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Exploring, sipping & delighting in all things tea.
Just put the kettle on. One lump or two?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Spiced Tea Christmas & Trees in Teapots

Well, it's Christmas eve! How, how, how is it Christmas already?!

And so here we are then, another Christmas, another Christmas tree in our large 50s teapot, sat supping a pear & vanilla tea.


Afraid we didn't chose the best tree this year and many a pine needle has dropped already. Perhaps it's bearing itself to show off the pot more clearly... perhaps...


And whilst on a little Christmas shopping trip to Morrisons recently, we came across some festive and sweet sounding teas. Perfect.


Ooooo we've had a few sips of the pear one and it hit just the right spot and merrily looking forward to supping the others. Especially Clipper's Dandelion & Burdock! Mmmmmmmmm.

Well ladies and gents, we've got a Christmas eve table to set up and a few drinkies waiting for us, so we'd better scoot.

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone!

Chin chin...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Delights of Turkish Tea * Guest Post

Arrrrfternoon ladies and gents. We just love this guest post below from Cajame Creations. It's great to read some genuine insider information about Turkish Tea...


*

We like to think of ourselves in Britain as a nation of tea drinkers, but I don't think we can hold a tea-bag to the Turkish when it comes to our love of the brewed leaf.

The Turkish take their tea drinking very seriously indeed, and I dread to think how much the average person gets through in the course of a normal day. Unlike us, they drink their tea black - and find the notion of adding milk quite ridiculous. Your average Turk will also find it hard to believe that tea can be drunk without the addition of sugar. Whereas we would go out in the evening and enjoy an alcoholic drink with friends, the Turkish will meet and drink tea. The tea will be delivered in small glasses, and is likely to be carried in on a special serving tray. The glasses may be small, but the tea certainly isn't! It's strong in taste and aroma.

I spent 4 years living in Turkey, and my home is still there. During that time I've spent hours waiting to be seen in offices and banks (I will never complain again about the waiting times in the UK, you can be waiting to be served in the bank an entire morning!), and witnessed the ever-present delivery of glass after glass of tea. Every large office will have their own tea-boy, and where they don't, the tea is delivered at frequent intervals from a nearby stall. Most streets have a little nook or cranny containing the tannin nerve-centre for the immediate vicinity.



It's a pity, but they don't all dress like this seller in traditional dress anymore! Instead they dash about carrying a silver tray with a carrying handle, each one balancing about a dozen little glasses.

Wherever you go, you will be offered tea as a courtesy - and the host is likely to be mildly offended if you refuse a glass. Oh boy, does this prove awkward if you don't like tea! Ever since I became pregnant with my third child (ooh - 12 years ago), I have been unable to bear the smell of tea, let alone drink it. Neither have I got a sweet tooth. So... imagine my predicament when presented with a glass of the strongest, sweetest tea imaginable! It's happened to me so many times I've lost count. I see the tray coming towards me and gulp inwardly. I smile and say thank you........ and then wonder how on earth I'm going to get rid of it. My husband has saved me on so many occasions, by drinking mine quickly when no one is looking.

One event remains so clearly ingrained though, it makes me shudder. The Turkish are incredibly hospitable and love to invite you into their home. No visit will ever be made without tea being served. A lovely elderly couple entertained us one afternoon. We'd never met them before and the last thing we wished to do was offend. In came the tray of tea. Hubby was sat the other side of the room. I began to sweat slightly, and could see no way out. I was saved when the wife went back into the kitchen to refill the pot, and the husband went to a sideboard to fetch a photo. In a split second I hurled the tea into the plant pot beside me, replacing the glass in its saucer with a feeling of elation. Elation that instantly turned to desperation as I sat and watched my glass be immediately refilled. Three times.... yes THREE times, I had to summon every bit of will-power and down the contents. Eventually, hubby realised it was time to say our goodbyes and beat a hasty retreat, as I began to turn a peculiar shade of green!

Not only do the Turkish drink their tea differently to us, they brew it differently too. Not for them a kettle, instead a two part brewing process. Usually boiled over a flame (though there are electrical versions), in what looks rather like a normal tea-pot sat on top of a saucepan. Pop over to Turkish Cookbook for the full process and photos. It's made me chuckle reading that the tea must be served fresh and weak. I don't believe a word of it! I've seen pots that have been on the go all day, with the tea never being made fresh, but just more being thrown in the pot. And weak? You've got to be kidding me! (or perhaps that's in a different part of Turkey).

