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

Monday, 9 October 2017

Afternoon Tea News - Discount Offer!

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends, we hope you're well.

We have some very exciting news for you today as Chef Ben Purton and his team bring us two very special afternoon teas this month at the Royal Lancaster London Hotel.....plus he is offering us some rather tea-riffic discounts!

Chocolate Afternoon Tea
For one week in October, Royal Lancaster London will be the chocolatiest hotel in the capital for Divine Chocolate Week 2017. From today until Sunday 15 October 2017, every bite of chocolate will be fashioned from Divine Fairtrade Cocoa. 

The Chocolate Afternoon Tea (£35) is presented as a classic afternoon tea with a Divine twist. The intense dark chocolate and unexpected flavourings will put every chocolate aficionado’s taste buds to the test.

Confections include Chocolate Chip Scones; a bittersweet Dark Chocolate, Mango and Coconut Tart; a Chestnut Breton with rich 70% Dark Chocolate Cream; Elderflower Marbled Lollipops; and a White Chocolate Macaron with Ginger and Orange.

The Chocolate Afternoon Tea also features Royal Lancaster savoury favourites such as Home-Smoked Salmon Rye Pinwheel Sandwiches; Smoked Corn-Fed Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper on Cranberry Bread and a Duck Confit with Plum Sauce on a Sesame Seeded Choux Bun. 

Cult Horror Movies Halloween Afternoon Tea

Indulge in a truly spook-tacular experience with the Halloween Afternoon Tea, inspired by 1960s classic horror movies. A very cold welcome awaits you, with Alfred Hitchcock classics flickering from a projector and The Little Shop of Horrors’ Audrey sitting on your table. Don’t feed her meat!

Pull the curtains back on a scene of savoury classics; though not all is as it seems... are you brave enough to try the Axe-Carved Beef with Horseradish; the Ominous Crab Sushi and the Pitch Black Pudding Scotch Egg?

Sink your fangs into an array of sickly-sweet confections so good they could bring the dead to life. Things get grisly with a Cursed Blackbird Macaroon; Psycho Marbled Lollipops; Black Sunday Battenberg; Night of the Living Tart; and a Haunted Panna Cotta.

The final nails in the coffin are the Chocolate and Coconut Scones, served fresh from the oven with Homemade Blackberry Jam and Clotted-Blood Cream. This tea is on offer between 16th - 31st October.

Royal Lancaster London invites you to embrace your inner Hitchcock and capture a chilling photograph of the Halloween Afternoon Tea. To enter, all photos must be in black and white and use the hashtag #WeAlwaysScare to win a complimentary Christmas Afternoon Tea.
Now for the tea-riffic bit.....the offer!

For 25% off your total bill simple quote the following when making your reservation:

Chocolate Tea - #Choctober
Halloween Tea - #WeAlwaysScare

To find out more about the afternoon teas on offer pop by the Royal Lancaster London website.

Lorna and I are heading to the Royal Lancaster London to enjoy the spooky Halloween afternoon tea - maybe we'll see you there!

Thank you for popping by today!

Rachel & Lorna

Sunday, 3 September 2017

The August Teatourist Subscription Box - take a peek here!

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - today we're taking a peek at the August box from Teatourist to see which six teas we are discovering this month!

We always love it when a new Teatourist box falls through our letterbox - a delivery of tea is definitely better than bills! Each month Teatourist sends subscribers 6 tea tasters from a variety of different tea companies. This month's selection is called "fresh and frisky"- a selection of teas to extend that summertime love!

As always there is something for everyone, from green teas to a cardamom chai, a flavoured rooibos and a camomile blended with fennel and rose. Some of the tea companies will be familiar to hardened tea addicts, but there will also be some new companies to discover.

This month's selection.....

This varied selection of tea makes for a very pretty tea leaf photo.....

The clever thing about the Teatourist box is the tea is sent in little pouches, each pouch has enough tea for a couple of cups.....perfect for trying out new blends. If you like something you can buy more, but if a tea isn't to your taste at least you haven't wasted lots of tea and money. It's a great idea for anyone wanting to discover new teas and be a little adventurous with their tea drinking.

Each tea pouch comes with a brilliant little card which describes the tea and how to brew it, along with information about the tea company. I particularly like the tea tips they that provide, giving you tips on making the perfect cuppa.

If you'd like to find out more about Teatourist and their tea-riffic monthly tea subscription pop by their website!

If you've got the August box we'd love to hear which is your favourite box - leave us a comment here or get in touch on Twitter or Facebook!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel and Lorna

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Time for something sweet - bonboosh marshallows

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - we hope you're ready for something sweet today!

Last weekend I was at the Odiham food festival where a friend introduced me to the delights of bonboosh marshmallows - a local company who take marshmallow flavours to the next level, producing light as air marshmallows in flavours such as sweet violets, gingerbread and their latest creation sloe gin and blackberry.

Regular readers out there will know my sweet tooth took over as soon as I saw the stall (I didn't even stop to take a photo of the stall!) and of course I had to buy a bag (just the one I hear you cry!). After a lot of deliberation I opted for the new flavour....the combination of sloe gin and blackberry sounded just divine!

Now this is where I feel I need to educate everyone a little on the dangers of being a marshmallow owner on a hot day. Listen carefully and you'll avoid the disaster that follows.....

Before sampling my marshmallows I popped in on Joe's mum on the way home, leaving my bag of goodies in the car. I disappeared inside without a further thought about my latest purchase and enjoyed a couple of hours catching up with Annette. When it came to home time I opened my car door to be greeted by the most intense, mouth watering smell of .... well of sloe gin and blackberries! At this point I just smiled to myself and drove home, looking forward to trying a marshmallow. I remember thinking it was a bit warm in the car, but it was a hot day so nothing surprising there.

However.....and I bet you can all guess where this is going.....yes my little bag of marshmallows had suffered somewhat in the heat.....


Yep.....I was now the proud owner of a bag of melted marshmallow! It did smell amazing in my car, but I learnt a valuable lesson that day....marshmallows die in hot cars! 

Stories like this should have a happy ending though....and luckily this one does! I have made my own marshmallows before, and so I decided to take the gloopy mess and try and reset it, using icing sugar to stop my new marshmallows from sticking to everything. It did work....although my marshmallows don't look very pretty and I managed to lose two in the process of resetting them!

The flavour was amazing though - the perfect balance of sloe gin and juicy blackberries! The texture was also still really good, with the marshmallows being light and fluffy despite the whole ordeal! They melted in the mouth as you ate them - a sign of a brilliant marshmallow!

Just in case you were wondering....this is what the marshmallows should have looked like (I've borrowed this photo from the bonboosh Facebook page!)...

I will definitely be trying the other flavours in the bonboosh range - you can buy via their facebook page.  If you already have a favourite bonboosh flavour that you think we should try, drop us a line and tell us all about it!

Thank you for popping by today,

Friday, 1 September 2017

The Friday Review - Natural Oolong, In Nature Tea

Hello there,

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

So, it's been rather a long time since we wrote a Friday review post showcasing a new tea that we've been enjoying....but fear not....we're back with a new tea for you to discover!

Today we're sharing with you a tea from In Nature teas - their Natural Oolong. In Nature teas is a family run company set up by the founder who moved from the UK to China, where he travelled and enjoyed some of the best teas in the world....which he wanted to share with tea lovers everywhere! In Nature work with small, family-run farms who use traditional methods to produce their teas.

For a small family run company, In Nature offer a great range of teas including three different Oolong teas. We had the pleasure of sampling their Natural Oolong tea which is known in Chinese as Nai Xiang-Jin Xuan, which translates as ‘fragrant milk’. Which is a great name for the sweet, creamy aroma of this tea.

 This tea is sourced in Taiwan and In Nature buy during Autumn when the leaves are best harvested. If you look closely at Oolong leaves, you'll see that they are twisted tightly....but watch them swell once they are added to water.

The leaves have a lovely fruity aroma to them, which hit you as soon as you open the packet.

