IcedTeaDid you know that June is Iced Tea Month in the United States? While millions of people drink it all year long, it is widely celebrated during this early summer month on June 10th. It’s a good time, too, since iced tea is a very popular drink among Americans, especially in the summer months! About 80 to 85 percent of tea that is consumed in the United States is taken iced. While my palate is adapted to the British style of tea, who could blame my fellow Americans for liking iced tea? It’s refreshing, especially since a large amount of the U.S. is overrun by humidity during the summer months. Iced tea is dated all the way back to at least the 19th century, however, it was not made popular until the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri.

The best thing about iced tea is that just about anyone can make it! You can make it to however you fancy. You could take it sweetened or unsweetened, add a bit of lemon, or garnish it with a nice piece of fruit. While iced teas consumed in the U.S. are usually ready to drink, many use teabags to make it themselves. However, another method of iced tea brewing is growing in popularity. The Keurig brewing system is already synonymous with coffeTEATTWN1000028259_-00_Twinings-Pomegranate-and-Raspberry-Iced-Tea-K-Cups-12-counte brewing and many are using it to brew iced coffee.

With more households owning Keurig brewers, many of the owners like tea. So to settle the growing demand, many tea companies began to make k-cup versions of their teas. Twinings has recently made some delicious varieties like:

Prefer a simple black tea? Not to worry! There’s a pure black tea as well!

If you still prefer to make it the old-fashioned way, there’s always the regular Twinings TeabagsShangri La which steeps a total of 12 quarts per packet, or even our English Tea Store brand. I have previously mentioned Lady Londonderry as one of my personal favorites since it tastes tsl5059d_pjg_-00_iced-tea-by-shangri-la-organic-tropic-green-brew-bagslike summer, with notes of strawberry and lemon in there. If caffeine is not your fancy, then the Casablanca is a brilliant tea that goes well iced! A bright red color when brewed, it is not too strongly scented before it is brewed. Once you taste it, it is a light fruit medley. Great for kids, too!

Iced Tea Day is a great day to kick off a summer of iced tea, picnics, and barbecues. Bring family and friends around for a nice cup or pitcher of iced tea and watch some fireworks. Happy summer!

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

Are your cakes always sad in the middle? Do you despair of making a good cake that rises? Well fear not, this cake is supposed to be sad in the middle and it never rises  that much either! On the other hand it does taste delicious whether hot or cold!

 

 

 

 

You will need:

Oven 180 C, 350 F or gas mark 4

4 oz butter
3 oz golden or soft brown sugar
2 eggs
5 oz Self Raising Flour
A few drops of Vanilla essence

Approx two or three tablespoons of runny honey.

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

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, add the vanilla essence and then the eggs and one spoonful of flour with each egg. Fold in the flour and the honey until well mixed and put the mixture into a greased 1lb loaf tin and bake for 35-40 mins until firm. Allow to cool on a wire rack and enjoy a small piece whilst slightly warm with a cup of strong Ceylon tea to counterbalance the sweet.

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

Back in the 1970’s when we held dinner parties they all seemed to consist of prawn cocktail for starters and Black Forest Gateau for dessert (At least the main course was usually different!)! I, personally, never liked Black Forest Gateau because I am not keen on sickly chocolate but my daughter, Nicola, loves chocolate. In fact anything sweet and sickly is fine by her, so, this week I made a chocolate cake that resembles a Black Forest Gateau and some chocolate buns. Some of the chocolate cake will be going to the dentist because Nicola has an appointment this week but there should be plenty left for her. But there are a lot of recipes out there for chocolate cakes and this is one I have used for some time now. The main problem with chocolate cake is the dryness so I use golden syrup to counteract that. You will need:

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

Oven 180 C, 350 F, Gas Mark 4

An 8″ sandwich tin greased or lined.

6 oz Butter
6 oz Caster Sugar
3 eggs
6 oz Self Raising Flour
2 oz Cocoa Powder
2 tablespoons Golden Syrup
a few drops of Vanilla essence

Cream the butter with the sugar and add the eggs separately with a spoonful of flour, then beat in the golden syrup and Vanilla essence. Fold in the flour and cocoa in a figure of eight motion and pour the mixture into your prepared tin.  Bake for approx 35 mins. Test by pressing your fingers on the top or use a cake tester. Leave in the tin for a few minutes and then place on a wire rack to cool.

