Afternoon Tea

An English tradition of afternoon tea has to be one of my favourite things. The cake being the highlight of course and the company you share it with.

I recently arranged an afternoon tea for some friends to visit a beautiful hotel called Netherwood Hall, in Grange Over Sands, UK. It was great to get together in a stunning setting overlooking Morecambe Bay.

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The views were breathtaking and we were fortunate to have lovely weather, not something you can always guarantee in England.

We enjoyed drinks on the terrace.

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Followed by retiring into the salon and having our relaxing afternoon tea. We didn’t sit at a large table – there was 12 of us – so we just sat on comfy sofas and enjoyed a beautiful, relaxed afternoon tea.

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Afternoon tea with a view…..

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To finish it all off we even had this beauty to demolish….

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A delightful afternoon with friends. I will definitely try to arrange this again at such a special location.

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Netherwood Hall Hotel is the place to be; for afternoon tea.

Stephy x x

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Move Over Coffee, Tea Has Arrived

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the French have an obsession with tea. I was expecting to drink lots of coffee but no! They enjoy a cuppa just as much as the English. They are very passionate about it too.

I drank some beautiful tea in Lyon, France. It was in a traditional Chinese tea room with a French twist. Very extraordinary and unique.

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It was very delicious and refreshing and felt much healthier than drinking a strong coffee or espresso.
To prove my theory about the French’s obsession with tea, a friend sent me this interesting article about France’s Silent Tea Revolution an interesting read.

Who knows, in the future coffee will be no more and tea will be the normal accompaniment with a croissant!? Watch this space….

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Stephanié x x

Betty’s Tea Room, York

I’ve always wanted to visit Betty’s in York, UK. A very traditional tea rooms established in 1919, it’s quintessentially British, from the service to the staff attire.

Due to it’s high standard and excellent reputation it gets exceedingly busy. When we went they were queuing out of the door today! Foreseeing this, I pre-booked a table in their Belmont Rooms, on the first floor. We were sat down much quicker, avoiding queuing in the cold.

We were made to feel very welcome; sat on a beautifully laid table. The staff couldn’t be more helpful, so respectful and attentive. We felt very special and well looked after.

I ordered Betty’s Earl Grey Tea. It was so lovely; served in a traditional tea pot with the leaves and a tea strainer – as it should be in my opinion.

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We were then presented with an exquisite afternoon tea stand with sandwiches including; coronation chicken, roast ham with a sweet whole grain mustard, egg with cress and prawn. They were extremely tasty, freshly prepared and they were more than willing to bring more if required. I thought about it but looking at the rest of the stand I wanted to make sure I had enough room for the cakes! After all that’s what it is all about the sweet treats. Hehe.

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I then sampled the stunning homemade sultana scones with jam and clotted cream – need I say anymore. An absolute pleasure to eat!

Then the highlight (in my opinion) the patisserie cakes.

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The fruit tart was particularly good but my ultimate indulgence was the Black Forest macaron with a rich, chocolate cream filling with fresh cherries and an alcoholic kick at the end. Divine.

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We had a delightful afternoon, the ambience was fabulous, with a lady playing the piano, it was extremely relaxing. If you’re ever in York you must visit Betty’s, to experience a traditional and friendly food experience. There are not many like Betty’s around these days sadly. We are swamped with franchises setting up coffee shops and cafés, don’t get me wrong I like some of them but feel we should maintain our traditions and heritage in the classic and individual tea rooms of English history and culture. I understand you pay the price but it’s a small price to pay when you receive an excellent service and a day you won’t ever forget for being so lovely!!

Please note Betty’s also sell cakes, bread, souvenirs and gifts which are worth looking at. As well as being a fabulous tea rooms they also sell excellent produce, perfect for a gift or to take home for yourself.

Betty’s Tea Room a must to visit and the perfect way to spend my New Years Eve. Have a lovely evening everyone.

