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

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Time for Tea......Pennyhill Park, Surrey

Hello there,

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

A couple of weekend's ago the lovely Lydia visited Pennyhill Park for a spot of afternoon tea with her friends......and lucky for us she took some photos!

Afternoon tea - Pennyhill Park

Pennyhill Park received a Tea Guild Award of Excellence in 2013 and was awarded "Top City & Country Hotel Tea Awards 2012" by the Tea Guild.

Afternoon tea at Pennyhill Park is served in their Ascot Bar or weather permitting on their pretty terraces in the sunshine. On this occasion Lydia enjoyed tea in the Ascot Bar, where a pianist was also playing.

The Traditional Ascot afternoon tea includes freshly cut sandwiches, freshly baked scones with clotted cream and homemade preserves and a selection of homemade cakes and pastries - all washed down by an extensive choice of tea or coffee.

Afternoon tea - Pennyhill Park

Lydia's favourite part of this afternoon tea adventure was the enticing selection of pastries, which included among other things lemon drizzle cake and macaroons.

Afternoon tea at Pennyhill Park is served throughout the year between Monday - Friday you can enjoy tea between 2pm - 4.30pm and on Saturdays and Sundays the seating times are between 1pm - 5pm. Guests can enjoy a traditional afternoon tea for £33.00 per person, or can indulge in the Royal Ascot afternoon tea which includes a glass of Nyetimber Classic Cuvee, English Sparkling Wine for £41.00 per person. For more information about this afternoon tea please pop by the Pennyhill Park website.

We'd like to thank Lydia for sharing her afternoon tea adventure with us and for sharing those scrummy photos!

If you've enjoyed an afternoon tea adventure recently and took some photos of the experience we'd love to see them - please get in touch!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna 

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Meet the Executive Pastry Chef.....Cherish Finden, The Langham London

Hello there,

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

If you popped by the blog yesterday you'll know we featured the new afternoon tea being served at the Langham London. Today we are meeting the talented creator of this beautiful new afternoon tea feast....executive Pastry Chef Cherish Finden. You might recognise Cherish from the current BBC programme Great British Bake Off - Creme de la Creme where she appears as the firm but fair judge.

Executive Pastry Chef Cherish Finden

Recently Lorna and I had the pleasure of meeting Cherish and I can confirm that as well as being super talented and passionate about afternoon tea....she is also a really lovely person. We're so pleased that Cherish agreed to answer our slightly nosey afternoon tea questions - giving us an insight into the effort required to create such a tea-riffic afternoon tea spread!

Q How long does it usually take you to create new afternoon teas?
About 2- 3months for creating and another 2 months for food tasting and recipe development

Q. Where does your inspiration for new teas come from? 
Mostly I am inspired by the Wedgwood collection and everything I came across interest me for example:
  1. the buttery Bloom – it is inspire by the Gerkin Building and Butterfly symbolise new life and to welcome spring
  2. Hathaway Rose Victoria sponge – to bring in the classic Victorian feel
Afternoon tea - Langham London

Q. So, what is your favourite part of your latest afternoon tea?
Well I always like a new challenge. The most interesting part is to create - how to balance the flavour, texture, taste, appearance and WOW Bang effect!

Q. Do you enjoy a spot of afternoon tea yourself and have you tried tea anywhere else? 
Yes, I love to appreciate Afternoon Tea. Most of the Top 5 star hotel.

Q. What is your favourite filling in an afternoon tea sandwich? 
Classic-cucumber and cream cheese

Q. The all important question - do you put cream or jam on your scone first?
Jam and then cream - the Cornish way

Afternoon tea scones - Langham London

Q. If you could invite any guest to enjoy afternoon tea with you, who would it be and why? 
It will be a honour to invite the Queen.

The Queen has lead such an interesting life and been a tremendous ambassador for Britain. I would love to to an opportunity to share a cup of tea and a slice of humble cake with the Queen.

Executive Pastry Chef Cherish Finden with some of her tea-riffic
afternoon tea creations!

It was a real pleasure to listen to Cherish talk about her new afternoon tea at The Langham, her passion for creating perfectly balanced sweet treats is obvious as she talks. We'd like to thank Cherish for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer our afternoon tea questions.

For more information about the new afternoon tea at Langham London please visit their website.

