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

    IMG_4517

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

 

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

Buns are so versatile, easy to make and easier still to eat with a nice cup of tea.  You can, of course, make this mixture into a loaf cake if you would rather.  For approximately 30 buns you will need:

  • 8 oz butter (softened)
  • 8 oz Caster sugar
  • 4 medium sized eggs (beaten)
  • 8 oz Self Raising Flour and
  • 2-4 oz dessicated coconut (depending on your own taste)​
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(c) Julia Briggs for The English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

This is the usual creaming method so cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then add the eggs one at a time with a spoonful of flour with each egg.  Fold in the flour and coconut using a figure of eight motion.  Put a spoonful of mixture into paper buns cases which are inside a bun tray and bake for 15-20 mins until firm to the touch.

​Cool the buns on a wire rack then when cool make some icing with icing sugar and water and spread on the top of each bun, sprinkle with coconut and leave to set.  Enjoy!​

If you know me, one of my favorite brands of tea to brew is PG Tips. It is usually my go-to tea for whenever I feel like I need a good pick-me-up or something to warm me up in the cold days of winter. It was one of the first British teas I tasted before I really began to dive into British food and culture and I introduced it to my young nephew, keeping the love for PG Tips well into the next generation.

teatpgt1000031917_-00_pg-tips-juicy-raspberry-green-tea-bags-20-count teatpgt1000032454_-00_pg-tips-red-bush-vanilla-herbal_1While plain black tea is what they started with, PG tips recently began to expand their tea line from beyond the standard black tea. While there is loose leaf and decaf, PG Tips has ventured into the world of green, herbal, and fruit teas. Five varieties of green tea have been produced by PG, Pure Green, Juicy Raspberry, Fragrant Jasmine, Vibrant Mandarin Orange, and Zesty Lemon. Each box of green tea has 20 bags and is a fine blend from Indonesia and Kenya. All but the Pure Green are infused with a floral or fruity flavor.

Perhaps you fancy a more lighter taste and less caffeine? That’s where the herbal teas come in. Delicate Camomile, Refreshing Peppermint, Smooth Redbush and Vanilla, and Aromatic Spices and Mint are all here to soothe you. Camomile is infused with delicate flowers, Peppermint is a clean and refreshing minty goodness, Redbush and Vanilla is a mixture of South African Rooibos, vanilla flavor, hibiscus flowers, and cranberry, and finally Spices and Mint is a combination of familiar spices like cinnamon, mint, and a bit of orange.

Still prefer black tea? There are some new varieties that PG tips has in store such as the Strong One and the Fresh One. The Strong One has a bright red color when brewed, a malty aroma, and a bold tea character. This tea is blended from teas grown in Kenya and other African nations. The Fresh One is also red when brewed, and this tea is a Breakfast Blend plus English Breakfast, all blended from tea grown in Kenya.

It is hard to choose from all these varieties! I like to expand my horizons and try new tea but if you’re a tea lover like myself, you might have a large cupboard full of tea! Have you tried any of these flavors? Let us know!

Cheese Pastries

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

I do not eat onions, they are bad for my digestion, so I like to make pastry squares with cheese in them, but if you like you can make them with cheese and onions.  You can make them large or small, but if you make them small they are very tasty warm from the oven with a nice cup of tea.

You will need:

  • A packet of ready rolled flaky pastry and some nice strong tasting cheddar cheese.
  • Just cut the pastry into squares and fill half of each square with slices of cheese, how mu
    Cheese Pastries 2

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

    ch cheese is personal taste.

  • Brush the pastry edges with water and fold over each pastry square and  crimp the edges with a fork.
  • Brush with egg wash or milk and bake for 15 – 20 minutes in a hot oven, 220 C, gas mark 8, 425 F, cool on a wire rack.

Of course you can make your own pastry and you can also make a cheese and onion thick sauce for the filling, however you make them I am sure you will enjoy them.

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