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|Julie Marlow and Mal Bryning
||Dear Nicey and Wifey.|
We’re in serious trouble. I’m working in Jamaica for six months, from Australia, and loose leaf standard issue tea can’t be bought for love nor money. There’s tea bags, good old Tetley’s (normal and British Blend), which is a relief, and we took the precaution of bringing a stock of Twinings Irish Breakfast tea bags, imagining these would tide us over till we got a packet of good small tipped leaf. Alas, there’s plenty of other kinds of leaf here, but NO TEA. Or not so as we’ve found, but we’ve scoured the malls and supermarkets of Kingston to no avail. Can any kind Jamaican soul out there please advise??
I must say though that a nice cup of Blue Mountain coffee and a slice of rum cake goes down very nicely at teatime as a substitute.
Looking forward to your book,
Yours, Julie Marlow and Mal Bryning
Frustrated tea drinkers of Jamaica
I thought I would reply to Alison Debenham's email about Tottenham cake from the lovely Greggs bakery... I actually live a stones throw from Tottenham and close to White Heart Lane so am also from a Spurs family. Greggs bakers have been in our area for years and I and my siblings (all big fans of most cakes and biscuits) discovered Tottenham cake when we were kids. I have to say I love the stuff, true it is just plain sponge and icing, but there's just something about it, plus the fact that it comes in really decent sized big slabs, hurrah! Anyway, given that the pinkness of the icing clearly jars with the the traditional Spurs colours of blue and white we also wondered where the cake got its name. So a bit of investigation led us to that font of all local knowledge, my nan, may she rest in peace. She told us that the cake had nothing to do with football at all. In fact, it was related to, believe it or not, waste disposal in London. In the 'old days' when people kept pigs and chickens etc as part of the household (around the WW2 period I think) there was obviously a need to feed the animals. According to my nan, they were fed on a diet of leftovers that came from restaurants all over London. These scraps were put in bags taken to somewhere in the Tottenham area which people could then buy for feed, hence 'tottenham cake'. So the original tottenham cake was basically food waste and pig fodder, how that relates to the Greggs incarnation of the porcine delicacy (maybe that explains the pink...?) or what it says about the ingredients that go into it I don't know!
Yours (still lovin the site, can't wait for the book!)
|Nicey replies: Hi Vicky,
I think I follow that, but it does imply that the term 'Tottenham cake', is a bit derogatory. This also implies that the iced sponge was a bit useless and picked up this name as some kind of put down. Perhaps there is a bit more light left to shed on this matter still.
Caxton Pink'n'Whites Review
|Hello again Nicey and Staff|
Yes, I saw the article about Eccles Cakes. Unfortunately, we have TWO of the said Greggs stores here in Sunny St Albans, on opposite sides of the main shopping street. They are the sort of cake/sandwich shop that my mother would have pronounced as "selling septic cakes" (she meant the sort filled with that rather nasty artificial cream). They are cheap and not very cheerful. They even sell something called "Tottenham cake", which as a Spurs family, interested us. I suppose it's to compete with Chelsea Buns, but since it's just a square of plain sponge with a lurid sickly pink icing, it doesn't seem to have anything to do with the football club. When I asked a member of staff why they were so-called, they mumbled "dunno", so I'm none the wiser.
Maybe we should arrange a campaign to Save the Eccles Cake, starting right now!
Best wishes to all. Must go now, to put on the kettle for the Return Home from School Cup of Tea and Sit Down (with Caxtons Pink and White Wafers) of the younger daughter.
As a recent discoverer of your excellent site, I am now often to be found browsing in that 10 minutes of 'no mans time' between the end of my lunchtime cup of tea and the beginning of that nagging feeling that I ought to get on with some work.
Here's a thing - I read lots of correspondence on Earl Grey, including of course the 'is milk so wrong debate' - but at home when a teapot's worth of team is made, we often enjoy a combination of Earl Grey and another tea. It's usually three teabags, comprising Typhoo (or another fruity strong kind of tea, Tescos premium is quite nice) and Earl Grey, in a two to one ratio. Works great for us - not overpowered by the bergamot smell, but just a hint of it, and carried by a strong enough tea 'taste platform' that drinking it with milk isn't a terrible sin.
I know all those 'loose tea or death' afficionados will be grinding their teeth at this, but I wondered if any other readers had favourite blends or combinations.
By the way, we have one of those teapots with an in-built plastic strainer, so you can lift the teabags out once the right strength of brew has been reached - very handy. And we've also started drinking green Chinese tea (it comes in a green cardboard cylinder, 'Clipper' is the brand I think) as a pre-bedtime brew, seems to have a nice soothing effect, albeit not very compatible with biscuits - any others share that experience?
Sorry for combining so many topics in one posting, I don't know what that does to the icon count.
|Nicey replies: Not a problem that simply registers a cup of tea icon.|
Rich Tea Review
|I've just read Phil's review of the Rich Tea and whilst I agree with his views generally, I think he fails the define the appeal of this mild and soothing biscuit.|
I think of Rich Teas as part of a family of 'Base Biscuits'; like Digestives and Nice Biscuits they are a just baked dough, whose taste is unmasked by jam-fillings, chocolate or any other frivolities. The popularity of 'Base Biscuits' is testiment to British sobriety, and a simple appreciation of a quality baking.
Nice biscuits can be watery and mean, and in the wrong mood, a digestive can seem and harsh clumsy with it's coarse grain and heavy-crumbage. But a Rich Tea occupies the area in-between; where it's creamy and buttery, and where a one second dip ensures a squishy coating around a still-super-crunchy centre.
When it comes to a cup of tea and a sit down, if I'm feeling crazy I'll have a Gingernut or even a Jammie Dodger - but the Rich Tea will always be MY 'Base Biscuit'!
PS. No offense Phil - it's just that Rich Teas have gotten me through some hard times!
|Nicey replies: I actually think that the rich tea is a good bit 'baser' than the Digestive and even the grotty old Nice biscuit, and that Phil did a good job on them. Still very pleased to hear of your affection for what is after all a highly technical biscuit, a fact which people often forget.|