Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Last Days of Summer!

 Tea in the Garden

It may be the final days of summer...
but I'm still enjoying afternoon tea in the garden.

Summer will actually linger on for many more weeks here in California
with our gorgeous Indian summer.  In the meantime, berry season is over
so the past few weeks,
I've been baking with the last of summer's fruits.

Lemon & Currant Muffins

I was so excited to finally find red currants in California this summer.   
I bought red currants to make authentic British summer puddings 
and ended up with a container left over. 
What to do...but make muffins and tea cakes. 

Knowing how well blueberries pair with lemon muffins, I decided to add fresh red currants
 to my favorite lemon muffin recipe.  I experimented with a batch in my mini-muffin tin
and the results were adorable little tea cakes.  I also made a batch of regular size muffins which I enjoyed with my husband on the weekend.

Fresh red currants are really tart. 
If you're going to make a batch of Lemon & Currant Muffins,
 make sure you ice your muffins with a sugar glaze. 
I modified a recipe from my favorite little muffin book, Muffins by Elizabeth Alston. 
You can find the recipe here
(I omitted the fresh ginger for my version.) 

Afternoon Earl Grey

Lemon and Currant tea cakes are lovely in the afternoon
paired with a good cup of Earl Grey. 

Since I was in England this year,
 my tea cupboard is replenished now with my favorite British teas.
 One of my favorite Earl Grey teas is, Whittard's Afternoon Earl Grey
(My box of tea is a bit rumpled from travelling home in my suitcase.)

This premium black tea flavoured with bergamot
is packaged in elegant round tea bags. 
 I like to drink mine "milky" with one lump or two!

I love what Whittard's has printed on the box:

"Few hours in life are more agreeable than the British ceremony known as afternoon tea.  Our Afternoon Earl Grey is distinguished by a lighter bergamot taste.  An elegant blend, it evokes an era of fine china and leisurely conversation, when the ceremony of teatime was an unhurried pleasure".

In the past, I've ordered teas online from Whittard in the UK and
they have excellent international service.

Luckily now, Whittard teas are available again in the US though on-line retailer
Annie's Tea Time .

Now there's really no excuse not to enjoy
 a really good "cuppa"  here in the States!

(In the photos:  Laura Ashley Summer Fruits Mug and Emma Bridgewater Polka Dots plate.)

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