As Christmas approaches, I think of it's roots, as we know it, in Victorian times...because of Queen Victoria's beloved husband Prince Albert.
Albert brought from his native Saxe Coburg, Germany the ubiquitous Christmas tree that captivated the queen, the country and really the world. Above is a drawing of the drawing room at Windsor Castle, where the Queen often spends private time after Christmas.
The BBC released photos of the decorating at Windsor this year, that I thought you might be interested in seeing...these are from 2011, and are followed by this year's, 2013.
The State Dining room was set to represent a Christmas dessert party Victoria And Albert gave in 1851...including a gorgeous blue and white Mintons dessert set originally made for the Great Exhibition in 1851 that Prince Albert masterminded...the dishes are even more beautiful in person...breathtaking, really...
This is a close up of the sterling silver sauce boats shaped like sleighs at the ends and middle of the table....
A Windsor Castle curator arranging the fruit in the tiered Mintons server...
And a view of the main Mintons dessert tower with individual pot d' creme for ...perhaps...chocolate mousse....
Below, is the Tree room, where the tree was actually suspended from the ceiling in 1851...
This year, the dining room was set to a State Christmas Banquet from 1868...
One of the curators arranging the table, and below the silver...
The large drawing room tree being dressed...
Sothere you have a view of what the castle looks like at Christmas! Most of the photos are from PA Wire services, the BBC, and...me!
And a tea recipe from Sunset Magazine. I am always looking for recipes using tea, and this looks like a great one:
Chai Spiced Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- Leaves from 1 English Breakfast tea bag
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer until smooth. In another bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, ginger, fennel, cardamom, and tea. Add to butter mixture and beat on low speed until blended. Stir in chocolate chips.
- 2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set 1-tbsp. balls of dough 1 in. apart on sheets and flatten slightly with a floured glass.
- 3. Bake until cookies are light golden on undersides, 15 to 18 minutes, switching pan positions halfway through baking. Transfer to racks to cool.
- *Grind in a clean coffee grinder or in a mortar.
- Make ahead: Up to 3 days, stored airtight.
- Note: Nutritional analysis is per cookie.