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BS: Tea Question

ard mhacha 14 Dec 08 - 02:38 PM
Gurney 14 Dec 08 - 11:44 PM
Ruth Archer 15 Dec 08 - 04:59 AM
Lizzie Cornish 1 15 Dec 08 - 05:54 AM
Lizzie Cornish 1 15 Dec 08 - 05:59 AM
Paul Burke 15 Dec 08 - 06:37 AM
catspaw49 15 Dec 08 - 07:11 AM
Ruth Archer 15 Dec 08 - 10:18 AM
peregrina 15 Dec 08 - 10:26 AM
peregrina 15 Dec 08 - 10:27 AM
Ruth Archer 15 Dec 08 - 10:37 AM
peregrina 15 Dec 08 - 10:40 AM
peregrina 15 Dec 08 - 10:41 AM
Cats 15 Dec 08 - 12:05 PM
Ruth Archer 15 Dec 08 - 12:58 PM
Bill D 15 Dec 08 - 02:55 PM
GUEST,lox 15 Dec 08 - 03:00 PM
lady penelope 15 Dec 08 - 03:29 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Dec 08 - 04:16 PM
Ruth Archer 15 Dec 08 - 04:26 PM
Rowan 15 Dec 08 - 05:44 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 15 Dec 08 - 05:54 PM
paula t 15 Dec 08 - 06:06 PM
Stilly River Sage 15 Dec 08 - 07:10 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 16 Dec 08 - 04:05 AM
ard mhacha 16 Dec 08 - 05:15 AM
olddude 16 Dec 08 - 01:44 PM
Ruth Archer 16 Dec 08 - 01:47 PM
gnomad 16 Dec 08 - 03:42 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 16 Dec 08 - 05:45 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 16 Dec 08 - 06:36 PM
paula t 16 Dec 08 - 07:58 PM
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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: ard mhacha
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 02:38 PM

An old friend exiled in California for years is rich enough to have boxes of the local Irish brew sent over, he never got on to coffee drinking.
In Ireland one of the worlds top tea drinking nations the inclusion of milk is a must, with or without sugar.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: Gurney
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 11:44 PM

I understand that tea is an anti-oxidant, and can be tolerated in a stronger brew when buffered with milk and sweetened with sugar. So I'm drinking it that way for my health's sake.

So, can anyone give me a female-friendly pseudo-scientific explanation of how bacon sandwiches are good for me?


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 04:59 AM

ard macha is right: English and Irish teas always seem stronger to me than the tea you get in America, and I assume this is because they are created with the assumption that you are going to drink them with milk.

Spaw, I am fascinated by the idea of young Sam Pirt teaching your missus some arcane tea-making ritual, and her having to buy "paraphernalia". Typically, in my experience, the paraphernalia required to make tea in an English kitchen is:

tea bags (I use PG or Earl Grey or, if I'm feeling exotic, chai)
boiling water
a mug
some milk
sugar (optional)

The process is pretty straightforward. But maybe they do things differently in Yorkshire. :)

Olddude, in England those plunger things are called "cafetieres", and are a good low-tech substitute for the ubiquitous filter coffee machines found in every American kitchen. But usung it for brewing loose tea is a good call!


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:54 AM

Always have this playing in the background, of course...


Tea was a 'ceremony' in our house...

As a small child I was 'taught' the proper way to make tea, by Dad.

Our day always started with a cup of tea and two biscuits, always, brought up by Dad, on a tray, which he'd then bring in to our bedrooms, where he'd place the cup and saucer on our bedside table with the biscuits beside it. This was always before breakfast..

One day he called me down into the kitchen.."Come on then, Liz, it's your turn to make tea this morning. I stared at the various things in front of me, and made a bit of a muddle of it all, splishing and splashing things around, tea leaves all over the place..but eventually, I got the hang of it, with Dad's gentle guidance.

You boil the kettle. Once it's boiled you carefully pour a little water into the teapot, put on its lid and swish the water round, carefully, (finger over the spout, so no water splashes out at you) ensuring the pot's warmed all the way through. Empty that water out, then put in the tea, a teaspoon full for every cup you're making. Re-boil the kettle and pour it into the tea pot. Before you put the lid on, you stir 'mash' the tea leaves around, to ensure they all get a good turn at letting their flavour out, then...you let it stand for just the right amount of time.

Learning this part was the tricky bit. Too little time and the tea's too weak, too long and it's stewed. Around five minutes normally does it. You learn to tell by the colour of the tea as it comes out of the teapot, a rich golden brown, but not too dark.

Whilst the tea's brewing, you get the cups and saucers ready, and your pour the milk in, making sure, that..like the tea brew, you learn to know exactly the right amount to add. Again, that takes time to learn. Then you get the tea strainer out, and pour the tea into the cups, placing the tea strainer back on its stand afterwards, so it doesn't drip all over the place. Add sugar at this stage, if it's required..then serve.

When I'd finally cracked it, it was simple, and you did it, like all things, without thinking about it.

This was in the days before tea bags, and even when they'd been invented, Dad refused to use them. Always 'real' tea, never 'the brushings off the floor' as he called tea bags. lol

And then, of course (big smile) you had to learn how to empty the teapot too. This was done always in the sink, as he believed that the tea leaves helped to break down many yukky things that found their way into the sink drain at times. You turned the teapot upside down in one, swift movement, right over the drain itself, causing the minimum amount of bother with leaves going all over the place..then you gently swished out the pot and voila, all finished.

It has be said, that for all Dad's fussiness, when it came to making tea, no-one could make it as he did, apart from his children, and both Leigh and I were always pretty ace at it, getting comments from many people about what a great cup of tea they'd just had.

Nowadays, it's all so different. Grab the bag, slosh it in, throw on the water, splash in the milk..remove the bag, dump it anywhere, usually on top of all the other 'dead tea bag' bags accumulating by the sink..and slurp the tea from any old mug that's handy, as fast as possible, without really tasting the drink, or having time to sit back and really enjoy it.

It's a little bit like so many other things in life that we've lost, those 'simple' pleasures...replaced by speed, as we live our busy lives without time to sit and stare, sit and share.

Hell, it was tea that won the war, for the British, you know! :0) If Hitler had got hold of our tea supplies, Churchill would no doubt have surrendered there and then! ;0)

It was a way of life, a sharing of something that was considered a bit 'special' I guess...and nope, my father never drank from a mug, always from a cup and saucer. He wasn't a snobby man, not by any means whatsoever, but I think, having lived through a war that nearly destroyed him, there were certain things in his life that brought him comfort, and making tea, in the age old way, as part of a convivial sharing, was something he always loved.

Tea gets you through most things..

Just last week we had a lady in our shop who fell over, she went hurtling backwards, and landed on her back, flailing around like a fish out of water, for a few seconds. She was an elderly lady, and was more distraught at feeling everyone was watching her, rather than worrying if she'd damaged herself. She struggled to get up, insisted on doing so, not wanting an ambulance to be called. We got her on to a chair and in no time at all she had a warm cup of tea finding it's way down inside her, and reaching those parts that needed calming. She felt safe again, with a cup of tea in her hands. (And yes, she was just fine afterwards, we checked on her later, when she'd got home.)

And I can still recall the beauty of those words, right after I'd had my first child..."Would you like a cup of tea now, m'dear"...and suddenly, all the worry and strain of the previous few hours disappeared, as that steaming cup of tea was placed on the table beside me, and I was back to 'normality', my new baby on one side of me, and a cup of tea on the other..(and nope, for all you Health & Safety folk out there, I didn't drink it over my baby) :0)


And...just yesterday morning, I was standing in Benjamin Franklin's house, in Craven Street, London, just around the corner from Charing Cross Station, hearing how tea caused such a major problem all those centuries ago...

There you go, Dan...from your work surface, to Benjamin Franklin, in just one message! :0)

I hope Linda forgave you, by the way...LOL


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:59 AM

Oops!

"...a teaspoon full for every cup you're making."

.....and One For The Pot.



