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

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

My favourite words for afternoon tea

A wonderful tea inspires my creativity, I guess that's why our crafternoon teas work so well!  I find my vocabulary flourishing as I endeavour to describe all the delights that are tantalising my taste buds... As well as the bits that are slightly less than tantalising!

'Delectable', 'divine' and 'delicious' seem to be favourites of mine, althought why I'm obsessed with words beginning with the letter D, I'm not sure!

However, Rachel recently added a fabulous new word to my vocabulary when I was struggling to describe an overly moist banana bread recently, informing me that it was 'claggy'.  So perfectly descriptive!

Alas!  I cannot keep using words that begin with the letter D and 'claggy' forever so I'd love it if you would all help me out and let me know your favourite words to describe afternoon tea, both the good bits and the bad.  If we get enough suggestions Rachel and I can compile a list of our favourites and maybe challenge ourselves to use them all to describe one tea!

Regular visitors to the Tea With Me And Friends Afternoon Tea blog will know that one of Rachel's favourite words at the moment is "Scrummy"! So what words do you think should make our list? How do you describe afternoon tea? Remember it can be positive or negative!

We'd love to hear from you...either leave a comment here or track us down on Twitter!

We look forward to hearing from you!


Sunday, 22 September 2013

Other People's Afternoon Tea....Part 2 of 2

Hello there,

So if you've already seen the first part of our "Other People's Afternoon Tea" series you will know that here at the Tea With Me and Friends afternoon tea blog we've been drooling over the gorgeous photos that our fab Twitter friends have been sharing with us. The first post featured afternoon teas that our fab friends have experienced....this post is slightly different. In this post we share with you some of the wonderful afternoon teas that our friends have created.

Right get ready to feel hungry....you have been warned!

A beautiful sponge made by Andrew Kite
Scrummy afternoon teas created by Cupcake Diva
What a spread! Created by Delightful Tea Bakes.
A gluten free afternoon tea created by Gluten Free Living
A pretty afternoon tea prepared by Millie and Me
Indoors or out....Netherdene B&B creates scrummy looking spreads!
I don't know about you...I think I need to go and put the kettle on and eat a piece of cake! Don't they all look wonderful?
I'd like to thank all our fab friends...both old and new...for sharing their amazing creations. If you've got a tea you've experienced or created that you'd like to share with us we'd love to see it!
Either leave us a comment here, or come and find us on Twitter!

Thanks for popping by today,
its lovely to see you!
Rachel and Lorna

Other People's Afternoon Teas.....Part 1 of 2

Hello there,

We hope you are having a fab weekend!

So, today we have a slightly different post for you. Normally here at the Tea With Me and Friends afternoon tea blog we share with you scrummy photos of the afternoon teas that we've enjoyed. Today, however, we are sharing photos from other people's experiences!

We've been chatting to our friends on Twitter....both old and new....and finding out about the wonderful afternoon teas that they've enjoyed. We've been overwhelmed by the scrummy photos that we've been sent...we've been drooling for weeks!

Take your time and scroll through these scrummy photos......

Dorothy sent us two wonderful photos, the first photo on the left is the scrummy afternoon tea that is served at Cameron House, Loch Lomond. The second equally scrummy photo is taken at Gleneagles Hotel. I really like the look of that sweet plate in the first photo!
We've already seen the rather tasty looking fat rascals served at Bettys in York in a previous post, but here we have the afternoon tea that Ellen enjoyed at Bettys. That looks like a perfect scone to me!
Georgia was lucky enough to visit the Fox Club in Mayfair only this week, here is the scrummy afternoon tea she enjoyed!
Look at all those scones - what a wonderful plate! Gill enjoyed this afternoon tea at Crewe Hall.
This scrummy afternoon tea was enjoyed by Jamila at Number 4 in Shrewsbury. I like that there is some fresh fruit on that top plate.
This beauty was enjoyed by Jayne when she visited Six Baltic in Newcastle.
Sooo pretty - I love the cake stand and the sweet treats! This was created by Cocomaya in London and enjoyed by Omni_frog
Sarah shared with us these two scrummy photos...the first taken at Ampersand Hotel. I know the hotel has some fab themed afternoon teas coming up this autumn!
Sweet Home Vintage enjoyed this lovely looking afternoon tea at Butterfly and Pig in Glasgow.
And of course we have the fab afternoon tea that Roz shared with us recently....
This feast has been created by Hotel La Tour - read all about it in Roz's guest post!
Finally we have some people enjoying afternoon tea....
Here we have the lovely The Cadettes enjoying an alfresco afternoon tea (photo by Rosie Taylor) 

And finally....here we have fab The Tea Cupany enjoying a spot of afternoon tea!
 I'd live to say a huge thank you to all our Twitter friends for sharing these photos with us....we've really enjoyed seeing all your afternoon tea photos. If you've been inspired by this post and have photos that you'd like to share with us, drop us a line! Either leave a comment here or come and visit us on Twitter!