Stephy x x

Spicy Apple Fruit Cake with Seeds

This cake is moist, tasty and very healthy, no honestly. It has little sugar or butter but lots of fruit and seeds…….any excuse for a slab of cake.

It stores well in an airtight container for up to a week, if you can resist it for that long.

I made it for my mum and she loved it, so I have to share it with you.

Spicy Apple Fruit Cake with Seeds

Spicy Apple Fruit Cake with Seeds

Makes 8-10 Slices

Ingredients

  • 2 Apples, peeled, cored fined iced 
  • 1 cup Dried Fruit Mix, including raisins, currants, lemon and orange peel
  • 2 tbsp Brown Sugar 
  • 1 cup Strong Tea, freshly brewed
  • 75g Butter 
  • 1 tsp Ground Ginger 
  • 1tsp Ground Cinnamon 
  • 1tsp Ground Allspice
  • 1 and a half cups Self Raising Flour 
  • Half a cup Oat Bran 
  • 1tbsp Sunflower Seeds
  • 1tbsp Pumpkin Seeds

Method

Preheat the oven to 170degrees. Grease a 18cm round spring form tin.

In a saucepan over a medium heat, cook the apples and tea. Simmer gently for 5mins until the apples have softened but not lost their shape. Add the dried fruit, sugar and butter. Mix well, ensuring the butter and sugar have melted fully.

In a bowl, mix the flour, oat bran and spices. Take the pan off the heat and allow to cool slightly and then add to the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly and add to the baking tin. Top with the seeds and bake for 30mins.

Cool in the tin and then remove from the tin and serve with a nice cup of tea. 😃

Fruit Tea Loaf

I love of slab of  fruit cake with a good cup of tea. When I’ve visited Wales they do a lovely loaf cake called ‘Bara Brith’ which traditionally includes tea soaked fruit.

I’ve tried to recreate their recipe but keeping it simple and quick. You must try this, it’s moist and fills the house with the gorgeous aroma of fruit, tea and spices. Very comforting.

Fruit Tea Loaf

Fruit Tea Loaf

Serves 8

Ingredients

1 Cup Dried Fruit Mix (Including Currants, Sultanas, Lemon and Orange Peel.)

1 Cup Fresh Strong Black Tea

1 Cup Brown Sugar

50g Butter

1tsp Ground Cinnamon

1tsp Ground Allspice

2 Cups Self Raising Flour, sieved

Method

Preheat the oven to 170degrees. Grease a 1lb loaf tin.

Heat in a saucepan the fruit, sugar, tea, butter and spices. Simmering gently for 5mins.

Then remove from the heat, cool slightly and pour into a bowl with the sieved flour. Mix well and place in the loaf tin.

Bake for 30mins or until cooked through.

Cool on a wire rack and serve.

Fruit Tea Loaf

English Cream Tea

Whenever I travel to the South of England I always look forward to indulging in a scrumptious Cream Tea. Sat outside a cafe in the sunshine with a pot of tea and a scone with jam and cream whilst you watch passers by, fabulous!

Unfortunately, I can’t always be in Devon or Cornwall however, my dad makes a mean scone that is simple to make and gorgeous in flavour. So give these a try – close your eyes and you’ll be transported to the South of England.

Scones

Makes 8

Ingredients

  • 8oz/225g Plain Flour
  • 1-2oz/25-50g Caster Sugar, to taste
  • 1/4 pint or 140mls Milk
  • 1oz/25g Fruit (sultanas or a nice variation is dried apricots chopped finely)
  • 2oz/50g Butter
  • 1 good dessert spoon Baking Powder

Method

Preheat the oven to 220degrees. Grease a large baking tray.

Sieve the flour and baking powder together. Rub the fat into the flour and when well combined add the sugar, milk and fruit. Work into a light textured dough.

Turn the dough out and roll 3/4″ thick. Cut into shapes and bake for 10-12mins until pale and golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Scones

Serve with butter, jam and clotted cream. Not forgetting a large pot of tea….one lump or two.

English Cream Tea