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

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

March is tea month!

Hello there!

If you popped by Tea With Me and Friends during January you might have read about our resolutions for 2014....and you might remember that one of them was to learn more about Tea!

We all know that I love a good cup of tea with my cake, but at the moment I don't know much about it. I have already started expanding my taste buds, experimenting with different tea leaves and blends...not always picking the same tea when I'm indulging my sweet tooth in the afternoon!

Time for a cuppa?

Next month I am going to take this a step further and will explore more about the humble cup of tea....where did it come from and how did it get to be such a popular beverage in Britain? 

I declare that March will be tea month at Tea With Me and Friends!

Afternoon tea with Tea With Me and Friends
We hope you will join us to share in a little of the history, look at the different leaves and tell us about your favourite cuppa! We might also drool over the odd teacup or too! If you have anything tea related that you would like to share with us just get in touch!

Thanks for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Time for something a little bit different....Afternoon Tea Masterclass at One Aldwych

Hello there!

On Saturday Lorna and I spent a wonderful morning at One Aldwych hotel in London with five other ladies, participating in an afternoon tea masterclass led by Head Chef Dominic Teague.

One Aldwych Afternoon Tea Masterclass
Photo from website

The morning started with breakfast in the Lobby Bar where we indulged in tea and coffee, fresh pastries and fruit while we got to know the group and also Dominic. The session was going to be a relaxed affair with as much or as little participation as we each wanted. After we had finished breakfast we were led down into the main hotel kitchen just behind the Axis Restaurant.

In the kitchen we were each presented with a One Aldwych apron, and asked whether we wanted any drinks...we could have tea, coffee, orange juice, a glass of bucks fizz or a glass of champagne. Now this was something that I wasn't expecting, and I have to say it was a lovely touch. We then all gathered around and watched as Dominic and his Pastry Chef led us through three afternoon tea recipes.

Dominic described each step as he went through the recipes, answering questions and letting us see into the various bowls and pans as he went. As he got to the end of each item, we all had the chance to participate.

To begin with we made vanilla and blackberry macaroons. Once the filling and the macaroon batter was made, we got to pipe macaroons onto large sheets under the watchful eye of Dominic and his Pastry Chef. It was great to get professional piping tips as we went along. Once these were baked we got to match up the halves, and add the blackberry and chocolate filling.

Some macaroons got a bit squashed...
the bubbles may or may not have helped!

My finished vanilla and blackberry macaroons!

I was so pleased with how mine turned out...the most professional looking macaroons I have ever made!

Next we made eclairs that were filled with a chocolate creme pat, and dipped in a chocolate glaze. Again, Dominic showed us how to make all the elements required, and once the batter was ready we piped our own eclairs.

An action shot! Eclairs in the making!

Once backed we filled them and dipped them ourselves........

Eclairs being filled!

Finally we made fig tarts with a sweet pastry....something I have never attempted before.

An action shot of
Chef Dominic!

During the whole time we were in the kitchen Dominic was very friendly and attentive, even though the kitchen was preparing for the lunchtime and afternoon tea service. We were also offered drinks throughout our entire experience.

Once everything was made, filled and dipped we moved into the Axis Restaurant with Dominic, to enjoy afternoon tea. We enjoyed a selection of sandwiches and warm scones, with our tea and glass of bubbles.

One Aldwych afternoon tea sandwiches

Fresh scones - dressed the Tea With Me and Friends way!

Then we got to sample some of the items we had made......

The sweet treats that I finished!

It was wonderful to see our own creations served!

All in all I had a wonderful time, I met some lovely people and got some great tips to take home to my own kitchen. Spending time with a professional chef and watching them in action is a brilliant experience and I would highly recommend this experience for anyone who is interested in baking for afternoon teas. We all left with a box of our sweet treats, the apron and also recipe cards so we could recreate the treats at home.

The masterclass costs £150 each, but I feel this was good value as we did eat and drink a lot, and we spent a lot of time with Dominic. Anyone expecting a full on baking class should look elsewhere however, given the  amount of time we had we covered a lot, but Dominic did most of the work! This experience is also great as people with any skill level will enjoy it.

