interlude that was enjoyable to read, plus a recipe for the Egg-Olive Sandwich Spread that was served can be found in the back of the book along with Emma's Blueberry Tea Bread recipe. In the end, Emma is glad to finally have the murder solved (no spoilers here), and peace and quiet will reign over Roseland again. Since this is Book 1 in the Junkin' Jewelry Mystery series, I suspect there might be another situation that requires more sleuthing in the future.

In the acknowledgements, Angela shares that this book is dedicated to her first born niece, Madison Horton, and that the last name of the main character (Emma Madison) also honors her. This special bond between aunt and niece is particularly sweet. 

Friday, June 28, 2019

National Cream Tea Day

England celebrates National Cream Tea Day today - Friday, June 28th, 2019. We're happy to join in the celebration, and propose to make it International Cream Tea Day!

         What is a Cream Tea? Very simply, scones, cream (lots of it!), jelly and tea.
 The scone is considered merely a carrier for the cream and jelly 
that is slathered upon the scone.
And then the controvery, cream first? or jelly first? 
As you can tell by the photos, we prefer the cream first. 
Then jelly. Either way, it's delicious.
                                                Can you really ever have too many scones?
                                               We enjoy our scones warm from the oven.
                                                        Happy National Cream Tea Day!

Monday, June 24, 2019

Getting her hands dirty!

The other day, Angelica was tasked with planting and decorating the kids vintage wagon. This little red wagon was painted and updated by dear old dad for the bicentennial celebrations in 1976! With the names of his two grandchildren, Jessie and Jake painted on the side of the wagon, he proudly pulled them around town during the festivities. The wagon has been repurposed, and now holds a fairy garden full of succulents complete with a dry creek bed. Mushrooms, fairy chairs, and creativity abound. Have you spotted it in the garden yet?

Monday, June 17, 2019

Lovely Lavender Tea

Sweet Remembrances hosted a Lovely Lavender Tea to coincide with a local lavender festival. Attendees were encouraged to stroll the lavender festival in Dillsburg, PA in the morning, and then head to nearby Mechanicsburg, PA to savor a host of lavender delights. A refreshing Lavender Mint Punch was offered in addition to our regular tea menu. Various hot teas featuring lavender were included in the tea list from Lavender Earl Grey, to Lavender Black Tea, to Fig and Lavender.

The tea began with a Salad of Mixed Greens and Summer Berries, topped with Parmesan cheese and dressed with a Lavender Balsamic Vinaigrette.

  • The sandwiches and savories featured a fun variety of lavender infused options. Starting at the top, the plate included:
  • Miniature Lavender Meatball, 
  • Lemon Glazed Lavender Blossom Muffin, 
  • Miniature Leek Quiche with Thyme & Lavender, 
  • Pork Tenderloin with Lavender & Mint on a crostini, and 
  • Herbs de Provence Chicken Tender

A triangular Lavender Cream Scone was served alongside a slice of  Blueberry Lemon Lavender Tea Bread with sweet cream and lavender lemon curd. Fresh Summer Strawberries were glazed with a Lavender Chamomile Honey Syrup.

The sweet perfumed nature of lavender flowers blend perfectly with desserts. Our trio of sweet lavender treats included a Lavender Mint Cookie, Chocolate Lavender Brownie, and a honey frosted Lavender Honey Cupcake.                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
Many of the recipes were seleted from the Lavender Cookbook by Sharon Shipley. A few of the recipes were obtained at the Pennsylvania Lavender Festival that was held at the Willow Pond Farm in Fairfield, PA near Gettysburg. Alas, this festival is no longer held, but many of their recipes graced our table at this event. In addition, a file folder full of lavender recipes gathered over the years, clipped from magazine and newspaper articles rounded out the selection today. 

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Rhubarb Pecan Tea Bread

This yummy springtime tea bread provides the perfect answer to what to make with the fresh rhubarb harvest. Sweet and pretty with the pieces of rhubarb in the bread, it's a delicious addition to the tea table.

Rhubarb Pecan Tea Bread
1-1/2 c. light brown sugar, firmly packed
2/3 c. vegetable oil
1 egg
1 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2-1/2 c. flour
1-1/2 c, raw rhubarb, diced
1/2 c, pecans, chopped
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. lemon balm, fresh, snipped fine
1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
1 T. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 2 - 8" x 4" x 3" loaf pans. In large mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, oil and egg. In a large measuring cup, combine buttermilk, baking soda, salt and vanilla. Add the milk mixture to the sugar mixture alternately with the flour, beating well after each addition. Fold in the rhubarb and pecans. Turn the batter into the prepared pans. Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over the batter. Bake for 60 minutes, or until loaf tests done. Cool on wire rack.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Garden Veggie & Herb Terrine

This yummy appetizer was the hit of the recent garden party we hosted for a group of herbal enthusiasts traveling from Ohio. This savory baked cheesecake served with crackers is fairly easy to make, serves a crowd, and provides a beautiful addition to any party. Garnished with edible flowers on top and edged with freshly snipped parsley, it is a feast for the eyes!

Garden Veggie & Herb Terrine
2 - 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese (feta works well also)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1/2 c. sour cream
2 eggs
2 tsp. fresh lemon zest
1/2 c. fresh garden herbs
 (parsley, rosemary, savory, chives, thyme, basil, any assortment)
1/4 c. snipped spring onion
1/2 c. pimiento, chopped
1/3 c. black olives, chopped
additional parsley to coat sides

Line bottom of an 8" x 4" x 2" glass loaf pan with foil. Grease sides; set aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese till smooth. Add Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and ground red pepper. Beat well. Add sour cream, eggs, and lemon zest. Beat just until blended. Do not over beat. Mix in spring onion, pimiento, and olives. Pour into prepared pan; spread evenly. Place loaf pan into a larger baking pan. Pour boiling water into the larger pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake for 50 minutes, or until center appears firm when shaken. Carefully transfer loaf pan to a cooling rack. Cool completely. Cover and chill. Overnight is best so the flavors blend. Just before serving, slide a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen, then invert onto a serving platter. Remove foil. Gently press parsley onto the sides of the terrine. Garnish with edible flowers. Serve with assorted crackers.

