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Monthly Archives: July 2014

  • Afternoon Tea

    It is usually around 3pm when I get the need for a snack or sweet treat to get me through the afternoon. This is why Afternoon Tea is one of my favourite activities. Tucking into scones, cakes, little sandwiches all teamed with my favourite pot of peppermint or black tea is how I would like to spend every afternoon, but this is obviously not always feasible!

    The English have a reputation for our Afternoon Teas and I honestly believe that others think that every afternoon we still indulge in this ritual. Growing up I remember my grandma always stopping for tea and cake or biscuits in the afternoon and it being part of her daily plans. It got me thinking about where afternoon tea originated from.

    After some research I discovered that during the nineteenth century, Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford is said to have complained of ‘having that sinking feeling’ in the afternoon, as back then people only had two main meals a day. She then decided to have a pot of tea and snack (cakes, bread and butter) every afternoon. She then started to invite friends to join her and this idea soon became popular with other socialites doing the same. Afternoon Tea had begun. Thank you Anna!

    (Image courtesy of Google Images)

    Nowadays we don’t stop for Afternoon Tea everyday but I am sure many a tea round happens in the office or at home you stop and put your feet up with a quick cuppa and a biscuit! However, Afternoon Tea is still very much a part of hotels and country houses. I personally love to go as a special occasion or a treat and I am sure many tourists love the ritual when they come and visit England. I hope it is a tradition which never dies out!

    Melissa, July 2014

  • Tanzania and The Commonwealth Games

    Last night I settled in to watch the opening ceremony of the twentieth Commonwealth Games and what an evening it was. Glasgow did an amazing job and I particularly enjoyed the Scottie dogs! Tamsin and I have always enjoyed our stays in Glasgow for food shows we have attended, the welcoming attitude of the Scots and the stunningly beautiful scenery was clear for all to see during the ceremony.

    Obviously being in England a lot of the news and focus is on how the English athletes will do and how many medals we will return with. However here at Luponde our eyes are also on our Tanzanian friends!

    Tanzania first took part in the Commonwealth Games in 1962 as Tanganyika and then from 1966 as Tanzania. They have a good track record of winning medals and they won their first in 1970 when legendary boxer Titus Simba won a silver medal in Edinburgh and then in 1974 Filbert Bayi won gold after setting a men's 1,500 metres world record in Christchurch, New Zealand. They then won medals in every Games through till 2006. At the 2010 Games they unfortunately came away empty handed but are looking to return with success this year and the President Jakaya Kikwete has sent them off with a challenge to do just this.

    The 36 athletes will take part in seven disciplines; boxing, athletics, cycling, judo, table tennis, weightlifting and swimming and we will be cheering them on here in the office!

    Good luck Tanzania!

    Melissa, July 2014

  • Turmeric Tea?!

    We all like trying new things and things that we know are going to be good for us but even I was surprised to read in the paper last night that the new craze which is going to sweep London is Turmeric Tea! I love turmeric in my curry and as a marinade on meat but in my tea? I may need some convincing! The article notes that turmeric is detoxifying, anti-inflammatory and good against viral infections. I can see why people want to try it.

    As you know we have been trialing herbs on the estate so that we can try to bring you something new and different to our range and already spearmint has proved very popular. It is fun experimenting with different herbs and tasting them to see which work and which don’t. Keep an eye on future blogs to see how our herbs are doing.

    I would love to hear from you to see if turmeric tea is something you have tried and would love to know any other unusual spices or herbs you have used for tea. You never know one day one of your suggestions may just make it onto Luponde shelves! Email me or post to our Facebook or Twitter pages.

    Melissa, July 2014

  • How We Help The Environment

    We strive to be as environmentally friendly as possible here at Luponde and we work closely with the estate to achieve this. Together we have turned some of the disused areas back to indigenous forest and by planting 30,000 trees we hope to counterbalance our use of paper and card for gift wrapping.

    (Tamsin standing by some of the tress we planted on the estate - they are growing nicely!)

    We also offer customers the chance to re-use their tea tins by purchasing refill packs. These are made from cardboard and can then be recycled. It means you don’t need to get rid of your tin each time you run out of your favourite tea and are being environmentally friendly at the same time. I personally have also been known to use an old tin or two as pen pots on my office desk! Next time you are running out of your Luponde tea remember that it is possible to buy a refill pack for your tin and just ask us in-store or find them online. We do them for both loose leaf and tea bags.

    The estate also supports small, independent farmers, social welfare projects and endeavours to preserve and improve the natural environment. It is Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and KLBD Kosher certified. Find our more here.

    Melissa, July 2014

  • Green and Blacks White Chocolate, Walnut and Banana Loaf

    As we are celebrating the fact that today is Tamsin’s Birthday I thought I would share the recipe for the cake I made her this weekend. It seemed to prove very popular and I can’t get enough of it. It’s so good Rob and I even had it as one of our favourite cakes on our cake table at our wedding. Thank you Green and Black's recipe book!

    Warning – it is dangerously moreish!

    White Chocolate, Walnut and Banana Loaf

    • 125g unsalted butter, melted
    • 175g plain flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 150g caster sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 4 small, ripe bananas, mashed
    • 100g good-quality white chocolate, chopped into large chunks
    • 60g walnuts, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Preheat oven to 180ºC. Brush the inside of the loaf tin with a little melted butter, then dust with flour.

    Mix the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl whisk the melted butter and sugar together. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then whisk in the mashed bananas. Add the white chocolate, walnuts and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three stages, stirring after each addition.

    Pour into the loaf tin and bake for 1-1 ¼ hours.

    Slide a spatula around the edge of the loaf and leave to cool in the tin.

    What makes this cake extra special is when you cover it with Nigella’s Blond Icing. Or if that is too much it is equally delicious on its own!

    Nigella’s Blond Icing

    • 200g white chocolate
    • 50g unsalted butter
    • 220ml crème fraiche
    • 100g unrefined golden icing sugar, sifted

    Melt the chocolate and the butter in a heatproof bowl suspended over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Remove and leave to cool a little, add the crème fraiche and then gradually beat in the icing sugar. Put the icing in the fridge for a little while so that is sets before you need it.

    I can recommend this cake with Tamsin’s favourite tea, our Earl Grey!

    Happy Birthday Tamsin!

    Melissa, July 2014




  • Lemon Verbena!

    This July we are celebrating our lemon verbena by making it our Tea of the Month.

    Lemon verbena is native to South America and was brought to Europe in the 17th Century. We are lucky that is grows fantastically on the Luponde estate which means we can bring you this beautiful herb to enjoy here. A lot of people hear the words lemon verbena and assume that it will have a strong citrus taste, but in-fact it has much more depth than just citrus. When you taste it you will notice a powerful lemony scent which has an undertone of earthy richness. Be warned though we do call it our marmite tea, generally people either love it or hate it!

    As with all of our teas and herbs they all have some health benefits and lemon verbena has been known to help reduce a fever and soothe persistent coughs. As an added bonus it is also caffeine free making it an ideal drink to help calm your nerves and stresses.

    The best way to brew lemon verbena is to take a pinch of the leaves and place in your mug or infuser. The more space lemon verbena has the more flavours will be released. Or if you are using a tea bag pop that in your mug or teapot. Boil your kettle and leave to cool for a few minutes before pouring so that you don’t burn the leaves. Then let the herb brew for around 3-5 minutes and enjoy!

    You could always try our lemon verbena iced too. Brew and let it cool and then add some ice and some sugar or honey for sweetness. I did also post last year about some rather tasty alcoholic cocktails with lemon verbena: perfect for this hot weather we are having!

    Come in-store and try our lemon verbena or win some by emailing your details to

    Melissa, July 2014

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