Cranberry & Pecan Scones

Teatime Book.jpgMakes 15

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup cold salted butter, cubed
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped toasted pecans
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon cold heavy whipping cream, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 350. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry blender or 2 forks, cut in cold butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add dried cranberries, pecans, and rosemary, stirring to combine.
  • In a liquid-measuring cup, stir together 1 cup cold cream and vanilla extract. Add cream mixture to flour mixture, stirring until mixture is evenly moist. (If dough seems dry, add more cream, 1 tablespoon at a time.) Working gently, bring mixture together with hands until a dough forms.
  • Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead gently 4 to 5 times. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough to a 1/2-inch thickness. Using a 3×2-inch diamond-shaped cutter, cut 15 shapes from dough, re-rolling scraps as necessary. Places scones 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Brush tops of scones with remaining 1 tablespoon cream.
  • Bake until edges of scones are golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean. Approximately 18 to 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Recommended Condiments:
Devon Cream
Orange Marmalade

To make even more delicious recipes, purchase Christmas Teatime here!

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Santas Around the World

SANTA_03 (1).jpgA secretive gift-giver that provides treats and treasures to children in the night, has many iterations around the globe. The variations range from a goat to an angelic creature, with the most well known being a jolly elf clad in red.

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The American image of the ever-jolly present bearer with a effervescent personality, rotund body, red fur trimmed suit, and sparkling eyes, first was originated from artist, Thomas Nast in 1863, for Harper’s Weekly.

Nast’s Santa owed much of his features to the description given in the poem “’Twas the Night Before Christmas”, first published in 1823.

 

Similar to the Jolly Ole Saint Nick, other gift-giving figures exist all over the globe.

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Christkindl – Austria, Switzerland, and Germany

 

Christkind or Christkindl is believed to deliver presents to well-behaved children. Christkind is a sprite-like child, usually depicted with blond hair and angelic wings.

Children never see Christkind in person, and parents tell them that Christkind will not come and bring presents if they are curious and try to spot her.

 

English legend explains that Father Christmas visits each home on Christmas Eve to fill children’s stockings with holiday treats.

Pere Noel is responsible for filling the shoes of French children with treats.

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Ded Moroz and Snegurochka – Russia

In Russia, Ded Moroz and Snegurochka – Grandfather Frost and Snow Maiden – bring presents to well-mannered children.

Ded Moroz is accompanied Snegurochka, his granddaughter and helper.

Ded Moroz and Snegurochka wear long silver-blue robes and a furry cap and a snowflake-like crown.

Although there are numerous variations in the way our children’s holiday gifts arrive, it is endearing to know that someone, somewhere is always there to shower them with love.

Victorian Gift-Giving

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No era in history has influenced the way in which we celebrate Christmas, quite as much as the Victorians. Before Queen Victoria’s reign, Christmas was hardly celebrated. Trees were not decorated, Christmas cards not sent, and not many knew of the Jolly Ole Saint Nick. In the same right, the process of giving and receiving gifts was not a Christmas tradition.

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The exchanging of presents, at the beginning of the Victorian times was done to celebrate the New Year. However, as Christmas Day began to grow in significance, the tradition shifted. And gifts were given to loved ones and friends on Christmas.

Initially gifts were rather modest – fruit, nuts, sweets and small handmade trinkets. These small gifts would be hung from the tree similar in nature to the small chocolates we hang from the tree today. However, as gift giving became more central to the festival, and the gifts became bigger and shop-bought, and moved under the tree.

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Children’s toys tended to be handmade and expensive, thus generally restricting availability to those of the upper class. But as the industrial revolution swept across the country, games, dolls, and toys arrived at a more affordable price and middle class children saw toys underneath the tree. Low income children would still only receive an apple, orange, or a few nuts.

 

Victorian Crazy Quilts

Victorian Crazy Quilts

The term “Crazy Quilt” refers to a type of patchwork quilt that was wildly popular in the late 1800s. But it could also credit those who attempted the stitchery.

In 1884, Harper’s Bazaar estimated that a full-sized quilt might take 1,500 hours to complete! If a Victorian sewed 8 hours per day, the masterpiece would be complete in 187 days. Otherwise measured as 26 weeks or half a year.

Fashioned from irregularly shaped pieces of fabric in a variety of exotic materials, Crazy quilts were especially trendy among urban, upper-class Victorian women.

Continue reading “Victorian Crazy Quilts”

Have Your Own Victorian Celebration!

Host your own Victorian Celebration! A few scrumptious treats, savory platters of delicacies, and some raucous parlour games are sure to be a welcomed respite from our digital age.

Parlour Games

In the Victorian Era, a party was not complete without games to entertain and delight youths & adults alike. Have your own fun by playing a few of the following games at your soiree!

Blindman’s Buff

parlour-games-the-allrounder-9-e1450640609489-1050x841-1-999x800Blindfold one of the players while all other guests scatter around the room. To start, the blindman is spun around several times. The blindfolded person must attempt to catch someone. When they capture a player they have to give the identity. If they get it right then the captured player takes the blindfold and play continues. If the blindman is unable to identify who they have captured the prisoner is freed and play continues.

