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

Saturday, 17 February 2018

It's Cocktail Time - featuring Rutland Tea Co

Hello there,

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

Regular visitors to the blog will know that we love a good cup of tea with our afternoon tea or maybe a glass or two of bubbles....but we also love a great cocktail! We think there is nothing better than a well made cocktail to tickle the taste buds!

Recently I've been experimenting with some tea in my homemade cocktails and I wanted to share this one as I am so pleased with how it turned out! 


This is a sweet and fruity cocktail, probably slightly better suited to the summer months....but I can't see the problem with being prepared for the warmer weather! I can just see myself in the garden with a glass of this on a summer's evening. The flavours are tropical - think oranges and pineapple and you're on the right lines!

For this cocktail I have used the wonderful Earl Grey Blue Rose tea from Nottingham based Rutland Tea Co. This is a scrummy tea whether you enjoy it hot or cold. Its a traditional Earl Grey with citrus flavours which has been super charged with pineapple-peach flavours. The flavours are tropical, but remain light and refreshing. 

I discovered this tea as part of a Tea Tourist monthly subscription box, but you can also buy this tea directly from the Rutland Tea Co.

For this cocktail you'll need to brew the tea in advance and then leave it to go cold.


I have used Orange Marmalade vodka from Chase Distillery, as this is my preferred citrus vodka. You can substitute this for another brand if you have a favourite. I also used a sugar syrup - I was lazy and used a shop bought version. If you're feeling in the mood or don't have any pre-made you can easily whip up a batch of sugar syrup at home...

Homemade sugar syrup
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring cold water and sugar to a boil.
Turn the heat low and constantly stir the mixture until all the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear, this will take approximately 3 to 5 minutes.
Leave to cool

Finally I have topped my cocktail off with a little Prosecco - I can't remember which brand I used....you can use whatever you happen to have at home or your favourite brand. 

Now the important bit....

To make the cocktail
This is really simple....no shakers or mixologist skills required!

In a glass (I used a wine glass) with ice combine:
100ml of the cold tea
25-50ml of sugar syrup - I recommend putting a little in and tasting it for sweetness
50ml of citrus vodka
then top it off with a little Prosecco

Et Voila....you've got a glass of sunshine to enjoy! 


I topped mine off with a slice of orange (it was a clementine to be precise) but I was just trying to be fancy! If you have no fruit to hand, don't worry!

Have you used tea in your cocktails at home? Do you have a favourite recipe? I'd love to hear about it and maybe give it a try myself - get in touch and let m know!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel 

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Time for....cake at home - My Sweet Tooth Factory

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - today we're sharing with you a sweet treat that we recently discovered on a trip to the Southbank Centre Food Market in London. If you've never wandered around this food market before you should definitely visit - its just outside the Southbank and it's filled with so many different stalls. The stalls include a range of street food, beers, wines and cocktails, delicious coffee, tea and of course......sweet treats!

On this trip I found myself drooling over the cakes on offer at Sweet Tooth Factory and I couldn't help myself, I needed to try one of the cakes! They had a big range on offer, but I decided to try the cookie dough cupcake....


Yep, that's a ball of cookie dough on top of my cake!

The cake cost £3.50, but it came in a protective container and I managed to get it all the way home without damaging it! As you can see it's a substantial cupcake - don't attempt eating one if you've just enjoyed a big meal!!


Much to my surprise inside the cupcake is another ball of cookie dough! 

I really enjoyed this cake - the sponge was light and chocolately and that icing was just amazingly light and creamy. Combine those two elements with some delicious cookie dough and you have a great sweet treat! 

My Sweet Tooth Factory are a wholesale business, baking cakes for businesses in London, but they can also be found at the market. I'll definitely be heading back to try another one!

Have you enjoyed a cake from My Sweet Tooth Factory? I'd love to hear what you thought.

Thanks for popping by today,
Rachel

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Time for.....Hot Chocolate!