If you haven't see the One Aldwych afternoon tea yet....it's based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and is creative, fun and very scrummy! Read the Tea With Me and Friends review here.

One Aldwych Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea
(photo from website)

To find out more about the afternoon tea masterclass pop by the One Aldwych website.

Also, pop back to our blog later this week to find out more about Head Chef Dominic Teague in our "Meet the Chef" series.

I'd like to thank Chef Dominic for his time on Saturday, Lorna and I had a fab time and we will be putting our skills to the test creating an Easter afternoon tea for our friends!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel and Lorna

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Time for Tea.....In Ireland!

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends! Today I am very excited to share with you another wonderful guest post, but this one is slightly different. It not only features four wonderful afternoon teas.....but they are all afternoon teas that you can only enjoy in Ireland!

I met Laura on Instagram where she was sharing some of her scrummy tea photos and asked if she fancied sharing her Irish afternoon tea adventures with us....I'm very pleased that she agreed! Feast your eyes on this little lot......

Have you ever been tasked with that special thing to do? or place to go for that special someone? be it a friend, family member or more?. I did back in July when my in laws came to Ireland to visit. I set about by dusting off my thinking cap and placing it firmly on my head (which can be sieve like) until  ...... Ping!! The penny dropped! We would do afternoon tea in one of the many fine hotels of Ireland! Now, to decide which one to take them to? I thought it best to experience it for myself prior to making my final decision......... I thought it only fair!! Right? You're with me on it? Yes, perfect :) I visited the following four hotels from around Ireland: Waterford Castle, The Kildare Country Club, Lyrath House Hotel and Kilashee House Hotel for their version of Afternoon Tea.

Waterford Castle, Waterford, Ireland. 
I spent my 30th birthday afternoon in Waterford Castle having their definition of afternoon tea. We were served a splendid array of sweets and savoury on a 3 tier stand. The savoury include smoked salmon and the sweets were divine. We sat in the bay window of the bar and had to be pulled up off the couch! We followed tea by a nice stroll around the extensive grounds that make up the island. 

Click here for more details and up to date prices when I celebrated here it cost 25 Euro.

Afternoon tea at Waterford Castle

Kilashee House Hotel, Naas, Ireland.
I enjoyed afternoon tea in Kilashee House Hotel with my BFF and co-blogger Rebecca, along with her hubby and 2 kids and my other half and our daughter. The hotel is very open to a mass of kiddies joining their mummies  and daddies and they have wonderful grounds to enjoy afterwards so the children can run off the sugar! 

Click here for more details and up to date prices When I went, it cost 25 Euro.

Afternoon tea at Kilashee House Hotel

Lyrath House Hotel, Kilkenny, Ireland. 
Afternoon tea was part of a girlie night I went on with all the ladies in my family. It was a great time! We had a movie the night before in a private cinema room. We decided it would be best to stay in our pj's until we saw there was a wedding party on the same corridor!! We were too relaxed to mind too much and continued as if we were a bunch of 14 year old's at a slumber party! The following afternoon we welcomed afternoon tea which was served in a private lounge area off the main entrance hall. The variety of sandwiches & sweets had something for everyone. It was a great way to kick back and reminisce on the previous nights giggles! 

Click here for info on the Girls Allowed package which includes Afternoon Tea (separately AT is 25Euro)

Afternoon tea at Lyrath HouseHotel

The Kildare Country Club, Straffan, Ireland
The tone and character of the hotel is evident from the moment you begin to climb the stairs to the front door. I felt like the Duchess of Cambridge as I was welcomed. We were guided to our sitting room where our afternoon tea would be served. Our view was onto the gardens and a lawn that was perfectly symmetrically cut. The selection, tastes and textures were fit for a king and we had plenty of tea to sip on (pinky finger raised of course!!). The furniture could tell so many stories I'm sure as it was rich in antique quality. Following our tea, we wandered out to that lawn just to make sure it was real! And it was :) 

Click here for more details and up to date prices. Current cost at time of writing this is 30 Euro.

