interiors large Painting

secret kisses of luxury & how to make a decent cup of tea

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secret kisses of luxury

secret kisses of luxury. One of the large 32x32inch paintings. Almost 4 foot square when framed. This one is also bound for London.

How to make a decent cup of tea

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I like to drink tea and this week I’ve been catching up with friends much neglected during my recent obsessive painting stint. Now we Irish are, if nothing else, are famed for drinking tea. Most of us aren’t snobs about making it but making tea properly is kind of instinctual for us, we don’t even have to think about it. Or so I thought!

I’m sorry to say I’ve had some very disappointing tea in a number of places this week but I’m off in a minute to Bewley’s (no explanation needed if you’re Irish – link provided if you’re not!) for tea with another old friend and I have high hopes….

Here’s an old post from a blog I like called English Muse about how Christopher Hitchens makes tea

You can thank me later!

Making tea

Christopher Hitchens recently wrote a story for Slate on the proper way to make tea.

“It is already virtually impossible in the United States, unless you undertake the job yourself, to get a cup or pot of tea that tastes remotely as it ought to,” he complains. “It’s quite common to be served a cup or a pot of water, well off the boil, with the tea bags lying on an adjacent cold plate… The drink itself is then best thrown away, though if swallowed, it will have about the same effect on morale as a reading of the memoirs of President James Earl Carter.”

Hitchens relies (mostly) on George Orwell’s tips for tea making.

They include:

*Always use Indian or Ceylonese—i.e., Sri Lankan—tea.
*Make tea only in small quantities.
*Avoid silverware pots.
*If you use a pot at all, make sure it is pre-warmed. (Hitchens adds: do the same thing even if you are only using a cup or a mug.)
*Stir the tea before letting it steep.
*MOST IMPORTANT: “Take the teapot to the kettle, and not the other way about. The water should be actually boiling at the moment of impact.”
*If you use milk, make sure it’s the least creamy type. (“And do not put the milk in the cup first—family feuds have lasted generations over this—because you will almost certainly put in too much,” Hitchens says.)
*A “decent cylindrical mug” is best.

Finally, Hitchens believes brown sugar or honey are “permissible and sometimes necessary,” even though Orwell would probably disagree.

And there you have it.

(Photo by Le Portillon.)


  • Lovely painting!

    I have to comment on the tea…my Scottish granny would object to milk second, not first. She insisted on a china cup and was adamant that pouring boiling water directly in, even to a warmed cup, could crack it. Worth your life to try it.

    She also used to say to catch the bubbles before they hit the rim…means money coming your way!

    • Francis, That’s right milk was put in first to stop the boiling water cracking the china cup. In Ireland it was said that the protestants put the milk in first, I guess cause they would have been using the china cup more than the poor catholics! :-)

  • Beautiful interior painting!

    Fun to read about the proper way to make tea! I’ll have to give it a try. I could have used a good cup of tea (properly made, of course!) this past week while iced in. :-)

    • Hi Linda,

      Hope the thaw has reached you by now. There’s only so long you can be holed up in the house drinking tea! :-)

  • Love the painting Róisín. The part about tea and Christopher Hitchins made me laugh. At least I do put boiling water in the cup, and then more and the tea bag — but tea is far less important than coffee here. I found it absolutely impossible to get coffee that wasn’t watery and cold when I was in England a few years back. Love the place anyway, but tell me where to get strong coffee next time.

    I will admit tea was always perfect, and that good tea is an incredible treat.

    I love your work. Is your reference material from your own house — if so it’s so grand.


    • We’ve got much better here at good coffee. When I was a kid all we had here was instant but now you’d need a degree to figure out the different kinds and treatment of coffee. Tea on the other hand is simple. Make sure the water is at boiling when it hits the bag or leaves. That’s the main thing!

      The reference photos were not from my house – I wish! I am known in certain hotels and interiors stores. That mad woman who moves chairs around & takes pictures. Some of the compositions are pieced together from elements from reference photos from blogs and magazines and ideas in my head for colour and texture. The thing that draws me though is the light. That’s the center.

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