Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fog-Lifter Afternoon Tea

The fog is so thick today it seems like a veil even on my indoor tea scene. Today I am serving Bengal Spice tea and home made oat crackers spread with a soft, Swiss cheese called Laughing Cow, which is a favorite of many tea drinkers in America.  The recipe for oatmeal crackers can be found online. I keep an electric coffee grinder especially to grind oats and nuts to make special flour for such treats. It makes a flour in an instant.

Since the fog was so thick today I decided to pull out the brightest pieces of china I own. I have been enjoying foggy-day teas so much that actually hope the fog stays around for a few more days.

A small dish of chopped apples with whipped cream and a dash of nutmeg is a perfect companion for today's tea. The table runner is made with white burlap. Burlap is available in many different colors at the fabric store and is an interesting material to work with for making bags, placemats, and many other things.

A good recipe for a cracker that tastes remarkably like digestive biscuits, go to Bob's Red Mill site. The recipe is here.  They taste better the older they get, so don't be disappointed if you eat them right out of the oven and they do not have any flavor. They seem to gain flavor a few hours away from baking. I find they taste best the day after. Note: I find good success with this recipe when using unbleached flour. Unbleached flour, though white in color, is still a good, natural flour and it blends a lot better than some of the hard flours. 

The chopped apple is a Melrose, which is sweet enough on its own, and is topped by unsweetened whipped cream and sprinkled with a dash of ground nutmeg. I tried to make a bright rosette by rolling up a piece of the colorful peel. These tea foods are something than anyone can do, and often in tea rooms you pay a very high price for something as simple as this.

The crackers and the cheese.

Recipe for Oatmeal Crackers is here. I need to inform you that I did not use whole wheat flour. Instead, I used unbleached flour, which is a light color flour, almost white. The whole wheat flour does not work very well in crackers because it is so hard and absorbs so much of the liquid and will not roll out well. Try the unbleached flour in that recipe and increase your oil to half a cup. Roll it out to a fourth or an eighth inch thick, and cut into squares with a knife, or use cookie cutters. (I personally do not think whole-wheat flour is always good for everyone. It is hard on the digestive system of some people, and some people get heart burn from it. However, it is up to the individual cook as to what works best for her and her family. I use unbleached flour most of the time.)

Since I have been making photographs  of my recent fog-teas to share with  blog people, my family calls the tea food "blog food."  At any given time, someone will ask, "Will we be having blog food today?" I might say, "There is still some blog food left. Help yourself."

Today I found two things I very much like,  that are made in America:
This is a soft-scented soap (anise? cinnamon? vanilla? lemon? I cannot determine what it is, but it is most pleasant) that comes from Dollar Tree. I admit a dollar is a lot to pay for one bar of soap, but this is a very large bar and lasts a long time.

Brown paper bags:

Many brands of heavy brown paper grocery bags are made in the USA. I use them for many different things: crafts, drawing my own patterns for various things, and wrapping packages. It is still the thickest, strongest type of brown paper in the world.  I have made baskets, placemats, scrap books, ornaments and many other things from this brown paper. A friend of mine shared that she once used a brown paper bag like this for her carry-on luggage while on an overseas flight, which tells how strong this brown paper really is. 


Housewife59 said...

We get Laughing Cow cheese (we call it cream cheese) in England and it is very nice on crackers isn't it. One thing we do not get much, are the good brown paper bags that you have. How I wish we did. I would also love to see flour bags made of fabric here in the UK. You have had a lot of fog there. By the way, I love your 'blog' food : )


Gayle said...

I love seeing what you are having for tea each day,and that you celebrate even the "foggy" days.

Lydia said...

