When birds are singing and flowers are blooming and all of nature is bursting out in lush greenery it’s lovely to move Afternoon Tea outdoors. We in the North have plenty of opportunity to sip our tea in dining rooms, living rooms and libraries during the cold Winter months, but in Summer it’s important to take advantage of outdoor living spaces.
Nature is so marvelous and here at The Jeremiah Brown House I care about the grounds outside the house as much as I care about the settings indoors. I try to enjoy and use every inch of the property and sharing it doubles my joy.
It’s been this way since my husband and I purchased the 1853 Jeremiah Brown House some seven years ago. This house and grounds had good bones but additions and improvements were needed. Way back when I’d look out the kitchen window at a trellis room, old and romantic, and though I loved it, the years had taken a toll on its untreated wood. The Trellis room was beyond repair.
But I loved looking up in this open-air room that had no ceiling. There was nothing to block the view of puffy white clouds and blue sky. We knew this room’s days were numbered though. It had to go in order to make way for the house addition we were planning.
The old stone patio just beyond the Trellis Room with its view of the side yard would have to go too. Sad, but necessary. The stone was crumbling and needed too much repair. The years had taken its toll on the patio too.
Plans were drawn up for a new addition and work was soon to begin, but first a few final events were held in these old spaces.
One such event was a simple tea for two old friends. The old Trellis Room teamed up with lovey old friends. This seemed right. Afternoon Tea served here was a simple affair. After all, every tea does not need to be an elaborate event. I wish more people would realize this for maybe then they would enjoy hosting teas of their own. The Art of Entertaining seems to be a dying art. (Whoa is me!) People say they’re too busy, but I think there should always be time set aside for gracious hospitality no matter how busy people may be. That’s just me.
After all, how much work is involved in making tea? Not much work at all.
And if one is not a baker that presents no problem for super markets and bakeries provide all sorts of cookies that will please guests. Afternoon tea is mostly about intimate sharing. The food and tea are nice accompaniments to the sharing, but not the most important things.
Of course if one does enjoy working in the kitchen, baking and cooking up goodies, all the better. Food is art and most of us love it! I like to experiment with new recipes. I think it’s fun, but as I said, one doesn’t have to do this. To host a tea one simply needs to tidy up the house or tea setting, set a few refreshments out, and then enjoy the afternoon along with their guests.
The recipe I prepared for my Trellis tea was Chicken Salad Puffs, elegant sandwiches with a crunchy, sweet pecan topping. If you’d like to make these sandwiches for yourself here’s the recipe.
Chicken Salad Puffs
2 and 1/2 c. cooked chicken; 1 c. celery, finely chopped; 4 small green onions, chopped; 1 c. mayonnaise; 2 tsp. Dijon mustard; salt and pepper to taste; frozen puff pastry, thawed; caramelized pecans, chopped.
Process: In a mixing bowl, combine chicken, and green onion. Mix together Dijon mustard and mayonnaise. Pour this over chicken mixture along with salt and pepper.
For the caramelized pecans: Heat 1/2 c. sugar until melted (about 4 minutes on medium heat stirring constantly). Stir in the pecans. Pour mixture onto waxed paper to cool. Use whole or coarsely ch0pped nuts for garnish.
Chicken puffs, cookies, and a little fruit – a very simple and easy menu for any Afternoon Tea. Just add a warm and friendly spirit, some friends, and all are bound to have a very pleasant afternoon, you especially.
Caring and sharing with old friends and with new ones, adding a few tea treats, some smiles and conversation, all in a relaxed manner, is a surefire recipe for a happy day. It’s also the recipe for gracious entertaining and gracious living.
The Trellis Room and stone patio are now gone and in their place is this addition built onto the old house. New gardens are in the plans. These plans will keep our creativity activated.
I’m thinking of something like this design set in the side yard. It was pictured in the February/March issue of “Traditional Homes” magazine. A stone path could connect the new porch to this wooden structure creating a new and very Romantic setting for future Summer teas. I’ll always miss the old Trellis Room and stone patio but I have my memories and my photographs to remember my fine times there.
Until the new garden structure is added a Summer tea for three or four can take place on this new porch. Here, with a roof over over heads, we won’t even have to worry about birdies dropping surprises on our chicken puffs as we did in the charming but slightly dangerous Trellis room.
Yes, I miss the old Trellis Room, but onward and upward we all must go. Cherish the past but keep looking forward to the future and all its possibility. I hope you have some nice things to look forward to in your future, maybe a nice tea of your own. If so, I’d love to hear all about it. Do share. Sharing doubles the joy.
I love the old world, but I’m glad I was not born before tea.