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Afternoon Tea News - Wedgwood Afternoon Tea, The Langham

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - you may remember that recently Lorna and I attended the fabulous launch for Executive Pastry Chef Cherish Finden's new afternoon tea at The Langham in London. It was a tea-riffic event where we got to sample the afternoon tea treats, meet Cherish in person and hear all about the new afternoon tea creation. As promised here is a little more information about the food on offer....

The Langham, London is delighted to launch its new Langham Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood collection, created by Executive Pastry Chef, Cherish Finden and her culinary team.  The collection is inspired by classic Wedgwood collections, featuring butterfly and daisy motifs, heralding the start of spring and the changing season. 

Langham Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood collection

The palette is prepared with a pre-dessert of apricot and natural yoghurt panna cotta before being greeted by: 

The ‘Paisley Parcel’; a moist chocolate offering enhanced with Kahlua and double espresso. An amaretto taste is also incorporated and the ‘icing on the cake’ represented by white chocolate buttons with a bespoke white and blue paisley Wedgwood design.    

The ‘Butterfly Bloom’ takes inspiration from the Wedgwood collection of the same name, featuring a buttery shortbread tower with salted caramel. Two hand crafted butterflies at its peak represent the bloom of spring and the new florals blossoming.    

Sweet treats - Langham Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood collection

The ‘Yuzu for You’ offers an exciting mixture of the sweetness from the Langham No. 150 chocolate balanced with the acidity of the ‘yuzu’, a citrus fruit originating in East Asia. A kick of chocolate is added with the Langham’s bespoke ‘No. 150’ chocolate. The taste is rounded off with a crunchy chocolate sable. 

The Wedgwood Wild Strawberry comprises of a wild strawberry ‘pâte de fruit’ and pistachio cream macaroon, replicating the ‘Wedgwood Wild Strawberry’ design. The final pastry of ‘Hathaway Rose’ incorporates Lemon Victoria sponge, with a raspberry and jam.   

Pastries are accompanied by plain and raisin scones in addition to delicious sandwiches conceived by Head Chef of The Langham, London Chris King and team. These include Truffled duck egg brioche, Smoked salmon asparagus and rye, Cucumber with cream cheese and chives, Peppered beef pastrami with red Leicester coleslaw and Corn-fed chicken with golden sultana on carrot bread. 

Savoury selection - Langham Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood collection

The new collection is priced at £49 per person, £59 per person including a glass of N.V Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne and £64 per person including a glass of N.V Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne Rosé. Available from 6th April with sittings at 1.00pm, 3.15pm and 5.30pm.  For more information about this afternoon tea please visit The Langham London website.

Pop back tomorrow when we'll be meeting Executive Pastry Chef Cherish Finden to find out a little more about how she created this beautiful afternoon tea.....and the most important question of all....which way does she dress her scones?

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Time for Tea....The William Cecil Hotel, Stamford

Hello there,

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

Today we are joined by the lovely Victoria, who is sharing her recent afternoon tea adventure at The William Cecil Hotel in Stamford. Let's find out about her afternoon tea experience.....

Sophie, Anthea and I, whom had all met through the local branch of the Clandestine Cake Club, decided that a Sunday afternoon treat would be a visit to The William Cecil – a property owned by the Burghley Estate and run by Hillbrooke Hotels.  We were served our tea in the Olympic Bar, which is a nod to the last Lord Burghley’s sporting prowess.  It’s a great place to eat and drink, in civilised surroundings.  I digress…

The William Cecil, Stamford

Afternoon tea for two is £25, but we could easily add another person for £12.50.  Absolutely fantastic value, as we compared our other experiences of afternoon teas up and down the country.  The tea arrived on a three tiered stand and pots of tea, with Teapigs tea, included in the price.

So, the bottom tier had three different types of sandwiches: cheese and pickle, cucumber and smoked salmon.  All were in incredibly soft bread, with tasty fillings and completely crustless; pretty perfect!  There could have been more filling in the cucumber sandwiches, but maybe I’m being fussy.

Afternoon tea - The William Cecil, Stamford

Up to the middle tier, where the warm, plain scones were waiting for us.  Of course, we had the jam or clotted cream discussion, but all three of us agreed that it’s jam first, which we think is the Cornish way.  Whichever way it is, these were delicious and not claggy.  They were deliciously light and fluffy – and didn’t last long on our plates!

