All Things Victorian

All Things Victorian
Victoriana Lady Lisa

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Victoriana Lady's Lavender Scones & Honey Butter Recipe

Fresh organic Lavender is best for baking


2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. chilled butter not margarine

½ cup whole milk (you can substitute buttermilk
or heavy cream for richer flavor)

1 Tbsp. organic Lavender buds. Do not use Lavender unless
organic or grown in your own garden, free of pesticides.

1 Lightly beaten egg to brush on top of scones before baking.

Mix dry ingredients well with a whisk in a large bowl.
Cut in butter, I prefer a hand held pastry blender
as the Victorians would have used, until mixture resembles
course cornmeal.

Gently crush the organic Lavender buds between your fingers to
release flavor into the dry mixture.
Whisk to blend.
Make a well in the center of the bowl and pour milk in the center.

Mix together with a fork until just blended and dough clings
together. Do not over mix or you will have tough scones.

Dough should be sticky, if too dry add a few drops of milk and
blend. Knead dough by hand 2-3 times, no more,
until dough pulls away from sides of bowl.

Pinch off small pieces of dough, about the size of a 50-cent piece,
place on an un-greased cookie sheet.

Brush tops of scones with beaten egg. Bake for 10-12 minutes
at 350 degrees.

Makes 2 and 1/2 dozen scones.

Note: Oven temperatures may vary so watch your first batch
closely, when they are baked lightly brown on top the scones are done.
Transfer baked scones to a cooling rack.

Put scones in an airtight container and refrigerate any unused portions.
They freeze very well and stay moist so you can make them ahead of time.


1 stick (1/2 cup butter) at room temperature, not margarine
½ cup honey
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Dash salt

Put ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until smooth.
Refrigerate any unused portion.

This is very good on scones, muffins & tea breads too.

Victorian Friend Society member Amy on left & Victoriana Lady Lisa

Lavender Scones are delicious paired with Lady Gray Tea...Mmm...enjoy!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The History & Etiquette Of Tea

              Victoriana Lady Lisa enjoying a cup of English Breakfast Tea

Unknown to many, I began my business a decade ago catering Afternoon & High Tea parties all over PA, NY & NJ. Along with the refreshments I was also presenting my Victorian Fashions program dressed in 19th century attire from my traveling museum collection. I no longer cater parties but I still entertain all over the country as Victoriana Lady & her Traveling Museum, circa 1850-1920. One of my presentations that I still offer is the History & Etiquette of Tea. Brew a cup of your favorite tea, relax, and enjoy my article. 

                                       One of my favorite Rose Chintz Tea Pots

Lapsang Souchong Tea
My experience with Lapsang Sochong Tea or, is there a fire in the house?

During my research I learned that LS Tea was the tea dumped in the harbor at the Boston Tea Party.
I decided I should look for it and try it. I was catering a tea that weekend, so I bought 8 boxes.
While driving home I kept thinking that there must be a fire somewhere, it seemed like I smelled smoke.
I got home and set the bag of tea bags on the kitchen counter. I went upstairs a few minutes when I heard my son came home from school.
He came looking for me right away to ask me if something was burning downstairs! I panicked and ran to the kitchen.
Perplexed I said to him, I smell it too.                            
In fact I smelled it all the way home from the store.
We followed the smell and realized it was coming from the tea bags! I unpacked the cellophane covering and now it was really strong!
I thought perhaps it gets better when it's brewed so I put the kettle on. For me it did not get better. :)
I tried to drink it, but all it reminded me of was a house on fire smell.
I did a little more research and found out Lapsang Souchong tea leaves are fermented over burning Pine wood. THAT explains everything! :)
I bravely took it to my tea event, along with several other choices. I knew it was not just me when several ladies coming into the kitchen asked me, Is something burning? No I replied, It's just the tea.
Only one of the ladies in the entire party enjoyed the LS tea. I told them my story and we all laughed.
I guess it must be an acquired taste. Try some and judge for yourself. :) 

I inherited my great aunt's Blue Willow dishes and often use them at my tea parties

Tea, or Camellia Sinesis, is the world’s second most consumed beverage, water being the first. Tea is calorie & sodium free, contains fluoride and traces of vitamins. It is very rich in antioxidants and contains more than any other food or beverage.  In 2737 B.C. Emperor Shen Nung relaxed with a cup of hot water in his garden. He was health conscious and believed boiling his water protected him from sickness. Legend has it that one day a leaf from a nearby bush blew into his cup. Soon a delightful aroma came forth. He enjoyed the flavored water so much it became his daily drink. Thus, tea was born!

  Tea for many years in China was only for the aristocrats. Over the next 500 years processing improved and consumption expanded. Tea was pressed into cakes or bricks for easier transporting during this time.  The Dutch are credited with bringing the first tea from China to Europe. The Dutch were spreading the word about teas medicinal value, and levying a high price to go with it. $100.00 a pound!  

One of my Valentine Day Tea Parties- I love to bake!!

Afternoon Tea, or Low Tea was started by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford in the late 1700’s.  In England at that time breakfast was eaten early. They did not eat lunch as we do. By mid afternoon Anna would get a sinking feeling. Supper was not until late evening so to cope with her fatigue she began to order little cakes with her afternoon tea. Before long the menu expanded, and the trend caught on all over England. Afternoon Tea was born!

Tea was a forbidden pleasure to Princess Victoria, whose governess did not allow her to have it. As soon as she became Queen in 1837, she immediately ordered her first cup of tea. It was Queen Victoria herself who started the tradition of 4:00 teatime in England.

What is the name of the tea dumped during the Boston Tea Party?
  1. Earl Grey
  2. English Breakfast
  3. Lapsang Souchong
 The answer is C - Lapsang Souchong. This tea has a distinct smoky flavor from being 
fermented over burning pine.  

Table setting of Blue Willow

 Iced tea was invented here in this country.  80% of all tea consumed in America is iced. Iced Tea was invented in 1904 at the St. Louis World’s Fair by RICHARD BLECHYNDEN. He was sent from England to introduce black teas to Americans. However because they were having a heat wave, no one wanted hot tea. He decided to pour the tea over ice, causing a big sensation. It quenched the peoples thirst that hot day, and the rest is history, as they say.

We also have the distinction of inventing the tea bag. In 1908 a tea importer named JOHN SULLIVAN began sending samples of his tea in small silk bags, instead of the standard heavy tins. The customers assumed these were to be dunked into their hot water. Women flooded him with requests for more of the wonderful, convenient little tea bags. 

This was a Spring Tea Party with mismatched antique China

Camellia Sinesis is the botanical name of the tea plant, which is a tropical evergreen bush. Although the tea plant is the same in various regions, the soil, climate, altitude and processing methods determine the different types of teas. The bush is kept to a height of about 3 feet tall. In it’s wild state it can grow as large as 20 feet!   


1. BLACK TEA - The most widely consumed, is made from leaves that are allowed to ferment, or oxidize. This process is what gives the tea its distinct flavor. Oxidation is also responsible for the caffeine in tea. The more oxidation, the more caffeine it contains. The leaves are then heated to remove moisture. It is this heat that turns the leaves black. It is a hearty brew with more caffeine than other teas. Although it still has considerably less caffeine than coffee. Lipton & Tetley are popular examples of black tea. Also in the black tea category is Darjeeling, considered the Champagne of teas, English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Lapsang Souchong and Red Mudan, which is brewed from a single Peony flower.

2. GREEN TEA - Is not fermented therefore it has no caffeine. The leaves are steamed, then fired. Green tea has a delicate flavor. It is full of antioxidants, which can help protect against a number of cancers. New studies have shown that women, and men who drink at least 3 cups of tea daily have lower risk of developing a stroke, heart attack and high cholesterol. Green tea is the favored tea in the Orient.

3. OOLONG TEA - This tea is partially fermented, with some caffeine. It’s taste is stronger than green tea, but milder than black tea. Two examples of Oolong tea are Formosa Oolong, having a peachy flavor and Black Dragon having a fruity flavor. 

One of my favorite artists & friend, Sandy Clough, designed this tea cup and gave it to me for my birthday

HERBAL TEAS -  Did you know these are really not teas at all? They are infusions or tisanes as the French say, made from roots, leaves, seeds or fruits. These are always decaffeinated since they do not contain any true tea leaves. Camomile is a very popular herbal infusion of dried flowers and leaves. This aromatic tea is often sipped for health benefits, new studies are showing that it may boost the immune system. The best quality Camomile comes from the Nile Delta in Egypt. It is naturally caffeine free and is known for its ability to soothe and relax, often being referred to as the night time tea.

 FLAVORED TEAS - These are teas, which contain essential oils, herbs, fruit juices, or spices. Those in the Middle East enjoy KarKadeh tea, made from Hibiscus flowers. The Hibiscus gives this tea a beautiful ruby color.

Consider this the next time you enjoy a cup of tea. Tealeaves are still plucked by hand, a very labor-intensive process. The tealeaves are so delicate that machine harvesting would never work. A large tea garden will employ hundreds of workers who wear large baskets on their backs to hand pluck the new growth from the bush.  The finest plucking is a highly practiced art. Since pluckers are paid according to the weight and quality of what they harvest, they must learn to pluck well to survive. The best tea is made from tender new leaves and buds called First Flush.  Did you know that women are considered the best tealeaf pluckers because their fingers are more nimble?

  1. India-            Darjeeling, the champagne of teas.
  2. Sri Lanka-     Various Teas.
  3. China-            Oolong, Gunpowder, and Lapsang Souchong.
 The only tea plantation in America is in Charleston South Carolina. 