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

For the fudge icing you will need:

4 oz butter
4 tablespoons of Milk
4 tablespoons soft Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons of golden syrup or black treacle
1 lb Icing Sugar
2 oz Cocoa Powder

You will also need half a jar of black Cherry jam.

This amount will sandwich a cake together and coat the top and sides. Melt the butter, milk, sugar and treacle and beat in the icing sugar and cocoa. Allow to cool slightly.

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

Slice the cake into two and spread the bottom half with black cherry jam and the top half with the fudge. Sandwich together. Use the rest of the fudge to cover the sides and top of the cake. Decorate the top with whatever you have, I used chocolate chips and small marshmallows. This is good for an afternoon tea.

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

If you want to make some buns as well you can use a 6 inch cake tin and a six bun tray or make more mixture, 8 oz of butter etc., instead of 6.

Quick Blurb: Sencha is Japan’s most popular type of tea.

Sencha is traditionally a Japanese green tea that is made from leaves of the Japanese tea bush. In recent years, Sencha teas have been known to be produced in China, South Korea, and other countries. In 1740, a Kyoto tea master named Soen Nagatani developed the method of steam processing green leaf resulting in a superb, fresh flavorful cup.

When Sencha is brewed it has a vibrant yellow color and light aroma. The taste can be described as both bitter and sweet – making this tea a very unique experience.

Health Benefits:

  • Fights against free radicals in the bodyTOLSLL_GRNSJP_-Sencha-Japanese-Green-Tea-loose-leaf-tea
  • Antioxidants can aid in preventing coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis
  • Absorbs extra cholesterol in the body
  • Can control blood sugar levels
  • Beneficial to the immune system
  • Helps aid osteoporosis
  • Burns calories and can help during weight loss
  • Helps retain youthful skin and reduce wrinkles by hydrating
  • Repairs damaged or inflamed skin
  • Natural relief for sore throat or cough
  • Tea extract can be used for aromatherapy

Caffeine Content: LOW

This tea contains natural caffeine found in the L.Camellia Sinensis family. A cup of green tea steeped in boiled water for 5 minutes will contain between 22-29 milligrams of caffeine. An equal sized cup of coffee will contains 80-100 milligrams of caffeine. Caffeine quickly becomes soluble in very hot water. If you want to reduce the caffeine level in this tea, briefly rinse the tea leaves in extremely hot water. The caffeine content will reduce 25-50% – this may have a minor effect on the taste of the tea.

Antioxidant Content: 7.5 -9.99% polyphenols by dry weight. The longer you steep your tea the more polyphenols will be extracted. Polyphenol percentages may fluctuate with lot, grade of tea, testing method, temperature of water, and freshness of tea. More antioxidants are extracted from tea the longer it is brewed. The more that the tea is used the greater the antioxidant benefits.

During the month of June, try Sencha Japanese Green Tea at 15% off the original price! It’s available in loose leaf or bags.

Nothing provides more of a unique, delicious taste sensation than Huckleberry Tea. Huckleberries, similar to blueberries, grow wild in the mountainous regions of the Pacific Northwest. Huckleberries grow on a 16″ shrub and are less than 5mm in diameter and contain 10 large seeds. Huckleberry tea is described as a very deep, fruity flavor that is terrific hot or over ice. We have received suggestions to add a little honey in with your huckleberry tea – which provides a smoother taste and brings out the taste of the berry itself.

The Benefits of Eating Huckleberries

Studies have rated huckleberries as number 1 in antioxidant activity when compared to 40 other fruits and vegetables. Huckleberries can aid the pancreas in digesting sugars and starches and since the berries are high in iron, they help build blood.

Provide Protection Against:huckleberry-plant

  • High Cholesterol
  • Running Sores
  • Skin Disorders
  • Eczema
  • Heart Disease
  • Muscular Degeneration
  • Glaucoma
  • Varicose Veins
  • Peptic Ulcers
  • Free Radicals
  • Premature Skin Wrinkling
  • Infections

This tea is perfect for someone who has poor digestion and/or issues with sugar and starch absorption. Huckleberries are also used in jams, pies, cobblers, and preserves.

During the month of June try our Huckleberry Tea at 15% Off! Click here.

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

This is a cake you can eat as a pudding hot from the oven with cream or custard or leave it to cool and have a piece with a nice cup of Hawaiian Colada Rooibos tea. You will need for the cake:

Oven 180 C, 350 F or Gas mark 4

4 oz butter
4 oz sugar
4 oz Self Raising flour
2 eggs.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy then add the eggs one at a time with a tablespoon of flour with each egg to stop the mixture curdling. Fold in the flour. Now for the fruit part.