Hello there!

We hope you're well today. Here at Tea With Me and Friends Towers we love a great cup of tea with our afternoon tea and are partial to a cup of coffee in the morning....but we also love a really good hot chocolate! There is something so comforting about hot chocolate, like a lovely warm hug in a mug!

So when Natasha at Pretty Patisserie told me that they were launching a new hot chocolate menu I just had to check it out! Then when I saw the menu.....yes they have a hot chocolate menu....I knew I had to pop back to Pretty Patisserie really soon to try  of the hot chocolates!

Each hot chocolate is made to order, using real chocolate. There is also a dairy free option.

In total there are nine different hot chocolates to sample....I think I'm going to be visiting rather a lot in the near future! From a classic hot chocolate to a chocolate orange, a chocolate mint and a wonderful creation called The Unicorn (which is white chocolate and raspberry, complete with lots of marshmallows and a unicorn horn!).

I popped by Pretty Patisserie to try my first hot chocolate last week, opting for the chocolate orange variety (I love Terrys Chocolate Oranges!) and of course I had to sample another cake while I was there. This time I picked a rather wonderful looking lemon cupcake (the lemon drizzle that I love so much had already sold out). I took my seat in Squires and waited for my treats to be brought over.....


I decided to have a lemon cupcake because surely that's two of my five a day right there! 

To start with just feast your eyes on that hot chocolate...it truly is magnificent! Classic hot chocolate, spiked with orange oil and topped with whipped cream! Now cast your eyes on the cake...just look at that perfect icing!


The hot chocolate was scrummy - served at the perfect temperature and the balance of the chocolate and orange flavours is great. Not too sweet, not too bitter. I really enjoyed it and probably consumed it far too quickly!


The cake was also delicious - the sponge was light and flavoursome and there was a great lemon filling in the middle. The icing on the top also has a great flavour and the texture is lovely too. All in all a lovely cake!

If you live near Farnham in Surrey or happen to be visiting the area and fancy a lovely hot chocolate and a great piece of cake you can't beat Pretty Patisserie! While you're there you can also take a look at the wonderful cakes and biscuits on display in Squires.


On this occasion I'd like to thank Pretty Patisserie for their hospitality as they treated me to my hot chocolate. Don't worry though - the sweet treat didn't go to my head and all opinions expressed in this blog post are my own.

I'll definitely be popping back to work my way through the rest of the hot chocolate menu! If you visit Pretty Patisserie we'd love to know what you enjoyed! Leave us a comment and let us know!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Valentines Day Afternoon Tea 2018 - Round Up 2

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends. Today we're back with another round up of the Valentine's afternoon teas on offer this year!

Let's start with Binswood Hall, Leamington Spa where guests can enjoy a Valentine's cocktail on arrival...

Binswood Hall Valentines Afternoon Tea

The afternoon Tea cakes on this menu include:
Red velvet gateaux
Macaroon with dark chocolate centre
Strawberry tartlet
Mixed berry Eton Mess

Chef Ben Purton at the Royal Lancaster, London has created a pretty afternoon tea especially for Valentines this year....

Royal Lancaster, Valentines Afternoon Tea

The sweet treats to enjoy at this afternoon tea include:
Strawberries & cream lollipop
Red velvet cheesecake
Raspberry love heart-shaped macaron
Hazelnut mousse on Sable Breton
Rosewater marshmallow tart

I can personally vouch for how good the lollipops are at the Royal Lancaster - always a highlight!

Lorna and I will be visiting our next hotel in April, but in the meantime here is the Valentine's afternoon tea from The Connaught

The Connaught - Valentines Afternoon Tea

I love the colours in this afternoon tea, all so bold and pretty!

