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Thursday, August 13, 2015

· Birthday Tea Party ·

This isn't my normal, predictable sort of post, but I thought our tea party this month was worthy of a post. :-)  We had some friends visiting around our "birthday season" (3 of the 4 birthdays in our family fall within a 13 day period), so we took that as a sufficient excuse to have a tea party. ;-)  There's something addictively fun about making more-than-usually cute food and pulling out all the fun china and serving dishes!

Our place settings included the plates my parents picked out for their wedding registry.  They are a simple white octagonal design from Johnson Bros. and they've proven to be extremely versatile and classic throughout the years.

The tea cups are part of my fledgling collection of pink depression glass.  I have a post about the depression glass I've collected from estate sales in the works, so I'll keep it brief this time!  I'm only buying when I find great deals and I'm open to a mis-matched set- I currently have 3 different styles of cups and saucers and I think depression glass is actually rather charming when mixed up! :-)

The tablecloth and napkins were a fun, frivolous purchase from an antique mall.  We love decorating with this tablecloth- the embroidery is so stunning!

My sister enjoys folding napkins for special occasions and we all enjoy the fruits of her labors. :-)  A Crown fold highlights the embroidered corner of these napkins perfectly and starched napkins ensure crisp, neat folds!  Unfortunately... I forgot to get a detail shot of the napkins.  Oh well. ;-)

Our 3-tiered server displayed the savory treats: Cucumber Sandwiches and Fish-Paste Sandwiches.  We may or may not have been extremely interested in trying fish paste sandwiches after watching the adaptation of Agatha Christie's "Sad Cypress"... ;-)  I'm pleased to report that our ventures into fish-paste were a success and they've made it onto the "repeatable" list!

Fish-Paste Sandwiches

Adapted from a recipe from Yummly

6oz can salmon
1/2t black pepper
3T cream cheese
1T mustard
1T butter

Mix together using fork or food processor, spread on white bread to make sandwiches.

The last tier housed one of our favorite recipes: Rosemary Parmesan Scones.  These are a must-try!!
The chocolate-covered strawberries are always an easy addition to a party and this time we used a mixture of chocolate candy melts and chocolate chips- I think we achieved a good compromise between taste and firm-enough chocolate coating. ;-)

Rosemary Parmesan Scones

Recipe from Tea Time magazine

2 1/2 c. flour
2 T. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. chilled butter
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
1 T. dried rosemary (or 3 T. fresh)
3/4 c. (or more) milk

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.  Add cheese and rosemary and combine.  Add milk and stir, using more if needed until dough holds together.  Knead dough 8-10 times (this step makes the flaky layers).  Gently shape into a circle about 3/4" thick and cut into 12 wedges.  Bake at 375° for 16-20 minutes or until tops get lightly browned.

Brush tops before baking with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt.

Our official dessert for the day was also a new, successful recipe!

Lemon Curd Tartlets

Crust from Williams Sonoma

1 3/4 cups gingersnap crumbs
5 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
About 1 1 /2 cups lemon curd (see recipe below)
3 or 4 kiwis, peeled and thinly sliced
Mint leaves

Preheat an oven to 375ºF. Butter four 4 1/2-inch tartlet pans with removable bottoms. 
To make the crust, in a food processor, combine the gingersnap crumbs and butter. Pulse until the butter is evenly distributed and the mixture starts to clump together. Remove the crumb mixture from the food processor and press the mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of the prepared tartlet pans.  Bake until the crusts are set and begin to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool. 

Remove the cooled tartlet shells from the pans and gently spoon the curd into the shells. Arrange the kiwi slices and mint leaves on top.

Lemon Curd

Juice of 4 lemons (1c)
Zest of 4 lemons
4 eggs, beaten
1/2c butter, cut in small pieces
2c sugar

In the top of a double boiler, combine all ingredients.  Place over simmering water and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and smooth.  Lemon curd will firm up slightly when cool, but for the tarts it is nice to have a slightly thicker consistency.

Yield- approx. 1 pint
Lemon curd can be stored in the fridge, however if you are making in bulk, it freezes excellently too!



  1. What a lovely party!! You set a scrumptious table! :)
    I can't wait to try the recipes you shared; they look delicious.
    Thanks for a lovely post, Lily!! I love tea parties, and it's always nice to see how others put them together.
    Oh, and your depression glass? LOVE it!! :)

  2. What a lovely manyt delicious treats! I'd like to try those lemon curd tartlets!

  3. Just beautiful, Lily - you would make an English lady very happy with your selections :) My MIL was English and taught me everything I know about the very civil presentation of Afternoon Tea!

  4. I love tea parties -- I'm a fan of toast with cinnamon-sugar-butter smear. It's the easiest snack, so it's great to have alongside a more labor intensive food like a tart.

    Your table setting looks gorgeous! And I love depression glass too -- I know in my family, there isn't very much of it. Apparently when my great grandmother would buy it, it was considered "not as good" as real china, and so no one took very good care of it. Most of our depression glassware is green. I don't know if that was a common thought regarding depression glass, but I do find it more difficult to find!

    1. Ooh! I grew up loving cinnamon toast! I had forgotten about it, but now you're bringing back lots of fond memories. :-)

      Yes, that's all quite true about depression glass- so funny that what was originally second- (or third!) rate glassware is now highly desired with inflated prices!

  5. So many beautiful colors ~ thank you for sharing! I adore tea parties, and actually I'm planning for a high tea for my birthday in October too. I'm so excited for it!

    Your pink depression glass is sooo pretty! I love that rose pink color!

    bonita of Lavender & Twill

    1. Oooh! I love a good excuse for a tea party! Best wishes for yours! :-)

  6. What a delightful table setting! The vintage table cloth and napkins look so pretty with your depression glass. Your fish paste recipe make me think of a salmon dip my mother would always make for my nan on holidays.

  7. Very beautiful! Love the glassware and my parents have the same plates! They get alot of use. I'm glad to see no one had any adverse reactions to the fish paste :) or was it the salmon on that episode? Will have to try it myself!

  8. How lovely and fun! I would love to do something like this. The fun little tarts and sandwiches are so cute :) I have a fairly large amount of English heritage, so I love tea.
    Thanks for the great recipes and the wonderful idea

  9. How terrifically lovely!!! Everything you share with us is inspiringly beautiful, be it an elegant birthday fete or a new ensemble post. (We have some b-day rushes like that in our family, too.)

    ♥ Jessica

  10. Thank you everyone for the comments! :-)

  11. I love tea parties! Your tea spread is so pretty-- love the depression glass teacups!-- and those lemon curd tartlets look amazing!



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