A nice cup of Tea – a review of Ahmad Tea PLUS a competition!

 Everything is better after a good cup of Tea.

That good old fail safe phrase of, “I’ll put the kettle on”, has been the music to many a persons ear over the years. Mine included.

If you meet up with a friend for a chat, you put the kettle on. If you’re feeling a bit down in the dumps, you put the kettle on. If the toddler has smeared poo all over himself and his bedroom, once you have cleaned it up, you put the kettle on. Actually, the last one would probably make me reach for the Gin but, you know…each to their own.

The more friends I make, mainly thanks to my kids being at school now, the more I come to realise that people don’t just drink tea. You know, the Builders version. Strong, milk, 2 sugars (though, unashamedly that is indeed my favourite way to drink tea!). I once went to a friends house and she said, “what type of tea would you like?”  and I was left sat in stunned silence. She reeled off about 10 different types of tea and in the end I settled for ‘normal’ tea purely out of confusion. I know about Darjeeling, Earl Grey, etc but I honestly had no idea tea came in so many flavours these days!

AhmadteaBag

I was kindly sent some of these flavoured teas the other day by Ahmad, a brand I hadn’t actually heard of before but that sounded right up my alley. Ahmad have a new range of Dessert Flavoured Teas out and they all look super and sound scrummy. There are 6 in the collection and I was sent 3 to try. These were;

Mango and Lychee Souffle – which is a Green Tea

Escape to the exotic with this fusion of succulent mango and crisp lychee, gently infused with carefully chosen Chinese green teas. A truly delightful sweet and fresh aroma rises from the light pistachio-coloured liquor.

Moroccan Orange Slice

Inspired by the aromatic flavours of Morocco, this delicate balance of orange zest and cardamom spice delivers a warm and vibrant flavour. The subtle notes of Ceylon and Assam teas combine delightfully. Can be enjoyed with a splash of fresh milk if desired.

Citrus Mint Sorbet – Green Tea

A zesty and refreshing recipe of lemon, mint and grapefruit that combines delightfully with the tones of our expertly chosen Chinese green tea. Also delicious iced.

The other flavours in the dessert collection I haven’t tried are;

Strawberry Velvet Cake

Pear and Cinnamon Strudel

Strawberry and Basil Coulis – Green Tea

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These award winning Dessert Teas are unusual and very different to anything I have had before. They are Sugar free, calorie free, and have very low levels of caffeine. Their 6 dessert inspired recipes have been beautifully crafted by master tea tasters who work closely with top home chefs. Their combined expertise of tea and desserts has created exquisitely delectable blends, balancing the flavour of their signature high quality teas along with moreish dessert recipes, which is enough to satisfy any sweet tooth.

AhmadTeaSelection


Who are Ahmad Tea?

(Information from the Ahmad Website)

Ahmad Tea is a UK-based family business, drawing on four generations of tea blending and tasting experience. Founded on a passion for the finest tea, we are dedicated to the unique place that tea drinking commands at the heart of daily life in Britain and beyond.

When the company was established in England, we felt that people desired an exceptional infusion which could be enjoyed every day. The selection of our first plantations and partners, our initial blending and tasting, and even our early packaging – all were driven by a commitment to meet this need. To this end, we were also one of the first companies to present tea in ways that emphasised its worth, offering it in beautiful gift packs, exquisite tins and charming caddies.

Over the years, as our reputation grew and our reach spread, it became equally obvious that people throughout the world shared this desire for a cup of tea that was much more than simply refreshment, but an enjoyable, memorable and satisfying experience. Such international recognition of the quality of our teas has grown to the extent that we now export to over 80 countries on six continents.

AhmadTeaCup


 What did I think of the Tea?

If I an honest, I am a traditional tea girl. I like my English Breakfast and will sometimes push the boat out and have some Earl Grey if I fancy it. The issue is that I have a very sweet tooth and despite the fact that these are Dessert Teas, I still wanted to pop a sugar in (naughty, I know). My husband however is a fan of Black Tea and Green tea and he really loved these teas. They still taste of ‘tea’ as we know it but they just have a hint of something else about them. They smell fragrant and you can certainly taste the flavours which are described on the box.

My favourite one I got to try was the Moroccan Orange Slice. It had just the right hint of orange flavour about it and  was more fragrant than pungent. I did add a little bit of milk and I loved it.

The Citrus and Mint one was very refreshing and my husband, who loved mint tea, said this was his favourite.

