The Elves and the Cakemaker

Tea | Friday November 12 2010 | 8:59 pm | No Comments | Tags: |

Now that I’m on my way to being a lady of leisure / one of the great unwashed (I haven’t worked out which yet) I have time to do some things I haven’t normally been able to do during the working day.  This afternoon that meant popping to Chorlton with a chum for a coffee and a mooch.

A few months ago On the Corneropened on Beech Road and it’s a great mix of cakes, old lp’s and books and the best mix of old furniture and crockery you could ever dream of! 

Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me – how silly of me.  [Note to self: always carry camera!]

We had really lovely cake and coffee and were having a good chinwag with owner Steph who was telling us about the different cakes.  It seems the really yummy ones are made by elves!!  Yes, really… elves!!!  Steph leaves plastic boxes in her porch and every morning there are beautiful, fresh cakes in them!  Why aren’t there cake making elves where I live?

Since I didn’t get any pictures you’re going to have to check out their website, or even better go along for yourself.  I can highly recommend the sponge cake with strawberries on it!!!

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Oooooo, Betty!

Tea | Tuesday November 2 2010 | 6:20 pm | 1 Comment | Tags: , , |

Wet and windy here in Yorkshire today so we decided it was best not to venture too far into the great outdoors.  Instead we headed to Harrogate which is only about 20 minutes away.

Harrogate is veeeeeerrrrrry famous for Betty’s Tearooms which are also veeeeeerrrrrry popular.  Last year when we were in this area we didn’t even manage to go there as the queue outside was really long and we were told it would take about an hour to get in.  This year I had decided it was best to not even expect to go because I’m not very patient in a queue and didn’t want to have the stress of it, no matter how nice the tea may be.

Imagine then our delight as we approached and there was no queue!  Oh joy!!!  We went straight in and waited only two minutes for a table to be cleared for us!  Then decisions, decisions!  I wanted a coffee as it was mid morning and that would be my preference at that time!  But I was in Betty’s!   How could I have anything other than tea, and breakfast tea at that!

I chose a toasted teacake and Caveman had pancakes with mushrooms.  No pictures I’m afraid – too busy eating!  It was really lovely.  Betty’s has an old fashioned feel with waitresses in frilly blouses, polite service, cake trolleys, silver teapots, leaf tea and an overall feeling of calm, quiet and subtelty.  I did like it very much – it makes a change from the normal coffee shops where it’s all about speed and providing the basics.  Oh don’t I sound so old fashioend saying that?  I guess when it comes to tea I am!

When we were leaving there was a queue so seems we timed it just right.  Must remember that for next time!

Harrogate is great for shopping so we had a good mooch around the town and did a bit of shopping before heading home, lighting the fire and settling in for a cosy evening!  It’s now really quite wild outside so I am glad I got this picture of the sheep earlier today between rain showers.  I think this is my favourite sheep shot so far, as I love the rainbow and the deep, heavy grey of the sky.

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How do you take yours?

Tea | Thursday October 21 2010 | 1:09 pm | Comments (2) | Tags: |

 

Did you know there is an International Standard for making tea? 

Now, I know I am fussy about how I take my tea, but I think if I started prescribing it like this Caveman would have a thing or two to say!

The ISO Standard method is:

  • The pot should be white porcelain or glazed earthenware and have a partly serrated edge. It should have a lid that fits loosely inside the pot.
  • If a large pot is used, it should hold a maximum of 310 ml (±8 ml) and must weigh 200 g (±10 g).
  • If a small pot is used, it should hold a maximum of 150 ml (±4 ml) and must weigh 118 g (±10 g).
  • 2 grams of tea (measured to ±2% accuracy) per 100 ml boiling water is placed into the pot.
  • Freshly boiling water is poured into the pot to within 4-6 mm of the brim. Allow 20 seconds for water to cool.
  • The water should be similar to the drinking water where the tea will be consumed
  • Brewing time is six minutes.
  • The brewed tea is then poured into a white porcelain or glazed earthenware bowl.
  • If a large bowl is used, it must have a capacity of 380 ml and weigh 200 g (±20 g)
  • If a small bowl is used, it must have a capacity of 200 ml and weigh 105 g (±20 g)
  • If the test involves milk, then it can be added before or after pouring the infused tea.
  • Milk added after the pouring of tea is best tasted when the liquid is between 65 – 80 °C.
  • 5 ml of milk for the large bowl, or 2.5 ml for the small bowl, is used.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_3103

OK, so this method is for testing and scientific comparison purposes, or to give it it’s proper name ‘Tea – Preparation of liquor for use in sensory tests’, and if you’re making me tea you can be a little less precise, but just a little!

