We love a good reason for a themed afternoon tea; and nothing seems more appropriate than Easter. Why? There is something alluring about warm toasted hot-cross buns with softened butter, creamy milk chocolate and hot tea; They combine indulgently to make a comfort food heaven. If you are anything like me, tea, baked goods and chocolate are go-to comfort foods, and they all just happen to be 'in-season' at Easter time.
"Keemun Mao Feng black tea is the perfect cup for this Easter afternoon tea with it's notes of chocolate, fruit and nut"
We were up bright and early this morning to ensure our White Chocolate and Raisin Hot-Cross Buns were ready in time for afternoon tea. Hot-cross buns are not the most simple bun to make. The bun dough requires a 'hard' flour and yeast and also requires resting time of two hours before baking, so ensure you start the process a few hours before the buns are required. We used a recipe from one of our favourite recipe books and altered to include white chocolate. You can of course omit the chocolate and replace with mixed peel or candied ginger.
The best tea to serve with an Easter sweet-feast should be a black tea that is robust and able to cleanse the palate between bites. Keemun Mao Feng black tea is the perfect cup for this Easter afternoon tea with it's notes of chocolate, fruit and nut.
THE WHITE CHOCOLATE AND RAISIN HOT-CROSS BUNS
1 tablespoon instant dried yeast
1/3 cup caster sugar
625 g hard white flour (bread or pizza flour works)
1 teaspoon ground all spice
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup warm milk
100 g unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
200 g raisins
150 g white chocolate chips
2 tablespoons caster sugar
60 g plain flour
1. Place warm water in a bowl and sprinkle with the yeast and a pinch of the sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Leave in a draught-free area for 10 minutes until frothing.
2. Combine the flour, spices and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a bowl and set aside
3. Combine the milk, butter, remaining sugar, eggs and 1 cup of the flour mixture with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the yeast mixture, raisins and white chocolate and stir. Add the remaining flour mixture and knead for 5 minutes until the mixture comes together.
4. Transfer the dough to a bowl and coat lightly in oil. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise in a draught-free place for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. The mixture will raise and become airy.
5. Knock back the dough by punching it then turn out onto a floured surface. Press the dough lightly into a flat square shape and use a large knife to slice through the dough four time vertically, then 4 times horizontally, making a checker-board pattern and 16 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball and place in the baking tray about 4cm apart from the next. Cover with a damp cloth and leave for 30 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 180C. To make the glaze, combine the sugar and 2 tablespoons of water in a small pot. Boil over a high heat until sugar is disolved.
7. To prepare the cross dough, put the flour in a bowl and add 60 ml of water, stirring to form a dough. Roll out to 2mm thin and slice with a knife into long thing strips. Place two strips over each bun to form a cross.
8. Bake the buns for 20 minutes, or until golden brown . Brush with the sugar glaze.
THE TEA - Keemun Mao Feng
A black tea with body will work perfectly with this Easter Afternoon Tea. Keemun Mao Feng is the perfect partner for this afternoon tea recipe as it delivers a smooth cup that is full bodied enough to cleanse the palate between bites. It also adds to the experience by complimenting some of the flavours found in the hot-cross buns and the chocolate. This is one of our favourite black teas, so it was a no-brainer to enjoy it this Easter.
1. Warm the teapot by filling with freshly boiled water. Let sit for 1 minute, then discard.
2. Place 3 grams of the tea (per person) into a teapot. Smell the beautiful aromas from the tea leaves against the warm pot!
3. Bring the kettle to the boil. Let the water sit for 30 seconds (95 C is ideal) and then pour the freshly boiled water over the tea leaves. About 200 ml of water per person is enough.
4. Let the tea infuse in the warmed teapot for 2 -3 minutes, then strain into cups
5. Keemun Mao Feng is best enjoyed without milk, but of course- this is your cuppa, so enjoy as you please!
Don't throw out the tea leaves as you can re-infuse them for a second pot!
There's still one day left of the Easter weekend, so grab your apron, your tea cups and invite the family over!
Keemun Mao Feng
A$3.50 - A$9.95
Keemun, or Qimen, tea is the most famed black tea of China. Harvested earlier than other Keemun teas, our Keemun Mao Feng contains the top newest leaf and some buds, making a lighter and sweeter cup than other Keemun teas. A sophisticated tea producing a ruby red liquor, complex flavours and a velvety mouthfeel, Keemun Mao Feng makes a wonderful morning brew, alongside a slice of buttery toast. Not a morning person? Also pairs wonderfully with a piece of dark chocolate in the afternoon!
