Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Tea Party for Two

This weekend, I got an entire afternoon to play house and to plan a tea party for two. There is nothing I like more than tea and a cosy tête-à-tête. The weather was very cooperative and though the last two days started off cold and cloudy, golden sunshine warmed the garden by mid-afternoon. I chose one of the rustic tables that R has constructed for the backyard from reclaimed wood and covered it with a vintage tapestry. I have to tell you I am amassing a small collection of these. I bought some in India and 1 or 2 locally at stores in Berkeley. I prefer slightly less predictable colors like pinks and mauves, creams and greys more than the usual reds and yellows.  The setup is easy as it's just the two of us. I corralled tiny pots onto an old silver tray and then added a sprig of lavender colored flowers (whose name I do not know as it was a gift from a friend's garden). 
While I was planning the simple table layout in my head, I happened to drop in at the local World Market and what should I find there but lots of Diamond Jubilee inspired British memorabilia. There was even a figurine of the Queen in a matching lavender dress. 
(The quirky thing about this doll is that there is a solar panel on the handbag and given enough sunlight, Her Majesty waves gracefully!)

What is tea without the Queen?!

Now the menu. There is masala chai perfectly accompanied by thinly sliced mint chutney and cucumber sandwiches. And for dessert, there are Mahinder's Lemon Tarts. Don't they look tempting?! 

There are many recipes for making perfect lemon tarts from scratch but in the interest of time,  I use a very quick and easy method that I learnt from Mahinder (of course!), a kindly cook that worked for some friends back in the day in Muscat and who always sneaked an extra helping of dessert to the kids.

All you need are ready to bake pie crust sheets from the refrigerated section of your local grocery store and lemon curd (I always use this). Roll the sheets out and cut out circles using a cookie cutter. Bake these in a muffin pan according to the directions on the box. Remove, cool and then scoop lemon curd onto the shells. Top with your favorite fruit and the lemon tarts are ready. Tea is served!

All photographs taken by me. 

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