                                                   From my tea tin collection

Since tea is fermented or oxidized and dried, then packaged, it stabilizes the flavor. Unlike coffee beans which suffer over time, tea can be stored for long periods of time in a cool, dry, dark place. It is not recommended you refrigerate tea.

Orange-Pekoe, the most widely consumed tea is not orange flavored at all. This name refers to the location of the leaves on the tea plant. Orange-Pekoe, which means small leaves, are the second branch or second flush of leaves from the top of the tea plant. Pekoe is medium size leaf, and Pekoe Souchong refers to large leaves.

The first three American millionaires, T.H. PERKINS of Boston, STEPHEN GIRARD of Philadelphia and JOHN JACOB ASTOR of New York all made their fortunes selling tea. Together they broke the English monopoly on tea because their ships were faster, and because they paid in gold.    



Did you know, Tibetans, Mongolians and people in parts of Western China put salt in their tea, instead of sugar? 

                                               Another tea tin in my collection

Afternoon Tea consists of Scones, the proper English way to pronounce this rhymes with gone, Tea Sandwiches and Pastries. Other desserts may be added as well. Afternoon tea is the typical tea party that we think of and enjoy in America, generally between 12:00 and 3:00 PM. England’s teatime is 4:00 PM. 

  A Cream Tea is when only scones, jam & Devonshire cream are served with tea. 

High Tea refers to the height of the table served on, much like a dining room table. It also means it was a more substantial meal with hearty foods served such as quiche, shepherds pie, meats and salad. High Tea was actually the workingman’s supper in England.

For proper tea brewing fill a kettle with fresh cold water. The cold water contains the oxygen needed to release the flavor from the tealeaves.Heat water to a rolling boil. Don’t boil too long, or you will lose that oxygen!Warm your teapot by pouring some boiling water into it and swirling it around.Next pour the water out.Measure 1 tsp. of tea or 1 teabag per cup. If it’s a 5 cup teapot you measure 5 tsps. or bags, and so on. Place bags, or tea infuser into teapot.Pour boiling water into teapot. Let steep 3-5 minutes for black tea, no longer or tea is bitter.Green Tea should steep 1-3 minutes.Herbal Tea can steep 3-5 minutes. The proper English etiquette is to bring the teapot to the kettle, not the kettle to the teapot.

When pouring tea proper etiquette is to add lemon first to the teacup, then sugar, cream [if not taking lemon] then add your tea. 

A Teddy Bear Tea Party that I hosted a few years ago

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 exhausted it will calm you.                            

William Gladstone 

Thanks for stopping by and sharing a cup of tea with me!

Monday, May 23, 2011

I Must Part With...

Hi Friends, I am downsizing and must part with some of my personal items. Here are a few photos, I have many more tea related items, home decor stuff, decorating & tea magazines. If you are looking for something please ask me, I might have it. You can e-mail me at for more information. TY!

Premier issue!! $20.00 postage paid. I have several years worth, other copies are $5.00 each postage paid

Framed antique baby ad $14.00 postage paid

                                                        One issue $5.00 postage paid

Framed antique post card $14.00 postage paid

Vintage mini sugar & creamer $15.00 postage paid

One issue $5.00 postage paid

One issue $5.00 postage paid

One issue $5.00 postage paid

Framed friend print $7.00 postage paid

Silk rose for craft or gift wrap $ 4.00 postage paid

I have several years worth, copies are $5.00 each postage paid

I have several years worth, copies are $5.00 each postage paid

Mary Engelbreit trinket box $5.00 postage paid

Six vintage butter pat dishes from SC, great for used tea bags or lemon wedges $25.00  postage paid

Victorian style blue perfume bottle $25.00 postage paid

Victorian style pink perfume bottle $25.00 postage paid

Vintage Victorian Avon perfume bottle with box $ 15.00 postage paid

Celluloid Antique Hair Comb $ 40.00 postage paid

Original box antique Victorian remedy $35.00 postage paid

Original box antique Victorian remedy $35.00 postage paid

Original box antique Victorian herbal remedy $25.00 postage paid

Friday, May 20, 2011

Searching The Historical Society For My Fashions Book

Searching The Historical Society For My Fashions Book

I had the most delightful day perusing the Luzerne County Historical Society's many closets full of glorious Victorian & Edwardian dresses & capes. Next week I get go through the myriad of boxes!! What fun!!

It's in preparation for outfits for my upcoming book The Fashionable Victorians. Here are a few samples of the items that will be displayed on mannequins & photographed. A very special thanks to the historical society's director Anthony T.P. Brooks and museum curator Mary Ruth Burke for this wonderful opportunity.

All of those beautiful Victorian & Edwardian dresses, capes, coats, shirtwaists, bodices, skirts to enjoy!!