It was interesting to read that the Turkish produce their own tea, and that it's lower in caffeine than elsewhere. I didn't realise that until today. I wonder what it's packaged under? As far as I'm aware, Liptons seem to have firm control of the market, as that's all you ever see in the shops. Liptons is like a blast from the past for me, as it takes me straight back to childhood. I can picture my Gran sitting with her tea-pot beside her, spooning Liptons tea in "for a mash", before popping on a knitted cosy to let it brew. Can we still get it in the UK?


*

Funnily enough, even though it's quite a way from Turkey, on our recent voyage to Holland we noticed that Lipton tea appeared to be the tea of choice, pretty much everywhere we went...


Rather than sitting about in a dreary greasy spoon with a cuppa.... wouldn't you rather do as the Turkish, and float away the afternoon on a raft? This is the way families and friends meet to chat during the summer. Escaping to the relative cool of a mountain river; sat upon cushions, trailing a hand into the icy water. No need to bother with getting up for an order, the tea will be delivered to you. The raft will either be pulled in to the shore by rope, or when shallow, the waiter will wade out.

Now that's my idea of a tea shop!

Ooooo we do like the sound of that... sounds absolutely wonderful... oh to be whisked away to Turkey for tea. Delightful.

Thank you ever so much for the brilliant guest post.

Chin chin...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Surrrrprise!!

Just for Christmas we thought we'd give you ladies and gentlemen (delete where appropriate!) a little treat and a chance to stock up on those pretty vintage tea dresses, upcycled tea cups and readymade tea trays, by giving you all 20% off until the 24th of December!

Clicky clicky pretty 80's Vintage Dress
Perfect for Christmas!

We'll be stocking up over the next few days, so keep a little eye out and grab a bargain for Christmas, (or for a loved one that's got an eye for vintage!).

Fabulous Floral 80s Pretty Part-Tea Dress

A little confused and bamboozled about buying tea dresses in winter? No need to worry!! We wear tea dresses all year round and accessorize wth chunky knits, cool biker boots and colourful tights.

Have a little look at our first What Do You Wear post featuring Kathryn Sharman showing us how she likes to wear her tea dresses during Autumn/Winter. and instantly receive 20% off.

Pop on over to our Etsy shop and at checkout use the code iloveteadresses and instantly receive 20% off.

Happy 1st of December everyone!

Chin chin...

Tea & Bakes * Turkish Delight Cake

We appear to have had a little theme running over the last couple of days.

We've been drinking Turkish Tea, we have a guest post coming up all about Turkish Tea Sellers and here for you biscuit dunkers, we have a very delicious Turkish Delight Cake recipe from A Girl and her Bird.



Hi I'm Leanne and I love a cup of tea and a slice of cake so I was very excited when Isle of Tea asked me to share this recipe for turkish delight cake! It's pretty easy to make so here it is and enjoy!

You will need...

...for the cake

110g butter
110g caster sugar
110g ground almonds
2 medium free range eggs
75g chocolate (I used dark but you could use milk if you prefer!)
1/2 tsp baking powder

...for the icing

105g icing sugar
2 tsp rose water
couple of drops of pink food colouring

1. Preheat your oven to about 200c and grease a cake tin ready for your yummy mixture!

2. Melt the chocolate on the hob in a bowl over a saucepan of water or in the microwave.

3. Beat the sugar and butter until it's light, then beat in the eggs and the chocolate once it has melted.

4. Fold in the ground almonds and baking powder and then pop it in your cake tin.

5. Bake for about half an hour or until firm to touch. Take it out and patiently let it cool completely before you ice it!

6. To make the icing sift the icing sugar in a bowl and add the rose water and pink food colouring (I added a bit too much which is why mine's a very bright pink!). Then spoon over the cake.

Enjoy with a cup of tea! (Mine's milk and two sugars please!)


You can find Leanne over at her Tumblr blog at agirlandherbird and if you'd like to follow her tweetings click the link @agirlandherbird

Thanks ever so muchly Leanne for the fab recipe!

Chin chin...
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