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You may be able to shed some light on the amount of time a tea-bag should be left standing in the mug/cup after the hot water has been poured on. I give the mixture a couple of stirs then generally leave the kitchen, watch the tv in the lounge for no more than ten seconds, or walk to the lounge window and back which seems to provide reasonable timing.
However, a friend, Ian, uses his spoon to squash the tea-bag into the bottom of the mug/cup, which he then leaves for no less than four minutes. His tea tastes ‘stewed’ to me, but it made we wonder what the guidelines are?
How long does it take to brew the perfect cuppa and at what stage is it stewed?
|Nicey replies: John,
Of course this is a very important subject you have raised. Whilst it would be very satisfying to have a definitive answer so that anybody who veered from it could be roundly denounced as 'doing it all wrong', alas there isn't one. I mean personally I'm with you, and modern tea bags are made to deliver the goods very quickly in terms of brew time. However there will be some like your mate Ian who genuinely like the taste of stewed tea, (which it most certainly is). The fact that he wrings the bag, actually contributes to a stewed flavour. Now thats well and good, and if that's how he likes it then who are we to disagree, however, he should accept that he does like his tea stewed, and that in general most other people don't. If he were to make tea for the majority of other people in this way then they would pour it down the sink.
||Dear Nicey and Wifey|
I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy receiving your newsletter and also the website. I am an American ('Murrkin) who was fortunate enough to live in England when I was a child. I have many fond memories of the lovely teas and cakes and biscuits....>sigh< if only we could get biscuits like that here! I actually read the reviews, and drool over the pictures, lol.....then I get all hungry and go and eat some not-nearly-so-nice hard old crumbly cookies or something...it's just not the same. And don't get me started on the subject of sit-downs! It's as if the notion of a sit-down with a nice hot cuppa is totally alien!! Anyway, your site reminds me of many happy childhood teas. I had a notion, I noticed you had polled the site to see how many folks make their own bscuits...it would be really cool if people shared their favorite recipes for biscuits! And cakes too, of course, and all tea-ish comestibles, for that matter. I for one would very much enjoy trying out such recipes, and perhaps feel even closer to that long-ago childhood when things were so much less complicated. Just a thought...perhaps it might find favor with you.
I am looking forward to reading your book, and look forward to the next newsletter with positive pleasure. Keep up the good work!
|Nicey replies: Maryann,
The internet is so full of recipe sites that we don't think it would be adding much if we got involved. Also the truth is that whilst homemade biscuits are lovely and all of that, they are nothing like our mass produced ones, which is as it should be. So even if you were to get hold of a recipe you would have a very hard time making a McVities anything, let alone a feat of biscuitry like a Wagonwheel.
While my husband and I were shopping for fathers day presents in David Jones (a fairly upmarket department store here in Australia) we saw and bought a packet of "strawberry biscuits". They were in a cardboard packet with a big picture of strawberries on it, but no picture of the biscuits. The ingredients listed strawberry flavour, and the packet said there were four biscuits in the pack. This sounded like rather luxury level biscuits to us, and we were eager to try them.
When we opened them, though, we found four (not five) Lincoln biscuits. As far as I know these aren't regularly available here in Aus, but I recognised them from your site which I'd been browsing the day before. Like you say in your review, the most exciting thing about them is the pattern of dots on the top.
So what I'm wondering is, are Lincoln biscuits normally strawberry flavoured? Is strawberry flavour one of the standard Lincoln ingredients? Not that it was very noticeable in ours.
Anyway, thanks for a very enjoyable website.
|Nicey replies: Liz,
Whoa, these biscuits are bringing me down. First off, four is a miserably small number isn't it? Typically that's seen as the amount for a small individiually wrapped serving (sorry to use a dodgy transatlantic term), as exemplified by the Oreo or even our own Penguin MIni Splatz. However, there is usually a bunch of said servings in the box not just four biscuits in total.
As for the strawberries I think there are some mixed metaphors going on here. Strawberry shortcake is a sandwich of shortcake (sort of as it's an American recipe) with fresh strawberries and cream. Fair enough. Lincoln biscuits are a shortcake biscuit, a fairly dull and unassuming one at that. They wouldn't even dream of getting a cream filling let alone fraternising with Strawberries. As for these biscuits only tasting slightly of strawberry despite there being pictures of them on the box, well that's enough to make your blood boil.
I await the emails telling me about Lincoln creams, now I've said that I'm sure there was such a thing.
As I wandered around Asda the other week and having successfully chosen a number of packets of "traditional" biscuits, I was walking down the freezer aisle, when my eyes were drawn to one of the ice cream cabinets. I was in shock. There amongst the Fabs and Cornettos and Calypo's was what I first thought was a packet of biscuits. "How could anyone be so cruel?, I thought. "Imagine putting a packet of Bourbon Creams into the freezer cabinet. Is nothing sacred?". When I opened the freezer door to rescue the biscuits from their peculiar resting place, I found them to be "ICE CREAM Bourbons". There was also a packet of "ICE CREAM CUSTARD CREAMS". After the initial shock, I pondered my predicament. Should I buy these tasty morsels just to try them, or would they spoil my enjoyment of their original parent biscuits. After much deliberation, I placed the Ice Cream Bourbons into my trolley and proceeded to the checkout. Once home and all the shopping was put away, I decided to try the Ice Cream Bourbon. It is larger than a traditional Bourbon, about two and a half times the size in fact, with a chocolate ice cream filling. Whilst the overall effect was quite pleasant, my nearest and dearest hit the nail on the head when he complained that the biscuit was a bit soft. In short I would say that the Ice Cream/Biscuit combination is not the best way to eat a Bourbon. Give me traditional Bourbons any day.
|Nicey replies: Oh dear its all so undignified like getting your granny up to sing rap numbers.
congratulations on the book. i do hope you play yourself in the film.
when the book come out, are there any plans in the works for making "autographed copies" available? i am sure that many primates would be thrilled to have the opportunity to purchase a signed copy, possibly with a few biscuit crumbs and a tea stain for those special few.
if you plan to come to texas as part of an extensive book tour, do drop by. i've always got the kettle ready!
|Nicey replies: Hello Monkey,
Yes apparently they are planning to lock me in the warehouse for a day or two signing them so they can be sold under a different ISBN or something. If I'm ever in Texas I'll be sure to pop over to you for a cuppa, especially if its cycling distance.
Wifey has already decided that she is playing herself in the film, and I'm going to be played by Bradd Pitt. I wonder if he has the range to play a bloke who likes fig rolls washed down with a couple mugs of tea.