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  • Camomile

    At Luponde this month our Tea of the Month is our organic camomile and I thought I would let you know a little bit more about it.

    The beautifully scented, highly aromatic, slightly oily taste of fresh camomile is one of life’s true experiences when made for the first time. At Luponde we try to replicate this by hand picking the whole camomile flowers and initially sun drying them, so they are just how nature intended. Not only does this mean it tastes fantastic, it also looks stunning in one of our glass teapots. We are also very proud because last year our camomile tea bags won a gold star at the The Great Taste Awards.

    Camomile is a wonderful drink to calm and relax you during or after a long stressful day. It also makes a great bed time drink and will help you drift off to sleep.

    Not only does camomile help you sleep it has been known to aid digestion and ease stomach cramps. In one of my favourite children’s books, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Peter ventures into Mr McGregor's vegetable garden where he fills himself up on lettuce, carrots and a lot more until he is chased out by the fierce Mr McGregor. He goes home tired, scared and with a serious stomach ache so his mother sends him to bed with the best possible remedy – camomile tea. If it is good enough for Peter Rabbit it is certainly good enough for me!

    Peter Rabbit - Google Images

    (Image courtesy of Google Images)

    Come and try some of our camomile everyday this month in-store. As we are celebrating Mother’s Day you can win some for your Mum to help her unwind and relax by emailing her details to or by popping them into our teapot in-store.

    Organic Camomile Tea Online

    Melissa, March 2013

  • Mother's Day Gift Ideas

    It is not long to go until Mother’s Day and we have some ideal gifts available to spoil your Mum with this year.

    Brand new in this week we have the Belle range of tea cups, saucers and cake stand from Bombay Duck. The beautiful pastel colours trimmed with gold edging give them a vintage feel and would look stunning in any home and the cake plate means that there will always be an excuse to have some cakes in-stock!

    If your Mum would prefer something brighter in her kitchen, why not treat her to a mug from our Dunoon fine bone china range. Choose from spots, hearts, stripes or stars and brighten up her morning tea with one of the colourful designs.

    Tea always makes a fantastic gift and you could pick a tin of our organic tea to go with a mug, or you could give her a selection presented in one of our gift boxes. For busy Mum’s why not pick from our organic tea bag range, enabling her to get our finest tea in a handy and convenient way.

    Our Tea of the Month for March is camomile and you can win some for your Mum by emailing us her details to or by popping them into the teapot in-store.

    Whatever you decide to do this Mother’s Day, make sure your Mum is spoilt rotten even if it is just by making her cups of tea all day. Let her sit back, relax and put her feet up!

    Happy Mother’s Day!

    Melissa, February 2013

  • Date and Walnut Pudding with Hot Fudge Sauce

    This is the most popular pudding in the Disney household and whenever my Mum asks which pudding she should do after a Sunday Roast this is always the answer! The fudge sauce is also good re-heated and poured over ice cream, so you could always double the sauce part and then you will definitely have leftovers! She can't remember where she originally got the recipe from but I think it has been adapted over the years.

    Date and Walnut Pudding with Hot Fudge Sauce - Google Images

    (Picture courtesy of Google Images - not one I made earlier)

    Serves 4-6

    • Oven 180 (electric)/ 160 (fan)
    • 1 buttered 1 litre deep dish
    • 175g Butter
    • 175g Light Muscovado Sugar
    • 300ml Double Cream
    • 100g Dates
    • 100ml Boiling Water
    • ½ tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
    • 1 Egg Beaten
    • 110g Self Raising Flour
    • 50g Walnuts Chopped


    1. Over a low heat, heat half the butter, 110g sugar and all the cream, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
    2. Bring to the boil and cook for 3 minutes.
    3. Pour a little of the sauce into a buttered 1 litre deep dish to just cover the base.
    4. Pour the boiling water over the dates, add the bicarbonate of soda and leave for 10 minutes. Then add and beat the remaining sugar with 50g butter until light.
    5. Beat in the egg with the date mixture – don’t worry if it curdles!
    6. Stir in the flour and walnuts and pour into the dish.
    7. Bake for 50 minutes until firm to touch.
    8. Cool in the dish for a few minutes then turn out onto a plate.
    9. Re-heat the sauce and serve.

    Warning - you may need some of our organic peppermint tea after this pudding as it is quite rich!