The Mango and Lychee tea was also lovely. It tasted fruity but nothing overpowering and it smelt stronger of exotic fruits than it tasted. Again, I added a splash of milk to this one which I preferred.

I would certainly buy the Orange one in my weekly shop from now on and my husband is really taken with the citrus and mint one.

The teas retail at £4 for 15 tea bags and you can purchase them online from the Ahmad Website or Ocado.


 Win a complete set of Ahmad Dessert Teas worth £24!

For your chance to win a complete set of Ahmad Dessert collection teas, just enter the rafflecopter below!

Good luck!

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Pick your Poison: British Cassis & Gin (For International Gin & Tonic Day)

It’s International Gin and Tonic Day today!

Hurrah!

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A day that is literally as exciting as my birthday and gives me a legitimate excuse to have a sip or five this evening (as if I needed one, let’s be honest).

In homage to this momentous day, here is a Gin cocktail recipe using one of my new favourites, British Cassis.

If you haven’t heard of this wondrous elixir of the British hedgerow, you have now!

British Cassis

I really can’t sing it’s praises enough. Taste wise, think Chambord, but not as sweet…oh, and did I mention it’s British? 😉


Who are White Heron and British Cassis?

“140 YEARS OF PASSION IN EVERY BOTTLE”

In the rolling fields of a Herefordshire farm, grows a tiny currant. Rarely seen and little known, this succulent fruit is harvested under the summer sun and carefully crafted into the very finest Cassis.

At White Heron. they use a technique similar to wine-making in order to perfectly capture the intensity of freshly picked British blackcurrants. Once the blackcurrant juice has fermented naturally with champagne yeast, they blend it with a little vodka to fortify it and then they add sugar to bring out the rich fruity flavour.

“As a fourth generation Herefordshire farmer, I believe in sustainability and the importance of knowing where our food and drink comes from. In many ways, life on Whittern Farm hasn’t changed that much in the 140 years my family has farmed it. In my youth, just as in my great-grandfather’s youth, summer days were punctuated by the blackcurrant harvest. Each year, we pick this delicious fruit from rows upon rows of vibrant green bushes. Over the decades, the currants have been made into jams, cordials and desserts. But, for me, nothing beats the incredibly special flavour achieved when we make cassis from them.

The name Whittern means white heron. These iconic birds (commonly known as great white egrets) used to breed at The Whittern. Nowadays, they are seen only infrequently. To me, they’re a symbol of the natural environment our blackcurrants are grown in, so it felt fitting to name our company after these elegant, sophisticated characters.”

Jo Hilditch, Founder

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I first saw British Cassis on an episode of Countryfile (yep, I’m not ashamed to admit I love a bit of Countryfile on a Sunday evening – Hunter Welly Boots and Gilet’s at the ready!) and I kindly got bought some by my Mum last Christmas. They have since re-branded and I have to say, I LOVE what they have done with the bottle. The contents inside the bottle are still the same – a delicious, rich, blackcurrant liqueur – but it just looks a bit slicker and more befitting of the fabulous product inside it.

It’s best, in my opinion, on it’s own over ice, but it’s also perfect in a prosecco and just so happens to work very well with, yep, you guessed it, Gin!

You can buy British Cassis and find out more about it by visiting their website. You’d certainly make someone very happy at Christmas giving this as a gift (hint, hint, Hubster!)

It retails at £20.00 for 500ml (price correct at time of publishing. October 2016) which I think is really reasonable given the quality.


A recipe for British Cassis and Gin

british cassis and gin cocktail

I decided to use St Andrews Oak Gin by Eden Mill Distillery in this recipe. It’s a really unique Gin, which is slightly caramel in colour and, if drunk neat over ice, tastes slightly smoky. My husband really likes it and I think it is a strong enough Gin to stand up against the rich British Cassis in this cocktail.

Inspired by the change in the seasons, this Gin cocktail has hints of mulled wine about it, without the Christmas spice. A taste of Autumn.

I used Whisky rocks to chill the cocktail down in this one. We don’t want any ice cubes watering down the intense flavours!


Ingredients

(makes 1 tumbler)

25ml Gin

25ml British Cassis

25ml Lemon Juice

1 teaspoon Honey

Fever Tree Ginger Beer to top up the glass

Lemon and Mint (if you desire) to garnish

Crushed Ice (to shake the alcohol over)


 Method

– In a cocktail shaker, add the crushed ice, Gin, Lemon Juice, Honey and British Cassis.

– Shake well for 30 seconds.

– Add Whisky rocks to a tumbler and pour the contents of the cocktail shaker over them.

– Top the glass up with with Ginger Beer and garnish with a wedge of lemon and some mint.

Serve.

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 Disclosure: I was sent a bottle of British Cassis in return for this review. All words, thoughts and opinions are my own,



Pick your Poison: Halloween ‘Blood Shot’ Cocktail

“Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble, pour me some vodka and make it a double!”

 

As Autumn descends, and Halloween draws nearer, I’m getting more and more in the mood for all things spooky!

This cocktail recipe is for a vodka based potion, which is guaranteed to make you sing like Tina Turner…well, make you think  you can anyway if you have enough of them.

The syrup required for this cocktail is served in a 20ml syringe (available from craft shops or on Amazon) to make it look like blood – the perfect cocktail to get your fangs into!

The perfect drink for any Halloween party!


 Ingredients

50ml Vanilla Vodka

Some crushed ice

A slice of lemon

A squeeze of fresh lemon juice

20ml Grenadine syrup


Method

– Add crushed ice to the glass

– Add 50ml Vanilla Vodka

– Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice

– Add the slice of lemon to the glass

– Fill the syringe with 20ml Grenadine syrup and rest it on the top of the glass to serve

– When you want to drink your drink, simply squirt the syrup into the glass and use the syringe to give it a good stir.

Enjoy!

A vodka cocktail for Halloween with grenadine in a syringe to make it look like blood


 If you have a go at this recipe, do share it with me over on my Facebook page or on my Instagram.




Pick your Poison: Strictly Gin Cocktail

Strictly come dancing is back!

Exciting and scary all at the same time because, for me anyway, Strictly signals the start of the run-up to Christmas…

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, but I can’t even think about it yet. I’m in denial that it’s not still March.

Anyhow, in homage to all things Sparkly, Glittery and Strictly-tastic, I’ve made a really simple cocktail for you all to enjoy whilst you watch the heavily spray tanned dancers twirl about the ballroom.

It’s glittery, of course, and bubbly. Just like some of the dancers…

A.maz.ing Dahlings. Even Craig is excited about it!

 

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 Ingredients

25ml Gin

Chilled Appletizer to top up

Edible Glitter


 Method

1 – Wet the rim of your glass (I used a prosecco glass for this one)

2 – Pour some edible glitter into a pot which is big enough to fit the rim of the glass in

3 – Dip the rim of the glass in the edible glitter (I used Gold edible glitter dust by Waitrose for this)

4 – Pour 25ml Gin into the bottom of the glass

5 – Top up with your chilled Appletizer

Enjoy!

a cocktail in a tall glass with edible glitter around the egde and gold table decorations


It’s a really simple one but one of my all time faves!

Once Dry September is over, this is going to be my first drink…and I can’t wait!

I’ll be dancing around the living room after a couple of these.

“Outta my way kids!!! Mumma’s shakin’ her groove thang’!”

via GIPHY




Pick you Poison: Coconunt Water Mojito Mocktail (for Dry September)

As I am partaking in Dry September for Children with Cancer UK (on which note, I’m not even halfway through the month and I could MURDER a G&T, mainly thanks to the toddler once again pooing on the carpet upstairs. Potty training is just the best! Said no person ever) I have created another Mocktail to try and get through the month.

This is a take on a Mojito, but using Coconut Water, and it is packed full of refreshing flavours, so much so, you’ll barely notice the lack of alcohol…oh, who am I kidding, it’s not quite the same but it’s really pretty darn good!


Ingredients

(Makes 1 glass)*

Cubed Ice

1/2 Lime cut into wedges

100ml Coconut Water

100ml Sparkling Water

3 sprigs of fresh mint

1/2 tsp of Sugar, unrefined is best

*If you want to ‘cheat’ (i.e: make life simpler for yourself) you can also buy a ready made Mojito base mixer such as this one from Ocado – I have tried this one and I love it. Just add 25ml of this base mixer to a glass, add 100ml of coconut water and top with 100ml of sparkling water. Finish with some lime wedges, ice and fresh mint! Easy peasy!


Method

1 – Add lime wedges into a glass and give them a squish with a muddler or a spoon.

2 – Hit the mint leaves a bit to get them to release their oils (good for getting rid of anger) and pop them in the glass.

2 – Add the sugar and, using your spoon or muddler again, smush the ingredients together in the glass.

3 – Add your cubed ice, the coconut water and the sparkling water to the glass and stir a little.

4 – Garnish with some more fresh mint and add a straw!

Enjoy!

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Do let me know over on my Facebook page if you have a go at this!

Gem.x