Afternoon tea sweet treats
The William Cecil, Stamford

Now to the very top with those sweet treats.  We each started this layer with a macaron, mine was vanilla, Sophie’s was coffee and Anthea’s was strawberry – all were light and very fresh.  Anthea shared her macaron making success (maybe there’s a blogpost waiting there!); we were impressed!  Onto the slice of carrot cake.  Being members of the Clandestine Cake Club, we try to fancy ourselves as Great British Bake Off critics, but there was no criticising here.  We all saved our slab of brownie until last.  Sophie is a brownie baking queen and was disappointed that they weren’t squidgy, but we all agreed that they were delicious.  Not to forget the lemon posset at the end.  A great palate cleanser after all that eating.

A great value afternoon tea, to which we’d all return at some point soon.

Those sweet treats all look rather scrummy don't they! To find out more about the afternoon tea on offer at the William Cecil in Stamford please visit their website.

A huge thank you to Victoria for sharing her afternoon tea adventure with us - we always love to hear where Victoria has been enjoying a spot of afternoon tea! If you have an afternoon tea that you'd like to share with us, please get in touch!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Friday, 8 April 2016

The Friday Review....Gyokuro from T2

Hello there,

Happy Friday! We hope you're well today!

Last week Lorna and I happened to pop into the T2 Tea store on Regent Street and spent a rather lovely time talking to one of the assistants in there. If you're not familiar with the T2 Tea brand, they are an Australian tea company who now have over 70 stores in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.  They are Australia’s leading tea retailer, offering the country’s largest range of premium, fragrant tea and tea wares from all around the globe.

T2 Tea instore display - swoon!

As we looked around the gorgeous tea and teaware displays, the assistant told us about her favourite tea - Gyokuro which is a green tea. This tea can be brewed twice and you can even eat the leaves once you've made your cuppa!

T2 Tea Gyokuro Green Tea

Gyokuro is a highly prized Japanese green tea. The tea bushes are shaded to encourage a heightened level of chlorophyll. The emerald green leaves yield a refined brew with what T2 Tea describe as a sweet lingering flavour. This however, is an expensive tea...are you ready for this....it costs £24.00 for 100g.

I decided despite the expense that I needed to give this tea a go (it was pay day so I decided to treat myself!).....

T2 Tea Gyokuro Green Tea

The dry leaves are a pretty green colour, and I noted they were very fine. For this tea it is recommended that you use 1 tsp of leaves per 250mls of water, the leaves should be brewed for 1-3 minutes at 80°C (176°F). 

The tea once brewed is a little yellow colour...

T2 Tea Gyokuro Green Tea

The flavour is light, with a slight nuttiness to it. It's a very refreshing cup of tea, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I didn't eat the leaves this time, but I did brew them more than once giving me better value for money.

Was it worth the £24 price tag I hear you cry? Well, it was probably one of the best green teas that I have enjoyed at home.

I also might have treated myself to some new teaware while I was there too.....shhh...don't tell my bank manager!! It was far too pretty to leave in the shop though!

T2 Tea and pretty teaware

To find out more about T2 Tea and their range of teas and teaware pop by their website.
Do you have a favourite T2 tea? Leave us a comment below and let us know!

Thank you for popping by today.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Time for....some baking...this time with Twinnings!

Hello there,

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

Remember last week when I shared that scrummy Piacha Black and Cherry biscuit recipe and I mentioned that you could probably use any tea in this recipe....well guess what....I've been back in the kitchen experimenting again! And I can confirm that this recipe works well with other teas too!

Twinings Lady Grey teabag biscuits
from Tea With Me and Friends

This time I have used Lady Grey tea from Twinings. 

If you haven't tried Lady Grey yet, it's a black tea combined with oranges and lemons to give a fresh and zesty tea. For this recipe I have used a Twinings teabag, and I found that the leaves were the perfect consistency for the biscuits.

Apart from a different tea, the recipe for these biscuits is exactly the same as before.....

