Tag Archives: Rhubarb Cordial

Old Country Rose Afternoon Tea

I love afternoon tea any time of the year.  However, I especially like a good cup of tea, dainty sandwiches, and of course, a sweet or two, outside on a warm and calm day in the summer.  Here on PEI, where we are surrounded by water, it is hard to find a day where there is not a breeze blowing.  However, last Saturday was such a day when the temperatures were soaring slightly past the 30C mark with hardly a breeze!   It was a good day for a summer tea under the shade of some big old trees.

My inspiration for my teascapes comes from many sources, often from the season of the year, flowers in bloom, or a particular food item that I envision on a tea table.  My Old Country Rose Tea was inspired by an old rose tree we planted at the back door of the cottage 20 years ago.  It blooms profusely and every year we think it may just break apart or stop blooming but each year, it produces a bountiful profusion of beautiful deep rose-colored roses.  These roses are the kind that the blooms only last a day or two.  Our Atlantic winters are not kind and, being so close to the Northumberland Strait, salt spray is also an element our trees, shrubs, and bushes must contend with.  So, today’s teascape began with a small bouquet of roses from outside the back door.

I looked through my collection of teapots to find one that would be suitable and selected this Sadler that seems very summery.

The teacups I chose featured roses as well.

Why does tea always seem to taste better in a china cup and saucer?

Teacups are too pretty not to be used.  I look for ways and opportunities to use and enjoy them rather than storing them away.

Because it was so hot, I chose to serve cool and refreshing cucumber sandwiches.

I love to decorate food with flowers….just make sure they are the edible kind!

Add cubes of melon, cheese, and some grapes.

This year, I made several bottles of Rhubarb Cordial so served some of this refreshing drink as well as Assam tea.

Naturally, there had to be something for the sweet tooth.  I made another batch of my Lemon Spritz Shortbread Cookies (my April 2013 “Cookie of the Month”) because they remind me so much of summer and are so light tasting.

And, for the finale, vanilla cupcakes iced in rich buttercream icing.

Cupcakes are a simple and more informal way to serve cake at an event.

And, when it was all assembled, this is what the tiered tea tray looked like.

And, here is an overview of the tea table.

I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into my early summer tea.

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Rhubarb Cordial

Oh, those lazy, hazy hot days of summer!   They sure can work up a thirst.  One of the most refreshing summertime drinks in my repertoire is Rhubarb Cordial.  Not only is it refreshing, but it is tasty and a very showy drink with its bright orange/red color.

Rhubarb Cordial
Rhubarb Cordial

Making Rhubarb Cordial is also another great way to use up rhubarb from the garden but make sure you pick the brightest red stalks as that is what gives this drink its superb color.

Making the concentrate for the Cordial is a bit time-consuming but the end result is worth the time and effort.

Here is what you will need to make the Cordial:

6 cups red rhubarb, cut into 1/2″ pieces

3 cups water

(This will yield about 5 cups of rhubarb juice)

1 cup sugar

1 – 295ml can frozen pink lemonade, thawed

juice of 1/2 pink grapefruit

juice of 1/2 lemon

juice of 1/2 orange

(These three citrus juices together will yield apx. 1/2 cup liquid)

Lemon-lime soda (or 7-Up, Sprite, or Gingerale)

Yield:  Apx. 7 – 7 1/2 cups (depending on the water content of the rhubarb used as well as how much juice is extracted from the citrus fruits)


Cook rhubarb and water for apx. 15 minutes, until rhubarb is soft and mushy.

Strain rhubarb through a fine sieve into a large pot to extract the juice.  Discard the rhubarb pulp.  You should have about 5 cups of rhubarb juice from this process.  I like to strain the juice a second time to refine it further and remove any traces of rhubarb pulp.

Squeeze and strain the grapefruit, lemon, and orange juices.  Discard fruit pulp.  Add the citrus juices to the rhubarb juice.

