Time to start bringing out the shamrocks, green decorations, and traditional Irish recipes (Irish soda bread, anyone?), it’s St. Patrick’s Day once again! In the US, people wear green, go to pubs, TEACKCK1000016781_-00_ONeils-Shortbread-Petticoat-Tails.4.4ozattend parades, and make corned beef and cabbage. In Northern Ireland and Ireland, it’s an entirely different story. It’s a public holiday in Ireland, so schools, banks, and government offices are closed so people could observe the holiday. Many Irish people attend mass in churches in their best clothes and then go home to eat a feast of bacon and cabbage. They like to pair it with a some mustard and parsley sauce, too!

St. Patrick’s Day came to be due to the fact that Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. He was known for bringing Christianity to Ireland and apparently died on March 17th. He was actually born in Great Britain but spent more of his time in Ireland.

FCC_SFB_LEPO_-00_Sticky-Fingers-Scone-Mix-Lemon-Poppyseed-15ozSo how do you like to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Want to do it the Irish way? You can with our great range of products from Ireland. We have our teas straight from Ireland like Barry’s, Bewley’s, and Lyon’s teas to enjoy with some tasty O’Neill’s shortbreads, in petticoat tails or fingers. Not much of a shortbread fan? No worries, we have tea cakes and lemon puffs from Boland’s. Don’t forget the scones! Children in Northern Ireland and Ireland celebrate by having sweets, so Chewits are a must! Cadbury is also eaten there and like it’s neighbor Great Britain, they enjoy their delicious chocolate!

The US has a strong reputation of celebrating heritage and tradition, and what better way to celebrate than food? Tell us how you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

-CD

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(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

Chocolate cake again?  You ask.  Well there are a number of recipes for chocolate but this one is a favourite of my dentist and we had an appointment the other day.  The dental nurses had given up chocolate for Lent but cocoa powder is not chocolate so the opinion was that a chocolate cake made with cocoa powder was okay to be eaten in Lent.  This particular chocolate cake is quite moist and has a chocolate cream cheesy topping.

Oven 180 C  350 F  gas mark  4  A greased 7″ cake tin.

  • 4 oz butter
  • 4 oz Caster Sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • 4 oz self raising flour
  • 1 oz cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Whisk the softened butter and sugar together until light and fluffy then add the eggs and golden syrup, stir in the flour and cocoa powder and finally the milk.  This will be more of a batter than a normal cake mixture.  Pour into the tin and bake for 20-25 minutes until firm to the touch.

Leave to cool in the tin then turn out onto a wire rack and leave until cold.  When cold slice the cake in half and spread the bottom layer of cake with a jam of your choice. Then make the filling and topping with:

  • 3 oz sifted icing sugar
  • 2 oz sifted cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons  cream cheese
  • 2 oz butter
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(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

Mix all the ingredients together and spread about half onto the underside of the top layer of cake.  Then sandwich the cake together and spread the remaining filling on the top of the cake.  If it is not Lent then you can drizzle some melted real chocolate on top.  Unfortunately this cake does not keep well so eat as soon as possible with a nice cup of tea.

-JAB

 

 

 

 

Welcome back to our Tea of the Month! For the month of March 2016, we are featuring assam teas. It is a dark, full bodied tea that is grown in the well known Indian region of Assam. The tea is known for it’s malty flavor and is excellent with milk and sugar, or good without, hot or cold. We carry them in teabags or looseleaf.

Excited for spring? We have our raspberry teas on sale this month, also in teabags and looseleaf. This tea is a Ceylon tea with just a hint of fruity raspberry. Try with a little sweetener either hot or iced!

Or can’t decide on one tea to try? We always have our samplers! This month’s featured sampler is “A Taste of Tea”. Five sample bags of pre-selected teatobp1000023568_-00_black_taste-of-tea-group_tea-sample-tea-bags-a-taste-of-tea-samplerfavorites-Regular Earl Grey, Chamomile Herbal, Sencha Kyoto Cherry Rose Festival, Irish Breakfast, and Margaret’s Hope Darjeeling-are all packed into one great price.

And once the snow melts, there will be flowers and where there are flowers, there will be bees, which bring honey! We have our English Tea Store honey sticks, in packs of 20 (or if you really love honey, we also have select flavored honey sticks in packs of 100). Add some of natural, sweet honey flavor to your English Breakfast or green tea. This month’s selected flavors are Peach and Lemon.

There are more products in the Tea of the Month page, updating every month! Come check it out!

-CD

 

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(c) English Tea Store – Julia Briggs

When the local Church has a sale or a fete they always ask, ‘any cake donated will be greatly appreciated’  I usually make a Victoria sponge, but sometimes I make this tray bake Almond Slice.  It is always popular.

 

 

 

You will need:

4 oz sweet short crust pastry (4 oz flour 2 oz butter 2 oz sugar and a little cold water)

Filling:

  • Jam of your choice
  • 3 oz butter
  • 3 oz caster sugar
  • 4 oz ground almonds
  • 2 oz ground rice or rice flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 oz flaked almonds
  • Oven 190 C  375 F  Gas Mark 5
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(c) English Tea Store – Julia Briggs

There is no need to pre-bake the pastry case, it will cook along with the filling.  Make your pastry and roll out to fit a 7 inch square tin, spread the base with jam, slightly warmed to make it spread better.  Now make the filling by creaming the butter and sugar together, then add the egg.  Add the ground almonds and ground rice and mix well.  Spread this over the jam and sprinkle the flaked almonds on top.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until firm to the touch,  Allow to cool in the tin then cut into fingers.  Enjoy with a nice cup of tea.

-JAB

I admit that in recent years, I began to hear a lot more about the country of Wales. It is located just southwest of Great Britain and while a majority of the nation speaks English, Wales has a language of its own (Welsh). The country even has several tea companies like Glengettie tea, Murroughs Welsh Brew, and a Prince of Wales Blend.

I’m bringing up Wales today because of an upcoming holiday. Saint David’s Day, or Dydd Gwŷl Dewi (Sant) hapus in Welsh, falls every year on March 1st and is a celebration of Wales’ patron saint, Saint David. March 1st was chosen as the day because Saint David died on this day in (estimated) 589 A.D.. It was believed that he had gone on a pilgrimage all the way to Jerusalem where he became an archbishop. He founded his own cathedral, the St. David’s Cathedral, to which people began to attend to because they heard many miracles have happened when he was around (like making the ground rise underneath him).  The cathedral still has millions of visitors each year!

Every year on St. David’s Day, there are parades in Wales, especially in the major city of Cardiff, where many Welsh residents wear either a daffodil or a leek. Daffodils and leeks are Wales’ national emblems as the Battle of the Saxons were won in a field of leeks (now that think I think about it, ever heard of a welsh onion?). Songs, concerts, and even the Welsh national anthem, are all sung on this day.

Happy Saint David’s Day!

-CD

Dish towels, dish rags, kitchen towels, or tea towels but either way, they all have the same function and everyone seems to have at least one. If you have one of these little cloths, you might have a different idea of how to use them. Tea towels are usually made of terrycloth, the same material that is used for regular towels. Sometimes they come in plain colors or have designs on them. They are often times bought as souvenirs or used for expression, like showing one’s patriotism for their country.

Tea towels were originally used in the 18th Century during the Victorian era to dry or clean their expensive pieces of china and silverware. The ladies who used these tea towels would use these themselves as they did not want to run the risk of their house staff breaking them. People to this day still use tea towels for cleaning china, mugs, dishes, or counter tops, but there are now more uses for them.

Here are few uses for tea towels:

  • Cover up freshly baked scones or other baked goodies to keep them warm!
  • Dampen up the towel with water and cover up bread dough so it can rise in a warm place. It helps keep the bread dough moist so it will help it rise.
  • Makeshift tea cosy (but be very careful!)
  • Frame them! Sometimes you may find a tea towel you love so much but you don’t want anything to happen to it! It’s also a great way to display them in your home/office/work.
  • Cleaning rag-if it’s an old tea towel, sometimes they can be used to wipe down stoves, counter tops, or other household items. Recently my niece used an old one to clean her bike!

How do you use tea towels? Let us know, we’d love to hear it!

-CD

 

Smack dab in the middle of winter, it’s hard to keep up hope for Spring. Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and the excitement has sadly worn off from it. With all the winter storms and blizzards coming and going, the world outside the window becomes white and colorless and the only reason to come outside is to dig yourself out of the snow.

When I visited my fiance in January 2016, we were hit by Winter Storm Jonas out on the East Coast of the United States. It was my first ever blizzard, being a California girl. For me, it was fascinating to watch the wind blow the snow that was falling but the aftermath was just atrocious! But during the storm, all I had to enjoy was my Yorkshire Tea, which I thankfully packed from home. While I love my Yorkshire, it got to be very boring when it was all the tea I had to drink while being snowed in since I love variety. Since I was away from home, I did not have access to my tea collection from home, which has green, white, herbal, and rooibos teas along with black.

Here are some good teas to help get you through a blustery blizzard:

tolsl16_orgcher_-00_bulk-loose-tea-organic-sencha-kyoto-cherry-rose-festival-green-tea-16ozOrganic Sencha Kyoto Cherry Rose Festival Green Tea -This green tea, which is most often used during Japanese tea ceremonies, is flavored with sweet Montmorency Cherries. The taste is light, fruity, and smooth and can be enjoyed iced or hot. The caffeine content of this tea is low and is considered to be a good source of antioxidants This tea is sold in loose leaf form.

French Blend Tea – This one is truly a treat. If you want to escape or just have something a bit different but still enjoy black tea, then this one is just right. This tea is inspired by Britain’s neighbor, France, it is fragrantly noted by Earl Grey, Lavender, and Jasmine, while blended with Ceylon, Nilgiris, Assams, and Kenya tea. The lavender in this tea is from Provence along witTOLSLL_GRNLIS_-Long-Island-Strawberry-green-loose-leaf-teah some beautiful rose petals to add its romantic charm. The color when brewed is a nice, rosy color, helping to make you blush!

Long Island Strawberry Green TeaFinally, to help make you think of more summery days, this tea has summer written all over it. Another one of our Sencha green teas, this tea is grown in the Hunan Province of China. Strawberry is not only the key fruit but dried papaya pieces help boost it’s sunny flavor! Try it hot or iced with some strawberries in the glass!

These teas are also good pick-me-ups when you’re a weary traveler. I will know next time I head out on a trip (or as the British say, on holiday), to pack more types and flavors of tea!

-CD

IMG_57671This is one of my all time favorites, my Mum used to make it and it was eaten in minutes!  There is a good contrast between the tangy lemon and the sweet meringue if you use a large lemon.

 

 

 

You will need:

  • 4 oz sweet short crust pastry

For the filling:

  • 3 eggs separated
  • 4 oz caster sugar
  • 1 lemon, juice and grated rind
  • 1/4 pint boiling water
  • 1 oz cornflour

4 oz caster sugar is also needed for the meringue topping using the egg whites

Make your sweet short crust pastry with:

  • 4 oz plain flour
  • 2 oz butter
  • 2 oz caster sugar
  • a little cold water

Start by rubbing the butter into the flour, adding the sugar and mixing well with a little cold water.  Roll out the pastry and use to line a 7 inch flan case then bake blind for 10 minutes at 190 C, 375 F or gas mark 5.

Reduce the heat to 150 C, 300 F or gas mark 2 when the case is done.

Blend the cornflour with a little cold water. Meanwhile place egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and the grated rind of the lemon into a saucepan with thIMG_57712e boiling water and mix well.  Pour this onto the cornflour and return to the pan.  Bring to the boil, the mixture will thicken and then pour this mixture into the flan case.  Whisk briskly the egg whites until stiff and then gradually beat in the sugar.  Spread this over the lemon mixture and seal the edges.  Bake for about 20 minutes until crisp and golden brown on top.  Allow to cool in the flan tin before attempting to cut a slice!  Serve immediately with black tea.  Delicious!

– JAB

IMG_5682Just after Christmas I had a lot of bread left over so I decided to make a treacle tart which was a favorite at home when I was young but I have not tasted it in years.  I had some ready made pastry so it was an easy recipe to make.

You will need:

  • 8 oz  Short Crust Pastry
  • 10 oz  Golden Syrup or maple syrup
  • 4 oz soft white breadcrumbs
  • the grated rind and juice of  a lemon, if you have one
  • Oven 200 C  400 F  or gas mark 6

Roll out the pastry and use to line an 8 inch pie dish taking care not to stretch and break the pastry. Warm the syrup and mix with the breadcrumbs, adding the lemon juice and rind if using.IMG_5688

Allow to cool slightly before pouring into the pastry case and if you have any pastry left over use this to decorate the top.  Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes.

Be very careful taking this out of the oven and  leave to cool in the tin, the filling is very hot!  It is delicious served warm with custard or cream but also nice cold.  Either way you will need a cup of tea with this. – JAB

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(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

Now they say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach so let’s make some nice chocolate biscuits to offer him on St. Valentine’s day.

This recipe makes 20 biscuits and if you have a heart shaped biscuit cutter they will look very special.​

 

 

  • Oven 375 F  190 C  gas mark 5
  • Grease or line three baking sheets
  • 8 oz self raising flour
  • 4 oz caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 4 oz butter
  • 5 tablespoons of milk
  • A few drops of vanilla essence
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(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

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(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

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(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

Sift the flour with the cocoa powder and sugar and rub in the butter, then add the vanilla essence and milk and mix to a soft dough.  Knead lightly on a floured worktop and then roll out to about a quarter inch thick.  ​

Using a biscuit cutter cut out the biscuits and place on the baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes.  Keep rolling out the dough and cutting the biscuits until all the dough is finished.

 

Allow to cool slightly and then transfer onto a wire cooling rack.

Decorate either with chocolate icing, white icing or melted chocolate.  Arrange in a nice box and give with love. – JAB

 

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