I can almost hear my Dad laughing over that omission.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: Paul Burke
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:37 AM

Earl Grey is a blasphemy, a crime against Hugh Manny Tea. Think of all the poor little bergamots that are slaughtered to make it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: catspaw49
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 07:11 AM

Actually Ruth it was Ian who had the wives in the kitchen and we were at Connie's home that evening as I was going in for surgery the next AM. I know that Bill carried his own tea and this was indeed a Yorkshire "Proper Cuppa" method....LOL......I also know some form of teapot was involved not typically found in American usage (china/clay/pottery of some sort)......More than that I'd have to asked Connie or Bill. Karen doesn't recall and I don't dare ask Connie for fear of another tea attack.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 10:18 AM

Spaw - See, I knew it. To paraphrase Proust: "Yorkshire is another country. They do things differently there."

:)


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: peregrina
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 10:26 AM

Yorkshire is not just another country, it is God's own country!


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: peregrina
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 10:27 AM

L.P. Hartley rather than Proust, no?


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 10:37 AM

peregrina: colour me embarrassed! I was obviously thinking that some madeleines would go nicely with a cuppa...


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: peregrina
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 10:40 AM

And they would round here--but perhaps not quite so well as some Yorkshire curd tarts or Betty's fat rascal scones!


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: peregrina
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 10:41 AM

And then... not just a cuppa, but Yorkshire tea or Resolution tea


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: Cats
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 12:05 PM

The truest and very best accompaniment to tea has to be scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam. The tea has to be in bone china or porcelain, though.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 12:58 PM

Mug of builder's and a couple of buttered crumpets would do me, missus.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 02:55 PM

It is well to remember (though I am sure most users are aware) that Yorkshire tea and "Irish Tea" etc. ,are just blends of various black teas...as is "Russian Caravan" tea I used to get from Twining. They are often quite nice tea (I had some Yorkshire tea given by some nice guests from England a couple years ago), but I really love to choose and blend my own when I can.
It is getting harder & harder to find shops here (Wash. DC area) which carry the good loose teas, partially due to the extreme pressure of the powerful coffee companies and advertising. Tea is a bit more exacting to make properly, and folks want **convenience**.

I can, with a little driving, obtain 'almost' any teas I care for...and if I want to spend real money, there are online sites to order the special 'estate' teas from India & China...etc. So far, I make do with just 'decent' Darjeeling, Keemun, Assam...etc...along with some generic Indian teas and various Twining blends.

As to relative strength and potency, tea is always a matter of balancing the amount of leaves used with steeping time....and the fineness of the tea.. The finer (smaller) the leaves, the stronger the brew.
In tea bags, what is often used is "D, FNGS, BPS or CTC" and related names. This has nothing to do with type of tea, but just refers to the size and the part of the plant the leaves come from.

It is usually assumed by tea marketers that those who use tea bags are not expecting higher grade teas, and those "D, FNGS, BPS or CTC" grades are used, with moderate variation by better companies.. (sadly, the best known American tea is Lipton's, which, as far as I can tell, uses some of the cheapest pickings)(Sir Thoma Lipton was never in the tea business directly....his family were soap manufacturers, but his name was nice, and was bought to look good on tea packages).

Tea, like most products, require sorting thru the advertising claims, and learning what is truth and what is hype, in order to make a REAL choice.

(I still will never put milk in tea....I still 'suspect' that the practice was begun to disguise bad, cheap tea.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 03:00 PM

Well the thing that tea drinkers the world over have in common is ritual.

England, Japan, China, India, all love the ritual of tea.

The thing I like most about it is that twice now, when my daughter has had a severe stomach upset, while nothing else has stayed down, a cup of strong sweet tea has resulted in a cessation of vomiting and a significant revival of her general exuberance ... in the form of a million questions ...

    .... damn ... how could I be so stupid ...


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: lady penelope
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 03:29 PM

People have remarked on the lack of good tea as it's too much fuss for coffee cafe companies to bother with. Funnily enough, I have discovered that I can get only really get a half decent, large, reasonably priced cup of tea from one establishment in central London............

Starbucks!

They have a range of blends (although it is all in tea bags), but they ask you if you want more than one bag, if you want 'room for milk' and they leave you to remove the bag when you want and add your own milk etc.


I can't believe I regularly go into a Starbucks now....


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 04:16 PM

English and Irish teas always seem stronger to me than the tea you get in America, and I assume this is because they are created with the assumption that you are going to drink them with milk.

Tea is as strong or as weak as you like, depending on how much you use, and how long you give it to brew. Whether you prefer it with or without milk is a completely separate matter. You can have strong tea with or without milk, or weak tea with or without milk, and tastes differ widely.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 04:26 PM

surely it depends on the tea as well. For instance, Earl Grey never seems to get as strong as bog-standard, every day English tea, and Chai is even weaker than both. Even with a substantial brewing time.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: Rowan
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:44 PM

Youse guys sure go over the top over you tea-making rituals, and none of you is even Japanese!

For those into ritual variations, here's mine.

Find a nice bit of river bank with some shade; coolibahs or redgums are prefereable but optional. Light a small fire and, when it has enough red coals, put you billy on. The best billy is an A10 fruit juice tin with a length of 8 guage fencing wire for a handle but bushwalkers' aluminium billies are acceptable; the A10 tins are best for a decent crowd while the billies are OK for only one or two. Forget the ones with the spout half way up the side unless you've modified its handle with a bit of fencing wire so you can pour properly with only one hand; I own the patent on that modification, by the way.

Make sure that the water fills the billy; this ensures the tinning on its inside isn't burnt off by the coals, allowing rust to taint the tea.

When the water is nicely boiling, chuck the tea into the water. In colonial times the correct quantity was a BSH (British Standard Handful) but these days were chuck in an ASH for good measure. It's important to remove the billy from the fire as soon as you've chucked in the tea so that it brews rather than stews.

The next step, in one version of this ritual, is to "swing the billy." Now, there are some wallies that like to show off by swinging the billy through a full circle, meaning that it is upside down and overhead at the top of this circle. It can be done but requires practice; this is done preferably in isolation with nobody or thing that can be damaged within an acre, or even a hectare in these metric times. There is a danger that the bottom of your billy is not as integral as you think and/or its handle is up to balancing centrifugal and centripatal forces successfully. There is even the danger of a sudden loss of confidence in midswing; not as many are as good at being swingers as they imagine they would be.

Swingers with enough self assurance to not need such a display can achieve enough effect (on the tea) by just gently swinging the billy through a 30-45° arc. Another version of the ritual requires the side of the billy to be gently tapped with a small branch or large twig. The intention of all these efforts is to cause the tea clippers (the tea leaves that float and resist exposing their entire surface area to the infusing ministration of the boiled water to sink below the surface.

After the brew has ... brewed, the billy is tilted so that the tea, with its leaves now all at the bottom of the billy, can be poured into a mug. Here, we're not talking about the person who is about to consume the drink; we're describing their drinking vessel. The mug must be enamelled, as porcelain doesn't stand up too well to bashing around in the boot en route and plastic is just too declassé; stainless mugs (very popular among the neophytes) usually don't have the correct rim shape and conduct enough heat to burn the lips, spoiling the whole experience. Enamelled mugs come in a range of sizes, from 100ml up to about two litres and, in the Top End, they even come with a lid to keep the flies out so you can make the drink last for all the time between meals.

"Milk first or last" is immaterial in most places west of the Divide, as the river water will be carrying enough mineral load as to leave the drinker unaware of whether or not there is even milk in the drink. There is also the problem of whether the milk has gone off in the heat, so I have learned to do without. Mountain streams, however (like the one at
Nariel allow milk's presence or absence to be discerned. Personally, I prefer to be just able to discern the bottom of the mug through the tea so that gives you an idea of my preferred strength. Sorry, the tea's strength. That's still not right, but you get the idea.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:54 PM

Blimey, Rowan....that bit where you have to swing the billie over your head....

That's it, the Aussies win the Extreme Tea Making Award for 2008! :0)

Wonderful images..wonderful. :0)


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: paula t
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:06 PM

Lizzie,
Your Dad and my Dad must have had the same teacher! My Dad taught me to brew a "decent cuppa" in exactly the same way - except we would never put the milk in first because we both like "Tea you can stand your spoon up in," with hardly any milk. Good old "Yorkshire Tea" the only concession my Dad ( a staunch Lancastrian) ever made to Yorkshire - apart from allowing me to marry a Yorkshireman!

