GROWING YOUR OWN TEA…

We are not talking about herbal teas either, but real tea: Camellia sinensis. You don’t need a large garden to grow your own tea, a planter on a balcony would work just fine.

‘You could try growing Camellia sinensis in a greenhouse, or in a pot that you can bring indoors during cold winters.

The Camellia sinensis plant is a small shrub about 1-2 meters in height, though it will grow taller if you don’t prune it. In the fall, your tea shrub will flower with small white blossoms that have a delightful scent. These plants are often grown as ornamentals. For planting, Camellia sinensis likes well-drained and sandy soil that is on the acidic side. If you are going to grow your tea in a container, add some sphagnum moss to the potting mix. You’ll need some patience, too. Your plant should be around 3 years old before you start harvesting leaves.

A great site with all the details on growing your own tea is ‘Guide to Growing Tea’, and you might be able to get seeds at your local nursery or try online at Amazon.

From that plant, you could make black, green or oolong tea. Fascinating stuff and for all us tea lovers, its another thing we can try growing in the garden.

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#RECIPE OF THE WEEK – EASY CHOCOLATE FUDGE CAKE…

This week’s recipe of the week is Olive Magazine’s Easy Chocolate Fudge Cake…

Super easy and quick to make, this gooey chocolate cake number is perfect for when you need to bake a last-minute treat for a special occasion.

Ingredients…

  • self-raising flour 150g
  • cocoa 30g
  • baking powder 1 tsp
  • muscovado sugar 175g
  • butter 175g, softened
  • eggs 3
  • vanilla extract 1 tsp
  • dark chocolate 50g, melted

FUDGE ICING

  • butter 200g, softened
  • icing sugar 200g
  • dark chocolate 200g, melted 

Method:

Heat the oven to 180C/fan 170C/gas 4. Line and butter 2 x 20cm sandwich tins.

Put all cake ingredients into the food processor and whizz until smooth. If the mix is a little stiff, add 1-2 tbsp water and whizz again.

Divide between tins, level and bake for 30 minutes or until springy. Leave for 5 minutes then cool on a rack.

Clean the food processor. Whizz the butter and icing sugar, add the chocolate, whizz again, then sandwich and ice the cake.

Tadah…now pop the kettle on and enjoy a nice cup of tea or coffee with a slice of this deeeelicious cake, Enjoy

TEN OF THE MOST POPULAR BRITISH CAKES……

1. Welsh cake – A traditional Welsh snack which is made from flour, sultanas, raisins and currants.


2. French Fancy – A very British iced sponge cake topped with buttercream and fondant icing.


3. Fat Rascal – A rough domed-shaped type of cake, similar to a scone, made with currants and candied peel.


4. The Victoria sponge – this was named after Queen Victoria who favoured a slice of sponge cake with her afternoon tea.


5. Lemon Drizzle – A classic sponge cake made in many parts of England for Easter Sunday.


6. Bakewell tart – Bakewell pudding (a puff pastry and almond paste delicacy) is thought to be made as a mistake by the cook of Derbyshire landlady Mrs. Greaves who misunderstood her instructions.


7. Battenburg – it has a distinctive check-patterned marzipan-covered cake is alternately coloured pink and yellow.


8. Eccles cake – A small, round cake filled with currants and made from flaky pastry with butter and can sometimes be topped with demerara sugar named after the English town of Eccles in Manchester. (My Dad’s favourite) 🙂


9. Jaffa Cake  – An orange-flavoured snack which is either a cake or a biscuit.


10. Chelsea bun – Made of a rich dough flavoured with lemon and cinnamon and rolled into a square spiral shape, which was first created in the ’18th Century’, at a Bun House in London.

What’s your favourite British Cake?

 

FOUR TEA PAIRINGS FOR EARL GREY, LAPSANG, KENYA AND CEYLON TEAS…

To enhance the flavour of certain teas pair with certain foods.

When drinking The Tea Makers Earl Grey have it with fine pate or ham and mustard sandwich’s or crème Brulee or Leicester cheese.

When drinkingTwinings Lapsang have it with chicken or smoked salmon sandwiches or walnut cake or Stilton cheese.

When drinking Kenya tea from Tea Direct have it with beef and horseradish or ham sandwiches or chocolate cake or Austrian smoked cheese.

When drinking Ceylon tea from Ahmad Tea London try having it with cucumber or tomato sandwiches or tarte au citron or mature cheddar cheese.

#FLOWER CARDS FOR MOTHER’S DAY…

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I think these are gorgeous cards for Mother’s Day and other occasions. They are made by Flower Card and are artist created cards adorned with delicate rose heads or pops of vibrant craspedia balls, a buttonhole sprig of fresh floral loveliness to send love and hugs.

The one above is a miniature hand-tied posy of pinks, carefully attached to a contemporary, butterfly-print easel card.

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The one above is their Vintage Mothering Sunday flower card. You add your special greeting and they will add a sweet little corsage of pink buds and foliage to the front as a floral flourish.

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Or this lovely ‘Scent’ flower card for Mothers Day which has a sweet miniature sprig of fragrant lavender and rosemary – all available online at Flower Card for only £12 – a fabulous gift for your special Mum.


GYOKURO ASAHI TEA, THE RAREST JAPENESE GREEN TEA…

Gyokuro tea

 

Gyokuro Asahi Tea is the rarest Japenese tea of all, being grown in the Kyoto region under special bamboo shades to control the amount of sunlight to the plants.The fine emerald needle-shaped leaves give a bright, delicate exquisite infusion.

Its high grade and premium reputation are the result of the special processing methods that this tea undergoes.This Japanese green tea is unique and quite rare.

First grown in 1835, today this tea is mainly produced in the regions of Yame, Uiji and Asahina in Japan.

Gyokuro tea, also known as Pearl Dew or Jade Dew, undergoes a special processing method and is harvested just once a year and then only in certain tea plantations. This makes this Japanese green tea quite expensive and difficult to find, but it is definitely worth the investment and the time.

According to The Right Tea, Gyokuro Tea is grown in different conditions from other green teas. This tea undergoes a special process to alter the chemical composition of its leaves.This green tea is grown in a misty and rainy climate at a lower altitude than sencha, a more common Japanese green tea.

Gyokuro Tea is rich in antioxidants, which means that every cup of tea you drink may provide you with wonderful health benefits that will make you feel great.

The Right Tea has a long list of health benefits available from Gyokuro Tea. 

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STICKY APPLE PUDDINGS RECIPE – Sooooooo easy…

EASY STICKY APPLE PUDDING…

Ingredients

75g/2.5oz Butter
75g/2.5oz Honey
3 tbsp Double Cream
4 eating apples
Half a packet of Duchy Originals Butterscotch Shortbread, crushed

Method

Preheat the oven to 200C Gas 6
Place butter honey and cream in a small saucepan and heat, stirring until melted, to make a fudge sauce
Place the mixture into a large ramekin dish
Top with a layer of apples slices, then add half the crushed shortbread then layer the remaining apple and shortbread
Pour over the sauce
Place on a baking sheet for 20 minutes until golden and bubbling
Enjoy !