Monday, June 10, 2019

The Queen's Tea

Celebrations over the weekend featured an afternoon tea in honour of Queen Elizabeth on the occasion of her 93rd birthday. The menu began with a recipe from Eating Royally (Recipes and Remembrances from a Palace Kitchen) by Darren McGrady, a Pear and Pecan Salad with an assortment of toppings including fresh pear, parmesan cheese, fresh basil in a balsamic dressing. Lots of good flavor.

The sandwich assortment included an Apple, Carrot & Cheese Sandwich on Raisin Bread, Petite Red Radish Sandwich, 1953 Coronation Chicken Salad, Roast Beef & Tomato with Onion and Chive Spread on Puff Pastry rounds, and a Tomato Basil Pesto Cheese Crostini.

For the scone course, we served Rhubarb Pecan Bread (local, organic and seasonal rhubarb), and a Cream Scone (made from a recipe from the Claridge Hotel in London) with a variety of fresh fruit.

Dessert included a petite icing rose atop a Pineapple Pecan Cupcake, Coconut Lime Shortbread, and White Chocolate Raspberry Cookie. There was also a Raspberry Shrub and Chardonnay Spritzer to toast the Queen.                           Long Live the Queen! Long May She Reign!

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Rosemary Pineapple Punch

We welcomed a group of herbal enthusiasts from Ohio this week, and provided a few tasty treats to enjoy under the pavilion on a warm spring (almost summer like) evening. We  served a true Rosemary House original and an all around favorite, Rosemary Pineapple Punch. This is a refreshing drink to quench the thirst on a warm summer's eve. The unique flavor of rosemary offers a delightful balance to the pineapple juice. Jillian, our youngest tea room hostess, cheerfully offered punch to the out-of-state visitors. We're happy to share the recipe here.
Rosemary Pineapple Punch
1/3 c. dried rosemary
2 c. water
1 - 46 oz. can pineapple juice
2 liters lemon-lime soda
1 liter ginger ale
Boil the water, remove from heat, add rosemary and steep for 30 minutes.
Strain. Chill. Add chilled rosemary tea to pineapple juice and let flavors blend overnight. Just before serving, add chilled lemon-lime soda and ginger ale. Pour into large pitcher or punch bowl. 
Yield: 5 quarts

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Rose Petal Witch Hazel Astringent

Rose Petal Witch Hazel Astringent --
It is so easy to make a lovely facial toner/astringent. Simply fill a jar 1/3rd full with dried organic rose petals or 1/2 full with fragrant fresh organic rose petals. We like to use the old fashioned rosa rugosa roses. Pour your favorite Witch Hazel astringent over the petals and allow the petals to steep for about a week. The Rose Petals will be mostly white by then.  Strain them out and they get added to the compost bin. Label your lovely witch hazel and use as a skin toner/astringent.   We make small batches and use it up. It is very fragrant.   Calendula petals are very healing for the skin. Aloe Vera is lovely.  Rose feels very cooling to us and we like to wipe our faces with a cosmetic pad dipped in Rose/Witch Hazel Astringent on hot summer days.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

An Explosion!

The water iris in our backyard pond have simply exploded in all their glorious color! It is a real burst of color and sparks a smile and a pause to admire them every time someone walks past the pond. 
Flowers whisper "Beauty!" to the world, even as they fade, wilt, fall. ~Dr. SunWolf

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day - with Remembrance and Respect

And I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.
~Lee Greenwood

Friday, May 24, 2019

Seasonal Salads with Marcella

We welcomed Marcella Paraskevas Ramirez from NJ to the tea room this week as our guest chef instructor. As a Personal chef, she tailors special diets suitable for vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, allergies, macrobiotic diets, etc. For our event, she shared creative healthy salads representing the four seasons and demonstrated assorted dressings to sample with them. In addition to her culinary skills as a chef, she is a holistic practitioner and consultant for humans and animals specializing in aromatherapy, Bach Flower Remedies, and clinical herbalism.

The Spring Salad featured spring greens and edible flowers. The edible flowers were harvested from our herb garden and included rose petals, white violets, horseradish blossoms, sage blossoms, and pansies, all organic pesticide free of course. A rice vinegar and oil combination with fresh ginger comprised the dressing and a delicious homemade artisan bread was served alongside this pretty salad.

The Farmer's Market Salad with a Tomato Basil Vinaigrette represented Summer. Veggies such as zucchini, yellow squash, radishes, shallots, and cherry tomatoes all topped with feta cheese completed the plate. A creamy cilantro dressing was offered to complement this salad.
Celebrating Autumn, Marcella's Fiesta Salad was served. This salad included a combination of cucumber, sweet orange peppers, onion, garlic, jalapeno, corn, tomatoes, and black beans. Soaked cashews, blended with avocado, cilantro and coconut milk created a nice thick creamy flavorful topping. For a lighter dressing, rice vinegar, lime juice, olive oil and a combination of spices (cumin and cayenne) were blended together to create an alternative choice.
The winter salad featured kale and mixed greens with a Ginger Carrot Dressing. It was an evening of flavors to sample! Tastebuds were dancing all night long! A special thank you to Marcella for sharing her enthusiasm, knowledge, humor, and culinary talents with our group.