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

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Time for Scones.....Mini Review Richoux Gloucester Road

Hello there,

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

I happened to be near Gloucester Road tube station recently and in need of a cup of tea, so I popped into Richoux  where I was persuaded by my companions to indulge in a scone with my cuppa (as you can imagine I didn't need much persuasion!).

With four locations across London and the south coast, Richoux offers diners a range of menus across the day. From all day breakfasts, to sandwiches and salads and main meals. However, they also offer rather wonderful looking Patisserie....

Looks good doesn't it! I wish I had tried the Viennese biscuits, but I didn't spot them until I was leaving.

If I'm honest the service we experienced on the day was a little slow and missing some smiles. We arrived without a reservation, just after lunchtime which could have explained the slowness. 

The tea menu offered a choice of different loose leaf teas, which were served in teapots and pretty teacups.

We order a cream tea for one, which included two baby scones, along with your choice of hot drink.

 The scones were served warm with strawberry jam and clotted cream. Unfortunately I think the scones had been warmed either in a microwave or in a too hot oven because they were hard in the middle. 

The scones were full of fruit, which was really nice. But the experience was somewhat ruined by the hard centres - I would have preferred to enjoy the scones cold. 

Richoux also offers diners the option of a traditional afternoon tea, which includes a selection of traditionally filled finger sandwiches, the baby scones and a choice of patisserie with your hot drink. 

For a quick stop Richoux offered a good cup of tea, but I don't think I'll be returning for another scone!

Thank you for popping by today,

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Christmas Cheer - Starbucks Takeaway Coffee

Hello there,

Welcome back to another Christmas Cheer blog post from Tea With Me and Friends. Were you inspired to try the brussels sprouts tea after our last post??

Today we are joined by the lovely Becca and her sister Sam as they recently tried some Starbucks Christmas coffees while out and about in London. During their shopping trip Becca and Sam decided they wanted some caffeine and so headed to Starbucks......they picked the Gingerbread latte and the Toffee Nut Latte from the Christmas menu.

Here are their coffees.....artfully arranged in a Christmas tree in Harrods....

Did you know that Starbucks started selling coffee in 1971?

Anyway, quiz night facts aside....lets see what Becca and Sam thought of their festive coffees.

The toffee nut latte is not new to the Starbucks Christmas menu, but apparently its a firm favourite of Starbucks fans! Its a blend of two shots of espresso, milk and toffee nut syrup. If you are feeling extra decadent you can also have whipped cream and toffee nut sprinkles on top.

Sam told us that this drink was rich and creamy, but very sweet - not for the faint hearted!

Becca enjoyed the Gingerbread Latte (which I have also tried), which is made from two shots of espresso, milk and gingerbread syrup. Again, if you want extra luxury you can top your latte with ginger whip cream and wafer topping. 

Becca really enjoyed this drink, she thought there was just enough ginger and it wasn't too sweet. I also really enjoyed this latte when I tried it - I'm not normally a milky coffee fan, but the balance of ginger in this coffee is really good.

Have you tried these Christmas coffees? We'd love to know what you thought of them!

Thanks for popping by today, we'll be back soon with more Christmas Cheer!
Rachel & Lorna

Monday, 19 November 2018

Christmas Cheer - Sainsburys Christmas Tea

Hello there,

Welcome back to another Christmas Cheer blog post - this time Lorna and her hubby Jim have been trying Sainsbury's Christmas teas - Brussel Sprout flavoured tea and Pigs in Blanket flavoured tea.

Yes, you read that correctly....we've been sampling tea flavoured with sprouts!!

Let's start with the pigs in blankets flavour tea.... don't worry though, the tea doesn't contain any sausages (that would be weird!). Looking at the ingredients, the pigs in blankets flavour is achieved by blending a Lapsang souchong tea with sage and rosemary and some flavouring. 

Each tea bag includes smoky Lapsang Souchong Tea, Apple Pieces, Flavouring, Sage and Rosemary. 

