Ginger

(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store

Ginger snaps (or Ginger biscuits) are very easy to make, especially for the children with a bit of help with the melting process. This recipe makes 24 and they keep well in an airtight tin. You will need:

8 ozs Self Raising Flour
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
4 ozs Caster Sugar or soft brown sugar
3 ozs Butter
4 tablespoons of Golden Syrup
1 egg, beaten

Oven 180 C, 350 F or gas mark 4

Gingersnaps

(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store

Mix the dry ingredients together and warm the syrup and butter either in the microwave or in a pan.  Add to the dry ingredients with the beaten egg and mix well.  Place teaspoons on a baking sheet leaving plenty of room and bake for 15 mins.  Remove from the tray and cool on a wire rack.

~JB

TOLSLL_CHM_-00_loose-leaf-tea-chocolate-mintWhat do you give a tea lover for Valentine’s Day? Chocolates. Chocolate Mint Tea, that is, and it happens to be our other Tea of the Month for February.

The Chocolate Mint Flavored Black Tea blend from English Tea Store is the delectable paring of chocolate and mint. This tea delivers a bright and coppery infusion and a chocolatey mint flavor that is especially prominent when milk and sugar are added. We find this tea tastes best when served hot, but it can also be enjoyed over ice. Using flavoring oils, not crystals, gives the tea drinker an olfactory holiday before indulging in a liquid tea treat.graphics-chocolate-975107

Rather than write more about the traditional chocolate Valentine gift, I’d like to point out a new feature on our site that starts with this tea. It will be slow in coming, as all good things are, but you will no doubt find it helpful. One by one your tea merchandiser Tammy is added very detailed information on each of our teas. Here is what she is presenting for the Chocolate Mint:

Cup Characteristics: Fresh lovely mint combined with full flavored chocolate tea that is wonderfully reminiscent of an after-dinner mint
Infusion: Bright and coppery
3d-graphics-teaIngredients: Black tea, Blackberry and Peppermint leaves, and Natural flavors
Caffeine/Antioxidant Level: Medium/High
Grade(s): OP (Orange Pekoe)
Manufacture Type(s): Orthodox (Traditional leafy)
Region: Nuwara Eliya + Dimbula + Uva
Growing Altitudes: 4000-8500 feet above sea level
Shipping Port(s): Colombo

~Your Editor

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(c) Julia Briggs for use by English Tea Store.

With St. Valentine’s day approaching I thought you might like to try some sweets.  These are so easy to make but look good especially if given as a present in a nice box.  You will need:

2 medium eggs (whites only)
1 lb icing sugar
a few drops of peppermint oil
green food colouring (optional)

This is a basic fondant mixture and you can leave them as they are or cover some with chocolate, in which case you will also need a bar of chocolate!

IMG_3872

(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store

IMG_3873

(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store

Beat the egg whites with a hand or electric mixer then add the sieved icing sugar gradually; when the paste becomes too stiff to use a mixer, change to a wooden spoon.  Add about three drops of peppermint oil and knead well in with your hands.  I decided to make some green ones too so I divided the mixture and added a few drops of green colouring into about one third of the paste.  Taste your paste and if necessary add more peppermint oil. Roll out on an icing-sugar-sprinkled table to about a quarter inch thick, and cut rounds with a very small cutter (heart shaped one if you have one!). Dip the cutter into some icing sugar  between each cutting. Leave somewhere cool to harden. When crisp on the outside cover some with chocolate and leave them to set on an oiled tray. It is a messy job to coat with chocolate but when it is done you can lick your fingers! These go very well with champagne but equally well with a light fruit  or mint tea. They keep quite a long time in an airtight tin and this should make about 24.

The egg yolks can be used to make an egg custard, recipe for that coming this spring!

~JB

Ceylon greenOur first February tea of the month is ceylon green. Imported from Sri Lanka, our Ceylon Green is characterized as smooth and subtle. According to wikipedia, tea production is one of the main sources of foreign exchange for Sri Lanka. Originally known as Ceylon, Sri Lanka is an island country in the Indian Ocean. Great Britain occupied the coastal areas during the Napoleonic Wars to prevent France gaining control. In 1972 Ceylon’s name was changed to Sri Lanka when it became a republic. Currently, tea accounts for 2% of Sri Lanka’s GDP, generating roughly $700 million annually to the economy of Sri Lanka. It employs, directly or indirectly over 1 million people. Sri Lanka is the world’s fourth largest producer of tea. With all of these amazing stats, Ceylon Green is still one of the unsung heroes. Most of Sri Lanka’s tea exported is black, and green tea is typically imported from Asian countries.

Ceylon in tea refers to a location, not a type of leaf. Ceylon Green tea is prepared from the fresh leaves of the tea plant, unlike Ceylon Black, which is made from the aged stems and leaves. Ceylon Green is often described as “full bodied and pungent, with a malty or nutty flavor.” Whether you go with that or “smooth and subtle,” you will get 15% off if you purchase it now! I have no doubt our readers will weigh in with their own adjectives.

~Your Editor

Tea Loaf

(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store

This is an uncomplicated recipe but it requires two days of your time!  The first thing you need to do is to make yourself a large teapot full of tea and sit and drink one cup.  That should set you up for the challenge ahead. DO NOT DRINK ALL THE TEA.  You will need:

14 ozs Dried Fruit (I used a combination of sultanas, raisins, currants and cherries)
1/2 pint cool tea
2 eggs
8 ozs sugar (I used a mixture of dark and soft brown)
10 ozs Self Raising Flour

Set your oven to 170 C, 325 F or gas mark 4.  Grease and line two 1lb loaf tins.

Tealoaf

(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store

Soak the fruit in the cool tea and leave overnight.  That’s it for the first day!  Then next day beat the 2 eggs with the sugars and add this to the fruit and liquid, mix thoroughly   Add the flour and 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger if liked and mix well.  Pour into the prepared tins and bake for 40 – 50 mins. Test by using a cake needle, if it comes out clean it is done.   Leave to cool in the tins and then transfer to a wire rack.  These cakes will keep for 10-14 days if not eaten!!  Enjoy a slice buttered with a cup of Yorkshire Tea.

~JB

Groundhog-Standing2You might have taken a look at your calendar and have seen the words “Groundhog Day” gracing the February 2nd spot. Groundhog day is an important day for many, especially the people who are dealing with cold weather. California doesn’t have too many groundhogs that I know of (plenty of gophers in my area), so it is a good time for me to learn about this day.

Why February 2nd? It’s because that day is Candlemas Day, an ancient Christian festival marking the midway point between winter and spring. All the candles that were used in the church in the coming year were brought into the church and a blessing was said over them, making it the “Mass of the Candles.” In the medieval days, it was believed the hibernating animals left their dens on Candlemas day to observe the weather and forecast early springs and late winters. The English used to use otters and badgers to forecast the weather and planting seasons as did the Germans. When German settlers came to the United States, they were not able to easily find badgers, especially in Pennsylvania where many had settled. The settlers then decided a groundhog was more suitable since they were more common.

The groundhog pops out on this day from the ground once a year. If he sees his shadow, it’s six more weeks of winter. However, if he doesn’t see his shadow, it’s an early spring!

You will be surprised to know that Groundhog Day does not just take place in the United States but in Canada as well. Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania is a well-known town that celebrates Groundhog Day. They were the first town to hold Groundhog Day 1887 with the original groundhog, who has always been named Punxsutawney Phil. This now-televised event also attracts tourists to the small town of Punxsutawney just to see the famous little groundhog and have fun along with the town regulars.

Tea_CupNow, if six more weeks of winter is ahead, a good way to beat it is with a good cup of hot tea. A nice cup of Yorkshire tea is a good accompaniment to a cold winter’s day. Perhaps if you do not want caffeine and just want to relax (or go back to sleep like the groundhog!), then a Georgia Peach Rooibos is another good tea. Very peachy and soothing, the color of the leaves will help take your mind off the dreary winter days. Of course, if the groundhog predicts an early spring, try them iced!

~CD

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

IMG_2756

(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store.

I had to find my Grand Mother’s recipe book and she did not write much down so it is very small!! My Mother never wrote this sort of thing down either. We used to be able to buy a cardboard carton with marrowfat peas in along with two tablets of bicarbonate of soda and all the instructions were on the pack so I have dredged the memory banks to remember what we did. We can now buy them frozen or in a tin so not many people make them like this any more except the fish and chip take-aways. It does not work well with frozen peas, if only frozen garden peas are available then you will need to whiz them with a blender once they are cooked. Also you will need to add butter before blending.

8 ounce of dried marrowfat peas
about 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) or two tablets
1/2 pint of boiling water

In a very large pan or bowl place the bicarb and cover with the boiling water and stir until dissolved. Add the dried peas and cover with a lid or tea towel. Leave to soak overnight or at least for 12 hours. The peas will expand so make sure your pan is big enough.

The next day drain the peas well and put in a pan with enough cold water to cover. Bring to the boil and simmer the peas for 30 mins. until soft and mushy. Season to taste and serve with mint sauce.

These are delicious served with fish sticks  and chips.

~JB

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

blueberry-sweet-fruitOne thing I love the smell of in the morning, is blueberries. Blueberry muffins, blueberry pancakes, and now blueberry tea. Recently I tried out the English Tea Store’s Blueberry Green and it’s one of my new go-to teas – refreshing enough to wake me up but also somewhat calming. Good for a weekend morning where you can relax. I gave this tea to my dad, one of the most wound-up people in the world and HE enjoyed it!

This tea is good either sweetened or unsweetened, hot or iced. The smell is very heavenly and pairs well with breakfast, but of course you can also have it whenever you feel like it. A wonderful tea time drink, it pairs well with a delicious blueberry scone or scone with blueberry jam (I’m going crazy with blueberries here).

1445443_96433729If you’re not much of a blueberry fan as I am, you can always go for plain green tea or even our bolder green tea with ceylonCeylon is a black tea and helps add smoothness. Both teas are very good choices for a relaxing morning or a tea time.

~CD

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Brandy snaps look really impressive but are not that difficult to make, not easy peasy but not hard!

BrandySnaps

(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store

50 g or 2 oz butter
50 g or 2 oz caster sugar
2 x 15 ml spoon or 2 tablespoons golden syrup
50 g or 2 oz self raising flour
1 x 2.5 ml spoon or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 x 5 ml spoon or 1 teaspoon brandy or rum

Whipping cream whipped up.

Brandy Snaps

(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store

Heat the oven to 180 C, 350 F or gas mark 4, grease a baking tray and the handle of a wooden spoon.

Melt the butter sugar and syrup in a saucepan or in a bowl and into the microwave.  Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients, beat well.

Brandy

(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store

Put small spoonfuls of the mixture at least 3 inches apart on the baking tray and bake for 7-10 mins.  Bake in small batches I put four drops on each tray, they spread out.  Allow each batch to cool slightly and always have the next batch ready to go when one comes out.  Roll each one around the handle of a greased wooden spoon, remove the spoon and leave the biscuit on a wire tray.  Do not try and roll too soon, if the mixture is too soft it will not hold the shape of the wooden spoon.  If the biscuit is too cool and set you will not be able to roll without it cracking, so  re-heat a little more in the oven to soften and try again.  Keep going until all the mixture has been used.  When completely cold pipe fresh cream into both ends and serve immediately.  These biscuit will keep for quite a while in an air-tight tin and then just piping the cream before you serve.

If you roll when the biscuit are too hot you will get a slump!

~J. xx

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Snowlined fence

© Ice | Dreamstime Stock Photos

The start of the new year, January being National Hot Tea Month, and new writers all facilitated bringing you new teas to try this month. I intended to write this article many weeks ago and title it, “January is National Hot Tea Month.” If my life is like yours in any degree, you are well familiar with the shortage of time fighting against a surplus of tasks, errands, and chores.

We’ve had some harsh weather in areas, which also encouraged you to stay bundled up and warm. One of my favorite things to do in the winter is find a large, sunny window that overlooks a busy street or woodland rife with wildlife; park a solid, overstuffed chair in the sunspot; encourage a cat or two to find refuge in my lap; crank the heat or wrap in a lap throw; and watch the world go by while I remain stationary. Hot tea helps with the contrast between the snowy outside and toasty inside.

Whether I am doing this alone or snuggled up with my LTR, I have enjoyed the decaf chai. I load my little infuser with the loose tea, brew it strong, and 20141224_150629add milk and honey. Robbing the cup of its heat, I wrap my hands around it until the tea is cool enough to drink.

Remembering to sit quietly and appreciate simple pleasures allows me to recharge my batteries and find more value in my world. With the fast pace of today’s connected world, I think National Hot Tea Month is a very good thing. Raising a cup and hoping you had a moment to enjoy it, too.

~Your editor

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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