Harney and Sons: Winter White Earl Grey

Another sample, this time from Harney and Sons. LOOK AT THE TIN IT CAME IN!46477.jpg

I don’t typically go crazy for packaging, but oh my it’s so cute! I love it! This little tin has five silk pyramids inside – each is good for two cups, they say, so I made a small pot of tea when I tried it.

I am not a connoisseur of white tea, so my reflections are those of a black tea drinker. Keep that in mind if you love white tea! The Harney Teas site says this is “Chinese mutan white tea” with bergamot, and I’ve no idea if that’s good quality or not.

I steeped the tea for 5 min (3-8 minutes recommended), and since I don’t know white tea I started with zero sugar.

It definitely doesn’t smell as strong as a black tea might, and the colour is of course paler. There’s some hint of citrus in the scent. Their site declares that “the bold citrus dominates the aroma, but takes a step behind the mild nutty flavours of white tea”… which is basically a contradiction, as far as I’m concerned, but I’ll never have a job describing food.

The best way I can describe the flavour is ‘delicate’. I don’t think I’d be pairing this tea with food – certainly not strong flavours – since it would be completely overwhelmed. It seemed closer to some green teas I’ve had than to black. I didn’t get much lemon in the taste. I added a small amount of sugar and it cut through a slight bitterness. I still didn’t get much lemon – but I also don’t know what a plain white tea tastes like, so maybe that would make a difference.

I liked it, and look forward to drinking it a few more times, but probably won’t rush to buy more.

The Tea Makers: Earl Grey Supreme

Also sent as a sample, along with their Mary Grey Special.

I feel that The Tea Makers should call this their Earl Grey SUPREME because woah that bergamot. This is a cornflowers Earl Grey, for those of you who care. Eary Grey 3.jpg

The dry leaves are super bergamot-y; after 4 min of steeping and 1/2 tsp sugar, the steam was wafting bergamot through the kitchen.

This is a very Earl Grey tea. It’s not overwhelming or overpowering (… to my tastebuds), and there’s no oil like the T2 version, but you definitely have to like Earl Grey to like this tea. So I really, really liked it. Things I am discovering: I like to notice the citrus in my Earl Grey! I don’t want to be thinking about whether it’s there or not! It’s not as strong a tea as the Akbar, but it is more citrus-y. This is a very nice one.

Cup of Tea: Earl Grey

Cup of Tea kindly sent me a few samples of their Earl Grey when I was in the UK last year. The first one I’m trying is their High Tea Co. Earl Grey. They sent me a sachet with enough tea for probably three cups.

I steeped it for three minutes (3-4 is recommended) and added 1/2 tsp sugar – less sugar is something I’ve learned about myself through this process! I’ve always just automatically added a whole tsp in the past.

The dry leaves didn’t have much scent, and neither did the steeped leaves. There’s just a whiff of citrus. Sadly for me, this is reflected in the taste of images.jpegthe tea, too. It’s a nice enough tea but for my tastes it’s not much of an Earl Grey. Their website describes it as “strong, lemony and invigorating” – I didn’t get much lemon, but I guess it’s invigorating? Not sure how you’d classify that, to be honest.

Interestingly, there seems to be more than just tea leaves and bergamot in this tea (I thought I could see cornflowers), but it’s not listed in the ingredients.

I’m looking forward to trying the Princess Grey and the Tippy Golden Earl Grey.

 

Croissants

IMG_2009.JPGA few years ago I thought I would try making croissants sometime. Then I was dissuaded by being told it was very time consuming and difficult.

Unknown.jpegThen my friend Alison gave me The Tivoli Road Baker and it’s got a whole section on viennoiserie and I read the instructions and I thought… well, how hard can it be? I just need two days of relatively cool weather.

Friends, that was yesterday and today. I have now made croissants.

IMG_2006.JPGI started by buying Danish butter – Lurpak – because it’s 82% fat, although I don’t know if it’s cultured as the recipe recommends. Then I just followed the recipe for the dough, which turned out to be a lot easier than I thought. Then it was into the fridge overnight.

IMG_2008.JPGToday, I did the laminating, which again is a whole lot easier than I expected. I think the process has a bad name because it really does take a long time – but that’s the resting time, not the active time. The rolling out of each stage was easy and only took a few minutes. And in fact even the process of turning the dough into the croissants – cutting into triangles and stretching and rolling up – was really easy.

IMG_2010.JPGOf course, things did not go entirely right. Because it was a cool day, I decided to follow the instructions for proofing in the oven. I put a pan in, with boiling water, and then put the teeny croissants in to rise. After an hour, I thought the oven wasn’t warm enough, so I put more hot water in. Then 20 min later I took the croissants out because it was time to turn on the oven… and butter had melted out. Yeh. So that made me feel pretty awful. Then, hilariously, because I was annoyed about that, I completely forgot to eggwash the croissants before they went in. Thus they did not quite crisp up as well as they should.

Nonetheless! I made croissants. And they aren’t terrible. They are even flaky!

IMG_2007.JPGI also found a recipe to use the leftover bits of croissant pastry. Actually I think it was meant to be just the laminated dough but I used the bits I cut off as I went as well, so it didn’t puff up as much as they could have. I was going to make just the sweet version but then a friend pointed out that savoury could work too. So I made half with pistachio and raspberries, and half with a teeny bit of tomato paste and finely chopped mushroom. They’re ok… they didn’t work as intended because not all of the dough was fully laminated. Also, not making it from frozen probably impacted too.

So there we are. Croissants. Tick that off the bucket list.

The Tea Centre: Earl Grey Special

This is another tea from Alison, who also gave me The Tea Centre’s French Earl Grey.

The Tea Centre describes this as similar to Lady Grey: the ingredients include lemon peel, cornflowers, lemongrass, safflowers, calendula, and jasmine. And it’s a very pretty pile of leaves and flowers, in its dried form. Thanks to the petals, it smells quite flowery – perhaps even more so than the French Earl Grey, which I think is interesting. I didn’t pick up on particularly lemony notes, so it didn’t strike me as a very close relative to Lady Grey.

9398765430110.jpgSteeped for three minutes, with a little sugar. The flowers were the dominant note here; as with the scent, it didn’t have much of a citrus tone for me, either of bergamot or of lemon, and therefore doesn’t quite hit the Earl Grey spot for me. It’s quite nice and drinkable, but it’s not going to be a favourite.

Acts of Kitchen: Tansy Rayner Roberts #2

AoK_logo_v2Tansy and I continue our discussion, this time moving on to food in books (both childhood classics and Tansy’s own stories), food in space, and food in history…

Part 1 of my interview with Tansy

A Trifle Dead, written under Tansy’s nomme de plume Livia Day

Jane Brocket: old blog and new blog

I can’t find a link to where you might buy a dormouse for eating, so maybe it’s gone underground…