Summer is finally here – BBQ and bubbles

Looking ahead to a sparkling summer

Summer by the river

Summer by the river – time for a BBQ

It’s taken a while this year, but it looks like summer is finally here! Having been out of action for a while, I’m really appreciating the simple pleasures of June – fresh air and sunshine; being able to sit outside on the balcony, and the odd stroll in the along the local riverside.

As the weather gets better, thoughts turn to lazy Sunday afternoons, sociable summer evenings and, of course, barbecues.
On a healthy but limited diet on account of many allergies and intolerances – as well as avoiding alcohol for the most part – how do you make summer party food and drink more exciting? Thankfully, some fabulous people have helped me find a way.

Tasty tipples

My tea lover friends always appreciate the opportunity to create fruity iced teas and tea cocktails in the summer. I like mixing fruity herbal teas with fresh berries, mint and ice; or lemon and ginger teas with slices of fresh lemon and ginger. For tipsy tea cocktails, a tot of  gin, vodka or even Chambord, pair beautifully with a tangy herbal tea.

After meeting the lovely people at Green Lady at National Tea Day, I discovered a sparkling tea drink that is a worthy replacement for alcoholic bubbles, but is also a healthy fizzy drink that can be used as an alternative mixer or be mixed into tasty cocktails. Everyone’s a winner!

It’s difficult to describe the taste of Green Lady – the light freshness of Darjeeling tea is evident, sitting alongside a sweet (but not too sweet), herby, gingery flavour. It’s the perfect something that little bit different to offer to my visitors for any BBQs this summer.

Going green

Green Lady sparkling tea drink

Green Lady sparkling tea drink

I was excited to try Green Lady, not least because it is made just doors away from where I used to live some years ago, on Green Lanes, North London. A health-conscious, calming beverage, the brand is synonymous with chill-out time and the calmness that summer is all about. They’ve been having a very eventful weekend for Urban Food Fest with free yoga (#Namastea) to spread the word about this interesting new tea-based offering.

They’re also doing a great summer offer at Ocado right now, until 13th June –
4 bottles for £5. Bargain!

And in the true spirit of #Namastea, I’m running a competition on Instagram and Twitter to win your very own crate of Green Lady! Simply follow and like @greenladyNo1 and @TeawithRachael or tag us in your best “sparkling summer” pics to be in with a chance to win.
(The competition closes on 13th June and is in the UK only.)

A Man Box for a proper BBQ

My husband and I have been eating very healthily for various reasons, and have been experimenting in the kitchen with different herbs and spices, to make healthy dishes more interesting. While I’m allergic to peppers and chillies, he’s a big fan of a bit of spice, so I thought it would be nice for him to try out one of the fabulous Man Boxes from the lovely folk at Ross and Ross Food – perfect for the BBQ and a gourmet gift in time for summer!

Man Box from Ross and Ross Food

Man Box from Ross and Ross Food

With spicy rubs and sauces to complement all types of meat, fish, and even grilled vegetables, there’s something to make every dish a little bit different, perfectly complementing my “something different” BBQ theme. Hubby has also been trying the spice rubs and flavoured salts out with baked potatoes, soups and salads to add a bit of a kick!

There are boxes of all shapes and sizes, including extra big Man Boxes with a range of cured meats – and all manner of meat rubs and sauces. If you’re looking for something to kick start your BBQ season, unique Father’s day gifts, or something special for the man in your life, check them out!

The fab peeps at Ross and Ross Food are also offering a special discount for Tea With Rachael readers: 10% off all food gifts – just quote rachael10

I’ll be sharing some BBQ recipes to match up with the fabulous Green Lady and Ross and Ross Food treats over the coming weeks as BBQ season begins with a bang – watch this space!

Until then, enjoy the sunshine and wishing you a sparkling summer!

Rachael xx

Ross and Ross Man Box and Green Lady sparkling tea drink

Green Lady sparkling drink and a Ross and Ross Foods Man Box ready for BBQ time

Summer Recipe Corner: Guest Chef Scott Turnbull

Adventures in tea and food…

Changing my diet and lifestyle over the past few months thankfully hasn’t put an end to my tea adventures!

