Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Petite French Tea Cakes


There's nothing like a Madeleine dipped in your favorite tea! 

Madeleines are elegant petite French tea cakes that originate from the Lorraine region of France.  They are baked in special scallop shaped molds.  They are one of my favorite holiday tea time treats to bake. 

Madeleines are soft and buttery with lightly crisped edges.  Here are my tips to make these lovely little tea cakes:

Madeleine Tips

Always use the best quality ingredients. 

Use an authentic Madeleine pan.

Always butter and flour your molds generously for every batch.

Do not over bake!

My recipes calls to bake Madeleines for 16 minutes.  I find mine are perfect at only 12 minutes.  Oven and cook times can vary so experiment to see what works best for you.

There are many Madeleine recipes and variations available to try.  I use a Madeleine recipe from Bon Appetit.  You can purchase French Madeleine pans at Sur La Table

Esprit De Noel Tea
(Spirit of Christmas)

Madeleines are best enjoyed the same or next day.  In my house they don't make it to the next day!  I hope you enjoy this recipe and don't forget to dip them in your favorite tea!  At Christmas time, I love them dipped in Mariage Freres Esprit De Noel tea! 

(In the photos:  Lenox Holiday Collection china, Madeleine mold, & Mariage Freres Noel tea.) 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Joyeux Noel!

Esprit De Noel Tea

As the French say.........
Joyeux Noel!!

 (Merry Christmas!)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tea Break

Christmas Cuppa!

It's my birthday today so I am taking a tea break today. 

I hope you are enjoying all the wonderful holiday teas available this time of the year. 

My favorite Christmas teas this year are from France:

I hope you are enjoying your favorite holiday tea during the holiday season!

(In the photo:  Spode Christmas cup & saucer.)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Making Holiday Gingerbread Scones!

 Gingerbread Scones

"Tis the season to be jolly and enjoy Gingerbread Scones.

Your house will smell just like Christmas when you whip up a batch of these Gingerbread Scones!

I add my own flair to this holiday scone recipe by omitting the raisins, adding a tad more milk and using more spices (don't use more than 1/2 t. of ground cloves though). 

This year I iced them with a cinnamon glaze and they were my best batch ever!

Here's a few of my tips for making scones:

 Always use a floured surface for rolling out the dough
into a 1-inch thick round.

 I like to cut my scones into 8 wedges.

 I use a French Silpat Mat for perfect scone results.

Another tip is to read the reviews of a recipe before you make it.  It's helpful to read where others have had success and failures with a recipe. 

For these scones there were many comments that they tend to be dry.  So, I added a tad more milk to my dough to correct this. 

The best tip of all is do not over bake your scones.  This  recipe says to bake for 25 minutes....mine were perfect baked for only 15 minutes. 

Now for the icing on the scone...

Cinnamon Icing

My cinnamon icing is just an old-fashioned powdered sugar glaze.  I don't really use measurements.

Cinnamon Icing
Powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla

Slowly add milk to the sugar to achieve desired consistency for the icing.
Drizzle on scones. 

Enjoy your Gingerbread scones with a cup of your favorite Christmas tea! 

(In the photos:  Spode Provincial Garden plate, color Cranberry)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Is There a Santa Claus?

 Santa Claus Tea

Yes, Virginia...there is a Santa Claus and even Santa Claus tea!

Did you know that the adorable saying "Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus" is from a newspaper editorial back in 1897? 

Way back then, little eight year old Virginia O'Hanlon questioned if Santa Claus really existed.  Her Father told her to write to New York City's Sun newspaper.  He assured Virginia "If you see it in The Sun, it's so."

Is There a Santa Claus... the reply to little Virginia's letter is the most reprinted editorial to ever run in an English newspaper.  In the editorial the editor replied to Virginia, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus"!

So in honor of Virginia and the spirit of Santa Claus,  I'm letting you know about a few of my favorite holiday teas...one is even called Santa Claus tea!

Hediard's Santa Claus Blend

Hediard's Santa Claus blend is one of my favorite Christmas teas.  The French and Hediard certainly know how to blend fragrant black tea.  Heidiard has been a well known name in Paris since 1854.   I love shopping at their la Madeleine store

You'll get a wonderful whiff of French vanilla, caramel, orange, clove and cinnamon when you open the lid on this shiny red caddy.  Hediard even says "leave a mug out for an appreciative Santa"!