Aroma cocoa - malt - toast
Flavour deep & complex - cocoa - woodiness - dried dark fruits - malt - creamy
spicy food,cheese, eggs, mushroom, cauliflower, dried fruit, vanilla, chocolate, caramel, red wine
Leaf: 3 grams
Time: 2 - 3 mins
Infusions: 1 +
Tea Type: Black
Origin: Keemun County, Huangshan City, Anhui, China
Tea garden elevation: 850m
Cultivar: Chu Ye Zhong
Harvest time: Early May 2017
Storage method: At ambient temprature
Appearance: Tightly Curled, shiny black, thin
Process: hand plucking fresh leaves - 2 hour sunshine wither - 1 hour machine twist - 6 hour ferment - baked - refined
Japanese Genmaicha may not be on the top of the list of teas to try for many people. However, Genmaicha can add an interesting and tasty element to your next Japanese culinary experience.
Genmaicha, also sometimes known as 'popcorn tea' or 'rice tea' is essentially Japanese green tea (usually sencha, bancha, or a mixture of both), blended with roasted rice grains, which sometimes pop into little pieces that look like popcorn - hence the name 'popcorn tea'.
In Japan, rice was first added to the tea as a filler for those who couldn't afford the high price of tea. The roasted rice was added to the household tea stash, making the tea ration last longer, and became the 'people's tea'. Genmaicha is still enjoyed by the masses today, for it's fresh yet savoury taste.
The main tasting notes you should expect to find in Genmaicha tea include spinach, fresh grass, nut, popcorn and butter.
So, how can Genmaicha change your next dining experience?
Genmaicha is certainly more than a tea.
Genmaicha can be used as an appetizer-
The thick mouthfeel and savoury flavour of the tea makes it the perfect miso soup replacement to start off a traditional Japanese meal.
It can be used as a soup base -
Try adding fried shiitake mushrooms and fresh sliced ginger to the tea as it is brewing, for a flavoursome, fresh and full bodied soup.
It can be used to coat tofu -
Grind the Genmaicha in a grinder and mix with fine breadcrumbs or polenta. Use this mix to coat your tofu before frying, for a tasty and crispy dish.
It can be an accompaniment -
Simply sip the tea between bites alongside your favourite Japanese cuisine.
If you have not yet tried Genmaicha, we recommend you give it a go! It will change the way you look at Japanese food, and tea!
Who doesn't love lemon in a cake? Lemon is such a refreshing flavour in dessert that it almost makes it feel less heavy (and less naughty). The sweet tang of the lemon in this Lemon Delicious recipe is beautifully offset by the addition of heavy pouring cream. We suggest enjoying this beautiful dessert while still warm from the oven (as we did).
Tea is by far the best beverage to enjoy with sweet foods; and this time we decided to keep things simple by pairing like with like. In other words, citrus with citrus.
Earl Grey, the black tea which is traditionally scented with oil of bergamot, is highly aromatic, medium in strength and with slight astringency, making it perfect alongside sweets. Earl Grey may be enjoyed with or without milk and should be sipped between bites to refresh the palate.
Our Earl Grey and Lemon Delicious pairing is best served in the quiet of the day, with a book.
70 g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
185 g sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
3 eggs, separated
30 g SR flour
185 ml milk
80 ml lemon juice
icing sugar, to dust
double heavy cream, to serve
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Use a small amount of melted butter to grease a 1.25 litre baking dish (ovenproof ceramic is best).
2. Using an electric beater, beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest in a glass bowl until light and creamy.
3. Gradually ad the egg yolks, beating well after each addition.
4. Fold in the flour and milk alternately to make a smooth but runny batter. Stir in the lemon juice.
5. Whisk the egg whites in a dry bowl until firm peaks form, and with a large metal spoon, fold a third of the whites into the batter. Gently fold the remaining egg whites, being careful not to overmix.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared dish and place into a large roasting tin. Pour enough hot water into the tin (not the mixture!) to come one-third of the way up the side of the dish.
7. Bake for 55 minutes, or until the top of the pudding is golden, risen and firm to the touch. *Keep an eye on the pudding as it cooks- as you can see, we may have left ours in a little long (it was still delicious!).
8. Leave for 5 minutes before serving. This is a good time to begin preparing your tea (see below). Dust with icing sugar and serve with the heavy cream.
PREPARING THE EARL GREY TEA
1. Warm your teapot by pouring freshly boiled water into it and let sit for 1 minute. Discard.
2. Using a metric teaspoon, measure 1 heaped teaspoon (per person) into your favourite teapot.
3. Pour around 250 ml or 1 cup of freshly boiled water (per person) into the teapot. Let the tea leaves infuse for 3-4 minutes, depending on your desired level of strength.
