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HOW TO HOST A TEA PARTY

HOW TO HOST A TEA PARTY

A tea party is a great way to celebrate a baby or bridal shower, a birthday or even just a plain old excuse for a gathering with good friends. There are no strict rules on what to serve or how to serve it. Provide a mix of savoury and sweet or just stick to sweet. Keep it casual and homey or fancy it up. Whatever your vibe, we’ve put together a bit of a step by step guide for the basics and a few serving suggestions for your soiree.

STEP BY STEP GUIDE

  1. Choose your date and create your invite list
  1. Consider your budget and your number of guests.
  1. Plan your menu. Choose your offering of teas and food items. I find keeping it simple without too many options is key to make sure the host (you) is not too frazzled and stressed to enjoy the party too! You could even have a balance of purchased and homemade food items to take the load off a little.
  1. Purchase your selected teas. Remember you will need several teapots and tea cups/glasses. Perhaps ask to loan some from friends to keep the expenses down. A mish mash of china and glass will create a chic look and feel.
  1. Purchase your ingredients for your chosen food offering. Decide how you are going to serve and present these. Tiered cake stands are always a nice touch. I was lucky to pick up a pretty one from the op shop for $6. A dainty tablecloth to throw over the dining table might be a nice touch if you are taking the fancy train.
  1. Having your full spread laid out and ready to go before your guests arrive is a great way to ensure you can have some time to socialise and enjoy your party too. (unless you are doing more of a split courses style spread)
  1. Be sure to have a brew or 2 ready to go for your guests on arrival. Keep a timer handy as timing your tea brewing can make all the difference. See our guide for general rules of thumb with tea brewing. Milk jugs, sugar & lemon slices should also be made available to your guests.
  1. Grab a cup of tea, raise that pinky finger and let your soiree begin!

 

WHAT TO SERVE

The internet houses a plethora of recipes to experiment with, but here a few tried and tested options for you to consider

Mascarpone oat tart with fresh chai soaked fruit

Fresh Chai mascarpone oat tart

For something rather decadent and sophisticated - Check our blog post for the full recipe here

Small finger sandwiches

The classic afternoon tea sandwich uses soft white bread with the crusts trimmed off. I always go for a mix of white and wholemeal for a nice contrast. You can get creative with the shape; fingers, small triangles or even rounds (rounds look pretty but are a bit wasteful) The types of fillings you can use are endless but here are a few of my favourite classics which never go wrong

  • Thinly sliced cucumber, generous spread of cream cheese on each side, dill or chives, salt & pepper and a little squeeze of lemon juice
  • Whole egg mayo, mustard, aged cheddar cheese, sliced dill pickles
  • Curried egg (boiled egg, curry powder, whole egg mayo, salt & pepper) & mustard cress

Your tea selection

Having a few varieties is important, after all it is a ‘tea’ party. I’d consider a nice robust English breakfast and a fragrant Earl Grey a must. At least one herbal variety and possibly a green. For something a little high end choose a quality oolong, pu-erh or white tea. If it’s a warm day, you can even have a couple of pitchers of iced tea in the mix. We’ve got a couple of simple iced tea recipes for you here.

Much love,

Mama Chai xx

 

TAKING AN ANXIOUS PAUSE....

TAKING AN ANXIOUS PAUSE....

GUEST BLOG BY MICHELLE JAYNE                                                               michellejayne.com.au

It was simple enough. I had been organising some details with a friend around going away for the weekend. I hit send on my last message, looking forward to finding out everything I could about the weekend, and getting ready as it was only a few days away. I got on with my day, maybe checking my phone a little to regularly to see if they had responded.

By the next morning, a feeling of anxiety had started to wrap around me. I was taken aback. It was a simple communication thing, not the panic of missing a flight or wearing see thru yoga pants to class…. This anxiety seemed to stem from a place of not being in control. Obviously I couldn’t force my friend to respond in MY time frame, although, the temptation of sending a few demanding texts did cross my mind!

So here I was, in a situation where finally, my control issues were revealing themselves in all their glory. I have never experienced this level of anxiety before around not being able to get something that I thought I truly needed, in order for my sanity to remain in contact, and my fight or flight response to chill out.

Lucky for me, I did receive the information needed, I did go away and have an amazing weekend, and the anxiety settled after journaling and meditation work. Yoga has been a firm ground for me to turn to again and again when deep rooted emotional issues reveal themselves at unrequested moments. But I can’t help wondering, how does someone, your neighbour, work college or even a family member, deal with anxiety, if they are used to being in a high alert mode for long periods of time?