  Christmas Spice Tea

Whittard's Christmas Tea

Another one of my favorite Christmas teas is Whittard of Chelsea's Christmas Spice Tea.  For years I only drank British tea and after several trips to London, Whittard's became my favorite British "cuppa".  I've discovered many tea companies since but I highly recommend any of Whittard's teas. 

Whittard's Christmas Spice Tea is similar if not the same blend as their Spice Imperial Tea so you can actually enjoy this spicy blend anytime of the year.  It's a premium black tea with the flavors of orange peel, cinnamon and spices.  Trust me when I say, Whittard knows how to blend good teas...they've been expert tea blenders since 1886. 

Oh, how I love to shop their London branch stores

Both of these wonderful teas are available only online to purchase.  If you have a friend taking a trip to Great Britain or Paris you can always ask them to bring you home a caddy or two! 

And because I believe in Santa Claus, I've given Santa a list of teas I hope to find underneath my Christmas tree!  I hope Santa brings you some fabulous tea, too!

(In the photos:  Lisette's childhood Santa mugs and the Vintage Holiday Tea Towels are for sale here in Boutique Lisette.)

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Everyone needs a little holiday "bling"!

Forget the mall crowds, I'm doing my best to shop local and shop small businesses first.

 Today I ventured over to Old Fair Oaks Village to hit the boutique shops during this weekend's Christmas in the Village.  Thanks to some savvy lady shop owners there's a fabulous new feel to Old Fair Oaks Village.  Some of my favorite shops there rival my favorite boutique shops in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Here's a peak inside my favorites:


I discovered Bungalow this past summer thanks to a tip from another local vintage store, The Tattered House.   

Last week I received an invitation to Bungalow's Open House this weekend and couldn't wait to get there.  I was hoping some pretty hand-crafted flower pins would be still be there.  Luckily for me they were.  They went home with me so now I have some holiday "bling" to wear on my hand-knit scarves!

I love this store.  Owner Kim Panighetti really has panache and flair for displaying Bungalow's fabulous vintage finds.   Her store is tastefully filled with gorgeous French furniture and heavenly mirrors that I wish I had room for. 

When you stop in, I'm sure you'll be amazed like me.  There are little surprises everywhere you look.  It makes you wonder where on earth does she find such fabulous stuff.   And then the way she displays it..don't miss this store!

10139 Fair Oaks Blvd
Fair Oaks, CA 95826

(916) 967-7000


Just a few shops down from Bungalow is the not-to-be-missed boutique Wink.  Wink is owned by Laurie Newman Pinho, a second generation antique store owner.  I've purchased from Laurie over the years from her early days in a Placerville antiques shop and her former hip boutique Fringe in Sacramento.  I stumbled into Wink this summer and couldn't wait to go back.

Wink is filled with lots of bling and my favorite kind....earrings, earrings and earrings.    Laurie carries a variety of unique jewelry lines along with my favorite, La Vie Parisienne.   I can never resisit La Vie Parisienne earrings so yes, I came home with a pair of holiday "bling" earrings, too!

The fun part about Wink, the inventory is forever changing.  Today Wink was featuring some incredible garden statuary that looked like it came from an old English or French garden.  Visiting Wink is pretty close to visiting a real French Flea Market...it's always filled with romantic French finds!

10147 Fair Oaks Blvd
Fair Oaks, CA 95628

(916) 903-7216

 The Estate Lady's Shoppe

Topping of the block on the corner of Fair Oaks Blvd is the newly opened The Estate Lady's Shoppe. 

The Estate Lady is just that...an estate lady.  Owner Joy Zgola Bullard is an estate sale specialist.  She actually does estate sales.  She has filled her store with a wonderful assortment of antiques ranging from Victorian, French and English. 

I couldn't help but admire her beautiful holiday table top display.  Joy has set the table for a festive mood with a collection of red English transferware.  I had a chance to chat with Joy and discovered we both share a love and passion for collecting china.  Joy is excited to showcase her china and will be doing seasonal table settings featuring estate china.   And, yes, it's all for sale!

(The red transferware dinnerware above is Royal Staffordshire's Tonquin
by Clarice Cliff.)

The Estate Lady's Shoppe
10149 Fair Oaks Blvd.
Fair Oaks, CA 95628

(916) 225-2222

Thank you ladies for a fabulous shopping outing,
your personalized service and
the yummy hot apple cider!

PS:  If you want to see my purchases, you can see them on my other blog The Flitter Knitter