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

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Time for.....a Blooming Great Tea Party!

Hello there,

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

Today is a special post as we are talking about Marie Curie's Blooming Great Tea Party campaign which takes place in June in order to raise awareness and funds for the amazing work that Marie Curie nurses do. Marie Curie holds a special place in our hearts, as Lorna and I have experienced first hand the care and support that their nurses provide to families.

We cannot thank enough the nurses who helped us when our Dad passed away six years ago. The care they provided overnight to our Dad meant we could rest a little easier at night time, but they also supported each of us too, being a shoulder to cry on and just making sure we were ok. They really helped us in a particularly dark time.

Marie Curie needs funds to keep providing this service though, and that's why the Blooming Great Tea Party campaign is really important. All you need to do is hold a tea party - however big or small - and collect donations while enjoying a spot of tea and cake with friends, family, colleagues, neighbours....or anyone who loves cake! It doesn't matter how much you raise, all donations are important....

20 pays for…an hour of nursing care for a person living with a terminal illness in their own home

£180 pays for…a Marie Curie Nurse to look after someone with a terminal illness for a full nine-hour shift through the night.

Lorna and I have enjoyed holding Blooming Great Tea Parties with our friends and family - our favourite was a vintage themed party. We had lots of fun, ate cake and raised money - what a great afternoon!

So why not get your friends together between 23rd - 25th June and throw a Blooming Great Tea Party. All the information you need, including how to get a fund raising pack can be found on the Marie Curie website.... if you fancy baking some scrummy goodies read on for some of our favourite recipes.

Lorna's Scrumptious Scones
225g self-raising flour, plus a little extra for dusting
pinch of salt
75g butter, cold (using cold butter helps the fluffiness of your scones)
40g caster sugar
150ml milk
1 egg, beaten
  • Preheat the oven to 220C and lightly grease a baking sheet
  • Mix together the flour, salt and butter - rubbing the butter into the mixture until you have "breadcrumbs"
  • Add the sugar and milk to the mixture and bring together into a dough
  • Roll the dough into a circle at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick
  • Carefully cut the scones out using a cutter - press about three-quarters of the way through your dough 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! Also try not to twist your cutter!
  • Place the scones on the baking tray, brush them lightly with the beaten egg
    Bake on the top shelf of the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until they are well risen and golden brown
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool
  • Enjoy with lashings of clotted cream and jam

Top tip alert -
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!

Rachel's Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake - be warned this makes quite a big cake, perfect for sharing!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer
128g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
113g butter, room temperature
50g caster sugar
110g brown sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
100g mini chocolate chips

Cake Layer
4 eggs
226g butter, room temperature
226g flour
226g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
200g mini chocolate chips

Lots of chocolate butter cream - make with butter, icing sugar and cocoa powder

To make the cookie layer:
  • Line an 8" or 9" cake tin with parchment paper
  • Preheat the oven to 170c
  • Cream the butter with both sugars
  • Add the egg and mix
  • Add the flour, baking powder and salt
  • Add the chocolate chips and mix until everything is combined
  • Spread the dough into the cake tin. The dough should be approx 1/2" thick
  • Bake for approx. 15 mins.
  • Cool completely in the tin
  • Set aside at room temperature until ready to assemble the cake
To make the cake layer:
  • Line an 8" or 9" cake tin with parchment paper
  • Preheat the oven to 170c
  • Cream the butter with both sugars
  • Beat the eggs into the mixture
  • Carefully add the flour, baking soda and salt
  • Add the chocolate chips and mix until combined
  • Put into cake tin and bake in the oven for about 45mins
  • Allow to cool completely before assembly
  • Once cooled, cut the cake in half horizontally
  • On your serving plate place the cookie layer at the bottom and top with a layer of chocolate buttercream
  • Next place a cake layer on top of the buttercream and add another layer of buttercream
  • Add your top layer of cake
  • Now cover the whole cake in buttercream, top and sides - this is the messy bit!
  • You can then decorate the top - I used chocolate sprinkles and edible gold sprinkles
  • Serve with a cup of tea and enjoy

We hope you've enjoyed our recipes and they inspire you to get baking. If you'd like to find out more about the Marie Curie Blooming Great Tea Party campaign pop by their website. If you hold a tea party this June we would love to see your photos!

Finally we'd like to thank all the wonderful Marie Curie nurses out there - you do such an amazing job and provide comfort to so many people.

In memory of Dad

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Friday, 12 May 2017

Friday Tea Review - adagio teas - part 2

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - we're here with another tea-riffic tea review for you! Last week we brought you two hot teas from the adagio teas range....this week we are sharing one of their iced teas!

With summer (hopefully) fast approaching us in the UK (we can wish can't we??) we're starting to think of the warmer months and summer drinks. Iced teas are hugely popular in America apparently accounting for approximately 85% of all tea consumed, and they are often served sweet. Iced tea is also a popular choice across Europe - but it doesn't seem to be as popular here in the UK. Cold brewing is becoming more popular however, with more people experimenting with iced teas. So when adagio teas offered me the opportunity to try one of their iced teas I jumped at the chance!

Adagio Teas makes their iced teas using tea leaves rather than powders, selling pre-measured "iced tea-bags" that you simply add to a jug of water and refrigerate overnight. The pouches are just like oversized tea bags and each one makes about a litre of iced tea.

White peach iced tea - adagio teas

And it is as simple to prepare as adding the pouch to water, putting the jug in the fridge and waiting overnight. However, if you want your tea sooner simply steep your pouch in hot water for five minutes and then add ice to cool - I think the overnight wait is worth it though!

There are currently 8 different iced teas in the adagio range, including a blood orange iced tea, a mango iced tea and a citron green iced tea. I was lucky enough to be sent the white peach iced tea - combining a delicate white tea with sweet peach flavours.

White peach iced tea - adagio teas

This tea was sweet and delicate - not at all artificial and the peach flavour was balanced just right. Much better than black peach ice teas that I have tried previously - I think the white tea matches the peach flavour really well. All I can say is roll on summertime!

The iced tea pouches cost £6 for 6 pouches, but you do get a litre of drink from each pouch. I would definitely like to try the other iced tea flavours in the range too.

I'd like to say thank you to adagio teas for sending me the iced tea to try, but please note that all opinions expressed in this blog post are my own.

Thank you for popping by today,

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Afternoon Tea News - Flower Afternoon Tea, Lancaster London

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - today we have some afternoon tea news to share with you as Lancaster London is launching their new floral afternoon tea!

As London starts to bloom with summer flowers and the annual Chelsea Flower Show amazes guests, the chefs of Lancaster London will be switching bags of flour for flowers and the butter for buttercups as they present the ‘blooming marvellous’ Flower Afternoon Tea. 

Lancaster London Blooming Afternoon Tea

A beautifully botanical arrangement of sweet delights includes:
a creamy Lavender chocolate mousse cake;
White chocolate macaroons topped with crystallised violets;
a tangy Lime and elderflower trifle with edible flowers.

The Flower Afternoon Tea features both traditional and raisin scones with classic toppings of strawberry jam and clotted cream, plus a delectably nectar-sweet orange blossom jam.

The savoury treats also have a wild theme with:
Lancaster London home-smoked salmon roses on rye bread,
Coronation chicken served on sweet cranberry bread,
a warm tartlet of English asparagus, with saffron and sun-blushed tomatoes
Sunflower seeded choux buns with wild mushroom, truffle oil and cream cheese are full of wild British woodland flavours. 

Lancaster London Blooming Afternoon Tea

The blossoming tea is served in the hotel’s Lounge Bar from 2pm until 5.30pm, Wednesday 3 May until Wednesday 31 May 2017. The tea is priced at £30 per person and £45 with a glass of Pommery Champagne included. The Flower Afternoon Tea is also available as a Flower ARTea, priced from £35 per person. For more information pop by the Lancaster London website.

This certainly looks like a beautiful afternoon tea experience - if you give it a try during May we would love to know what you think!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Friday, 5 May 2017

Friday Tea Review - adagio teas

Hello there,

It's Friday and we've written a blog post....that can only mean one....yes the return of the Friday Tea Review! It's been a while since we posted a Friday review, but we've been busy tasting teas ready to share with you!

This week we are sharing some teas from adagio teas that we've recently been sent to try. Adagio teas are sourced directly from artisan growers, which means they'll reach you super fresh and full of flavour. Tea varieties in their range vary from traditional blends you know and love to something a little bit different - there is something for everyone within their range!

I've tried two rather unique teas to start my tea adventure with adagio teas - a white blueberry and an earl grey green....

Earl Grey Green - a twist on a traditional earl grey blend! 

early grey green - adagio teas

This is a blend of green tea, orange peels, natural bergamot flavour and blue cornflowers to produce a lighter version of a traditional earl grey. When brewed for 2-3 minutes you get a lovely pale yellow tea which has the aroma of bergamot.

The tea is light and refreshing - perfect for a sunny afternoon! The flavour isn't as intense as a traditional earl grey tea, but if you're happy with a slightly lighter tea then this is worth a try.

White Blueberry - a light, fragrant white tea blend!

white blueberry - adagio teas

This tea blends two of my favourite things - white tea and blueberries! I seriously cannot be controlled when there are blueberries about - there is something about the flavour that I just love and I can easily devour a punnet without realising! So when I saw this tea I knew I had to try it.

White Blueberry tea blends together flavour of blueberries with premium white tea from Fujian province, China. This tea can be enjoyed hot or cold - I opted for hot, brewing for tea for about three minutes.

The tea is very aromatic once brewed and a beautiful copper colour. The flavour is very light and delicate, the blueberries add a pleasant sweet taste. Not for anyone who likes a lot of flavour from their tea, but if you are looking for something light and refreshing this is a good tea to try.

I think it would make a really good cold brew tea as well - lovely in the summer months.

I'd like to thank adagio teas for sending me their teas to try, however please note that all opinions expressed in this blog post are my own.

Do you have a favourite adagio tea? If so we'd love to hear all about it - get in touch! If you'd like to see more of the adagio tea range pop by their website.

Thank you for popping by today,

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Afternoon Tea News - Back to the Classics Afternoon Tea at The Langham

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - this week we were lucky enough to be invited to the launch of the new afternoon tea created by newly appointed Executive Pastry Chef at The Langham, London, Andrew Gravett, and his team. Reverting ‘Back to the Classics’, the new tea showcases classical recipes made with fresh ingredients, skilfully produced by a team of passionate patissiers with a contemporary twist. Just look how beautiful the tea stand looks.....

Langham London Afternoon Tea

With reduced sugar and lighter textures, the tea reflects tastes that are easily recognisable but lighter to enjoy...... so when you have finished your afternoon tea feast you are not left feeling too stuffed. Its not a "healthy" afternoon tea, but the treats are lighter.

The Paris Brest is made with Crunchy Choux pastry, lightened pecan cream and caramelised pecans. Babalicious features blackcurrant and star anise soaked baba, Jivara whipped ganache and crunchy pearls. The Decidedly Madeleine offers the classic Madeleine sponge, passion fruit jelly wrapped in a coat of Itakuja. Spherically Challenged comprises of creamy coconut, liquid raspberry and Manjari mousse. Last but not least, the One in a Million showcases a caramelised puff pastry with vanilla infused mascarpone.

Langham London Afternoon Tea

I think my favourite sweet was the "One in a Million" which features the lightest, puff pastry - crisp and buttery! Although the "Spherically Challenged" was also amazing - full of the lightest coconut mousse which dances about on your tongue before disappearing. Lorna was rather partial to the Paris Breast - crisp and crunchy with a light pecan filling.

