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Our cake trolley at EDS Swansea raised £212.28. The company was kind enough donate some cash to ensure that all staff got a free Welsh cake to celebrate St David's Day. Meant I was huddling over the bakestone for a good few hours, but it was worthwhile. My fellow bakers helped me out and we had a great showing with bara brith, lemon drizzle cake, loads of nice things like caramel slices and rocky road, fairy and butterfly cakes, and the best jam and cream scones I've ever tasted. I had intended to take a photo for you, but the gannets descended as soon as the cakes appeared. We all had a good time, but by the end of the day some of us were feeling poorer and ever so slightly queasy.
I went along to the Saint David's Day parade in Cardiff on the Saturday and I though it was really good. Not up to St. Patrick's Day in Dublin yet, but certainly enough to make your heart swell with pride.
|Nicey replies: Sue,
Glad to hear you made lots of tea and cake propelled dosh for your Charity. Well done to all your baking colleagues too.
Team NCOTAASD are just back from a week in the Alps, where the YMOS did very good impressions of small helmet wearing projectiles re-entering the earth's atmosphere. Wifey can officially now no longer keep up with them and is adapting her skiing style accordingly to a more sitting down with a hot chocolate whilst I go off and find ever steeper things for the YMOS to tackle.
On the way back yesterday morning we found ourselves on Paris's Gare du Nord at 6:00 am where I was forced to drink Liptons Yellow label tea in a paper cup of hot water and milk, for 2.40 Euros. Wifey has always wanted a romantic weekend in Paris, and arriving at 5:30 am after a night spent trying to sleep and a vinyl covered shelf surrounded by ski socks didn't seem to count. Not even one little tiny bit, although we did spot the odd glimpse of the Eiffel Tower on the way out.
So I better go and get that Guinness and see if we can celebrate St Patrick's Day in some style
||Hello Nicey and Wifey,|
I'm French, and I lived some seven years in England, I thoroughly enjoyed these years. But I still have my tea without milk nor sugar.. Which stops me from enjoying the strong brew I often get in most tea places, even if I ask for a very weak tea.
Only posher places allow you to remove the tea bag before the tea is undrinkable, or give you a jug of water to weaken the tea...
Are you all horrified out there???
Now for custard: yes I admit having enjoying some custards, school dinners ones, home made ones made from Bird's I suppose, but I love trifle, and I have an excellent English recipe that doesn't use jelly, but home made custard (from eggs and milk, but with a special tip which I will reveal on your site if anyone would like to hear it), and also using mostly fresh fruit. Of course in summer I use fresh strawberries, peaches, apricots, to the delight of my French guests who first say "What? Not an English dessert!!
Anybody interested in my recipe?
And to finish with, another addition to British shopping abroad: in the little town of Foix (Ariège) where I live, there is a litttle shop called "Simply British" where you can find all this delicious stuff, even Marmite among other things, that I used to have to bring back from England every time I went there on holiday. The shop is run by an English lady, and the adress is Rue des Chapeliers, should you wish to visit that lovely and peaceful part of France. (By the way, lots of British people have bought houses and are settling or plan to settle there at retirement.There is even a B and B place run by English people, and an English restaurant with a English chef, who makes delicious puddings with custard...The place is called Gaia and the 3 ^places are in the same street in Foix
Voilà tout, merci for your site, and I look fotward to any queries!
Keep up the good work
|Nicey replies: Apart from your dubious tea mangling ways you seem otherwise very well adjusted.
Actually the YMOS and I went fruit picking on Sunday at our local fruit farm which is literally the other side of the road from NCOTAASD HQ, even if it is half a mile away down that road. Having gone a bit mad on the raspberries, I juiced the excess added sugar and set it with some gelatine to make fresh raspberry jelly. Some trifle sponges and strawberry blancmange later and we had pudding. Yes I did briefly agonise over the custard vs blancmange issue, but I have a backlog of strawberry blancmange.
So far in our tea tours of France we have never made it down as far as the Pyrenees, but we would love to visit one day.