4. Strain the tea into your teacups or mugs.
5. Take your Lemon Delicious, your cup of tea and your current book to the couch. Sip and enjoy!
Premium Earl Grey
A$6.00 - A$16.95
Our Earl Grey black tea comes from the cool misty tea gardens of Sri Lanka. A medium bodied and wonderfully fragrant tea, classically scented with oil of bergamot.
Looking for the perfect pair for this tea? Try a fish dish or a creamy lemon dessert.
Citrus - spice - bright
Leaf; 2 teaspoons
Temp; 95 *C
Time; 2 - 4 minutes
There is a good reason we married the flavours of banana and chamomile in this recipe - they taste great together!
Have you ever explained the taste of chamomile tea as 'creamy'? Do you add honey to your chamomile tea? Do you smell the dried chamomile flowers and think 'ripe bananas'? This recipe takes traditional banana cake to new levels with overly-sweet ripe bananas and dried chamomile flower.
To really infuse the chamomile flavour into the cake, we need to do more than just add chamomile flower to the mixture. We take the milk in this recipe, add our chamomile flower, simmer in the milk on the stove and let cool in the fridge for an hour before adding to the recipe. We even add the now-soft chamomile flower to the mix!
The result? A wonderful tea-time treat!
Very ripe bananas work best in any banana cake recipe. Our bananas were ripened before being frozen for many weeks, leaving them very soft and very sweet!
125 g unsalted butter, softened
115 g caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
4 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon bi-carb soda
150 mls milk
4 tablespoons of dried Chamomile flowers
250 g SR flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Coconut/nuts for topping
125 g unsalted butter, softened
90 g icing sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1. Start with preparing the chamomile milk. Pour the milk into a small pot, add the chamomile and bring to a simmer. Simmer the chamomile in the milk for approximately 5 minutes. Sit in the fridge until it cools.
2. Preheat the oven to 180 .C. Lightly grease a small cake tin and line with baking paper.
3. Cream the sugar and butter with an electric mixer in a small bowl until light and creamy. Add the beaten eggs slowly, ensuring to mix thoroughly after each addition. Then add the banana and and vanilla and continue to mix until combined.
4. Once the chamomile milk has cooled, dissolve the bicarb soda into the milk. Using a metal spoon, gently fold the sifted flour and cinnamon alternately with the chamomile milk into the mixture. Be sure to add some, or all of the chamomile flower into the mixture. Stir until all the ingredients are just combined and the mixture is smooth. Pour into the prepared tin and smooth with a spatula.
5. Bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean and not sticky. Once cooked, leave the cake in the tin for 10 minutes, than turn out onto a wire rack for cooling.
6. To make the frosting, beat the butter, icing sugar and lemon juice using an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Spread over the cooled cake and sprinkle with toasted coconut and almonds.
'Smoky' is not usually a flavour we would associate with a sweet iced tea, especially a milky tea. But trust us- this iced tea will surprise you.
We formally introduce you to our own recipe, the Austin Iced Tea: A smooth and creamy tea that is both sweet and smoky, sweetened with Canadian maple syrup and finished with a pouring of milk, over ice.
One of our favourite things to do is find new ways of enjoying tea, and one of the seeming harder teas to work with is Lapsang Souchong.
Lapsang Souchong is a black tea from the Wuyi Mountain area of Fujian province China. The tea leaves are smoked over a pine wood fire, imparting a deep smoky aroma and flavour. A very versatile tea, Lapsang Souchong can also be used as a natural seasoning in the culinary world.
So, this weekend we decided to try a new way of enjoying Lapsang Souchong, and surprised even ourselves with how well this iced tea recipe worked!
AUSTIN ICED TEA
Recipe Makes 1 glass
3/4 glass of ice
1/2 cup of pre-brewed Lapsang Souchong tea
1/2 cup of milk
1 tablespoon of Canadian maple syrup
TO MAKE THE TEA BASE:
3 teaspoons of Lapsang Souchong tea
1 1/2 cups of freshly boiled water
Steep the tea for 4 minutes, then cool in the fridge
(you may have left over tea base, keep for another drink!)
For this Austin Iced Tea, you are simply building the ingredients over ice.
Start with the tea base, followed by the maple syrup. We pour the milk last, so you can control the amount and because it looks beautiful whirl-pooling with the tea!
Be sure to give it a quick stir, so the maple syrup does not settle to the bottom.
Most of all, enjoy!!!
Platters full of exquisite pastries, dense scones with cream and finger sandwiches, all adorned with silver tea ware and fine bone china cups. This may be what we call ‘high tea’ today; but this was not the case a century ago.
In this post, we will be taking a quick trip to England, as a part of our “Tea service around the world” articles. England has a number of tea service styles, so I will be giving a brief overview of service types in this article and will delve deeper into British tea service etiquette in a follow up post. Let us begin with the most famous;
Today’s tea houses offering high tea service will likely serve highly decorated two or three tier platters with warm savouries, dense scones and exquisitely colourful sweet treats; Often served alongside more than one choice of tea, poured from an elegant glass teapot. What we have here is actually called Afternoon Tea, or the historically named, “Low Tea”.
So, if the fancy service often served between 3 and 5pm isn’t high tea, then what exactly IS high tea?
During the 1800’s in England, High Tea was a meal, served later in the day, and always consisted of meat and bread with butter. Not fancy meat pastries and artisan breads- just meat and bread, often served cold, with a pot of strong boiled tea. The type and amount of food was dependant upon the families budget, but ‘high tea’ was very common among poorer families. For those who could afford it, the spread may have consisted of bacon, fish, potatoes, eggs and cheese. It was served at around 5:30 or 6:00pm in the afternoon, a welcomed meal for the working class. It was called ‘high tea’ because the meal was served on high tables and chairs (at the supper table) and was also referred to as ‘meat tea’. It was often the largest meal of the day and would be what we now call ‘dinner’.
Have you ever wondered why some Australian’s call the evening dinner meal ‘tea’?
This might be thanks to our British ancestors, describing their evening meal simply as, ‘tea’.
Afternoon Tea or ‘Low Tea’- the tea service we mistakenly now call high tea.
The practice of serving tea in the afternoons is given credit to Anna Maria, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, during the early 1840’s. To stave off hunger pains caused by the long wait between Luncheon and the evening meal, which was becoming more fashionably later in the evenings, Lady Bedford requested tea and bread with butter be brought to her bedchamber at 5:00pm. She later began inviting close friends to her bedchamber to share tea with her, and thus, the ritual of ‘afternoon tea’ among the elite was born. By the late 1840’s, afternoon tea with elegant cups and saucers, held in the drawing rooms of grand houses, became very vogue. The practice of afternoon tea didn’t spread to the lower classes until the mid 1860’s and early 1870’s and was often a less extravagant affair, but still an important part of a lady’s day. Afternoon tea was almost always served on less formal, yet more comfortable low chairs and tables (much like what we would now call a ‘coffee table’), hence why it was also referred to a ‘low tea’.
As described in Mrs. Beeton’s 1879 Book of Household Management;
“The afternoon tea signifies little more than tea with bread and butter, and a few elegant trifles in the way of cake and fruit. This meal is simply to enable a few friends to meet and talk comfortably and quietly”.
Of course, as expected since the 1800’s, afternoon tea has evolved to focus more on food, offering fancy pastries, artisan breads and decadent sweets showered with chocolate, fruits and flower petals.
Although many modern tea houses will serve their afternoon tea with glass teapots and heavy crockery, traditionally afternoon tea should be served with fine china cups and saucers, silver cutlery, bowls and serving utensils and a silver teapot. The service is very formal and might be referred to as “Queen’s Tea”. We will cover this type of tea service in a later post.
“Cream Tea” or “Devonshire Tea”
Cream Tea, or Devonshire Tea is a much lighter affair than Afternoon Tea and traditionally only consists of tea, scones, jam and cream. The cream served with Devonshire tea is not just any whipped or aerated cream from a can, but clotted cream. Clotted cream is a crusty yellow cream, hailing from southwestern England, where the rich pastures enabled the cows to produce richer milk with a higher fat content. Devonshire Cream was produced in the county of Devon, while Cornish Cream came from the county of Cornwall. Although made in different counties, both are referred to as clotted cream. The biggest divider between the counties is whether the jam or the cream is placed on the scone first.
Strawberry Tea is another take on Cream Tea. It includes tea, scones, jam, clotted cream and fresh strawberries.
“Elevenses” or “Morning Tea”
Morning Tea as it is known to Australian’s, is known as “Elevenses” in England. To some, it is even called “second breakfast”. Regardless of what it’s called, the meaning is the same; a mid-morning break for refreshments. This mid-morning break comes after breakfast and before lunch (at eleven o’clock), and is a very casual affair, usually consisting of tea (not coffee) and biscuits, small cakes or pastries. Stick with the comforting classics though. Ginger biscuits, anyone?
Elevenses is thought to have come about during the 1830’s, where it has been referenced along with “fourses”, as additional times to take tea during the day.
In a follow up post, we will be looking at tea service etiquette for both Afternoon Tea and Devonshire Tea.
In 2017 we started a blog page to capture all of our tea related adventures.
We will be moving the old AND NEW blog posts right here to our website so you can find all of our tea recipes and ideas in one place, right here on our website.
We hope you enjoy what we have to share with you!