ox-classic-custard-creams-040213-de__large

(c) Good Housekeeping UK

If you miss custard creams or just crave them, then you can make them yourself with a few simple ingredients from your pantry and a little custard powder. This recipe for custard cream cookies is from Good Housekeeping UK. I first made this recipe before I had a kitchen scale (more on this later).

US Standard

  • For the cookie:
  • 2 cups All Purpose (plain) flour, plus extra to dust
  • 6 dry tablespoons Bird’s custard powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/8 cup or 7 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • Filling
  • 1/3 cup (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup icing/powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp Bird’s custard powder

Or

Metric

  • 200 g (7oz) All purpose (plain) flour, plus extra to dust
  • 50 g (2oz) Bird’s custard powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 75 g (3oz) caster sugar
  • 125 g (4oz) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • For the Filling
  • 75 g (3oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 125 g (4oz) icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp Bird’s custard powder
  • For the biscuits, put the flour, custard powder, baking powder, sugar and butter into a food processor, or use a fork and mix until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Alternatively, rub the butter into the flour mixture using your fingertips.
  • Add the egg and milk and mix until the mixture just comes together. Tip onto a work surface, bring together with your hands, then wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 mins or up to 1 day.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out dough until 3mm (⅛in) thick. Cut it into an even number of 3cm x 4.5cm (1¼in x 1¾in) rectangles, re-rolling trimmings as needed. If you like, mark the rectangles with a diamond and a dot in each corner.
  • Put rectangles on prepared sheets and bake for 13-15 minutes until lightly golden. Cool on the sheet for 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, put the softened butter into a large bowl and sift over icing sugar and custard powder. Mix to combine (don’t add water as it needs to be fairly thick). Set aside.
  • When the biscuits are cool, sandwich together with some of the filling, using a knife, spatula, or a piping bag if you want a less messy finish.

2016-09-01

If you have seen an episode of the Great British Bake Off, you will notice some of the contestants explaining their ingredients. If you hear names like “caster sugar”, treacle, or “black treacle”, you may be familiar with it or it may leave you scratching your head, depending on which side of the pond you are from.

When I am not making or drinking tea, I am baking and I tend to bake A LOT. When I first started to bake British recipes, I noticed that in order to have the best results, British ingredients are the best. I tried to use American ingredients like granulated sugar in place of caster sugar and the difference is a huge one. The difference between caster sugar and granulated sugar is that caster sugar is much more fine than the granulated sugar. The crystals are much more easier to dissolve when being stirred in and baked. Demerara sugar is a much different story. Demerara is much more coarse than caster sugar and looks much similar to Turbinado sugar, a certain sugar that we in America see in a little brown packet. This sugar has a toffee/molasses-like flavor. Other popular sugars in the UK are Muscovado sugars. Much like the brown sugars we have here in the US, there are light and brown versions. Muscovado sugar is a naturally brown sugar while brown sugar has molasses added to it. Muscovado sugar usually gets its color from sugar cane juice

It is not just the traditional ingredients and flavors that the competitors have used. Contestants bring their own flavors from home, ones they or their family enjoy that bring them such sweet (or savory) memories. They have made their own flavors from simple fruits like Morello cherries to sweets like Pontefract Cakes, and even cola flavors. Some of these flavors are combined, such as mango, hazelnut, and rosemary and made into a sweet treat that you would not believe. These home cooks have such incredible skills that it is astonishing.

You can also add tea to your baking, wet or dry! Tea loaf cakes are a common bake in the UK, which involve actually BREWING tea, soaking dried fruits in it, and adding it to the batter! If you prefer to use dry tea leaves, Stash Tea has a recipe that you can use to make Earl Grey Tea Bag cookies!

-CD

I admit that summer is not my favorite season of the year. It’s too hot, too bright, and nearly everyone I know goes away on vacation. While I am stuck at home, there isn’t much to watch on TV, either. I’m stuck watching a bunch of reruns until they come back with new episodes…until late September or early October.

But for some, August is the best time of the year for television! Why? Because it’s The Great British Bake Off! Viewed by millions in the UK, it’s one of the most anticipated TV events of the year! In the US, the show is known as The Great British Baking Show. The premise of the show is to find the best amateur baker in all of Great Britain. At the beginning of each season, there are ten bakers who are to bake a Signature Challenge, a Technical Challenge, and a Showstopper Challenge. These are each judged on appearance and taste. The show is run for ten weeks, ten episodes, and each episode has a theme, like pastry, bread, or even gluten free. The bake-off takes place in a tent, most recently in Berkshire.

