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||Hello Nicey ,Wifey and the rest of the team.|
I've just come back from a cycling holiday in Oakham, Rutland. I visited the local market while I was there and found a specialist Tea stall. ( Must be because the Oakham School is quite posh!) There were 3 varieties of Earl Grey tea on this stall! I bought some loose tea, a tea caddy and a "Dauerfilter" for making loose tea directly in the cup. Its a permanent filter and is "Auch ideal zum Aufbruhen von kaffee"
I don't remember which variety of Earl grey tea I bought because the stall owner put it directly in my new caddy but it has a very strong scent of bergamot and it quite delicious.
I have been amazed by people far and wide who admit to having seen and enjoyed your site or have read your book.
|Nicey replies: We keep passing through Rutland, and Oakham on our way to and from other places. In fact we tried to find somewhere to camp up there two weeks ago but wound up in Derbyshire. If we had of made it to Rutland we would have been cycling round there too..
Just got back from a splendid bike ride this afternoon with both younger members of staff and Nanny Nicey. All off road in the hills between Saffron Walden and Royston. We took half a home made fruit cake and a flask of tea. We pop two teabags in the flask when we are ready to make the tea, and this works very well indeed.
The Jaffa cake story prompted my colleagues to nag me to tell you about my biscuit cakes.
It all started shortly after I first met the man who was to become my better half. He introduced me to his mother's dinner party 'cheat' dessert from the 70s.
All you need is a pot of whipping cream, a packet of ginger nuts and a glass of sherry. You need to prepare everything the night before. Whip the cream until it's nice and thick. Put the sherry in a shallow bowl. Open the packet of ginger nuts and dip each one (both sides) in the sherry. As you finish each one you need to reassemble them into the cylindrical shape they were in in the packet on a serving dish. This is the only tricky bit. Once your roll of biscuits is complete cover the whole thing with the cream and leave in the fridge overnight. (You could sprinkle it with grated chocolate, nuts or whatever takes your fancy, too.) When you finally get around to cutting up the cake all the biscuits will have fused into one wonderful log. Everyone will ask for the recipe.
I've tried many variations of this over the years. The most popular uses chocolate chip cookies and orange liqueur (replace with orange juice for small people). You could even use chocolate mousse instead of the cream.
My personal favourite is to dip shortbread fingers in whisky and assemble them in two rectangular layers with raspberries sandwiched in the middle. Cover with the cream and decorate with more raspberries and grated dark chocolate, The only hard part is making sure that you get the biscuits soggy enough. Yum!
|Nicey replies: That does sound excellently 70's. Its put me in the mood for a Vesta Beef Curry and Surprise Dried Peas.|
||Good Morning Nicey, |
Just though I'd pass on a tea related episode from this weekend.
My daughter has just reached the grand old age of 12 and has decided that she's old enough to go to town with just her friends. However, she's still quite keen to have a parent within easy reach. This led to me being stuck in Swansea this Saturday wandering around like a real Johnny no mates. I'm not great shopper and after a very short while I'd had more that enough. In the end I bought myself an Ordnance Survey map of this year's holiday destination and sneaked off to the new TTotal tea shop up stairs in Waterstones (the old Carlton cinema).
The shop takes up the window side of the second floor. You can chose from high barstools in the window, which allow you to watch the comings an goings at Woolworths across the way, chunky wooden tables and chairs, or squidgy leather sofas. There were a few people about, but still plenty of room, despite it being just after lunchtime. Being a fresh air fiend I plumped for one of the bar stools by an open window. (This my not have been the best move to preserve my elegance(??) as being only 5 foot one and a bit, getting on and off the thing involved a fair bit of clambering.)
