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(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

Chocolate cake always goes down well for afternoon tea and my dentist, (whom I saw on Saturday) is very partial to chocolate cake so this is a new recipe just for her.  It is a take on lemon drizzle cake but chocolate cake with a Mars bar drizzle and a chocolate butter cream filling.  I discovered that you could melt Mars bars and drizzle onto cake when I went to the cupboard and found the chocolate gone but one Mars bar left.

Oven 180 C, 350 F or gas mark 4  A greased loaf tin or a sandwich tin.

4 oz butter

4 oz caster sugar

2 large eggs

4 oz self raising flour

1 oz chocolate powder

1 tablespoon golden syrup.

1 Mars bar.

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(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy then add the eggs one at a time with a little flour, fold in the remaining flour and chocolate powder and golden syrup and spoon into your tin.  Bake for 20-25 minutes for a sandwich tin and about 35-40 minutes for a loaf tin.  Always test with a cake tester or needle before taking out of the oven though because chocolate cake always looks done even when it is not.   Leave in the tin to cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack to cool.  Meanwhile make the butter cream with:

2 oz butter

4 oz icing sugar

1/2 oz chocolate powder.

Mix all the ingredients together and beat until smooth.

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(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

Slice the cake and spread all but one tablespoon of the butter cream on the bottom half.  Prick the top half of the cake all over and place on top of the butter cream.  Melt the Mars bar in the microwave for 30 seconds and beat hard with the tablespoon of reserved butter cream.  It will be liquid still.  Pour over the cake and leave to settle.  I made some plain buns and poured it over so you can see how it trickles down into the cake itself.​

Once everything has cooled down the top of the cake looks sticky but not actually covered in a chocolate icing so you can, if you want, cover the top with icing or leave it as it is.  I left mine and it was voted a hit by the dentist!

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(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

You chocolate lovers out there who cannot bake can have a field day with this recipe.  A no bake Nutella cheesecake!

 

 

 

 

 

 

You will need:

1 packet of either digestive or Nice biscuits (250g)

1/3 cup unsalted softened butter

3/4 cup toasted hazelnuts (optional)

1 400g jar of Nutella

1 1lb packet of cream cheese

1/2 cup  of icing sugar 

a 23 cms or 10 inches round spring form cake tin lined with baking parchment.

 

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(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

Crumb the biscuits and add 1 tablespoon of Nutella, about 1/3 cup of hazelnuts if using and all the butter.  Press this mixture evenly into the tin and put to chill.  Meanwhile, make the filling by beating the remaining Nutella with the cream cheese and icing sugar until well mixed. Pour over the base and smooth the top.

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(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

 

 

Sprinkle the top with the remaining nuts if using and leave to chill in the ‘fridge for 3-4 hours or, if you are in a hurry, the freezer for one hour.  Serve this cold direct from the ‘fridge otherwise you will find it too soft to handle.  I did not use the hazelnuts because although we all like Nutella we are not keen on hazelnuts themselves.  That is it!  No baking and nothing much to go wrong.  Enjoy with a good strong black tea, it is very sweet!

How do you serve your tea? Do you simply brew a cup? Or do you serve from a teapot? Whether it is for two people or six, teapots have been around for centuries. Teapots come in many forms, sizes, and are made in several materials like ceramic, metal, silver, or even glass.

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(c) English Tea Store – Brown Betty Teapot

The earliest teapots were invented during the Yuan Dynasty in China but it was during the Tang Dynasty when tea became more popular. The earliest teapots were made from Yixing, a type of clay. By the end of the 17th Century, this teapot arrived in Europe and there was already a high demand for tea. However, tea was normally reserved for the wealthy since it was taxed so high, making it expensive at the time. Teapots produced back then were made of silver. Catherine of Braganza (the wife of Charles II) even enjoyed tea originally from Chinese porcelain, but later on switched to English silver.

In 1784, the taxes on tea were finally cut, thus greatly reducing in price and allowing more people to have access to the beverage. Tea’s popularity and consumption began to increase and tea eventually became the most popular drink in all of Britain. Many makers of British teaware became prominent and also competed against China’s teapots until British teapots became more standard. Today’s most popular teapots come from many British manufacturers, ranging from Wedgwood’s Bone China to the smash hit (I probably shouldn’t be saying that about teapots!) Brown Betty teapot.

