Afternoon Tea at the O’Henry Hotel

Hi guys!  Hope everyone is well.

I had the most delightful experience last week.  My dad and his lovely wife were in town for a visit so I took them to afternoon tea at the O’Henry Hotel in Greensboro, NC.

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I  first fell in love with the ritual of afternoon tea in Scotland.  Just to clarify, when I say ‘tea’ I’m not just talking about the beverage and a cookie.  Oh no no no.  A proper full/afternoon tea should include a bottomless pot of hot tea, finger sandwiches and other small savory bites, a variety of little sweet treats, and of course, savory and/or plain scones with clotted cream and jam or curd. In the U.K., afternoon tea is often enjoyed post-lunch but pre-dinner.  Personally, I prefer to just make it my lunch.

Ever since that first Scottish tea, I have tried to find places here at home that offer the experience I’m looking for.  To be honest, I haven’t really found it.  Until the O’Henry.  Wow!  Everything about it hit the mark, from the beautiful and sophisticated setting to the gorgeous mix-and-match china, to the delicious and thoughtfully prepared tiered tray of food.  I felt as if I were at Greywalls Hotel or Prestonfield House or any other fine establishment in Scotland.

See for yourself!

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“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”   

∼Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

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The O’Henry offered six savories, four sweets, and one scone with clotted cream and pear curd.  I was full and even had to ‘doggy bag’ a couple items.

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See what I mean?  Delightful!

Cheers,

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Recipe: Scones

Welcome back friends,

I feel like I can genuinely say that now.  I have connected with some of the nicest folks on here.  I’m so enjoying getting to know you through our shared interests and through our writing.

So, feel like cooking today?  After a hearty Thanksgiving dinner followed by a hearty post-Thanksgiving dinner of leftovers, I’m surprised that I do.  But all you have to do is say the word scone and I’ll start digging for my sieve.

The recipe that I’m using today is from a wonderful site I discovered a couple of years ago,  Eating For England.

Even though technically eat for Scotland, you will find that scones are an important component of tea time no matter which side of the border you find yourself.

Pronounced to either rhyme with ‘tone’ or ‘gone’, depending on one’s country and region, British scones are a completely different affair than what we commonly find in coffee shops and bakeries here in the United States.  Whereas our scones are triangular and tend to be very sweet and somewhat cake-like, British scones more closely resemble in appearance what Americans call biscuits.  However, even those two things are quite different. Our biscuits are rich and buttery and are often enjoyed with breakfast.  British scones are lighter, flaky, and have a touch of sweetness.  Sometimes they include fruit such as raisins or currants.  And sometimes they are savory, such as those made with cheese.  Scones are a basic staple of afternoon tea in England and Scotland.  They are truly delicious and I promise that if you give this recipe a try, you will not be disappointed.

Let’s get started, shall we?

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Wendy Tackles the Sponge (Recipe)

Umm, the cake.  I’m talking about the cake.  Why? What did you think I was talking about?  (chuckle chuckle)

I have long wanted to try my hand at a Victoria Sponge.  First, because I brake for cake.  Second, it is just so quintessentially English (although it is common to find this cake at eateries in Scotland as well).  It’s strange, but in all the times I have dined in Scotland, I never once ordered a slice of Victoria Sponge.  We’re going to remedy that today.

I researched several different recipes and it seems that each are pretty consistent, with just some minor variations among them.  Equal parts butter, sugar, and flour seems to be the common thread.  For my cake today, I decided to try a recipe by BBC Good Food (I chose a different mixing method and also chose a different filling).

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1997/classic-victoria-sandwich

Let’s get baking!

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The Beautiful Gardens at Greywalls Hotel

People who are acquainted with me and my husband know that we are quite fond of gardens.  For those that don’t know us, I must confess that we (or is it just him?) are also a bit…well…ambitious.  You know the phrase “go big or go home”?  Sometimes I think we invented that phrase.

Nearly ten years ago, my adoring husband with the aid of his trusty Kubota, took down a large, somewhat problematic tree behind our house.  The removal of the tree and its massive root ball left us with a rather unsightly, gaping hole.  Ever the visionary (and enjoyer of manly projects), my husband had the brilliant idea to construct a pond/rock garden where the tree had previously stood.  But in typical “go big or go home” fashion, the project did not end there.  For one pond quickly became two.  Then three.  Then four.  What we have today, nearly a decade later, are three smaller ponds that connect via rocky streams into a larger pond.  What my husband has built is quite extraordinary.  I’m a lucky lady, indeed.20171104_121108

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