If you fancy joining in any of our Twitter afternoon tea gossip...just use the hash tag #afternoonteachat!

Thanks for popping by today....don't forget to pop back in a bit to see the second part of this blog post....afternoon teas made by other people! Be prepared to drool some more!

Rachel and Lorna

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Time for Tea......Hotel La Tour

Hello there!

Welcome back…today we have a fabulous Guest Post for you! Now you probably realise that Lorna and I are southerners….going for afternoon tea mainly in Surrey and London. Therefore its always brilliant to have someone based elsewhere tell us about their afternoon tea experiences!

Today we are joined by Roz from The Foodie Couple Blog who recently indulged in a spot of afternoon tea at Hotel La Tour, a modern city centre hotel in Birmingham, which has been open for about a year. Afternoon tea at the hotel was  served in the rather stylish Aalvar Bar.

Here is what Roz thought of her afternoon tea experience......

The food began with the sandwich selection on the top tier of the cake stand, we had a choice of ham and tomato, coronation chicken, smoked salmon and cream cheese, cucumber and mint - all of which were very pleasant but not spectacular.

We were also treated to savoury welsh rarebit dip – this was one of the highlights of the afternoon tea, which came with dippable toasted bread/croutons. It was real cheesy goodness!

On the second layer of the stand we had the scones- two fruit and two plain. The scones were nice and moist, served warm and they were not too big. They were served with good quality cream and jam; personally I would have liked another jam flavour choice (although I know the strawberry/raspberry is traditional).

Next came the sweet treats – we had a strawberry macaroon with chocolate filling, which looked divine and the texture of the macaroon shell and filling was great…. but the strawberry flavour was overpowered by the chocolate filling. We also had shot glasses filled with vanilla pannacotta, cucumber and strawberry jelly this was really nice and refreshing, a good alternative to another bit of cake which can get quite heavy after a while. The two standout sweet bits were the take on a jammy dodger - with blackberry jam, and the winner of the day a piece of lemon cake, with buttercream and lime zest.

Overall my favourites from this afternoon tea were the lemon cake, the welsh rarebit dip, and the plain scones.

The ambience and surroundings at the hotel were brilliant as well, with lovely comfy chairs and sofas in the bar. The staff  were really attentive too - you wouldn't go wanting for any extras, but importantly they weren’t intrusive either. 
The cost of the afternoon tea was £18.95 pp, which included your choice of iced tea, teas and coffees, all of which were refillable. Alcoholic drinks were priced individually as extras.

I would definitely recommend this afternoon tea to others and will go again myself in a heartbeat – it was a great way to spend an afternoon, and close enough to Birmingham’s main shopping area, the Bullring, to go and collapse after a hard days shopping!

I don’t know about you – but my mouth is watering just reading that review! To read more about Roz’s experience pop by her blog, there are lots more scrummy photos to see! There are loads of other fab foodie articles over there...so if you've got a spare minute or two its well worth popping by!
A big thank you to Roz for sharing her afternoon tea experience and fab photos with us here at the Tea With Me And Friends afternoon tea blog!

Thanks for popping by today, we hope to see you again soon!
Rachel and Lorna

Thursday, 19 September 2013

A Good Read!

Hello there! We hope you're well

A slightly different post from us today....as you know here at the Tea With Me and Friends blog we love everything to do with afternoon tea. We love making it, we love sharing, we love talking about it, we love reading about it and we definitely love eating it!

With this in mind when we were asked to take a peek at The Food Edition of Feted Magazine we were delighted to see the vast amount of content dedicated to the fabulous pastime that is afternoon tea (we think everyone should be educated in the ways of afternoon tea)! There are review articles and recipes galore that kept us entertained....all accompanied with fabulous photos that made us drool!

So what is Feted Magazine I hear you cry...well its an online magazine created by sisters Clare and Sarah in December 2012. Feted means to honour and celebrate and that's exactly what Clare and Sarah do...they take a different theme in each publication and feature articles from and about bloggers and start up businesses in the UK. You can read more about Feted Magazine here.

