Lemon Blueberry Scones (Dairy-free)

For many freshman college students, college is the introduction to newfound freedom, heavy drinking, all-night partying, and the like.
I wouldn’t know anything about that. When I look back at my freshman year, I can smile and feel no regret because that’s when I was introduced to the scone. And it doesn’t get more exciting than that.
In dance class, I made friends with a student with whom I shared many a Starbucks beverage between classes. Back in the day, Starbucks carried an exquisite raisin scone. It was biscuity, dense, buttery, moist — everything I believe a perfect scone should possess. And I don’t even like raisins.
My friend often ordered a scone with her drink, and then I soon followed her lead. Before long, I became well-acquainted with the “Freshman 15” perhaps just on scones alone. But it was well worth it because the scone presented me with a whole new world of afternoon tea and tea culture.
I had long since lost contact with that friend, but my passionate relationship with scones remains strong. I call this dish, “Freshman 15.”
Pair with a fruity black tea. It will help cleanse the palate and enhance the sweetness of the scone.
7 large scones
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup dairy-free butter
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup water
You’ll Also Need
Baking sheet lined with parchment paper
Large mixing bowl
Small bowl
Preheat the oven to 425.
Into a mixing bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and lemon zest.
Add the “butter” to the flour mixture and break it into small pieces until pea-sized pieces remain.
In another bowl, combine the water and lemon juice. Place in freezer along with the buttered flour mixture for 15 minutes.
Remove both bowls from freezer and fold the blueberries into the buttered dry mixture. Add the water and lemon juice, and combine lightly.
Turn the dough out and flatten into a half-inch thick circle. Cut out desired shapes and place on lined baking sheet.
Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Serve with clotted cream or enjoy plain.

Tuna Sandwich with Green Olives

IMG_20170509_123703A pastime that my husband and I share is binge watching fail videos on YouTube. I don’t know about my husband, but each time we laugh at another person’s misfortune I secretly say a little prayer that I don’t end up in one of those videos. Alas, I keep on watching and laughing.

One particularly memorable fail was on Wheel of Fortune when a contestant, hesitant yet convinced that he had the correct answer, blurted out a very bizarre phrase. I found the contestant’s heartfelt conviction of his answer especially hilarious. I shed tears from laughing so hard. It’s now a phrase that my husband and I spontaneously blurt out to each other for kicks.

This textured and flavorful tuna sandwich with its salty olives and mildly sweet bell peppers is for that Wheel of (mis) Fortune contestant. Props to him for believing wholeheartedly that “fish love” is really a thing. Accordingly, this sandwich dish is called, “Fish Love.”

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bINIsdojt6o


Feel the love and pair with a light oolong tea.
2-4 servings
2 (6-oz.) cans of tuna, drained
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup green olives, finely chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper, season to taste
Choice of bread (I used wheat)
You’ll also need
Large mixing bowl
In the mixing bowl, combine tuna, olives, bell pepper, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Season with freshly ground pepper. Blend well.
Spread the tuna mixture onto bread and cut off the crusts. Slice the sandwich into triangles or rectangles, and serve.

Lemon Shortbread Bites


My son is 3 months old today!
I wish I could explain how, but when I held Lionel in my arms for the first time, a delicate scent of freshly baked lemon cookies wafted out from his little body. I always knew that babies had that sweet, unmistakable “baby smell”, but who knew they smelled like pastries? Lionel’s soft lemon fragrance has long since morphed into that scrumptious baby odor, which I often deeply inhale from his head with delight.
I never forgot that lemony aroma that lingered around my son in his newborn days. So to commemorate the birth of Lionel and all the precious moments we’ve shared thereafter, I present to you these buttery, tart lemon shortbread bites . I call this dish, “The Little Lemony Lion” (“Lionel” means “young lion.”)
Wash down the lemony goodness with a cup of Assam tea.
These treats are for you, Son!
Recipe adapted from Add a Pinch
40 bites
Shortbread Ingredients
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Lemon Glaze Ingredients
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
You’ll Also Need
Electric mixer
Plastic wrap
Baking sheet lined with parchment paper
Instructions for the shortbread
On the electric mixer, use the paddle attachment to cream together the butter and sugar. Sift the flour into the butter and sugar mixture. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice. Beat on low speed until the dough combines.
Take out the dough and shape into a flat disk. Chill in plastic wrap for about 1 hour.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350. Cut the dough out into desired size and shape, and place onto the lined baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until set (the cookies will not brown). Allow to cool.
Instructions for the lemon glaze
Pour the confectioner’s sugar into a mixing bowl. Mix in the lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir until smooth.
On completely cooled cookies, spoon on and spread the glaze. Allow the glaze to set. Then, serve and enjoy!

Banana Tea Cake

The sight of rotting bananas makes my mouth water. I know their potential. I believe in them.
I always feel so clever whenever I make banana tea cake. It’s like I’ve cheated death. The once erect and vibrant banana, now limp and lifeless, proves to have purpose after all. The soupy concentrated banana texture and flavor lend themselves to a beautifully moist and sweet treat. It becomes reincarnated. Thus, I’m calling this dish, “Reincarnation.”
I love the combined flavors of bananas, chocolate, and nuts. So a tea pairing doesn’t get finer than this: Banana tea cake paired with Plum Deluxe’s Chocolate Hazelnut Dessert Tea.
One loaf
3 over-ripe bananas, peeled
1/3 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
You’ll also need
Large mixing bowl
Buttered loaf pan
Cooling rack
Preheat the oven to 350. Butter the loaf pan.
In a large mixing bowl, use a fork to mash the bananas until smooth. Add the melted butter.
Stir in the baking soda, salt, sugar, beaten egg, vanilla extract, and the flour.
Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake for about 50 minutes or until a tester comes out clean from the loaf’s center.
After removing the loaf from the oven, cool while it’s still in the pan on a cooling rack.
Slide the loaf out of the pan, and cut out slices. Serve and enjoy!
*Plum Deluxe’s tea community and subscription service embodies cordiality, and I’ve enjoyed sharing their passion for tea. I highly recommend checking them out here!
Tea and Beauty

Ole Henriksen African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser Review


Image credit: Amazon.com
The Tea Ingredient: African red tea
The African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser by Ole Henriksen is a beauty product that holds sentimental value for me. It came in a travel set that my sister-in-law gave me, which I immediately packed in my hospital bag while anticipating my son’s birth.
Just as I had been forewarned, everything that I had planned and imagined for the birthing process quickly went out the window. My contractions were causing my baby’s heart rate to drop, and all of a sudden I was having an emergency c-section. Once my son was safe in my arms, the fog began to lift.
The drugs also began to wear off.
The next morning at the hospital, I found myself hunched over and holding on to the sink for dear life. I was recuperating from the surgery after a sleepless night of getting acquainted with my newborn, learning how to breastfeed, taking my pain medication, and having my vitals checked every hour. Nevertheless, I was determined to at least feel presentable. Applying makeup was too ambitious so I settled for washing my face and brushing my teeth.
I had to act swiftly before the baby woke up so I reached for the foaming cleanser, pumped out some product, and massaged it onto my face. I was taken aback. As much as I felt rushed, I recall actually pausing to enjoy the light citrus scent and the soft, gentle foam. It rinsed off easily leaving behind not residue but invigorated and moisturized skin.
While I know foam cleansers to be very drying, this one is not. It even helped my skin stand up to the stale, dry hospital air during winter. No tightness of the skin whatsoever. I think it’s far too gentle for makeup removal so I recommend this product for morning cleansing.
I can thank tea, once again, for seeing me through the most dramatic and grandest event of my life!

Shepherd’s Pie Minis

Teacup Cordial marks its debut with a dish that is dedicated to my husband. I call it, “Shepherd of my Heart.”

The first meal that my husband cooked for me was Shepherd’s Pie. Downright comforting, soulful, hearty, and unpretentious; it was our courtship manifested in the form of food. I can’t think of a more appropriate dish to have won my heart over.
Don’t be fooled by the daintiness of these Shepherd Pie Minis; they are filling, and you won’t be able to stop popping them into your mouth! You’ll find the gorgeous and varying textures absolutely addictive.
Enjoy this dish with an earthy black tea or dark oolong tea.
Yields 10
16 oz. ground turkey
Salt and pepper, for seasoning to taste
Olive oil
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots
1 small onion, chopped finely
1/2 cup vegetable broth
Small package of instant roasted garlic mashed potatoes
Puff pastry, thawed
You’ll also need
Ungreased muffin pan
  • Preheat the oven to 375.
  • On medium-high heat, sauté the onion in oil until translucent. Add the ground turkey, season it to taste with salt and pepper, and cook until it is no longer pink.
  • Mix in the flour, thyme, peas, and carrots. Pour in the vegetable broth and allow it to thicken. Season to taste, and turn off the heat.
  • In a sauce pan, follow the instructions of the instant mashed potatoes. (You can very well make the mashed potatoes from scratch, but I am all about ease, folks! Besides, instant mashed potatoes is delicious! Plus, there’s no need to worry about leaving behind lumps.)
  • Unfold the puff pastry. Use a floured round cutter (or the rim of a floured cup) to cut the sheets. Press the pastry circles into the bottoms and sides of the muffin pan cups. Layer in the meat mixture and top with the mashed potatoes. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  • Allow the pies to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan. Scoop them out with a spoon and serve!