We all know and love Queen Elizabeth for her remarkable reign over Great Britain and the Commonwealth Realms. The world has watched her grow up from a graceful young princess to a strong and devoted Queen, leading her nation through the greatest and the most dreadful of times. On April 21, 2016, Queen Elizabeth II will reach yet another milestone: Her 90th birthday.

The Queen recently became the longest reigning monarch in 2015, ruling for over 63 years! Her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, has been by her side for her entire reign which began in 1952 after having been married since 1947. Not only is she a ruler of a kingdom but she’s also the ruler of a proud and growing family! She is the mother of four children, 8 grandchildren, and five great grandchildren as of this writing.

For her 90th birthday this year in 2016, it will go as normally planned with a few special additions. Her birthday is normally celebrated throughout the months of April, May, and June. For her official birthday on April 21st, the Queen usually spends her birthday in privacy but there are several gun salutes to mark the special day at noon. There are a few special engagements in April but in May, a major celebration will be held for the Queen. From May 12-15 will be celebrations every night featuring an over 90 minute joyous event that will celebrate her life, her love of horses, and her dedication to the Commonwealth and other international affairs. The event will feature over 900 horses and 1500 performers from all over the UK and the world! It will take place on the private grounds of Windsor Castle (this is the only the time the general public are allowed on the grounds) in a custom built arena! The Queen will attend on the final evening, May 15th.

In June, there will be more events marking the celebration. The Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, will also celebrate his 95th birthday on June 10th but on that day, there will be a special Thanksgiving service held in St. Paul’s Cathedral where invited guests will only be allowed. The next day is the Trooping of the Colour, which is known as the THE official celebration of the Queen’s birthday. A parade celebrating the Queen’s birthday is held, and she will stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, where many will try to catch a glimpse of her. On June 12, about 10,000 guests will attend the Patron’s Lunch at the Mall in London. This is to celebrate the many charities in which the Queen is patron of.

If you want to celebrate your own way, you can always enjoy a slice of cake or two, some scones with a bit of jam, or raise a cup of tea, possibly a good Buckingham Palace Garden Party, and enjoy it like how the Queen enjoys it: Milk, no sugar!

Happy Birthday, Your Majesty!

Here’s a bit of fun trivia about Queen Elizabeth for you:

  • Queen Elizabeth was affectionately called Lilibet by her family as a little girl.
  • She is a big fan of the Corgi dog. She has had over 30 of them as pets throughout her reign.
  • The Queen is an avid photographer, taking photos with her cameras over the decades. She has even photobombed someone’s selfie!
  • One big surprising fact about the Queen is that she served in the military during World War 2. She was 2nd Lieutenant Elizabeth Windsor. She even knows how to change spark plugs and flats tires (and the only member in the British Royal Family to do so).

-CD

IMG_5871My Mother did a lot of baking and she did try and vary it at times.  Rice buns are something she made not very often.  They are made from normal cake mixture with added ground rice in place of some of the flour.

They look the same as a normal bun but taste a little differently.

 

Oven 200 C   400 F  Gas Mark 6

To make 20 buns you will need:

  • 4 oz butter
  • 4 oz caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 oz Self Raising Flour
  • 3 oz ground rice (or rice flour)
  • a few drops of lemon essence
  • the juice of half a lemon (optional)

Cream the butter and sugar together until it is pale and creamy then add the eggs one at a time plus a tablespoon of flour with each egg. Add the lemon essence and lemon juice if using.  When well mixed fold in the flour and ground rice until the mixture is well combined  and put a spoonful of mixture into each bun case.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes until firm.  You can decorate with a half cherry or some white icing or leave them plain.  Enjoy with a cup of tea. — JAB

TEADTPT1000022637_-00_Glass-TeapotWhether it’s boiling water in a kettle on the stove-top or in an electric kettle, tea lovers have a favorite way of brewing their tea. Some prefer to brew theirs in a glass tea pot. When I first heard of a glass tea pot, I merely thought that was impossible, since they could break very easily. Yes, they are very delicate, but they are handled in a much different way, especially if handled properly and carefully, they are one of the best vessels to be used in tea brewing.