Then it was off to the counter to survey the wares available. There were at least 8 different teas, coffee for those who like that sort of thing, and enough juices and soft drinks to keep the youngsters happy too. The cakes, biscuits and gingerbread men looked lovely, and for those in need of a bit more sustenance there was soup and toasted sandwiches. I plumped for a small pot of Assam and a slice of carrot cake, which came to a little over £3. You also get a loyalty card which is stamped for every pot of tea you buy. Every 6th pot is free, Hooray! The staff were really pleasant, but the girl was a little embarrassed at having to explain the timer that came with my pot of tea. They have worked out the optimum brewing time for each type of tea. The tea is put inside the pot in a sort of cylindrical strainer, and the moment that the hot water is applied they start the timer. When the alarm goes off you whip out the strainer thingy and put it in the little beaker that's provided and your perfectly brewed tea will never stew. Now, I was a bit sceptical about this, after all I've been making tea for myself for quite a while now. But I must confess that aside from a mild feeling of embarrassment when my tea alarm started bleeping, the system does seem to produce a very good cuppa. I managed to get 3 reasonably sized cups out of the small pot, which washed down the very nice carrot cake in a thoroughly acceptable manner. I also became pretty familiar with the topological features of the Perranporth area before I receive the call to retrieve my shopped out offspring.
If it wasn't for the fact that it would fill the place up and there wouldn't be a seat for me, I would toughly recommend TTotal to any tea lover looking for an oasis of calm in the centre of Swansea.
|Nicey replies: Thanks Sue for that in depth review of the tea making at Swansea Waterstones, it sounds all very nice, but I think the timers may be a bit intimidating. Waterstones have been doing great work selling our book and are going to be running a special offer on it when it comes out as a paperback in September.
Hope you have some nice Cornish Cream Teas on holiday in Perranporth.
||Although I love biscuits dearly of course, I am at heart a cake person, and have just returned from a cake & beer themed holiday in Europe. I was pleasantly surprised by the availability of both decent tea & sitdowns, although biscuits were thin on the ground. However, the stunning cakes banished all thoughts of biscuits from my mind, so I thought you might like to see a pic of the truely awe inspiring Russian Cream Torte (from a lovely cafe behind the palace in Budapest). The cream was delicately infused with lemon & the mousse type filling contained rum soaked dried fruit. The memory of this cake will stay with me always...|
The beer was pretty good too (mmmm......Staropramen!)
|Nicey replies: That was good forward thinking to take the photo of the epic cake before eating it rather than the creamy smear on the plate after you had dispatched it. Wifey and I are big into cakes right now with lots of cake baking taking place at NCOTAASD HQ. Interestingly the last two fruit cakes have both had beer in them, an Ale cake followed by a Guinness cake. We too were minded towards a rum and fruit based job, and even bought a bottle for the purpose although Wifey has seen off quite a bit of it with coke.
In fact our on-going cake activity may well spill out onto the site in some form or another.
When we were kids, we spent every† Sunday in the summertime† at Llangennith beach on the Gower (South Wales). My mothers idea of a picnic was a whole roast chicken, a pressure cooker of potatoes and veg taken straight off the top of the cooker and put into the boot of the car not to be opened until we were ready to eat and an enormous red thermos full of gravy. This would be eaten† in the field above the beach obviously for fear of sand. The adults wouldn't actually venture onto the beach at all in fact. There were always warm hard boiled eggs too and angel cake and pink wafers. We had a† little camping gaz stove and a kettle for tea. It would take all afternoon to boil. My Gran (bless her) would sit there on her deck chair all day in her Sunday Best Coat and Chapel hat despite the blistering heat (1976 if you're wondering - we might be the wettest place in Britain now but we did have sun once I'm certain).††
Ps just eaten a custard (or iced) slice. Is that soggy cream cracker on the bottom? Could they go in the venn diagram between crackers and cakes? Loved the book.
|Nicey replies: Splendid we now have beans, soup and gravy as Thermos contents, but I'm willing to accept weirder ones, porridge perhaps?
As for the bases of Custard slices I had always assumed that this was puff pastry that had been transformed by the immense humidity and pressure exerted by an inch and a quarter of custard, into a strange slighty glassy substance. Perhaps custard slices are a model of some geological processes such as the laying down of sedimentary rocks, or the earth's lithosphere.