Watching this show inspires me to unleash my inner baker. Many of the recipes the competitors make all look so delicious and easy, but looks can be deceiving! I have tried for several years to make a perfect Victoria Sponge and it has been so difficult! It has taken a lot of training and patience! So, for the next few posts, I will explain how baking products are a bit different in the UK, baking temperatures, measuring, and more about the Great British Bake Off.

Put on the kettle, it’s going to be fun!

-CD

2016_Summer_Olympics_logo.svg

With the Olympics going on at the moment, it’s been quite a ride so far for the delegates over at Rio de Janeiro. History was made not just by America’s own Michael Phelps but some nations alone such as Fiji, who won their very first medals. Whether you support Team USA, Team GB, or any other team, celebrate them by toasting them with a lovely cup of tea. Not just with any tea, toast them with a cup of GOLD!

Not sure on which of our special teas to try? Here are a few good ones to get you started!

ttoh40b_ykg_-00_yorkshire-gold-tea-bags-40-countYorkshire Gold: Much like its standard counterpart, only a bit stronger. It has a malty taste thanks to a fine blend of teas from Africa, Sri Lanka, and India. It’s a perfect mate for your breakfast either black or with milk and sugar. Try it in loose leaf, too!

Typhoo Gold: Another fine brew, Typhoo Gold is a strong blend of Assam and African black tea leaves. This tea is also Rainforest Alliance Certified.

PG Tips Gold: This is the finest and the most indulgent cuppa that PG Tips has to offer from their range. A golden blend of Ceylon, Assam, and African teas are pressed to release their natural juices and create their bold and rich flavor. The teabags are pyramid shaped to allow more room for water to flow through and decrease the brewing time.

Barry’s Gold Tea: This Irish tea is a signature blend for Barry’s Tea. Their tea comes from the most luscious tea gardens of Rwanda, Kenya, and the tbry_gld40_barrys_tea_gold_blend_40ctAssam valleys of India and produces a lovely golden color. This tea is one of our must-try teas! We also carry it in loose leaf!

Lyons Gold: Another well known Irish brand of tea, this expertly blended mix of Ceylon, Assam, and Kenyan teas brings a rich, full bodied flavor to your teacup. Every box comes with 80 teabags but it may not last very long if this is your favorite!

Whether you have tried one or all of them or you simply like their regular brands better, have it with a little cake or cookies while watching your teams play. Don’t forget your flags!

For USA and other national flags, head over to our sister site,  http://www.united-states-flag.com/

 

-CD

 

footer_logo

You may have heard of Tazo teas a few years ago in certain coffee shops and proved to be very popular. We are happy to announce that their teas are now here at the English Tea Store! We currently carry 11 varieties of the Tazo brand tea. They range from simple teas like Earl Grey and Chamomile but if you are feeling more adventurous, you can try the less than traditional teas like Zen, Refresh, and my personal favorite, Passion!

Here’s more info if you want to check out the other flavors of Tazo!

Wild Sweet Orange – If you are looking for a caffeine free tea, this is one of Tazo’s many delicious options. This tea is an herbal infusion of licorice root, lemongrass, citrusy herbs, and a hint of orange essence, not to mention the sweet taste of orange peels. The sweet tea tops off with blackberry leaves and rose petals. It will help curb your citrus craving and let you feel mellow.

Green Ginger – If you’re a fan of both green tea AND ginger, then this tea is for you! Green ginger is a spicy mix of  ginger along with a hint of juicy, sweet pears and made with all-natural ingredients.

Organic Peachy Green – A blend of darjeeling green and black teas to help give you a nice pick-me-up along with a lovely peach flavor and a hint of cucumber. Try it iced for an amazingly refreshing summer drink!

Sweet Cinnamon Spice – With Autumn around the corner, I feel this tea is much more suitable for the upcoming dog days. This herbal infusion of spicy cinnamon and star anise will wake you up from the lazy days of summer!Tazocategory

Organic Chai – Chai is already popular with many, so why not try Tazo’s version? Robust and spicy, this exotic blend of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and black pepper to black tea will take you on a taste adventure. Try iced or hot with a bit of milk.

Passion – My personal favorite from the Tazo range. This sweet tea brews a beautiful pink color and is made with zesty orange peel, hibiscus, lemongrass, and rosehips, along with a luscious passion fruit taste. I enjoy this both iced and hot!

Refresh – Another favorite of mine, this tea really does live up to its name! Refresh is a mint tea blend of spearmint and peppermint leaves and a bit of tarragon. I like to add a little honey to my cup of Refresh to add a kick of sweet flavor! Did I mention this is caffeine free, too?