To anyone contemplating using "almost boiling" water, try both ways -almost boiling and absolutely boiling (take the warmed teapot to the kettle)-You will notice that tea made with absolutely boiling water does not have that bitter edge.

Peregrina, you brought back some great memories - Betty's Fat Rascals and Yorkshire curd tarts! Other great accompaniments are Eccles cakes and hot buttered crumpets. I'm on my way to the kettle and toaster right now!


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 07:10 PM

Martha Stewart on tea.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 04:05 AM

Hey Paula, Dad loved his tea very strong too, just a dash of milk, and yes, that phrase about 'tea you can stand your spoon up in' rings a bell too. :0) When I grew older and went out to work, it took me ages to get used to very milky tea, which so many people used to have, mainly to cool it down I think, so they could gulp it faster during tea break time.

And we had tea at Betty's, in York a year or two ago now. Like stepping back into another age.

This thread also reminds me of when I was a teenager, and I shared a holiday with my friend, going to her Granny's in the Lake District. We went out for a cup of tea in the afternoon, into Keswick, and Oh, Afternoonn Tea in Keswick, back then, was a very different affair to back home in the cafes around where I lived. Oop North, tea was accompanied by enough cakes to feed half an army! :0) Served on a bone china cake plate, with three tiers, each tier brimming over with warm scones, fruit cake, chocolate cake, and sandwiches cut into small mouthfuls.

It was a real 'occasion'. I remember sitting there staring at this wonderful food, not knowing where to start. And they'd always bring the tray of tea things to the table, with a cheery "And who's going to be Mother?", meaning who was going to pour the tea out, etc.

My Mumm always carried a tea strainer in her handbag, because she had a real hang up about tea leaves in the cup, and back then, tea bags didn't exist and not all cafes/restaurants had strainers. I always recall the strange looks when out she came with the tea strainer! LOL   

Actually, her handbag was more like a survival kit, but then these days, so is mine. Hey, maybe there's a whole new thread there. :0)


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: ard mhacha
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 05:15 AM

Rowan, Many a building site worker I have seen using the `swinging` method to brew their, with bacon and bread fried to perfection on a broad shovel,over a brazier, couldn`t be beaten on a frosty morning.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: olddude
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 01:44 PM

What is a crumbit or crumpit ...?

I had a cup of tea with an oatmeal cookie, what is the other thing that goes with it ... please describe.

I am getting to like the breakfast tea, I tried it with milk
naw don't like it with milk .. just like my coffee black seems that i like the tea black also. I tried it without the honey ... liked it better with nothing in it

I finally can do it without making a mess, the little press thing works really good


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 01:47 PM

a crumpet is a distant relative of an English muffin - but made with more eggs, so it's not so dry. Lots of little holes for catching the butter...


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: gnomad
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 03:42 PM

Recipe for crumpets, including picture. It is basically a very-slightly-sweetened leavened batter. No eggs in any version I've found.

As an indication of scale they should end up about 3" across and about 0.5" thick.

A staple of the winter teatime ritual, they are generally eaten re-toasted rather than hot from the pan, sopping with melted butter.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 05:45 PM

We used to toast them round the fire, on a special toasting fork, and the butter (real butter back then) would drip all down your chin. :0)

Great with strawberry jam or golden syrup on, piping hot. And you have to toast the bottom of them first, Dan, so that the top gets to stay as warm as possible, that way the butter disappears into them as you spread it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 06:36 PM

Gotta have the right teapot too. :0)


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Subject: RE: BS: Tea Question
From: paula t
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 07:58 PM

Yes, Lizzie, there was nothing to beat going out for afternoon tea in some of those tearooms. From what I remember they were full of "mature ladies" sitting without their coats on - but still wearing their best hats!
The Tea pottery is a fantastic place! I've got a few of their teapots. I don't use them though.Walking round there was like a grotto. I went there many years ago when it was a very small concern, in Askrigg I think. It's huge now and based in Keswick.

I agree that crumpets have to be so well buttered that the butter runs out of the bottom when you bite them. (obviously much healthier because the fat "falls out" , a bit like the principle of broken biscuits "Leaching calories"!)They also need to be well toasted. I can't stand the white , cold things you are sometimes offered in cafes!


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