You will need:
1 Twinings Lady Grey tea bag
130g plain flour
50g caster sugar
20g icing sugar
100g unsalted butter
splash of water
100g chocolate - optional

A straw for poking holes
Bakers twine (or other thread)

This will make: 16 teabag biscuits

Preheat your oven to:
200c or 180c (fan oven)

To make the biscuits:

  • No need to grind your leaves this time - just tear open the teabag!
We flavoured our biscuits with a Lady Grey teabag
  • Combine all your dry items (so that's the tea leaves, flour and both sugars) in a bowl, mixing them well
  • Next you need to add the butter - rub this into your dry ingredients so you end up with a bread crumb like mixture. Don't worry if it starts to combine together at this stage,
  • Now add a splash of water and carrying on combining the mixture to make a dough. At this stage less is definitely more - you don't want a sloppy dough
  • It's time to chill your mixture - this is important to stop the dough expanding when baking in the oven. Roll your dough out, wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

  • Once chilled, we get to the fun part - making the teabags! First put flour on your clean work surface, then roll out the dough until its about 0.5cm and then cut out your little teabag shapes. I used a straw to make the hole at the top of each teabag.
  • Once you've cut all your teabags, place them onto a cold baking tray and place in your preheated oven for 12 minutes or until the edges of your biscuits turn a golden colour.
  • Remove your biscuits from the oven and allow to cool
  • Once cool you can thread your twine through the holes in the top and dip your biscuits in melted chocolate. Don't forget if you go down the chocolate route you'll need to leave the biscuits to dry before you can tuck in.
  • Enjoy with a cup of tea!
Twinings Lady Grey teabag biscuits

These biscuits are crisp, light and fruity - the zesty flavour really comes through well. Again, you don't really need the optional chocolate, but the teabags look cute if you use it.

We hope you've enjoyed our second recipe for teabag biscuits - if you give this recipe a go we'd love to see the results!

Thank you for popping by today,

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Time for.....a tea-riffic afternoon tea launch at the Langham

Hello there,

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

Lorna and I were very lucky this week - we were invited to the launch of the new afternoon tea at the Langham London. You may have seen Head Pastry Chef Cherish Finden on the TV recently as she is one of the judges on Great British Bake Off Creme de la Creme. Well, it's an exciting time for Cherish as the Langham is launching a scrummy new afternoon tea on the 6th April.....

Afternoon tea - Langham London

Guests at the launch were treated to tea, soft drinks or bubbles, all served in the conservatory. As we mingled with other guests, trays of the savoury items were served...

Afternoon tea sandwiches - Langham London

The fillings included duck egg, cucumber, pastrami and coleslaw, salmon and coronation chicken - served on a variety of breads. The bread was all soft and fresh and as expected there wasn't a crust in sight.

My favourite filling was definitely the chicken, and Lorna really enjoyed the coleslaw and pastrami.....

Once we had enjoyed the savouries, Chrish joined us in the room to introduce the all important sweet treats. Cherish spoke with such passion about her creations, it was a real pleasure to listen to her talk. She described each pastry in turn, describing the flavour combinations and the textures that we would find when we bit into the pastry.

Head Pastry Chef Cherish Finden
describing her new afternoon tea creations

After Cherish had described each piece we were treated to something rather special, as the Duchess of Bedford joined us for tea.....

Just in case you're wondering .....the real Duchess of Bedford is best remembered as the first person to enjoy afternoon tea, as she requested tea and cake in the afternoon between lunch and dinner to help with the "sinking feeling" she used to experience.

Cherish then mingled with us as the pastries were served. As well as all the treats on the sweet plate, we were also offered scones with cream and preserve....

Afternoon tea sweets - Langham London

The most amazing Victoria sponge

Everything looked so pretty, each piece so detailed and unique. But even better than a pleasing plate of treats, everything tasted amazing too. From the well flavoured Opera Cake to the tiny strawberry and pistashio macaroon, everything was so scrummy!

Cherish spent time with all the guests, talking about the afternoon tea and also the GBBO Creme de la Creme. 

Cherish Finden with a plate of Opera Cake

We also got to meet Cherish's fabulous team....

We had a wonderful evening as guests of Cherish and the Langham and can't wait to see this scrummy new afternoon tea appear on the menu in early April. For more information about afternoon tea at The Langham please visit their website.

We'll leave you with one last look at those scrummy savouries and sweets....

Afternoon tea - Langham London

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna