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

Monday, 23 October 2017

Time for Tea.....Halloween at the Royal Lancaster Hotel

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends.

Today we are sharing a very special Halloween afternoon tea with you, as we've been lucky enough to enjoy the Black and White We Always Scare afternoon tea at the Royal Lancaster Hotel. Yes we know it's a little early for Halloween....but we couldn't wait to try this spooky creation from Chef Ben Purton.

We indulged in a truly spook-tacular experience with this Halloween Afternoon Tea, inspired by 1960s classic horror movies. To get guests in the mood, the lounge has been styled with spooky props and there are black and white movies playing on a screen. 

Once we'd picked our teas (Darjeeling for Rachel and a decaffeinated Ceylon for Lorna), the savouries and sweets were served on clear plate. We were impressed that there were so many different items all with the black and white colour theme....

The savouries included:
Smoked halibut, white cream cheese & black caviar on pumpernickle
Axe carved bresaola beef, horseradish, charcoal shell
Massacred egg, curried mayonnaise
Cucumber, cracked black pepper & tapenade in white coffins
Sushi roll, blackened seaweed and crab
Mini Scotch egg, black crust

The bread used in the sandwiches was fresh and crustless and the fillings were all very unusual.

We both loved the curried egg mayonnaise sandwich which had a great flavour, but the stand out savoury item was that miniature black scotch egg (we might have had more than one of these!).

Before we tucked into the sweet treats, the scones were brought out to us, these were served warm with clotted cream and jam. There was one coconut scone and one dark chocolate scone - in keeping with the black and white theme!

The scones were a good size and looked appealing despite the unusual colours....

Both scones were a great texture, they cut in half easily and were not claggy at all. We were surprised at how well the flavours came through in the scones, the coconut one was a little more delicate but you could definitely taste both flavours. The flavours also went really well with the cream and jam

Our favourite one was the dark chocolate scone. 

Finally we made our way to those sweet treats...

The sweets included a great selection of different flavours - Cursed Blackbird Macaroon (which was flavoured with orange and white chocolate); Psycho chocolate Lollipops; Black Sunday Battenberg cake; Night of the Living Tart; and a black forest mousse cake. Something for everyone there!

Each sweet treat was a good size - not too big and not too small - and everything was fresh and tasty. 

The rich chocolate lollypop was amazing, as was the black forest pudding (which was gobbled down in two bites!).

All in all this was a tea-riffic afternoon tea - with an elegant, grown up Halloween theme.

All the staff at the Royal Lancaster are friendly and attentive and we really enjoyed our afternoon at the Royal Lancaster.

If you fancy trying this afternoon tea you need to be quick though, as its only on offer until 31st October 2017. For more information about this afternoon tea please visit the Royal Lancaster website.

We'd like to thank Chef Ben and his team for this wonderful experience. Please note that although we enjoyed this afternoon tea on a complimentary basis this has not affected our taste buds and all opinions expressed in this blog post are our own.

If you enjoy a Halloween themed afternoon tea this year we'd love to hear all about it - please leave us a blog comment!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Time for Tea.....The Balcon at Sofitel St James

Hello there,

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

Last weekend I treated my lovely fried Alex to a belated Birthday afternoon tea at The Balcon in Sofitel St James. As this was a special occasion I wanted a special afternoon tea and this one included free flowing champagne along with the sweet treats and finger sandwiches - just perfect!

As our bubbles were poured we were left with the tea samples to explore - the jars allow you to smell the leaves and all the descriptions can be found in the menu.

Once we'd selected our teas the afternoon tea stand and sandwiches were brought out to us. The sandwiches came on a separate plate and the scones were served warm. The stand included three different scones, which were accompanied by clotted cream, rose scented strawberry jam and lemon curd. Plus a selection of four good sized pastries.

The stand was simple but elegant, very befitting of the surroundings. The sandwiches were presented on a simple white plate, there were a selection of four fillings....

The sandwich fillings included egg mayonnaise, cheese and tomato, a smoked chicken and a salmon and cucumber sandwich. The bread was all fresh and squidgy and not a crust in sight. I particularly enjoyed the tomato bread that came with the chicken sandwich. 

