Sunday, 28 February 2010

Seaside bargains

I spent this weekend in seaside town of St Annes on Sea visiting some of my dearest friends. We spent several hours scouring the many charity shops in St Annes and Lytham and got some great bargains. I got 2 different sets of fab 50s cups and saucers, twenty pieces altogether for £3.98!!!! I will definitely have to have another afternoon tea soon.

Friday, 26 February 2010

All Aboard the Folk Train

On the last Thursday evening of every month a 'Folk Train' runs between Manchester and Glossop. For the princely sum of £1.95 return you are entertained by live musicians and there's often a sing song on the way back.


Once you arrive in Glossop most folks retire to Glossop Labour club for liquid refreshment, more tunes and Chinese food which is ordered ahead whilst on the train. However, the vegans in the group take the opportunity to visit The Globe with it's completely vegan food menu. It's comfort food in abundance and they specialise in chips! - lovely chips with the skins left on, curly fries, chips made from parsnips etc served with amazing thick tasty gravy. It was hard to choose between sausages, chilli or curry but in the end I went for 'Veggie steak' cooked in red wine sauce served with chips and gravy. Accompanied by a pint of a delicious dark ale this came in at less than a fiver.

The puddings on offer are Swedish Glace icecream or sorbet. Not being a massive fan of cold desserts in winter I brought some carrot cake cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World and we enjoyed these on the train. Was lovely to hear that famous ode to my home town on the way back.


Sunday, 21 February 2010

Monkey Tea time


I had an afternoon tea today with some of my oldest friends. When I was getting stuff ready I was thinking about when I met them all and realised it was in 1987, the year I was doing my art foundation course. We had many fun Saturday nights out in Corbieres and the Hacienda and often my favourite part of the night was all getting together for a drink and a dance at one of our parent's houses before we went out! One of them mentioned on Facebook that she was going to a 'Monkey Cream Tea' so of course all my monkeys had to come out to play.


They brought some lovely contributions to the party. The cupcakes are red velvet with cream cheese frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. The chocolate heart cookies were a veganised recipe from an old Be-Ro cookery book and used ground rice. The delicious chocolate fridge cake was full of biscuit and dried cherries.
The savoury options were kalamata olive and sundried tomato tapenade from the Candle Cafe cookbook, sun dried tomato and basil hummus, Peanut Butterbean pate, cheese and tomato and cream cheese and cucumber. All washed down with loads of cups of tea and an 80's soundtrack of Kirsty McCall, Voice of the Beehive and Fairground Attraction.


Saturday, 20 February 2010

Bees in the Hive

I've recently started a new job in a new organisation in a brand new office block which is called 'The Hive'. It's a very 'Eco-designed' building with special air conditioning, a boiling water tap to make instant brews and a green roof. As we are such a new organisation there are various team building things going on. Yesterday we had a 'Bring and Share' tea break. There was a really great response and there was all sorts of sweet and savoury treats, most of them home made. I'm the only vegan but my sister works there too so she made some vegan friendly biscuits.
I went with these bee themed cupcakes. I used the basic chocolate cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World but baked them in muffin cases so they were nice and big. Then with various food colourings, gelatine free sweets and marzipan I made the frosting and decorations. They were one of the first things to go!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

February Comfort Food

The other day I had friends round for tea. It was a week night so nobody wanted a late one. I prepared the filling for our ale and mushroom pie the day before so when I got home from work I just had to warm it up and pop the puff pastry crust in the oven along with some roasted new potatoes and veggies.

The recipe is very simple and can be found here at Vegan Village alongside loads of other great ones. The mushroom and chestnut wellington is another favourite for a vegan roast dinner.

Pudding was even more easy peasy. I ordered some amazing gourmet chocolate bars from the Chocolate Tree in Edinburgh. The service was super speedy and the chocolate was superb. They do so many dairy free bars that it was hard to choose but in the end I went for Seasalt and Caramel, Bramble and Cardomon and Rose Pepper. I liked them all but I think the Bramble and Cardomon was my favourite.

Of course we couldn't have chocolate without dessert wine. My friend brought a bottle of Villa Rosa Rivesaltes that was older than us!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010


Tea Party Time




This Sunday I'm hosting a tea party. Tea parties seem very in vogue at the moment. We're coming up to Fairtrade Fortnight ( 22 Feb - 7 March) and one of the ideas for raising awareness of Fairtrade is to host a tea party for friends. This involves serving fairly traded beverages and using FT ingredients in your baked goods.

You can even buy a Tea Party starter pack!

Monday, 15 February 2010


Free Tea!










Just go to the Twinings website and choose 2 free samples to try

Request a sample from The Redbush Tea Company

Become a taster for Clipper

And from the other side of the Penines!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Tea and Sympatico


Why 'Tea and Symaptico' for a title?

In the last few years I've come to realise that the most valuable thing in life is good friends. Years ago when I briefly lived in Chile I remember a Chilean friend using the word 'simpatico' to describe the people he really gelled with and I've always loved the word.

I believe in working to keep old friendships alive and striving to make new ones throughout your life with people of all ages. We all lead such busy lives it's easy to become very insular. This blog is about making a conscious effort to stay in the present and connect with people.