Afternoon tea at  The Kildare Country Club

Each of the hotels I mentioned seemed to fit each individual occasion I celebrated there and I have very pleasant memories (and cravings for) and long to return to each one. I love finding excuses for afternoon tea and look forward to continuing to expand on the above list. If you have had afternoon tea in these or other locations and have photos we would love to hear about it. The final thing I will leave you with is a piece of advise.... ask when you book if tea for one will serve two people as you will save a few Euro and probably a few extra lbs :)

Laura x

I'd like to say a huge thank you to Laura for sharing her afternoon teas with us, its great to see venues from outside of England. If you're reading this post from somewhere in the world, thinking that you'd like to share your afternoon tea experiences too, then please get in touch - we'd love to hear from you!

Thank you for popping by today,

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Time for Tea....Green Park Hilton

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends!

Now if you have popped by before you will know that its not just Lorna and I that love to indulge in a spot of afternoon tea, no we've managed to make our friends slightly obsessed too! So when I heard that our lovely friend Anika was going to tea (without us!!) I insisted she took her camera with her!

Luckily for us Anika agreed to write us a guest post....now I must warn....regular readers of the blog will have noticed that we have one friend who is obsessed with egg mayonnaise sandwiches...well this is her and this is her post about the Green Park Hilton.....

Well as afternoon tea goes it was certainly not the best I have experienced but I think this is personal choice based on the fact I am ALL about the sandwiches rather than anything being wrong with it. I took my friend Kellie a newbie to the tea lark and she thoroughly enjoyed it so I have to say if you are more “normal” than me and enjoy the whole experience, especially the cakes and sweet treats, it is a nice tea. 

We arrived at the Green Park, Hilton, Mayfair and the service was impeccable as you would expect from a Hilton Hotel. So they definitely get a gold star for service and customer service. 

Once we were seated our waiter came out with a selection of Twinning teas to choose from and then served us with our lovely clear individual tea pots and a lovely little timer which told us when our tea, whether black, white or green, was ready. I do not think I have been to a tea with that before and I thought it was a lovely little touch. 

Afternoon tea selection
Green Park Hilton

Tea brewing timers!

The food came out and looked and smelt (the scones) divine. The sandwiches on offer were salmon, ham, egg and coronation chicken. Being obsessed as I am with egg sandwiches I had requested just egg and Kellie wanted just coronation chicken, so I cannot tell you what the others were like but if they were as delicious as ours I imagine they are lovely. 

Afternoon tea Green Park Hilton

You are given the equivalent of one sandwich per person and the chicken sandwiches were cut in small triangles – a little controversial only ever been to tea with delicate finger sandwiches – and served on white bread, and the egg were finger sandwiches served on a herb infused bread. I love sandwiches and for me they are the best bit of any tea so when I asked if we could have some more sandwiches to be told it was a set menu, apparently my face said it all according to Kellie! But the waiter did quickly point out that I could purchase more sandwiches which I did for both Kellie and myself but I was quite surprised as I had never been to a tea where the sandwiches were not replenished. For me this is the only reason I would not choose to go back as I am definitely a savoury person. 

That is enough of me moaning about the sandwiches, for all normal people who go to the teas for lovely scones and sweet treats, you will not be disappointed. Despite all the food being served together the scones were still warm and served with the usual clotted cream and jam. There were two sultana and two plain scones and they had a great texture. 

By this point in a tea I am usually not very interested in what is given cake and pastry wise but I did have one of the mini trifles, which was a perfect way to finish off the tea in my opinion as it was light and refreshing. As for sweet treats, there was a lovely macaroon, a chocolate cake, a mini Victorian sponge cake and a fondant fancy. There was just one of each of these – that may be important to all you cake lovers - but two mini trifles. 

Sweet treats on offer at
Green Park Hilton
The ambiance was lovely and the company fantastic so from that point of view the afternoon was perfect, and the tea kept flowing, and I solved the sandwich problem! 

Tea cost £24.50 per person or £29.50 with a glass of bubbles. Each additional round of sandwiches costs £3.50.

Thank you Anika for sharing your experience with us, its a shame when you are limited to a set menu....especially when you have your firm favourites at tea! Have you enjoyed afternoon tea at the Green Park Hilton, if so we'd love to hear from you too!

Thanks for popping by today,

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Time for Tea....The Royal Horseguards

Hello There,

So, it's that time of the year....everything is tinged in pink and red and there are hearts, flowers and chocolates everywhere! Yes, its Valentines...the day to celebrate love. Whether you love this day or believe its a commercially driven celebration it's here and I think we might as well enjoy it!

This year I decided to indulge in a Valentine's themed afternoon tea with my lovely friend Becca....so yesterday we headed off to The Royal Horseguards Hotel in London to enjoy their Naughtea Afternoon Tea. The hotel offers a range of different afternoon teas, including their limited edition teas such as this Valentines afternoon tea.

Once seated in the comfortable lounge we were shown the tea menu, which offered a good selection of teas. I opted for the Royal Horseguards speciality tea, which is flavoured with strawberries and cream and Becca went for a flowering tea.

 These were served to us in large teapots, which were topped up regularly....

Tea is served! Royal Horseguards Hotel

Next the cake stand full of delightful treats was brought out to us. Becca cannot eat butter and I had notified the hotel of this when booking. They accommodated our request perfectly, preparing Becca a separate plate of non-butter sandwiches.

Afternoon tea
Royal Horseguards

Before I talk about the food, I want to mention the beautiful bespoke china that everything was served on. Perfectly girlie, without being too chintzy, it was pink and delicate. We also really liked the cutlery!

Right....onto those savoury items....

Afternoon tea sandwiches
Royal Horseguards

There was a lovely variety of sandwiches on offer and we were pleased to see some of our favourites feature...including coronation chicken and egg mayonnaise. The bread was soft and the sandwiches were freshly made, we were also asked if we wanted more sandwiches once we finished the initial plates (and we might have asked for one or two more coronation chicken sandwiches!).

Once we had finished the savouries, scones fresh from the oven were brought out...

Scones hot from the oven!

We had two scones each, one plain and one with raisins. They were a nice size (not too big and not too small), most importantly they were fresh and light inside.

The scones were served with thick clotted cream and strawberry preserve. We asked whether there were any other preserves available as well, as Becca cannot eat strawberries, and they brought us a dish of blackcurrant preserve too.

The Tea With Me and Friends way of
dressing scones!

Once we had finished our first two scones we were asked by the attentive waiting staff whether we wanted more scones (we declined this time!).

Finally we made it to the themed part of the tea....all those sweet treats on the top tier! Now this is where pastry chef Joanne Todd showed off her creativity....

Afternoon tea at Royal Horseguards

Our sweet treats included a beautiful mini lace cupcake which was flavoured with lemons, a scrummy corset cookie and mini macaroons topped with strawberry lips! We also indulged in decadent passionate fruit fools, red rose scented chocolate heels and a dark chocolate lipstick!

Everything was very tasty and fresh, I particularly enjoyed the cookie. It was definitely not a case of style over substance - everything looked brilliant, but tasted good too.

Throughout our afternoon at The Royal Horseguards the waiters were friendly and very attentive, despite the lounge being very busy. We never ran out of tea, we had our photo taken and we left full and happy!

Tea With Me and Friends at afternoon tea!

At the end of the tea we were presented with one last gift to take away with us.....

Tea and chocolates - what more could a lady want?

No....unfortunately not the pretty teacup....but that lovely bag of chocolate hearts! I thought this was a lovely touch to end the afternoon tea.

This particular afternoon tea cost £45.00 each and also included a glass of Laurent Perrier Rose Champagne. The other teas range in price from £30.00 for their signature tea, and also include a traditional cream tea for £16.95. 

Although this limited edition tea was higher in price, I think it was good value as there was plenty of good quality food and tea. The lounge itself is a lovely environment and the service was brilliant. We would definitely return to try one of the traditional afternoon teas on offer.

A display within the Lounge at Royal Horseguards

If you enjoyed a Valentines afternoon tea this weekend we'd love to hear from!

Thanks for popping by today,
Square Meal

Monday, 10 February 2014

"That" Question....

No, not the question about scones and cream and jam....the other awkward question that sometimes happens at afternoon tea!

You know the one....when you are enjoying afternoon tea with a friend and you are served a wonderful selection of sweet treats...that are all different! Duplication may appear boring on the afternoon tea stand...but at least you don't have to ask "So which one do you want?".

Oh no! Only one of each cake -
what is a girl to do?

In reality....if you are like me or Lorna I am sure the answer is "well all of them of course!"....but you are at afternoon tea after all....you better be polite and say "oh I don't mind....which one do you want"......while all the time secretly thinking "don't eat that one....I really want than one!".

Now all good establishments will probably give you more sweet treats, which will allow you both to sample all the sweet items...but will you have room after you've demolished (sorry enjoyed) the first stand of sweet treats??

If you are good friends I'm sure you can fight this question out in a ladylike fashion....and it is lovely to see an afternoon tea stand full with an amazing selection of sweet treats. But if there was a smaller selection...and duplication...you wouldn't need to ask this question! Of course you can do what Lorna and I did at the Rosewood recently - cutting each sweet item in half...but that does rather spoil the fun!

No arguments at Asia de Cuba!

It was this very experience that led Lorna and I to discuss this hot topic....and we both agreed that we would prefer a smaller selection that we could each sample, rather than eyeing each other enviously as we ate, wondering whether we'd made the right choice! Then I began wondering if we were the only ones...so I headed to my trusty social media and posed the question....which option to people prefer. I am please to report that there are other people like me....but what do you think?

Our latest poll explores this concept...what do you prefer to see as the afternoon tea stand is brought towards you? A small selection of goodies, all duplicated so the whole group can enjoy each item.....or are you happy to share and maybe not sample all the delights on the stand?

Cast your vote now and let us know how you really feel! Plus has that awkward question ever gone wrong for you? Did you let your friend have the choice and you never got to sample that cake you had your eye on? We'd love to hear from you!

I'm really not sure how this poll will go, so I am looking forward to see your votes!

Thanks for popping by today,

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Time for Tea.....Rosewood London

Hello there,

This weekend Lorna and I were lucky enough to be invited to sample the afternoon tea at the newly opened Rosewood London hotel in Holborn (a two minute stroll from the tube station). I know of the hotel because I have viewed their event space previously and I knew that the hotel itself is very elegant and oozed opulence, so we were very keen to experience their afternoon tea offering.

The Rosewood London opened in October 2013 following a refurbishment of the previous hotel on the site. The hotel celebrates the local area and allows guests to enjoy luxurious surroundings. As Lorna and I arrived at the hotel quite early, we headed into Scarfes Bar for a cocktail first....well it would be rude not too!

The bar is beautiful...full of comfy seating, a roaring fire and a large collection of antique books. They have a good cocktail list, offering an unusual selection of cocktails.

Cocktails at Scarfes Bar, Rosewood London

We managed to spend an hour in the bar very easily, and before we knew it, it was time to head to The Mirror Room to enjoy a spot of tea. The Mirror Room is truly elegant, with lots of seating for both couples and larger groups. At one end there is yet another fire and also the cake table. The room is kept quite dark, with the atmosphere being driven by candles on the tables, soft lighting and slightly controversially piped music.

The elegant Mirror Room
Rosewood London

 Now, usually I take photos of the menu to remind myself post tea of the selection we indulged in....but this time I did not so we will have to rely on my memory!

After being seated we had the choice of a champagne afternoon tea at £49.00 each or the traditional afternoon tea at £39.00 each. Having already indulged in a cocktail we opted for the traditional tea. 

We also needed to select tea from the selection on the menu, there were several black teas, a white tea, green teas, a yellow tea and herbal infusions to pick from. I opted for the delicate white tea and Lorna went with their yellow tea. Teas were served in individual glass teapots, which suited the modern surroundings of the Mirror Room.

Once tea was served we were brought our sandwich selection on a rather cute stand.....

Afternoon tea sandwiches
Rosewood London

Now, I have to say that these were the most dainty looking creations that I have seen in a while. Perfect rectangles and not a crust in sight - they were nearly perfect, except the bread was a tiny bit dry on the top. We enjoyed a cream cheese, radish and black pepper sandwich (sounds a tad bit weird, but tasted wonderful), a cheese, ham and smoked butter sandwich and the most amazing egg mayonnaise sandwich I have ever eaten! I think it may have also had some onion in either the egg mixture or the bread....it was delicious! 

