In the delicate dance of teacups and twinkling lights, a Christmas tea unfolds in the shared moments that steep the season with love and memories.
Embarking on the winding roads of nostalgia, I find myself back in the heartwarming embrace of tradition that took root years ago in the sun-soaked landscapes of California…the annual Christmas tea. What started as a simple gathering blossomed into a cherished ritual that endured, even as I traversed the journey to the coastal ranges of Oregon.
While so much has changed since the days in California, the memories of those festive teas endure, a treasured tapestry of laughter, stories, and shared warmth. With each sip, I am transported back to the familiar gatherings, surrounded by loved ones, and the simple joy of being together.
In the midst of change and the ebb and flow of life, the Christmas tea stands as a testament to continuity. It is a choice to remember, to hold close the memories of the past, and to create new ones that will be carried forward into the future.
So, as I sip tea in the coastal tranquility, I find solace in the beauty of tradition, weaving a tapestry of memories that will forever be etched in the heart.
- 1/4 English cucumber
- 8 thin slices white bread
- Unsalted butter at room temperature
Slice the cucumber as thinly as possible. Put the slices in a sieve over a bowl, sprinkle with salt & let stand for 20 minutes. Lay the bread slices on a work surface and spread each slice generously with butter. Arrange the cucumber slices, overlapping them on 4 of the bread slices and sprinkle with pepper. Top with the remaining bread slices, buttered side down. Using a serrated knife cut off the crusts from each sandwich, then cut the sandwiches into neat fingers, triangles or quarters.
- 4 Eggs
- 4 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1/8 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill
- 1/8 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- Salt and black pepper
- Sweet paprika
- 8 slices bread
Peel the cooked eggs and drop them into a clean bowl. Mash with a fork, then add the butter, mayonnaise, parsley, dill, and lemon zest and mix well. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and paprika. Lay the bread slices on a work surface. Spread 4 of the slices with the egg mixture, dividing it evenly. Top with the remaining 4 bread slices and press firmly. Using a serrated knife, cut off the crusts from each sandwich, then cut the sandwiches into neat fingers, triangles, or quarters.
SMOKED SALMON & DILL
- 8 ounce package cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
- 1/2 lemon
- Salt and black pepper
- 8 sliceces dense whole-whole bread
- 1/2 lb. smoked salmon, thinly sliced
In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese and dill and mix with a fork until well blended. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Lay the bread slices on a work surface. Spread the seasoned cream cheese on the bread slices, dividing it evenly. Arrange the salmon in an even layer over 4 of the slices, then top with the remaining 4 slices, cream cheese side down. Using a serrated knife, cut off the crusts from each sandwich, then cut each sandwich into neat fingers, triangles, or quarters.
MOCK CLOTTED CREAM
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar, or to taste
In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. On medium speed, add the mascarpone and sugar and beat until incorporated. Taste, then adjust with more sugar if needed. Serve at once.
CRANBERRY ORANGE SCONES
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter; cold and cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- zest of one orange
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the cold butter pieces to the dry ingredients and use a pastry cutter or your fingers to cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the dried cranberries and orange zest. In a separate bowl, mix together the milk and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently knead it a few times until it comes together. Pat the dough into a circle about 1 inch thick. Cut the circle into 8 wedges. You can also use a biscuit cutter. Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Allow the scones to cool on a wire rack. Optional: drizzle with a simple glaze made with powdered sugar and orange juice for extra sweetness.