Round-vesseled and beautiful, these teapots are tougher than you think! These teapots were made early on in the 1800s, with special red clay found in the Bradell Woods area located in Stoke-on-Trent and glazed with a Rockingham Glaze, helping it turn into its signature brown color. How the Brown Betty got its name is relatively unknown but what they are known for is their excellent quality since the tea leaves will have plenty of room to gently unfurl once hot water is poured in. Brown Betties are well known for retaining heat thanks to the ceramic and can stay warm for a long time (cozies also help)!

You can use whatever tea you fancy in any teapot, whether it’s for yourself or for a full table of guests. There are 2 cup, 4 cup, 6 cup, and even 8 cup teapots. Not into two cups of tea? Not a problem! There are tea for one sets like this one that even include a cup!

Did you know? Yixing teapots are known for “remembering” a type of tea. The clay in it makes it porous, so it helps remember the previous teas that were infused in them, thus earning the nickname “memory teapots”. It’s best to stick with one type of tea when infusing in this teapot.

When you hear of summer, what do you think of? If you’re an American like myself, you might think of beaches, hot weather, and barbecues. But what’s it like out in Britain? Do they enjoy a refreshing glass of iced tea as much as the Americans do? Believe it or not, the British continue to drink their tea hot! A hot cuppa tea keeps our friends across the pond refreshed year round! While it may sound a bit odd to us Americans, the British still keep up with the tradition of hot tea! In fact, many Brits have never even tried iced tea!

Although the British do not drink iced tea, but whenever they do fancy a nice cold drink, they have other alternatives. That is where the squash comes in. No, not the vegetable (that’s another term I must discuss another time), but fruit squashes. A fruit squash is a drink that comes in a bottle and can be diluted with water, usually 4-5 parts of water.

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(c) English Tea Store

A common pastime in the summer in Britain is sports since the weather is usually a bit nicer than normal. Cricket and tennis are the big ones, especially with the Wimbledon Championships held every summer. Wimbledon is the oldest tennis tournament in the world and it was founded in Britain in 1877. It’s a very popular event to watch, as it is the most prestigious tennis event of the year. Robinson’s Squash is very famous in Britain for being the main sponsor of this event. They are known to be quite refreshing, especially on warmer days. The fruit squashes from Robinson’s range from orange, lemon, apple and blackcurrant to grapefruit, apple and pear, and summer fruits. There is also a barley water squash (lemon or orange flavor) but do not let the words “barley water” throw you off! It’s actually very delicious!

Another British favorite is Ribena, which is made only from British blackcurrants! Like Robinson’s, It is also made by diluting 4 parts water with about 2oz (¼ cup) of concentrate. Sometimes shops do carry a ready to drink version in a carton but the original concentrate is always sold in a bottle.

Hacks: For an even better summertime treat, you can freeze Ribena into ice pop molds and freeze them into ice pops! Or pour some into your cup of tea for a burst of blackcurrant flavor. Enjoy hot or iced!

A little bit of French today because we are making ham and cheese pastries and as you probably know a chicken breast stuffed with ham and cheese is called Chicken Cordon Bleu!

They are very simple to make ifIMG_4742 you can buy the ready-made puff pastry, you will also need some nice cooked ham and some very strong cheese.  We have made cheese pasties before and they are similar but the ham just adds that little bit extra taste and also they can be used as a main course if you make them big enough.

Roll out your pastry and place a slice of ham on, then some thick slices of a nice strong Cheddar cheese on top of the ham.  Fold the whole thing up and crimp the edges with a fork and brush with beaten egg.

Bake in a very hot oven for 20 minutes until puffed up and golden brown.  Serve straight from the oven as a main course, I served mine with some oven roasted tomatoes, or if you want you can make smaller versions and allow to cool slightly before serving as a snack with a cup of your favorite English Tea Store tea!

