Thursday, 30 May 2013

Hampstead Organic Iced Tea


We were blessed with a few summery days on the last May Bank holiday, so I thought I better crack open the Iced Tea before it rained again!  

Here is my selection Hampstead Tea London's specialist Iced Teas made from fine leaf tea, that is Biodynamic, Organic and Fairtrade.  These cute little cartons are recyclable as well and perfect just for you, or to share since you can get a good couple of glasses out of them.

I decided to try the Lemon Green Organic Iced Tea for this post and I thought it was a healthier alternative to a cold cola on a warm day as it's low calorie and high in antioxidants and there's nothing as refreshing as lemon!  


This Lemon Green Iced tea is made from real leaves and is free of preservatives and flavourings, so it really is what is says on the carton.  It's made from Green tea, so it was surprisingly light compared to the mass produced Iced teas i've tried before that are often strong and dark.  It was slightly sweet and tasted a little like honey, against the subtle bitter note from the lemon, which gave it texture.  It also had a lasting aftertaste due to the quality of the tea leaves.

If you're used to the American super-duper sweet, sweet Iced teas, then this may take you back a bit as it's light and refreshing rather than an assault to the senses.  

I think Iced Tea is a great way of drinking your tea now summer's officially coming and Hampstead Tea can offer a tasty treat that's healthy for all.  These 330ml cartons cost £1.49 online at their store, which is a bargain really.  They also have a map here for shops in real life and of course their Facebook page!

Watch this space for reviews of the Raspberry and Elderflower reviews, next!


Matcha in Food

So, Matcha May is coming to a close and hope you've been enjoying it as much as I have!  I came across a couple of my pics that reminded me how fun and healthy it is to add Matcha green tea to food!

In the Tea Street blog logo, you may have seen me enjoying some Matcha Ice Cream that I picked up at the 02 Arena in London before going to a concert!  It's a bit blurry, someone must have had a vodka ice cream...  


And last year I wanted to make some Matcha cupcakes to share during my birthday celebrations after seeing some lovely ones on the net!  Well, it didn't go quite to plan and it was all rather last minute (so unlike me), so i cheated!  I bought some fairy cakes from the supermarket and instead made my own butter icing, where I added the Matcha and then decorated them with pearl balls and glitter!  As I love films, I decided to make these cupcake toppers with some retro favourites like The Goonies and Back to the Future!


I've been practising at making gluten-free cupcakes, so the next step will be making Matcha gluten-free ones from scratch!  I'll be sticking with the cheesy film toppers though ;-)


Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Tea Dyed Silk!

If you can get over to the Theatre Royal Winchester, there's an exhibition on called 'Gathered Memories' where a friend of ours, Jeryl Church has contributed to some very interesting work that evolved from tea dyed silk



"Gathered Memories is a delicate and intricate large scale textile installation in silk and gold thread created from the concept of memories, how they twist and turn through life...  Cloth is known for its capacity to absorb, record and reflect qualities of time and place."


If you can get over to Winchester to see more, the exhibition is on now until the 31st May and can be viewed between 10am - 6pm when the box office is open. The exhibit can be found in the Garden Cafe area of the theatre and is free of charge!

Their own blog can be viewed at http://gathered-memories-trw.tumblr.com   

I hope you enjoy!


Monday, 20 May 2013

Home-Made Tummy Tea

I made some Tummy Tea from my new recipe book 'The Medicinal Chef'!  Here it is at the top, looking good I think!  I then used a strainer to put the brew into a mug and voila!


I think this is the only 'tea' in this book, but there's loads of simple, healthy recipes and I particularly like the way that each recipe points to a health benefit e.g. 'digestive system' or 'health and bones'.  

   

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Camper and Beach Wales trip!

We took another trip to Wales on the 
May Bank Holiday weekend!  The trip started off very rugged indeed at the Afan Forest Park, with heavy mountain biking and equally heavy rain!  Letting the men have this one, I opted out for cups of tea in the camper van!  

Once the biking was finished, we made a quick trip up to Brecon and back down through the Black Mountains!

Black Mountains

These 99 cupcakes were actually from Greggs but we couldn't help ourselves get in the beach mood - southward to Gower!



The award winning Rhossili Bay down at the Gower Peninsular, voted 3rd best in Europe!  See BBC news article here.



We stopped for the night at the Three Cliffs Bay Holiday Park - check out the view!  We were last minute as usual and didn't get a pitch right here, but had a lovely sunset over the fields.

Three Cliffs Bay

Up early for a spot up the road at Oxwich Bay!  We loved this beach as it had woods along the side and we could park up right on it and drink tea at will (Rooibos in this case)


Oxwich Bay




There's plenty of lovely countryside around Oxwich Bay, so we felt spoilt for choice!  A walk up into the woods to look at the bluebells and then the drive out...



The next day we stopped off at a very special place; Laugharne Castle at Carmarthenshire.  I love these rustic ruins sat overlooking the Taf river.  Just around the corner you'll find the boat house home turn museum of Dylan Thomas the famous poet.

Laugharne Castle

On to historic Pendine Sands where the British used to do their land speed records!  You can see why they chose this area with its stunning expanse of flat sand.  Top Gear have used this location a couple of times too, check out this video!

Pendine Sands

The weekend was coming to a close so we finished our road trip at the habour town of Tenby! 

Tenby

In need of a good cup of tea before the big drive, this Caldey Coffee Shop has really cool furniture made from imported coffee sacks and the like - couldn't say no!


Trying a Welsh Tea!  I don't know what that means exactly, but it hit the spot either way!


Across the road was a little retro toy shop.  I loved this little diner as I have a thing for street food!  

On the way back, we loved these twisty woodland roads with beaches just below.  Thanks for a lovely time again Wales!!



All images Copyright of Tea Street blog


Monday, 13 May 2013

Lady Yang Guifei

I thought i'd take a break from Matcha May on this post and look at 'Lady Yang Guifei' another heroine inspired green tea!  This tea, sold to you by the brilliant EqualiTea is a blend of organic light green tea, rose petals, litchi and pear.  


Lady Yang Guifei is known as one of the four beauties of ancient China and lived during the Tang dynasty.  Cutting a long story short, she married the Emperor who was so taken with her he basically spoilt her rotten!  Lady Yang's favourite fruit was Lychees and since they weren't grown locally, the Emperor ordered a relay of horses to bring fresh ones to the Palace.  

Green tea, Rose Petals, Litchi and Pear

Lucky for us though, we can order this tea online at EqualiTea at £7.50 per 100g without all this horse business and feel like Princesses ourselves!  


This tea is a perfect accompaniment to these warmer months as it's so refreshing and fruity!  I think this is probably my favourite flavoured tea in the world and I was really taken aback at how much I liked it!  I'm interested to know whether it was the pear flavour or the Lychee that I took to so much, but my guess is it was the marriage of both.  I could also taste the rose petals in an almost slightly 'turkish delight' kind of way, which is funny really as I don't even like turkish delight!  What sounds like a strange mixture fits perfectly together in this sweet blend.

I hope you love it as much as I do!  Here it is on Amazon as well:

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Matcha May and M.E Awareness Day!

As you'll now know, it's Matcha May!  

As you can see, teapigs offer a 100% natural, organic Matcha green tea with a super power amount of antioxidants as well as a considerable energy boost..


We talk a lot about the effects of tea on health and I was wondering if the benefits of Matcha may have something to offer those health conditions where energy is equal to striking gold!

Matcha May coincides with M.E Awareness Day today, so it's a good excuse to show how important an energy boost can be in the management of M.E, M.E/CFS and Fibromyalgia.  Whether you're looking at the studies into mitochondrial dysfunction or increased oxidative stress, it's clear to see why some people with these conditions may look at Matcha tea for help.

It contains the amino acid L-Theanine, which works slowly to release Matcha's natural caffeine over a gentle boost of around 4-6 hours.  L-Theanine can help to reduce stress, keeping people calm and focused and it's also meant to help improve learning, concentration and alertness.

However, I do think people are quick to shout about the benefits of tea for health and so it's worth remembering that plants can be quite strong and there are side effects worth noting.  For people with M.E, caffeine is usually a major problem as people find themselves sensitive to it and the effects on the ol' nervous system.  It can also stimulate acid secretion in the stomach, which can lead to indigestion and bowel issues.  So overall, it's worth being cautious as well.

If you use whole leaf tea of another kind, i've heard that rinsing the tea leaves before infusing can help  take some of the caffeine away.  Or in general making a weak brew in between meals may help keep acid levels down.

If you have M.E and caffeine is too much of an issue to gain the benefits of Matcha, teapigs offer a good selection of whole leaf herbal teas, each with their own benefits.  When i'm after a good strong brew but don't want the caffeine, I go for a Rooibos red tea, which also has a lot of antioxidants, and add a splash of soya milk to it.  Other lighter choices are lemon and ginger, which can help with nausea and motion sickness, and a firm favourite Peppermint herbal tea, which may help to settle the digestive system.

I'd love to hear how people are using tea for their health and health conditions so feel free to comment or go to Tea Street's Facebook or Twitter!  Also anyone that has any further useful links then stick 'em in the comments box :-)

For more info on M.E, M.E/CFS click here for The M.E Association 
And for my teapigs Matcha experiments click here