Monday, 10 August 2020

Chilworth hotel afternoon tea - dissapointing



 Yesterday I went for an afternoon tea with my hubby that I booked online a few weeks ago using Groupon voucher for tea at the Grand Court Paddington hotel.  I decided to book this as I had already booked another voucher deal at the Skylark roof gardens for cocktails and platter at 5pm and thought we could make an afternoon of it.  Basically it all went a bit wrong.....

About a week before yesterday the Skylark contacted me to inform me  that the  roof garden was unable to open and that they could reserve us a table at Hucksters bar downstairs on the terrace and honor the voucher. We were a bit disappointed as it did not look as nice but as had already planned the afternoon tea so decided to still go ahead. 

We arrived outside the hotel Grand park Paddington Court only to find the doors closed and a sign stating that the hotel was closed until further notice due to outbreak of covid. There was also a note on door,  that if you had a room booked you would be upgraded to the 5 star Chilworth hotel and there was a phone number to contact them. A few phones calls later and waiting to be transferred to various people I finally spoke to the restaurant manager at the Chilworth who said that they could offer us the afternoon tea there. This was such a relief after traveling on 3 different  hot underground trains to get there.  It was only a 8 minute walk away and from the outside looked quite impressive. However when walking into reception it changed. It was very small inside more like the reception of an apartment block and the restaurant was very small.  

The manager greeted us and showed us to our small table by the window. Upon sitting down i noticed the fabric on the chairs was dirty and grubby looking !!!!There was only one other table occupied and they were having an afternoon tea too. I handed over the voucher and explained I had booked the traditional afternoon tea and not the Indian themed one. Not a good move as the Indian one would if been better I think as they had to scrape around in the kitchen to find food that was suitable!! 

The waiter  brought out a bottle of prosecco which was included in the voucher but I had to ask for a ice bucket to put it in otherwise it would of just been left on the table and not cold. 



 About 10 minutes later the tea stand arrived which looked disappointing.  There were 2 shop brought scones on top with individual butter and jam but No clotted cream. Then in middle tray 3 finger sandwiches each.... Salmon, ham and cucumber. Then at bottom 3 little shop brought cakes and pot of Panna cotta. I asked the waiter if there was any cream to go with the scones and he said NO and they had tried the local shop but they did not have any. Scones are not the same without the cream!! He did then bring us each a pot of strawberry, meringue and runny sauce which was like a very sweet custard. The sandwichs were tasty and fresh but the rest was disappointing and not what we had expected to get. 



I guess it was not the Chilworth hotels fault as they did their  best at short notice to accommodate us. However this  afternoon tea was not up to the standards you would expect from a London hotel. 

Never mind it was what it was and the cocktails later made up for it. I have since complained to Groupon and they have issued me with a credit. 



Nearest Station  : Lancaster Gate or Paddington , about 8 minute walk from there.  
Best bits : That they were able to offer  us something at short notice.   
Worst bits :  NO cream for scones which were very dry. Disappointing cakes.   
Value for money : Even with Groupon voucher not really .
would I go back?  :  No defiantly not 

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Fabulous Afternoon Tea at Tewin Bury Farm , Hertfordshire

Wednesday 5th August 

Lovely afternoon tea with my mum
This is my second afternoon tea since lockdown and it did not disappoint !!!!!  I got it as a voucher last year from Buyagift priced at £38 for 2 but i got it when they had a discount code so paid about £24 for 2 of us. I noticed that the price printed on the menu was £25 per person so i got a extremly good deal . 

Tewin Bury farm was originally a dairy farm and now after selling the cows in 1980 and purchasing some farmland the Williams family decide to open it  up a hotel incorparatig many of the original buildings. The grounds and gardens are lovely and they hosts many weddings there. 
There are two places to eat . One is a more causal resturant/cafe which is joined to the farm shop with plently of outside seating and the second resturant is  called Cowshed and used to be the shed were the cattle were kept. You would never of known that as now its a very nicely decorated resturant with an outdoor terrace. This is where we sat for our afternoon tea as it was a lovely sunny day but not too hot as the tables are  under a big canapy. 


