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(C) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store. All rights reserved.

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(C) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store. All rights reserved.

Tomorrow we will publish Julia’s bonus recipe for an apple compote but she also wanted to share this variation, called Eve’s Pudding. She says, “This is delicious with either custard or cream.  It also works with rhubarb which is just coming into season! Here is one I made with apricots.”

About 12 ozs fruit (baking apples or something else)
4 oz butter
4 oz caster sugar
2 eggs
4 oz self raising flour

Oven 190 C,  375 F  or gas mark 5.

I like to cook the apples and add sugar before I start but if you are using fruit from a tin it may not need cooking or sweetening. Put the prepared fruit in a greased oven-proof dish.

Cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and stir in the flour gently.  Spoon this mixture over the top of your apples and bake for 40 minutes.

~JB

peachBoth of our teas this month are fruity, just right for the fresh blossoms of spring here in the states. Peach apricot is our first choice for the month, being a Ceylon black flavored with real papaya, apricot, and peach fruit. I love peaches. Chambersburg is a drive to the east from where we live in PA, and the peaches you get there are unrivaled: big enough to be a full meal for two, sweet, and so juicy you need a knife and fork to eat them. Families make a day of going for Chambersburg peaches just like they do Bedford apples in the fall.

According to the peach apricotAlmanac, peaches ripen faster in a closed paper bag at room temperature. If you are a gardener like me, you are familiar with this principal. I remember weekend fall days in the garden, picking all the green tomatoes that were healthy, hoping to get them in before the cold snap ruined them. We’d wrap the tomatoes in newspaper and pack them in paper bags to store in the basement until we were ready for them. They ripened this way and we were able to extend our growing season. When you live in the Laurel Highlands of PA, the growing season is short and anything to extend it is appreciated!

Until the Chambersburg peaches are ready, this tea is the next best thing, with a very heady aroma. This tea is steeped 3-5 minutes for best body and just a smidge of sugar really makes it come alive. At 15% all month, it’s all the sweeter.

~Your Editor

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(C) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

Easter is just around the corner and the Lent period will be over, however, although chocolate and all things nice are not really supposed to be eaten until Easter Sunday. On Good Friday though it is traditional to eat Hot Cross Buns.  They are not difficult to make but as with any ‘bread’ based product they need time to rise, fortunately only once with this recipe.

Oven 425 F.  220 C,  Gas mark 7

1 lb 4 oz Strong White or brown bread flour
2 heaped tsp mixed spice (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 oz butter
8 oz mixed dried fruits
2 oz caster sugar
One 7 g sachet of dried easy blend yeast
6 1/2 fluid ounces milk
2 eggs

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(C) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

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(C) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

Place the flour, salt, mixed spice (if using) and sugar into a bowl. Rub in the butter and then stir in the dried fruits. I used cherries, raisins, sultanas and candied peel.  Sprinkle the yeast over and stir in. Gently warm the milk until it is tepid and beat the eggs into this. Make a small well in the flour and pour in the milk/egg mixture and mix to a soft dough. Leave this for five mins. Meanwhile prepare your baking sheets by lining with baking parchment. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and divide into 8, or if you want smaller buns, 16. knead slightly and make into a bun shape and put onto your baking sheets with plenty of room for expansion.  Cover loosely with oiled cling film and leave somewhere warm for about 45 mins to 1 hour. They should have increased in size. Either make a cross with a sharp knife on top or make a flour and water paste and pipe a cross on top or if you are really ambitious use some pastry to make the cross but only if you have some handy! Bake for 12-15 mins until well risen and golden. Leave to cool and then warm a little honey or golden syrup and brush the the tops. They will keep fresh for a day but they are best eaten quickly or toasted.  Enjoy with butter, jam, honey or cheese and a nice cup of tea.

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(C) Julia Briggs for the English Tea Store. All rights reserved.

With the end of Lent we have Easter eggs and other such niceties and one of our favourites at this time of the year is Easter nests.  They are so easy to make you can even get the children involved, although watch out for things being popped into mouths!  My daughter loves to help with these but she like licking the bowls out best of all!

You will need:

8 oz Cadbury’s milk or plain chocolate bar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
2 oz butter
3 ozs cornflakes or rice crispies
36 mini chocolate eggs (plus extra for eating whilst making!)
12 paper cases.

No baking is required; they are just chilled in the ‘fridge when done.

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(C) Julia Briggs for the English Tea Store. All rights reserved.

Break the chocolate into pieces and melt together with the golden syrup and butter, either in the microwave or over a pan of hot water.  Stir until smooth, be careful not to get the chocolate too hot!  Stir the cornflakes in until they are all coated in chocolate and divide the mixture between the 12 paper cases.  Put the paper cases into bun tins otherwise they spread too much.  Press three chocolate eggs into the centre of each nest (always assuming there are 36 eggs left!)  They should resemble bird’s nests with eggs in.  Chill in the ‘fridge for about an hour or until set.  They keep well in an airtight tin but only if you hide the tin away from prying eyes and fingers – otherwise they will all be eaten on the same day that you make them!

~JB

How to make tea latte

(c) Crystal Derma for use by The English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

I recently made a visit to the Washington DC area to visit my fiance. Now, I am engaged to a wonderful man. He makes me coffee and cups of tea whether I want it or not and I always want to return the favor. So when I was out there, I offered to make him a cup of tea. However, he was surprised when I brought him his cup of Lover’s Leap with just milk and sweetener in it. “I thought you were going to steam the milk,” He said. “Like make it a latte.” It made me raise an eyebrow. The people in Britain do not take their tea in latte form. I take my tea with a simple milk and sweetener. I’m still trying to pick up the habit of drinking it more than once a day.

What exactly is a tea latte? It’s just like a latte made with coffee or espresso. It has steamed milk but instead of the eye-opening java, it’s tea! My fiance works for a certain coffee shop that makes a very popular kind of tea latte. Actually, two types. Green tea and chai tea are very popular among the masses but it can also be made with other kinds of tea like black.

In order to make a tea latte, one would need a steaming wand to froth the milk. I know that not everyone possesses that type of equipment. However, my fiance told me that I could make it at home by using a whisk while heating up some milk. So I brewed some Yorkshire Tea just like I normally would and added my homemade whisked milk. The addition of sweetener made things even better. The result? Very creamy and delicious! The latte stays hot with the addition of hot milk rather than cold milk when making a British style cup of tea.

The most popular types of tea lattes are chai and green tea. The one I made was pretty much considered a “London Fog” with the latte being made with black tea. I enjoyed the one I made so I can’t wait to make one for my loving fiance next time I see him. I can show him my latte making skills!

Simple Tea Latte

Teabag
8oz water
8oz milk (either dairy or non)
Whisk or fork

Boil the water and steep your teabag like you normally would, discard teabag. Then, using a saucepan over low heat, heat the milk and whisk/stir with fork until the milk becomes hot and/or frothy. Pour into tea, and sweetener or syrup. Enjoy!

~CD

Editor’s note: I used to be a barista, and am a bit of a snob. I have the Brevelle machine in my kitchen to prove it. :) I highly recommend using a steaming wand. A note on steamed milk, regardless, is that when it reaches the proper temperature (130-160 degrees F) the natural sugars are brought out and it is the sweetest – too hot you scald; not hot enough you do not draw out the natural sugar. The steaming also stretches the milk – expands it – and you want about 30% stretching or you end up with a cappuccino consistency. One final note – you do not want to add too much air when you whisk, or you can destroy the smooth consistency of the milk.

adderleyThe Brown Betty, originally a small, unglazed teapot, was created over 300 years ago when the Elder Brothers discovered a red clay in the Stoke-on-Trent area of Staffordshire. This clay allowed for greater heat retention and the rounded shape of the pot encouraged “agony of the leaves,” or the free swirl to steep! The famous dark brown stain-hiding Rockingham glaze was soon added and the Brown Betty was born. Folklore has it that the Brown Betty got its name from the Victorian servers who poured your tea – most likely you had a servant by the name of Elizabeth (my own name!) if you had any servants at all.

Trying to piece together the history of who has made the authentic Brown Betties through the years is as confusing as an MC Escher illustration. Caledonia pottery claims to have been making the Brown Betties from the 1700’s. Yet Cauldon Ceramics’ website states it became the only original manufacturer of this low to mid-range price point consumer favorite  in 1920. In the late 2010’s, Cauldon dropped off and Adderley Ceramics jumped in. Adderley Ceramics, also in Stoke-on-Trent, uses the same 1696 recipe of original red terracotta clay and Rockingham glaze. Their pot shape is also the recognizable WWII style.

If you read any reviews anywhere on the web, people are disappointed with the Cauldon and Caledonia Betties for a quality issue called crazing. Over the years the process has been streamlined and the pots made thinner and with less glaze, to save time and money; more often than not, with the first hot water in, the glaze cracks. When this happens, the tea seeps into the naked clay and mould can form inside the teapot. Interesting to note, I bought a crock pot for a Christmas gift for myself in 2009. The first time I used it, the glaze cracked to look like a spider web. I washed the pot by hand, then in the dishwasher on the highest setting, and when it dried it had green threading through the cracks, and forever smelled like my roast. I took the pot back to the store, and they didn’t have any more left. I tossed it. Same thing with the cheaply made Betties. Hopefully you are not steeping meat.

Another complaint of the Cauldon pot is that the spout is poorly formed, making the pour messy. Additionally, the spout and handle are too fragile and likely to snap off.

Adderley Ceramics, on the other hand, make a thicker pot and use ample clay. The quality for these surprisingly inexpensive pots is as good as the original, or better. They are also hand crafted in Staffordshire.

All Brown Betties are made in England with the Stoke-on-Trent red clay, utilize the same basic design and authentic Rockingham glaze, include a backstamp showing their manufacturer, and have the Union Jack sticker.

© Julia Briggs for use by ETS, all rights reserved

© Julia Briggs for use by ETS, all rights reserved

Well, I received my crumpet rings. They are very light aluminum, I think, and have a non-stick coating on them but you still need to grease them really well before you fill them with your batter.  A hot plate is good but a large frying pan will also suffice.

You will need:

8 oz sieved strong bread flour
2 oz plain flour
1 quarter-ounce packet (7 grams) of dried active yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 fluid ounces or 1/4 cup of water
11 fluid ounces or 1 1/3 cups of milk

You need to start this process early because like baking bread you need to leave the batter for one hour in a warm place.

Heat the water and milk until lukewarm (I used the microwave). Sieve the flour into a large bowl and add the yeast, baking powder, sugar and salt.

Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the liquid, mix with a wooden spoon and then using an electric mixer whisk until a good batter is formed. Cover the bowl with a damp tea cloth and place somewhere warm for one hour. The batter will have risen well and have bubbles on top.

© Julia Briggs for use by ETS, all rights reserved

© Julia Briggs for use by ETS, all rights reserved

Heat the frying pan or griddle and then add a knob of butter, make sure the inside of the crumpet rings are well buttered and place in the pan or on the griddle.

Now add about 2 tablespoons of the mixture to each crumpet ring. The mixture is very ‘gloopy’ so it is not easy to place the batter in. I put a little more than 2 tablespoons in at times but this just meant I had thicker crumpets!

© Julia Briggs for use by ETS, all rights reserved

© Julia Briggs for use by ETS, all rights reserved

Cook on a medium to low heat for about ten minutes. The surface will bubble and form holes and basically start to  look a lot like a crumpet!  The top will dry out and the crumpet will shrink away from the sides of the ring. At this point you need to take the rings off and flip the crumpet over to brown on the other side. Be very careful – the rings will be HOT! If you have not greased your ring properly it will stick and you will not be able to get the ring off!

You can serve immediately with butter and jam or a savoury topping like scrambled egg but you can also store them and then pop them in the toaster.

© Julia Briggs for use by ETS, all rights reserved

© Julia Briggs for use by ETS, all rights reserved

If you are going to eat them with a sweet topping then you can increase the sugar to 1 tablespoon.

~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.

One of the benefits of tea is that it can be paired with many foods. Scones are just the tip of the iceberg. There are cakes, cookies (or biscuits), sandwiches, and today’s topic, crumpets. You can either purchase them or make them yourself at home.

You may be surprised to find that crumpets are not actually baked. They’re cooked on a griddle, usually cast iron, although some people like myself don’t own one, so a regular griddle is just fine. Crumpets originated back in the Anglo-Saxon times, and they were much different than the ones we are used to now. They were originally made with buckwheat flour and they were hard pancakes cooked on the griddle. The well-known holes on top were added thanks to extra baking powder by crumpet makers from the British Midlands and London.

In the modern times, the recipe itself is very easy, just preparing and cooking them takes a bit of time. Crumpets are commonly made with flour, milk, salt, and yeast. The trick is HOW to prepare it just right! The first time I made crumpets, I read a recipe online and it called for something called “crumpet rings” or washed out tuna cans (tins). The tuna cans were out of the question for me because I don’t like canned tuna. So I went about and tried to use cookie cutters. The ones I used, red and pink hearts, did NOT make good crumpet rings. They turned the sides of my “crumpets” pink so I had to throw them away and I just had to wing the rest of the batter. They ended up looking like little blobby pancakes.

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photo courtesy King Arthur Flour

The second time, I actually ordered the crumpet rings online and used them. I had a MUCH easier time working with these. I simply used kitchen tongs to lift them off on the griddle and just flipped them! They came out PERFECTLY! I made a lot of them and my sisters, niece, and nephews like them although my sisters called them pancakes anyway, so they ate them with syrup (icky, maple syrup. I am the weirdest. I DO NOT like syrup. I WILL eat my pancakes dry). I, on the other hand, spread some Hartley’s Blackcurrant Jam, one of my favorite jams, on it and it was delicious! A nice cup of Yorkshire Tea by Taylors of Harrogate also makes a great pairing with this tasty bite.

I like to make some crumpets during the colder months because it gives me a nice cozy feeling. Unfortunately, I can’t enjoy crumpets when I’m the only person in the family who eats them. It’s very hard to live in a house where eyebrows are raised when trying to introduce new foods and traditions from other countries.

Did you know? If you find crumpets in New Zealand and Australia, you will notice they are square. That is because they’re made to fit the standard toaster.

~CD

Note from your editor – Julia will be presenting her Crumpet recipe this Wednesday!

jollyingIn the ceramics world, jolleying is a method of shaping the inside of a plate or pot – the inner shape of the ware is made with a cutting material (metal or rigid plastic), and the clay is placed on the pottery wheel. As the clay spins, the cutters shave and shape the ware. In this case, into a Brown Betty. It is very similar to hand-throwing a pot and using your left hand to hold the pot centered and your right hand to create the depths of the pot by pressing down against the wheel and out against your left hand. Your right hand is acting as the jolley (your left hand is doing the jiggering but that’s another topic altogether!). Originally the Brown Betty was made this way and the spout attached separately. Because there is shrinkage during the firing of the clay, creating a lid that nests properly can be a challenge if the thickness of the walls of either the pot or the lid is not standardized.

mouldCurrently, the Brown Betty employs the slip casting method. Not only does this take less time, but it offers more consistent and precise results. The spout is an integral part of the pot, making it sturdier.20150227_082316 Slip casting involves creating the mould, mixing the original red terra cotta clay with the secret ingredients to make the Brown Betty “slip,” smoothing the unfired pot, firing the pot to set the clay, dipping in the secret-ingredient glaze, wiping the excess to give you that plain little ring on the underside of the teapot that I love, and refiring to set it all for generations to come. The lid has a mould that allows the finished lid and pot to settle into one another perfectly.

kilnMy first degree was in art, and I have taken ceramics classes. I know how to fire, how to wedge the slip by hand, and how much damage a mechanized pottery wheel does after a night of partying when you aren’t paying attention. Ask my friend Raychel. :) I also believe that hand-throwing a pot adds sensuality and uniqueness to a piece, which is invaluable if the recipient is connected to the potter, or wants a unique piece with unique blemishes and characteristics. If the recipient wants a piece (s)he can count on to be of a certain standard, size, durability, and thickness for heat transfer without relying on the whims of the wheel, slip casting is the way to go.

~Your editor

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

I have a dentist appointment coming up and the receptionist always telephones beforehand to remind me about it and put her order in for cake or biscuits! So it was Emma’s turn this time and she wanted coconut macaroons which I have not made for years but I have not forgotten the recipe. The only problem was finding edible rice paper to cook them on! I did not find any locally but I have to order some online. In the meantime I have used some greased baking parchment to stop the macaroons sticking to the paper. If they stick to the paper you end up with a cup shaped biscuit and the inside of the biscuit left on the paper!  You will need:

3 egg whites (I know egg white again!)
10 oz Caster Sugar
10 oz ground almonds or desiccated coconut or a mixture of both which is what I do
2 dessertspoons of cornstarch
a few drops of almond essence

Oven at 160 C Fan oven  or 180 C /350 F electric,  or gas mark 4.

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

If you have rice paper then line your baking sheets with it if not grease well baking parchment and use to line the baking sheet.

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

Whisk the egg white lightly then add half the sugar and continue whisking. Then with a spoon stir in the remaining sugar, ground almonds, coconut, cornstarch and almond essence, mix to a soft dropping consistency. If you use large eggs then you may need extra ground almonds. With wet hands take spoonfuls of the mixture and roll into balls and place on the paper. Flatten down a little but leave some space for expansion although they do come apart when cooked.

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

You can make them any size you like but this amount of mixture should make about 20 medium sized ones or a dozen large ones.  Bake for 20 mins until pale brown. spread out and cracked on top.  Allow to cool before lifting onto a cooling rack.  If you have used rice paper then cut round the macaroons before lifting them on to the cooling rack.  These are, of course, very sweet and a fairly strong black Assam tea would work best with these.

~JB

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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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