It is officially October and that means it is the perfect time to start enjoying seasonal teas! What’s even better is that two of our seasonal teas are on sale the whole entire month. For our sale selections we’re offering Pumpkin Spice & Indian Chai + a Tea Sampler Bag.

Our Pumpkin Spice Flavored Black Tea (Loose) is made using a blend of black teas and South African rooibos. The Pumpkin Spice flavoring is made using natural pumpkin and spicy cinnamon. tolsll_psp_-00_loose-leaf-tea-pumpkin-spiceThis blend is the perfect balance for the palate. The Rooibos does not overpower the pumpkin while the black tea balances out the spicy cinnamon equaling the perfect blend of taste. Black tea is extremely popular and has great health benefits. Some of the benefits include: Oral health, healthy heart, antioxidants, lower risk of diabetes, better immune system, and even increased energy! The Pumpkin Spice Black Tea (Loose) is available in three sizes: 4 ounces, 16 ounces, and 80 ounces. Try the 4-ounce blend for only $4.41!

The next Tea of the Month is Indian Spice Chai. Over the past few years, Chai Tea has seen phenomenal growth and popularity. Great Chai tea can be found in most Indian restaurants and even grocery stores. The spices vary from region to region and among households in India. The most common are cardamom, citolsll_othind_-indian-spiced-chai-tea-loose-leafnnamon, ginger, cloves, and pepper. Chai produces a warming and soothing effect and acts like a natural digestive aid. Many people agree that Chai tea is a healthy alternative to coffee. Unlike coffee, Chai tea has many beneficial properties like antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. This month we’re offering discounts on our Indian Spice Loose Leaf and Tea Bags. The tea bags start at just $3.90 for 25 or try the 4-ounce blend for only $4.41.

If you’re looking for different teas to sample, try our Time For Tea – Tea Bag Sampler. This sampler includes Double Bergamot Earl Grey, Cranberry Orange Black Tea, Maple Black, Chocolate Mint Black, and Peach Apricot Black Tea. For the best brew, these teas should be brewed in water that has been brought to a boil for 3-5 minutes. Only $3.18!

*all special pricing will end October 31, 2015.


(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

Well the end of Summer is close here in the UK and what better time than this to make a heart warming Steak pie for dinner?  You will need some nice steak for this pie, I used a stewing steak that was on special offer at the local butcher.

I usually use braising steak which is a bit more expensive but does not take as long to cook.  My brother uses a tin of already cooked steak!  He also uses ready made pastry so his pies are made very quickly!  I did stew my own meat and make my own pastry but there is very little difference between our pies!

  • 1 lb steak
  • 1 onion or leek
  • 1/2 lb cooked potatoes
  • 1 pint of beef stock


    (c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

  • 6 oz shortcrust pastry. (made with 6 oz flour and 3 oz fat)

If you are using fresh meat then be guided by the butcher as to how long you need to cook the meat until it is tender.  Toss the meat in seasoned flour and fry quickly in hot fat to seal all sides.  Add the onion or leek and brown slightly, browning gives a better colour to the gravy.

Add the stock and cook either on top of the hob or in the oven if it is on for something else.


(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

When cooked add the potatoes, roll out the pastry and use it to line a pie dish, add the potatoes and meat and top with the pastry crust.  Brush with egg wash and bake in a hot oven for 20 minutes.

Serve immediately with lots of fresh vegetables.


Chai…now doesn’t thTEABVTK1000032511_-00_Twinings-Chai-Latte-K-Cups-12-countat sound like a good ring to your ears? You should know that it brings a good ring to your mouth. In several parts of the world, it’s what they call tea! But for many of us, we think of it as a spiced drink. Chai is usually made with black teas (Assam is a popular one) and spices. Much like a good English cuppa, it’s best with a bit of milk and sweetener. The most popular spices used for Chai teas are ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, anise, fennel, and nutmeg. However, some versions may vary and add different spices.

Chai tea is usually enjoyed in India (where it’s called Masala Chai, or spiced tea mix) and other Southern Asian countries, just as how Yorkshire tea is common in Great Britain! Most recently, chai is making its way West to the United States where it’s become very popular among Americans. There are tea lattes, latte concentrates, and various chai tea flavors! In the US (Bonus Trivia: In Kashmir, they actually use gunpowder green tea for theirs instead of black teafbsn1000033427_-00_vanilla-chai-scone-mixtea!), there are flavors like vanilla, chocolate, pumpkin, and even apple!

It’s getting easier to make your own chai teas at home, especially with so many homes having Keurig brewers. Twinings makes it easy not only to make your own cups of tea but also to make your own chai tea lattes! Forget the coffee shop! Stay at home and make your own! For the price of two barista made tea lattes, you can get a box of Twinings Chai Latte K-Cups. There’s also a French Vanilla flavor!

Chai has also been used in food. It’s sometimes used in cakes, cupcakes, and even scones! Sticky Fingers makes a Vanilla Chai Scone mix that’s simple to make and will definitely fill your kitchen with a heavenly scent! So don’t fear chai, embrace it!


(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

This dessert is relatively easy to make but does take some time to cook.  You will need the oven very low, I did some cake baking and then put the oven down to 100 degrees C.  The Pavlova was first made in New Zealand for the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova who, I am told, loved it. You will need:


  • 2 or 3 egg whites
  • 4 to 5 oz caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 oz cornstarch


    (c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

This is basically a meringue so a great deal of mixing is required on the egg whites and it is always better to use an electric mixer  or food processor.  Also make sure the basin is clean and dry before you start, a wet bowl means the eggs will not stiffen.    Beat the egg whites  until stiff and you can turn the bowl upside down, then add the sugar bit by bit  and continue to beat, fold in the white wine vinegar and cornstarch.  The mixture is quite stiff and dry looking.​


(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

On a lined baking sheet mark a circle with a pencil round a dinner plate and either pipe your meringue round the circle to the middle and up the sides slightly or us two metal spoons to make a shallow dish like shape.

Bake in the oven set at 100 degrees C for one hour then turn off the oven and leave the case in overnight if possible.


(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

You can keep this in an airtight tin until you need it.  Just before serving line the base with whipped double cream and pile in your fruit, if using freshly washed soft Summer fruits dry them as much as you can otherwise the water dissolves the base of the meringue.  At this point you can pour more cream on top or drizzle some melted chocolate on.  I served mine with a pouring cream on the side.  I hope you enjoy this but, be careful, it is very sweet and would be best with a strong dark tea.

IMG_5231 (2)

(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

Last year when I started writing this blog someone asked me for a foolproof brownie recipe but I did not have one because brownies were not that popular in our house.  There are a lot of boxes out there for Brownies to add the odd ingredient to and bake yourself at home but recently I was given a recipe by the Macmillan cancer charity so that I could make some for their charity coffee morning held in September.  I tried this recipe the other day and after making some alterations to it and this is what I got!

  • Oven 180 C gas mark


    (c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

  • Grease and line a Brownie or Swiss roll tin
  • 5 oz dark chocolate
  • 6 oz unsalted butter
  • 4 oz  Pecan nuts ( I used macadamia nuts because the shop did not have Pecan)
  • 9 oz light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 oz plain flour

(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

Melt the chocolate and butter together.  Add the nuts.  Meanwhile whisk the eggs, vanilla extract and sugar until smooth then fold in the flour.  Combine with the chocolate and nuts being careful not to over-mix.  Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 25 minutes until firm to the touch.  Leave to cool slightly before cutting into squares.  I hope you enjoy them with a nice cup of tea.

Recently I discussed tea biscuits, but today I wanted to delve into another topic that is popular among Afternoon Tea: Cake! As much as biscuits are enjoyed during a nice cup of tea, sometimes a nice little cake or tart is fancied as something a little different.

Battenburg/Battenberg Cake: However you spell it, it’s still a very beautiful cake to look at. The origins of the cake are relatively unknown, but some believe the first Battenberg was made in 1884 to celebrate the marriage of Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess Victoria, who was Queen Victoria’s granddaughter. The cake is made with two pieces of sponge cake, one yellow and one pink (or whatever color you like. It can be any color), which are cut in half and made into a checkerboard pattern. Then, it’s usually held together with apricot jam and rolled into a square with marzipan. Once you FCC_KIP_FZK017_-00_Mr-Kipling-Cakes-Cherry-Bakewells-6-Packtry one, you’ll be addicted!

Bakewell Tart: Bakewell tarts originated from the town of Bakewell located in the British county of Derbyshire right in the Peak District. The tart consists of a shortcrust pastry and spread with strawberry or raspberry jam (Again, any flavor you like works as well! My favorite jam is blackcurrant). The middle consists of ground almonds, sugar, eggs, and butter. This is known as a frangipane. The top is usually topped with some sliced almonds.

Cherry Bakewell: Cherry bakewells are just like the regular bakewell only the top is covered with a white icing and a glace cherry. Sometimes cherry or plum jam is used for the bottom of this one.

Jaffa Cake: There is much debate on this one but I believe it’s a cookie and a cake as it is called a Jaffa Cake. Where did the name Jaffa come from? The orange jam inside is derived from the Jaffa orange! It’s a little cake with orange jam covered in chocolate. They’re usually made by McVitie’s who sell millions of these a year!

Victoria Sponge: One of the most popular cakes for tea and goes with just about every kind of tea! Named after Queen Victoria, this cake is two sponge cakes sandwiched betwFCC_JCB_JFCK_-00_Jacobs-Jaffa-Cakeseen whipped cream and a strawberry jam, then sprinkled with a dusting of powdered sugar. Always the best to have at Afternoon Tea!

Custard Tart: These go way back in the history of Great Britain, as early as the 1300s during the coronation of Henry IV and were called “doucettys”. These are made with shortcrust pastry, and usually with eggs, custard, sugar, etc. Everyone has a different recipe!

Carrot Cake: I believe both sides of the pond can relate to this one since it’s popular both in the US and in the UK! Nobody’s exactly sure where the carrot cake came from but it is believed to have evolved from the Medieval carrot pudding. How the carrot cake came to be was most likely during World War 2 when sweeteners had to be rationed so carrots were used as a sugar substitute. The carrot cake usually has shredded carrots, nuts, cinnamon, sometimes raisins and frosted with a heavenly cream cheese icing! One of my favorite cakes to munch on!

Anything missing from the list? Add to the discussion! What are some of your favorite cakes and tarts to have with tea?


(C) Julia Briggs- English Tea Store

We are coming to the end of the strawberry season now but you can use raspberries or in fact any fruit you want to top this delicious cheesecake.  Plus it is a no bake cheesecake so you can make it even if the weather is hot!

For the base you can either make one with a packet of digestive biscuits and some butter or you can use a ready made pie crust.  If you use a pie crust then you will need to melt about 4 oz of chocolate with about 2 oz unsalted butter and melt together before putting on the base of your pie crust.  I used

1 packet of digestive biscuits


(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

4 oz unsalted butter

Make the biscuits into a crumb, melt the butter and mix into this crumb then use to line an 8 inch springform tin, pressing it down with the back of a metal spoon.  Put the tin into the ‘fridge to chill.


Beat together 8 oz cream cheese,  1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence and 1 tub of either cool whip or a packet of instant whip with 1/2 cup of double cream.  When well mixed put this mixture on top of the biscuit crumb or pie crust and chill overnight.  Just before serving. wash, hull and halve some fresh strawberries or other fruit and place over the cheese mixture.  Melt about 4 oz of chocolate and drizzle this over the fruit, serve immediately.  The cheesecake will keep in a ‘fridge for a few days but once it is seen it will disappear rather quickly I am sure.

Ovente Kettle

(c) Crystal Derma – English Tea Store

For quite some time now, tea drinkers have been able to purchase electric kettles and boil their water using electricity, saving on their gas bills. Electric tea kettles have added extra convenience to the tea drinker’s life, adding space on the range top (or stove). The advantage to an electric kettle is that it helps boil water in a faster amount of time than done on a stove. They also usually come with the feature of automatically shutting off when it reaches the proper temperature.

When looking for an electric kettle, there is a great variety, so choose according to your needs. Electric kettles come with many features. Some allow you to control the temperature. Rather than guesstimating or sticking a thermometer in the water with a traditional kettle, you can change the setting to a certain temperature. This is especially beneficial when boiling water for a certain kind of tea (i.e., green tea, white tea, or darjeeling), since in order to bring out the best flavor is to steep them at specific temperatures. Some kettles are also marked with milliliters (ml) so measuring water is easy! Making a cuppa for one or six? No problem! Simply measure and pour the water in and switch on the kettle! Safety First: Be sure the electric kettle is unplugged when not in use!


(c) English Tea Store

There are several types of electric kettles, ones with and without cords. The ones with cords simply have a cord running from the back and plug into an outlet into the wall, while the cordless ones have a base, allowing the user to pick it up and go wherever the user chooses to. In my research, I was unable to find out the origins of the electric kettle and there are a vast amount of manufacturers who make electric kettles.

And did you know that electric kettles are not just for tea and coffee? Any food that involves hot water like oatmeal, instant soup, or hot chocolate can be made using an electric kettle.

One of the few downfalls to having an electric kettle is that would not work if the electricity shuts off or goes out. If you must have tea, then keep a stovetop kettle as a backup, unless you have my current stove. It’s electric AND gas! It needs electricity to bake in addition to starting up the stove but runs on gas. But definitely keep a regular kettle in case of emergency!

As for picking out a good electric kettle, it’s hard to choose. If you’re like me and just want the basics, then the Ovente kettle is a good choice. You can choose from three colors (green, white , or brown, and they all brew very nicely. The green one has a pretty blue glow when it’s on and even automatically shuts off when the water is hot enough! Best of all, with colors like these, they blend in perfectly with your kitchen!


(c) English Tea Store

Do you fancy a bit more of a chrome look? There are ones like the Ovente Stainless Steel! This kettle has a more sleek design than their standard plastic kettle. Or perhaps you enjoy watching the water boil? Some electric kettles are made with the combination of glass, so you can watch the water gently boil!

Sometimes extra money in the budget could allow for a more high tech but well worth the money, kettle, such as the Chef’s Choice 677 model. 1500 watts of heating power add to this kettle compared to the standard plastic Ovente’s 1100 watt. Finally, if you want to add some high tech to tea preparation, you can always go for the Chef’s Choice Electric 688 Smart Kettle. Now what makes it a smart kettle? It has a feature that will allow it to remember the previous temperature setting that was selected in its last use! Plus many other wonderful features! Definitely worth the extra money on this one!

When you look for an electric kettle, remember that there is one for everyone!


IMG_4984Have you tried the Piccalilli yet?  Not sure what to eat it with?  Well here we have a traditional recipe for Cornish Pasties which you can eat hot or cold with or without Piccalilli and they are delicious.

You will need approximately 8 oz of  shortcrust pastry, either home made or bought.  I used Braising steak but if you have no idea what this is then ask your butcher for some beef that you can cook in water for a while until it is tender, the kind that one would use in a pie.


  • 8 oz Braising Steak
  • 1 onion or leek
  • 1 pint of beef stock

Cut the meat into cubes and toss in seasoned flour, fry in a little oil to seal the edges, add the onion or leek and cook until the onion is tender.   Put this into a casserole dish with some beef stock to cover and cook for two or three hours in a moderate oven, alternatively put everything in a stewing pan and cook on top of the hob for the same time.   Meanwhile cook some potatoes and chop quite small.  When the meat is tender add the potatoes and some cooked carrots and peas if you like.

Roll out the pastry and using a dinner plate cut out a circle.  Place your mixture into the center and dampen the edges then IMG_4991bring the edges together and seal at the top, Use your fingers to create a wave effect then brush with beaten egg and cook in a hot oven, gas mark 8, 420 F, 230 C or 200 C in a fan oven for 20 minutes.  Serve hot with fresh veg and chips (fries) or cold with Piccalilli.  Either way I hope you enjoy them.

As the summer holidays draw to a close, many are planning a last hurrah. Children are returning to school, and many employers give their employees a day to celebrate known as Labor Day, which is observed on the first Monday in September in the United States. Some go on vacation while others stay at home and cook up a barbecue. Depending on the state and its climate, it may be the last barbecue for quite some time so they make this one count. Steaks, hot dogs, and especially burgers are thrown on the grill. The standard American condiments, ketchup, mustard, and pickle relish and brought out and set out for guests. You take your pick at the condiments and you can’t help but wonder about the pickle relish.

In the US, pickle relish or simply “relish” is made from pickled cucumbers (also what we refer to as just pickles). It is either sweet relish or dill relish. We usually just put it on hot dogs and hamburgers but there isn’t much to the imagination with simple pickle relish. The British, however, have different sorts of “pickles”. One such pickle is called piccalilli. A mixture of mustard, turmeric (helping to give its distinctive yellow color), and pickled vegetables, piccalilli is a popular sort teafcsc1000031911_-00_haywards-piccalilli-16-2-oz-460gof pickle in the United Kingdom and it’s widely used in a range of foods, from pasties and sausage rolls, to sandwiches. Piccalilli was also considered an Indian Pickle, and created as early as the 18th century. Great for use in hot dogs or hamburgers as this is very pungent and tart like regular yellow mustard (Note: Piccalilli is also known to some as chow-chow).

More of a sweet pickle person? Then the Branston Pickle might be for you. This pickled chutney has been loved by the British since 1922. The appearance is dark brown colored and chunky but inside is a load of ingredients that bring the famous pickle its sweet and sour flavor. The vegetables in Branston Pickle range from cauliflower to onion. It’s a whole list of ingredients in this wonderful jar! Branston is widely used in the UK with cold cuts and cheese, especially in a Ploughman’s Lunch (I must write about that someday). Some make a simple cheese (cheddar is usually used) and pickle sandwich and makes a great lunch.fco_brn_pkl_branston_pickle_520g

Speaking of Ploughman’s Lunch, pickled onions are another widely popular pickle/condiment. Small onions, usually silverskin, are pickled in a malt vinegar and are crunchy when eaten. Another popular dish these are usually eaten with is fish and chips! Haywards is one of the popular makers of this heavenly pickle!

While there are steaks on the grill, why not spice it up with a little HP Sauce? A tangy brown sauce which has been on British tables since 1899, this sauce is used on all sorts of meats and in sandwiches. The HP stands for “Houses of Parliament” because it was believed the sauce was used at a restaurant there at the time of its invention.



Stay tuned to September 2nd! We’ll be featuring Piccalilli in a new recipe!


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