Tag Archive | Tea Room

Classic Cucumber Sandwich


Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook Expanded Ed_COVERWe are delighted to share a recipe from The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook, Expanded Edition by Emily Ansara Baines.

The Secret Garden Tea Room & Gift Shop will feature this recipe at The Roaring Twenties Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea, on September 15th and each guest will receive a copy. We hope to see you there!

Who said it? (answer at bottom of page)
“It’s the gloomy things that need our help. If everything in the garden is sunny, why meddle?”

Classic Cucumber Sandwich

Yields 10–12 Sandwiches

Classic Cucumber Sandwich_FINAL01Ingredients

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 24 slices white bread
  • 12 sprigs dill, for garnish


  1. Blend cream cheese and mayonnaise in a blender until smooth, scraping down sides and blending thoroughly.
  2. Combine cream cheese mixture with cucumber, garlic salt, white pepper, and chopped dill. Spread mixture on top of twelve white bread slices, and garnish with dill sprigs. Cover with other bread slices to form sandwiches. Cut and discard crusts from bread, then cut sandwiches into quarters.

Times Gone By

Legend has it that one of Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting is the creator of afternoon tea. Knowing the Queen felt hungry around four p.m. and perhaps fretted before dinner, her lady-in-waiting started the trend of serving tea with a few breadstuffs. Soon, teatime had taken hold of England.

“Excerpted from The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook, Expanded Edition by Emily Ansara Baines. Copyright © 2012, 2014, 2019 by Simon & Schuster, Inc. Used with permission of the publisher, Adams Media, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.”

Who said it?
— Lady Sybil Crawley, Downton Abbey, Season 1

See original post on Designing A Simple Life Magazine

Lavender Champagne

Summer is here, lavender is blooming and backyard entertaining is in full swing. This elegant, floral libation is perfect for any occasion. An afternoon backyard gathering, a dinner party under the stars or a simple girls night in.

This simple recipe serves 16 and is perfect for an afternoon or evening of bubbly conversation.

Depending on the variety, lavender blooms are usually at their peak from late June through August. Harvest the flower stems on a dry day, in the late morning hours after any dew has evaporated. Fresh bouquets should be cut when about one-third to one-half of the flowers have opened.  Let’sdoLavender.com

Lavender Champagne

Serves 16


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon dried culinary lavender
  • 4 bottles (750 mL) dry Champagne or sparkling wine, chilled
  • Fresh lavender sprigs, for garnish


Bring sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Stir in dried lavender. Remove from heat. Let cool completely. Strain out lavender. Refrigerate syrup until ready to serve.

Pour a small amount if simple syrup into each flute or coupe, about 1 1/2 teaspoons and fill glass with Champagne. Garnish each glass with a lavender sprig.

Make Ahead:  Simple syrup can be refrigerated for up to 1 month.

Elizabeth’s Strawberry Basil Parfait

Our Mother’s Day Tea Weekend at The Secret Garden Tea Room and Gift Shop was a spectacular event and we would like to thank all of our guests who chose to spend their very special Saturday or Sunday with us.

Elizabeth’s exquisite menu for this special event began with this delectable Strawberry Basil Parfait. A delightful twist on the Strawberry Jello-O Pretzel Salad, Elizabeth added balsamic to cut the sweetness, basil for a touch of elegance and used glass cups to create individual starters for each guest.

We are delighted to share this recipe with you and invite you to please take a moment and view the entire menu and photographs below the recipe.

Strawberry Basil Parfait


Part I

  • 2 cups pretzels, finely crushed
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar


Part II

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 10 ounces Cool Whip
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar


Part III

  • 6-ounce package strawberry Jell-O
  • 2 cups water
  • 16-ounce package frozen sliced, sweetened strawberries
  • 1/2 cup basil, chiffonade, loosely packed



Preheat oven to 350˚.
Toss crushed pretzels with melted butter, add sugar and mix well. Spread on baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Mix together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Fold in Cool Whip.

Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water and set in refrigerator until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Fold in strawberries and basil.

Using individual glass cups, pipe in a small bit of cream cheese mixture in the bottom.  Pour in Jell-O and chill until firm.

Before serving, pipe top with cream cheese mixture, sprinkle toasted pretzel topping and add a sprig of basil.

The Menu

Pot of Tea

Toasting Glass of Sparkling Wine or Cider (First Blush of Summer White Sangria or Fruit Tea Red Sangria)

Strawberry Basil Parfait

Flower Fairy Salad with Rhubarb Vinaigrette


Warm Scones with Devonshire Cream, Jam and Lemon Curd

Tiered Rack with Tea Sandwiches, Savories and Sweets



Follow our posts by pushing the “follow” button above and to the right. Our blog posts will conveniently appear inside your email in-box.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, online or visit our location in Sumner, Washington.

the secret garden tea room photo credit the secret garden tea room and gift shopThe Secret Garden Tea Room and Gift Boutique
1711 Elm Street | Sumner, Washington 98390
253.826.4479  |  sgtea.com



Tea trivia Sunday: for the love of white tea

Welcome to The Secret Garden’s Tea Trivia Sunday!

Each Sunday, we publish a small bit of information about tea, tea pottery and tea accessories. If you have questions, comments or would like to see us publish an article on a specific topic, please let us know.


White Tea

White tea is the most delicate and freshest tea available as it is minimally processed.
New, young tea leaves and buds from the Camellia senensis plant are harvested for only a few weeks each spring. This happens only in the Northern District of Fujian, China and can only be labeled white tea if it comes from the Fujian Province.


“Camellia sinensis is a species of evergreen shrub or small tree whose leaves and leaf buds
are used to produce tea. It is of the genus Camellia (Chinese: 茶花; pinyin: Cháhuā, literally: “tea flower”)
of flowering plants in the family Theaceae. -wikipedia”

The leaves are typically picked mid-March to early April and only during the right conditions. The leaves cannot be picked if it is rainy or humid.

White tea is named for the silvery type down that covers the leaves and unopened buds. This is known as “Hao”.


Flavor profile

aroma-aromatic-close-up-stock (2)As the flavor is so delicate, common flavor profile descriptions include:

  • Floral
  • Sweet
  • Grassy
  • Delicate
  • Honey
  • Subtle
  • Fruity
  • Mild
  • Melon
  • Herby
  • Peach
  • Citrus
  • Apricot
  • Chocolate
  • Vanilla


  1. Tea does not go bad, but it can go stale. If cared for properly your tea will remain fabulous for up to a year.
  2. Store tea in a cool, dark place and away from oxygen and moisture.
  3. Never store tea in the refrigerator.
  4. Your tea will last longer if stored in an opaque, airtight container.
  5. Coffee and spices can spread their flavor on to your tea, so it should be stored in a different cupboard or pantry.


How to brew the perfect pot of tea

Capture tea times

Follow our Tiny Bit of Tea Trivia posts each Sunday by pushing the “follow” button above and to the right. Our blog posts will conveniently appear inside your email in-box.

Follow us on FacebookInstagramonline or visit our location in Sumner, Washington.

the secret garden tea room photo credit the secret garden tea room and gift shopThe Secret Garden Tea Room and Gift Boutique
1711 Elm Street | Sumner, Washington 98390
253.826.4479  |  sgtea.com





Mother’s Day Weekend at The Secret Garden Tea Room and Gift Shop

Celebrate Mom with our Mother’s Day Tea.

Secret Garden Stock PhotoPlease join us here at The Secret Garden Tea Room and Gift Shop and celebrate Mom Saturday May 11th and Sunday May 12th.


This year’s Mother’s Day Tea is a five-course, garden themed event.
Reservations are only taken by phone, 253.826.4479 or in person.To reserve and purchase your table or for additional information, please call during business hours, Wednesday through Sunday, 10am to 5pm. All tickets for the weekend event are purchased in advanced.