To brew this tea, use one tablespoon of leaves per cup of tea you are making and allow the leaves to brew for just a minute or two to enjoy a light, refreshing brew. Your water should be boiling when making this tea, but beware of leaving it to brew too long - you don't want to ruin this delicate tea!

Once brewed you have a pretty peachy tea to enjoy....

The aroma was slightly less fruity once brewed, but it still smelt sweet and creamy. The flavour is light and refreshing, slightly fruity / floral - perfect for warmer weather. I really enjoyed this cuppa!

And just look at how much the leaves swelled with the water....

If you would like to try this tea it is available from the In Nature tea website and starts at £6.00 for 50g of tea. For more information and to see the other teas on offer pop by the In Nature website.

I'd like to thank In Nature for sending us their tea to try. Please note that although we received a complimentary sample of tea, this has not affected our taste buds and all opinions expressed in this article are our own.

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Time for Tea....Coworth Park

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends.....we hope you're ready to drool today! We have a rather wonderful afternoon tea adventure to share with you today, as recently the lovely Alexandra treated Rachel to a spot of tea at Coworth Park as a Birthday treat.

Coworth Park is a luxurious country house hotel on the borders of Windsor Great Park. Situated in picturesque parkland, Coworth Park is part of the Dorchester Collection, a beautiful country retreat that we'd wanted to visit for a while. Afternoon tea is served in the Drawing Room, which is located in the main Mansion House and enjoys stunning views over the hotel’s terraces and the Berkshire countryside. Words that I would use to describe Coworth Park are elegant, beautiful and peaceful....somewhere to escape to and enjoy time with friends.

Afternoon tea is a quintessentially English affair, with sandwiches, scones and sweet served on an elegant tea stand. Guests also have over 20 teas to choose from and can enjoy their afternoon tea with a glass of bubbles.

The afternoon tea sandwiches included:

Poached salmon with bronze fennel on caraway bread
Smoked chicken and basil on basil bread
Cucumber with cream cheese and mint on onion bread (v)
Montgomery Cheddar cheese savoury on wholemeal bread (v)

The sandwiches were freshly prepared, served on soft bread which was well filled. We all really enjoyed the smoked chicken sandwich, but all the fillings were tasty! The finger sandwiches were a tiny bit rustic, and not quite even...

But that added to the charm! 

We were offered a second round of sandwiches, which we happily accepted ...... well it would be rude not to when they were so nice!

Next came the scones, which were served with clotted cream and a choice of strawberry preserve and cherry compote. 

The scones were still warm when we enjoyed them. They were small enough to enjoy more than one and were light and fluffy in the middle. 

Finally we made it to the top of the cake stand and those beautiful pastries....

Each item looked beautiful and was the perfect size. The flavours were quite traditional and nothing was too fancy:

Lemon verbena ├ęclair
Kentish strawberry and elderflower trifle
Raspberry and meadow sweet frangipane tart
Chocolate and hazelnut sponge cake

The frangipane tart was so cute, with a little bee on the top

Each pastry was well made and the flavours well balanced....it's quite hard to pick a favourite really. If you like Bakewell Tarts you will really enjoy the little frangipane tarts - the pastry is perfectly light and the almond and raspberry well balanced. But I think the chocolate and hazelnut stole it for me - chocolately without being too rich. 

As this was a birthday treat, Coworth Park helped me celebrate with a little Birthday cake:

I took the cake home with me as I was rather full from afternoon tea, but it kept really well and I enjoyed it later that week with a cup of tea! 

After tea we were encouraged to explore the beautiful grounds, including a walk through the meadow. It was a lovely sunny evening and so off we went....

From the moment we arrived at Coworth Park, every member of staff we encountered was friendly and professional and keen to help us. This coupled with the beautiful surroundings and well put together afternoon tea made for a wonderful afternoon.

I'd like to thank Alexandra for treating me to this afternoon tea - I'd definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a treat. For more information about this afternoon tea please visit the Coworth Park website.
Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel and Lorna