Happy Halloween!

October has dwindled away from us and the spookiest day of the year is here – Happy Halloween Tea Fans! Amazing spices and flavour combinations are back on the table and it’s time to get baking. Who wouldn’t want to hover in front of a toasty warm oven at the moment?

Since all hallows eve is a great excuse for tasty treats and a bit of silliness, we thought it would be fun to round up some great themed recipes that would all go down beautifully with a fresh brew on this haunting holiday. Want to see what we found? Of course you do, follow me this way…

Let’s start with the downright bonkers. It wouldn’t be halloween without some over the top, borderline-tacky treats to devour and we just love these voodoo doll cookies!

voodoo cookies

(Image copyright www.inspiredinsanity.com.au)

You can either buy the kit from www.inspiredinsanity.com.au or you can improvise with a cookie cutter, some tooth picks and a few well placed sweeties. Add some ground ginger to your cookie dough mix and they are the perfect accompaniment to a nice cup of our Lemon Green tea. We’re sure if you take a batch into work they would go down very well, too, because even grown-ups can get in on the fun on October 31!

Fancy something a little more demure? How about letting the autumnal spices do the talking?

pull apart bread

(Image copyright www.foolproofliving.com)

Doesn’t this look scrumptious? Infused with pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg, it just screams autumn and would be a welcome treat with a warming pot of our Earl Grey after a stroll through the falling leaves. If you plan on hosting a sophisticated affair this halloween, we think this would be the perfect finishing touch.

Or how about something savoury, for those of us with less of a sweet tooth?

cheese straw

(Image copyright www.localpalatemag.com)

Yummy sharp cheddar takes the stage in these seasonal nibbles. Leaves and acorns are iconic symbols for autumn (there’s a reason the Americans call this season Fall!) and combined with a delicious recipe, they make for an understated nod to halloween, that would be a delicious partner to a nice strong brew of our Rooibos tea. Get your hands on some cookie cutters and you won’t regret it!

You could even take some inspiration from Miss Fiendish Apparel and decorate your tea pot!

teapot

(Image copyright www.missfiendishapparel.etsy.com)

Grab those Sharpies and get drawing – oh and don’t miss her beautiful cobweb plates, they’re perfect for displaying your bakes!

So what will you be whipping up this halloween? Whatever you choose, we hope it’s magical!

It’s not poison…honest!

Howdy doody readers! It’s Friday. It’s October. It’s time for a halloween themed tea cosy pattern. That’s right, you heard me, halloween themed – please try to contain your glee.

We love searching through the tea cosy patterns available for free, but we were astounded, flabbergasted and utterly bamboozled by how few halloween tea cosies there are out there! If you are inclined to design, we’ve found you a niche!

But what we did discover, which we think is genius, is this: Algormortis by Vanessa Carter.

skull cosy 1

(All images copyright Vanessa Carter)

What could be better than a skull-and-cross-bones tea cosy? Exactly, nothing! Worked using the Intarsia technique, this spooky little charmer will be interesting to knit, without being too much of a challenge. Just remember to twist your yarns together as you switch colours, to prevent holes forming between each block of colour. The construction is simple, using a rib cuff and some easy shaping to get a good snug fit for a 4-6 cup tea pot. It’s knitted flat and seamed so you have perfect control over the placement of your spout and handle holes.

skull cosy 2

Creepily, algormortis is the drop in body temperature after death (appropriate, for a halloween knit) but Vanessa claims that with this cosy your tea won’t cool so quickly – clever, eh? We love the fact that it almost brands your tea as poison, adding an eery feel to any meal this halloween.

Although this design uses black and white, we think you could mix the colour choices up to match your mood, or your stash. Orange and black is a halloween classic, and you can’t beat a vibrant pairing of green and purple, or go bold and bloody with a rich red. The choice is yours.

So enjoy your halloween, tea fans, and show us some snaps of your tea cosies!

Get your griddle on!