The sandwiches were also quite unique as they were triple-decker sandwiches....

The bread was thin enough that the sandwiches were still dainty and delicate, but the extra bread also meant that the sandwich did not become soggy. A great idea! I think my favourite filling was the egg mayonnaise sandwich, which was filled well and tasted wonderful.

Next we moved onto the scones - there was a chocolate chip scone, a plain scone and a fruit scone to enjoy.

The scones were a good size (although we only ate two each) and they were a great texture - not at all claggy. The lemon curd was lovely with the clotted cream and I really enjoyed the rose scented strawberry jam.

Moving onto the pastries at the top of the stand....

We had four pastries to enjoy between us, but they were big enough for us to cut in two and share. Now I have to admit that I can only remember three of the four pastries (sorry!), there was an Opera cake, a raspberry macaroon and a matcha tea slice. My favourite one was the Opera cake.

I had also mentioned when making my reservation that it was Alex's Birthday and the staff very kindly presented another plate of pastries to Alex, singing her a rendition of Happy Birthday.

All in all this was a rather lovely afternoon tea, we enjoyed champagne throughout the afternoon tea and were altered to when the 90 minute time frame was going to run out. The Balcon is a beautiful space and I liked the modern but simple feel.

If you'd like to find out more about the afternoon tea at The Balcon pop by their website.

Thank you for popping by today,

Monday, 9 October 2017

Afternoon Tea News - Discount Offer!

Hello there,

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

We have some very exciting news for you today as Chef Ben Purton and his team bring us two very special afternoon teas this month at the Royal Lancaster London Hotel.....plus he is offering us some rather tea-riffic discounts!

Chocolate Afternoon Tea
For one week in October, Royal Lancaster London will be the chocolatiest hotel in the capital for Divine Chocolate Week 2017. From today until Sunday 15 October 2017, every bite of chocolate will be fashioned from Divine Fairtrade Cocoa. 

The Chocolate Afternoon Tea (£35) is presented as a classic afternoon tea with a Divine twist. The intense dark chocolate and unexpected flavourings will put every chocolate aficionado’s taste buds to the test.

Confections include Chocolate Chip Scones; a bittersweet Dark Chocolate, Mango and Coconut Tart; a Chestnut Breton with rich 70% Dark Chocolate Cream; Elderflower Marbled Lollipops; and a White Chocolate Macaron with Ginger and Orange.

The Chocolate Afternoon Tea also features Royal Lancaster savoury favourites such as Home-Smoked Salmon Rye Pinwheel Sandwiches; Smoked Corn-Fed Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper on Cranberry Bread and a Duck Confit with Plum Sauce on a Sesame Seeded Choux Bun. 

Cult Horror Movies Halloween Afternoon Tea

Indulge in a truly spook-tacular experience with the Halloween Afternoon Tea, inspired by 1960s classic horror movies. A very cold welcome awaits you, with Alfred Hitchcock classics flickering from a projector and The Little Shop of Horrors’ Audrey sitting on your table. Don’t feed her meat!

Pull the curtains back on a scene of savoury classics; though not all is as it seems... are you brave enough to try the Axe-Carved Beef with Horseradish; the Ominous Crab Sushi and the Pitch Black Pudding Scotch Egg?

Sink your fangs into an array of sickly-sweet confections so good they could bring the dead to life. Things get grisly with a Cursed Blackbird Macaroon; Psycho Marbled Lollipops; Black Sunday Battenberg; Night of the Living Tart; and a Haunted Panna Cotta.

The final nails in the coffin are the Chocolate and Coconut Scones, served fresh from the oven with Homemade Blackberry Jam and Clotted-Blood Cream. This tea is on offer between 16th - 31st October.

Royal Lancaster London invites you to embrace your inner Hitchcock and capture a chilling photograph of the Halloween Afternoon Tea. To enter, all photos must be in black and white and use the hashtag #WeAlwaysScare to win a complimentary Christmas Afternoon Tea.
Now for the tea-riffic bit.....the offer!

For 25% off your total bill simple quote the following when making your reservation:

Chocolate Tea - #Choctober
Halloween Tea - #WeAlwaysScare

To find out more about the afternoon teas on offer pop by the Royal Lancaster London website.

