A Message from Ruth at Antiques And Teacups

Welcome to the blog of Antiques And Teacups! Let's share a cup of tea and talk about the things we love...like teacups, antiques, collectibles, visiting England, antiquing and learning about victoriana and quirky gadgets. Fun!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Tuesday Cuppa Tea Robert Burns, Heather And Thistles

Hello and welcome to Tuesday Cuppa Tea... this week a celebration of Robert Burns!

Happy Birthday to Robert Burns!

 I love this poem of his:

Then let us pray that come what may
As come it will for a' that...
That man to man the world o'er,

Shall brothers be for a'that.

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.

So we had a Burns Tea in the sunroom... with 2 friends...Scotties from a Scottish tea towel I have...

The heather is from the yard, and the Burns cottage photo in the silver frame from a visit a few years ago...

I managed to find 2 teacups with a Scottish Heather theme... this first one is by Paragon and is called Highland Queen. 

The pattern was named for, and bears the royal warrant  for Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mum, wife of King George VI and mother of the current Queen Elizabeth II, who has Scottish roots. 

The queen grew up at the Bowes-Lyons home of Glamis Castle by Dundee Scotland...

Paragon finally went out of production in 1992 after various mergers ending with the WWRD partnership, when it was discontinued.

This teacup is by Rosina and has a wonderful pattern of different Heathers tied with tartan ribbons...it isn't named. The cup and saucer dates to the 1950s and has the wonderful brushed gold that is seldom done anymore...  Rosina quietly was dropped in the late 1960s by Queen's China who owns the name. Queen's is still in production in a much smaller way than before, but is not using Rosina.

The Scottish Heather seemed so appropriate so I went looking in the garden. We have 3 colors here, but we have had the coldest winter in years, and where there are usually 3 vibrant colors flourishing at this time of year, I found few stems with open bells... I tucked a bit of Forsythia in for color...

I added a few souvenirs of Scotland... an English 1930s souvenir horse brass with the Scottish Thistle...

Thistles, Heather and a good luck hoseshoes on the tea towel...

An English hallmarked for 1959-1960 sterling silver coffee spoon with a Scottish Thistle enamel finial by Mappin & Webb, Birmingham...

And a Shelley, England crested souvenir jam jar made as a souvenir of  the Western coast of Scotland seaside town of Largs from the 1930s.

But what's for tea??? Scottish Shortbread, of course! Small problem...my shortbread pan is a Colonial Williamsburg reproduction I had been wanting to use, as I hadn't for ages...

and the recipe is  from the book and cookbook I have Afternoon Tea by Michael Smith from 1986, 

as I couldn't find my grandmother's one I usually make, but this is very similar!  I used a lonely Shelley Dainty Thistle saucer for a tea plate...and even with baking spray they didn't come out of the pan well...sigh...  The recipe is at the bottom of the post.

Robert Burns birthday is celebrated all over with Burns Night, where whiskey flows and haggis is eaten and generally both the poet and Scots ancestry is celebrated. 

 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, attributed to Robert Burns:

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.

I have used a Victorian era handmade linen tablecloth made in the 1890s in England with a filet crocheted border with the Selkirk Grace in crochet... I hope you can see it, as it was hard to photograph...

It just fits my little tea table. I picked it up in England several years ago, and it is one of my treasures!

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 attributed to Robert Burns which is very long...I guess you need a few wee drams to appreciate it... after it is bagpiped into the room with much ceremony and toasting... Here is a sample:

Address to a Haggis

Fair and full is your honest, jolly face,
Great chieftain of the sausage race!
Above them all you take your place,
Stomach, tripe, or intestines:
Well are you worthy of a grace
As long as my arm.

You powers, who make mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill of fare,
Old Scotland wants no watery stuff,
That splashes in small wooden dishes;
But if you wish her grateful prayer, 
Give her [Scotland] a Haggis!

Walnut Shortbread

The pastry is soft and must be handled with care.  I made mine in a food processor, my first, a gift from our daughter for Christmas...so much easier!

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!

My friends and I thank you for joining me for tea! We are looking forward to a great week as the med side effect issues are improving for my Honey, and when he is doing well so am I! I will be joining:

Thanks so much for joining me for tea!  Here is the linky for your tea related posts...please remember that it is SSSLLLOOOOOOWWWW but if you are patient...it's there! And I love to read your comments, and I do read every one if I can find and can get to you to visit!  If you comment from Google+…it isn’t easy...so forgive me if I am not replying to comments you so kindly leave...I am trying!
Also...if I miss your comment or haven't replied, it's because my Honey is having a hard time and TLC is needed...but that will pass, Lord willing!


  1. Dear Ruth:
    There are so many great pieces here it is hard to know where to start but the Scottie tea towel is a good place - so darling! I am speechless! What a lovely table and tea time sharing!

  2. I so enjoyed my Scottish tea with you this morning. Your teacups are so pretty, and the tablecloth...what a treasure for sure. The shortbread pan is making me sigh with its beauty, and of course your tea towel is darling. I'd love to stay and sample your scones, as they look scrumptious. Thank you for hosting!

  3. Your teacups are lovely, Ruth, and the Scottie dogs are really sweet! My youngest son and I are the adventurous ones when it comes to food. He has eaten Haggis and didn't mind it so much but you will ne'er get it into me. I'm not quite that brave. Shortbread of course, is always a favourite. I actually had scotch cookies for Christmas this year. My mother always made those instead of the traditional shortbread. I actually prefer the scotch cookies. Lovely post and lots of info. Thank you for sharing and enjoy this special Robbie Burns week.

    Winter blessings,

  4. Your Scotties made me smile, Ruth. I'd be willing to try the Haggis! Paragon is one of my favourite china makers so it was interesting to learn about the mergers and when it finally ceased production. I'll have to see if there are any local Robbie Burns tea being offered around here. Thank you for hosting and the interesting post on all things Scotland!

    1. Thanks for the birthday wishes, Ruth. Good eye for spotting the Shelley teacups!

  5. Ruth you have the best tea accessories and the walnut shortbread sounds delicious! Thanks for hosting!

  6. What a delightful post! So many wonderful touches! Those scotties are charming and your tea cups are beautiful as always. Loved the history you shared. Scotland is on my someday travel wish list but for time being maybe I'll just try your shortbread recipe :)

  7. What a wonderful post it is fun to read
    Hope your week is good
    HPS Laura

  8. I love shortbread cookies! I'll have to try your recipe. I also love Heather. Both of your teacups are delightful! My Heather plant is one of the first things blooming in my garden come early spring. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  9. Hi Ruth,
    What a beautiful post! Love all you pretties and the recipe looks amazing. My mother always went to Robbie Burns suppers but never cared for the haggis. I am praying for your Dear Hubby. Blessings, Karen

  10. Hi Ruth,
    What a beautiful post! Love all you pretties and the recipe looks amazing. My mother always went to Robbie Burns suppers but never cared for the haggis. I am praying for your Dear Hubby. Blessings, Karen


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