COVID INSPIRED AFTERNOON TEAS…

Everyone is trying to do their bit to help people out at the moment including a North-East church who are delivering hundreds of afternoon teas in a bid to combat loneliness.

According to the Evening Express Skene Parish Church teamed up with several Aberdeenshire-based organisations to form the Westhill Community Resilience Support Group. They provided 190 teas to people who were shielding or at risk of loneliness over lockdown.

The Resilience Support Group has also been involved with delivering shortbread to sheltered accommodation alongside a card made by a local primary school pupil. The group also plans to deliver an afternoon tea to a care home. To find out more about Skene Parish Church, or to donate. go to the Skene Parish Church website.

From tapas to afternoon tea : 18 Sunderland cafes and restaurants doing delivery in local lockdown. The Sunderland Echo write that with restrictions changing regularly as part of the local lockdown, Sunderland businesses have had to adapt to survive. While some cafes and restaurants have had to close their doors to sit in custom temporarily due to the difficulties caused by social distancing, they are still offering a takeout and delivery service.

The Sunderland Echo has rounded up some of the ways locals can still support local businesses from the comfort of their home. The ”Crumb On In’, Holmeside is a tearoom that kept everyone’s spirits up with their afternoon tea and treat boxes- and they continued their delivery options with plenty of sweet treat choices such as Biscoff cheesecake.

Other tea shops happy to delivery delicious afternoon teas include –

Once Upon A Time Tea Room in Cheltenham – local delivery area covers a radius of 10 miles from their Cheltenham based Tea Room.

Afternoon Tea for One-A Selection of three finger sandwiches, a scone with jam and clotted cream, a selection of two miniature cakes, a macaron, your choice of soft drink & our hot drink home kit (contains Tea & Coffee). £14.95

TURMERIC WITH ORANGE & STAR ANISE TEA LOAF RECIPE…

I don’t know about you but once the temperature has dropped I start craving for more filling loaf cakes especially fruit ones and with all the different types of tea infusions available today it can change the taste easily.

I used Twinning’s Turmeric with Orange & Star Anise for this recipe as it has such a strong taste and I thought it would really compliment the fruit. I wasn’t wrong it was really tasty.

In the recipe I had put 300g of caster sugar but over the years I have made lots of fruit cakes for my Dad who was a diabetic and I just cut out the caster sugar and added a couple of tablespoons of Canderel or similar. It tastes just as nice.

Ingredients – Serves 12

4 Twinning’s Turmeric with Orange & Star Anise teabags, 400g dried fruit, 1 Orange, 1 Large Egg, 300g Caster Sugar (or 2 Tables Canderel), 400g self-raising flour, 2 tablespoons Orange Marmalade (Diabetic Sugar Free if preferred).

Method

Put your four teabags into a measuring jug and add 300ml of boiling water. Leave to brew for a few minutes then remove the tea bags. Put the dried fruit into a large mixing bowl and grate over the zest of the orange. Stir well. Pour over the dried fruit and leave to infuse for about four hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4. Line a litre loaf tin with loaf tin liner. Whisk the egg and add the bowl of fruit and the sugar. Add the flour and squeeze in the juice of the orange.

Mix until you have a dough like consistency then spoon the mixture into your tin and bake for around 1 hour 10 minutes until cooked through after testing with a skewer to see if it comes out clean.

Pop two tablespoons of the orange marmalade into a bowl and pop into your microwave for 20 seconds then brush over the top of the cake.

THE BRITISH…

They say that being British is all about tolerance, decency, and the determination to talk about the weather on all occasions as well as a tendency , when a stranger stand on ones foot, to apologise. Martin Bell

MAKE YOUR OWN HERBAL TEA BLENDS…

Oh How Civilised writes on Herbal Teas and offers a number of recipes from Peppermint, Chamomile, Ginger, Rose, Butterfly Pea Flower, Lavender, Chrysanthemum and lots more.

They explain that Herbals teas are not real tea since they don’t come from the camellia sinensis, the tea plant. Real tea, like black tea and green tea, are made from leaves from the camellia sinensis plant, and they all contain caffeine.

Loose herbal tea will always make a better tasting cup than herbals in tea bags.

TURMERIC & ORANGE FRUIT LOAF CAKE RECIPE…

2 x Turmeric, with Orange & Star Anise teabags (Twinings, or one of your choice)
225g dried Fruit ( like raisins, sultanas etc)
225g self-raising flour
1 orange (grated)
2 large eggs (beaten)
150g light brown sugar (reserve 50g for sprinkling on top of cake)

Put two teabags in a cup or mug and fill with boiling water ( ¾ full if in a mug)
Put dried fruit into a large bowl, add the grated orange then pour over the tea and leave to soak overnight or for 2-3 hours
Preheat oven to 180°C/160°fan/gas 4
Grease or line a 2lb loaf tin
Add the brown sugar to the beaten eggs and whisk lightly
Add the eggs and flour to the bowl of fruit and fold in completely until it represents a dough-like consistency
Spoon mixture into the lined tin and sprinkle the remaining brown sugar on the top
Bake for 40-50 mins in the middle of the oven
Test by poking a skewer into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean it’s cooked, if not give it a few more minutes
Remove from the oven and leave to stand for 5 mins
Remove from loaf tin and leave to cool on a wire rack

3 GREAT PODCASTS TO LISTEN TO DURING MAY…

With us all spending lots more time at home and indoors I’m sure I am not the only one who has listened to lots more Podcasts over the last six weeks. My top three choice for you to enjoy are.

1. Cook The Perfect available on BBC Sounds and Apple Stitcher is hosted by Jenni Murray and Jane Garvey in 10 minute Podcasts to inspire you. They have guests who are experts on the lowdown on making tasty dishes and one I loved was on Thursday 2nd April with Regula Ysewijn with Aunty Betty’s Gingerbread which is to absolutely die for.

2. On Player FM they have Flour Hour Baking Podcast a podcast completely dedicated to baking. Co-hosted by bakers Amanda Faber and Jeremiah Duarte Bills, Flour Hour features interviews with baking professionals, amateurs and enthusiasts. Topics cover all types of baking and the food stories that inspire culture, creativity and humanity. Episode 54 is Baking In The Time of Corona which is very apt. They discuss how they are coping with the new reality, resrouces, favorite books, substitutions and more. You can download the Player FM app free on App Store and Google Play.

3. Another great one on Player FM is Preheated which is full of kitchen wisdom and friendly chat from two friends who love to bake. Episode 174 is Donut Life and a bumper final episode of Sweet & Sour Month! The hosts are intrigued by a sour-cream pie crust, and Stefin’s finally tackled homemade milk kefir using freeze-dried starter (reminding Andrea of cowboy sourdough). In this week’s review, the duo dodge numerous frustrations to declare Shauna Sever’s Donut Loaf a huge, powdered-sugar-covered win. And who can resist the month’s final bake-along? Emma Christensen’s Buttermilk Quick Bread with an astonishing 10 variations, that uses your choice of fat, flour, and sweet or savory add-ins. Finally, the duo take a Dairy Deep Dive into the history behind some of this month’s tangy ingredients.

Bake along with Stefin and Andrea in their baking Facebook group, Preheated Baking Podcast Listeners. You can find links to recipes on their baking website www.preheatedpodcast.com, or follow the hosts on Twitter and Instagram, using handle preheatedpod.

7 UNUSUAL WAYS TO USE TEA…

1. To reduce travel sickness or morning sickness drink camomile, fennel or ginger tea. This is also good for indigestion.

2. To make your own herb tea put one small handful of the fresh herb or one heaped teaspoon of the dried herb in a cup of boiling water. Leave to stand for about five to ten minutes then strain and drink the tea while it’s still hot.

3. To refresh the colours of a carpet, sprinkle over a mixture of tea-leaves and salt, and then vacuum.

4. To remove tea or coffee stains from china, rub with a damp cloth dipped in baking soda.

5. Re-brew used tea bags to refresh parched skin. Allow the tea to cool, then pour it into a spray or squeeze bottle. Spritz it onto your skin or apply with a cotton pad. Any tea will do, but the antioxidants in green tea are particularly effective for rehydrating dry skin.

6. Place a teabag in the pan and fill it with hot water. Allow it to soak overnight, and the tannins in the tea will help loosen anything stuck in the bottom of your pan.

7. Tea and tea bags can both help with the decomposition of your compost pile.