TeaGuide: Reviews and Ramblings

October 2, 2012

Celebrating autumn: Applesauce tea loaf

Now that it’s cool enough to bake again …

One of the most enjoyable rituals of autumn is apple-picking. Sometimes I make applesauce, and was inspired one year to devise this delicious recipe. A tea loaf has a firmer texture than other types of cake so you can cut it into bite-sized pieces and eat it with your fingers.

Read the entire post, including the recipe, at English Tea Store blog.

August 20, 2012

Profiles in Tea: Jennifer Petersen, The Cuppa Countess


I’ve known Jennifer Petersen for many years, and it seems like every time I talk to her she’s involved in some exciting new project. If you ask Jennifer what she does, she’ll tell you simply “I network. I love meeting people and listening to their stories.” Recently I asked Jennifer to tell me her story.

Read the entire article at English Tea Store blog.

(Photo courtesy of Jennifer Petersen)

September 24, 2007

Product review: Scone mixes

Filed under: baking mixes,food,scone mixes,scones,tea,tea gifts,teapots — by JanisB @ 4:49 pm

Victorian House Scones
Retail and wholesale
Photo courtesy of Victorian House Scones

I think the world is divided into two kinds of English-style tea drinkers: the ones who like tea and crumpets, and the ones who prefer their tea with scones. Crumpets — what we here in the USA know as “English muffins” — are tasty little treats, especially with buttery spreads or jams. But the fact is that scones — those fat, crispy/fluffy, high-calorie treats — are far more fun!

While I’m a big fan of crumpets, a lot of the tea drinkers I know could take them or leave them. But no one can resist warm, freshly-baked, sweet-smelling scones. And who can resist baking their own scones from delicious, easy-to-use mixes? (Crumpets are definitely not this easy to bake.)

My favourite scone mixes are from Victorian House Scones. I’ve already sampled three of their eight flavours — plus a few variations on the basics.

Original is a traditional scone, yummy as is, even better with a handful of finely chopped nuts mixed in. The Oatmeal — wow, it’s so delicious that we couldn’t stop eating them. Seriously, we had a fight over who would get the last one! They’re especially good with a generous smear of chestnut/rum spread.

Both mixes have just the right amount of sweetener — you know you’re eating a scone and not a cupcake. If you’d like to, though, “dessertify” either mix by tossing in fresh or dried fruit, nuts, coconut, chocolate chips, or whatever else you can dream up.

The unusual — but very apropos — Indian Chai flavour appeals to anyone who enjoys a little sweet and spicy in their life (and their tea time treats). These are wonderful spread with apple butter — the plain kind, without all the cloves and other spices, which I think would be overdoing it. And I bet they’d be really good accompanied by the season’s fresh apple cider.

Ground up black tea and Indian spices are mixed into the mix, giving the finished product a somewhat speckled appearance. I served these to someone who expected them to be lemon poppyseed, and they took a bite before I could tell them otherwise. After their initial surprise (okay, closer to shock — they were not expecting it to be spicy!), they quite liked these unusual treats. Me too. I wouldn’t mind if the tea and spices were ground up just a little finer so the scones weren’t quite as crunchy, but you do get used to the texture, and the flavour is spot on. (Victorian House offers a Lemon Poppyseed flavour for those who prefer it.)

Each package of mix makes a dozen generously-sized scones. Although you can freeze half the dough and bake it another time — the method works quite well — more often I bake all of them at once and freeze in an airtight sack any that I won’t be using right away. Then when I’m in the mood for “a little something” with my afternoon tea, I just take a baked scone out of the freezer, pop it in the micro on low for about 45 seconds, and my delectable afternoon snack is ready (if not quite as crispy as it was when fresh-baked).

I should mention that I prepared all of my scones using the vegan alternative method outlined on the Victorian House website. None of my guests ever guessed — they were all rich and flavourful (I mean the scones, of course!).

Order direct from Victorian House Scones. In addition to the one-dozen size consumer packages, they are also available in larger quantity packaging for commercial service. Online ordering is not yet available so you’ll need to give them a call, but all the information you need — including flavours, nutritional stats, and detailed preparation instructions — is right on their website. (Update: Wholesalers can now order online — see website for details.)

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to my iced second-flush Darjeeling and my Indian Chai scone!

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