7 WAYS TO HELP YOU WITH VEGANUARY…

Are you struggling with ideas for Veganuary? I think most of us are struggling with everything at the moment so here are some tips to help you win with Veganuary. In Dr. Vegan’s article, plant-based nutritionist Riya Lakhani (ANutr), has put together some easy hacks to help you get the most out of plant-based eating.

When putting together your shopping list, plan your meals in advance to help you keep your meal choices varied and nutritionally sound. Your grocery list should contain the following:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables. No rules here but try butternut squash, pomegranates and sweet potatoes
  • Carbohydrate sources including oats, rice, quinoa, whole-wheat pasta and noodles
  • Protein sources such as kidney beans, white beans, black-eyed peas and lentils 
  • Healthy fat sources including nuts and chia seeds, avocados and nut butters
  • Refrigerated foods including tofu, tempeh, seitan, plant-based milks
  • Sauces and condiments including tomato sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, mustard and chilli sauce
  • Cupboard staples including coconut milk, coconut flour, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, nutritional yeast, herbs and spices

There are some delicious recipes to inspired you like Avocado Spinach Whole-Grain Toast

 Veggie Stir-fried Noodles

or Thai Green Curry with Tofu and Broccoli Florets

You can find lots of ideas on Dr. Vegan’s site which sell higher quality, naturally sourced, and plant-based supplements that really work. Made in the UK, Dr. Vegan’s products are naturally sourced and plant-based, more absorbable, and contain zero animal products or any nasty additives. 

TIPS ON SERVING AN ELEGANT AFTERNOON TEA…

A traditional afternoon tea has been something enjoyed by countless people over the last two centuries. It was created by Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, who used to enjoy an afternoon snack in her bedroom, to see her through from lunch until dinner. Eventually, she decided to invite some friends to dine with her, and so the afternoon tea was invented. 

The idea soon spread, and within no time all of England was enjoying afternoon tea (not to be confused with high tea, which is something entirely different). 

Although this mealtime did fall out of favour, particularly because of the ravages of the First and Second World Wars, there has lately been something of a resurgence, and many people are discovering just how enjoyable afternoon tea really is. 

Even if you can’t go out and enjoy an afternoon tea somewhere special, you can make an excellent version at home if you plan in advance and think things through carefully. Read on for some tips on how to do it and treat yourself when you really need to.

What Type Of Afternoon Tea?…

There are several different types of afternoon tea, so before you can buy the ingredients you’re going to need, you should decide which one to enjoy. The different types include: 

  • Cream tea: if you are eating scones with clotted cream and jam (and no other food or cakes), your afternoon tea becomes a cream tea instead. 
  • Light tea: a light tea consists of a cream tea with added pastries, cakes, biscuits, and even individual fruit tarts. 
  • Afternoon tea: the full afternoon tea is the same as a light tea, only there are also savoury sandwiches to add to the mix. Although these can contain anything, salmon and cucumber, beef and horseradish, and egg mayonnaise are particularly popular. These sandwiches will be cut into fingers and there will be no crusts. 
  • Champagne tea: as above, but with a glass of champagne or sparkling wine to make the occasion a real celebration. 

Although in the past, a pot of freshly brewed tea might have made the entire treat a complete one, today that isn’t necessarily the case. Enjoying a fresh coffee made from Horsham Coffee Roaster is perfectly acceptable if that’s your preference. 

Serving Your Tea…

Although no one is going to complain if you serve your afternoon tea on a selection of small plates laid out on a coffee table (for example), there is a traditional method, and it’s what really makes this meal stand out and become recognisable, so it’s worth investigating and going the full way if you can. 

In the traditional method of serving afternoon tea, you will have a teapot (or coffee pot) brewing your favourite hot beverage (in other words you wouldn’t use a tea bag or instant coffee, at least not if you’re going by the book). But it’s how the food is served that is really important; you’ll need a tiered set of serving plates, ideally in a floral pattern (rose chintz is particularly attractive). These plates will be stacked one on top of the other, and at the bottom you’ll have sandwiches, above that will be scones, and then above that it will be all the other pastries and cakes (you may need two layers for this option). 

Work from the bottom up when eating and you’ll get the best flavours in the right order.

STUNNING FLOWERING TEA GIFTS FOR CHRISTMAS…

Flowering tea also known as blooming tea, consists of flowering bulbs with leaves tied around the flowers, which are made by binding tea leaves and flowers together into a bulb.

Each exotic bulb once it’s steeped blossoms spectacularly in hot water and produces a wonderful drink full of antioxidants, as well as looking and smelling great.

This tea is the ultimate of self-indulgence as the flower emerges as the centerpiece that not only can be enjoyed for its taste but admired as an art form. It is a treat for anyone with a bit of magic thrown in.

It is very fragrant, pleasant on the palate, and stunning to look at, flowering teas recall their natural spring blooming, and, just as in nature, there is a wide selection of flowers and colours to enjoy.

As you pour hot filtered water, the magic does not happen immediately. The little bulb carefully unwraps itself – not revealing too much at first. It builds the suspension until, in one sudden and exciting move, it lets go of the flower inside which travels upwards in your teapot like a soaring bird.

The Exotic Teapot sells hand tied blooming tea flowers. Fresh flowers like jasmine, Chrysanthemum and tender mao feng green tea buds are skillfully woven together into a ball shaped bloom by experienced Chinese tea masters. And as only the finest quality Spring Harvest green teas are selected to create their flowering teas, they truly taste as good as they look. Each blooming tea ball can be re-steeped with hot water at least three times and makes up to to 2 litres of tea. 

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They have some great gift ideas which can be sent direct to the recipient with a message so would make a great Christmas gift. Their Flowering Tea Triple Selection Box is three of their finest blooms and packaged for you in an attractive windowed gift box. The selection box includes a tin each of our excellent Jasmine Bow (5 blooms), Mango Splashj (5 blooms) and Peachy Rose (5 blooms) flowering teas, at £20

Another lovely gift is the Glass Infuser Mug (350ml) which will let you enjoy a flowering or loose leaf tea anywhere you please. Great for the office or traveling, this high quality mug has a removable glass infuser and lid that also serves as a coaster drip tray. Maximum mug capacity is 350ml. Normal usage capacity is 300ml. They only use the finest quality, borosilicate glass to create our glassware so each one is fully heat resistant and even dishwasher safe. A perfect gift for £14