Lorna and I are heading to the Royal Lancaster London to enjoy the spooky Halloween afternoon tea - maybe we'll see you there!

Thank you for popping by today!

Rachel & Lorna

Sunday, 3 September 2017

The August Teatourist Subscription Box - take a peek here!

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - today we're taking a peek at the August box from Teatourist to see which six teas we are discovering this month!

We always love it when a new Teatourist box falls through our letterbox - a delivery of tea is definitely better than bills! Each month Teatourist sends subscribers 6 tea tasters from a variety of different tea companies. This month's selection is called "fresh and frisky"- a selection of teas to extend that summertime love!

As always there is something for everyone, from green teas to a cardamom chai, a flavoured rooibos and a camomile blended with fennel and rose. Some of the tea companies will be familiar to hardened tea addicts, but there will also be some new companies to discover.

This month's selection.....

This varied selection of tea makes for a very pretty tea leaf photo.....

The clever thing about the Teatourist box is the tea is sent in little pouches, each pouch has enough tea for a couple of cups.....perfect for trying out new blends. If you like something you can buy more, but if a tea isn't to your taste at least you haven't wasted lots of tea and money. It's a great idea for anyone wanting to discover new teas and be a little adventurous with their tea drinking.

Each tea pouch comes with a brilliant little card which describes the tea and how to brew it, along with information about the tea company. I particularly like the tea tips they that provide, giving you tips on making the perfect cuppa.

If you'd like to find out more about Teatourist and their tea-riffic monthly tea subscription pop by their website!

If you've got the August box we'd love to hear which is your favourite box - leave us a comment here or get in touch on Twitter or Facebook!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel and Lorna

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Time for something sweet - bonboosh marshallows

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - we hope you're ready for something sweet today!

Last weekend I was at the Odiham food festival where a friend introduced me to the delights of bonboosh marshmallows - a local company who take marshmallow flavours to the next level, producing light as air marshmallows in flavours such as sweet violets, gingerbread and their latest creation sloe gin and blackberry.

Regular readers out there will know my sweet tooth took over as soon as I saw the stall (I didn't even stop to take a photo of the stall!) and of course I had to buy a bag (just the one I hear you cry!). After a lot of deliberation I opted for the new flavour....the combination of sloe gin and blackberry sounded just divine!

Now this is where I feel I need to educate everyone a little on the dangers of being a marshmallow owner on a hot day. Listen carefully and you'll avoid the disaster that follows.....

Before sampling my marshmallows I popped in on Joe's mum on the way home, leaving my bag of goodies in the car. I disappeared inside without a further thought about my latest purchase and enjoyed a couple of hours catching up with Annette. When it came to home time I opened my car door to be greeted by the most intense, mouth watering smell of .... well of sloe gin and blackberries! At this point I just smiled to myself and drove home, looking forward to trying a marshmallow. I remember thinking it was a bit warm in the car, but it was a hot day so nothing surprising there.

However.....and I bet you can all guess where this is going.....yes my little bag of marshmallows had suffered somewhat in the heat.....


Yep.....I was now the proud owner of a bag of melted marshmallow! It did smell amazing in my car, but I learnt a valuable lesson that day....marshmallows die in hot cars! 

Stories like this should have a happy ending though....and luckily this one does! I have made my own marshmallows before, and so I decided to take the gloopy mess and try and reset it, using icing sugar to stop my new marshmallows from sticking to everything. It did work....although my marshmallows don't look very pretty and I managed to lose two in the process of resetting them!

The flavour was amazing though - the perfect balance of sloe gin and juicy blackberries! The texture was also still really good, with the marshmallows being light and fluffy despite the whole ordeal! They melted in the mouth as you ate them - a sign of a brilliant marshmallow!

Just in case you were wondering....this is what the marshmallows should have looked like (I've borrowed this photo from the bonboosh Facebook page!)...

I will definitely be trying the other flavours in the bonboosh range - you can buy via their facebook page.  If you already have a favourite bonboosh flavour that you think we should try, drop us a line and tell us all about it!

Thank you for popping by today,