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  • Keep Cool with Luponde Iced Tea

    Even the most ardent tea fan can find hot drinks difficult in August weather – luckily, that doesn’t mean that you have to give up your tea habit, just switch to iced tea!

    Making iced tea is surprisingly simple and it’s a favourite in hotter countries, especially southern states in the USA. There are a huge number of recipes available to suit your taste, whether you have a sweet tooth or prefer the sharp taste of lemons and citrus fruits.

    Here are two of our favourite recipes:

    Peach Iced Tea

    Peaches are perfect in summer – this recipe blends their sweetness with your favourite tea for a refreshing drink you can keep with you all day.

    All you need to do is combine equal amounts of sugar and water (just measure them with a cup), with 1-2 skinned fresh peaches. You bring this to the boil to make a syrup, making sure that you gently press on the peaches to release as much juice as possible. Let the syrup sit for a few minutes after all of the sugar has dissolved and start brewing your tea – you’ll want to let it steep for a few minutes before removing the teabags and putting the tea in the refrigerator.

    Once the tea is cooled, strain your syrup through a sieve to remove the fruit pieces and add it to your tea. Serve it with ice and fresh peach pieces. You can make a large jug and keep it in the refrigerator to drink throughout the day.

    Lemon Iced Tea

    If you prefer your tea to taste a little more like your standard hot cup, you may prefer a lemon iced tea. The process is mostly the same; you just need to boil your water and add up to 1 cup of sugar (depending on your amount of water, it should be around 1 part sugar to 4 parts water) and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda (this prevents the tea from tasting bitter). Let the sugar dissolve in your boiling water and add your tea bags for a few minutes. Then just remove your tea bags, add lemon juice, and chill. Remember to serve with ice and freshly sliced lemon.

    Make the Most of Your Ice Cubes

    If you’d like to avoid diluting your iced tea with ice, just make iced tea ice cubes! All you need to do is pour your iced tea mixture into an ice tray and freeze it – once you add it, you can cool your drink without losing any of the flavour.

    You can even use your ice cubes to add other flavours to your tea – try adding lemon juice, mint, berries, or different fruit purees to your ice cubes to give the tea a little kick.

    Alcoholic Iced Teas

    Speaking of a little kick, you can even make a spiked iced tea for those lazy summer evenings or BBQs. Just follow your standard recipe for iced tea, and add a mixture of lemonade and vodka, and relax on your patio with some friends.

  • Bring Afternoon Tea Back into your Life

    The ritual of afternoon tea was once as present in people’s day to day lives as today’s ritual of kicking back on the sofa in the evenings for a little light surfing and a few snacks is for us.

    Yesterday’s routine was less about total slobbery and more about total pleasure in every sense of the word. From the table setting to the food and drink presentation things were just more careful. Even an ordinary family would make an effort to use good china, tablecloths and tray cloths along with the nicest napkins and besides that, afternoon tea was the perfect time to invite a new friend back to meet the family! It’s an informal, relatively short meal so it can, even today be a great excuse to catch up with a friend or get to know a neighbour better.

    Afternoon tea was a time for reflection and a time for boosting the soul as well as the body. A little chat, some tea and cake and all was well with the world.

    Of course, we were living in a different world back then…people’s hours of work were fewer and more reliable and with less of a daily commute, it was to be expected that folk were back in the house at around the same time each evening.

    Today, with many people in one household on different schedules it’s trickier to meet up for a regular routine of afternoon tea but …that’s not to say we shouldn’t make the effort!

    A little time in exchange for a big reward

    The simple fact is that spending time around a table with those you love…or indeed with yourself alone, is vital if we’re to remain on a good wavelength with our families and in a good mental state if we live alone.

    Making the effort to lay a table may seem far-fetched to some, even silly…why bother with all that when nobody expects it?

    However, scientific research has proven a correlation between our environment and the way in which we behave with more beautiful environments creating more positive behaviour.

    Where we eat and drink is just as important a part of our environment as the rest of our home. Making a beautiful tea setting can really lift moods and children in particular will respond well to a regular, set afternoon tea where they can sit, enjoy a light snack, a chat and something to drink with their parent or carer.

    A modern take on afternoon tea

    We view afternoon tea today as a rather special treat; something we might do on our birthday in a lovely hotel or restaurant. We expect afternoon tea to include all kinds of pastries and rich sandwiches, cake and scones with preserves, butter and cream but in reality, afternoon tea can be a healthy, regular meal which isn’t difficult to arrange at all.

