Welcome to our Cook the Books roundup for our current book selection, Death by Darjeeling. This mystery is the first in the long-running series by author Laura Childs, and introduces the reader to Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston, South Carolina, and a cast of other interesting characters, including dapper master Tea Blender Drayton Conneley, the jowly and whipsmart Detective Burt Tidwell and the excitable young Tea Shop baker Haley.
We received a lovely batch of interesting posts about the book, with book-inspired dishes included, so settle into your chair, pour yourself a steaming cup of Darjeeling, and get ready to tuck into our tea party below.
With the sweltering temperatures we’ve been having this summer, Heather the Girlichef has been producing many a frozen treat for her family. In celebration of our featured book she came up with a recipe for Creamy Earl Grey, Cardamom and Pistachio Popsicles. (Earl Grey is also the name of Theodosia’s dog). Heather is an avid fan of culinary mysteries and was delighted to dive into the Tea Shop series for her summer reading.
Culinary Adventures with Camilla brings two tea-flavored treats to our table, Mint Tea Shortbread and Earl Grey Brownies with Lavender Ganache. She appreciated all the information about teas and infusions sprinkled throughout our featured title and realizes she has been oversteeping her teas.
Debra from Eliots Eats was charmed by our book. As she says in her post, “Who would not want to work in this tea shop and reside in this quirky city and be Theodosia’s best friend?” Debra made some Mango-Jalapeno Jelly (no doubt from her own garden peppers) and served it with cream cheese on crackers.
My fellow Cook the Books host, Deb, from Kahakai Kitchen in Hawaii, has the idea of someday owning her own bookshop/tea shop/cafe and really got creative with tea after she dove into our featured book. She brewed up some First Flush Darjeeling and then had an afternoon tea with crustless sandwiches filled with Darjeeling Cashew Cream Cheese, followed by Lemony Darjeeling Granita.
Hopping over to another island in the Hawaiian chain, we have Claudia of Honey from Rock, who not only gives us her thoughts about the book and makes some sumptuous dishes, but takes us on a tour of a local tea plantation! Her hosts at Tea Hawaii gave her many insights into the harvesting, brewing and cooking with tea leaves (fresh and dried) which she shares with us all in her post. Also tucked into Claudia’s post are interesting recipes for Tea-Smoked Duck Breast, Fresh Tea Vinaigrette and Earl Grey Tea Cookies.
Our tea table is really groaning now, but there’s still room for some more. Check out Cantbelieveweate’s experiments with Jasmine Pearl Green Tea and Earl Grey. She was excited by all the great tea information imparted by our featured book and obtained a sampler of new tea varieties to play around with. Have a taste of her Earl Grey Smoked Salmon.
Alicia at Foodycat enjoyed our culinary whodunnit and wrote “I was just happy to float along on a cloud of tea-scented steam, enjoying the feeling of Charleston in “winter” (seems to be much like an English summer!) and wondering when our heroine would get a date with the charming-sounding lawyer.” She followed her reading up with a sampling of some Kenyan teas and then introduces us to “one of the pinnacles of the Australian baker’s art”, the Melting Moment, a crispy sort of cookie sandwich.
Finally, our little tea party concludes with a plate of crumpets from me, The Crispy Cook. I was always curious about these baked goodies from a lifetime of reading British murder mysteries, and they turned out great. I loved these airy, crispy “love children of the pancake and English muffin”, which, when split, show off their airy pockets, just waiting for butter and jam. Delicious!
Well, I am certainly full from feasting on this virtual tea party. I hope you all have enjoyed our reading and our tasting and will now send our roundup to our Guest Judge and Featured Author, Laura Childs for her consideration. In addition to our coveted Cook the Books winners blog badge, our winner will receive a signed copy of Childs’ latest Tea Shop mystery, “Agony of the Leaves”, so stay tuned.
As a reminder, our next two Cook the Books selections are Laurie Colwin’s “Home Cooking”, which will be hosted by Deb of Kahakai Kitchen and “Heartburn” by Nora Ephron, which will be hosted by Johanna of Food Junkie, Not Junk Food.