Thursday, 28 February 2013

New Rhubarb

When I was down the garden the yesterday, I looked under the upturned pail which I use to force the rhubarb - here is what I found- nice young rhubarb. Not much but enough to make a plate tart.

Straight from the garden into the kitchen to have it ready for tea.

Lovely tender, pink rhubarb but don't be fooled even my dessert rhubarb requires plenty sugar for my sweet tooth.

Just look at that wonderful sweet pink juice and short, crumbly pastry! This is the best time of the year to get that fresh flavour.

When we were children, we used to get a cold pudding which was sweet stewed rhubarb set with tapioca, sago( I think it must have been a throwback from the war years! ) I can't imagine young people eating that today.

Has anyone else heard of this? If so, please leave a comment on my Blog

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Tea to taste

When I started doing afternoon tea as a business my first thought was  the baking because that is where my experience and interest lie. However, thinking on - it of course stems from drinking tea, its customs, rituals and ceremonies.
The subject of Tea itself is massive and I have found a lot of useful information on the Tea Council website -

If like me, tea has always been a drink to have with a biscuit or meal,  made from teabags, drunk with milk and for many people, sugar, without giving it much thought other than 'is it too weak or strong' - then think again.

The first large Afternoon Tea Event I catered for was the RSABI charity and I wanted to give the guests an opportunity to open their minds about tea and try various leaf teas along with their food.( As well as the novelty of pouring their tea from a silver teapot through a tea strainer into their china cup!)

I went  to my local tea supplier in North Berwick and asked which loose teas he would recommend. My thoughts were maybe  an Indian breakfast tea, a Darjeeling and an Earl Grey. However straight away he said- no, no stick to the one category and try a variety of black teas, so this was the

Edinburgh Blend - an old fashioned blend of high quality Indian and China teas

Kenya Highland - a stronger, darker tea than the Edinburgh blend.

Howdah's tea bag - made  for Howdah's with their own special blend of teas, slightly heavier than a normal teabag proving that tea bags filled with the right blend of teas can be just as good.

Everyone had their preferences. Even for people who normally wouldn't drink tea, it is well worth infusing the tea leaves for the correct length of time and tasting the tea without milk or sugar. I am sure there will find one blend they enjoy.

Go on - give it a go!

Let me know which type of tea you enjoy most by commenting on this blog.



Friday, 15 February 2013

Friday evening - High Societeas first official pop-up tea. Each month I will be hosting a High Societeas  afternoon tea in an unusual, historic and beautiful venue. What better way to start than  in the Old Schoolroom at Humble Pie Cookery School, Kingston. Light, airy, modern with a roaring coal fire at one end the extra long kithen table can seat as many as 16 people.
My guests arrived to a glass of Kir royale and stood around the fire taking in their surroundings and chatting happily.
Fortunately they knew not to eat too much before they came as they soon filled up with the spread of food laid out before them.

My guests' first cup of tea - Kenya Highland- a polular breakfast tea unusual in that it is made up of loose Broken Orange Pekoe leaf tea from Kenya.
Triple decker sandwiches - a guessing game to decide what was in them, dainty square sandwiches of fresh farm eggs with tomato along with a traditional ham sandwich for the unadventurous - all with crusts removed!
Now onto the savoury quiche followed by the scones, guests helping themselves to any amounts of homemade strawberry jam and cream.
Some of my guests had all this devoured in next to no time - I am guessing they didn't have their tea before they came out! but glad they were enjoying the food so far.

Time for the second leaf tea, this time the High Societeas breakfast tea, giving everyone an opportunity to try and compare different teas with their food.
Bringing out the cake stands with battenberg cake, coconut cherry slice and empire biscuits I could hear some groans of delight from those wishing they had paced themselves a little better!! Dainty sandwiches and cakes along with tea can be surprisingly filling.

And finally the centrepiece of the table -cream meringues and fresh fruit.

Having a 'dairy free' diet to cater for  in this tea, I discovered ways of producing more or less the same food using alternative ingredients and the lady was delighted.

Only 2 more teas to try, one being Blue Lady another popular tea which is black tea with petals added, light and slightly scented.

Well thats it - more very happy pop-up customers all of whom hope to follow us and return for another Pop-Up tea but where will it be next month?
Follow my facebook page and look on the website to find out

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Pancake Day
With pancake day approaching many of us will be looking out the syrup as well as the sugar and lemon juice.
Maple syrup is delicious on pancakes but more expensive than golden syrup - do you know why?
Well, it takes 4 Kg of tree sap to make just 100g of maple syrup.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Talking about Tea

Some facts about tea for you to ponder:-

1.Tea is a natural source of fluoride and delivers approx.45%of your daily requirement, if you drink 3 or 4 cups a day.

2. Green Tea is anti-bacterial and helps combat bad breath.

3.A cup of black tea has about half the caffeine of a cup of coffee, green tea has even less.

4.Tea contains more caffeine per gram than coffee but you use much less in a cup.

5. There is more than twice the anti-oxidant power ina cup of tea than there is in one apple!