Hunt the Slipper

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A player stands in the centre of a circle formed by the other players. The player in the middle closes his eyes and as he does so the slipper is passed from player to player behind their backs. When the person in the middle opens his eyes, the passing of the slipper immediately stops and the player must guess who holds the slipper. If he is correct, they change places, otherwise the player closes his eyes again and play continues.

Forfeits

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One person is chosen to leave the room (he is called the judge). All the other players must place a small personal item into a box. The “judge” is brought back in to the room. He picks up an item and describes it. The owner must identify himself and pay a forfeit – do something amusing/embarrassing – to win back the item.

Sweets

Recipes: A Victorian SpongeBread and Butter Pudding, Gypsy Tart

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Recipe: Wassail

Savory

Recipes: Roast Goose, Raised Game Pie, and Beef Stew

 

A Proper Afternoon Tea

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It is said that the tradition of afternoon tea was established by Anne, Duchess of Bedford. Anne requested that light sandwiches be brought to her in the late afternoon because she had a “sinking feeling” during the long gap between meals. She then began to invite others to join her and thus became the tradition.

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Theo van Rysselberghe – Summer Afternoon (Tea in the Garden)

It is important to use proper etiquette when attending afternoon tea.

  • After sitting down, place your purse on your lap or behind you against the chair back.
  • Unfold your napkin and carefully place it upon your lap. 
    • If you must leave the table, temporarily, place the napkin on the chair.
    • Never blot or wipe your lipstick with a linen or cloth napkin or use it as a handkerchief!
  • Sugar is placed in your teacup first, then thinly sliced lemon.
    • If you like to have milk in your tea, add it after the tea is poured. Never use milk and lemon together.
  • Hold the handle of the teacup using your thumb and your first one or two fingers.
    • Never put your pinkie out whilst drinking. That is deemed rude.
    • Do not loop your fingers through the teacup handle or cradle the side or bottom of the cup with your hands. 
    • A guest should look into the teacup when drinking, never over it.
  • When stirring your tea, be careful not to clink your spoon against the cup. 
    • Gently swish the spoon back and forth without touching the sides of the cup.
    • When through stirring, remove the spoon and place it on the saucer behind the tea cup and to the right of the handle. 
    • Of course, never take a drink of your tea without removing the spoon first, and please never, ever sip from the spoon.
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Soulacroix Frédéric – Tea Time
  • Take small, quiet sips of your tea. Do not blow on the tea if it is too hot.
  • When you are not drinking tea, place the cup on the saucer. 
    • If seated at a table, never pick up the saucer.
    • If standing, you may lift the saucer with the cup.
  • It is fine to eat most of the foods with your fingers with small, dainty bites.
    • Use a fork when trying to eat messy foods. 
    • Scones are a traditional part of a proper tea. Split the scone with a knife. Since the knife is now used, either place it on your knife rest, or lay it gently on the side of your plate. 
    • Jam or curds are usually placed on the scone and then top off with a dollop of clotted cream.
      • Simply spoon a small amount of jam or curds onto your plate then spread the jam, curds, and clotted cream onto your scone. 
      • Never use the serving spoon for this task.
  • In the privacy of your own home one might dunk biscuits into tea, however, do not partake in this practice when taking Afternoon Tea!
  • Be sure to take small bites, since attending a tea is a social occasion and you will want to participate in the conversation without always having a full mouth. 
  • Chew and swallow completely before taking a drink of tea, since it is hot and is not meant to wash the food down.
  • The hostess will signal the end of the tea by picking up her napkin.  Everyone else will then pick up their napkin by the center and loosely lay to the left of their plate.
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    Federico Andreotti – An Afternoon Tea

    “But indeed I would rather have nothing but tea.”
    — Jane Austen

 

Victorian Spiritualism

During the Victorian Era, the infant mortality rate was alarmingly high, countless lives were lost to industrial equipment, and all the while a single disease could take an entire family.

With such an abundance of death, survivors were left full of anguish. Thus Spiritualism – the belief that ghosts exist and we can communicate with them – came into existence. 

A key component of spiritualism are séances. A séance, is a meeting centered on a medium who seeks to communicate with spirits of the dead. One usually takes place in darkness and it generally involves six or eight persons, who normally form a circle and hold hands. 

 

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The séance pictured above took place in 1909 at the Rome, Italy studio of Baron von Erhardt.

Three American sisters: Leah, Margaret and Kate Fox, were the world’s first mediums. The trio hit the headlines when they claimed to communicate with a spirit haunting their home. The girls used a series of knocks – one for ‘yes’, two for ‘no’ – to communicate with the spirit.

 

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The Fox sisters. From left to right: Margaret, Kate and Leah

 

 

Spiritualism was the answer many Victorians were seeking. An official religion, the Spiritualists’ National Federation, was started in the UK in 1890. Known today as the Spiritualists’ National Union, the organization has 350 affiliated churches with almost 16,000 full members and over 2,000 associate members in England.

 

 

Sources:
http://mentalfloss.com/article/12824/12-weird-vintage-pictures-s%C3%A9ances
https://www.howitworksdaily.com/victorian-seances-debunked-the-secrets-of-speaking-to-the-dead/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fox_sisters
https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/spiritualism/history/history.shtml