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(c) Julia Briggs for English Tea Store

Now I know we have already made shortbread but that was some time ago and this is a slightly different recipe because it contains a pinch of salt which does change the taste quite dramatically and then with the addition of the chocolate covering it makes for a whole new taste experience.  You will need:

6 oz softened butter

4 oz caster sugar

8 oz plain flour

a pinch of salt

a small bar of chocolate for covering.

Oven 180 C, 160 C for a Fan oven, 350 F or gas mark 4

Mix all the ingredients together and knead well.  Place in the ‘fridge for half an hour and then roll out onto baking paper to about 1/4 inch thick and slide the paper onto a baking sheet.  Prick the shortbread all over with a fork  and cook for about 20 minutes checking after 15 minutes that it is not too brown. If it is too dark cover with aluminum foil for the remaining cooking time.  Cut the shortbread into strips while still hot and leave to cool.  Once cool, melt any chocolate that you have not already eaten in the microwave and spread on top of the individual strips of shortbread, leaving some uncovered so you can taste the difference between the two.  Enjoy with a cup of Assam or Earl Grey Cream.

July has arrived! It may seem like the past few months have been flying by, but we’re here to give you a little bit of tea encouragement. The teas listed below offer special pricing that will last all month long (no code needed.)

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(c) English Tea Store – Earl Grey Teabags

The first tea is our Regular Earl Grey Tea in Fine Loose Leaf or Teabags. The Earl Grey Tea blend from English Tea Store is a blend of Ceylon and Indian teas. The tea receives its unusual and unique flavor from oil of Bergamot – which is a small acidic orange. The Bergamot orange is a cross between the sweet or pear lemon (Citrus Limetta) and the Seville or sour orange (Citrus Aurantium). The sour orange is native to Southern Vietnam. The Earl Grey Fine Loose Tea is available in 4 different sizes: 4 ounces, 8 ounces, 15 ounces, or 80 ounces. The Earl Grey Teabags are available in a 25 pouch, 25 tin, 50 pouch, 100 bulk, or 500 bulk.

Curious about the benefits of drinking Earl Grey Tea?

  • Good for your teeth – That’s right! Tea contains very high levels of catechin, which is an antioxidant that fights oral infection. Flouride is a naturally occurring component in Earl Grey.
  • Promotes good digestion – Earl Grey can aid and relieve painful digestion, colic, and nausea.
  • Fights anxiety and depression – Unfortunately, in today’s world many people suffer from anxiety, depression, or both. Maybe you’re looking for other routes instead of medicine? The Bergamot in Earl Grey has a calming effect and has natural aromatherapy qualities.
  • Weight loss – Like most teas citrus teas, Earl Grey an induce weight loss. It is thought that calories are broken down into food for your muscles or released through the metabolic process. Try adding some extra citrus like lemon!
  • Hydration (It’s Key!) – Hydration is so important for your body…and it’s not just because tea is made with water. Earl Grey has a high potassium content so it keeps your fluids in check.
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(c) English Tea Store – Mim Estate Loose Leaf

Moving on to our next July tea – Mim Estate in Loose Leaf. The Mim Estate blend from the English Tea Store has a distinctive “Muscatel” character with a hint of currant. This tea is a 2nd flush Darjeeling and comes from the Mim Estate in Northern India. The genus of the Darjeeling tea bush is the Chinese Jat, which gives it the distinctive muscatel character. The fragrance and taste is a complex bouquet that travels right out of the cup. Some may describe the taste as nutty, black currant, or muscat grape-like.

The final tea of the month is actually multiple teas in a sampler (What more could you ask for?!) – The Fruit Kick – Loose Leaf Sampler. This is great if you’re looking to try something new and adventure out of your safe zone. Each sampler pack comes with 1 ounce of each of our favorite fruit flavored loose leaf teas: Apple Spice Black Tea, Blackcurrant Black Tea, Pomegranate Lemon Black Tea, Wild Blueberry Organic Tea, and Florida Orange Rooibos Tea. We recommend brewing in water, that has been brought to a boil, for 3-5 minutes.

Okay – I think we’ve given you a lot to think about. Tell us your favorite flavored tea!