The table was nicely set with a plate and matching cup and saucer. My mum noticed that they were by Villeroy & Boch ....very posh for a farm and more like something you would get in a top London hotel. 
The menu sounded nice and we both explained to the waitress that neither of us eat fish and my mum does not like mayonaise or mustard . She was happy to swap them for us and make the ham sandwhich without the mustard. We both ordered a cappucino each and asked for a glass of tap water.    
The coffees arrived shortly followed by the cake stand ......We had a cake stand EACH full of lovely food and 2 large scones each ......Wow we was both very impressed.  
On the top plate i had 2 mini goats cheese and onion mini tarts which tasted deliouous plus a little chcken crotstini . The middle plate had 3 sandwiches on which were nice but the bread had gone a bit dry on the outside. Next came the scones which were the best we had ever tasted. They were not warm. but definatly homemade ...crunchy on the outside yet soft and fluffy on the inside. To go with them we each had a pot of Tiptree strawberry jam and plently of clotted cream.....YUM. 





After eating both scones i was starting to feel full but still had a bit of room left for the cakes that followed. We both ordered an Americano coffee each. The cakes were served on a wooden board and we both had 4 each .  I liked the caramel flavour macaroon and Lemon merainge tart best . All of them were nice and we managed to eat them all. 
When it was time leave i asked if there was anything to pay but the waitress said  no extra charges to pay as all hot drinks were included in the voucher. 





Nearest Station  : Not sure as i drove , plenty of car parking on site   
Best bits : Definatly the goats cheese and onion tart plus the homemade scones    
Worst bits : None really it was all very good   
Value for money : Yes defo for what i paid . I think considering how nice it was £25 per person is still a good price .
would I go back?  :  Yes















Monday, 3 August 2020

Recipe Chocolate mint cupcakes

        
Made these yesterday so wanted to share the simple recipe      



           
Ingredients  Makes 12  

150g self raising flour

50g cocoa powder 
200g caster sugar 
100g butter or margarine 
1 large egg 
100ml milk 
Muffin cake tin and cake cases 
Piping bake and nozzle 

Butter icing 
100g butter or margarine 
few drops green food colouring 
few drops peppermint essence 
2tbsp milk 
Areo mint balls or other chocolate decoration 




Method 
Preheat oven to 180 degrees or 160 for fan oven 
Put all the  cake ingredients to a food processor or large mixing bowl and mix until all combined and light and fluffy 
Divide the mixture evenly into the 12 cases in the muffin tin 
Cook for approx 20 minutes until firm to touch and slightly golden on top. 
Remove from oven and leave in tin to cook completely
To make the  buttercream beat the butter and icing sugar together to firm and creamy . Add milk until it is creamy texture but still firm and holds shape. Add few drops of green colouring until it goes a  minty green in colour and add peppermint essence until it tastes minty .
Spoon the buttercream into piping bag with nozzle attached. 
Once cakes are completely cooled pipe a large swirl on top of each one 
Top with a Areo mint ball or anything else you fancy. You could use half a After Eight mint square or just some chocolate chips sprinkled over the top. 
ENJOY 






Sunday, 2 August 2020

Afternoon tea fantastic offer - Fortnum & Mason during August BOGOF

Hi 
Just want to share this great offer that i have already booked for Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Mason, London
If you book by going to the website afternoontea.co.uk one person goes free for every afternoon tea booked . This is a great offer as then will only cost £30 per person. It is valid for bookings in August only 

I have always wanted to go here for Afternoon tea so as soon as i saw the offer i booked straight away . 
I am going on 19th August so will then share my review on my blog. Check out the menu below ...

FORTNUM'S CLASSIC AFTERNOON TEA SAMPLE MENU

Finger sandwiches
Norfolk Cured Ham with English Mustard
Cucumber with Mint Cream Cheese
Rare Breed Hen's Egg Mayonnaise with Cress
Fortnum's Smoked Salmon with Tartare Sauce
Coronation Chicken

Fortnum's scones
Plain & Fruit Scones
Presented with Clotted Cream,
Fortnum & Mason Strawberry Preserve & Lemon Curd

Afternoon Tea cakes
Selection of individual Patisserie

Served with a Pot of Fortnum's Tea

£60.00 per person

Monday, 20 July 2020

Peggottys tea shoppe Tenterden Kent

My first afternoon tea since lockdown. My husband and I booked this weekend away before the lockdown and so pleased it was able to go ahead. We booked a nice hotel in Tenterden , Kent and the Chapel Down vineyard tour after having their English sparking wine at a afternoon tea in London. 

