Undead Dinner Guests…

Some of you may know that in addition to my ramblings about food and tea, I also sometimes talk about vampires too. In fact I did my dissertation on them as an English student, so it’s something of a specialist subject (although I certainly don’t know it all – vamps in 19th century literature is my particular area of expertise). Before you start to wonder, yes this anecdote is going somewhere…I recently wrote a food and vampire themed guest post for super awesome blog PopCulturePlayPen.

To celebrate the launch of Mr Depp’s new film Dark Shadows, I’ve rounded up my dream undead dinner guests! Can you guess which vampires would receive an invite to my dinner party? And just what would I serve them? I’d love to know which vampires would make your guest list too. Why not read the post, leave a comment and you could win Dark Shadows on DVD.

Check it out here.

The Pleasures of Petit Fours

So you’ve enjoyed a lovely meal out, starters and main course, you’re feeling too full for dessert, the over indulgence has made you sleepy…but you know you don’t want the experience to end…ever felt this way? Petit Fours and a coffee are perfection in these situations. Light little sweet treats that you can take your time over with a strong coffee to revive and ready you for the rest of the night.

Petit Fours are nearly always a visual treat too, temptingly presented in a whole host of creative styles – here are two such examples I recently enjoyed…

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Petit Fours enjoyed at the Wykeham Arms in Winchester

I loved the little lollipop, it was coated with popping candy which made for a fun surprise.

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Scrumptious Petit Fours enjoyed at a beautiful restaurant in Lake Garda, Italy

These adorable treats arrived in their own little tree – like a work of art, they were almost too pretty to eat (I said almost…)

Well, that’s actually all I have for now (you know my track record for remembering to photograph my food!) – if I enjoy any more lovely little Petit Fours I’ll be sure to add to this post.

In Nature’s New Red Rose Tea – My Review

I think you all know how much I love tea, so I was absolutely delighted to be contacted by the lovely people at In Nature, who make high grade pure flower tea. They’ve just launched four new teas and very kindly sent me a box of their brand new Red Rose Black Tea to try. And what a beautiful box it was! I was like a child at Christmas when the post came…

What a lovely treat to find in the post…a beautiful box of tea!

Opening the lovely box to reveal the bag loose leaf tea inside was rather exciting and made quite an occasion of making a nice weekend cup of tea, especially with the five detailed steps to follow on brewing the perfect cup of tea. Yes, the tea also came with a little printed leaflet all about tea and a guide to brewing – it even taught me a thing or two! For instance, I had no idea that making a second cup of tea from the same tea leaves a the first cup actually tastes even better, but I gave it a try and found this statement to be true, what a wonderful discovery!

I opened the box to find some fragrant loose leaf tea and an interesting little leaflet all about tea

I could write more about the interesting little leaflet, which came with all sorts of extra information including the many health benefits of tea, but I guess I should get down to business and talk about the tea itself…

Brewing my cup of In Nature’s new Red Rose Tea

The Red Rose Tea had an intense earthy aroma that reminded of being in a garden on windy day and inhaling the scent of a variety of flowers and plants. It had a wonderful dark, but sweet flavour, quite rich and full-bodied (yes I just described a tea as ‘full bodied’ – just go with me on this!). As it was a black tea I had mine with a little bit of skimmed milk, but if it didn’t necessarily need this, if you drink your earl gray black you’d enjoy this tea black too. Overall I found this fragrant tea very soothing to sip on wet and windy evening.

Ahh…lovely tea

Now I must advise that this tea will be a little different if you’ve only ever enjoyed tea made with standard teabags before. In Nature teas are all imported directly from China and are completely pure, with nothing added and this definitely comes across in the flavour of the tea. If you’re unused to loose leaf teas or more traditional tea from China, the taste may be a little strange at first but it is quite pleasant, you get a real sense that you are drinking something natural and good for you. My partner Tom does business in China and is sometimes given tea to bring home and there’s just something about the taste of the tea, it’s like you’re tasting hundreds of years of tradition in a cup.

Tradition in a cup

I urge you to try give proper pure Chinese tea a try if you haven’t before. Before the people at In Nature contacted me I wouldn’t have known where to buy such high quality tea from China, but now I’m happy to recommend them – so check out their website to find out more. They’ve got quite a variety of special blends, even the famous Puerh Tea (drunk by Victoria Beckham for it’ health properties!). Right now there’s even a special offer on – throughout October you’ll receive a free box of Floral Oolong Tea with every order!

So go forth tea lovers and enjoy…I think I might just indulge in a little tea shopping  spree myself at www.innteas.com

Off to put the kettle on!

xXx

Celebrations at Soho’s Secret Tea Room

Here at FoodTeaLife I don’t venture outside of Hampshire too often, but when my good friend Ellie invited me to her birthday celebrations at Soho’s Secret Tea Room I thought it might just be worth the train fare. And indeed it was, we enjoyed a fabulous feast of cakes, scones, cucumber sandwiches and course tea.

Afternoon tea delights enjoyed at Soho’s Secret Tea Room

More delightful cakes and scones!

It was an absolutely delightful experience and well worth the trip for non-Londoners. Full of vintage details from the gramophone playing 1940s jazz to the adorable tea cups and cake stands, you feel as though you’ve stepped back into a simpler, happier time. I’d advise donning your best vintage attire for a visit so that you get the full escapist experience.

Soho’s Secret Tea Room is just lovely and full of vintage charm

On to the teas…There was a nice selection of loose leaf teas to choose from but not so many that it was daunting, I quickly picked out a lovely sounding Lapsang blend and enjoyed it very much. It was especially nice to drink from a china cup too (I’m a subscriber to the theory that tea tastes better this way).

Pretty china cups and saucers

Between our party of ten we shared five afternoon tea cake stands of delicious home baked goodies and though we tried our hardest we couldn’t quite finish it all!

Our post tea party table…

Luckily the lovely staff gave us paper take away bags to ensure we could all enjoy our cake later. Aside from the loving the tea, I  also thought the scones were perfectly done and good size (not too large!) too. And though I didn’t try it, the lemon meringue pie received very positive reviews from across the table too. All in all I can only really describe the entire outing as just lovely and pure delight.

So Hampshire folk, next time you pay a visit to the West End be sure step into Soho’s Secret Tea Room for some relaxing refreshment and indulgent 1940s escapism.