I love the proper British tea- china tea plates and silver tea strainers- you might as well do it the proper way! I worked at the most beautiful christening party in the summer where a grandmother had collected a whole set of vintage china tea crockery over her lifetime for the first christening of her daughter's children. It was such a lovely idea and the whole event was stunning.
Since then I'm attempting my own collection and found some beautiful china tea sets on Portobello Road.
I also bought some proper apple and cinnamon flowering tea from the BBC Good Food Show in Glasgow and there is nothing better than a proper cup of fruit tea. Eteaket in Edinburgh is a small tea house that boasts a huge list of beautifully sounding fruit teas and blends along with delicious dainty cakes and sandwiches.
My personal favourite tea is earl grey and I'd heard of a recipe for an earl grey tea loaf in Jamie Oliver's "Jamie's great Britain."
This is my adjusted version of the recipe baked in these little loaf cases I found in my local cookery store.
They are a rather doughy, bread-like consistency and so are perfect plain or toasted and spread with a little butter and jam.
150g dried cranberries
3/4 mug hot water with 3 earl grey tea bags
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
Juice of 1/2 orange
200g caster sugar
400g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
For the syrup:
3 earl grey tea bags
Juice of 1 lemon
100g caster sugar
Boil the kettle and fill a mug 3/4 full with hot water and 3 earl grey tea bags. Let the tea infuse until the water cools and becomes luke warm.
In a large bowl mix together all your dried fruit and the zest of the lemon and orange and then remove the tea bags from the water and soak the fruit in the tea-infused liquid. Leave the fruit for a few hours or overnight until it has absorbed most of the tea.
When the fruit has absorbed the tea, preheat your oven to 180 degrees C. Add the caster sugar and egg to the fruit mixture and stir thoroughly. Next add all the spices, baking powder and flour and using a large metal spoon, fold all the ingredients together until fully incorporated.
Lay the loaf cases on a baking tray lined with a sheet of baking paper (to prevent the bottom of the paper cases from burning) and spoon in the mixture to about half way up each case.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 mins until golden brown and cooked the whole way through. (You can test this by pricking the loaves with a clean knife and if it comes out clean then they are cooked.)
Put the loaves on a cooling rack and get on with making your syrup:
In a large sauce pan,heat 200ml of cold water with 3 earl grey tea bags and the juice of 1 lemon. Bring to the boil and then brew for 3-5 minutes. Next remove the tea bags and add in 100g caster sugar and continue to simmer the mixture for a further 10 minutes until it becomes a syrupy consistency.
Remove the syrup from the heat and prick the loaves all over with a knife. Pour the syrup over the loaves so that each loaf absorbs the sugary syrup.