    The ingredients

    Tea of course is a must-have. Whether you choose herbal teas, fruit teas or more traditional options is up to you but make sure that you use your best china! Lay the table…it’s not a lot of effort to use a tablecloth or if you’re not a fan of table linen, simply add a plant or vase of flowers to your table for an instant feeling of occasion.

    In terms of what to eat, it’s not realistic to plan to consume quantities of salmon sandwiches and fruit scones on a daily basis, nor would most of us want to! Instead, look at healthy alternatives to the old-fashioned and filling afternoon teas of yesteryear.

    Some good options include the following;

    • Vegetable crudités with humus
    • Fruit salad
    • Cold meat
    • Cheeses
    • Quiche
    • Soup
    • Boiled eggs
    • Salads

    Whatever your favourite, light snacks are, these should be considered as candidates for your modern take on afternoon tea and after all, you can always include scones, cakes and sandwiches on special occasions!

  • Four Things to Know About Your Tea Company

    These days, more and more tea drinkers are choosing tea companies that operate under high standards. To this end, here are four things that you will want to know about your tea company.

    Your Tea Company is Organic

    soil association organic standard logo

    When a tea company is organic it operates based on a ‘whole system’ approach to farming and the food production system. From soil to consumer, your tea company functions in accordance with the natural systems, cycles, and levels of plants, animals, and soil. This helps the soil maintain fertility and biological activity and protects sensitive habitats and landscape features.

    Organic companies minimise waste and pollution, work with local systems and distribution teams, and provide their workers with a fair, healthy, and equitable way of life. Organic companies respect geographical differences while implementing appropriate practices. At Luponde, we are certified by one of the UK’s top organic organisations (Soil Association Certification Ltd.)

    Your Organic Tea Company Is Certified as Fair Trade

    FairTrade certification logo

    At Luponde we’ve been Fairtrade certified since 1994. This means that the price of our organic tea is negotiated by growers and buyers and must cover the cost of sustainable production. Buyers also pay an additional sum, which funds development projects to benefit workers and their communities. Examples include the construction of schools and day-to-day running of local hospitals.

    Your Organic Tea Company is Rainforest Alliance Certified

    rainforest alliance certified logo

    What does it mean to be Rainforest Alliance Certified? It means that we protect our land and its workers by safeguarding ecosystems and providing complete training and safe conditions for our workers including health care and housing. We support the prevention of deforestation, agricultural expansion and timber extraction. Luponde has been Rainforest Alliance Certified since 2012 and we are honoured to demonstrate that sustainable companies can flourish in the modern economy.

    Your Tea Company is Kosher

    Kosher logo KLBD

    Kosher principles are followed in Jewish life because it is believed that they are healthy for both the body and spirit. The word ‘kosher’ means ‘proper or acceptable’. We are pleased to provide a product that is certified by KLBD Kosher, one of the world’s leading kosher certification agencies.

    All four of the criteria listed are standards that our own tea company, Luponde adheres to. For more information on our products and practices, contact Luponde here.

  • Gwyneth Paltrow's Pear and Lemon Verbena

    I was flicking through my copy of Gwyneth Paltrow’s book It’s All Good trying to find some healthy smoothie recipes for my last few weeks of pregnancy and came across another scrummy drink idea using some of our lemon verbena. I thought I would share it with you as another use for our herb!

    Pear and Lemon Verbena

    • 3 cups of water

    • ½ cup raw honey

    • 2 ½ pounds pears (about 6 pears), stemmed and seeded and cut into large pieces

    • 1 sprig of leafy lemon verbena

    • Juice of 2 lemons

    Combine the water, honey, pears and lemon verbena in a large pot set over a high heat. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, remove and discard the lemon verbena, and cover the pot. Let the mixture cool to room temperature. Puree the mixture in a powerful blender in batches and pass the puree through a fine-mesh strainer or a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Discard the contents of the strainer and whisk the lemon juice into the agua fresca. Serve immediately over ice.

    She also says you can add more honey if you would like it sweeter!

    Melissa, November 2014

  • Halloween Treats - Chocolate Bat Biscuits

    I was searching for some fun Halloween recipes and came across these fantastic chocolate bat biscuits on the BBC Good Food website which would look fab on the side of your mug of tea this Halloween!

    Quick and easy to make they are ideal to do with kids this half term!

    Ingredients:

    • 125g butter, softened

    • 85g icing sugar

    • 1 large egg yolk

    • 1 tsp vanilla extract

    • 1 tsp milk

    • 175g plain flour, plus extra for rolling

    • 1 tsp fine espresso-style powder coffee

    • 50g cocoa powder

    • ¼ tsp salt

    To decorate:

    • 100g bar dark or milk chocolate

    • Chocolate hundreds and thousands

    • Coloured writing icing (or make your own with 100g icing sugar, 2-4 tsp water and some colouring)

    Method:

    Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line two baking sheets with baking parchment. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy and pale, then beat in the yolk, the vanilla and milk. Sift the flour, coffee, cocoa and salt into the bowl, then mix together to make a soft dough. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap and chill for 15 mins.