    Melissa, February 2013

  • Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

    Valentine’s Day is less than a week away and at Luponde we have some fantastic and unusual gifts for your loved ones, or for those that you would like to impress!

    Our Tea of the Month for February is our organic finest orthodox black tea and with its striking fuchsia label makes the perfect tea for Valentine’s Day. Pair it with one of our stunning mugs and a handy infuser and you will set your partner up with all the tools they need for that extra special cup of tea.

    You can’t go wrong with an item from our Dunoon fine bone china ‘Warm Hearts’ collection. Treat someone to the full range with a teapot, tea cup and saucer and set of mugs or get them something different with a beautiful tea-for-one.

    Visit us in-store to see our Dunoon Romeo and Juliet mugs, ideal to buy as a pair and you then also have one for you! If you are looking for something slightly quirky and different why not give one of our King or Queen of Hearts mugs. They would stand out in any kitchen or office and make an excellent gift paired with one of our teas.

    We hope you all have a wonderful and romantic Valentine’s Day and that your secret admirer buys you something fabulous! Valentines Day Dunoon Romeo and Juliet Mugs

    Dunoon Romeo and Juliet Mugs

    Melissa, February 2013

  • Baking!

    Last year I discovered The Great British Bake Off on the BBC. I stumbled across the programme whilst channel hopping one Tuesday evening and little did I know that this was going to have such an impact on my television viewing. It became my ‘guilty pleasure’. Whilst Rob would be out at five a side football every Tuesday evening, I would come home from the gym and sit with my dinner in front of the best show I had seen for a long time.

    I then decided that I would attempt to bake. Having loved baking as a child (I think mainly because baking meant that I could eat cake mix and lick the bowl) I thought that obviously I would instantly be an amazing baker. This is where I was wrong. I should mention here that I am a creature of structure and organisation and don’t particularly like mess, so you can imagine the surprise on Rob’s face when on returning home from football he found me covered in flour and surrounded by chaos. The result of my cooking ended in very poor looking iced buns.

    I pretty swiftly gave up on the baking (not the show though) until by surprise Rob gave me The Great British Bake Off recipe book. I have to say it did sit on the shelves for a good 3 months before I decided I should even attempt anything but now I have not looked back. I am a baking connoisseur! Each week or every time we have guests over (and by guests, all it takes is one more than Rob and me in the flat) I am baking for their arrival. I started small with cookies, banana and almond loaf and chocolate chilli cake before moving on to slightly more tricky things such as baked cheesecake, pistachio and carrot tray bake and mud pie.

    Loaf Cake Image

    Since starting my baking journey the next series of The Great British Bake Off began again I was hooked. Rob no longer has football on a Tuesday and he too has jumped on the bandwagon! He was even inspired to bake soda bread which was delicious. From this series I have decided to give pastry a go and possibly try some crème caramel! I will of course let you all know how I get on.

    From my experiments so far I have to say that the chocolate chilli cake makes the perfect tea time treat alongside our organic finest orthodox black tea and a cup of our organic peppermint infusion will certainly aid your digestion after a hearty slice of mud pie!

    With my birthday and Christmas over I have new baking tools and books to add to my collection and more baking is taking place than ever. 2013 is going to be a year of baking for me, although I am not sure that my waistline is going to be pleased!


    Jubilee Cake Image


    Apple Cake Image

    Melissa, January 2013

  • Green Tea and White Tea

    Green tea and white tea both are full of antioxidants making them extremely healthy drinks.

    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.

    White tea is made from just the bud, the youngest part of the plant, and therefore contains more antioxidants than black and green teas. It can aid in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol and is a great detox tea! It can provide protection within the body for the skin, helps protect cells from sun damage and minimize the signs of aging. It can help the body’s immune system and is fluoride-rich helping prevent the growth of dental plaque.

    It is important that you brew them correctly in order to enjoy the unique and subtle taste they have.


    How to make the perfect cup of Luponde Organic Green and White Tea:


    • It is extremely important with white tea and green tea not to pour boiling water straight onto the leaves. This will burn the leaves and will give them a bitter taste


    • We recommend you boil your kettle and let it cool for around 10 minutes (or until it is around 80ºC) then pour your water into your teapot or mug with the leaves already in there. You should use around one heaped teaspoon of green tea leaves and a small pinch of white tea leaves (for a 1 litre teapot)


    • Then wait. Let the leaves fully infuse for 8-10 minutes and you will get a full flavour and fantastic taste


    • You can then reuse your Luponde leaves. Use them up to 5 times that day. Quite often the second or third round will taste the best! If you are using a tea bag you can reuse that up to 3 times.