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(c) Julia Briggs for The English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

Now if you want a really tasty sponge cake that is not only light but very moist too you cannot go wrong with a Citrus cake;  a cake flavoured with orange, lemon and lime.

Oven 160 C, 325 F or gas mark 3

A greased or lined 1lb loaf tin

4 oz butter (softened)

4 oz golden caster sugar

2 medium eggs (beaten)

5 oz Self Raising Flour

1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

a few drops of vanilla essence

1 orange, 1 lime and 1 lemon.

Cream the butter and sugar together and then beat in the eggs and vanilla essence.  Fold in the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Grate the fruit rind into the mixture and add a quarter of the juice from the lemon, orange and lime.  Pour the mixture in the prepared tin and bake for 40 mins until firm to the touch. Warm another quarter of the juices with some sugar, prick the top of the cake whilst still in the tin and pour on the juice.  Take out of the tin only when it is cold and then ice the cake if you want with some icing made with icing sugar and orange juice.  You can leave it without icing if you want either way it is a lovely moist light cake.  My husband does not like icing so I only iced half of it!

When someone asked me to think back to when I first started drinking tea, I had to think. It was in my teen years, but I’m not sure what led me into drinking tea back then. Maybe it was my introduction to “white tea” and “green tea” that tantalized my taste buds. It took me a while to adapt to these, but I didn’t really explore tea until I got older.

tolsll_hblbbl_bingo-blueberry-herbal-loose-leaf-teaChildren in the United Kingdom are usually introduced to home-brewed tea at a young age. Cups of black tea are incorporated into everyday life and are later introduced to other types of teas like darjeeling and oolong. They learn to become little connoisseurs! American children do drink tea but not as much as their English counterparts. One thing they do have in common is the tea sets! Many children have tea sets and love to throw tea parties! They can invite friends or family to join them for tea time (I would have tea with my dolls and stuffed animals). Having tea together encourages play time, imagination, and social skills.

I live with my nine-year-old nephew and he has a budding interest in tea. When he learned I became a tea blogger and what I would be doing, he was very interested and tried a few brews with me. Now, I like to brew myself a cup of decaf tea at night to encourage sleep and my nephew will ask for a cup, which I will happily make for him. While he prefers his iced, he loves tea very much and we will drink together. Sometimes his oldeteatolp1000000819_-06_bella-coola-caffeine-free-tea-sampler-loose-herbal-teasr sister and younger brother will even join us! My nephew has even tasted PG Tips which he likes. While I have yet to teach him the winning combination of digestives and tea, he has expressed interest in not just trying teas alone but biscuits and cakes! I really enjoy teaching him about tea and English culture. I am so proud to be this young man’s aunt!

For the little tea drinker, a good fruit tea can be suitable for their young taste buds. A simply wonderful tea for children is our Bingo Blueberry. While it is good hot, it is refreshing as an iced tea. It is an herbal tea so it has no caffeine and has a strong blueberry flavor along with a dark purplish color. Another kid-approved tea is the Bella Coola, which has a citrusy pineapple flavor. The color for this one is a little bit orange-red. This one is good iced with a garnish of strawberry or pineapple. Since summer is almost here, another way to enjoy these teas is to make popsicles out of them (once they are sweetened to the child’s liking).

Warning: When brewing tea, make sure an adult is handling the hot water and enjoy under proper supervision.

I know you all like lemon drizzle cake but for those few people who do not like lemon then try orange drizzle cake instead.

  • 4 oz butter
  • 4 oz caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 5 oz Self Raising flour
  • Orange juice

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    (c) Julia Briggs for The English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

Icing sugar and orange juice for the iced topping

Oven 180 C, 350 F or gas mark 4

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy add the eggs one at a time and then fold in the flour, this mixture will be a little stiff so add some orange juice and then pour into a greased 1lb loaf tin.   Bake for 40 – 45 mins until firm to the touch.  Leave to cool slightly in the tin and prick the top with a needle then pour some warmed orange juice over the top and leave in the tin to cool.  When cold remove from the tin and place onto a plate then spread the orange flavoured icing sugar on top.  Cut into slices and if you are feeling really hungry or just want to treat yourself then butter the slice before eating!  Enjoy!

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