Autumn is my favourite time of year, the sun is still out and shining but the air is crisp and cool, you can find a patch of light and lay on the grass on a Sunday afternoon and never get too hot. And then there's the clothes, oh the clothes! Thick chunky knits, scarves and gloves, hair tucked under woolen hats, socks and stockings and flushed pink cheeks. Heaven!
Autumn also heralds new rituals (pulling the heater out of the cupboard and dusting off a summers worth of dust is the first that comes to mind!). My favourite ritual is eating a warm scone, a glazing of jam and a cup of tea whilst wearing a great pair of warm pyjamas and reading Frankie magazine.
Scones, Jam and Tea→ I attribute this obsession to my Mum, we would arrive home on particularly cold winters days to a tray of warm scones and a jar of her homemade jam. Later on it became a Sunday afternoon suprise, with a cup of tea and a newspaper it was the perfect afternoon tea (and hangover cure!).
You can find a great recipe for scones here. (I like to sift the ingredients 3 or 4 times, it makes the dough lighter and fluffier). If you like a more savoury treat, add a cup of grated cheese and a couple of extra pinches of salt to the recipe.
I think making a cup of tea is similar to learning to drive from a parent. You pick up their particular method and take it as fact, never quite sure whether you're doing it as it should be done.
George Orwell (the author of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm) wrote an essay in 1946 called "A Nice Cup of Tea". I'm not entirely sure whether the knowledge that he took the time to write about making a cup of tea makes him a genius or completely mad. I've always wondered about tea etiquette and feel that his essay has answered many of my questions (and unfortunately bought up more questions, such as "Why do I spend so much time thinking about tea?")
Orwell's Eleven Rules:
1. Use tea from India or Ceylon (Sri Lanka), not China
2. Use a teapot, preferably ceramic
3. Warm the pot over direct heat
4. Tea should be strong - six spoons of leaves per 1 litre
5. Let the leaves move around the pot - no bags or strainers
6. Take the pot to the boiling kettle
7. Stir or shake the pot
8. Drink out of a tall, mug-shaped tea cup
9. Don't add creamy milk
10. Add milk to the tea, not vice versa
11. No sugar!
From the BBC article How to make a perfect cuppa. It includes a quiz about tea. I am obsessed.
A website devoted to having a cup of tea and a nice piece of cake or a biscuit. Suprisingly, it's called nicecupofteaandasitdown.
Wikihow article: How to Make a Good Cup of Tea
Next up, Knitting, Pink Cheeks and the Perfect Pyjamas!
Enjoy, stay sweet and lovely!