In fact all three fillings were lovely, and the softer fillings were actually pipped into the sandwich - adding to their beauty! Take a look at this egg sandwich.....

Afternoon tea sandwich - Rosewood London

Now, here lies a little disappointment for me....as I would have loved another one (or two) of those sandwiches. However, while I was away from the table the waiter whisked our empty sandwich stand away and returned with the scones without asking Lorna if we would like more sandwiches. I did question this after our tea with another waitress and she assured me that we should have been offered more sandwiches....so if you do indulge in tea at the Rosewood London and fancy more sandwiches, don't be shy to ask for them if they are not offered!

The scones were served warm.....really warm....as if they were fresh out of the oven. They were served with clotted cream, lemon curd and strawberry jam....all served in silver pots or containers.....

Warm scones - Rosewood London

Now, my disappointment at not having a second helping of those tasty sandwiches was eased by the fact that there scones were amazing! We had two, very good sized scones - one plain and one fruity. The scones looked lovely, with a good glaze on the top. They had a lovely crunchy exterior, but were light and fluffy inside. The lemon curd was tart and zingy, a taste explosion! The strawberry jam was equally as good, really fresh and sweet. 

Once we had finished our scones, the sweet treats were brought out on another beautiful cake stand.....

Sweet treats
Rosewood London

Now this is where tea got a little controversial again, if you look closely there is an amazing selection of sweet treats on that stand. There were six different items, plus petite fours.....but they were all different! Now I don't know about you, but I hate that conversation about who is going to eat each sweet treat at tea when there is a selection like this! However, all the sweets were a good size and so Lorna and I decided to split each one, making sure we could both try them all!

Afternoon tea sweets - Rosewood London

The selection of sweets was divided into distinct flavours, with a top fruity tier which included an amazing raspberry macaroon. A zingy citrus tier which featured a passion fruit eclair. And finally a chocolate selection featuring a rather scrummy piece of Opera cake.

Afternoon tea sweets - Rosewood London

The sweet treats all tasted divine, the textures were great and everything was so fresh. Once we'd demolished all the sweets we were offered more cakes, we could either enjoy something from the selection we had already enjoyed, or we could have something different! Yes, it turns out that there were even more sweets to try!

Now being ever so slightly greedy, I decided that I did want to squeeze one more thing in (I have no idea how!) and I took a recommendation from the waitress. 

She brought me a rather large piece of passion fruit cake.....

Afternoon tea - Rosewood London

This was also amazing, very zingy and light....but I couldn't finish the whole piece!

All in all this was a wonderful afternoon tea, everything tasted wonderful and there was a great variety. I was a little bit disappointed that we weren't offered more sandwiches and it took a while for the waiter to notice that our teapots were empty, but all the waiters and waitresses in the Mirror Room were extremely friendly and professional.

At £39.00 for the traditional tea, this is a treat, but I think its worth it. The surroundings are wonderful and the afternoon tea is very tasty, we definitely enjoyed our glamorous afternoon!

I'd like to thank the Rosewood London for their kind hospitality.

Thank you for popping by today,

Square Meal

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Top Tips for Scone Baking!

Hello there!

Here at Tea With Me and Friends Lorna is the scone maker and she is really good at it (I’ve tried and failed miserably…I’m much better at eating them!). She has a recipe that we shared with you last year and her scones are always scrummy. Being such an awful scone baker myself I decided it was about time I did a little research on the subject......before hitting the kitchen again.

There is an awful lot of recommendations on the Internet, I learnt a lot during my research....so much that I decided to share it with you.....

So, apparently there are some key things that I need to remember when baking scones! Firstly....butter makes your scones light and fluffy. Too little butter and you will end up with dry and heavy scones (aka “stodgy”). So it’s really important to have the correct flour/butter ratio (follow your recipe and measure everything out!). It’s also really important that your butter is cold when you use it…..again this helps with fluffiness!

Are you ready for the science bit?

Butter forms small pockets throughout your dough, as it melts it is replaced by the carbon dioxide from your raising agent...allowing your scones to rise. If your butter melts or softens before you start baking your scones, the carbon dioxide has nowhere to go and therefore escapes from your dough….resulting in flat, hard scones. Just like my last attempt......

