Hello and welcome to Tuesday Cuppa Tea for the last Tuesday in February!
Because my post today is focused on the tradition of Burns Night, the meals and festivities focused on the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns, that are celebrated in various fashions around January 25th which is his birthday, I have chosen a Shelley Thistle teacup which I have shared before...
Thistles and heather have always been the symbol of Scotland, and the thistles represent Scotland in the arms of the United Kingdom. This Thistle design by Shelley China is pattern number 13820 dates it to from 1955 and 1956 when the pottery closed.
The shape is the Cambridge shape. The Thistle pattern was made in about 4 other shapes with green and gold trim, but this is the pink trim version. Perfect with the Walnut Shortbread recipe later in the post....
Robert Burns was born January 25, 1759 and lived until only 1796 and is revered as one of the most famous poets of all time, and certainly the most revered Scottish poet and song writer. He is called one of the founders of the Romantic era and also as a social reformer. His works were both lyrical, romantic and full of social and political plain spoken opinions. There are huge Scottish clubs and societies all over the world where this is celebrated, and everyone is asked to wear Tartan. An example of an invitation:
The evening will usually start with the singing or saying of what is called the Selkirk Grace:
Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Ans sae let the Lord be thankit.
A traditional Burns supper...or party...or tea, has several essential ingredients. Basically those are "neeps and tatties" or turnips and potatoes, a "wee dram" of whiskey....which is where some of the all male celebrations get a bit rowdy, and last but not least, Scotland's national dish...haggis! Haggis is a sheep's intestines stuffed with...okay, you don't want to know. I tried it, and DIDN'T like it!
Part of the dinner is the Address To The Haggis after it is bagpiped into the room with much ceremony and toasting...
In honor of Burns Night celebrations I have a few tartan or Scottish tea related items to share, tartan being the first thing that comes to mind when talking of Scotland. Some of these items are available at Antiques And Teacups, and some are from my archive. Just click on the photos and if it is still available, there is more information.
A vintage, hand made padded Tartan tea cozy
A new Springfield, England Glamis Thistle large bone china teapot....Glamis being the Scottish castle where Queen Elizabeth's mother, the Queen Mum Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was raised before she married the man who became King George VI...
A vintage Tartan needlecase or vinigarette case also called Mauchline War from the 1870s...
A vintage Robert Burns tea towel
A vintage English tea towel with Scotties, heather and thistles...we don't have thistles around here that I know of, but because we have weather similar to that of Scotland, we have lots of heather...
This is a sprig of heather I just picked on our walk today...brought it home and put it in a Royal Albert teacup called Highland Queen with purple thistles that I got yesterday and was waiting for a sunny day to photograph, so excuse the less-than-perfect photography...
As you can see, heather comes in lots of colors...we have pink, white and this magenta outside...and all over Sequim, as a much used ground cover. And now for some Scottish Shortbread....
While I was looking for a Shortbread recipe to share, I found this Afternoon Tea book by Michael Smith from 1986 that I had lost in the back of my tea recipe bookshelf. There is a Walnut Shortbread recipe which is very good and easy I'd like to share....
The pastry is soft and must be handled with care. It can be made in a food processor, although I didn't this time, using the all-in-one method.
2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup finely crushed walnuts (I prefer Pecans actually)
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
generous 1/2 cup confectioner's (powdered sugar)
2 small egg yolks..or egg substitute
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Sift the flour and crushed nuts together into a bowl. Make a well in the center. Mix the softened butter to a paste with the sugar and egg yolks and place in the well. Gradually draw the flour into the center and mix into the butter forming a soft dough. Roll out on a floured board approximately 1/8 inch thick and cut into 2 inch squares, and transfer carefully to baking pan.
Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Makes 16-20 shortbread biscuits. There are not too sweet, perfect with a cup of tea.
The Burns Night celebration evening is of course ended with Robert Burns famous song For Auld Lang Syne, preferably to the sound of bagpipes. Much fun and good food is enjoyed. Sometimes even Burns teas are given, by those not overly fond of the whiskey...that would include me!
I found this great website, www.bagpiper-online.com where you can listen to bagpipe music. How cool is that! So Hoots, Mon...or lady...and enjoy Burns Night and have a cup of Irish Breakfast tea with me...since I don't have Scottish tea! !
And to change the subject slightly...I do do that, don't I??? Here is this weeks page from my Downton Abbey Engagement calendar...Daisy at work...do you think she might be making Shortbread? Who knew Miss Bunting would help her to realize she's a math whiz? Good for her!
I had posted this on my Facebook page today, but thought many of you wouldn't have seen this. Awesome article from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) about the jewelry created for Downton Abbey...this is Violet the Dowager Countess of Grantham's "Russian" tiara...gorgeous! Visit the link below for a wonderful slideshow of some of the fabulous pieces created for the show, with some fun stories.
So thanks for joining me today for a Burns Night edition of Tuesday Cuppa Tea! Below is the list of some of the blog parties and the linky for your tea related posts. I love to hear from you...have a wonderful week...and have a cuppa with a friend!