Welcome to our blog....here we will share all our afternoon tea adventures with you...the good, the bad and the wonderful!

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Cat Food Cakes - Halloween subscription box

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - I hope you're ready for some spooky treats today!

I've been an admirer of the Cat Food Cakes creations for a long time now - the cakes always look so scrummy on Instagram and the flavours sound amazing. It's a bit of a mission for me to get over to her bakery, which is open on a Saturday morning....but I've discovered that she also offers mail order boxes of scrummy treats! Available as a subscription (a cake subscription is possibly the best subscription ever - just imagine.....cakes arriving through the post every month!) or as one-off boxes, it's a great way to enjoy some scrummy treats yourself or to treat a friend.

I decided to try out the Halloween themed box from Cat Food Cakes (you know I love a good themed cake!).....and I wasn't disappointed! The treats were all freshly baked and well packed, so they arrived in perfect condition. Each box has a cake pot, cake pops, brownies, a marshmallow and bar of chocolate - something for everyone...

Cat Food Cakes - Halloween Box
It was so exciting to receive the pink box through the post - what a wonderful treat! Unboxing the treats was also fun as it was all themed, including the napkin and bar of chocolate! Now you'll have to forgive me because I got a little excited and although I have sampled everything, there aren't photos of everything - whoops! 

The cake pot was divine - a pot of spiced pumpkin cake with vanilla cream cheese buttercream. It reminded me a little of carrot cake, but better! The cake was moist and well balanced with the buttercream. I ate mine in several sittings as the pot is quite big, it was really easy to decant the cake and buttercream from the pot.


The two spooky cake pops on sticks were huge! Made with vanilla cookie dough and dark chocolate chips, dipped in white chocolate. They were super sweet, but balanced with the dark chocolate chips. 

Now I'm afraid the brownie was where I managed to not take photos! In my box I had one slice which was stuffed with marshmallow and Oreo cookies and a slice of blondie decorated with sprinkles. Both were soft and scrummy, brilliant washed down with a cup of tea! The chocolate one was probably my favourite. Again the portion size is very generous, as you get a big bar of each brownie in the box. 


Finally you have the bar of chocolate (which I haven't tucked into yet) and the coconut marshmallow which will be going into my next mug of hot chocolate!

All in all you get a great variety in the box and the portion sizes are great throughout. You can cut the various bits into smaller pieces and enjoy a taster plate! The one-off box is £29.99 including delivery (you get a 15% discount if you subscribe), and the cakes are all fresh, well made and oh so enjoyable! There are different subscription / gift options - take a peek at the website for more information. 


Have you tried any other mail order cakes that I should know about (this is a brand new world to me!!), if so leave me a comment - I think I need to investigate more!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel 

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Time for Tea....CUTcakes and Tea....45 Park Lane

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends......we hope you're feeling tea-riffic today!

Last weekend we had the absolute pleasure of visiting 45 Park Lane to try their American inspired afternoon tea at CUT. The afternoon tea launched in Autumn of last year and I've seen lots of scrummy photos of the American inspired savouries and sweets....so we decided it was high time we tried out this indulgent afternoon tea adventure for ourselves.

CUTcakes and Tea is served in the hotel's lounge, which is modern and stylish. We were greeted by name on arrival and all the waiting staff very friendly and knowledgeable about the afternoon tea and also the hotel and it's large art collection.

After we picked our drinks (you can pick from a good selection of teas, coffees or hot chocolate), the savoury plate was brought out....


Now as you may have guessed, this isn't a traditional afternoon tea....and there isn't a single finger sandwich to be seen on the savoury plate. But I have to say it was a wonderful plate! The current savoury selection includes:

‘Guest Dog’ by restaurant Bubbledogs chef Sandia Chang Golden Corndog, Southern BBQ Sauce
Wagyu Beef Slider, Shallot Marmalade, Cheddar
Fried Chicken & Buttermilk Bisquets Coleslaw, Jalapeño Aioli
Tuna Tartare ‘Sandwich’, Avocado, Ginger
Crab Cake, Basil Aioli, Tomato Relish

Such a good selection of freshly prepared bites!



The aroma from the plate was mouth watering and it was hard to decide where to start first. Both fish dishes were fresh and the flavours within the mini dishes balanced well. I was pleased to discover that the crab cake was not stuffed full of potato like so many others.

The corndog was light and very tasty, I loved the Southern BBQ sauce which was sweet and spicy - my first ever corndog was a success! It's also very pretty to look at, with a golden tint to the batter!

The chicken in biscuit was also light....I've only had American biscuits once before and they were quite stodgy. These were fluffy in the middle and worked really well with the chicken. The piece of chicken was succulent and hot!

The mini slider was so cute....built exactly how a normal slider would be put together, complete with mini pickle! It took about three bites to eat and I loved every mouthful. We were asked how we wanted the slider cooking, which I thought was a nice touch.

I don't think I've ever taken so many photos of the savoury dishes!!


Next came a mini banana and toffee milkshake.....again extremely cute in appearance and big on flavour. I really enjoyed the milkshake, which was rich and creamy and had a wonderful banana flavour (which wasn't at all artificial).


Now came the nod to the traditional afternoon tea..... a scone, which clotted cream and strawberry preserve. The scones were served warm and we were given a mixed berry jam as well as the strawberry preserve, due to a strawberry allergy in the group.


Now this might look like all the other scones on our blog....but this is different....this was described as one of the best scones in London....and claim is actually true! Having eaten rather a lot of scones across London, we are often told that the scone we are about to enjoy is the best....but unfortunately it's often not! So often the scones are either under baked or over baked, with a claggy texture. 

This scone was light as air, didn't fall apart when cut and made the perfect base for the cream and jam! It was well baked, not at all claggy and had a wonderful glaze.

Finally we made it to the sweet selection.... sorry for the awful photo....


As you can see there is a good selection, again all inspired by American favourites:
Peanut Butter Pie
Crème Brûlée Doughnut
Red Velvet Cupcake
Graham Cracker S’more
There is also a Pink Lemonade Cake Pop, which I missed from the photos!

It was hard to decide which order to eat these in and by this point I was a little worried that I would get too full (I wanted to enjoy everything in the lounge rather than take it home on the train!).

As simple as it sounds - the crème brulee doughnut was so good, a fresh doughnut full of a crème brulee custard. I could have eaten several of them! I enjoyed the fresh raspberry with the red velvet cake. The peanut butter pie had a lovely berry jam in the middle, giving a sweetness to the peanut flavour. The S'more was messy, but very scrummy - with a layer of chocolate sauce. 



This is a more expensive afternoon tea, perfect for a celebration. But it's worth every penny....the food is fresh and tasty, the service unpretentious but attentive and the setting relaxed yet refined. It's what I look for in an afternoon tea - the whole experience. 

To find out more about this afternoon tea pop by the 45 Park Lane website. We'll definitely we back again when they refresh the menu.

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

The Wednesday Tea Review - T2 Morning Sunshine

Hello there!

Happy Wednesday - welcome back to another tea review from Tea With Me and Friends. We're still working our way through the T2 teas that we bought at Christmas time - there are plenty for us to try!


Today we thought we'd share a breakfast tea with you - Morning Sunshine! Doesn't it sound wonderful?? It's also described by T2 as the ultimate breakfast blend, which is quite a claim to make. 

This tea is a blend of Assam, Darjeeling and Rwandan estate black teas. 


This tea should be brewed between 2-4 minutes, depending on how robust you like your cuppa in the morning. You can enjoy it with or without milk.....but you know me....I drank mine without!

This tea is designed to brighten your morning every day...


I thoroughly enjoyed this cuppa - it's got a bright bold flavour, which is a little malty. It's something that can be enjoyed every day and I found it complemented my morning cereal well. 

I often start my day with a cup of black coffee (yes, shock horror I know!), but I would happily replace that with a cup of Morning Sunshine.


If you'd like to find out more about this tea, or other teas in the T2 range pop by their website

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Time for Tea.....Vivi, Centre Point

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends, we hope you've had a tea-riffic week!

Recently Sheree and I visited a brand new restaurant and bar to try their afternoon tea. As it was still a soft launch period when we visited I thought I would share the photos of our visit, but this won't be a full review article. Soft launches allow new restaurants and bars to try out their menus and make tweaks before they formally open.

Vivi is a 60s inspired restaurant, located in Centre Point near Tottenham Court Road. They offer all-day dining in a beautiful setting, with four different dining / drinking areas. The styling is absolutely gorgeous, with lots of pinks, blues and gold.....I'd love to go back and enjoy a cocktail or two at the bar...…



Afternoon tea is served from 3pm each day and the menu, much like the main dining menu, features retro classics with a twist. Each guest is given their own afternoon tea serving in a funky box (so no fighting over the last cake!) which contains the sweet selection and savouries, scones are served in their own box and there is also a serving of candy floss each....



The savouries are a mix of traditional flavours from salmon to cucumber, from egg to my favourite....coronation chicken! The sandwiches include traditional finger sandwiches, a delicate pinwheel, an open sandwich and a Vivi club sandwich, the selection of shapes and breads is very appealing....



The sweets are served in the top part of the box and includes a mix of retro classics....from Battenberg cake to filled eclairs from Victoria sponge to carrot cake.... there is something for everyone!



You can opt to have a traditional afternoon tea, accompanied by tea from the tea menu. Alternatively you can also enjoy your afternoon tea with a glass of champagne.

Vivi officially opened on Monday 25th February following their soft launch. If you visit for an afternoon tea we'd love to hear your thoughts....leave us a comment!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel 

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

The Wednesday Tea Review - T2 Geisha Getaway

Hello there,

Happy Hump Day! Time for another T2 tea review from the box I treated myself to at Christmas and this time I want to share a tea with you that really makes me smile.....the Geisha Getaway....


This is a flavoured green tea that reminds me of sunnier times. The sencha green tea is blended beautifully with pieces of pineapple and coconut to produce a sweet, summery cuppa!

This tea only needs to brew for 2-3 minutes and should be drank without any milk. The tea is a light green / yellow colour once brewed and has a tropical aroma that will have you dreaming of beach holidays. 

It might not be the tea for you if you're not a fan of sweeter teas, but if you are looking for something that will make you feel summery you should give this one a try!


I drank my tea hot (which was really enjoyable), but I imagine it would taste just as good served cold with ice cubes in the hotter months. The flavour is bold, tropical and refreshing.....I wonder if we could make a summer cocktail using it??

Do you have a tea that makes you smile? If so I'd love to hear all about it...leave me a comment below!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel