Posts tagged tea
A few weeks ago I spent a rather splendid evening with some girl friends at Rock+Paper+Scissors in Lincoln (I introduced them to you here when they first opened) taking part in one of their many craft workshops. The idea is simple – get creative over tea and cake. They have a varied programme; knitting, crochet, paper craft, sewing, rag rugging, brooches, all sorts.
The workshop I chose was to make bath bombs – you know, the fizzing balls of soap that you put in your bath to soften the water and fill the room with fragrance. They are really expensive in the shops and I loved the idea of making my own. We made bath tea too, which is really fragrant.
Here’s the workshop in pictures…
I did write down the bath bomb and bath tea recipe so I could perhaps attempt to make some at home to give as gifts, and I toyed with the idea of sharing it here, but actually I think it’s something that you need to learn by doing with someone giving instructions as you go along… so if you want to make your own then I’d recommend a workshop at Rock+Paper+Scissors!
I paid £12 for the workshop which included all the materials I needed (except the tub and jam jar which I took with me) as well as copious amounts of earl grey tea and a slice of beautiful lemon drizzle cake. The event was 6pm to 9pm and was well worth the time and money. I will be going back for another workshop as soon as I can.
Oh, and if anyone wants to buy me this pendant I spotted in the shop that would be awesome – ta!
A little while ago I was sent a lovely parcel of tea from Tea India so I could try out their black tea and their Cardamom tea, both of which I really enjoyed. The other day I received a very similar looking parcel from them, this time suggesting that I tried some baking with tea.
I know people use tea in lots of cooking but I have never done so. Earlier in the week I made some Spicy Black Tea Cookies which are described as “oaty cookies packed full of taste that evoke the aroma of an Indian spice market”. Ok, so I’ve never been to an Indian spice market but I have an idea in my head of what it might smell like, and I like the idea!
- 2 Tea India Black tea india (leaves only)
- 125g butter
- 100g soft brown sugar
- 70g self raising flour
- 120g oats
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1.5 tsp mixed spice
- Cream the butter and soft brown sugar
- Add the oats, flour, Tea India Black tea leaves and spices, and mix until well combined.
- Roll the dough into a log shape 5cm in diameter. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 5 minutes.
- To bake, remove from the fridge, unwrap and slice into 12 even sized pieces. Place on two baking trays lined with baking paper.
- Bake at 160 degrees for 15-20 minutes (mine took 20) or until the edges are golden brown.
- Allow to cool on the baking tray before serving warm.
These cookies smelt amazing when they were just dough, when they were baking in the oven, when they were cooling, and and when I was eating them! They do have an Indian spicy flavour to them, but it’s not so much that they overpower a nice cup of tea. They are seriously good cookies.
Thanks once again Tea India for making this blogger smile.
Just one question… is it ok to dunk tea cookies in your tea?!
Oh, and if you like the idea of trying Tea India tea if you go on their facebook page before 6th June (be quick!) and get some for free with their You & I with a cup of Chai campaign. Let me know if you try it.
PS – I’ll let you know what I think of the Masala Chai another time!
You all know that I cannot resist a nice cup of tea. I am a) British and b) brought up in the Salvation Army – tea was inevitably going to be a very important part of my life! But one thing I have never been able to do is enjoy herbal or fruit tea. I simply can’t drink it. Smells amazing. Tastes horrible.
…sounds like these teas are exactly what I’ve been looking for! Traditional black tea that you serve with milk, with a hint of redbush, peppermint, green tea, or echinacea. You get the benefits of drinking herbal, with just a hint of flavour in amongst the Everyday tea. Sounded intriguing. And as Twinings even sent me a mug with which to test the tea out, I put the kettle on immediately!
The Everyday Tea by Twinings is designed to put a smile on your face. It is a bright and refreshing blend of fine tea leaves from around the world, great for any time of the day. It is a tea I buy regularly because I enjoy it, although normally in the decaffeinated version – it is the best decaf black tea blend I have found so far (and I drink a lot of it!).
The three “with a little extra” Everyday Tea blends I received were the Peppermint Blend, Echinacea Blend, and Green Tea Blend. Each has the same full bodied rich and vibrant flavour of Twinings standard Everyday Tea but with the benefits associated with the additions on top. All three had slightly different flavours, but the blends were subtle and not overpowering at all. You can’t really smell the added extras until the tea is brewing, and you can then taste them in the background. All work very well as combinations; they are a great alternative to “ordinary” black tea.
Apart from tasting really lovely there are also added benefits by using these three different ingredients inside a teabag. Peppermint is associated with digestion, echinacea with your body’s defences and immune system, and green tea is said to have healing properties. Twinings saw the addition of these things to their classic tea as something of a tea challenge, to help those of us who really can’t stand herbal teas to benefit from these things too. I think they succeeded. Assuming there is enough of the relevant ingredient to help my insides, then Twinings have done a great thing here.
And if you’re wondering – all the teas look the same when brewed… tea with milk coloured!
Of the three I have found the peppermint blend to be the most satisfying, I am genuinely enjoying drinking that particular tea. It has a fresh and clean taste; the peppermint is there in the background giving the tea a palette cleansing and refreshing after taste. It is perfect for drinking in the afternoon as a bit of a pick-me-up. The echinacea has the least extra flavouring in my opinion, and the green tea has a background note that I recognise from trying (and trying) to like proper green tea. They are all nice, and I would recommend that anyone who is like me and always prefers tea with milk over anything else gives them a try – you don’t even have to be that brave because they’re just like normal tea.
EDITED TO ADD - Discussing the Everyday Tea Peppermint Blend with a colleague we decided one excellent thing about these teas was that you can still dunk a biscuit your mug! Traditional herbal teas like peppermint tea are simply no good for dunking your digestive… but these Everyday blends work perfectly. Get drinking and dunking!
These glass tumblers are made by a company called Ozeri. You may have seen Ozeri feature on lots of UK blogs over the last few weeks as, while they are already established in th USA, they are currently expanding into the UK. They are actually a supplier to the hotel industry, but also design contemporary products for the home which they say have the same durability as their hotel products.
I love functional and clean design and think these glasses look great. The double wall makes them quite unusual to look at – especially with liquid in. The genius is that thanks to the double wall made of durable heat-resistant mouth-blown borosilicate glass, you can put hot or cold drinks in these glasses and still hold the tumbler with your hand – no burnt fingers, shattered glass or even condensation when drinking very cold drinks. Here – tea (which always looks strange through a glass) on the left, cold pink grapefruit barley cordial on the right; totally clear glasses.
The glass itself is surprisingly thin, much thinner than I was expecting from heat-resistant glasses, but the double layer does mean you are drinking from quite a thick edge, a bit like a mug. They still seem quite dainty though but I have knocked mine against other things already (yes, I am that clumsy) and thankfully no chips or cracks. I love the contour created in the glass on the outside layer – it makes the glass easy to hold and makes it look great when there’s something colourful inside.
I mentioned these were functional; you can put them in the dishwasher, microwave and freezer so you can use them for all sorts – I’m thinking individual ice cream desserts perhaps, although I haven’t tried that yet.
They are available in various sizes – these ones hold 12oz which is a can of coke; although bear in mind that they are not as big as they might seem as the inside is smaller than the outside.
I am impressed with these unusual looking glasses, they look great on my table and are nice to drink from.
Ozeri products are available at Amazon.
During February I was challenged by SIGG to ditch the plastic – a challenge for which they sent me one of their metal bottles with an active top.
When I first agreed to the challenge, before I wrote my post introducing it to you, I thought it would be no problem at all – easy even. I hardly ever buy bottles of water, I am more than happy to drink water from the tap; at home I have a water filter on my tap in the kitchen and a water filter in my fridge, at work we have a mains fed water cooler, and I use a sports bottle when exercising. Times I do purchase or drink from single use bottles of water include when on long car journeys, when away from home, and when at work events.
I realised when writing my introductory post that ditching single use plastic bottles of water should be pretty easy, it’s other things that are a problem for me; Coca Cola, Fanta, Lilt, Lucozade, Innocent Smoothies, Copella Apple Juice, that sort of thing. These are drinks I will happily have daily – think Boots Meal Deal, or simply popping to the Spar because I fancy something cold and full of flavour to drink during the afternoon. When I think about it all those bottles cost me a fortune; at least a pound at a time.
I also drink a lot of cordials. I enjoy water on its own but it’s even better with some flavour, and is a great way to supress my incredibly sweet tooth (did you see that BBC Bang Goes the Theory on Sugar the other day – eek!!). And then of course when I did share my challenge with you, a friend quite rightly commented, simply, “don’t forget milk”. And yes, milk comes in plastic bottles too doesn’t it? And I drink a lot of milk – in tea, on its own, on cereal.
So, as you know, I chose to limit the challenge to individual sized bottles – 500ml/600ml/.75l or so – the sort of thing that I could replace like for like with my SIGG reusable bottle. I thought that was me being fair to myself. I thought that was enough.
Did I Manage It?
Yes I did! I can honestly say that during February I purchased a grand total of zero individual bottles of water, Coke, juice, and anything else that counts. I stuck rigidly to using my SIGG bottle or from a glass/mug/paper cup. I got used to carrying the large SIGG bottle with its Active Top around with me everywhere, and made good use of it everywhere I went. I refilled it from the tap or water filter, and even in Lush in Lincoln where you can refill a reusable bottle for free (see my tapwater.org post).
Actually it’s been totally fine. There was more than one occasion when at about 3pm I opened my bag, removed my purse, took out a couple of quid and was about to leave for the corner shop to get come Coke when I spotted the SIGG bottle on my desk and remembered I wasn’t supposed to be doing that. I probably saved a good £20 over the month on that sort of thing, although I’m not sure what I did with it because I don’t seem to have any cash left over.
It wasn’t easy all of the time. If you go into a café (or the canteen at work) and want a cold drink rather than a cup of tea or coffee, everything comes in a plastic bottle. Or a plastic cup. Think about it – Starbucks, Costa, Café Nero etc have iced drinks in plastic cups or bottles of juice, squash, water, Coke etc. In bars and restaurants it’s fine as Coke comes in a glass… but in coffee shops and even in the work canteen it’s a hot drink in a paper cup or nothing. Some places provide tap water with no problem, but it’s never obvious. I also noticed that nowhere seems to sell cans any more. In fact I noticed in Tesco that Coke now tell 330ml Coke in plastic bottles rather than cans. I found that very surprising. I wonder why? I guess it’s because it is resealable with the bottle cap, making it more convenient.
As a result of this challenge I’ve drunk loads more water than usual, which is saying something as drinking enough has never been a problem of mine! I noticed a couple of things that may or may not be completely related such as my skin improving and my energy levels increasing… I say may or may not as I also upped my exercise levels in February and also ate far more fresh fruit and vegetables too, so those will have had an effect too.
Since the end of February I’ve not done badly either. That SIGG bottle is very well used and my water intake is still much higher than it has been in the past. I admit I have succumbed to plastic bottles on a couple, maybe three or four occasions. All for convenience. One was when I was away for work for a couple of nights and ended up purchasing a milkshake in a plastic bottle (a Bounty one, new to me and really rather nice!) because I really wanted something that wasn’t water and I wasn’t up for sitting in a very noisy busy bar on my own. The second was earlier today – I had a Boots Meal Deal after a couple of months off; I stood in the shop looking at the options and the prices and realised it was cheaper for me to buy my chosen wrap and bag of crisps with a drink rather than without. So I had an Innocent Smoothie, and I enjoyed it after not having them for so long. But a couple of bottles in nearly two months isn’t bad is it? As long as I don’t get back into the habit again.
Now the Challenge is Done
SIGG have converted me; I have every intention of continuing to avoid buying individual plastic bottles wherever possible. That bottle they sent is pretty much permanently with me when I’m somewhere where no glass will be available. It feels good to have got into a positive habit – good for me, good for my purse, good for the environment.
Ditching the plastic when it is individual bottles is fine. I might have been a bit tempted by nice looking drinks but it was fairly easy to stick to using my SIGG bottle and not give in. But if I was to ditch the plastic properly and get rid of 2l bottles of Coke and lemonade, bottles of cordial, bottles of milk, large bottles of nice apple juice, and anything and everything else, I would seriously struggle. And forget drinks, what about fabric conditioner, toilet bleach, tomato ketchup, slide oil for my trombone, washing up liquid, and all those other necessary things that come in plastic bottles or not at all? Things I need come in plastic bottles. Things that are not quite so easy to avoid as bottled water.
And of course I am not completely naïve; I realise that deciding to ditch the plastic myself makes hardly any difference to the Earth. It would take a great movement to reduce the demand for plastic bottles, they are a part of everyday life for many. There are also other things like plastic bottles that cause as much damage to our world, and I am probably equally as guilty of using those.
Those things aside, I feel good thanks to the SIGG Ditch the Plastic challenge, and I am very pleased that I was invited to take part. Thanks SIGG, you’ve made me realise once again that tap water is great (filtered and chilled is better!), and that I don’t need to spend money on single use plastic bottles that just end up in the bin.
It goes without saying that I will not be receiving any gifts for Mother’s Day (which is this Sunday coming – 10th March – just in case you’re not organised yet)… the fact that I am not a mother explains that completely. So when Twinings sent me one of their Mother’s Day gifts I was totally honoured, how lovely.
The gift was a lovely globe teapot from The London Pottery Company Limited along with a tin of Twinings Summer Fruits Infusion Black Tea to go with it. Very girly and pink; the two things together would make a lovely mother’s day tea gift.
The tea pot, apart from being a very delicate baby pink colour – I prefer my colours, well, less pink – is really lovely. I adore the ball shape; it’s perfectly formed. And it has a proper long spout and so, most importantly for a teapot, pours really well with no dripping or leakage. This is the 1.1litre version and so it is big enough for four big cups of tea.
The tea is… well interesting. It is a black tea infused with summer fruits – not a fruit tea – and so when brewed it’s black not red. It is infused with pieces of strawberry and orange along with a sprinkling of rose and marigold petals. It is delicate but vibrant at the same time. It has a lovely aroma to it but is nowhere near as strong as green or fruit teas. Don’t be fooled though, it should never ever be taken without milk – believe me (please believe me) when I say adding milk to this tea only ruins it!
To be fair this isn’t really my thing. I do enjoy a fragrant black tea – I love Earl Grey and very much enjoy Cardamom tea. And while I am getting used to this after a few cups, it’s not going to be one I reach for regularly. It all depends on what you like; I’ve already found a couple of colleagues who thoroughly enjoy this tea. It’s one to try – make sure you brew it for a good three or four minutes, and drink it as it’s cooling down. It is definitely refreshing.
These lovely tins of individually wrapped black teas, which make a great gift on their own, are available in a couple of other flavours too. I quite fancy the Delicate Early Grey.