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

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

The Tea Review - Jollybrew

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - we hope you're having a tea-riffic week!

Recently the lovely people at Jollybrew sent us some of their teas to sample.....so we put the kettle on, got our favourite teacups out and got our taste buds ready!

Greg is the brains behind the Jollybrew, after becoming a full time Dad whilst his wife Sarah returned to work, he wanted a business he could launch from home. After falling in love with loose leaf tea, he decided that tea would be that business, with the mission to introduce loose leaf tea to the world.

Jollybrew was launched in late 2014, with just 15 blends - today they have 50 to choose from! Jollybrew blends are created by their team of master tea blenders, but around 30% of flavours are blended by Greg's own fair hands!

Greg sent us three teas to try - Elegant Earl Grey, Rosie Lee and Proper Peppermint

Let's start with the Elegant Earl Grey blend, which is from Sri Lanka In The Nuwara Eliya, Dimbula And Uva Regions and contains Black Tea, Cornflower Petals and Natural Flavours. 

Jollybrew recommends that you use one teaspoon per cup for this blend, brewing the tea for 3-4 minutes.

I found this tea has a subtle aroma, but a punchy and rich bergamot favour. The tea is dark amber in colour and tastes very refreshing. 

The Rosie Lee blend is a black tea flavoured with rose buds. The tea is from Sri Lanka in the Nuwara Eliya, Dimbula and Uva regions, and the blend contains Black Tea, Blackberry Leaves, Rose Petals, Rosehip, Natural Flavours.

For this blend it is recommended that you use one teaspoon per cup and brew for 3-4 minutes for the perfect cuppa.

The aroma is very strong in this blend, the roses hit you as soon as you open the packet and they remain strong while the tea is brewing. The tea is a very pretty colour - a light amber, with an almost pinky hue. The flavour of the tea is very floral - I'm not a huge fan of rose tea, but if I was this would definitely hit the spot!

Finally we have the Proper Peppermint infusion. Jollybrew use peppermint leaves from the USA for their infusion and they recommend using 1-2 teaspoons per cup, depending on how strong you like your tea.

The tea has a strong, minty aroma, which is matched by an equally strong and  minty flavour. Its a minty tea that packs a punch!

Jollybrew teas can be bought online and start at a very reasonable £3.00 for a 25g sample pack. The range is extensive - there is something for every mood! You can buy the teas in loose leaf packs, and they offer 8 of their blends in tea bags. They also have a range of tea tools in their online shop - including some gorgeous cups and a tea timer. 

Jollybrew also offers tea lovers a subscription service, where from £9.99 a month you can have your favourite tea delivered to your door! 

For more information about Jollybrew pop by their website. 

I'd like to thank Greg for sending us these teas to try. Please remember that although we have received these teas for free, this has not affected our taste buds and all opinions expressed in this blog post are our own.

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel and Lorna

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Time for Tea.....The Intercontinental at The O2

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends!

We hope you're keeping well!

So, last weekend here in the UK it was Mother's Day and as some of you know, this blog exists from our family tradition of taking mum for a Mother's Day afternoon tea. One problem with last weekend though.....it also happened to be Country 2 Country - a three day country music festival that Lorna and I always attend. It's held at the O2 in London and there are music acts playing throughout the day and into the night.

We fixed our little problem though as we decided to stay at The Intercontinental hotel at the O2 this year.....and they offer an afternoon tea! So we dragged mum up to the O2 to listen to some country music with us and enjoy a spot of afternoon tea!

Intercontinental at the O2 serve their afternoon tea in the Meridian Lounge, overlooking the River Thames and Canary Wharf. We were given a corner table looking straight out onto the Thames, which was like a little oasis in the corner of the lounge....

The afternoon tea was a traditional affair, starting with a selection of finger sandwiches and savouries. The section included:

Honey roasted ham with wholegrain mustard mayonnaise on Pain de Mie
Mature cheddar cheese and pickle on carrot bread
Sliced cucumber and grated radishes with crème fraîche on beetroot bread
Smoked salmon with dill cream cheese on basil bread
Truffle egg mayonnaise on a brioche bun

It was a very pretty sandwich plate, with a variety of colours making it interesting to look at. There was also a variety of flavours to sample. I enjoyed the cucumber and radish more than I thought I would and I enjoyed the cheese and pickle sandwich. I wasn't really a fan of the egg mayonnaise on the brioche bun though, as the sweetness of the bun was rather overpowering.

The sandwiches were fresh and crustless....but take a look at the sizing....why is my ham sandwich so much shorter than the others??

At this point I'll note that our tea was refreshed regularly throughout the afternoon tea and we were given the opportunity to change our tea choice.

When we had finished our savouries the afternoon tea stand was served.....queue photo of Lorna waving at me through the top tier....

We started with the scones at the bottom of the stand, which were served with clotted cream and two different preserves. The scones were served warm, they were a good size and had a lovely colour - they looked very appealing against the white plates.

We weren't a fan of the preserves (one was strawberry and the other apricot), which seemed to lack flavour, but the scones themselves had a great texture and were not at all claggy.

We were served two scones each - one plain and one fruit. There was also plenty of cream and preserve for all three of us. 

Finally we moved onto the sweet treats, which were very pretty....

This pretty sweet selection included
Blackberry Bonbon Torte
Plum and Custard Verrine
Pear and Apple Tart
Spiced Chocolate Pyramid
Quince macaroon

The stand out item for me was the chocolate pyramid - the cake was moist and light, with layers of ganache. Each item looked beautiful, a lot of thought had gone into the presentation of this afternoon tea.

I also want to compliment the Meridian Lounge on how welcoming they are and how knowledgeable their staff were about the teas. One server in particular helped mum with her choice of tea, suggesting different ways to sweeten the tea. She also came back during the afternoon to see whether mum was enjoying her tea. It was refreshing to be served by someone who actually knew about tea and the different ways to enjoy it. 

Probably not the first choice for many people because of the location, but the Intercontinental at the O2 offers a well priced afternoon tea, with excellent service. If you'd like to know more about their afternoon tea, pop by their website

If you treated your mum to a Mother's Day afternoon tea last weekend, we'd love to hear all about it. Leave a comment on the blog, or get in touch on Facebook!

Thank you for popping by today,

Rachel & Lorna

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

It's Competition time - Squires Exhibition 2018

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends!


Today we are very excited to share some news with you - this weekend it's the annual Squires Kitchen Exhibition at the Maltings in Farnham.

Not heard of the exhibition before...well its a haven for cake decorators with live demonstrations by star guests, inspirational designs in the Wedding Cake Showroom and Competition Hall, book signings and mini classes. Plus you can shop until you drop in the marketplace!

The demonstrations are great for learning new skills and getting inspiration, with sessions like Chocolate Skills by Mark Tilling (who you might remember from GBBO Crème de la Crème), Stencilling Skills by Tessa Whitehouse and a floral masterclass led by Alan Dunn. I can vouch for how good the live demos are - as I've previously attended one of Mark's chocolate demonstrations and thoroughly enjoyed learning how to work with chocolate!

Squires Exhibition takes place over two days, with the demonstrations taking place throughout the weekend:
Saturday 10th March 2018 10.00am - 5.00pm
Sunday 11th March 2018 10.00am - 5.00pm

All of this takes place in the Maltings in Farnham, Surrey. The Maltings is set in the heart of the town, it's a cultural hub allowing people to create, learn and discover. There are also several places to eat in the Maltings.....and they do great cake!

For more information visit the Squires Exhibition Website

Now for the even more exciting news - thanks to the lovely people at Squires Kitchen, we have two VIP tickets to give away! All you need to do to enter is visit our Facebook page and say hello on the Squires Exhibition post! 

Now for the boring bits....

The competition will run from Tuesday 6th March 2018 and will close at 6pm on Thursday 8th March 2018, entries received after the closing time will not be included.

The winner will be picked at random and announced on Facebook on Friday 9th March 2018, the VIP tickets will be left for the winner on the door of the venue for collection.

Entrants must live in the UK.

The prize does not include travel or any other costs incurred.

No alternative prizes will be offered.

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Time for Tea....London at Ten Trinity Square

Hello there,

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

Last weekend Sheree and I visited London at Ten Trinity Square, a Four Seasons hotel, for a spot of afternoon tea. Situated near the Tower of London, this hotel is impressive from the outside and has a glamorous interior. Afternoon tea is served in the Rotunda Lounge, which has a 1920s feel to it with a beautiful art deco domed ceiling - a nod towards the buildings history (it was the 1922 headquarters of the Port of London Authority).

The afternoon tea is also a glamorous affair with a 1920s theme - the menu is called The Bright Young Things and is served on elegant china and a rather unusual stand...

If I am honest I'm not sure I like this presentation, although it's not tall and imposing it does create a wall between you and your fellow tea friends....just look at Sheree over the other side of the food! However, as you can see all the food was easily accessible and we had enough room on the table.

The savouries were served on individual slates and included five different items....

On first inspection I liked the variety on offer, it's always nice to see more than just a finger sandwich on the menu. The fillings were all very different too:

Chicken coronation Curry mayonnaise & allysum flowers
Heritage beetroot Hazelnut, chives & goat cheese mousse
Salmon rillettes Lime mayonnaise, egg roe & lemon balm leaves
Roasted beef Pink peppercorn sauce, rocket & parmesan
Egg & truffle Watercress & soft cooked quail egg

There were two items that I was really looking forward to trying on the menu....the coronation chicken (my guilty pleasure) and the egg sandwich. Unfortunately, although the flavours were good and there were no crusts, the bread itself had started to go a bit crusty.

The rest of the savouries tasted fresh, but these two sandwiches had the air of a crustless sandwich which had been waiting for us to arrive rather than one that was freshly made. It was a real shame as I really enjoyed the coronation chicken filling, probably one of the best I have enjoyed.

Moving on, we turned our attention to the scones....

Do not adjust your screen.......there are two very pink scones there! 

The scones included two plain and two cranberry scones, served with clotted cream, apricot preserve and strawberry preserve.

As you can see there was fruit in the cranberry scones, but I couldn't really taste the flavour. The scones themselves had a great texture though and were served warm.

Finally we moved onto the 1920s themed sweet treats, which included hats, lips and an ashtray complete with cigar!

As well as being some of the most unusual looking afternoon tea treats that I've seen in a while, the sweets were also diverse in flavour and we couldn't wait to tuck in!

Rubi grapefruit cheese cake Cream cheese mousse, pink grapefruit confit
Mango, coconut & ginger Citrus mousse, mango jelly, coconut & ginger dacquoise
Pistachio, blackcurrant & violet Pistachio chantilly, blackcurrant & violet jelly
Chocolate & salted caramel Salted butterscotch, Guanaja chocolate mousse
Lime & raspberry pannacotta Lime pannacotta, raspberry jelly

We both thoroughly enjoyed the sweets that accompanied this tea. It's not often that a menu contains so many flavours that all appeal to me....I'll usually really like one or two and the rest are just ok. These however, were nearly all wonderful ....I wasn't a fan of the pistachio and violet, but that was purely a flavour preference (Sheree really enjoyed it).

All the rest were delicious!

I think my favourite was the ashtray....

Don't let the blue colour put you off....the chocolate and salted caramel were very well balanced and the biscuit base was amazing! 

We also both loved the raspberry and lime pannacotta - again, really well balanced, fresh flavours and a beautiful consistency. I'm not usually a pannacotta fan and so this really surprised me.

Although our tea was topped up throughout our afternoon we weren't offered anymore food. I probably couldn't have eaten anymore, but as this is a more expensive afternoon tea it would be preferably to have the option if we wanted seconds of anything. 

This afternoon tea costs £45 each or if you fancy a glass of champagne with your tea it costs £55. For more information pop by the London at Ten Trinity Square website.

Thank you for popping by today,

Saturday, 17 February 2018

It's Cocktail Time - featuring Rutland Tea Co

Hello there,

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

Regular visitors to the blog will know that we love a good cup of tea with our afternoon tea or maybe a glass or two of bubbles....but we also love a great cocktail! We think there is nothing better than a well made cocktail to tickle the taste buds!

Recently I've been experimenting with some tea in my homemade cocktails and I wanted to share this one as I am so pleased with how it turned out! 

This is a sweet and fruity cocktail, probably slightly better suited to the summer months....but I can't see the problem with being prepared for the warmer weather! I can just see myself in the garden with a glass of this on a summer's evening. The flavours are tropical - think oranges and pineapple and you're on the right lines!

For this cocktail I have used the wonderful Earl Grey Blue Rose tea from Nottingham based Rutland Tea Co. This is a scrummy tea whether you enjoy it hot or cold. Its a traditional Earl Grey with citrus flavours which has been super charged with pineapple-peach flavours. The flavours are tropical, but remain light and refreshing. 

I discovered this tea as part of a Tea Tourist monthly subscription box, but you can also buy this tea directly from the Rutland Tea Co.

For this cocktail you'll need to brew the tea in advance and then leave it to go cold.

I have used Orange Marmalade vodka from Chase Distillery, as this is my preferred citrus vodka. You can substitute this for another brand if you have a favourite. I also used a sugar syrup - I was lazy and used a shop bought version. If you're feeling in the mood or don't have any pre-made you can easily whip up a batch of sugar syrup at home...

Homemade sugar syrup
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring cold water and sugar to a boil.
Turn the heat low and constantly stir the mixture until all the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear, this will take approximately 3 to 5 minutes.
Leave to cool

Finally I have topped my cocktail off with a little Prosecco - I can't remember which brand I used....you can use whatever you happen to have at home or your favourite brand. 

Now the important bit....

To make the cocktail
This is really simple....no shakers or mixologist skills required!

In a glass (I used a wine glass) with ice combine:
100ml of the cold tea
25-50ml of sugar syrup - I recommend putting a little in and tasting it for sweetness
50ml of citrus vodka
then top it off with a little Prosecco

Et Voila....you've got a glass of sunshine to enjoy! 

I topped mine off with a slice of orange (it was a clementine to be precise) but I was just trying to be fancy! If you have no fruit to hand, don't worry!

Have you used tea in your cocktails at home? Do you have a favourite recipe? I'd love to hear about it and maybe give it a try myself - get in touch and let m know!

Thank you for popping by today,