Another fragrant tea party has gone by... This time in honour of Mother's Day that's fast approaching (May 13th). Studio guests enjoyed 20% off this afternoon; and online shoppers will continue to receive 15% off their purchases thru May 15th with a coupon promo code - for more details subscribe to our newsletter!
Getting ready for a tea party always starts at least a couple of days early... This cordial of fresh elderflowers was made the night before, as it requires an overnight steeping (some recipes even call for 48 hours!). I got these at the farmer's market, but you can find them in Stanley Park now - they should be around for a few more days (flowers usually have a rather short season).
Elderflowers smell peculiar: a combination of delicate and overpowering; repulsive and sweet. The closest way for me to describe them is that of guava fruit with hints of black currants - although far more subtle than either. You must try to make a cordial yourself to really enjoy it. The store bought ones that I've tried were not only unimpressive - but quite disappointing in that they tasted like preserved lemon juice.
Instead of making simple syrup infused with the flowers and preserved with citric acid (yuck!) I decided to enjoy these beautiful, fresh and delicate flowers fresh, and create a "iced tea" of sorts. I boiled 1.5L of water, poured over the elderflowers, and one wedged lemon (organically grown and unwaxed). I Added 1/2 cup of evaporated cane sugar and steeped it overnight. Chilled in the morning, and by the time the guests rolled in, there was a refreshing, fragrant drink awaiting them: I poured half a glass of the "cordial" and the topped it off with San Pellegrino and it was divine. No one even wanted to try the G & T's that was on the menu!
The simplest classic tea sandwiches are always the best, in my opinion. This time around I served only two flavours: cucumber sandwiches, and egg salad recipe (which I season with mustard, freshly grated pepper, dill and chives).
Scones are almost always my favourite of the tea party tray. Especially if they are served warm and with clotted cream and quality preserved fruit. These scones are made with sheep's cheese and wild mountain thyme from my home village, which my lovely sister-in-law picked and sent me - especially from the Galilee in Israel!
The savoury thyme and cheese serve a refreshing contrast to the decadent rainforest harvested jam of blackberries and wild roses!
And last but not least - the sweets. Sometimes, you might not have the time, mood or energy to put together a full dessert tier. This was meant to be a laid-back gathering so I only invested in the hazelnut brownies (which I made with teff flour), which is very rich and satisfying all on its own - but added some dates and salted caramels for those who wanted a little extra something, which also slightly accommodated my unexpectedly vegan guests. Dried fruit are always a wonderful treat and are healthy in more ways than I care to describe here. Always good to have them around (or in your bag, in case you get stranded...)