On a recent adventure the French Alps I discovered that when the French aren't making fine wine and excellent cheese, they busy themselves with a spot of Marmot Tea making. Unfortunately, despite they niceness of the illustration on the packet (two marmots enjoying a nice cup of tea, and a sit down), the tea itself turned out to taste of very little, and we were left disappointed by the drinking experience.
However, the website that I found advertised on the box almost made up for it www.les2marmottes.fr - it has a rather pleasing animation on start up that tells a tale to warm the cockles. Thought you might like it also.
The conclusion of my investigation was that while there are plenty on places for a good sit down in alpine areas, you are best avoiding the cups of tea, and opting for the nice cup of vin chaud and a sit down instead. Nothing to report on the biscuit front, so think further research is needed.
|Nicey replies: Indeed. Never ever expect the French to produce a decent tea bag. Doubly so if they are basing their inspiration on a the leaf litter dragged into the borrow of a large alpine rodent. I could go on.|
||Until now I've been a failure as a parent. Both our kids have avoided any tea or coffee intake, in fact the only hot drink they'll touch is hot chocolate. This is probably due to my tendency to consume huge mugs of industrial strength Assam, with very little milk and certainly no sugar. My own introduction to tea was by my grandfather who served me tiny little bone china cups full of very sweet milky glengettie, and let me drink it from the saucer or teaspoon if it was too hot. (I also shared the saucer with his collie dog, Bob, but that's another story).|
Anyway, while on holiday our youngest (7) took part in a tasting at the Auray branch of the LeClerc supermarket chain (lack of French is no obstacle to a lad who can talk for Wales and doesn't care if anyone's listening). He was much taken with the Lipton Ice Tea Peche
Thankfully we can get a version of this at home, so he's very happy. My questions are:
1. Does this count, in any way, as tea drinking in the 'real' sense?
2. How can I encourage it to evolve into a proper tea habit without resorting to too much sugar?
(Much more cheerful this week, thanks!)
|Nicey replies: Hello Sue,
Glad you have bucked up a bit this week.
I remember my first visit to a LeClerc (indeed the first French Supermarket I went too), must have been about 15 years ago now. Despite only being a small one it still sold cement mixers along with the more obvious groceries. For added rustic charm a small flock of sparrows were coming in through a gap in the roof and making off with some goods placed at the top of the shelves. I'm guessing it was somewhere near Montreuil just south of Boulogne.
Anyhow sorry to bring you down in your hour of triumph but French peach flavoured Iced tea fails on at least three counts. Still the fact that the boy is showing willingness to try other beverages is a good thing in general. We work on the principle here that certain selected items such as special forms of cake (one's that we made a bit of a fuss about baking) can only be consumed with tea. This works some of the time but is in no way fool proof.
My wife Rachel and I are Londoners in exile in Tignes, a ski resort high in the French Alps. The French Alps, in common with much of mainland Europe, is not the kind of place where one can easily get one's sticky paws on one's favourite mass produced biscuits. A decent cuppa is pretty much out of the question as well, and we've taken to importing tea bags rather than put up with Lipton day in, day out.
The biscuit issue was more of a problem, but my wife's entrepreneurial streak encouraged her to bake brownies. This in turn led to a 'Tignes brownie off', resulting in said brownies becoming available in a local cafe, Le Lavachet Lounge. Walnut brownies are a favourite, but 'orange and white chocolate chip' have been spotted, as have 'cherry and kirsch', and the flavour changes every week.
I occasionally report on the brownies in my blog and a recent post was entitled "Nice cup of tea and a sit down" after your good selves. A reader posted a link to your site and commented that if Rachel's brownies were ever to get a mention there, she'd know they'd truly hit the big time.
It's my wife's birthday in April (the 12th) and I'm sure it would make her day for her baking to be recognised in such an internationally renowned place.
Obviously I'm biased, but I'm sure I could find vaguely independent verification of aforementioned brownie quality.
Great site - keep up the good work.
|Nicey replies: As I too have endured many a cup of Liptons tea a mere mountain away from you I have some empathy for your wretched plight. Mind you living in the middle of Espace Killy and looking like the season could make it through to the start of May this year tempers my anguish somewhat.
Still well done to Mrs Cowbells for her resourceful baking. I have to say I do like the whole high altitude baking thing in ski resorts even if much of it is enforced on chalet maids.