With the weather we’ve had recently, it’s time for some comforting bakes. October has arrived, and with it has come the rain and cold, so batten down the hatches, get the oven on and get ready to feel so much better.

For the last recipe in our traditional tea cakes series, we’ve got a real corker for you. They are super easy to make, delightful to consume and the perfect partner to your favourite tea. What are we going on about? Welsh cakes.

Welsh cakes 1

(All images copyright www.greatbritishchefs.com)

A close relation to drop scones, griddle cakes and other fruity fares, the Welsh cake, or Singin’ Hinny, is as near to perfection as confection can get. We found this traditional 1930s recipe online and we’re hunting out our griddle pans as we speak!

Welsh cakes 2

Using only a handful of ingredients that you are likely to have in your pantry, these would make a wonderful snack for unexpected guests or an impromptu lazy weekend brunch. If you felt like it, you could substitute the currants for other dried fruits you’ve got to hand – glace cherries or candied peel would make scrummy alternatives.

Welsh cakes 3

Also known as bakestones because of the traditional stone they were baked on, Welsh cakes are traditionally served as they are, sprinkled with caster sugar. But doesn’t that melty butter just look wonderful? We think you can bend tradition a little bit when it comes to butter. And if you’re a fan of preserves, a dollop of jam wouldn’t go amiss either!

Whether you’ve got a lazy weekend on the cards or you are bustling about until Sunday night, we think an hour spent baking and eating these beauties is a necessity, don’t you?

Drip drip drop!

It’s Friday and that can mean only one thing – it’s time for a free knitting pattern! This week we’ve got something a little different for you. It’s still tea related (obviously) but it’s not quite a tea cosy.

Let me set the scene for you. The teapot is full of steaming water and fresh tea bags. It’s been brewing for a while and after a peek and a stir, you are pretty sure it’s ready. You lift the pot, pour out the perfect golden contents and dribbles run down the spout of your pot and all over the counter/table/floor. It’s frustrating right? Well, it’s also a thing of the past, thanks to this!

Drip catcher 1

Becky Kibblewhite’s Tea Spout Drip Catcher is so simple and yet so inspired. Just a short piece of stocking stitch with a couple of rib rows in the middle, seamed up at the end, this is knitting at its finest; elegant, unfussy and practical.

Drip catcher 2

You can make this any size, any stitch and any colour you like. It uses such small amounts of yarn that you can even use up bits from your stash! Just remember to use a cotton yarn so that it will absorb the drips and you can easily wash it after each use. Some people have even made them for wine bottles! (We like their thinking…)

Drip catcher 4

If you are feeling super organised, why not make a batch of these for friends and family this Christmas? Just imagine the looks on their faces as they go from confused, to tickled, to downright impressed. I’m already planning to knock up a few of these.

The best part about this pattern is that it’s so simple you could whip one up in an afternoon. So if you find yourself at a loose end at all this Bank Holiday weekend, why not get your needles out and have a go at a drip catcher?

Happy Weekend Tea Fans!

 

Anyone for tea…cake?

Happy Wednesday, dear readers! It’s the peak of the week – thank goodness – and we’ve got a few recipes to tempt you with, to get you thinking about the weekend and what you’re going to bake.

So a few weeks ago we started a bit of a mini series of traditional treats to enjoy with tea. We started close to home, with a few yummy creations from the British Isles. Today we’re going to hop across the Atlantic Ocean and see what our neighbours in the Southern states of America might snaffle with a good cuppa. Tea Cakes.

Southern Tea Cakes are believed to be a basic version of British tea cakes (the flat bun-like kind that are best toasted and thickly buttered) that were further simplified by the poorer classes to include fewer ingredients and better suit their resources. It’s this unfussy adaptation that has survived the test of time.

Southern tea cakes

This first recipe is as authentic as they get. Taken from an old family favourite, with only minor adjustments, this is the closest you’ll come to the real deal. It sounds to me like a kind of very thin shortbread and a rather tasty accompaniment to your afternoon brew.

lemon tea cake

If you fancy something zingier, how about a lemon version? Adding lemon zest and juice to the mixture, and topping with lemon icing puts a fresh twist on the original. We think these would be the perfect partner to our Lemon Green tea.

Gooey tea cakes

Feeling like something cakier? This alternative is more dense and  chewy for more of a cookie feel. Another iced version, this recipe feels quite pudding-y and we think it would make a lovely finish to a meal with friends, served with a refreshing pot of Earl Grey.

Well I don’t know about you, but I’m convinced and my mouth is watering! Will you be whipping up a batch of Southern Tea Cakes this weekend? Show us some snaps and let us know how they turn out.

Totally radical, dude!

Good morning loyal readers! I hope the weather has been kinder to you than it has here in the West Country – one minute it’s scorching hot and the next it’s chucking it down. We don’t know whether to be snuggling up with a hot cup of English Breakfast or opting for a refreshing Jasmine Green!

It’s time for another free knitting pattern round these parts and we think you’ll love this wacky number. These bright colours and the almost gravity-defying shape are the perfect dose of fun for summer.

Rad Ripple 1

(Photo courtesy of Jenny Stacey)
 
Radical Ripple, by Jenny Stacey is a crochet creation, using simple ripple stitch which is then flipped on its side. The tea cosy is made of two pieces, seamed at the end and is designed to fit a two-cup pot, though there are also instructions for adjusting the size. If you are relatively new to crochet, this would be a great project to get the hang of dc stitches and have a go at some simple decreases as well.

Rad Ripple 2

(Photo courtesy of Jenny Stacey)

What colour combination you go for is up to you, but we think this could be the perfect stash-busting project – even the tiniest oddments could make a stripe here and there. A large statement button finishes off the cosy to fix the strap around the handle, so it’s time to raid Granny’s tin! Just imagine how great it would look with a real vintage find.

If you like this design, don’t miss Jenny’s Daylily tea cosy, another crochet beauty, this time in the form of an open-mouthed flower. Stunning!

Until next time tea fans!

Let them eat cake!

Happy Friday tea fans! And isn’t it a glorious day?

WP_20140613_002

(That’s the view from my living room window, isn’t Bath beautiful?)

To get you in the mood for the weekend, let’s talk about baking, shall we? There are worse things in life to talk about, after all, and what better on a Sunday afternoon that whipping up something delicious and homemade?

Everyone has their favourite treat to partner a good cuppa. For some it’s a sturdy biscuit ready to dunk. For others it’s a generous slice of moist cake. How about a chic little cupcake? Or even a chocolate confection, dipped at one end, with the tea sucked through the middle. (Have I lost you? That’s how the Aussies eat Tim Tams, something like a British Penguin and it’s well worth a try. It’s messy and you need to wait until your tea has cooled a little bit, but it’s scrummy.)

But what about the humble tea cake?

Tea cakes are different all around the world, and in this mini-series we’re going to introduce you to a few of our favourites that we can’t wait to try! Let’s start with the quintessentially British, Tea Loaf.

tea loaf 2

(Photo from The Daisy Cake Company)

Tea Loaves are one of those comforting things that make you feel better no matter what. I like to imagine grandmothers making them as they potter about the house and small children creating an enormous mess as they have a go. The tea element comes into this recipe in the preparation stages: the fruit is soaked in cool tea to make every last currant plumpcious and lovely. I may have made up the word plumpcious, you are welcome, World. Of course, you could also soak them in brandy or rum, but that would make for a less family-friendly cake!

tea loaf 3

(Photo from The Daisy Cake Company)

We found this lovely, easy-to-follow recipe at The Daisy Cake Diet that we think you will love. Use our Breakfast tea to soak your dried fruit. If you are watching your caffeine intake or want to make this cake for those sensitive to it, opt for our Decaf tea instead.

Have you got any baking planned for this weekend? Show us some snaps!