But what were the verdicts from Lorna and Jim I hear you say......

Jim thought this tea smelt peppery (his nose apparently curled when he smelt it) and tasted savoury - tea loves strong tea, but he decided the smoky blend wasn't for him. Lorna picked up on the smoky flavours and decided that the Lapsang Souchong wasn't complimented by the sage. Neither of them will be drinking it again.

Not a popular tea then!

Next comes the Brussel Sprout flavoured tea, which is actually a green tea blend.

To achieve the brussels sprouts flavour that many people love, Sainsburys have blended Green Tea with lemon peel, granulated brussels sprouts and sweet blackberry leaves. Yes......there are Brussel sprouts in the tea bags!!

Shall we see what Jim thought of this tea.....and just remember that Jim is a BIG Brussels sprout fan. This is Jim before he drinks the tea, I think the aroma might have just hit his nostrils....

…..and this is Jim after he has tried the tea....

Now this is the part of the blog where I need to apologise for what you are about to read next....I am sorry if anyone is offended by the language. When I asked Jim and Lorna for their thoughts on this tea the word "fart" was used rather a lot! 

Jim though the tea smelt of vegetables, but tasted of fart (originally I wasn't sure how Jim could be so certain of this), and there was more nose curling as this tea was sampled. Lorna gave me a slightly different description, describing the tea as tasting like green tea with "a hint of fartballs"......yes fartballs! Again, neither of them will be drinking this tea again!

Now with such glowing reviews of both teas I decided (for some unknown reason) that I needed to try them for myself as well. Just to ensure Jim and Lorna were not misleading in their thoughts....

As you can see the teas look normal enough..... but unfortunately I have to agree with Jim and Lorna's descriptions. 

The pigs in blankets tea is very smoky, and it does taste a bit meaty. I didn't find it the most pleasant tea and agree with Lorna that the sage doesn't really match the Lapsong Souchang.

As for the Brussles Sprout tea.....well Jim and Lorna were right.....all I can say is farts! 

Will we be buying these festive teas again? As you can probably guess....that will be a strong "no" from all at Tea With Me and Friends towers! If after reading this blog post you are inspired to try these teas for yourself, you can buy them from Sainsburys for £1.00 for 20 teabags.

We hope you've enjoyed this Christmas Cheer blog post....if you do try these teas we'd love to hear your thoughts too. Don't forget to pop back soon and see what other Christmas drinks we've been trying!

Thanks for popping by today,
Rachel, Lorna and Jim

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Time for Tea....Mary Poppins at Aqua Shard

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends!

There is one afternoon tea that we'd love to try, but its hard to get a reservation on the weekend because it's so popular. With a certain film due out in December I'm sure it's going to get even more popular....

Yes, its the Mary Poppins inspired tea currently being served at Aqua Shard. 
How cute is that cake stand?

Inspired by the Mary Poppins books by P.L Travers, this afternoon tea was launched at the same time as the books were re-launched by Harper Collins. 

Luckily, fellow afternoon tea lover Rachel was treated to the Mary Poppins afternoon tea as part of her recent Birthday celebrations and has shared her experience with us.

Just take a look at the gorgeous crockery....those plates are lovely...

The afternoon tea kicks off with a selection of quintessentially British finger sandwiches:
Cackleberry egg & black truffle sandwich
Ms Kirkham's cheddar, Branston pickle & English mustard ploughman's sandwich
Dingley Dell honey roast ham, mustard mayonnaise & Norfolk rocket cress sandwich
Dressed Devon crab, cucumber & coriander served on a brioche roll
Mini crumpet served warm with Scottish smoked salmon & cream cheese

The crab brioche rolls sound divine!

After guests enjoy homemade scones with clotted cream and either cherry or plum jam they can enjoy the homemade cakes and sweet treats....
'Strike me pink' sponge
Fairground candy floss
Mrs Corry's gingerbread star
Mary's chocolate & cherry hat
The 'back to front zoo' golden syrup tart

Rachel said she enjoyed the experience, all the food was scrummy!

I'd still love to try this afternoon tea for myself - I love the sound of both the sweet and savoury elements. If you happen to enjoy the champagne afternoon tea, you are also offered "medicine" with your champagne in the form of three homemade liqueurs (rum punch, strawberry or lime) which sound scrummy!

To find out more about the Mary Poppins afternoon tea pop by the Aqua Shard website.

A big thank you to Rachel for sharing her afternoon tea photos with us. If you enjoy an afternoon tea we'd love to see your photos too - leave us a message on our Facebook page!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Christmas Cheer - Christmas Creme Brulee from Starbucks


Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends and our first Christmas Cheer blog post!

I went for a mooch around Farnham on Sunday (I do love a mooch around the shops!) and ducked into Starbucks to avoid a shower. Instead of my usual black coffee I decided to sample one of the Christmas blends, Starbucks have several different options mostly latte blends such as Gingerbread Latte or Toffee Nut Latte.

I opted for the Christmas Crème Brulee Latte and a Salted Caramel Christmas tree....

Let's start with the coffee, if I'm honest I wouldn't normally pick a latte, but I was tempted by this one with it's vanilla and caramel flavours. 

The blurb on the Startbucks website describes it as....."Rich Crème Brulee Sauce is mixed with creamy eggnog milk, poured over our Espresso Roast and finished with a Christmas Brulee topping for a festive take on the traditional Crème Brulee."

It did indeed taste rich and creamy, with a nice caramel finish. But I couldn't have drank more than the small cup I had, it's quite a sweet coffee too!

In the photo below you can see the Christmas Brulee topping....

The salted caramel Christmas tree is a rice crispy and pretzel treat which is decorated with golden balls and white chocolate stars. It looks very pretty and is a good sized portion (you might even want to cut it in half and share it with someone). 

I'm glad this was a salted caramel treat as the salt cut through the sweetness nicely. I also liked the addition of pretzel pieces in with the rice cripsys as it gave the treat another texture. 

All in all a nice sweet treat.....maybe a little too sweet with the flavoured coffee as well....I hit a bit of a sugar high as I was walking back along the main street!

Have you enjoyed a Christmas Crème Brulee from Starbucks? If so what did you think?

Thank you for popping by today, we hope you enjoyed our first Christmas Cheer post! Look out for more posts over the coming weeks!

Rachel & Lorna

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Welcome to our Christmas Cheer Blog Series!

Hello there,

I don't know about you....but we just LOVE Christmas here at Tea With Me and Friends towers. It might be November as I am writing this.....but I can confirm that I am sitting here in a Christmas jumper and I might have watched a Christmas movie or two earlier today!

For us Christmas is more than just a couple of days, its the whole season.....the build up is just as much fun as the actual day itself. As it gets darker and colder there is something wonderful about the sparkle and joy of Christmas. Don't worry though....my decorations won't be going up until December....I just enjoy dabbling in Christmas in November! Dabbling includes jumpers and movies, a new Christmas music playlist.......plus all the sweet treats and drinks you can enjoy. Which brings me onto this new blog series.....all about Christmas drinks!

As you can imagine we drink a lot of different Christmas drinks during November and December and this year we thought we'd share our discoveries with you.....the good, the bad and the ugly!

Whether it be Christmas drinks we enjoy on our afternoon tea adventures or drinks we enjoy in the comfort of our own homes!

In this first post we thought we'd ask you for your recommendations too....do you have a favourite Christmas drink we should try? Whether it be tea, coffee, hot chocolate....or something more cheerful maybe (I'm thinking Christmas cocktails!)....we'd love to hear about it. Leave a comment here or drop us a line.

Keep your eyes peeled over the coming weeks - Christmas cheer is all around you!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Time for.....tea and biscuits....pretty biscuit recipes

Hello there,

Hope you're having a tea-riffic day wherever you are in the world!

Here at Tea With Me and Friends towers we've been baking biscuits. There is something about the colder days that sees me heading into the kitchen to whip up something sweet and scrummy! If you've stopped by our Facebook page recently you'll have seen what we've been up to, baking biscuits that taste scrummy and look really pretty too!

I've enjoyed my baking so much that I thought I would share one of the recipes that we've been working on. Inspired by one of my favourite retro puddings, I've been creating some black forest gateau biscuits combining scrummy chocolate and cherry flavours. I've had the pleasure of enjoying real black forest gateau in the Black Forest in Germany (its far from the frozen version of my childhood) and you can't beat the flavours!

The best thing about these scrummy biscuits is that they are really simple to make. The base is a light chocolate biscuit, topped with a layer of cherry preserve and decorated with a cherry flavoured butter cream. 

To make six biscuits you will need.....
125g softened butter
75g icing sugar
115g plain flour
40g cocoa powder

Your oven needs to be preheated to 160 degrees.

To make the biscuits, first beat the butter and icing sugar together until light and fluffy (using a large bowl helps with icing sugar spills). Then sift in the flour and cocoa powder and combine to make a dough. If you find the dough a bit sticky, add a little more flour.

Next roll our your dough out and cut out your desired shapes. I went for scalloped circles - each biscuit has a base and a top, the top has a small centre cut out to reveal the pink butter cream.

Your biscuits need to be baked in the preheated oven for approximately 15 minutes (during this time you kitchen will smell amazing!).

Once baked, transfer to a cooling rack and leave until cold before decorating......then you can get creative! I decided I wanted to combine preserve and flavoured butter cream to really add cherry flavour to the chocolate biscuits. 

On the base biscuit I first spread a thin layer of the cherry preserve across the whole biscuit (be careful doing this as the biscuit can be a little fragile), then I piped cherry flavoured butter cream on top - again cover the whole of the biscuit.

Next I added the top biscuit with the centre missing, adding some red and white sparkles to the centre for a little extra sparkle. Finally pipe some more buttercream around the top biscuit. 

I'm really pleased with how these biscuits turned out - a scrummy light chocolate base, topped with lashings of cherriness! Perfect with a good cup of tea on a cold afternoon!

Over the last couple of weeks I've also experimented with other flavours too, combining other fruit flavours with chocolate biscuits.

I've baked chocolate and orange fingers and chocolate and raspberry stars....

The stars were my favourites...the dark chocolate and tangy raspberry were a perfect match. They were so good that they vanished very quickly....in fact the photo above is the only one I have of the stars! 

I hope you've enjoyed this post - if you make the biscuits yourself we'd love to see the results!

Thank you for popping by today,

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Time for Tea.....remembering the Pret a Portea Spring Summer 2018 afternoon tea

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - earlier this summer when it was still very hot in the UK I spent a rather wonderful Saturday with a friend enjoying a Pret a Portea afternoon tea at the Berkeley. I didn't share it at the time, but it was such a pretty afternoon tea that I thought I would revisit it now.

We've enjoyed a Pret a Portea several times previously, but as they change the menu twice a year to reflect the latest styles and fashions its always good to visit again! The Berkeley is an elegant hotel located in Knightsbridge and their afternoon tea is just as beautiful as the surroundings you enjoy it in. Let's start this afternoon tea adventure by staring wistfully at one of their pretty teacups....

I know I'm biased because purple is my favourite colour (I'm typing this blog post on my purple laptop), but the Berkeley china is so pretty. The cups are big enough that you get a decent amount of tea without needing to refill your cup every two minutes, but pretty enough to still look dainty.

As tradition dictates the savouries are served first - a selection of finger sandwiches and bite sized treats which look as pretty as the crockery they are served on.

Each diner has a whole plate full of perfectly filled finger sandwiches - that's a total of six fingers each! Plus there are two mini bowls and another savoury. You will definitely not go hungry at this afternoon tea!

The sandwiches are freshly made, with a variety of fillings. Pleasingly there isn't a crust in sight and the sandwiches look fairly uniform. The chicken sandwich was probably my favourite, a roast corn fed chicken with spring onion and celery emulsion on onion bread....I might have enjoyed more than one of these!

The little bowls of savoury goodness were as pretty as they were tasty - both pleasing to the eye and the palate. Again, they were freshly made and the flavours were well balanced. The crab dish was my favourite, the flavours were delicate it was so pretty....

You are offered....encouraged even....to indulge in as many savouries as you can enjoy. But remember to leave room, there maybe no scones in this afternoon tea feast but there are plenty of sweets to be enjoyed.

How pretty is this stand.....

This is the Spring Summer 2018 Pret a Portea and it will be different to the one you would enjoy if you visited The Berkeley now, but the sweet treats will be just as pretty! There were a total of nine different sweets, including biscuits, patisserie, cakes and mousses. 

Each sweet treat is inspired by a fashion designer and looks amazing, you'll spend a long time trying to decide which one to try first! The waiting staff are extremely knowledgeable though and happy to help with flavour recommendations.

I really enjoyed the upside down black forest gateaux which consisted of a chocolate cone (far right in photo above), layered with chocolate and vanilla cream and cherries. This was recommended as a favourite by our waiter and it definitely didn't disappoint! 

I can also highly recommend the biscuits - beautifully decorated and flavoured.

The whole afternoon tea experience at The Berkeley is a delight from start to finish. The surroundings are elegant, the staff are professional but friendly and the food is both beautiful and tastes great too. Plus you'll have plenty of photos for your Instagram feed!

Slightly more expensive than the norm - this tea is a treat, but well worth it. For more details pop by The Berkeley website

Thank you for popping by today, we look forward to seeing you again soon.

Rachel & Lorna

Monday, 29 October 2018

Time for a spot of spooky afternoon tea!

Hello there!

Wow, it's been a long time! It's been a rather busy year for me personally, so I hope you excuse the lack of scrummy afternoon tea posts from me.

As some of you know, I love Halloween baking and always host a Halloween afternoon tea for my friends. So I thought I would break my silence by sharing with you this year's Halloween baking!

This year we had a selection of cakes and hand-iced biscuits, as well as a tower of egg mayonnaise finger sandwiches, mini coronation chicken rolls and handmade quiches to enjoy.

Over the years I have collected lots of Halloween themed table decorations and I love covering the table with skulls and handmade felt bats. I also love getting out my collection of vintage china to serve everything on and this year Becca made us cute little ghostly name tags for everyone.

Anika loves nothing better than a vanilla cupcake, so you will always find them as part of my afternoon tea spread. The monster cupcakes in my Halloween tea are vanilla sponge which I coloured green, topped with lashings of vanilla buttercream (with more food colouring) and some edibles eyes.....lots of edible eyes! 

Becca and I had great fun baking and icing the biscuits, we had pumpkins and bats with lime flavoured icing and tombstones and ghosts with lemon flavoured icing.

We used the flooding technique to ice the biscuits, outlining the biscuits first with a slightly thicker icing and then filling in the shape with a thinner icing. Finally details were added with the thicker icing. 

Among the other treats was a chocolate loaf cake which contained a cherry flavoured secret ghost in the middle! I love making cakes with hidden shapes in the middle, especially when the flavour isn't quite as expected! This cake went down especially well with a dollop of clotted cream!

Altogether we enjoyed a very spooky afternoon, watching movies as we enjoyed the treats! 
And the best thing about hosting an afternoon tea at your house.....you get to enjoy the leftovers the next day!

I hope you enjoyed seeing our afternoon tea spread and I promise to return soon with more scrummy posts! In the meantime if you enjoy a wonderful afternoon tea let us know all about it - we'd love to hear about your afternoon tea adventures.