    Luponde's Organic Green TeaLuponde's Organic White Tea

    Melissa, January 2013

  • Jamie Oliver Recipease

    At Jamie Oliver’s Recipease you get the chance to learn from one of his team how to make a selection of his famous dishes. Last night Rob and I embarked upon the American-style green chilli class at the Clapham Junction branch.

    This is where I should let you know that Rob is a superb cook. He loves food, reading recipes and as a way of unwinding in the evening he will happily cook new recipes and try new things. I on the other-hand can cook, but much prefer to bake and certainly don’t find cooking calming like Rob does! This really was a chance for me to learn some new techniques in a fun and chilled out atmosphere - (It probably was also going to help that I had a rather large glass of wine in the pub first!)

    When we arrived we were introduced to our chef Dan, we put our belongings away, washed our hands and put on our aprons. Dan then took us through the first parts of the recipe that we were going to make; the pork chilli and the dough for the flatbreads. Having seen how much chopping there was to do, the injury Chef Dan had from chopping his nail off and my history with a breadknife (another story altogether) we thought it may be safer for Rob to do the chopping and for me to make the flatbreads!

    You work in pairs and have a little cooking station for the both of you with all your ingredients laid out and all the tools you will need. You each get your own hob too! Rob got on with the chopping and I started on the dough.

    The flatbreads could not have been simpler to make and I was rather impressed with how similar my dough turned out to the one Dan had showed us. All they entailed were flour, baking powder, salt, some water and oil. We then included fennel seeds and parsley to give them a unique flavour. Maybe this cooking malarkey could be fun!

    Our Jamie Oliver Flat bread Baking

    Dan came round to each couple and checked on how we were doing, answered questions and gave little tips and facts along the way. He certainly had the ‘Jamie’ style of cooking down to a fine art and his and our dishes did look exactly like the one in Jamie’s book.

    Once the pork chilli was starting to cook and the flatbreads were made, Dan showed us how to make the guacamole (very roughly chopped – not like shop bought ones) and explained how long we should cook the flatbreads for. It was then our turn to follow and then we could eat it!

    Our Jamie Oliver Guacamole

    We decided again that Rob should chop and as I was so proud of my little flatbreads I should cook them. All in all the lesson and cooking took around an hour and then we got half an hour to sit down with our fellow chefs and enjoy the result of all our hard work with a well-earned glass of wine or beer. I have to say that it really was delicious and so simple to do. Following the class they email you the recipe so you can recreate it at home and they also keep the shop open and give you 10% that evening. We certainly will be cooking this for friends and you never know maybe I have found my calling as a bread maker!

    Sams Jamie Oliver Inspired Meal

    I would highly recommend a Recipease class to anyone who either enjoys cooking, wants to learn some simple dishes, or as a party with friends. I have my eye on the Dipping into Chocolate class or the Knife Skills one (so I don’t have any further nasty accidents!) I think we will make this a more regular outing.

    Sam And Rob Make a Jamie Oliver Inspired Dinner

    Melissa, January 2013


  • The Spicery - Pickled Pears

    Last year Rob and I discovered little cooking kits from The Spicery. Each small pack contains all the spices you will need to make a certain dish. You then get given instructions on what other ingredients you need to buy and how to make it.

    We were given a few different kits to try and the results have been fantastic. From tandoori chicken, baked rice pudding, hot spiced apple juice and Mexican holy trinity chilli we have not had a bad experience. I am a rice pudding fanatic and I was seriously impressed with the baked vanilla rice pudding.

    They make great gifts and you can pick different kits to go in a gift box or you can subscribe to a monthly spice box.

    As we had some spare time over Christmas, Rob and I decided to try the pickled pears. It was so quick and simple to do and although you need to wait a couple of weeks before you eat them, so that the spices have had time to do their magic, one pear did not quite fit into our jars so we had a cheeky sample! It was scrumptious!

    See below for the recipe and the spices that were included in the kit and give it a go. I can’t wait to eat some of the cheeses we got at Christmas and have these pickled pears on the side.

    - 8 conference pears

    - 600ml white wine vinegar

    - 200g caster sugar

    - a few thin slices of lemon

    - 2 or 3 large jars (sterilised)

    Kit contents: Whole spices - cinnamon stick, root ginger, bay leaf. Pickle spices - allspice berries, juniper berries, mixed peppercorns, dried birds eye chilli


    - combine all ingredients except pears with spices in a large pan until sugar has dissolved

    - peel, half and core the pears ( I found a teaspoon very useful for the coring)

    - add pears and simmer for 20 minutes until tender

    - layer the pears in jars and pour over hot vinegar mix including all the spices

    - leave to mature for couple of weeks before eating, they should keep for several months

    Best eaten with cold meats, cheeses, pates or hot roasts.


    Pickled Pears Image

    Melissa, January 2013

  • Netball - The Bluebells

    The thought of Netball may have you thinking back to unhappy days of standing outside in the freezing cold in a netball skirt, trying to remember which leg you land on and where you can and can’t go on the court and this is exactly what I thought when Tamsin asked me to join her Netball team - The Bluebells 3 years ago but my love of sport, being active and getting involved took over from the initial fear and I said yes (it couldn’t be that bad – could it?)!

    After the first match I realised that I needed to be a lot fitter than I imagined and I discovered muscles I never knew existed! Clearly my spin and aerobic classes don’t push me as much as I thought. This was 3 years ago and I stuck out the season and loved it by the end. So when Tamsin said she was setting up the team again and was I interested I jumped at the chance!

    The day of our first match the fear set in. I had forgotten all the rules, what I could do, which leg to move, the whole works. Even with some piggy in the middle practice on holiday I was concerned!

    It is at this point I should probably mention I hate letting people down, hence the fact I was a swimmer and runner at school – no team sports for me!

    We did lose our first match 23-12 but it was highly enjoyable (until I got whacked in the boob)! We were pleased though as it was our first game together as a team and took it as a warm up. Week 2 was going to be us giving it our all.

    Week 2 was a whole different feel and everyone knew where they were going and how each other played and suddenly we were winning. What a feeling, we just had to keep it up! The match ended and we had won (I think I am still in shock)….. maybe it had something to do with the Haribo Nicky supplied us with before the game….who knows, who cares – we won!

    Week 3 and we were down a couple of players and playing a team who had won their first 2 matches of the season. We were not confident. We managed to secure two players from the previous game to play for us, so at least we had a full team, but surely this was going to be a tough match to play? It started and we fell behind early on, but with a few team chats and tactics we were suddenly level at 14-14, this was just the motivation we needed and we could feel the opposition tiring. This spurred us on and we ended up winning 24-18. What a result, and to beat an unbeaten team. I went home proud and elated and re-lived the whole match again for Rob - lucky him!

    Week 4 and we were down our Captain. Uh oh! Our Centre, the glue that holds the team together was in Tanzania. Could we win without her? For once we had a team of 8, which meant we could all sub on and off. Hopes were high even though we were playing the team that had previously beaten us. We arrived and unfortunately lots of the team had coughs and colds, there was only one umpire (who seemed to favour the other team), we had 2 disallowed goals and ended up losing 18-11. I think we let our frustrations get to us in the third and fourth quarter and The Netters upped their game. At this point we were sitting third in the table but it was not over yet!

    Week 5 and Tamsin was back, much to the relief of all of us but due to good old London transport we had major issues with half of our team stuck on the Hammersmith and City Line or unable to get on the Circle line. So even at the start of the match we were down a Wing Attack! We could tell from the start that this was going to be a close match. Both teams were fighting hard and scoring freely and by half time we were down 5-4. Could we pull something out the bag to get a win? The game ended a bit too quickly for our liking and we had lost 14-11. We hoped with a week off the following week we could come back at the start of December refreshed and climb our way back up the table!

    Week 6 and we had some problems. Namely the fact we only had 4 of our team. We started the match with just the 4 of us and amazingly we were doing well. I think it threw our opposition as they were put off by the fact they had ‘extra’ players. Georgie, who usually plays Wing Attack or Wing Defense for us, did an outstanding job as Goal Attack against two very tall defenders! As the match progressed we gained two more players but unfortunately it was not enough and we did lose 14-6.

    Week 7 and the final match of this season – cancelled - what an anti-climax! Our opponents could not get enough players so they had to forfeit the game. The Sparks, who were due to play after us were also short some players, so Tamsin, Sophie and I decided to help them out. The Sparks and The Bluebells joined forces and created an awesome team. There was so much enthusiasm, clever game-play and goals galore. We ended up winning 21-8. What a fun and exciting way to end the season. Although I don’t think I have ever felt so cold and my hat remained on for the majority of the match. I would have kept my gloves on if I was allowed!

    Overall we have finished third in the league, which I think we can all be proud of. The most impressive part is that Tamsin won a trophy for player of the season, by winning player of the match four times and has been described by the league as ‘a superb player’. Well done Tamsin!

    I am so glad I joined the team, my netball confidence has grown massively and I can’t wait for the start of the next season. Let’s hope we can climb that table in January and end up top of the league.

    For more information on Netball and The Paddington League visit the Top Corner website.

    Tasmin and her Paddington Netball League Trophy

    Tamsin with her trophy!

    Melissa, December 2012

  • Our highlights from the BBC Good Food Shows - Winter 2012

    No more road trips, no more counting Eddie’s and no more eye spy games whilst stuck in traffic. With the final van unloaded we thought we should reflect upon our favourite moments from the three BBC Good Food Shows that we have exhibited at this season.

    Starting our winter fair season off was the BBC Good Food Show Scotland at the SECC in Glasgow.

    We love Glasgow! I am not sure if it is the epic journey up there, the friendliness of the locals or the fact that we have discovered the best Zizzi’s we have ever been to, but it is by far and away our favourite show.

    This year we were exhibiting next to Castlemoor Hog Roast, the smell was divine so of course we had to sample this for lunch most days! The pork is tender, the stuffing hearty and the red apple sauce tops it off nicely. They even do brown rolls, if you want to feel a little healthier! We would recommend this to everyone. They always sell out fast, so if you see them at a show make sure you get in there quickly! They would also be great for a big event or wedding.

    Tamsin discovered Threepwood Fayre Handmade Scottish Chocolates. She bounded back to the stand and announced she had found Rose Creams and Violet Creams and many more besides. I popped off to have a look and came back with three bags; the two Tamsin was keen on and Raspberry Ruffles for me! This was a mistake…once we opened them we could not stop. The dark chocolate was just rich enough and paired with the fruit and flavoured centres it was a perfect match. Make sure you follow their progress and sample some for yourself if you are in the area.

    Threepwood Fayre Handmade Scottish Chocolates

    Our next BBC Show was BBC Good Food Show London.

    I think the highlight for us here was seeing some familiar faces. Sally-Anne and Matthew Nelson from Condessa Welsh Liqueurs were there and had just won an award for their fantastic liqueurs. I personally would highly recommend the black cherry; delicious on its own or with champagne. A tip they gave us is if you pop it in the freezer and then in the champagne it works like a syrup, giving a more intense flavour. This is something both Tamsin and I are looking forward to trying at Christmas and New Year parties.

    It was also great so see the ChanCham team and pick up more of their fantastic sauces. The smokey lapsang sauce is really scrumptious poured over chicken and baked in the oven for a hearty and warming dinner. Their sauces are also great in the summer for BBQ’s. Have a look at some of their tasty recipe suggestions online.

    Our final BBC Show was BBC Good Food Winter at the NEC in Birmingham. This always seems to fall around my Birthday and this year it was on set up day! So after a heavy weekend of partying to celebrate my 30th we set up as quickly as we could, so Tamsin and I could enjoy an evening to stretch the celebrations even further and have a nice dinner out and possibly watch the latest Twilight instalment!

    As it was my birthday the week needed to stem around cake and all things sweet! This was certainly aided by the fact that we were opposite Joe Delucci’s Gelato. The flavours are incredible and the majority are also fat free – what a winning combination. Tamsin loves the chocolate fondant and I love the cherry and custard closely followed by the coconut. They are now also available in Tesco!

    Cake also featured heavily with us sampling as many flavours from Sponge as possible. It helps that you can buy little individual baby cakes for £1. We like the fact that they have found the perfect balance of sponge to icing ratio. I think my favourite is the carrot and I took some home for Rob and he is very taken with the Apple Crumble. I will definitely be buying these cakes again. What was even more impressive was that Tamsin managed to get all 30 of my candles on one tiny cake! (Health and Safety may not have been so impressed)

    BBC Good Food Show London Cake

    So in the blink of an eye another winter fair season is over and we are steam-rolling ahead to Christmas where no doubt a lot more food and drink will be consumed. I wonder what new and exciting products we can find in 2013. Bring on the fun!

    Melissa, December 2012

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