Before we checked into the hotel we stopped and had an afternoon tea in a traditional tea room in the village of Tenterden. I had pre booked in advance to ensure we could get a table. 
It is called Peggottys Tea Shoppe and first opened its doors in 1975.  Although there have been different owners and ideas through the years, it has always maintained a place in the Locals hearts and holds happy memories for many of its of customers. Peggotty’s gives a traditional tearoom experience serving homemade food, freshly ground coffee and loose leaf teas.. 
Inside it was just like a cozy cottage with a few tables nice laid out with spotted table clothes. Our table was in the bay window so we could gaze out onto the busy street and people watch. 



We were handed the full menu and then explained that for the afternoon tea we get to choose our own sandwich from the menu then type of scone,  plain, raisin or cheese and lastly which slice of homemade cake we wanted . 
I choose a ham and cheese sandwich on granary bread , fruit scone and slice of the homemade cherry Bakewell sponge. My husband choose the  chocolate and peanut butter cake which was the last slice. We said we could share and get to taste both cakes. There was also a Lemon cake and Coffee and walnut cake …they all looked very nice . We was offered tea or coffee whilst we waited  for the food to come out. 

After about 10 minutes a 3 tier cake stand was brought out to us , i could not wait to get tucked in. I thought it nice that there was some salad and coleslaw on the bottom plate with the sandwiches. My sandwich was very fresh with thick slices of carved ham not from a packet and chedder cheese. The middle plate had the two large homemade scones plus a large pot of homemade jam and then some clotted cream. The scones were homemade and still warm from the oven....they tasted delicious with the homemade jam and cream.
After finishing the sandwich and scone i was feeling rather full but still managed to eat a bit of each cake . I liked my choice best as the cake was very moist and buttery. The chocolate ad peanut butter cake was good too but a bit sickly especially when you are feeling full up. 






The afternoon tea was £25 for 2 of us which i thought was good as we had two hot drinks each and the food was plentiful. If i ever go to Tentderden again i would defiantly stop there again.  

Saturday, 11 July 2020

Traditional home made fudge

Yesterday i made my vanilla fudge as my mum had been hinting how much she liked it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I think it tastes better than the quick and easy 3 ingredient fudge i have recently made and cost less for the ingredients. 
It does take while to make as you have to boil the ingredients together until it reaches a temperature of 116c . For this reason you need a digital food thermometer so you know once it has reached correct temperature. Not hot enough and it will not set or too hot and you get caramel or toffee rather than creamy fudge. 


410g can evaporated milk                                                           
Fresh milk to add to above to make up to a pint in total  
100g butter 
2kg granulated sugar 
2 tsp Vanilla essence 


Place all ingredients apart from the vanilla essence into a large heavy based saucepan and place on medium heat 
Stir at regular intervals and be careful as mixture is vert hot . 
Once melted keep stirring and allow to boil gently 
Using the thermometer check temperature at regular intervals between stirring . 
It takes about 15 to 20 mins of boiling and stirring until it reaches 116c 
Once correct temperature reached remove from heat 
Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence and then keep stirring until mixture starts to thicken and go grainy. This takes about 10 minutes 
Pour into a square tin 9x9 inch lined with baking paper , leave to cool. Then mark the top into small squares 
Once cool put into fridge to set overnight 
Remove from fridge and cut into the marked squares. 
I like to leave it in open container for a day or so to let the air get to it so it hardens slightly. 

Everyone who has tasted this fudge loves it and i think it tastes much nicer than the expensive flavoured homemade fudge you buy on market stalls. I have made a chocolate version but this one is nicer and more creamy 









Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Afternoon tea booked - first one since lockdown

Hi 
So excited that i wanted to share with you that i have booked my first afternoon tea since lockdown .....
I have booked Peggotty's Tea Shoppe in Tenterden, Kent.  
My husband and i have a weekend away  that was planned before the lockdown in March . We are going to the Chapel Down vineyard for a tour and tasting session and then staying overnight in a nearby hotel.  
We was not sure it would be going ahead still but got the confirmation last week ....SO EXCITED TO FINALLY BE GOING OUT OUT !!!!!!

I have also booked another afternoon tea  for 15th August at Double Tree Hilton Docklands . I have been to this one before it nice as you can sit outside on the terrace overlooking the water . 
Hopefully going to book many more afternoon teas once all the restaurants are open again . 

Watch this space for a review of the Afternoon tea