As I delved deeper into this anxious topic, I was surprised to learn that anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems experienced by YOUNG people today. I reflected, when I grew up, I didn’t have the pressure of any kind of social media to deal with. In fact, I don’t believe I had my first mobile phone until halfway through the 90’s (showing my age!) so there was no receiving any kind of messages throughout school electronically. I wonder what it would be like to be a teenager in today’s world…..

Social Media Anxiety Disorder (SMAD) is a real thing!  For teens, scrolling through their numerous social media accounts, leads to comparing their insides (their inner emotional world, how they feel about themselves), to other people outsides (the images posted on social media). Although there now seems to be more of a trend in some account holders being more transparent about the photos’ they may post, and can also be a source of strength for some (LGBTQ Community), the illusiveness of social media is the way our lives APPEAR to be rather then how they actually are on a moment to moment basis.  Momentum has increased around our sense of worth being valued by how many ‘likes’ or ‘shares’ we can rack up on social media. Our assessment of these outcomes, can suck our time as we worry about being pretty enough (I do!), popular enough and good enough, having such an impact that it can affect the way we socialise and engage with others.

Taking social media breaks can end the feedback loop or high we get from getting attention from our posts. Backing away from posting regularly can also assist in setting healthy boundaries, where as I revealed, when someone doesn’t respond the way you anticipate, you are able to be more accountable for your own experience, rather than blaming another for how you feel. Also, what about connecting with people in REAL TIME! Sometimes getting lost in the social media world, tends to create a sense of disconnection from the real person who is posting. Not being on social media as much, can enrich the connections we have in our lives, as long as we don’t spend out time together on our phones!!

I am really excited to have teamed up with Caitlin of Calmer Sutra Tea. to create Good Calmer Yoga. Our intention is to bring people together to demystify topics around mental health, create habits that can support us on our journey through Yoga and Mediation and raise awareness around mental health, with all monies raised by tickets being donated to a charity of choice.

For our upcoming Good Calmer Yoga. event on Tuesday March 27th at Fourth Chapter. all proceeds raised through the sale of our tickets will be donated to Headspace. the National Youth Foundation for Mental Health. Please click the Good Calmer Yoga. link to get your tickets.

We believe that creating a sense of connection through community can support and strengthen positive emotional well being, and be reminded that we are supported whether we have a cool picture on social media or not

- Michelle xx

MASCARPONE OAT TART WITH FRESH CHAI SOAKED FRUIT

MASCARPONE OAT TART WITH FRESH CHAI SOAKED FRUIT

One of my greatest joys is playing in the kitchen. My usual style begins with some late-night web wandering in search for recipes to inspire for the following days session in the kitchen. I rarely stick to 1 recipe, but rather take inspiration from several, then throw in a good pinch of my own intuitive style for good measure. However, I hit the jackpot when I stumbled across this little gem by Gather & Feast and saw no need to look further or readjust. I’ve made this one a few times now and have added some notes and tips which I thought might be worthwhile to consider if you give it a go.

The widened eyes and appreciative noises received when friends and family saw the tart was a promising start and I was delighted that the taste test only delivered more eye boggling and oohs and ahhs... tick tick! Definitely recommend giving this one a crack as a dessert at your next dinner party, or even an afternoon tea for a bit of wow factor. So, please do gather the ingredients and feast your eyes & tastebuds on this one.

Find the full recipe here.

 MY NOTES & TIPS ON THE ORIGINAL RECIPE

  • Of course, I used our original fresh chai blend (Calmer Chai) in this recipe. I steeped 3 tablespoons of our blend with 3 cups of boiling water for about 10 minutes, then strained. I then soaked the fruit in the strained liquid for about an hour
  • One time when I made this I soaked the dried fruit overnight as suggested in the recipe but found it way too intense with a slightly fermented taste. An hour or 2 of soaking I found was perfect before draining the liquid
  • I haven’t tried with Cointreau but can imagine it being a winner!!
  • I found the amount of fruit suggested to be more than needed to top the tart. I used around 2/3 of the suggested quantities.
  • Make sure you allow the tart crust to cool completely before filling with the mascarpone. If its still a little warm and you fill and then try to slice, it will collapse and run.
  • I went round over rectangle which worked a treat. Either way, make sure you use a collapsible base for easy removal.
  • 750gm of mascarpone is a lot and not cheap! I found 500gm to be ok – just not as deep a layer of filling - or use my tip below
  • I also tried with half mascarpone and half fresh deli ricotta and had a great result. The filling was a little firmer and easier to slice neatly. However, 100% mascarpone is a bit more on the decadent side if you’re feeling fanciful ;)

Fresh chai and mascarpone tart

Mama Chai xx