Stir sugar into rhubarb and citrus  juice mixture.   Heat over medium-low heat to dissolve the sugar.  Do not boil.  Remove from heat.  Strain lemonade concentrate into the juice.  Chill.

Pour into large pitcher if serving immediately or pour into sterilized bottles, seal, and freeze for later use.

Mason jars also make good containers in which to store the Rhubarb Cordial.

To serve:

For individual servings, fill glass 1/3 full of chilled Rhubarb Cordial.  Fill remaining 2/3 glass with chilled lemon-lime soda.  Stir.  Add ice cubes and a sprig of mint.  Decorate glass with rhubarb curls if desired.

To make multiple servings, such as in a punch bowl, for example, follow the 1 part Rhubarb Cordial concentrate to 2 parts soda rule.

This is a great drink to sip on a warm, sunny day while sitting under the cover of the front verandah or on the back deck.  It also makes a great picnic beverage as well.


Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today. There are lots of ways to connect with “the Bistro” through social media:

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Rhubarb Cordial
Rhubarb Cordial


Lady’s Slipper Afternoon Tea

Lady's Slipper - The Provincial Flower of Prince Edward Island
Lady’s Slipper – The Provincial Flower of Prince Edward Island

June brings a plethora of flowers to bloom on Prince Edward Island.  None are more exquisite than the Lady’s Slipper, so named because its petals form a shape that resembles a slipper.  This member of the orchid family blooms on the Island in late May – June in moist, wooded areas, often under spruce, beechwood, or pine trees.

The Lady’s Slipper was adopted as the Island’s provincial flower on April 24, 1947.

If you come across these beautiful orchids that bloom in both pink and white in PEI, please just admire and enjoy them in their natural surroundings or take some photographs of them.  Please do not pick these natural flowers as that will affect their seed for continued growth on the Island.  They also do not transplant well and generally do not survive outside their natural habitat.  All the more reason why they should just be enjoyed where they are found.

The close-up photograph below shows the petals of the Lady’s Slipper.  I think the shape resembles an animal of some sort!

A few months ago, at a flea market, I came across a lovely plate with the Lady’s Slipper on it.  It is by Royal Adderley of England.  I bought the cake plate and moved along a few tables where I discovered a matching cup and saucer from a different vendor.  Of course, those purchases set my mind to thinking about an afternoon tea featuring the Lady’s Slipper china.

For the menu, I wanted to also feature some local, seasonal food product.  Rhubarb is still available on the Island so my choice was to start with a refreshing Rhubarb Cordial and serve a Rhubarb Torte with a good quality Assam tea.

Rhubarb Cordial
Rhubarb Cordial

Rhubarb Cordial makes a wonderful, refreshing drink on a hot summer’s day.  I garnished the drink with a wedge of watermelon, a sprig of mint from our herb garden, and a tiny pansy.

The “pièce de résistance” is the luscious Rhubarb Torte.  Our rhubarb season will soon be drawing to a close but I just had to have one more rhubarb dessert before that happens.  Of course, I have bags of it stored away in my freezer to enjoy throughout the year.

Rhubarb Torte
Rhubarb Torte

This torte features a graham wafer crumb base, followed by rhubarb sauce, smothered in whipped cream and marshmallows, and topped with vanilla pudding.  It’s as showy and colorful as it is tasty!  I love how the pudding on top looks translucent.

These tiny shortbread cookies, decorated in pink, just seemed the fitting addition for the Lady’s Slipper plate.

The photo below shows the detail in the plate design.

And the matching cup and saucer is filled with Assam tea.

The Rhubarb Cordial and the Rhubarb Torte make for a colorful tea table!

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today. There are lots of ways to connect with “the Bistro” through social media:

Join My Island Bistro Kitchen on Facebook
Follow the Bistro’s tweets on twitter @PEIBistro
Find the Bistro on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”
Follow along on Instagram at “peibistro”