Try them and let us know how you like them!

-CD

 

IMG_20160723_0845101_rewindSummertime brings the best in food and drink, bringing sweet fruits, bountiful vegetables, and refreshing drinks. In the scorching hot summer heat, many of us love a nice, refreshing glass of iced tea. Perhaps you would like a bit of honey in it? But then there’s the issue of dealing with the mess of sticky honey!

That’s where the Nektar Honey Crystals come in. It is a sweet mixture of honey and cane sugar meant for times where you need just a bit of sweetness. They are small yellowIMG_20160723_0912131_rewind granules that come in an easy to pour bottle or in small packets, perfect for when you want to take your honey on the go. When you use a packet of honey, this is equivalent to one teaspoon of liquid honey, so it gets very sweet! Try it in green or black teas!

Uses for these crystals are not just for drinks but for food, as well! When I tried these for myself, I sprinkled some (well, a little too much) on my plain oatmeal and on my fruit for breakfast one morning. It really added a lovely flavor to my oatmeal and made my fruit taste even sweeter, kind of with a maple taste.

Other ideas for using these Nektar Honey Crystals are not limited to just breakfast food and tea, but to smoothies, baking, and even cooking savory foods! Add some crystals to a BBQ sauce or sprinkle some in with your seasonings for your steak rub. These are sure to please your taste buds and save you time.

-CD

 

 

You love your tea kettle. It is there for you when you are happy, sad, angry, or need a good pick-me-up. It brews the hot water for your tea, coffee, cocoa, and many other things to make that specialIMG_20160721_2217203_rewind drink for you. But sometimes, your tea kettle may need a bit of love and care itself.

Over time, your tea kettle may develop limescale, mineral deposits, and hard water residue. If you see any buildup in your tea kettle, whether it’s electric or standard stove top, don’t worry! It can easily be fixed with something that might be sitting right in your cupboard!

Ingredients:

  • White Vinegar
  • Water

Directions:

Warning: Be sure to UNPLUG your electric tea kettle and let it cool before cleaning! Safety is always a must when handling electric appliances.

IMG_20160721_2213418_rewindFor Electric Kettles:

  • Fill your kettle with equal parts (about 1 cup of both) white vinegar and water, then let it soak for about an hour.
  • Turn on the kettle and let the solution boil up until it’s at a rolling boil or the kettle shuts off. After that, pour out the solution and rinse thoroughly with water, about once or twice.
  • Fill with water and boil again to clear out the vinegar from the kettle. It should be ready to use once you have boiled water in it once or twice, to be safe.

For Range-Top Kettles:

  • Fill your kettle with equal parts (about 1 cup of both) white vinegar and water, then let it soak for about an hour.
  • Set the kettle onto the stove, turn it on, and let the kettle get to a rolling boil. Turn off the stove and pour out the solution. Rinse thoroughly with water, about once or twice. Like with the electric kettle, fill with water and boil about one or two times.
  • If there is still a little bit of residue left, try wiping with a damp sponge.

If you look at my pictures, I admit I did not wait an hour because I was too excited to try this experiment out and it did work on my Ovente kettle! So if your kettle is not brewing the best water for your tea and other drinks, try this method before going out and buying a special cleaner. It’s cheap and it’s a “life hack” that you have mastered.

before

Before Cleaning

after

After Cleaning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-CD

 

13501595_10154011667974667_4353913382421875901_n

(c) Crystal Derma – English Tea Store

We are in well into the beginning of summer and in the end of Iced Tea Month. The weather has already warmed up and many have switched from their standard hot tea to iced tea. Independence Day (also known as Fourth of July) is upon us and so many us of are either preparing for a big barbecue or are going to one. Others are just trying to escape the unbearable summer heat.

What other way to escape the heat than ice pops? What if I said you could use tea in your ice pops? It may sound crazy but it’s a very refreshing idea. You could use tea alone or you could add whatever else you want, like fruit or juice. All you simply need is a mold (and a few popsicle sticks if your ice mold is like mine). Simply brew your tea, any kind you like, and just let it cool. Once you are finished brewing and cooling, fill the molds so they don’t overflow and freeze. Every ice pop mold varies, so your ice mold may come with sticks or you may have to buy them separately. Once filled, freeze overnight for best results. To release from the molds, fill a bowl, pan, or container that is at least as tall as your mold with warm water and dip ice mold with pops in for about 20-30 seconds until the pops loosen. If you still have a bit of trouble getting them loose, dip them again. They should come out. Serve and enjoy!

