On the first Sunday of May I gathered with friends for our Fifth Annual Mother’s Tea celebrating one of our heavenly Mom’s. This year’s honored mother, Cintra Pemberton, was a colorful and vibrant woman with many interests, but is was her faith that lead her to her calling in her later years and she became an Episcopalian Nun who devoted her life to serving and practicing the Celtic faith. As part of her service she traveled the world on faith based pilgrimages, with her favorite location being among the British Isles, especially Wales, a place well known for the afternoon tea. To honor this special Mom I called the theme for this year’s tea “Travel Journeys Steeped with Faith”.
Each year we dress my little jewelry mannequin in something that represents our honored Mom. With the help of my friend Lydia, she created a traditional habit including the black sash and tassel as per photos of the nuns of The Order of St. Helena, where Cintra started her devotion faith journey. A black corded cross similar to the one in the photo of Cintra completed the look, however Pemmie told us that her mother usually dressed in civilian clothing most of the time.
My friend Pemmie describes her Mom (Cintra) as a highly educated woman who tended to master anything she attempted. From hobbies to work, she excelled and was a true high achiever that Pemmie shows great pride in.
Among her talents, she had a green thumb, kept journals and authored a book about Celtic Spirituality, loved music and played as well as taught the piano to both children and adults for a period of time. She later applied her piano skills to daily office chants as part of her faith journey and Pemmie remembers her regularly singing the harmonies to many Episcopal hymns.
She also had a appreciation for the arts and Pemmie has a pen and ink drawing and another family member has a water lily watercolor as the only pieces of art created by her Mom who only considered this talent a hobby.
Cintra also loved the mountains and camping. Her favorite color was yellow and daffodils are the flower Pemmie best associates with her mother’s memory.
My task was to take these special memories of Cintra’s life and attempt to translate them with little props for my table decor.
A small dollhouse piano on music sheet wrapping paper was used in the table decor to represent Cintra’s love for music and the piano.
This little rustic tent with a campfire is a nod to her love for the mountains and camping.
While daffodils are the flower Pemmie most associated with her mother, they are not available this time of year. She said her mother loved all flowers, so the best I could do was use yellow spray roses and white tulips with purple stripes to create the floral arrangements around the house. Trader Joe’s also had one of my favorites – lilacs that provide a lovely fragrance, are simply beautiful, and give an added pop of purple-lavender to the decor.
Earl Grey was this Mom’s favorite tea and was highlighted in a Victorian London Fog as our tea for the day, made with Earl Grey Lavender with a splash of warmed half and half (slightly sweetened with agave) garnished with culinary lavender buds. The welcoming cocktail, an Earl Grey French 75 (Earl Grey Lavender tea steeped in Gin, combined with lemon juice, a honey simple syrup topped with champagne).
The Welcome Cocktail
Earl Grey French 75 Cocktail
The Tea: Victorian London Fog with Lavender
Victorian London Fog: Twinings Earl Grey Lavender Tea (Amazon), one teaspoon agave and a splash of warm half and half and garnished with culinary lavender buds.
Roasted Yellow Pepper Coconut with Sauteed Crawfish
Note: Recipe will be shared in a Simply Elevated Edition soon-crawfish was a Louisiana favorite of Cintra’s and the yellow pepper celebrates her favorite sunny color.
The Tea Sandwich Course
Pemmie remembered her mother loved afternoon tea time and among her favorite tea sandwiches was the cucumber watercress and curried chicken salad. I used fresh mint that was added to the cream cheese spread on the cucumber sandwich and Trader Joe’s curried chicken salad as a shortcut to the many items that required preparation.
Irish Egg Salad
Mushroom Bolognese Pies
Cucumber Mint Watercress
Curry Chicken Salad
Roasted Garlic Chipotle Turkey
The Scone Course
Current Welsh Cake
The traditional Welsh cake was chosen to represent Cintra’s beloved Wales.
Strawberry Rose Scones
This recipe was in a 2018 issue of Teatime Magazine and I’ve not been able to find a printed version online to share. The recipe was simple and used freeze dried strawberries rather than fresh. I added a fresh slice of strawberry in the last five minutes of the bake. The strawberry was listed as one of Cintra’s favorite fruits.
Welsh Cakes originated in Wales in the late 1800’s and are also known as bakestones or griddle scones because they are made on a griddle. Think of a mini pancake or flat circular scone with sultanas/raisins, and dusted with caster sugar. (These can be made ahead and froze without the sugar dusting. On the day of the tea, I warmed them in the oven at 300 degrees for 10 minutes (after thawing) and then rolled each in sugar while still warm).
The Sweet Course
Cintra’s love for Heath bars, lace cookies, Belgian chocolate and strawberries inspired the sweet course.
Heath Bar Cookie
Almond Lemon Ginger Florentines
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
White Chocolate Lemon Victoria Sponge
Heath bar sheet cookies were made as a nod to Mom’s favorite candy bar. A cookie dough base, with melted dark chocolate on top, sprinkled with crumbled heath bar and Mauldon flake salt.
Lace cookies (or Florentine cookies) were also noted as a favorite. This Almond Lemon Ginger version has a bright chewy bite. https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/programmes/m000nphv
Bittersweet chocolate dipped strawberries.
I make a half batch of this recipe, sprayed a mini muffin pan with baking spray to make mini cakes. I would recommend filling each cup with only 3/4th to avoid cake spilling over like mine did. I had to trim all of the tops because I filled the tin with a two tablespoon scoop. The flower on top is a lilac blossom.
Scenes From the Table
Each year as we get older and take time to sit and remember or recall things we may have forgotten about our mothers, we grow more grateful and appreciative of the guidance and love received from them. We also reflect on our own motherhood and the relationships we have with our daughters. As we observe their generation of mothering and the new and very different challenges that none of us could have prepared them for, it is clear that from generation to generation, we’ve all done the best job we could to manage the circumstance, stress, frustrations, fears, joys and pleasures of being a Mom. The common intention from mother to daughter to daughter and beyond is love.