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A wee custard cream?

Tea | Saturday October 16 2010 | 9:18 pm | Comments (4) | Tags: , |

All the kids in my family love a particular type of treat: a custard cream biscuit!  Their normal request is

‘Can I have a wee custard cream, please?’

So imagine their delight when they saw a custard cream this size:

Personally though, I prefer a bourbon!

(Custard Cream tin, full of custard creams of course, from Marks & Spencer)

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The Butterfly and the Pig

Tea | Thursday October 7 2010 | 10:03 pm | Comments (2) | Tags: , , , , |

As if by magic I’m now in Scotland to visit my family.  OK I admit it, not by magic, by car power!

I arrived here about lunch time and within an hour of being here I was off out with my sister in law, her mum and my mum for afternoon tea!  How perfect an arrival that was!

We went to The Butterfly and the Pig in Glasgow!  Great name yeah?!  I’d not heard of it until recently and what a find it is!  The tearoom is an absolute delight and the afternoon tea well, let’s just say we were all very full for a long time.

My favourite things about it were the mismatched crockery and old linens on the tables.  The decor and accessories are just my taste and I could have happily had all of it at home, although I probably don’t need that many tea cups!

 

The tearoom itself has a great mix of dressers, wooden chairs, pews and mirrors.  We sat in a window seat under a sash window, with tweed cushions – a great place to watch the world go by too!

And what was the afternoon tea itself like, you may be asking!  Well, I think these two pictures answer that question!

 

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High teas and happy days

Craft,Tea | Wednesday June 23 2010 | 4:15 pm | Comments (3) | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

I’ve just had one of my very favourite sorts of weekends: family, kids, cake and crochet!!  Caveman and I went to Scotland for my new(ish) niece’s christening so it was a busy and tiring weekend.  However, in between the travelling and the cake I managed to get come crochet done in the sunshine which was a joy, as I am normally just hooking away indoors in the corner of my sofa, in front of the telly and / or laptop.

Anyway, after the church bit of the christening, which I guess IS the actual christening!) we went to the Strathaven Hotel, (Strathaven is where I grew up and some of my folks still live there) for high tea.  I spent a good hour thinking, out loud much of the time, ‘now, why have I never had high tea before’.  My sister insists that I have but I really can’t remember.  High tea consisted of a main course (gammon steak in my case, other options included fish and chips), served with a cake stand full of little slices of tray bake cakes, scones, pancakes and bread and butter all washed down with lots of tea or coffee. 

Then came the pièce de résistance!  A plate groaning with homemade meringues sandwiched with fluffy soft whipped cream!  My sister and I managed not to resist several of these (each!!).  Be honest, could you?

I am ever curious about traditions and etiquette (particularly of ‘polite’ society) and had to look up the origins of high tea and found that the UK Tea Council describes it thus:

For the working and farming communities, afternoon tea became high tea. As the main meal of the day, high tea was a cross between the delicate afternoon meal enjoyed in the ladies’ drawing rooms and the dinner enjoyed in houses of the gentry at seven or eight in the evening. With the meats, bread and cakes served at high tea, hot tea was taken.

After all that food we crashed out in the lounge of the hotel where thankfully there were no other customers as 20 of us, including 4 excited children, would have soon scared them away.  We spent the rest of the day catching up, playing with the kids and taking lots of pictures of Erin in her christening gown with various family members.  I still can’t work out why she vomited on me 3 times over the weekend though!  I’m not that scary!

The rest of the weekend was spent hanging out with my folks, watching some football (yes, really, I watched some of the World Cup) and getting some of my hook-a-long blanket done.  In the process I competled my first full cycle of all the colours!  Yee ha!!!

I read a lot of crochet and craft blogs and often people refer to it being too dark to take pictures of their works and waiting for an opportune time.  I am no expert in photography so wasn’t too sure what this was all about, thinking hte flash made up for it – until I was able to take the pictures below in my sisters garden.  Don’t the colours look great?  Don’t I wish I had a garden and didn’t live in a flat?  Yes to both!!

I have now started on the second round of each colour now and I am jolly well delighted with it; the neatness, colour order (despite all the pondering).  Can you spot the little mistake?  I am going to handsew two little imitation crochet stitches in to put it right.

Now I’m back in Manchester to the same old wondering, as I sometimes do, why I live so far away from the people who are most improtant to me!!  Ah well, such is life!

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