Lesley, the Laughing Cow is a creamy swiss cheese (and I think this one is made here in US) that is lightly seasoned, which makes it more flavorful than plain cream cheese. We use the cream cheese in recipes for cheesecake or other things. And we still get flour in fabric flour sacks at some stores.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you had a wonderful foggy tea time! I've enjoyed reading your posts that pertain to food. I like that you use simple ingredients to make healthy & satisfying meals & snacks. When you get a chance in the future, it would be great to see your normal shopping lists, menus, etc. I enjoy getting ideas from others and it also helps me to "think outside of the box" in many areas of cooking & meal planning. Hope your day is great~ Mrs.Clark

Lydia said...

I highly recommend the oatmeal crackers. They are really good, and you can roll them a lot thinner than I did. I had a snack for everyone and a lot left over so I made a soup to use them with. I do not think I will go back to commercial crackers. There are a lot of online recipes for soda crackers and other types of crackers too.

Lydia said...

Hello Gayle, As today's tea did nothing to lift the fog, the next tea will have to be a "fog-chaser" tea. I have grown to like the fog, as there is a certain mystery and softness about it and the moisture actually feels good on my face when I go outside. And inside it makes everything gloomy enough to turn on lights or candle, making it festive.

Julian said...

I really like your teapot. Looks like a good teatime,and that is funny about blog food!;)

living from glory to glory said...

Dear Lady Lydia, Thanks so much for allowing me to be a part of your beautiful blog. I look forward to enjoying an adventure together and having tea as we grow and walk in Him.
Blessings, Roxy

Lydia said...

In the fog and mist, it helps that the name of the cheese is Laughing Cow.

Anonymous said...

My mother used to buy us Laughing Cow cheeses...back in the 1960's! A good, long admired brand. You have inspired me to use my little coffee grinder for oats instead of coffee...and to have more tea than coffee....I am drinking white jasmine tea right now...on a rainy night. I am also enjoying your mysterious foggy scenes...

Anonymous said...

"Blog food"....that's funny! Thanks for a good chuckle. :o)

Say, could you include a link for the oatmeal crackers recipe? I'm eager to try making them, & so hoping that they turn out like something my mother used to get once in a while from "back home" (Scotland), & I just love: digestive biscuits. They are so, so good.


Lydia said...

ello Brenda, Under one of the photographs of the crackers, I put the link to the cracker recipe, along with my variation.

Lydia said...


If you want a good digestive biscuit that tastes like the ones you used to buy, there is a perfect recipe on the back of the bag of Bob's Red Mill Scottish Oats. They taste the absolute best not when they first come out of the oven but the next day and later.

Missy said...

I love Bengal Spice tea. We'll definitely try the crackers. Thanks for sharing your "Tea Time" with us!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Lady Lydia, for posting the link!


Anonymous said...


What lovely entries you've provided for us over the past few days (re fog and tea). I love 'laughing cow!!!!! Yum!!!!!! the plain variety is fabulous on good (proper) rye or good wholemeal bread with walnuts. Delicious!!! ...And an unusual yet excellent tea sandwitch idea. Once again, YUM!!!
Re the tea, I must say, I'm an irish Breakfast gal in the morning and Orange Pekoe tea at all other times,, when I'm not enjoying green tea. Try Orange Pekoe if you can get it; the name refers to the cut of leaf, but believe you me, the flavour and aroma are also unique; better than that rotten 'Prince of Wales' 'bilgewater' that so many are head over heals with in my part of the world, and that has increased, as supermarkets have binned my beloved orange Pekoe...GRRR!!!...As for cheese with orange or red pigment, have you tried 'Red Lester' (Excuse Spelling)? It is also delicious, very fine texture and gentle flavour and would be very good with sprouts (either alfalfa or snowpea), or a good robust purple lettuce, or even cress, or perhaps rocket, as a tea sandwitch filling, on good wholemeal bread. Now I'm making myself hungry!!

The weather here in Sydney, Australia has been very odd of late; please spare a prayer for our fellows who have been flooded out all along the Eastern Seaboard, and those in Victoria and Tasmania who have lost everything in terrible bushfires.