The pastries on offer include:
Grapefruit & Lychee - Lychee Mousse, Grapefruit Crystalized Rose
Lemon Bergamot - Bergamot Mousse, Lime Cream Lemon Confit
Passion Fruit Tart - Passion Fruit Jam, Orange Blossom Cream
Coffee Éclair - Coffee Curd, Caramelized Pecan Nut
Rocher - Hazelnut Praline, Milk Chocolate

Finally we have this wonderful selection of Valentines themed afternoon tea treats from Fortnum and Masons....

Fortnum and Masons Valentines Afternoon Tea

Are you drooling just a little now?? Don't they all look wonderful?

If you enjoy a Valentine's themed afternoon tea we'd love to hear all about it! Drop us a line on Twitter or on our Facebook page!

Thanks for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Time for Tea.....Pretty Patisserie, Farnham

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends! We hope you're ready to read about some scrummy tea and cakes.

This week I am really pleased to share with you a new local discovery - Pretty Patisserie which is based in Farnham, Surrey. Pretty Patisserie can be found in Squire's Kitchen, the wonderful sugarcraft and cake decorating shop opposite Farnham train station. The opportunity to go shopping for cake decorating supplies and enjoy some tea and cake at the same time sounds wonderful to me!



I decided to take my mum along to sample the cakes and support a patisserie business so close to home. You need to pre-book your afternoon tea - you can do this by popping in or giving the shop a call.

On arrival at Squires Kitchen you need to make your way through to the Patisserie counter at the back of the shop to place your order before sitting at one of the tables dotted around the shop. We had one of the lovely window seats, which meant we could people watch the shoppers while enjoying our afternoon tea!

The tea choices are limited, but there is something for everyone -including a black tea, a decaf, a green, an earl grey and a peppermint tea. Once you've selected your tea this is brought over to you with an impressive looking afternoon tea stand...


All of this scrummy food was for two of us! 

The stand included a selection of freshly prepared savouries, two scones each, a selection of cakes (both cupcakes and smaller cake bites) and a selection of macaroons. We were also given a pot of clotted cream each and a pot of clotted cream - so no fighting over the cream!


Our savouries included triple decker sandwiches which were generously filled with cucumber and cream cheese and the tomato bread pinwheels filled with ham and rocket. I loved the pinwheels - the flavour combination was wonderful and the bread was especially tasty! We had two triple deckers each and two pinwheels each.


I really liked the individual servings of cream and jam, I thought this was a nice touch. We were served two scones each, which were a good size - not too big and not too small. We also had plenty of cutlery to cut and dress our scones - a small, but sometimes forgotten element of afternoon tea!

The cake selection was great....


There were three different full size cupcakes - lemon, chocolate and red velvet. All were scrummy, with light sponges and delicious icing. There was small pieces of lemon drizzle cake and dense chocolate brownie. Both mum and I thoroughly enjoyed the lemon cake, which was light and flavoursome.....probably some of the best lemon drizzle that I've had the pleasure of sampling! 

On the top tier of the cake stand there was a wonderful selection of macaroons...


These bite sized beauties were light and delicate with a soft, chewy middle - delicious!

If I am honest I couldn't believe how much food was included, especially since this afternoon tea is priced at just under £17 per person. This is great value, especially since the quality of the food is brilliant and we really enjoyed all the different elements. 

Don't worry if you can't fit it all in though - you can take home any cakes in little cake boxes to prolong the enjoyment at home!


I really enjoyed my afternoon tea adventure at Pretty Patisserie and I think Mum is already planning her next trip back! As well as afternoon tea, you can also enjoy a light lunch and I heard a rumour that a rather wonderful hot chocolate menu is launching soon! 

While we were there we also had the pleasure of meeting Natasha, who provided some information about the Patisserie and also the cake decorating sessions that they hold regularly. There are child sessions and adult sessions which focus on different cake decorating techniques. Ranging from £5 - £10 you can learn to make all kinds of sugarcraft models!

To find out more pop by the Pretty Patisserie website

Do you have a local tea room or patisserie that you think we should know about? Drop us a line and let us know about your local favourites!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel