Thursday, February 19, 2015

Tea with Agatha

Revisiting a charming post from 2011 for Throwback Thursday.  Join me for some shortbread and a cup of tea.
While not the first teacup in my ever-growing, continually-evolving collection, this one called Torquay is very near the first.  I spotted it, years ago, across the room at an upscale furniture store as part of a display; it was not for sale.  But there was something about the rich, deep blue hues, and the unusual pattern of sea life on both cup and saucer that drew me in.  One look at the name on the bottom and I knew I had to have it! Why? Torquay is a town in the county of Devon in England that I have had the great pleasure to visit. In the early 19th century the town began to develop into a fashionable seaside resort, and later became the crème de la crème of Victorian society as the town's fame spread, eventually earning it the nickname of the English Riviera.  It was also the home of Dame Agatha Christie, who lived the majority of her life there. The town contains an "Agatha Christie Mile" -- a walking tour with informational plaques and a bust of Christie, dedicated to her life and work.  Mystery lover that I am, I had to have this representation of one of my favorite mystery authors in my collection.  It took a bit of conversation with both sales lady and store manager, but I was finally able to secure it for the mere price of $8.00. I have loved it ever since.

Please join me for a cup of tea and a delicious shortbread cookie, embossed with Agatha's name.  Aren't these adorable?  I used a Brigitte-Keks Message on a Cookie Cutter Set to cut the out and emboss them and it was great fun and a real breeze.

Agatha's Shortbread

1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350° F. 
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until just combined. Add the vanilla.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour and salt, then slowly add to the creamed mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Turn out onto a surface lightly dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut using the cookie cutter of your choice. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 17 to 22 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.

The souvenir city spoon was purchased in Oxford, the city where Agatha's life ended, so I thought it appropriate to include it as well.

Books - The Agatha Christie Collection
Tablecovering - Denim fabric from Hancock Fabrics
Cotswold Cottage - David Winter 1981
Teacup - "Torquay" Mottahedeh England
Brigitte-Keks Message on a Cookie Cutter Set - Amazon

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Martha said...

I too love Miss Marple and as a lover of blue and white, your tea cup is adorable. I've never seen that pattern before but I'm smitten!

Unknown said...

You might like to know what a buy you got! On a replacement china site, the cup and saucer (blue with gold trim) sells for $44!

Mae Travels said...

Miss Marple would definitely be at home with you! The shortbread is beautiful.

The Tablescaper said...

I love shortbread but have never tried to make it. Your repost inspires me.

- Alma, The Tablescaper

~~louise~~ said...

That tea cup set is exquisite Pattie.

Not only is it charming, but now it has an additional story of its own.

Thank you so much for sharing, Pattie...It's plain to see, it is in good hands:)

Lulu said...

All I need to go with the tea and shortbread is a book detailing miss Marple's vcharming adventures.

Anonymous said...

Lovely teacup and sounds like a lovely afternoon!

Madonna/aka/Ms Lemon of Make Mine Lemon said...

What a fun post. I have watched the PBS series of Ms. Christie's and have thoroughly enjoyed it. Makes me want a cup of tea.

Margie said...

Love how you convinced the sales lady and store manager to let you purchase a teacup that wasn't even on sale. Your Agatha Christie-inspired post now makes me want to read some of her classic mysteries!

Gentle Joy said...

What a beautifully interesting tea cup and saucer. :)

Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson said...

I love the tea cup, love shortbread cookies, and Agatha! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

Donna Heber said...

Tea and shortbread go hand and hand. I love your Agatha Christie theme. Happy tea day!

Beth in NEPA said...

I do love Mysteries and the Agatha Christie mysteries were some of the first I ever read. That tea cup comes with a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing.

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

I love a good mystery and am enamoured with the English country side although I have never had the pleasure of being there. I am smitten with your pretty teacup! I have never seen this pattern before and it is gorgeous with its gold trim. As an Islander, and surrounded by water, we live on the beach in the summertime. Sea life and shells are a daily sight for us. Your shortbread looks absolutely delicious! What a lovely posting for tea time. Thank you for sharing and joining me for tea this week.


Jas @ All that's Jas said...

I bet Miss Marple would love to have tea with you. What a lovely setting! Thanks for sharing at Thursday Favorite Things, hope to see you again!

Snap said...

A most unusual teacup. I love all the sea critters and the wonderful color. Miss Marple is my favorite Christie character. Happy Tea Day!

Antiques And Teacups said...

That's a gorgeous teacup! I have visited the Christie Mile and Greenways...lovely area. Love all her entertaining...even after multiple reads. Lovely post! Thanks so much for linking to Tuesday Cuppa Tea!

Bernideen said...

I agree with everyone - an lovely tea cup and looks very old. I think it is exceptional and love your theme here. I enjoyed this fun post and so glad you shared at Friends Sharing Tea!

Parsimonious Décor Darling said...

Love your blue and white and stamped shortbread!

Tea in the Library said...

What a fun and interesting post.I especially was interested because I have been watching the Poirot series from several years ago and that has got me interested in reading the Poirot books.
Lovely cup & saucer and a wonderful way to commemorate a trip.

Carrie said...

Lovely mystery tea! That's a great story about how you got the cup and all it means to you. Have a great weekend!