"If you are cold, tea will warm you. If you are too heated, it will cool you.
If you are depressed, it will cheer you. If you are excited, it will calm you." William Gladstone

Porcelain or silver Teapot
Porcelain Teacups and saucers
Dessert Plates
Linen and matching napkins
Sugar tongs
Serving spoons, Knives, Teaspoons
Tea Strainer (or mesh or teaball)
Tea Cozy
Scones and/or crumpets
Strawberry jam and/or lemon curd
Devonshire Clotted Cream
Sugar, Milk, Lemon slices
Assam and/or Earl Grey Tea
Fresh flowers
Music (Chopin, Liszt, or Schubert would be nice)
Roaring fire in Winter, if possible

Brew the tea by bringing fresh water to a rolling boil in a kettle. Bring a teapot, warmed by rinsing with hot water, to the kettle. Immediately take the kettle off the heat as soon as water boils and pour the hot water into the pot. Into the pot, place 1 tsp of leaves for each cup (6 oz) plus one "for the pot." Alternatively, put leaves into a mesh basket or teaball and infuse this way (there must be room enough inside the mesh or teaball for the tea leaves to double in size). Steep a black tea for 5 or so minutes. The person who "is mother" (the one who is to pour the tea) should pour into cups through a strainer if mesh or a teaball isn't used. Serve with milk (never cream), sugar cubes, and lemon slices. (Note: 4:00 in the afternoon is the standard time for a cream tea)

For a Cream Tea, serve some of the following:

Lemon Curd

1/3 c. + 2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
finely grated zest of 2 lemons
1 large egg + 2 egg yolks
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 TBSP cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Whisk together everything but the butter in top of double boiler til light and fluffly. Then cook over simmering water, stirring frequently, for 12-15 minutes or til it thickens to pudding consistency and coats a spoon. Strain, if desired. Now gradually stir in butter til it's melted and mixture is smooth. It should have the consistency of a heavy pudding or sour cream and be spreadable, not soupy.

Clotted Cream

Heat oven to 170oF. Pour 2 pints of heavy cream "(double cream" or "whipping cream" that has a fat content between 36% to 40%) that is NOT ultra-pasteurized into a glass or ceramic 8x8 or 9x9 pan (the cream shouldn't be over 2 inches deep in the pan). Put pan of cream inside the oven, close the door, and leave it for 12 hours. Take out, let cool to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap, and then put in fridge to chill for 12 hours. Scrape off the skin (that's the clotted cream), pouring off the liquid (which can be used in coffee, desserts, etc. as one uses milk). Stir up' til smooth. Keeps a week in the fridge.

Quickie Mock Clotted Cream
...if you can't get or have time to make the real thing...

1/2 c. heavy cream
2 TBSP powdered sugar
1/2 c. sour cream

In chilled bowl, beat cream til medium-stiff peaks form, adding sugar during last few minutes of beating. Fold in sour cream. (you can add a little vanilla, if you want). Serve on scones and toasted crumpets with jam (eat quickly; it doesn't keep).

Shaped Sugar "Cubes"

3 c. sugar
1/4 c. water

Put everything in a jar with a tight lid and shake til water is evenly distributed. Put in bowl for easy access. Pack firmly into candy molds of various shapes, some in "1-lump" size, and some in "2-lump" size. Turn out immediately onto wax-paper lined cookie sheets. Put in a 300 degree oven with the door open for about an hour (or leave overnight to dry). If you want, just for looks, decorate a few using pastry bags of colored icings you would use for cake decorations.

Scones (makes 10)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chilled, unsalted butter
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (may use Half-and-Half or milk instead)

Egg wash:
1 large egg, lightly beaten 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease cookie sheet with butter and sprinkle with flour (or line with parchment). Mix flour, sugar, powder and salt. Cut in butter to form fine crumbs. Mix cream, egg, and vanilla, then add to crumb mixture (don't overmix! Use a light hand). Press into a 7" circle (about 1 1/2" thick) and cut into triangles (or cut into circles with floured round cookie cutters). Brush with the egg wash. Bake around 15 min. until golden brown. They will be split horizontally and topped first with a very thick layer of Devonshire Clotted Cream with a dollop of strawberry jam (or lemon curd) on the very top. (Note on pronunciation of "scone": the proper way is to rhyme the word with "John," but pronouncing it with a long "O," as in rhymes with "Joan," is gaining in popularity.)

Blueberry Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for hands and work surface
1/2 cup  granulated sugar
2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen
1/2 cup heavy cream (plus 2 Tbsp for brushing)
1 large egg
1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 heaping cup fresh or frozen blueberries (do not thaw)
coarse sugar for topping, optional

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together in a large bowl. Grate the frozen butter using a box grater. Add it to the flour mixture and combine with a pastry cutter, two forks, or your fingers until the mixture comes together in pea-sized crumbs. Place in the refrigerator or freezer as you mix the wet ingredients together.

Whisk 1/2 cup heavy cream, the egg, and vanilla extract together in a small bowl. Drizzle over the flour mixture, add the blueberries, then mix together until everything appears moistened.

Pour onto the counter and, with floured hands, work dough into a ball as best you can. Dough will be sticky. If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour. If it seems too dry, add 1-2 more Tablespoons heavy cream. Press into an 8-inch disc and, with a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut into 8 wedges.

Brush scones with remaining heavy cream (and sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired). Preheat oven to 400, and meanwhile, place scones 2 or 3 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. Bake for 22-25 minutes.

Crumpets (makes 24)

2 pkgs (1/2 oz) dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
3 1/2 c. warm water
2 TBSP baking powder
4 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt

Dissolve yeast and sugar in the water. Add everything else and whisk til frothy. Heat griddle to 450 degrees. Grease the insides of crumpet rings (if you don't have any, you can use empty tuna cans that have been opened on both sides) and place on griddle. Pour 3/4 c. batter in each ring and cook til bubbles form (like pancakes). Remove ring and turn over to cook other side. Toast and serve with butter, and jam or lemon curd.

For an Afternoon Tea, add something savory:

Cucumber Sandwiches
Makes 32 pieces, equivalent to 8 regular-sized sandwiches

1 peeled, seedless cucumber
4 1/2 oz. unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp. orange zest
16 slices of firm, thin-sliced white bread, crusts removed
Garnish: fresh mint leaves and thin orange slices

Cut cucumber in in half lengthways, then slice crossways as thinly as possible. In a small bowl, mix the butter and orange zest and stir until creamy. Spread each slice of white bread with about 1 teaspoons of the butter mixture. Arrange several slices of cucumber on half of the bread, then top with the remaining slices. Cut each sandwich into 4 triangles. To serve, arrange the sandwiches on a platter, alternating white and brown sides of the sandwiches and garnish with mint sprigs and orange slices.