Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Great Gatz Tea

When Jay Gatsby (nee James Gatz) arranged an afternoon tea for long lost love Daisy Buchanan, it was far from the leisurely respite most of us look forward to.  Rather, he was a bundle of nerves to the point of grumpiness.  

Fortunately for Harvey Nichols patrons, they can enjoy an opulent 1920s tea without the tension.  Here's their Gatsby inspired Roaring 20s Tea menu that commenced 1 May, 2013.

Illegal Libations
In the spirit of Prohibition, choose either a coupette of Champagne with gold leaf, or a Prohibition Pink Lady cocktail: a blend of gin, lemon juice, grenadine and cointreau garnished by a sunken maraschino cherry.

  • Pigs in a blanket
  • Chicken Caesar roulade
  • Blini ‘gribiche’
  • Lobster roll
  • Summer Fruit and plain scone, clotted cream and Champagne jam

  • White chocolate and coconut pearl macaroon (in jewelry box)
  • Bootlegger rum, coffee and chocolate cake garnished with fireworks chocolate transfer
  • Pineapple upside-down cake, garnished with jewel
  • Gin Rickeys (mini martini glass), finished with crème de menthe jelly and a cocktail cherry
  • Harvey Nichols peanut butter, cocoa-dusted cigar (from a Gatsby cigar box)

The Roaring 20s Afternoon Tea is served daily from 3pm – 5pm.  £30 for Afternoon Tea and £40 with the champagne or cocktail.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mermaid Tea Under the Sea

Low tide high tea by ~wovenlines at deviantART
"I'd like to be...
under the sea...
in an octopus's garden

So rang the lyrics of our Fairy Tale Tea production of The Little Mermaid.  But mermaid tea parties are not just for guppies.  Today, we chum the waters of inspiration with a sprinkling of oceanic ideas to make your Summer tea party a splash!

Empress Tea Company's Tropical Green tea: Green tea, safflowers, marigolds, blue mallow flowers, cornflowers (like the ones mentioned in The Little Mermaid!) with mango and passion fruit flavors.


Here are a few simple suggestions to keep your kitchen time to a minimum
Yield: 8 servings

'Sea' Cucumber
by Joy de Vivre
  • thinly sliced English (hot house) cucumbers
  • Sesame vinegar (often used in Asian cooking)
  • unsalted butter, softened
  • soft white sandwich bread
  1. Soak cucumber slices in vinegar overnight
  2. Drain cucumbers thoroughly
  3. Butter bread - this is much easier to do if bread is frozen
  4. Place 4 cucumbers on buttered bread, top with another slice of buttered bread
  5. Cut crusts off of sandwich with a bread knife; cut sandwich into 4 squares, between each cucumber slice

Neptune's Salad filling
by Joy de Vivre
  • 1 Cup cooked Shrimp or crab
  • 1 Tablespoon Mayonnaise, or to taste
  • Squeeze of Fresh Lemon
  • Dried Dill to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon diced Scallions, or to taste
Beautiful when dolloped onto a French bread baguette slice garnished with a sprig of fresh dill

Seashell & 'Pearl'
by Joy de Vivre
  • 4 hardcooked Eggs, diced
  • 1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons dried Tarragon or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon prepared Mustard or to taste
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Large Golden Caviar eggs for garnish, one per sandwich - the smallest jar should do
  • Shell-shaped cookie cutter - one that enables you to cut 2 shells per piece of sandwich bread will keep the portion 'tea size'
  1. Mix all ingredients
  2. Thinly spread bread of choice with butter or similar - a white or light wheat works best so as not to compete with the tarragon flavor
  3. Using a shell-shaped cookie cutter, cut shell shapes out of bread - place bread in freezer for a short while prior to cutting if needed, to make cutting simpler and cuts cleaner
  4. Spoon egg mixture onto bred
  5. Place top layer of bread on egg mixture, making sure to angle the bread so that it appears like an open shell
  6. Garnish with one large golden caviar egg to look like pearl - simply press it into egg mixture at front of sandwich; it should stay just fine

Ocean 'Currant,' Lavender Sunset
adapteded from

[image from]
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream (may need more)
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest, grated
  • 2 tablespoons crushed fresh lavender flowers, or 1 tablespoon dried lavender
  • 1/2 cup currants 
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Lavender flowers for garnish
  1. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder & salt together 
  2. Cut the cold butter into the dry mixture using a pastry blender/cutter until coarse and crumbly
  3. Add  cream, stirring just until moistened. Add splashes of additional cream as needed if mixture is too dry
  4. Stir in the currants, lavender, and orange zest
  5. Turn out on lightly floured surface, and knead 4 or 5 times.  Be careful not to overwork dough. 
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  7. Chill dough for 30 minutes
  8. Roll out dough 3/4" thick on a floured surface, then cut with biscuit cutter. 
  9. Place each scone about 2 inches apart on a nonstick baking sheet covered with baking parchment paper
  10. Bake at 375 for 15 minute or until golden brown

DESSERT PARTY FAVORS - keep it light, it's Summer
Chocolate Shortbread Mermaid Cookies
by Joy de Vivre, inspired by Martha Stewart
  • 3/4 Cup all-purpose flour
    [image from]
  • 1/2 Cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 Cup confectioners' (powdered)sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Decorative Icing
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees 
  2. Beat butter until creamy, using an electric mixer
  3. Add flour, sugar, and cocoa and mix just until the ingredients are combined
  4. Chill dough in the refrigerator 30 minutes
  5. Roll out dough to about 1/2-inch on a floured board and cut into sea shapes using cookie cutters 
  6. Decorate with icing