How to Make a Pot of Tea

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To make a quality pot of tea, bring freshly-drawn water to a rolling boil. Pour a little into a ceramic (earthenware) teapot to warm it, then empty it. By warming the pot, you are making it ready to steep the tea. Use good quality tea. Put 2 tea bags in a pot that serves 6-8 cups. Bring the water back to the boil and pour it on the bags immediately.

Cover the teapot with a tea-cozy (you can make one easily using two pieces of quilted fabric stitched in the shape of a dome to put over the top of your pot) and allow the tea to steep for five minutes - any shorter and the flavor will not have developed, any longer and the tannin will start to come out, which makes the tea taste stewed and bitter. For the same reason, boiling water should be used to make the tea but the tea should not be boiled again.

Most Brits like to put their milk in their teacups first (so that the boiling water will not crack the china), however in today's hearty mugs, that is not necessary. On cold winter mornings, it's worth it to heat the mugs with a bit of boiling water before pouring the tea into them. Simply pour boiling water into the mugs to sit until the tea has steeped. Then pour the water out and add milk. Finally, add tea and sugar, if you take it.

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Muffins and scones #

Here are two recipes to get you going:

Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins

  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1 1/3 c buttermilk
  • 1/2 c wheat flour
  • 1/2 c all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 3/4 c fresh or frozen blueberries (I use frozen)

Mix the oats and buttermilk in a small bowl and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375. Spray muffin tins with non-stick spray or use muffins cups.

Combine flours, baking powder and baking soda in another bowl. Mix well.

In a large bowl, beat egg, brown sugar and oil together. Stir in oats mixture. Add flour mixture and gently fold together. Add blueberries gently.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake 20-25 minutes until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm. (Recipe comes from The Marvelous Muffin, 6)

Basic Scones

  • 2 c flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c buttermilk
  • Lightly beaten egg

Mix dry ingredients. Preheat oven to 425. Cut in butter until resembles coarse mixture. Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk (you can use milk). Mix until dough clings together and sticks a bit. Do not overmix.

Turn onto a floured surface and shape into 6-8 inch round about 1 1/2 inch thick. Cut into wedges or cut with biscuit cutter. Good scones mean a minimum of handling. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Brush with egg for shiny surface. Bake at 425 for 10-20 minutes until lightly browned.

Serve with butter, lemon curds, jam or honey. (Recipe from An Invitation to Tea by Emilie Barnes, 12-13)