Tag Archives: tea

Announcing our all important coffee and tea suppliers at Afternoon Tease…

It’s amazing how quickly things have been moving at the cafe in the last couple of weeks. Its gone from being an empty shell to actually resembling a cafe, more so every single day! It feels really strange to see the vision that has been in my head for so long slowly become a reality! I’m constantly playing the role of jack of all trades and a typical day (not that they exist anymore) might find me baking in the morning, popping to the cafe, whilst a cake is in the oven to let a tradesman in, going to Ridgeons for more supplies, negotiating contracts on the phone, sourcing tiles and bidding on eBay…all with the grand aim of getting through that godforsaken ‘to do’ list and opening the doors to Afternoon Tease!

There’s a big update blog post coming up but here’s a sneaky peak…

Getting there...

I’ve been wanting to announce our coffee and tea suppliers to you for a while now but finding the time to sit down and write a blog has evaded me…I apologise. But I hope that you’ll agree with me that it’s been worth the wait.

I am a complete coffee fiend and from the moment that I decided that I wanted to open a cafe, the quality of the coffee has been paramount! Whilst living in London I fell in love with a newly opened cafe, close to my place of work, called Caravan (in fact I have blogged about it herehere, here and here). Firstly I loved their coffee but I also loved the atmosphere they had created, their decor, not to mention their incredible food! In a nutshell…they just get it! After I moved back to Cambridge, Caravan branched out into a second site in Granary Square, Kings Cross

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and are going from strength to strength. When it came to deciding on a coffee supplier it didn’t take me long to think about Caravan. I really wanted to to introduce a new coffee to Cambridge and one that I believe in. Miss Igs and I took a day trip to the big smoke to visit a few roasteries and I was happy to see that it wasn’t long before Ivana was won over too! We tasted their market blend espresso blend and were sold!…

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IMG_7027They roast their own beans in small batches daily and are constantly developing their seasonal espresso blend (the one we’ll be serving) to make sure the best flavour characteristics have been brought out. They are amazingly passionate about their coffee and when we visited a second time we met Estelle, their Head Barista, a lady who knows her stuff! She took us through our paces and showed us how to make the perfect coffee. After all, they want us to be able to showcase Caravan coffee at its best 🙂

We spent the morning tinkering around with their beautiful La Marzocco Linea, the exact machine that is due to be installed at Afternoon Tease in just a few days!…

La Marzocco

My 1st attempt

Ivana's beauty

The team at Caravan have been amazingly supportive and I’m proud to be representing them in Cambridge!

However, it would be a travesty to overlook our very own local coffee roastery, Hot Numbers

Hot Numbers

I love Hot Numbers and think it’s played a very important part in the development of Cambridge’s coffee/cafe culture. Simon has paved the way and shown the people of Cambridge that they don’t have to drink bad ‘chain’ coffee. My cakes have been gracing the Hot Numbers counter for a year and a half and will continue to do so even when Afternoon Tease is open. The added bonus will be that you will be able to get Hot Numbers coffee in my cafe aswell! Simon and Steve have developed a delicious decaf, so often overlooked by cafes who, when you order a decaf, get the bag out of the cupboard that’s been ground and open for months…not in my gaff! You can expect Hot Numbers decaf beans, roasted to perfection, ground to order and made into a coffee that you’d be hard pushed to differentiate from the caffeinated version.

We will also be showcasing one of their current single origin coffees to be enjoyed as a filter or aeropress. We’ll be changing the variety regularly depending on what the Hot Numbers honcho’s come up with next!

Now, all of you tea drinkers, fear not! You haven’t been forgotten. I met the lovely ladies behind local tea company, Kandula, when we worked together on a afternoon tea/teas matching event for EAT Cambridge back in March.

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Kandula

Firstly I like them because they are independent and local, but I can also vouch for the fact that their teas are exquisite! They’ve developed a range of classic orange Pekoe Ceylon teas & white & green Ceylon teas, sourced from ethical tea plantations in Sri Lanka, not forgetting their delicious natural infusions.

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Its taken me a while to decide the varieties that I would like to stock and I can guarantee that there will be a great selection for you to choose from, including their signature ‘Pink Ceylon’ (pictured above), a delicately smokey green tea blended with hibiscus.

That’s all for now…at the time of editing this blog post, it is very early Sunday morning and I am about to embark on another full day of floor painting at the cafe! A blog post full of exciting progress photos to follow very shortly!