Pot of Tea

Toasting Glass of Sparkling Wine or Cider

Strawberry Basil Parfait

Flower Fairy Salad ith Rhubarb Vinaigrette


Warm Scones with Devonshire Cream, Jam and Lemon Curd

Tiered Rack with Tea Sandwiches, Savories and Sweets


Warm Towel & Commemorative Photograph

Cost is $65 per person | Children’s version $50
Price includes tax and gratuity.

This tea is also available Gluten Free ($5 add) Vegetarian or Nut Free, with advanced notice.

Please visit our website’s special events tab for additional information.


Do you need gift ideas for Mom? Come shop with us!



Photograph | Karie Engels

Elizabeth’s Bacon Leek Tart

bacon leek tart

Usually, when developing a new recipe for the tea room, there’s a whole procedure that I follow:  research, compile, test, re-test and re-test and then make a large batch to see how it works in quantity.

Usually, I am planning at least several weeks out, however occasionally we come up with a winner on the fly.

A couple of weeks ago we needed a savory for our high teas, and I was out of some ingredient for what I had been planning to make.  I knew I’d bought some leeks for potato leek soup that Mark hadn’t used that morning and I spotted a new package of bacon in the fridge.  Hmmm, what could I do with bacon and leeks.  I decided that a creamy goat cheese mixture plopped into phyllo tart shells might just work.  They turned out delicious and so I thought I’d share.
Printable, full recipe below.

I began by chopping the bacon into small pieces and then cooking it over medium heat.


While the bacon was cooking I sliced the leeks crosswise about 1/8th inch thick from the white end up to where the dark green tops begin.


After chopping the leeks, I did a quick swish in the salad spinner with lots of cold water to get any of the gritty mud that they’re grown in.  A quick shake to remove most of the water and they were ready for the pan just as soon as the bacon had rendered enough fat that the leeks wouldn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.


After adding the leeks to the bacon, I stirred occasionally until the leeks were limp and just beginning to turn light golden in a few places.  While they were cooking, I cut the cream and goat cheeses into 1 inch cubes so they would melt faster.  Once the leeks were melted down, I added the cheeses and turned off the heat.


I stirred this mixture until the cheese was incorporated and then added some regular black pepper.  I gave it a taste and decided that it didn’t need any salt, but I suggest you give it a taste and see what you think;  some brands of bacon are saltier than others.  Do not eat all of it while you’re trying to decide if you need salt.

At this point, you can let the mixture cool and then store in the fridge for a few days until it’s needed, or you can go ahead and make the tarts.


I used a scoop that is a scant tablespoon (#70 for those who are scoop users), and just dropped it into the tart shells.  I sprinkled mine with a bit of minced parsley for color, but I think a miniature sprig of thyme would be very nice too.


I baked mine in a convection oven at 350 for about 8 minutes until the cheese was just turning golden brown, but in a regular oven it might be a bit longer.  Taste and enjoy!

Bacon Leek Tarts

Servings: 3 cups of filling | 48 tarts (see note below)


  • 1/2 lb smoked bacon, diced
  • 1 lb leeks, chopped and rinsed
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 8 oz goat cheese (chevre)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • salt to taste
  • minced parsley or tiny sprigs of thyme
  • pre-made phyllo tart shells


Saute the bacon over medium heat.  Add the leeks once the bacon has rendered enough fat to cover the bottom of the pan.  Stir occasionally until the leeks are limp and just starting to color.  Add the cheeses and turn off the heat.  Stir until there are no white cheese chunks left, then add the pepper and salt if needed.  Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 3 days, or use immediately.

Assemble Tarts
Scoop 1 scant tablespoon into phyllo shells and top with a bit of parsley or sprig of thyme.  Bake at 350 for about 8 minutes until cheese just turns golden brown on the peaks.  Serve immediately or within an hour at room temperature.

This recipe makes about 3 cups of filling, so it will do about 48 tarts.  They come 15 to a box, so this works out okay.  If you don’t need that many, try the filling in an omelet, or cold on crackers as a spread.  It would also be wonderful in puff pastry.  I’m sure you’ll find a way to use it all, even if it’s just on a spoon!


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