Hmmm....flat scones are never good!!

The way you cut your scones is also important, when you use your cutter or knife don’t cut all the way through the dough. Press about three-quarters of the way through and then tear the rest. It sounds a bit weird, but if you press the cutters all the way down, you seal the sides of your scones….and this hampers the rising!

The final piece of advice is to handle the dough as little as possible. You don’t want gluten to develop in your dough and remember.....you want the butter to stay cold before baking – so stop touching the dough!

Now as I read through the pages of advice and various articles my various failed batches of scones flashed before my eyes. A slightly depressing experience considering I love baking! So armed with all these tips and Lorna’s favourite scone recipe I headed back to the kitchen!

(An hour or so later……)

Well, what do you know....the advice helped! I have to say I was quite pleased when I opened the oven door and saw these beauties....

Thats much better - a light and fluffy scone!

Plus they taste wonderful and were light and fluffy too…everything that a good scone is supposed to be! And they definitely rose! If you fancy doing a little science in the kitchen, get your apron on and whip up a batch of scones following these tips!

I hope you are as successful as me….or maybe you already knew all this….

Thanks for popping by today,

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Time for something sweet....

Hello there!

I hope you are having a lovely week. So, we are already into the month of February....that month which my boyfriend dreads, which is tinged with pink and red. There are hearts and flowers everywhere! Yes, Valentines Day is just around the corner and there is all manner of Valentines themed feasts that you can indulge in.....including a lovely selection of afternoon teas!

Here at Tea With Me and Friends we're off to The Royal Horseguards hotel in Whitehall, London to enjoy their Naughtea....take a look at what lies ahead of us.....

Naughtea Afternoon Tea at Royal Horseguards
Photo from Website

Among other treats I will be enjoying a dark chocolate lipstick, corset cookies, beautiful lace cupcakes and strawberry lips macaroons all created by resident Pastry Chef Joanne Todd.

So, I thought we should take a peek at some of the other Valentine afternoon teas that are on offer this February.

You may remember my interview last month with Pastry Chef Ji Sun Shin, from the Ampersand Hotel in South Kensington. As well as learning all about this amazingly creative pastry chef we also had a sneak peek at her Valentines afternoon tea....

Valentines Afternoon Tea at The Ampersand
Photo from website

At the Ampersand you will enjoy red berry and vanilla cream eclairs, heart shaped macaroons and dark chocolate coated raspberry marshmallows.

Flemings in Mayfair is also featuring a Valentines themed afternoon tea, complete with pink champagne....

Afternoon tea at Flemings, Mayfair
Photo from website

Their tea includes champagne jellies, vanilla cupcakes, rosewater and white chocolate macaroons and coconut chocolate truffles.

Finally there is the super cute afternoon tea being served at the Palm Court at The Langham Hotel...

Afternoon tea served at Palm Court at The Langham Hotel
Photo from website

This creative tea features a Red Cupid Heart, Diamond Dust Pink Candyfloss, a Puppy Love Sable and a mini red Velvet cupcake. It all looks so cute!

I don't know about you, but I am drooling ever so slightly after looking at all those sweet treats! Don't forget to pop back after Valentines to see our photos of the Royal Horseguards afternoon tea. 

If you are inspired to indulge this Valentines, you will need to make sure you have booked a table, these teas are all limited editions and most are only available for a week around Valentines Day. Take a peek at the hotel websites for more information about dates and prices.

If you do indulge in a spot of Valentines inspired afternoon tea we'd love to hear all about it!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Monday, 3 February 2014

Thank you so much for your tea-riffic support!

Hello there!

We just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who voted for Tea With Me and Friends in the UK Blog Awards. The public vote is now closed and I am delighted to tell you that we were shortlisted!

We our now through to the industry judged round!

To see all the other fab food blogs that got shortlisted take a peek here.

I can't tell you how proud I am of this and want to thank everyone who reads our afternoon tea blog for your support and lovely comments. I have met some lovely people writing this blog and been able to experience some wonderful afternoon teas. 

We have lots more plans for 2014 and can't wait to share our journey with you all.

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel and Lorna