In the Food Edition readers can create a fab afternoon tea using recipes such as blackberry and elderflower tarts, jelly and custard shots or chocolate and strawberry meringue nests. Each recipe is easy to follow and has a photo with it....I love recipes with photos...it means that I have some idea what my latest kitchen creation should look like when I've finished!

There is also a wonderful review of afternoon tea at Blackbird Tearooms in Brighton. Plus you can catch up with fellow afternoon tea bloggers Kate and Chelsie as they talk about their blog and afternoon teas around the world!

If you fancy getting more creative there is a cute DIY article about decorating spoons (which I fancy having a go at!) or maybe you'd like to make your own face mask. There is also a host of other recipes for you to try, including a cheats banoffee pie which looks amazing!

Feted Magazine - The Food Edition is available for free on Issuu, and there is an extended edition with additional content available to buy and download as a PDF for 79p over at Etsy. If you're looking for something new to read that features a variety of different articles and gorgeous photos then this is definitely a good read!

Thanks for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Disclaimer - although we have been invited to review Feted Magazine, all the comments above are our own and we have not been influenced by the creators of the magazine in any way.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Behind the Scenes With Lorna & Rachel!

Hello there,

Do you remember our "Time for Tea....With Lorna & Rachel" blog post last week, where we shared photos of an afternoon tea that we created ourselves?

Well this week we are back with a behind the scenes blog post....giving you a sneaky peek into our kitchens and what went into creating the scrummy afternoon tea that we shared with our friends.....

A table full of afternoon tea treats!
So, as you may remember Lorna is in charge of sandwiches and scones....she is very precise with her cutting and makes wonderful finger sandwiches! There is a lot of prep required when making the sandwiches....
Lorna making her scrummy sandwiches
 For this afternoon tea we opted for fairly simple sandwiches as we had a very mixed aged group of guests. We included cucumber, cheese, ham and egg mayonnaise, served on both white and brown bread - all crustless.

Lots of slicing is involved in making perfect finger sandwiches!
While Lorna is in charge of sandwiches and scones, I bake a lot of the sweet treats...and anything else I fancy adding (or am asked to bake!). Here are some of the ingredients that I used for this afternoon tea...obviously there are quite a few missing from this photo but I didn't want to bore you with flour and sugar.....
I do enjoy baking and up until earlier this year I made most of my cakes by hand. Although I do still enjoy hand mixing cakes I am now the very proud owner of a KitchenAid and I have to say it has made my life easier!
One happy baker!
For this afternoon tea I opted to make several different flavoured cupcakes.....
and I also made some Viennese fingers.....
Recipe Time....
To make 10-12 scrummy Viennese fingers you will need:
100g unsalted butter
25g icing sugar
1tsp vanilla
100g plain flour
1tsp cornflour
1/4tsp baking powder
100g milk chocolate
What to do....
Preparation is important....remember to preheat your oven to 170c/325f/Gas Mark 3 and line a baking tray with parchment paper
First off mix the butter and sugar together, beating until its pale and light, then add the vanilla and mix again.
Sift the flour, cornflour and baking powder into the bowl and mix until the mixture is smooth, make sure everything is thoroughly combined.
Spoon your mixture into a piping bag with a medium star nozzle and pipe fingers onto your baking tray....you should get between 10-12 fingers from the mixture.
Bake in the middle of your oven for 10-15 minutes until your biscuits are pale and golden.
Remove from the oven and cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Let them cool completely....I know its hard not to eat them straight away (they smell wonderful), but they get better I promise!
While they are cooling melt your chocolate...either in the microwave, or if you're a traditionalist in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water (I use my microwave...putting it on for short bursts at a time until melted). Stir until your chocolate is smooth....try to resist the urge to dip your finger in the melted chocolate...its hot!
Dip either one or both ends of your fingers into the chocolate, and leave to set on baking parchment. I dipped only one end in chocolate as I had pressed the other end with a fork before baking to create a pretty finish.
Once set...enjoy!
Told you it was worth the wait!
When making a large afternoon tea like this one I take any assistance on offer....this time Joe helped me out a little. Here he is lining a cake tin for me....
One extra thing that I made for this afternoon tea was a lovely batch of pink lemonade...served to our guests in mini milk bottles....
This was incredibly simple to make and a wonderful addition to the spread.
If you'd like to make a batch (approx. 4 glasses) you'll need:
100ml freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used about 4 lemons)
100g caster sugar
500ml water
60ml cranberry juice
And all you need to do is...
Place the lemon juice, sugar and water in a saucepan and bring it to the boil. Then simmer until all the sugar crystals have dissolved, then set aside to cool.
Once your lemonade has cooled, add the cranberry juice....and you have pretty pink lemonade!
Serve in glasses with ice cubes and a slice of lemon.
I hope you've enjoyed our behind the scenes afternoon tea blog post!
If you've got any questions, just let us know! And if you make either the pink lemonade of the Viennese Fingers we'd love to see photos!
Thanks for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Sunday, 15 September 2013