    Dust the dough all over with a little flour, then roll it between two large sheets of baking parchment, to the thickness of a £1 coin. Remove the top layer of the paper, stamp shapes with an 8cm bat (or other) cutter, and carefully lift to the lined sheets using a palette knife. Re-roll the trimmings. Cut a 1.5cm x 5mm notch at the base of each bat’s body. This is about right to sit the bats on thick tumblers; if your glasses are finer-edged, make the notches thinner so that the bats stay put. Bake for 10 mins or until the biscuits feel sandy and smell rich and chocolatey. Cool on the sheets for 5 mins, then lift the cookies onto a wire rack and cool completely.

    To decorate, melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave. One biscuit at a time, brush chocolate over the bat ears and wings with a small paintbrush, then cover with chocolate sprinkles. Tap off the excess. Pipe faces and fangs onto your bats, then leave to dry. Keep in an airtight container for up to a week.

    HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

    (Image courtesy of BBC Good Food Recipes)

    Melissa, October, 2014

  • Green Tea

    It is the start of October, the evenings are getting darker and we are well on our way to cosy nights in, Halloween and the countdown to Christmas. This October we are making our fresh and exotic tasting Green Tea our Tea of the Month and as it is full of antioxidants it is ideal to keep you healthy this time of year. Some research has shown that green tea drinkers have lower chances of developing heart disease and some cancers. As well as this, green tea has been known to increase metabolic rate, which can aid in weight loss. Green tea has the ability to lower serum glucose, helping to protect against kidney failure. Tests have found that green tea could help improve memory and slow the development of Alzeimer’s disease.

    A lot of people say to us that they don’t think they like green tea and that is can taste quite bitter. We pride ourselves on the fact that once they have tasted ours they are shocked at how smooth and fresh it tastes. Brewing green tea is also a huge part of that. To brew perfect green tea, take a pinch or small teaspoon of the leaves. Green tea should be made with water that is about 80ºC. We find it is easiest to boil the kettle and then let it cook for 10 minutes. Boiling water will burn the leaves giving the tea a bitter taste. Once cooled slightly, pour the water into your small teapot or mug over the leaves. Allow to brew for 5-8 minutes.

    Fact: The leaves can be used 4 or 5 times, throughout the day.

    You can win some of our green tea by emailing your details to tea@luponde.co.uk

    We are also giving customers 10% off any green tea purchase made in October!

    (Image courtesy of Google Images)

    Melissa, October 2014

  • Nice

    At the start of September Rob and I decided to go on a last minute 4 night babymoon break to Nice. Deciding on a location wasn’t the easiest or quickest of decisions as we wanted a mix of relaxation, culture, sunshine, good food, pregnant friendly and not too far away! We eventually landed on Nice and I am so glad we did!

    From the moment were coming into land along the coast of the Côte d’Azur and the sun was shining and we were getting ever closer to the stunning blue sea I knew we had made the right decision. It has to be one of the most spectacular landing approaches I have seen.

    Rather than bore you with tales of our holiday I thought I would sum up the best bits for us about Nice (I did ask Rob which bits he enjoyed the most) and show you a couple of pictures we took. Hopefully this will persuade you to take the short trip to one of the most beautiful cities I have been to.

    Best bits of Nice:

    • Côte d'Azur – the coastline is breath-taking with its stunning blue sea and picturesque views.
    • Food - due to the fact that you are not far from Italy we found that there was a real mix of French and Italian influences. What more could you want?! French pastries for breakfast and pizza for dinner!
    • Cleanliness – the streets were spotless no litter, graffiti or mess in site.
    • Parks with fountains – we discovered a beautiful spot to have our breakfast in the Jardin Albert 1er and just further along was a beautiful promenade with fountains and features which we made sure we visited each day.
    • Bus ride to Monaco – one day we decided to take a day trip to Monaco and rather than doing an organised tour we got one of the public buses which follows the coast road all the way to Monaco. The views are incredible.
    • Old Nice – all the narrow streets and nik nak shops and little cafes were a treat to explore.
    • Pebble toilets on the beach – being pregnant means a lot of toilet breaks and fortunately all along the beach they have toilets that are made to look like a giant pebble (I assume to blend in) which are free to use. Much more fun that a London public toilet!
    • Trams – I don’t know why but I love a city with trams and Nice is one of them.

     

    Melissa, September 2014

  • Chocolate Roulade

    After watching The Great British Bake Off Last night I am determined to experiment more with pastry and attempt a pasty or éclair but having not yet embarked on that challenge I thought I would share with you another one of Mary’s fantastic recipes I tried and tested. It was a technical challenge in a previous series.

    Chocolate Roulade!

    This incredibly light yet rich tasting sponge proved extremely popular and I was impressed with how it turned out. I also think it would look great on the Christmas Table with some added decoration so I may be re-creating it then too!

    Ingredients:

    • 175g dark chocolate (39% cocoa solids), finely chopped
    • 6 large free-range eggs at room temperature
    • 175g caster sugar
    • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
    • For the filling and finishing:
    • 300ml pourable double cream
    • Icing sugar, for dusting
    • 1 x 23x33cm swiss roll tin, greased with butter; non-stick baking paper

     

    Method:

    • Line the base and sides of the buttered tin with non-stick baking paper. If you make a small diagonal snip in each corner of the paper, it will help fit the paper snugly into the corners of the tin
    • Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it over a pan of steaming hot but not boiling water. Leave to melt, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the pan of water and stir until the chocolate is smooth, then leave to cool for about 15 minutes or until just warm. Preheat the oven to 180ºC
    • Separate the eggs, putting the whites in one large mixing bowl and the yolks in another; set the yolks aside. Whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until they stand in stiff peaks. If you turn the bowl upside down, the whites should be stiff enough not to fall out
    • Put the sugar into the bowl with the egg yolks and whisk using the electric mixer on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes or until very thick and pale in colour, and the mixture leaves a ribbon-like trail on itself when the whisk is lifted out
    • Pour the cooled chocolate into the yolk and sugar mixture and gently fold in with a wooden spoon to blend evenly. Add 2 large spoonfuls of the whisked egg whites to the chocolate mixture and stir in gently to loosen the mix, then fold in the remaining egg whites using a large metal spoon. Take care not to knock out the air you have just whisked in
    • Sift the cocoa powder over the top and lightly but thoroughly fold it in with the metal spoon. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and gently move the tin around on the worktop so the mixture finds its own level. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until risen and the top feels firm and slightly crisp when pressed gently with a finger. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin; the sponge will fall and crack a little as it cools.
    • Lay a large piece of non-stick baking paper on the worktop and dust it lightly with icing sugar. Turn the sponge out onto the paper then carefully peel off the lining paper. Whip the cream for the filing until it just holds its shape
    • Spread the whipped cream over the sponge, leaving a clear edge of about 2cm on all sides. Using a sharp knife, make a shallow cut along one of the short edges.
    • Roll this cut edge over tightly to start. Use the sugar-dusted paper to help continue the tight rolling by pulling it away from you as you roll. Finish with the join underneath, the lift the roulade onto a serving plate or board using a large wide spatula or 2 fish slices

    Tip – As you roll the sponge don’t worry if it cracks – it is normal and mine certainly did!

    Melissa, September 2014

  • Photos

    I thought I would brighten up this Thursday by sharing with you some of our photos of the estate, our tea and all things Luponde. Everyone loves some photos to browse through.

    Stunning view at the Luponde Estate

    Tea field

    Taking a quick break from tea picking to give us a smile!

    Tea picking

    Stunning Tea

    Peppermint

    Beautiful camomile

    Picked tea!

    Tea sacks

    Tea ready for tasting

    Loose leaf and tea bags

    Our tea tins

    Tea ready for a tea tasting event

    Melissa, September 2014

  • Peppermint!

    Today is the 1st September which for some means that they are back to school this week, others are already counting the days until Christmas (yes that’s right I said it) and for us here at Luponde it is the start of a new Tea of the Month. This month it is my favourite; peppermint.

    For our peppermint the leaves are handpicked and then dried for several days before then being crushed. This gives it a beautifully strong aroma and a delicious fresh taste and is the main reason why I love it. It is caffeine free and great for any digestive or stomach woes. It has been a lifesaver for me the last few weeks with pregnancy indigestion and was even recommended by my midwife!

    In order to make sure you are enjoying peppermint at its best you need to boil your kettle and then leave it to cool for a few minutes before pouring onto your bag or leaves and then leave to brew for around 3-5 minutes. Watch it turn a beautiful shade of green.

    If you would like to try some of our peppermint you can win some this month by emailing your details to tea@luponde.co.uk and you can purchase it on our website.

    Is peppermint your favourite? If so let me know why on our FB or Twitter page!

    Melissa, September 2014

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