Care to join me for a cuppa?

virtual tea invitation feb2020

Afternoon tea, al fresco. Raw chocolate peppermint slice, with lemon balm and peppermint tea.  Image: Su Leslie 2020

The cold has lingered longer than expected, so despite putting in the hard yards reading recipe books and magazines, I wasn’t up to baking for our afternoon tea.

Instead, I nipped out and bought some raw chocolate peppermint slice. Dairy and gluten-free, it’s made with nuts and coconut oil and cacao, with a little coconut sugar for sweetness.

A bit creamy, quite minty and delicious, it’s kind on my recovering immune system. And did I mention it’s delicious?

I’ve been thinking a lot about my eating habits style preferences lately. I know friends and family would like me to just “come out” as a vegetarian, or a vegan, or gluten-free, dairy-free — a label they could get their heads around. But the truth is; apart from baked beans, cooked avocado (yes, I’ve actually been served that), pizza with sweetcorn and/or pineapple, and anything swimming in salad cream — I’ll eat pretty much anything.

And if someone else has cooked it for me, I’ll say thank you and find something — however small — that I can truthfully praise.

I’m trying to find a way to explain that my food preference are really a food philosophy. I want to “do good”; for my physical and mental health, for my bank balance, for small businesses, and for the environment. That means I eat home-grown where I can, buy as much as possible from local, preferably organic growers, avoid foods and manufacturers I believe to be harmful or unethical … and a bunch more considerations I won’t bore you with but which make trips to the supermarket time-consuming, frustrating and really difficult without my strong glasses to read the small print.

I know that’s a roundabout way of selling you on the raw vegan mint slice, but it really is delicious.

And the drinks …

Despite the dry weather, my herb garden is thriving, so I’ve harvested some mint and lemon balm to brew our cuppa. There’s raw honey from my friend Duncan’s bees to sweeten it, and some local lemons if you’d like to add a slice.

But if you’d prefer, I can make you some builders’ tea (old-school with milk and sugar if that takes your fancy).  Or there’s some Sencha green tea if you’d like something lighter that’s not mint! Both of these come from my local tea shop.

So pull up a chair and let’s put the world to rights over afternoon tea.

The invitation

I was so pleased to get positive feedback on my last tea party, that I’m going to continue to post once a month — mid-week, mid-month probably — at least for the rest of 2020.

I’d love to read your thoughts on the food, the drinks, whatever I’m rambling about. A few words about what you’re doing/reading/making. What’s making you happy or pissing you off?  Your comments make blogging so much more interesting.

And if you’d like to contribute a post of your own — great. Maybe a shot of your cuppa and/or whatever you’re having with it, A recipe?

I’ll update each of my posts with a ping-back to everyone’s in the same way as I do with The Changing Seasons.

#virtualteaparty2020 for anyone on Instagram who wants to post images (or video?)

I’d love to be part of a global rolling tea party. Hopefully a few of you would too.

Update

Brian at Bushboy’s World has polished the silverware and provided some music.

Del at Curls n Skirls has brought some delicious “traditional bread and butter sandwiches, hot buttered toast, and maybe a few raspberry jam sandwiches, .. and a fresh Raisin Spice cake.” Yum!

Purples and blue

There’s definitely some colour-coding of what’s blooming — and fading — in my garden.

Friday Flowers

With regret …

I’d been looking forward to inviting you all to my next virtual tea party, but I have a cold. So instead of baking goodies and tasting teas, I’m on the couch with a hot lemon drink, a box of tissues and stack of food magazines.

I may not be able to taste anything, but I can still look at the pictures.

Oh well, I’ll try again next Tuesday. Hope you can join me.

“Improve eyesight, clear the head and encourage cheerfulness”

Marigold, Calendula officinalis. Image: Su Leslie 2020


The powers of calendula, according to Macer Floridus De Viribus Herbarum, a Medieval poem, in Latin, was written in hexameter extolling the healing properties of seventy seven healing plants.

The author is thought to be Odo de Meung (Odo Magdunensis), a French physician from Meung on the Loire who lived during the first half of the 11th century.

From virtues and pleasures of herbs through history

Macro Monday

Māoritanga: Culture

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A pōwhiri — or welcome ceremony. This usually begins outside the marae. Image: Su Leslie

Powhiri, or welcome ceremony, is a hugely important part of Maori culture. Visitors to a marae (a complex of buildings belonging to a particular tribe) must be formally welcomed with a challenge, a karanga (call) and usually speeches.

One Word Sunday | culture