Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Teeli Click

Time for The` Glace
(French Iced Tea)

It's the heat of summer...
so I'm drinking a lot of iced tea!

As a California girl, I grew up on Lipton (instant) iced tea.  
There was always a huge cooler of good 'ole Lipton in our ski boat
on every trip out on the water. 

Today, I prefer to make my iced tea with premium loose teas. 
 I enjoy Yorkshire Tea iced and I love to experiment with French teas
 for The` Glaces (French Iced Teas).

Teeli Click!

On my latest trip to Paris,
I discovered the neatest little tea gadget for making tea. 
It's called  Teeli Click

Teeli Clicks are the perfect accompaniment to tea filter bags.  The Teeli Click is a little clip that "snaps" like a barrette.  You just "click-it" on your tea filter bag to close it and "voila"...no more messy tea leaves. 

I love using my Teeli Click with large tea filters for making a pitcher of iced tea.  It comes on a little chain with a hook so you can hook it on your glass tea pot while steeping your tea.  

I found my Teeli Clicks at Le Palais de The`s in Paris
It's another one of my favorite tea shops in le Marais...
just a few blocks away from Mariage Freres

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Mornings

Banana Bran Muffins

 On Sunday mornings....
I love to bake muffins. 

Banana Bran Muffins are the most popular weekend muffin in our house. 
They are quick and easy to make
and a great way to use up over-ripe bananas. 

My muffin recipe is from my favorite little muffin book, 
Just Out of the Oven

 I love Sunday mornings with "just out of the oven" muffins
and my big mug of Starbucks French Roast coffee. 

Of course, in the afternoon, they are lovely with a cup of tea!


Sometimes I like to get creative with this muffin recipe
and add my own flair.

The recipe calls for 1/2 cup oat bran. 
When I don't have oat bran in my pantry,
I substitute rolled oats and the recipe bakes up fine.

I like to add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and
they become Banana Nut Muffins

For Banana Coconut Muffins,  I add 1/2 cup coconut to the batter
and then sprinkle coconut on top before baking.  Yummy! 

For Banana Streusel Muffins, I sprinkle an oatmeal streusel topping over them before baking and they turn out delicious.  Probably my best version!

Muffins by Elizabeth Alston

My little muffin book is one of my favorite cookbooks. 

I have the original edition from 1985. 
Today, most likely, you have to purchase the book second hand...
it's definitely worth finding! 

(In the photos:  Copeland & Garrett Plate and Sabre Toile Spreader)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vive la France!

 Tarte au Citron

It's Bastille Day...
the national holiday in France. 

I hope your day and night
includes some French treats!

Kitchen Secrets

No time to bake Dorie Greenspan's Lemon Tart in Paris Sweets...
no need to worry.

Just head down to your local Trader Joe's or gourmet grocer and pick up
a ready-made Lemon Tart. 

Garnish it with fresh fruits and voila...
you'll  have what the French call a Tarte au Citron!

Bon Appetit
Vive la France!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The French Art of Tea

French The`

It's Bastille Day this Thursday so ,oui,
I'm drinking French the` (tea) all week! 

It's no secret...
Mariage Freres is my favorite French tea purveyor. 

Mariage Freres was founded in 1854 in Paris and they are the oldest tea importer in France. 

L` Art Francais Du The`
(The French Art of Tea)

Today, Mariage Freres offers over 500 teas. 

With over 500 tea varieties, shopping for tea at Mariages Freres can be overwhelming.  That's why I rely on their book The French Art of Tea.

The French Art of Tea is a knowledgeable guide that navigates you through the world of Mariage Freres teas.  It's pages are filled with history and invaluable information for French tea aficionados.  My favorite part of the book are the teas themselves with their descriptions and blend names.

I  always use this book for making my "tea shopping list" whenever I visit Paris!

Mariage Freres
30 Rue du Bourg-Tibourg

My favorite place to shop for Mariage Freres tea is their original location
in the le Marias district of Paris. 

Here in the States, you can find a few of their blends
(in their famous brown caddies)
at Williams Sonoma stores. 

Since I live in Northern California, I normally replenish my stock at:
Market Hall Foods in Oakland , CA 
 The Pasta Shop in Berkeley, CA
Dean and Deluca in St. Helena, CA

All three California stores where I shop, have the best selection of Mariage Freres
that I've seen outside of Paris.  I must tell you though...
nothing beats the experience of shopping at Mariage Freres in Paris!

Vive' la France
Mariage Freres!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Wills & KaTea


Let's hear it for a big "Royal Welcome" to
Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge
to the golden state of California!

 The royal couple are set to arrive in America at the Los Angeles airport at 3:40 PM today.  They will be greeted by California Gov. Jerry Brown and his wife. 

Since I can't be there to greet them...
I do hope someone realizes that 4:00 PM is tea time
and offers them a good "cuppa" or better yet, some California iced tea!

Wills & KaTea Blend

I'm celebrating Prince William and Catherine's visit with a special tea blend named after them,  Wills & KaTea.  Don't you just love that name?  This blend commemorates the Royal Wedding and is black tea,  flavored with passion fruit, grapefruit and orange.  It's wonderful with milk and sugar. 

I purchased my tea at the adorable tea boutique and cafe Eteaket on my recent trip to Edinburgh, Scotland. 

I found out about Eteaket in last years Cath Kidston catalog in a shopping feature on Edinburgh.  I had hoped to have tea and cake there but couldn't fit it into a one day trip to Edinburgh.  I did manage to walk by Eteaket in the Princes Street area but they were already closed.  The door was still open so I "popped" in and they let me buy some tea.  "Thank you" to the nice girls working that day at Eteaket!

Hurrah for Wills & Kate!

I'm also drinking my Wills & KaTea tea in true British style...
in my Emma Bridgewater William and Kate Wedding Mug
that I purchased at the Emma Bridgewater factory
 in Stoke-on-Trent, England. 

Hurrah for William and Kate coming to California!

 (In the photos: Emma Bridgewater William and Kate 1/2 pint Wedding Mug.)

Monday, July 4, 2011

All American Muffins!

 Blackberry Muffins

We have an abundance of Farmers Market blackberries at our house so I whipped up some delicious Blackberry Muffins for our 4th of July breakfast today.

I love making muffins and they seem so "All-American" to me.  You really don't see American style muffins in Europe...unless you venture into a Starbucks!   

 Farmers Market Blackberries

My husband grew up in Oregon and loves blackberries. 

Growing up his mom would send him and his sisters down the road to pick blackberries.  She would then make yummy pies, cobblers and blackberry jam.

Today, I just send my husband to the Farmers Market for fresh California blackberries.  I normally make cobblers with them but decided to make blackberry muffins for the 4th of July holiday. 

All American Muffins!

I used Williams Sonoma Blackberry Muffins recipe. 

You need just 2 cups of fresh blackberries for this muffin recipe.  It has a delicious crumble topping with chopped pecans that gives these muffins a bit of coffee cake flair!  ( I added 1t. of cinnamon to the crumble topping and doubled the cinnamon in the muffin batter.)

You certainly could also enjoy these muffins in the afternoon with a cup of tea.  I think they would pair nicely with Twinings Lady Grey

Well, I still have plenty of blackberries left so...
 I think I'm making a blackberry cobbler for dessert tonight!

In the photos:  (Spode The Blue Room Collection "Woodman" 6" plate and Emma Bridgewater Black Toast & Marmalade French Bowl.)