Time for Tea #3- Winchester Sunday Tea

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While clearing out the tea shelf (yep, there is an entire shelf in my kitchen dedicated to tea), I came across a lot of forgotten loose leaf teas. Now that I’ve finished off the black tea version of the No.25 samplers I bought in Brussels, I needed something light but warming and when I came across this one, it fitted the bill perfectly. It’s a lovely black tea with Vanilla and I love this one fairly milky on a cold afternoon.

They say:

A malty Assam leaf tea refined with Bourbon vanilla pieces – the highest quality vanilla money can buy.

Vanilla lovers, this blend is for you. We recommend you try it with foamed milk and a piece of cane sugar.

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An insight

Although I am away, I took a series of photos earlier this week for a little insight into my blogging space- where I sit down in the spare room on my laptop and write. It’s a small space, but I’ve recently tidied it up and it’s somewhere calm and peaceful where I can take myself away from the world for a few minutes to share my life.

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I love my little hideaway, and am looking forward to creating a new one in the new house.

What about you, have you shared your blogging space?

How do you like your eggs in the morning?

Coddled? Bet you didn’t think of that answer!

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I first came across the idea of coddled eggs when I read about the little containers you cook them in when flicking through The Vintage Tea Party Book in a nearby tea rooms. The author of the book had bought them originally to use as jam pots, which I think is a lovely idea- the little ceramic cups would add a pretty touch to an afternoon tea table. But, onto their proper use- simply lightly grease the inside of the coddler- I give it a quick spritz with one of those cooking oil sprays- add the egg, put the lid on tightly and submerge in a pan of boiling water.

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I’ve got two single egg poachers and one double one which you can see in the pan above. In terms of timings, 6 mins is perfect for a soft yolk using the single coddlers, but as for the double one, I’m yet to perfect the timing! Once the timing is up, remove carefully (I slide a knitting needle through the loops on the lids) as they will be very hot, and carefully wrap in a tea towel to remove the lids without burning yourself.

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I then like to season the eggs, and enjoy. Perfect with some fresh asparagus spears for dipping. The effect is basically similar to a boiled egg, but the little containers keep the eggs perfectly warmed on the plate, and I think the white has a more even texture- less overdone on the outside, if that makes sense?

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Where to find these little gems? I picked up my two little ones in a charity shop and I’ve seen them many times in lots of different ones- just have a rummage through the home ware shelves in your local charity shops. The large one was inherited from my Grannie and I’ve not really seen them on sale so far. Vintage fairs or Ebay would be another good place to try and pick them up, but much more expensive- I think mine were a couple of pounds.

I’m sure I’ve seen somewhere you can also use them in the oven, so that idea is next on my hit list…

Time for tea #1- Winchester Caravan

I like tea. A lot. So much so that I have a whole host of tins and boxes that take up an entire shelf of one of our kitchen cupboards. I love trying out new tea varieties, so when I came across taster packs of loose teas in our local tea shop, Char I spent about ten minutes narrowing down the choices and then made my way home with three. Taster packs in hand, I was struck by an idea for the blog. I don’t drink my different teas as often as I should, so with that in mind this post will be the first of a new blog series- Time for Tea. I’m looking forward to sharing my tea drinking habit with you as well as to trying some new teas out along the way.

Today’s tea is Winchester Caravan, from Char. I bought the sample size for £1 to give this a go before committing to a full size.

What’s in the tea?  Smoked black tea, green tea, oolong tea, rose petals, osmanthus, jasmine tea.

They say: Winchester caravan tea (previously called Winchester City) is an exotic Russian caravan comprising of six high quality teas. With its attractive contrast of black and green leaves and compliment of rose petals, osmanthus blossoms and jasmine, it is unique. The taste is smooth and well balanced with a tender, smokey accent accompanied by a hint of roses and jasmine.

What we did: I brewed the tea (4 heaped teaspoons) in a large teapot for around 5 minutes. This was more than enough tea for a couple of refills each. I tucked the pot in a cosy to keep warm while we enjoyed our first cup.

I say: I didn’t notice the ‘smoked’ part when I bought this, more the mix of teas and the rose petals. When I brewed the tea, there was quite a strong smoky smell which reminded me of Lapsang Souchong (a tea I really dislike) but the tea didn’ taste smoky at all. It was quite smooth and crisp with a faint hint of rose. I didn’t notice the jasmine, but I really enjoyed this tea. Not one for everyday, but a good weekend relaxing tea.

The boy says: It was alright. It tasted nicer than it smelt. Hmm, not exactly a glowing endorsementI think a trip back to Char for him to choose some trial sizes may be in order.

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We drank this black, without sugar, in our J & G Meakin St Clements cups and saucers. We picked these up with a matching coffee pot and jug from a charity shop in Bakewell ages ago and to be honest, we can’t make our minds up whether to keep them or not. They may be a little too seventies for our taste. The cups are, however, a lovely shape and really fine china- drinking this tea from them yesterday was a joy. Just not convinced about the oranges and lemons (say the bells of St Clements).

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And, as we were having tea I pinched the last scone left over from a batch I made on Thursday, with a slather of my new obsession, Hedgerow jam. No, I didn’t know that flavour existed either- now I’m on my second jar.

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Winchester Caravan is available here from Char’s website, or in their lovely little shop in Winchester.

Tea recommendations for future Time for Tea posts are very welcome.