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Tea tasting with Kandula and a recipe for leek and smoked Camembert filo tarts…

After a strenuously indulgent weekend as part of my annual family ‘Easter Eat Fest’, I thought it was the perfect time to finish off a well overdue blog post about an event I did as part of the EAT Cambridge festival at the beginning of March. I was invited by Liz from local boutique B&B, Duke House and local tea company, Kandula to come up with an afternoon tea menu to complement 5 teas from their range for a tasting event for a lucky few guests at Duke House. It was a great chance for me to experiment with new dishes and cakes and to (hopefully) come up with the perfect match for the teas that had been chosen. I spoke at length with the Gail and Jane from Kandula, and they advised me of the flavours that would bring the best out in their teas. The final menu looked like this…

Kandula Tea and Afternoon Tease Menu

With the Ebony Ceylon I matched homemade wholemeal and white soda bread scones topped with delicate cream cheese and cucumber and smoked salmon, creme fraiche and dill. It’s a delicate tea that needed a delicate but savoury food to set it off perfectly…

Homemade soda bread scones

The guests really got into the event and spent time (in between mouthfuls) discussing how successful they felt each food and tea combination was…

Tea tasting guests

Next up we matched the English Breakfast with a new invention of mine…leek and smoked Camembert filo tarts. I was told that the English Breakfast tea was robust enough for a more strongly flavoured savoury dish and had recently been introduced to the existence of smoked Camembert so decided this was the perfect chance to put it into action. The combination of a light filo tart, leek, a creamy filling and melted, lightly smoked Camembert was an absolute winner! (see below for the recipe)…

Leek and smoked Camembert filo tarts

Kandula English Breakfast Tea

Kandula’s signature tea is their Pink Ceylon, a unique green tea with a beautiful pink colour, which won a gold star in the Great taste Awards 2011. It’s a wondefully delicate tea, perfect with Portuguese style custard tarts…

Portuguese style custard tarts

Custard tart matched with Kandula's Pink Ceylon

The next tea, was definitely my favourite, the Earl Grey, which is complemented by anything fruity or citrussy. I had opted for my lemon drizzle cakes topped with lemon curd cream and blueberries…

Lemon drizzle cupcakes with lemon curd cream and blueberries

Lemon drizzle cupcake with lemon curd cream and blueberries

and finally we matched the spicy Ebony Chai with my ginger chocolate shortbread topped with dark chocolate ganache and cristallized ginger…

Ginger and chocolate shortbread with dark chocolate ganache

It was a real treat for me to work on this event and in such a lovely location. I hope to do more in the future.

Now, without further ado, here’s the recipe for my delicious leek and smoked Camembert filo tarts…

You will need…

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 leeks, finely sliced (I always make sure I wash them well in a colander once sliced in case there is any dirt or grit trapped between the layers. Be sure to pat them dry with some kitchen towel though or your tarts will be soggy)

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves only

3 free range medium eggs

200ml double cream

100ml milk

1 packet ready made filo pastry

60g butter, melted

1 smoked Camembert* (you won’t need all of this but it’s so delicious I’m sure there are many other ways you can find to enjoy it! 🙂

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

This recipe will make 12 small tarts using a 12 hole muffin tin but it can also be used to make 1 large tart using a 20cm (8inch) pie tin.

To make the filling…

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the leeks over a medium heat for 10 minutes until soft (but not too brown). Then add the garlic and thyme and cook for a few more minutes before removing from the heat and setting aside for later.

Mix together the eggs, cream and milk in a jug and season with salt and pepper.

Now to prepare the filo cases for the filling…

Brush each hole of the muffin tin with a thin coating of melted butter.

Take the filo pastry out of it’s wrapping and cut it into squares large enough to fit into the hole of a muffin tin and come right up the sides. Once you have a stack of small squares of pastry, take 1, brush it with melted butter and lay another square on top of it at a 45 degree angle. Repeat this again with another sheet and another until you have 4 squares lying on top of each other but slightly offset to create a spiky edge. Gently take the stack of pastry and push it into a hole of the muffin tin, being careful to push it into the edges without  ripping it. Do this until you have filled all 12 holes.

Spoon some of the leek mixture into the bottom of each pastry case and then divide the liquid mixture between the tarts. Finally place a small square of smoked Camembert on top of each one and pop them in the oven for 25-30 minutes, keeping an eye on them to make sure the pastry doesn’t burn.

When they are done the pastry should be golden brown and the egg mixture set. Remove them from the oven. These can be enjoyed straight away or can be left to cool for a few minutes before removing them from the tin and leaving them to cool completely on a wire rack so they can be eaten cold…the perfect picnic food! I decided to warm mine through slightly just before serving.

*A quick note on smoked Camembert…if you’re Cambridge based, I know you can get smoked Camembert from River Farm Smokery, it’s also stocked in The Larder at Burwash Manor. If you are unable to find smoked, them normal Camembert would be delicious too or perhaps some Dolcelatte or Gorgonzola if you like a cheese that packs a punch!

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Afternoon Tea…we won’t let this rubbish weather stop us!

It appears that the sun is being a little shy in getting his hat on this year, but that’s not going to stop us hardy Cambridge folk having some afternoon tea fun! I’ve blogged previously (here) about my exciting collaboration with Cambridge Hen Party and Let’s Go Punting as their afternoon tea provider. 

This weekend, despite some sketchy weather conditions, a bride to be and her hens tucked into afternoon tea in the sheltered haven of the gorgeous converted barn at The Punter on Pound Hill in Cambridge. It was the perfect setting, I absolutely love their collection of mismatched furniture and quirky decor. I took a few minutes before the ladies arrived to take a few snaps…

I got another chance to give my collection of mismatched crockery an outing and made sure no place setting was the same 🙂 …

I served up delicate finger sandwiches, mini Devonshire scones with jam and cream, gooey brownie squares…

and luscious lemon drizzle cake with lemon curd buttercream icing…

These mini milk bottles are so adorable I couldn’t resist serving the milk in them…

to accompany tea in my favourite teapot collection…

If you’re interested in booking an afternoon tea and punting package drop Caroline an email on info@cambridge-hen-party.co.uk for hen parties or info@letsgopunting.co.uk for non hen parties (boys, you are by no means excluded from enjoying afternoon tea :).

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ooooo Betty!

My love of autumn has been revived by a gorgeous weekend in York…bright blue skies, fluffy white clouds, amazing autumn leaves…

and afternoon tea at a real northern institution…Bettys

Bettys is ever so popular and there’s always a queue of eager sweet toothed tourists awaiting their turn to sample the delicacies…

With this in mind I’d booked a table upstairs in the ‘Belmont Room’…

what it lacked in busy buzzy cafe atmosphere it made up for with its elegant cruise liner inspired art deco features. The waitresses were dressed in period clothes and a live pianist serenaded us…all very sophisticated!

But let me get back to the main event…

A pot of Bettys tea room blend tea…

and a tower of delicate goodies…

dainty but well filled, crustless roast ham and smoked salmon sandwiches (with real butter of course)…

a sultana scone, which had a very pleasant lemon zing to it served with strawberry jam and clotted cream…

and to top it off a minature chocolate eclair, a fresh fruit tart and a lemon financier…

The financier was so very moist and had a crunchy lemon drizzle topping (definitely on the ‘must bake’ list) but for me the raspberry tart really stole the show…extremely light pastry, a sweet, creamy custard filling to die for, topped with tart but succulent raspberries. It definitely deserves a picture of its own…

Despite having filled myself up with a huge breakfast at the hotel I managed to polish the whole.lot.off…

On the way out I had a recce of the shop, which was chock full of Bettys goodies…

It may have become a Mecca for tourists but the experience of a trip back in time to this wonderful afternoon tea emporium remains a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

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Tea at Bea’s

Bea’s of Bloomsbury has been on my list of ‘must visit’ café’s for ages so when my friend’s Japanese girlfriend mentioned that she’d love to experience a traditional English afternoon tea I knew exactly where to take her. I gathered together a motley, cake eating crew and we headed on down to Bloomsbury to the cake haven that is Bea’s…

The shop front is quite understated and if I hadn’t been purposefully going there I think I would have walked straight past completely oblivious to the amazing cake-like goodies awaiting me inside…

We had to wait a few minutes for our table to be vacated and relaid, which wasn’t a problem as I had the cake display to keep me occupied…

The staff were really friendly and very accommodating when 2 extra friends came along as late entries to join our table. 

Once settled, we were asked to choose from the tea menu…

I went for the vanilla black, which was delicious and fragrant and the perfect accompaniment to the afternoon tea, which consisted of a scone with jam and clotted cream, a cupcake, a mini valrhona brownie, a mini belgian blondie, a mini meringue and a home made marshmallow…

The scones were my favourite part, they were so moist, light and mouthwatering-ly delicious (even more so when piled high with strawberry jam and lashings of clotted cream)…

There were a few varieties of cupcakes on our stand, the choice was tough but in the end I opted for this one…

I didn’t sample them all but I was reliably informed by my friends that they were all delicious. Both the sponge and the frosting were extremely light and I loved the fact that although sweet they weren’t too sickly, plus they were beautiful…

We made a valiant effort to do as we were instructed on the cake stand…

but in the end we were beaten by cake (I never thought I would see the day) and had to leave a few lonely morsels amongst out afternoon tea aftermath…

Our Bea’s experience was lovely…totally unpretentious, delicious and such a bargain at only £9.90!

I was very excited to read on my way out that a second Bea’s is due to open at the end of October in St Pauls…

Right around the corner from where I work…danger danger!

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A mammoth batch of melting moments

Last Friday my friend Hannah enlisted my help in baking enough biscuits to feed 40-50 people, for a charity afternoon tea that her Mum was hosting at the weekend. To me, a Friday night spent baking is near on perfect…made even more so when combined with a gin and tonic or two!

Han sourced a recipe for melting moments. I’d never made them before and was slightly confused by the fact that they didn’t have any eggs in them…just butter, sugar, flour and strangely enough…cornflour, which apparently is what makes them ‘melt in your mouth’. They were very easy to make but were very very fragile (note to self…not a good idea to make melting moments whilst drinking gin and tonic). We were a bit generous when forming our balls and I think we could have made them a bit smaller but other than that they turned out perfectly…

The idea is to let them cool slightly but not entirely before covering them in icing sugar, this ensures they are coated well…

The biscuits are shortbread-like but a lot less dense and they literally melt away as soon as they are in your mouth…it’s magic!

We baked 4 batches in the end with Top Gun on the telly in the background…the perfect accompaniment!

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