For just a few of my flavors, I used a few flavors like Tangiers Lemon White Tea mixed with Lemonade, Pomegranate Hibiscus Green mixed with Pomegranate juice, Hawaiian Colada Rooibos with some fresh cut pineapple, and Bingo Blueberry with fresh cherries. It’s perfect for everyone, including children!

Bonus idea! Freeze tea so you can add it to your iced tea instead of plain ice without watering it down! Perfect for enjoying in the shade with family and friends or by the poolside.

-CD

 

national-iced-tea-month-june

If you have ever used a slow cooker to slow cook something, then you might know that slower is sometimes better. It’s wonderful for foods like beef stew or roasts. I love to slow cook something all day because the r20160608_085026esults are always worth it. The same goes with tea. Depending on the tea you’re brewing, sometimes it’s worth brewing it just a bit longer for a wonderful flavor.

This method applies with Sun Tea. What is Sun Tea? It is tea that has been brewed and left out in the sun for several hours. It is very easy to make.

All you need is about 3-5 teabags of your favorite tea (the most common used is Lipton but I used Yorkshire) or more, depending on how strong you like your tea, distilled or filtered water, and a large clear container with a lid.

 

 

 

  • Simply fill the container with water and add the teabags.
  • Take the container out to a sunny area, either indoors or outdoors, where it gets a lot of sun (or else it’s not sun tea!) and let it stand for about 2-4 hours.
  • Bring it out of the sun and chill in the refrigerator. Once chilled, add sweetener and ice to taste. Enjoy!

Sun Tea is the best during the summer because it puts the summer heat and sun to good use and “boils” the tea for you, saving energy and money on your gas and/or 20160614_151446electric bill. You won’t need to use a kettle so it doesn’t heat up your home. Try making some Sun Tea this summer. You will not be disappointed!

Tips:

  • Try making Sun Tea with other kinds of tea, like green or herbal.
  • Add fruit or herbs with the brew for a lovely flavor!

-CD

GraduationCongratulations to all of this year’s graduates! It’s graduation season and we’re currently at the peak of graduation season, at least in my state, California. Here in California, many schools graduate in June while many other states in the country graduate at an earlier date, in May. Many graduates range from Kindergarten to college and many other schools. The grads definitely deserve something for all the hard work they’ve put in over the years. Here are some possible gift ideas, especially if your grad is a tea lover:

Iced Tea: With summer approaching, what better gift to give than iced tea? Our range has a wide selection of teabags suitable for brewing and icing or specially made to be iced. We have our new English Tea Store iced range with varieties like peach black and raspberry black. Both teas are a lovely mix of Ceylon and black teas with just a hint of fruit flavor. If you’re not a fan of iced tea, you can also enjoy them hot, as well.

English Tea Store Samplers: If your tea loving graduate likes tea but doesn’t know which one to stick to, there’s always our sampler packs. Each sampler pack is 5-8 teabags of different flavors and the best part is many have a special theme. There’s a Summertime Sampler pack which tolsll_grnskc_1feature the best flavors of summer like lemon, raspberry, and even includes blends like Monk’s and the Highlander. Then there’s also the Tea With Friends Sampler which include China Jasmine Green and Ontario Breakfast. We also have loose leaf for those who prefer to brew with special teaware or not make any waste with tea bags by going green. The difference with the loose leaf is they are 1 ounce per bag and also vary in price, depending on the quantity of samples. The sample packs are seriously some of the best things we have!

Sweets: My niece graduated middle school and she absolutely loves sweets. I gave her some of her favorites and she was truly delighted to receive them. Your grad might love the same thing, especially with British candy like Cadbury or Kinder, which was one of my niece’s favorites. With summertime conventions coming up, Jelly Babies are some of the biggest British sweets currently sold in the US thanks to a certain time traveling man on TV and my fiance once dressed as a certain time traveling man in a big blue box for a convention we went to in Baltimore back in 2012 (the day the London Olympics started). If your grad is a big fan of this certain show, snag a bag because these go fast! And finally, toffee! If your grad has a sweet tooth or just likes toffee, Walkers makes the best around.

On behalf of the English Tea Store, I would like to congratulate all the grads of 2016!

 

-CD

Categories

Explore our content:

Find us on these sites:


Follow Us!     Like Us!     Follow Us!     Follow Us!     Plus 1 Us!
Follow Tea Blog on WordPress.com

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Tweet This!    add to del.icio.us    add to furl    digg this    stumble it!    add to simpy    seed the vine    add to reddit     post to facebook    technorati faves

Copyright Notice:

© 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.

Blog Affiliates

blogged
Bloglisting.net - The internets fastest growing blog directory

Networked Blogs

%d bloggers like this: