Treat Mom like a Royal with Afternoon Tea

afternoon teaWe’ve been reading about the Queen reaching her 90th birthday reminding us of one of the most famous mothers of all, and as Mother’s Day is just around the corner, why not give your Mom the royal treatment and make her a traditional afternoon tea?

Although afternoon tea is no longer a tradition in England,  you can still enjoy this tradition in London at The Ritz, or Harrods of London, and some of the fancier hotels here in the US.

What is Afternoon Tea?

Well, it usually consisted of a plate of dainty sandwiches, scones, sponge cake, and fruit cake, and hot buttered crumpets.

Homemade jam and clotted cream would accompany the scones, and politeness dictated that you start with the savory items before moving on to the sweet, and as this was no casual affair, the table was always laid with a white lace tablecloth, lace-edged linen napkins, fine bone china and a silver tea service!

Afternoon tea became fashionable during Edwardian times, and when the tango arrived in Britain in 1910, London’s large hotels began to host tea dances. The tea dance continued to be an important social event right up until World War II. The Savoy Hotel and Waldorf Astoria still hold these dances today, which recently have had something of a revival due to the new interest in ballroom dancing.

Below is the typical way Cucumber Sandwiches would have been made for the Edwardian upper classes (taken from the book, the Duchess of Duke Street Entertains).

Salad Oil
Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper

For the Creamed Butter:
2 ounces Softened Butter
1 tablespoon Thick Cream
Tip of Teaspoon of Mustard
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper


  • The cucumber must be cut as thinly as possible, ideally using a mandoline.
  • Very lightly salt the slices and leave them to drain in a colander lightly weighted with a plate for 2 hours or so, pressing firmly from time to time to get rid of excess juices.
  • Dress the sliced and drained cucumber with a little oil, lemon juice and a dredge of freshly ground white pepper.
  • Make up the creamed butter by blending all the ingredients together.
  • Butter thin slices of white or brown bread; fill in the usual way, but at the last possible moment – as there is a tendency for this sandwich to give all sandwiches the reputation of being soggy!
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bamboo products at gourmet fusion

bamboo trees in forestBamboo is one of the most versatile woods you can find, and the Gourmet Fusion Marketplace offers a range of bamboo products for your home and kitchen.

Blending Eastern and Western construction techniques and influences to create beautiful accessories and furnishings, our bamboo products will enhance any style of home whether traditional or contemporary.

Add a hand-crafted bamboo object to your home, or give bamboo vase as a gift.  Elegant, slender flower vases and window screens inspired by Japanese shoji screens, unique bowls, plates and frames can all be found in our bamboo collections.  For the kitchen there are cutting boards as beautiful as they are functional.

Eco-friendly, and crafted into one of a kind works of art, let bamboo grace your home and kitchen.  Choose from products by Front of the House, Bamboo54, and Fox Run Craftsmen.

For more information on our bamboo products contact us at


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Starbucks watch out – there’s a new coffee trend

coffee beansAs an avid coffee drinker, I’m always looking for new ways to try coffee, and have tried all kinds of beverages mixed with amaretto, sambuca, chocolate, and vanilla to name a few, but a coffee shop in the UK has taken your average cup of coffee to new heights with some amazing results, it seems.

Curators Coffee in London has started serving such exotic additions as mushroom consomme to your favorite bean.  This particular flavor awakens the palate, and although it might not become your daily drink, it’s a lively new flavor that has to be tried.

Other coffee drinks that are soon to be launched include “Bittersweet Moment” a refreshing mix of apple juice, grapefruit juice, and a double shot of espresso served over ice with a sprig of rosemary.

As tea sales drop in the UK, and coffee sales increase, more and more baristas are experimenting with unusual and interesting fruit, vegetables and flowers.  Many of these natural ingredients are meant to counteract any negative effects of caffeine.

Great news for coffee lovers, and a trend I’m going to be looking for here in the US.


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