Thanks for popping by today,

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Time for Cupcakes.....Hummingbird Bakery, Guildford

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - this week I've been on a staycation, enjoying the glorious summer in the UK and eating the odd cake or two!

When Hummingbird Bakery opened a shop in Guildford earlier this year it was welcomed with queues along the street of hungry cupcake lovers! The photos of the queues on social media were quite amazing! For anyone not familiar with Hummingbird Bakery - they arrived in London in 2004 and are famous for their American style cakes and cupcakes. Fast forward a couple of months and its a random Tuesday lunchtime when I pop by, no queues great me....but I do find a wonderful selection of cakes and cupcakes to drool over!

Hummingbird Bakery Guildford - what to pick?

Hummingbird Bakery Guildford - lots of cupcakes!

The bakery itself is light and airy and very pretty, decorated in pinks and greys. 

There were two friendly servers working at the time, both were welcoming and very knowledgeable about the cakes on offer. Hummingbird Bakery prides themselves on serving delicious, fresh cakes, something they achieve by each branch having its own kitchen, with dedicated bakers and cake decorators.

Cupcakes include salted caramel, red velvet, carrot cake, chocolate and vanilla to name just a few. They also sell slices of large cakes, traybakes and whoopie pies. After asking the servers which were their favourites (something I always like to find out) I opted for a salted caramel cupcake and a cup of coffee.

Hummingbird Bakery Guildford - salted caramel cupcake

Please ignore Niffler in my photos - I'd just bought him and was having a bit of a geeky moment! 

The cupcake was light and moist and had a wonderful chocolate flavour. The frosting was super sweet and encased a dollop of dulce de leche, but sprinkled on the top was just the right amount of sea salt and this combination was wonderful as it balanced everything out. The cake tasted fresh and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I think part of the joy of eating at Hummingbird Bakery is definitely the surroundings, I loved the colours used and the general atmosphere which was relaxed and friendly.

I'll definitely be popping back to try the other cupcakes....it might take me a while to work through the menu though! For more information about Hummingbird Bakery please visit their website.

Do you have a favourite Hummingbird Bakery flavour - we'd love to hear about it!

Thank you for popping by today,

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Afternoon Tea News - CUTcakes & Tea at CUT at 45 Park Lane

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - we have some exciting news for you today. A brand new American style afternoon tea is coming to London from Wolfgang Puck's debut restaurant in Europe - CUT!

CUT is an American steak restaurant which is situated on Park Lane and this is an afternoon tea which differs from the norm as there is not a traditional finger sandwich in sight! Instead executive chef, David McIntyre, invites guests to enjoy delights such as Wagyu beef sliders and black truffle grilled cheese toasties. Just take a look at the savoury and sweet bites you can enjoy....

CUTcakes and Tea afternoon tea - CUT at 45 Park Lane

The savoury bites include...

Black Truffle Grilled Cheese
Fried Chicken & Buttermilk Bisquet, Honey-Jalapeño Jam
Tuna Tartare ‘Sandwich’, Avocado, Ginger
Lobster Po’Boy, Homemade Brioche, Herb Remoulade
Wagyu Beef Slider, Garlic Aioli, Sweet Pickle

Lobster Po Boy and mini Wagyu beef sliders at CUT

While those with a sweet tooth can enjoy....

Strawberry Milkshake
Graham Cracker S’mores
Peanut Butter & Jelly Twinkie
Cola Cake & Caramel Corn
‘Cheeseburger’ Macaron
Scones, Clotted Cream, Strawberry & Huckleberry Compote
Pink Lemonade Cake Pop
Cookies & Cream Cake Pop
New York Cheesecake Pop 

Look at those cake pops and milkshake! CUT at 45 Park Lane

I think it looks and sounds so scrummy! I'm not even sure where I would start with either the savoury bites or the sweet bites! I think this is definitely one I am adding to my wish list!

You can find out more about this afternoon tea on the CUT at 45 Park Lane website. If you enjoy this afternoon tea we'd love to hear all about it!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna