Sunday, September 21, 2014

It's in the Bag, Handbags, that is!

Diane Baird shared her fabulous collection of handbags at our recent tea party. Her program featured a wonderful presentation of how purses were used for style, social status and wealth and also how the style and design of hand bags have changed over the years as the fashion styles have changed. 

This intricately beaded floral bag from the 1840's belonged to her Great Great Grandmother and it is the one that started her collection.  Her handbag collection has now grown to over 600 purses.
If a scene on a purse depicts a place or time, versus just general floral motif, it has more value.  And if it has a press down knob clasp, that increases the value as well.
A lovely collection of petite metal bags, Art Deco style. The beaded dog purse on the right is one that would have belonged to a child.
This fabulous princess coach is a prize piece in her collection.  It is a Swarovski Crystal Bag, designed by Kathrine Baumann of Beverly Hills. "If it makes you smile, it's my bag." Diane also collects coaches so this fit into two of her collections.
As Diane lead us through the decades in purses, she would pass around some of her collection. Everyone had a chance to admire and to feel these bags. So generous she was to let us touch. It made the event extra special.

Thank you to Diane Baird for sharing your interest with such a marvelous and informative program!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Handbag Party Favors

We love our customers! Barbara, from Maryland, surprised us with these cleverly made pocketbook party favors for all the attendees at our 'It's in the Bag, Handbags, that is!' special tea and program earlier in August. Each little bag is so colorful and fun! Taking scrapbook paper, she cut out the shape of a purse using enough paper to form the front, back, base, and top edge to fold over the front of the purse. She tucked a piece of Hershey's Nugget candy in the base of each purse. After attaching a little snippet of ribbon for the strap and securing a tiny button on the front, the purse was done. She prepared about 50 of these darling little favors! What a labor of love!

Thank you so much, Barbara!

Friday, September 19, 2014

An Afternoon Tea - It's in the Bag!

We recently held a special themed event at Sweet Remembrances where we featured purses and handbags. Included in this special day was a program about purses and an afternoon tea. The first course was a Romaine Lettuce with Mixed Berries, Toasted Pecans and Feta Cheese. It served as a Carryall for Raspberry Poppyseed Dressing.

The sandwich course included a Black Bean & Corn Reticule, What's on the Bottom of Your Purse? Baguette, Warm Artichoke & Cheese Wallets, Tomato Rosemary Muffin Clutch, and an Almond Chicken Salad Handbag with fresh chive handle.

The little purse stood upright!
While our guests were enjoying the assortment of sandwiches, the scones were baking in the oven, with fragrant aromas wafting through the tea room. The scone course always includes the Traditional English Cream Scone along with a second flavor. We featured an Orange Pecan Scone for this event accompanied with Fresh Orange Slices and Strawberries, Sweet Cream, Orange Curd, and Strawberry Preserves.

And dessert included a YSL Designer Cookie, Pretty in Pink Pocketbook Cupcake, and Chocolate Almond Truffles.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tea & Sweets

Tea & Sweets is the newest publication from Hoffman Media and TeaTime Magazine and it's available at The Rosemary House. Billed as a collection of Fabulous Desserts for Afternoon Tea, this colorful hardcover book features more than 100 recipes from the editors of TeaTime magazine plus recipes from thirteen different tea rooms across the States including Sweet Remembrances.

Deciding what recipe to include was a difficult choice. Betty Terry, the Associate Editor, requested 2 or 3 recipe choices, and then they selected one. My recipe for Carrot Cake Mini Cupcakes is featured on page 25 along with a brief background story on The Rosemary House, Sweet Remembrances and our mother's legacy.   
What a thrill it is to be included in this book! Special thanks to Lorna Reeves, Editor, for spotlighting a variety of tea rooms including Sweet Remembrances, and for continuing to share the love of tea thru TeaTime Magazine and other specialty publications.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Let's have Tea

Tea is everywhere these days! Why, it has even hit facial tissue boxes! Who would have thought!? Let's have tea!

This Sofitelle Facial Tissue Disney Collection is distributed by the Royal Paper Converting in Phoenix, AZ. My sister found it in one of the local dollar stores in her area and simply knew I needed it! Tea in the garden? One cup or two?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

21st Annual Fairy Festival!

A fairy's sweet song, a field of flowers, the glorious sun, relaxing hours...

There are many delights, both great and small, and the best thing in life is to share them all.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Fairy Festival Garden Art

Several years ago, while walking around Philadelphia, we discovered some school yard art that featured repurposed and recycled bottle caps secured on plywood. Large and colorful, it was a bright spot along our walk. We truly loved this eye-catching idea and shared a blog post here. Well, over the years, we have been collecting and saving bottle caps to create a pop of color in the garden! We now have our own festive garden art for the upcoming Fairy Festival this weekend.

Special thanks to the combined talented efforts of artist Patti V. for designing and drawing these clever pieces of garden art, thanks to handyman Ron A. for skillfully cutting them out, thanks to artist Marj R. for artistically placing the bottle caps, and to Susanna R. for coordinating the team effort to bring this project to fruition. They have been placed about the garden in preparation for the festival.

And special thanks to Matt H. for this festive cut out tea pot. It's simply perfect for tea room garden art!Don't you just love each and every one?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Pistachio Mascarpone Crostini

We have been enjoying these tasty little toasts in the tea room recently. Relatively easy and definitely tasty, it's a winning combination. Start with a French baguette which you slice into 1/4 inch diagonal pieces. Spread each piece with a layer of mascarpone cheese (a soft Italian cheese usually found in the fancy cheese section at the market). Sprinkle with coarsely chopped pistachio nuts. At this point, you may set these aside until ready to toast them.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the prepared bread slices on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Toast for about 10 - 12 minutes, or until the edges of the bread are light golden. Remove from the oven and top with thinly snipped fresh basil leaves. Drizzle with a touch of honey. The warmth of the cheese, the freshly cut basil, and the sweet honey nectar coupled with the crisp bread toasts simply makes a perfect combination of flavors. Enjoy!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Crystallized Mint Leaves

Freshly harvested mint leaves from the garden have been turned into 'after tea mints' for a recent gathering of friends. These are very easy to do, but just be sure to allow enough time for them to dry before serving. Since the use of raw egg is no longer recommended, I used Wilton's Meringue Powder which is easy to find in the cake decorating aisle of any craft shop. Simply whisk 2 Tbsps. water with 2 tsps. Meringue Powder until frothy. This is the equivalent of 1 egg white, and will coat a large quantity of mint leaves. Rinse the mint leaves to remove any garden residue, and then dip into the frothy egg white. Typically, I use a paint brush to make sure the leaf is fully coated and to also brush off any excess egg white. Gently spoon granulated sugar over the front and back of the mint leaf. Place the mint leaves on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and allow to dry. If necessary, turn the leaves over and sprinkle additional granulated sugar on the leaf. Allow to dry until the leaf and sugar are firm. Serve with pride at your next special gathering.

 These have a strong mint flavor and a crispy sugar coated crunch. Delightful!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fermenting Foods

All hands on deck during a recent workshop on fermenting foods.  Our guest speaker was Maureen Diaz of Mamasfollies.  Maureen is a talented writer and speaker on homesteading and whole foods cooking. We were delighted to have her at The Rosemary House.  First, she discussed the health benefits of fermented foods from detoxification to increasing nutrient content to decreasing anti-nutrients (foods that block nutrient absorption).   Of course the #1 health benefit is the probiotics found in fermented foods.  Probiotics build up the beneficial microbes which are often destroyed by pharmaceuticals (antibiotics and others), stress, and toxins in the environment.   Probiotics also increase assimilation of nutrients and can annihilate pathogens.

The basics of fermentation include veggies, fruits, salt and whey.  She encourages a quality unrefined sea salt such as Himalayan or Celtic.  Whey is used as an activator and is easy to acquire from whole milk yogurt.    To give you an idea of a basic Sauerkraut recipe: 2 heads of cabbage, 1 T salt, 1/4 C whey and water only if needed (most fresh cabbage is juicy enough).   Certainly you can add others such as carrots, granny smith apples, garlic, onions, or caraway seeds.  Slice and knead the cabbage until the juice is released.  Add the salt and whey,  pack tightly into a glass jar, loosely tighten to allow the gases to escape.  Allow to ferment for 7 days or until it tastes perfect to you. Then refrigerate to end the fermenting process. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Amelia's Teas and Holly

Amelia's Teas and Holly, a combination tea room and Christmas shop is located on Main Street in Mullica Hill, NJ. Since we arrived before our scheduled reservation, we spent some time browsing several antique malls in the area before tea.

Lately it seems we've been traveling on a Sunday which makes it a challenge to locate a tea room that is open. It's always exciting when we accomplish that task. We each placed our orders for tea, and the tables quickly filled with assorted teapots, all shapes and sizes.
Tomato Bisque Soup - First Course
We each had our own personal three tiered tea tray laden with all sorts of yumminess. Sandwiches, on the bottom tier, included a cucumber sandwich with a creamy spread, egg salad on a pita triangle, and a pimiento cheese sandwich. The middle tier held a warm savory quiche, fresh fruit garnish, a raspberry crumb scone, and a slice of orange tea bread dusted with confectioner's sugar. The top tier featured a petit four, an almond square, chocolate brownie, and lemon cream filled puff.

Cedar, the eleven year old that proudly proclaims 'I don't like tea' was pleased to be able to receive ham and cheese squares on his personal tiered tray. Truth be told, I think he enjoys going to tea rooms more than he wants to admit!

 Angelica, Susanna, and Nancy, on the other hand, love tea! Cheers!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Latz's By The Bay

We recently visited Latz's By The Bay in Somers Point, NJ. This specialty restaurant features Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch including a Creperie, Private Parties, and Afternoon Tea (Tea at the Top) served on the second floor. A dynamic husband and wife duo, Andrew and Adrienne, are fourth generation restaurateurs that operate this family business. Adrienne is the inspiration behind adding the tea room to the well established 5-star restaurant.

A classy elegance is captured with the beige linen tablecloths and window dressings. The same muted beige tones are repeated in the china. Dragonflies and ladybugs, featured on the china are repeated on the tablecloths.

 An  abundant colorful summer salad with fresh fruits, berries, onions,
and raspberry balsamic vinaigrette was offered first.

The three tiered tea tray followed the salad course. Scones, sandwiches and desserts completed the variety of afternoon tea treats.

The scones, a Scottish recipe, were cranberry (left) and coconut (right) served with a Devon cream and Orange Curd.

The sandwiches were all quite yummy and included a cucumber sandwich, a miniature quiche, sliced turkey with strawberry and balsamic drizzle, their famous crab cake sandwich, and roast beef with horseradish.

Vegetarian Option
The desserts were plentiful and monogramed! The miniature cream brulee with blueberries was delicious. Chocolate is always popular in our family. Miniature cakes, cheesecake, and cookies completed the assortment. They have a pastry chef that is quite busy putting together this assortment of sweet treats!
What a fun afternoon! This might have been Cedar's favorite tea room.... since there is a restaurant on the first floor, he was able to order off the lunch menu and was quite tickled to be able to request a hamburger and French fries! With a hint of disbelief in her voice, Adrienne, the tea room owner, commented that this was the first time ever that a hamburger and fries were served in her tea room!