Four drained pineapple rings (fresh or from a tin will do)
1 oz butter
2 oz demerara sugar
a little honey and some glace cherries, halved.

Melt the butter and stir in the sugar and honey, spread over the base of an eight inch sandwich tin and arrange the pineapple slices and the glace cherries, shiny side down, in the tin carefully. Very carefully spoon the cake mixture on to the top of the pineapple slices and smooth the top. Bake for 30-35 mins until golden and firm to the touch. Turn out onto a warm serving dish if using as a pudding or a plate if you want a cake. Whatever you use it for make sure you turn it out carefully and cleanly and your fruit will be on top and your cake will be underneath!

~JB

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

Sometimes one does not want something sweet with a cup of tea but something savoury but the question is what? I came up with a little ‘biscuit’ type thing after seeing a recipe for a cocktail nibble which was not quite what I was looking for. Now I know some of you are very fond of chocolate and all things nice but there may be some people out there who are looking for a nice savoury snack to have with a cuppa so here goes, my tomato and cheese whirls.

Oven 200 C 400 F or gas mark 6

8 oz rough puff pastry
approx 10 cherry tomatoes or 4 thinly sliced bigger tomatoes
approx 4 oz Cheddar cheese sliced.
a beaten egg.

Either make a quantity of rough puff pastry or use some frozen but thawed puff pastry. (We used rough puff pastry for the mince pies if you remember) If you are making your own then sift 8 oz plain flour with a pinch of salt into a bowl and add 5 oz butter cut into very small pieces and stir and chop. Mix to a stiff dough with approx 4 fluid oz of very cold water and turn out onto a floured worktop. Roll into a rectangle then fold down the top and fold up the bottom, turn a quarter turn and roll out again. Do this three more times then leave to rest for 15 mins.

Roll out your pastry quite thinly into an oblong about 18 inches by 14 inches. With the short sides to top and bottom,  spread the pastry with softened butter. Put slices of fresh tomatoes or halves of cherry tomatoes on top of the butter, I used ten cherry tomatoes cut in half. Thinly slice some strong Cheddar cheese and lay on top of the tomatoes.  Leave a one inch gap in the middle of your pastry and brush this with beaten egg, then roll down from the top to the gap and up from the bottom to the gap until they almost meet. Wrap in cling film and pop into the freezer for about half an hour. After 30 mins remove from freezer and place the roll onto a floured worktop. Cut through the centre strip to separate and slice the roll into approx half an inch slices and put onto a lined baking sheet and brush with beaten egg. Cook for about 10-15 mins until golden brown. Sprinkle with more grated cheese when they are cooked and leave to cool. They are good served immediately warm from the oven or cold the next day. If you want you can freeze one half and cook it another day.  Depending on the thickness you can make about 20 – 30 whirls with these quantities.

This is a very versatile recipe and you can use lots of different things if you want to; for instance, parsley or other herbs, black pepper or bacon cut into very small pieces. You can also drizzle olive oil on top before baking instead of the beaten egg. It is a good recipe to experiment with!  Enjoy!

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(c) Janelle Vesely for use by The English Tea Store. All rights reserved.

Bridges of Hope held their first annual Afternoon Tea for Hope on Sunday, May 3rd in Nisswa, MN. The event was attended by more than 115 guests and more than 25 volunteers, including Nisswa fire fighters.

Bridges of Hope is a 501c3 nonprofit serving the Brainerd Lakes Area whose mission is to build bridges of support, anchored in love, between families in the Lakes Area and the community assets that can help them thrive and gain hope. Bridges accomplishes this mission through a variety of preventative programming. To learn more, visit their website.

The Nisswa firemen served guests tea while they enjoyed savory snacks and desserts. Music was shared by students from the Theresa Kingsley School of Music. Each guest received a gift from local businesses, participated in a silent auction, took a chance at the Tea Tree game, & snapped photos of their Tea attire in the photo booth.

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(c) Janelle Vesely for use by The English Tea Store. All rights reserved.

The décor at the event was breathtaking thanks to the English Tea Store and many others.

The event raised just over $10,000, which was the goal for the day. These funds will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Mardag Foundation and will benefit Bridges of Hope’s Side by Side Mentoring Program for women.

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(c) Janelle Vesely for use by The English Tea Store. All rights reserved.

Jana Shogren, Bridges of Hope Executive Director, stated, “We are thrilled with the outpouring of support for this first-time event. It went even better than expected and a great time was had by everyone in attendance.”

The first discounted tea this month is our Keemun Panda, in bags or loose leaf. Keeman is written in traditional Chinese like this: 祁門紅茶, and pronounced chee-MEN. It brews into a vibrant red with smoky and chocolately hints.fdd332ef6296e4d34ac74234d63ebb71

Of all the China black teas available, Keemun Panda is probably one of the best known. Keemun is one of the congou-type teas meaning it requires a great deal of gongfu (disciplined skill) to make into fine taut strips without breaking the leaves. Interestingly, the characters in the written Chinese script for time and labor are the same as those used for ‘gongfu.’ It is often said that a properly produced Keemun, such as Panda, is one of the finest teas in the world with a complex aromatic and penetrating character often compared to burgundy wines. Traditionally, Keemuns were used in English Breakfast tea. Keemun is one the best-keeping black teas. Fine specimens will keep for years if stored properly, and take on a mellow winey character.

The name Keemun comes from Qimen county in southern Anhui province where almost all the mountains are covered with tea bushes. Qimen county produced only green tea until the mid 1870’s. Around that time a young man in the civil service lost his job. Despite being totally heartbroken and completely embarrassed by his shame, he remembered what his father told him: “A skill is a better guarantor of a living than precarious officialdom.” In America we would say, “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime.” Following this advice, the young man packed up his courage and his bags to travel to Fujian Province to learn the secrets of black tea manufacturing. Upon his return to Qimen in 1875, he set up three factories to produce black tea. The black tea method was perfectly suited to the tea leaves produced in this warm, moist climate with well drained sandy soil. Before long, the superb flavor of Keemuns became very popular around the world.

If you haven’t tried our exquisite Keemun Panda tea, now is the perfect time, with 15% off through the month of May only.

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

Fruit pies are one of my favourite desserts and go very nicely with a cup of tea. I made an apple pie yesterday but you can use any fruit you like, be it tinned or fresh. If you are using fresh fruit then you may need to sweeten and cook the fruit first. If using tinned, the fruit is very often not only sweetened for you but also partly cooked. You can use shortcrust or rough puff pastry for fruit pies and you can make it yourself or buy it already made. If you are using frozen ready-made pastry remember to take it out of the freezer well before you start, or if using chilled then take it out about 30 mins before. So cut the pastry in half, roll out one half, lay that on a pie plate, add the tinned or fresh fruit, roll out the other half and use to cover the fruit, having wet the edges of the pastry before squeezing them together. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with caster sugar and bake for 20 mins in a hot oven until golden brown and serve with fresh cream or custard.

If, on the other hand, you want to do everything yourself from scratch with rough puff pastry and fresh apples, then you will need:

8 oz plain flour
pinch of salt
5 oz butter
approx 4 fluid ounces of very cold water to mix.

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

Sift the flour into a bowl with the salt, cut the butter into small pieces and add to the bowl, using a knife only stir together (do not rub in) and then mix to a stiff dough with the water. Roll the pastry out on a floured board to a rectangle then fold into three and turn a quarter turn so an open end is facing you. Roll out again to a rectangle. Do this folding and rolling and turning a nother three times making sure you roll away from you each time. This puts plenty of air into your pastry. Wrap the pastry in cling film and refrigerate for 20 mins. Meanwhile prepare your fruit by peeling and coring the apples, slice or dice and cook for 2 mins in the microwave or on the hob. Add sugar to taste. Choose a suitable pie plate and roll out half of your rough puff pastry to fit, sprinkle the base with a little flour and then put your apples in. Roll out the remaining pastry to fit over the apples and dampen the edges of the base with some water, lay on the top crust and mould to fit around your fruit.  Using a knife knock up the two edges of your pastry and then make little cuts from the edges towards the middle of the pie on this crust. Cut some air vents in the top or use a fork to prick the whole top of the pie, brush with beaten egg or milk  and then sprinkle with caster sugar. Bake in a very hot oven, 230C, 450F or gas mark 8 for 10-15 mins and then reduce the temperature to 190C, 375F or gas mark 5 for another 10 mins until golden brown. Serve either hot from the oven or leave to cool with cream or hot custard.

There you have it, either the easy way or the hard way I am sure your pie will taste delicious!

~JB

Editor’s note: to counterbalance the sweet in this treat, we recommend a plain, hearty black tea to partner.

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