There are many benefits to having a glass tea pot. One of the best benefits is visual, allowing you watch your tea leaves unfurl or even bloom, allowing you to fully appreciate the beauty of tea brewing. I have always wondered what tea has looked like while it was brewing, and it’s hard when trying to see through a teabag or mesh infuser, so this would be a perfect item for those filled with wonder such as myself. Plus, with a blooming tea, you can watch the tea bloom and then have it as a centerpiece along with being the tea!

Glass tea pots are smooth in texture, when brewing teas, it is said that it does not affect the taste or flavor of tea once brewed. To brew up a glass tea pot, it is best use water freshly boiled from a regular kettle, and fill up the glass tea pot with as much as you need. To keep the tea warm, it is best to use a tea warmer in which TEADTPT1000022642_-00_ingenuiTEA-16ozyou use a small tea light.

The downsides of glass tea pots are that they are VERY delicate. They MUST be handled properly to avoid breakage and burns (when handling hot temperatures). They are also meant to be used according to their instructions. They cannot be used like the standard tea pot or kettle, so follow all safety precautions when handling a glass tea pot.

Despite being very delicate, glass tea pots have generally received positive reception over its existence. Many actually prefer to brew their cups of tea in glass! While they are a bit high in price, it is well worth the value and quality.

 

-CD

 

IMG_5926I love carrot cake but I am not keen on it with lots of spices and dried fruit and certainly not nuts so I have been experimenting with various recipes and I think I have come up with a good one.  It uses oil instead of butter and just a little ginger to jazz it up.

 

 

You will need:

  • 9 fluid ounces of sunflower oil
  • 8 oz light brown or muscovado sugar
  • 3 large eggs (you can use the spare yolks from the Easter Nests too)
  • 8 oz Self Raising Flour
  • Some ground ginger, mace and grated nutmeg if liked
  • 7 oz peeled and finely grated carrot
  • Oven 180 C 350 F gas mark 4
  • Grease and bottom line two 7-inch sandwich tins

IMG_5918Whisk the sugar and oil together and then add the eggs one at a time, fold in the flour and spices and finally add the grated carrot

Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for approximately 30 minutes until firm to the touch and golden.

Leave the cakes to cool for about 10 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Frosting:

  • 2 oz unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 8 oz pack of cream cheese
  • 1 oz icing sugar
  • few drops of vanilla extractIMG_5921

Beat all the ingredients together until well mixed and then spread half the mixture on one cake, put the other cake on top and spread the remaining frosting on top.  If liked you can sprinkle nuts of your choice on top.

A lovely tasty cake to serve for afternoon tea.

 

-JAB

 

IMG_5919

(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

Well over here we are still on Easter holidays and the Easter eggs are half price!  The kids are still away from school and bored so having bought some little Easter eggs cheap I thought we could make some Easter Nests which, because it is after Easter, we will call Spring treats.

It is a macaroon mix and filled with chocolate spread and small egg.  The mixture makes about 16 nests.

You will need:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
  • 4 oz caster sugar
  • 6 oz coconut
  • 2 oz ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of chocolate spread and three little eggs for each nest
  • Oven 160 C  325 F Gs Mark 3
IMG_5917

(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

Whisk the egg whites until stiff then add the lemon/lime juice and a little sugar and keep whisking.  Gradually add the remaining sugar and whisk until the mixture is shiny.  Fold in the coconut, almonds and vanilla.  Spoon the mixture into paper cases and make a small depression in each one.

Bake for 12 minute until set.  Cool on a wire rack and when slightly cool add a teaspoon of chocolate spread and three eggs to each.  The children had one still hot from the oven with a glass of milk but they go equally well with tea.

– JAB

teadmgo1000035354_-00_star-wars-classic-travel-mug-16ozAfter months of waiting, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is finally going to be released onto DVD! Many of their fans can now own a piece of the most recent movie in the well-loved Star Wars trilogy. To celebrate the release of The Force Awakens, English Tea Store is proud to present a range of Star Wars themed tea ware!teadmgo1000035349_-00_star-wars-darth-vader-sculpted-mug-18oz

Starting off with characters we all know like Darth Vader and his Stormtroopers, these 12 ounce mugs are the perfect gift for anyone who’s a fan of the Dark Side. Perhaps you REALLY want to wow them with a sculpted mug of Darth Vader? Him and the Stormtrooper both hold 18 ounces of pure dark (or light) tea. Then there are somteadtpo1000035353_-00_star-wars-r2-d2-teapote new characters in the film like Captain Phasma and Kylo Ren.

Perhaps you are a fan of the Light Side and not afraid to show it? This travel mug features the iconic poster of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Darth Vader. Finally, the coolest and cutest item in the Star Wars range is the R2-D2 tea kettle. This is sure to please ANY Star Wars fan! You can’t go wrong with this beautifully made ceramic kettle with a 36 ounce capability! The brew is strong with this one!

-CD

IMG_5859Savoy Biscuits or Lady Finger cakes can be eaten alone – with a cup of tea – or used as the sponge in a trifle.  Remember we made a trifle with trifle sponges broken into pieces well you can use these if you like instead.  There are softer and soak up the alcohol better or you can just eat them as a little cake.  Either way they are quick to make and tasty.  The recipe is a fatless sponge one.

You will need:

  • Two baking sheets lined with parchment.  Set the oven at 190 C  Gas Mark 5  375 F
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 oz caster sugar
  • Vanilla Extract
  • 3 oz Plain Flour
  • A little icing sugar for dusting

You can use a piping bag with the end cut off and a plain nozzle in or you can just make them round by dropping a teaspoonful of the mixture onto the baking sheets.

We are using plain flour so we need to get as much air into the mixture as we can so start by separating the eggs and put the yolks and half the sugar in a mixer IMG_5852and beat well.  Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks and then gradually and carefully add the remaining sugar.  Now put everything together and fold in the sieved flour.  Taking care not to knock the air out.  Put the mixture into a piping bag and pipe fingers onto your baking sheets.  Cook for only 15 minutes until firm to the touch and a nice colour, not too pale and not too brown.  Dust with the icing sugar and then place on a wire rack to cool completely.  They can be frozen for later use or stored in an airtight tin for a dew days.

Enjoy fresh from the oven with a cup of tea from our new English Tea Store sampler packs!

–JAB

 

IMG_5785For all you British people out there and those who like British food, we have here a traditional dish.  Toad in the Hole is Yorkshire pudding batter poured round sausages, baked in the oven and usually served with an onion gravy.  It uses a Yorkshire Pudding batter and you can use any sausages you like but I prefer it with skinless ones.

Make the batter and leave for half an hour before using for best results.  The oven needs to be very high, gas mark 8 or 230 C or 450 F.  You will need a  suitable shallow metal tin.

Batter:

  • 4 oz plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 pint of cold water (or a mixture of milk and water)

Mix all the ingredients together either by hand or with a machine and then leave to rest for half an hour whilst you prepare some potatoes and/or vegetables and the gravy to serve with it.  The mixture should resemble single cream.

Dripping or lard for the tin

1 lb sausages

Place the sausage in the tin with some dripping or lard and cook for about 10 minutes.  It is very important to keep the tin and the oven hot so take the partly cooked sausages out of the oven (closing the oven door) but not too far away and very quickly pour the batter onto the sausages in the tin and replace the tin in the oven immediately.  Cook for a further 20 – 30 minutes depending on your oven.  Serve immediately with a brown onion gravy and lots of fresh veg.

-JAB

 

 

IMG_5798Cream cheese puffs are made from Choux pastry, which we made last year when we did the chocolate eclairs.  Oven needs to be hot 220 C, 425 F  Gas Mark 7 with a tray of water in the bottom.  Two greased baking sheets run under water just before putting the puffs on.

 

You will need:

  • 4 oz Choux pastry made with
  • 4oz Plain Flour
  • 2 oz butter
  • 1/4 pint water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 oz strong cheddar cheese grated

Filling:

  • 4 oz cream cheese of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon made mustard
  • 1 tablespoon either horseradish sauce or mayonnaise
  • A dash of tabasco sauce

Melt the butter and water over a gentle heat then bring to the boil, then remove from heat and stir in the flour.  Return to the heat and stirring all the time mix together until the mixture forms a ball in the middle of the pan.  Allow to cool then add the lightly beaten eggs and beat together.  Add the grated cheese and mix together well.  Spoon the mixture, about 18, onto the baking sheets and bake for 10-15 minutes until risen and crisp outside.  Make little slits into the sides and leave to cool.  Mix all the filling ingredients together and chill until firm.  Pipe the mixture into the buns using a plain nozzle.

-JAB

 

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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