National Cake Week!

Now I have to say that I didn't even realise that there is a National Cake Week...but apparently there is and this year it runs from 7th - 13th October. This wonderful celebration of cake started quite recently in June 2011 by Lynne Hill the founder of the Clandestine Cake Club.

National Cake Week is all about celebrating cake in all its glory....whether baking, sharing or eating...its time to enjoy and celebrate good old fashioned cake!

Running along side National Cake Week is a cake baking competition....all you need to do is bake a cake and enter it on online! Simples!

Now we all know that here at the Tea With Me and Friends blog we love to eat cake....but we also love to bake cakes and so I got baking! I have entered the following cake....my Blackberry Mini Marvel......

Piled high with fresh blackberries - perfect for afternoon tea!
This is a 5inch vanilla sponge cake, which has been layered together with freshly whipped cream and my homemade blackberry jam. I have topped the cake off with more cream and a pile of blackberries picked at my local park!
I'd love it if you could pop by the National Cake Week website and vote for me. The competition ends at 8pm on the 13th October.
If you are celebrating National Cake Week we'd love to know how!
Thanks for popping by today,

Time for Tea.....Biddy's Tea Room Norwich

Hello Folks - our friends have been travelling again, sampling tearooms further afield than London! This time Sheree and her hubby Graham sampled the delights of Biddy's Tea Room when in Norwich. Luckily for us they have reported back their afternoon tea adventures in this fab guest post......

On entering Biddy's Tea Room in Norwich there is an array of cakes and treats on show and a large display of pretty bone china tea sets which people can buy or hire for events. The decor is uber vintage with bunting strewn across the tea room, vintage wares are displayed on every available surface and tables are decorated with vintage home wares including vintage lamps and flowers in glass bottle vases. There is plentiful seating on two levels.

The Biddy's Tea Room menu offers afternoon tea and cream teas, as well as standard lunches, including soup of the day. Hubby and I were of course tempted by the tea for two option! Afternoon tea costs £8.95 for one or £16.95 for two and offers finger sandwiches from a menu, with either a slice of cake (a fine choice ranging from Victoria sandwich to salted caramel) or a giant scone, with cream and jam, plus your choice of tea.

There is an extensive choice of tea, from traditional black teas, to decaf varieties and fruit teas. The afternoon tea was presented on a traditional three tier cake stand, while tea cups and saucers and teapots were pretty and charmingly mismatched. I had the beef and horseradish sandwich while Hubby had the Norfolk ham, chilli jam and brie sandwich, which were stuffed full, fresh and tasty. Sandwiches were crustless and cut into fingers, which allowed for sharing! The side salad and crisps were a bonus!

Now onto the cake - I opted for the Victoria sandwich while Hubby went for the scone. Although a decent size and tempting, I felt the Victoria sandwich could have been more moist and, to my dismay, it was missing the layer of jam. I wondered if the cake was dry as it had been left uncovered. The huge scone came with two cute jars of strawberry jam and cream and was fresh and warm, so Hubby was happy. Unfortunately we questioned whether the cream was clotted cream as it didn't taste quite right. Even so, only crumbs were left on the plate!

Ladies & Gents - please note that Graham has been questioned thoroughly about his use of jam before cream when dressing this scone!!

Overall we would say that the savoury part of tea was better than the sweet, but this wouldn't stop me going back. I've heard that the Bakewell tart is a good option!
Sounds like they had a wonderful time doesn't it? Although I think Lorna will have some strong words for Graham when she sees him next - who knew he was a "jam first" kinda guy!!
Thanks for popping by today, we hope you've enjoyed this blog post...if you've been to Biddy's why not let us know what you thought by leaving a comment....
Rachel & Lorna