Saturday, February 11

14 days of love: day 11 how about a Valentine Sunday afternoon tea?

Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland
A festive Sunday Afternoon Tea
to enjoy Valentine's Day

 a perfect way to celebrate with little tidbits of food and sips of tea.
 I love this look with vintage tablecloth and mix and match cups and plates

Our Sunday Valentine Brunch Menu:

hot and iced Harrods English Blend Tea w/mint and lemon
cranberry harvest muffins
fresh berries
caramelized grapefruit halves
deviled eggs
selection of finger Sandwiches - check out these
 recipes offered up on Oprah's website

Get the kids involved in the preparation,
 and these mini crust less peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are adorable -
if you can't find a pretty box like these below, wrap the bottoms with wax paper


A Sunday Valentine Brunch is easy to assemble,
don't forget to break out your nice china,
iron a pretty tablecloth
and add a small bouquet of fresh flowers.  
You may remember I offered up a tea party post awhile back,
but unlike a more formal English-style tea,
a Valentine Tea is a time to get creative and add some whimsy. 

components of a good afternoon tea: 
good quality tea, fresh fruit,
delicious baked goods and small finger sandwiches
try Ina Garten's Cranberry Harvest muffin recipe for moist and delicious bites

While in London recently I stopped into Harrods to pick up some of their famous teas. 
Happy to note Harrods sells their teas online -- check out harrods tea guide

how to make the perfect cup of tea by Harrods 

1. Use a top quality loose-leaf tea Making tea in this simple way will ensure a great tasting cup
2. Make sure the tea has been stored properly, ideally in a re-seal able airtight bag or tin. This is particularly important for teas with more delicate flavours, such as green and white teas.
3. Use a small teapot. Small teapots allow you to control the infusion of the tea much better than larger teapots so we would recommend using one that is no larger than 300ml. With top quality loose tea you can infuse the tea more than once for multiple servings.
4. Be generous with the leaf. It is important to be generous with the tea and make sure you decide on the amount to use by weight and not volume. Use around 5g for a 300ml teapot.
5. Ensure the correct water temperature and quality. Green teas, white teas and yellow teas taste best when infused with 60°C-80°C water. Black teas, oolongs and puerh taste best with near boiling water. It is best to use the highest quality water you can find – filtered or bottled water is fine.
6. Infusion time. Infuse the tea for 3 minutes and make sure that you pour all of the infusion into a cup that is the same size or larger than the teapot. It’s very important not to let the tea stew by leaving it in the teapot, as it will become bitter.
Making tea in this simple way will ensure a great tasting cup but you can always experiment with larger servings of tea and shorter infusions to find the right taste for you.
my family loves any tea iced with mint and lemon
so for those not a big fan of hot tea,
mix it up a little with an iced tea party
and simply brew your tea, then ice it and
add a sprig of fresh mint and lemon wedge just before you serve.

finger sandwiches: use thinly sliced bread, cut the crust off and make any combination of butter, cream cheese, avocado, sliced cucumber, thinly sliced meats. 
You can serve either open faced or closed for a more traditional style
Other fun, yet easy ideas for a festive brunch: 
caramelized grapefruit  -
a little bit of brown sugar and pop it under the broiler - a delicious treat.


For a Sunday Tea, think small bites -- that's why I make deviled eggs, 
sometimes we add chives and touch of paprika.