Accompanying sandwiches devised by Executive Chef of The Langham, London, Chris King include:

Burford Brown egg, marinated artichoke, rosemary bread
Classic English cucumber, cream cheese, chives,
Beef Pastrami, sauce ‘Albert’, watercress, caramelised onion bread
Scottish smoked salmon, Sarawak pepper and preserved lemon cream
Classic ‘prawn cocktail’, iceberg, potato bun, tomato powder

Langham London Afternoon Tea

A classical plate of well balanced savouries. My favourite was definitely the prawn cocktail - the dusting of tomato powder on the top of the roll is pure genius! I wasn't a fan of the artichoke in the egg sandwich, but that was purely down to personal taste rather than anything else.

At the launch we also met various members of the team and saw some of the sweets being put together. Everyone we met was passionate about the afternoon tea, explaining the various items.

The Langham Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood is served in Palm Court with a selection of scones and a choice of blended teas. The tea is priced at £49 per person, £59 with a glass of N.V Laurent-Perrier Brut champagne, £64 with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Rose champagne.

Seatings are available daily between 12.15pm to 5.30pm.

We can't wait to hear what everyone thinks of this new classical afternoon tea experience!

Thank you to everyone at The Langham for inviting us to sample this new afternoon tea. Please note that all opinions expressed in this article are our own.

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Time to..... explore the April Tea Box from Teatourist

Hello there,

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

It's always an exciting time when the next Teatourist subscription box arrives through the post - each month they manage to curate an exciting and diverse collection of teas that I have not discovered before! They package up enough tea for you to enjoy about four cups of each variety - meaning you really get a good taste, but there is not much waste if something isn't to your liking.

This month's collection is light and fun, perfect for springtime...it includes two black teas, three herbal teas and a veggie tea!

Teatourist April subscription box

In this post we are going to look at the first couple of teas I tried.....one of the black teas and the veggie tea! First off we have the Thieves Brew by Bev's Tea company. This 100% Vangedi Pekoe black tea is a medium caffeine tea from Sri Lanka,  which sounded perfect when I found myself in a rather delicate (self-inflicted) state on Bank Holiday Monday.

Thieves' Brew tea by Bev's Tea Company

The tea should be brewed with 95 degree water for 3-4 minutes to produce a cooper-coloured tea that will make you smile...

Thieves' Brew tea by Bev's Tea Company

The flavour is smooth, with a slight nutty note. I enjoyed it black, but it can be drunk with milk or lemon. Bev is a tea consultant, based in Scotland, who has previously managed a tea estate and set up a sustainable micro tea factory in Sri Lanka. I think it's safe to say she knows her tea!

Thieves' Brew was a very refreshing cup of tea, perfect for my delicate state....

The other tea that really intrigued me was the "veggie tea" from Leaves of the World. This company was started by The TeaNomads and it specialises in certified-organic tea and boasts one of the largest selections of vegan-friendly teas in the UK!

Pumpkins Go Bananas is a sweet brew which can be enjoyed hot or cold and is packed full of fruit and veg.....just take a look at the "leaves"....

Pumpkins Go Bananas - Leaves of the World

This tea is full of apple, carrot, pumpkin, pineapple, banana chips, ginger and coriander. It should be brewed using 2 teaspoons of leaves in 100 degree water for 5-8 minutes.

Pumpkins Go Bananas - Leaves of the World

 This pale yellow tea smells and tastes just like banana!

It's sweet and can apparently be enjoyed hot or cold. It's definitely something really different, that I wouldn't have tried if I didn't have this month's Teatourist box. I hope this post illustrates how diverse the Teatourist boxes can be - keeping both traditional and experimental tea lovers happy!

To find out more about these companies or the teas they offer pop by their websites - you never know what you'll discover!

Thank you to Teatourist for sharing another one of their tea-riffic subscription boxes with me. To find out more about their monthly boxes pop by their website.

Thank you for popping by today,