Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Tea and Cake

Yesterday I went to a Summer Tea tasting lead by Jennifer Wood, founder of the Canton Tea Company. It was at the Petersham Nursery's Teahouse. Petersham Nursery is hidden away up a narrow lane between a church and the R Thames and is an eclectic mix of unusual plants, antique garden furniture, glasshouses, flower filled borders as well as being foodie heaven ! There are lots of places to sit and meet friends.

The teas were delicious and delicate with the exception of one of them!
They were Jasmine green tea, White tea silver needle, Green tea Poochong, Black tea Bai Lin Gong Fu and iced tea made with Bai Lin Gong Fu and honey.

There was a selection of wonderful homemade cake: lemon polenta and almond, coffee, parsnip and maple syrup, chocolate brownie, beetroot. and fig.

The coffee cake was moist and light and came in joint favourite with the lemon polenta and almond, richer and full flavoured.

and then there was this....................................

2005 Xing Hai cooked loose Puerh Tea compressed into the form of a cake. To produce this tea leaves are dried then dry pan fried to prevent further oxidation. The next process is fermentation by micro organisms and is done in a similar way to composting by piling dampening and turning to produce ripened Puerh.

Some were reluctant to try this brew. The smell was variously described as grassy or earthy, tobacco, leather even unwashed dog or dung! The flavour was robust and interesting. I went back for more trying identify what the smell reminded me of, probably a mix of the inside of a brewery and a haystack. It is believed to have extraordinary health benefits.
These guided tea tastings are held occaisionally. The teahouse is open most of the time.

Sunday, 18 July 2010


Home made houmous is very quick and easy to make and tastes so much better than most shop bought stuff.
I used

I 400g can chickpeas drained
I dessert spoon of Tahini Paste
Juice of between half and a whole lemon added to taste
Finely chopped fresh garlic, I used about half a clove but sometimes more.

All the ingredients were blitzed together for a couple of minutes with a hand held blender.
It is best made a few hours before eaten so that the garlic flavour can permeate.

I rarely use salt and prefer to add freshly ground black pepper just before eating.

I divide the mixture between several ramekin dishes and freeze some. To part of the mixture I added smoked paprika to taste. The other portion is garnished with fresh mint

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Cheese and Onion Bread

I made a basic white bread dough using 1 lb white flour with water, yeast, sugar and salt.
This was kneaded and left for about one hour to double in size. I chopped one small onion, fried it in olive oil then left it to cool. I added this to the dough with 2 sprigs of freshly chopped sage and 1oz grated cheese. I shaped the dough into 1 loaf and 3 rolls on baking trays and left them in a warm place for half an hour to rise further. I sprinkled some grated cheese on the tops and baked on gas 6 . I ate the rolls while still hot and crusty and they were delicious.