Thursday, May 24, 2012

Martha's Bloomer's: Cafe M. Bloomers

The entrance
In Navasota, TX lies a wonderful nursery, shop and tearoom. Not only does Martha's Bloomers have a lovely selection of anything you could need for your garden but they also can boast that they have one of the world's largest teapots! 

One of the world's largest teapots! 

The tearoom is known as Cafe M. Bloomers. Here I did not call ahead to order the afternoon tea tray because I was visiting a friend with my Mom and all of our plans were fairly relaxed for the weekend. The setting of the tea room definitely fits in with the greenhouse, I would call it elegant country-chic garden (or something!)

The front of the cafe, the foyer and a view of the dining room through the window

The dining room is warm and inviting with warm yellow walls and bright white table cloths. As soon as you are seated, a warm fresh-baked tasty treat comes out of the kitchen along with tiny sampler cups of Martha's 'Famous Orange Spiced Tea'. It is a warm cup of joy that reminds me of the holiday spiced tea mix that is always a popular Christmas mix gift made with orange powdered drink, red hots, and instant tea. The scone we had that day was raspberry and chocolate.
Spiced tea and scones

The menu is full of delicious fresh soups, sandwiches and salads. A copy of their menu can be found here. An afternoon tea tray is also available from 2-4pm but requires a reservation and 24hr notice.

The tea served here is the amazingly designed Tea Forte. As soon as the teapot blooming with fragrance is brought out you instantly relax. I took a cup of the White Ambrosia that day.
Tea forte presentation

After enjoying your meal you can NOT I repeat NOT pass up on the desserts of the day. Our friend Pam had a icebox lemon pie while my mom and I split the chocolate cake. I will just let the pictures do the talking.
Chocolate Avalanche Cake that had almonds, truffle bits and even cheesecake!

Monday, February 27, 2012

A very, very, very, late Christmas Tea Post Continued!

So I had a lovely weekend down in Texas and while I was there I got to visit a lovely tearoom! Loveliness all around. That post will have to come another day though because my class is about to start so I will just be finishing up the Christmas tea post.

It was time to set the table finally. I decided to use the momster's china and start off with a cream table cloth followed by a green and white checked cloth with printed pine cones. The silver tea service also made an appearance as the center piece. 
Silver tea service with oranges and greenery. 
The greenery was cut from the cedar trees down the street. I always wash them in the sink and quarantined the stems so we aren't bugged by extra guest...get it...bugged! The oranges were not only there for a touch of color; every Christmas we had at my Mimi and Papa's house (my dad's parents) we would each get a giant orange stuffed down in the toe of our stockings. This relates to the tradition when oranges were a luxury item and would be stuffed in the toe of stockings along with other nuts, sweets, and candies. The stockings we used at their house were always traditional stockings that we long and white and probably older than me!

Noel Log in its full glory! I am already looking forward to making this again next year with fancier decorations. 
The Noel log also got the greenery treatment and a few holly springs to liven up the presentation! The meringue mushrooms were placed on right before serving so they wouldn't dissolve in the whipped topping.

The final table was full but not overstuffed. I thought it turned out fairly pretty. Each time I set the table I get a little better. I look forward to my own space one day.
Starting from the left: sugar cookies on the triple tray, scones with butter and jam, Noel log, cheese and summer sausage plate with crackers, finger sandwiches (turkey cranberry and cucumber) and finally plates, teacups and saucers!
This tea was planned for six people and we ate in the other room around the coffee table which was spruced up with a lace tablecloth and a real noel log center piece complete with two red taper candles! A elephant tea cozy made his grand debut! Sadly my friend was still at her dad's house out of state at the time of the tea so she could not admire her handiwork.
The elephant tea cozy of joy! He needs a proper name. 
Well that about wraps it up! I will have to do better on documenting everything next time. I am now going to get ready for my class....but I will be thinking about watching the Carling Cup when I get home.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A very, very,very late Christmas Tea Prep Post

Howdy Y'all!

Ever since this semester has started I have been running around like the White Rabbit screaming "I'm late!" Between classes and trying to workout 6 days a week all I want to do when I come home is curl up in bed and watch Downton Abbey over and over. Well, now that the excuses have been made on to the post.

The menu for this tea can be found here!

I always have trouble finding a balance between sweets and savories. Baking is my thing so I always want to make all these pretty deserts I have been drooling over. I limited myself to 3 baked goods this time: cranberry scones with orange zest & plain scones, some cute teapot sugar cookies, and the crowning jewel...Bûche de Noël!

This was the first time I have made cut out sugar cookies in a long time. I followed Sugarbelle's Basic Sugar Cookie Recipe which was a cinch! I tend to like a softer chewier cookie so I rolled mine out a bit thicker and added a few mintues to the cook time.
Cutting out the cookies. I received this cutter as a gift from my friend Misty! Since then I  got a whole set of 3 different shaped teapot cutters from my friend Carly. Seriously my friends rock and that is coming from a geologist!
I had to watch the spouts of the teapots so they wouldn't burn, they were a little browner than the rest of the cookie but not too crispy! I whipped up some Royal Icing using meringue powder, powdered sugar, and some almond extract. *I will find the recipe and post it later* I decided to just stick to green and white icing this time because I was trying to keep things simple. I did do a bit of marbling technique. Let us just say I need practice piping! 
The sugar cookie process from out of the oven to frosting. I was glad how the frosting dried but I need to work on technique! Once again, check out Sugarbelle's blog for great step-to-step guide. 

Overall, the sugar cookie process was an easy one. The mess I left behind however was quite enormous! I was using the boyfriend's kitchen because the stand mixer lives there...thankfully he didn't see the full amount of mess I made. Plus, I always try to leave the kitchen cleaner than when I found it. Boyfriend had to go out of town and did not get to witness or taste the rest of the baking madness. Does anyone else turn into a rabid squirrel when using powdered sugar and flour? According to the mess I made...I do. 

The Bûche de Noël was much easier than I expected too! I got the recipe for the cake and the meringue mushrooms off my go to recipe site, all recipes. I highly recommend reading the reviews  because they have helpful tips! I was so nervous about rolling the cake up but it went much better than expected. I did have a few problems when removing the cake from the parchment paper but, all in all I gained some good experience. 
The noel log before and after photos. I cut a bit off the end at a 45 degree angle to make it stumpy. The frosting is the same whipped chocolate as the filling with a fork run through it to make it look like bark. Mushrooms will be added right before serving so they won't dissolve! 

I have to say I am absolutely addicted to meringues, seriously. I talked about the magic of egg whites for weeks. I look forward to whipping more egg whites into shape in the near future. 

The little guys. Super easy and very crowd pleasing! My cocoa powder sorta dumped over the top of them  but hey who has ever complained of more chocolate! 

I also used my basic scone recipe and divided the dough in half. I put cranberries and orange zest in one half and left the other half plain. Sadly, this blogging thing is new and I didn't take any pictures but they were some tasty scones!

 I will probably deticate a whole blog post to the process of making scones that aren't a 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale (BAM GEOLOGY JOKE!). 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"The sound of the gentle rattle of china cup on china saucer drives away all demons, a little known fact"

Terry Pratchett, Snuff 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Tea Menu

Finals are finally over for another semester which lead to a final menu for the tea!

Summer sausage, cheese, and crackers
Olive spread
Turkey, cranberries, and cream cheese sandwiches
Cucumber sandwiches

Cranberry Scones with orange zest
Plain scones with butter and blackberry jam
Teapot sugar cookies
Bûche de Noël with meringue mushrooms

Assorted Harney and Sons teabags 
Sweet Almond herbal tisane from T, an urban teahouse

Monday, December 5, 2011

Oh Christmas Tea, Oh Christmas Tea!

Over the next two weeks despite the rush of final exams I am beginning to plan my Christmas Tea!

Okay, honestly I have been planning this tea and drooling over recipes since early November when I decided I was going to do the tea. The one thing that will be at that tea (even if it makes me break down into a weeping heap on my boyfriend's kitchen floor) will be the Bûche de Noël. I have promised my friend Boxy I would one day make her one. I had the joy of eating one every December with my French Club in high school for our Holiday party made by our local French bakery: La Baguette. I could just order one but where is the fun in that!

More updates to come in between my study breaks over the next two weeks.

PS. I am drinking one of my favorite black teas, Paris Tea from Harney & Sons

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Welcome to Tea42

Howdy, this is SarahBee! I am a Okie, avid tea drinker and traveler and I wanted a place to share my discoveries so I created Tea42. Why "42"? Well, I am a huge Douglas Adams fan and since 42 is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything, I imagine that includes tea. I created this blog over a year ago and have yet to post, so during my tea break today I decided to start. The blog posts will be divided into categories of: Tea Travels, Tea Accessories, Tea Time, and Tea Parties (for now).

Look forward to new posts soon!

By the way, I am drinking a white tea with lavender.

Happy Travels,