Teapots from The Teapot Dude

A fab range of teapots from The Teapot Dude – one for every occasion, from festivals, to weddings, to birthdays!

I was delighted when the lovely team at The Teapot Dude sent me a selection of their fantastic teapots – the versatile teapot peg design brightens up an ordinary cup or mug and can be matched to any important occasion.

Groovy Festival Tea from The Teapot Dude

Groovy, baby! A pre-Foodies Festival cuppa from The Teapot Dude – All you need is love!

I particularly enjoyed trying out the very latest design, All You Need is Love, inspired by festival fever, to get myself in the mood for Foodies Festival not far from my home in beautiful Syon Park.

Tasked with changing my diet to gluten and dairy free, I was a little worried about finding anything I could eat at Foodies Festival in Syon Park. I needn’t have worried – I came back with all manner of gluten and dairy free goodies!

In the process of experimenting with new dishes and alternatives to my usual favourites, also avoiding a number of other foods that cause me problems, I asked my dear friend Scott for some recipe ideas. Some summery, simple dishes that would complement some of my latest teas.

Tasty dinners for tea people

Tea People Tea and yummy Foodies goodies

Fabulous tea and goodies from Foodies Festival at Syon Park

These dishes go particularly well with the very different teas from Tea People that I picked up at the Syon Park Foodies Festival, especially the Masala Chai and the Choco Mint Rooibos. Tea People is a wonderful social enterprise organisation, blending a delicious, unique range of teas, giving half their profits to education projects in tea growing regions. I met the lovely team behind Tea People at Foodies and they have a wonderful story – find out more at www.teapeople.co.uk/our-story

Scott has come up with some mouthwatering recipes that fit the bill perfectly – I hope you enjoy them!

Bean Salad with pomegranate vinaigrette

Bean salad with pomegranate vinaigrette

Scott’s Bean Salad

Ingredients

215g Butter bean
235g Cannellini beans
1/2 finely chopped red onion
Handful of fine beans (topped & tailed)
1/2 handful of fresh chopped mint
3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1tablespoons lemon juice
1tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 the chopped red onion
1/2 the chopped mint.
2 tablespoons pomegranate juice & pomegranate jewels.

  1. Cook the tinned beans as per instructions ( I do mine in the microwave – quick and easy!)
  2. Drain in a sieve under cold running water, then leave over bowl to drain further.
  3. Boil some water in a pan, add a pinch of salt, then add the fine beans once water is boiling. (Make sure you only leave in the water for 90 seconds, as you want the beans to still be green and crisp)
  4. After 90 seconds, drain and put into ice cold water to stop them cooking.
  5. Drain all the beans & place in a large salad bowl, add 3 tablespoons pomegranate jewels, 1/2 of the finely chopped red onion and 1/2 the mint and gently toss together.

For the vinaigrette:
Add all the ingredients from the list and whisk together until it begins to emulsify. Drizzle over the salad & enjoy. It’s that easy!

Mojito Chicken
This is a fab summer chicken dish, and the flavours complement the bean salad perfectly. Also great with summer cocktails!

Mojito Chicken

Scott’s Mojito Chicken

Ingredients
12 chicken legs (washed)
1tablespoons of soft brown sugar
1/2tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons of white rum
1 tablespoons of dark rum
1 lime
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (half the lime)
1/2 handful of fresh mint roughly chopped or torn.
Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt and finely ground white pepper into a large plastic container, add the chicken legs, and shake it up, baby!

Ok, now you’ve had your daily exercise, lets get to the fun part…!

Sprinkle the sugar  all over the chicken, pour over the lime juice and rum and sprinkle in 1/2 of the chopped mint. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight to marinate.

Once marinated, set the oven to Gas Mark 7/200 degrees in a fan assisted oven/220 degrees in an electric oven.

Place marinated chicken on a baking tray covered in tin foil, pour over the remaining juice, fold over the foil so it’s 1/2 covered and leave to cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

After this time, open up the foil, turn the chicken legs and leave for another 10-15 minutes to crisp up a bit.

Once done, decorate with a sprig of mint, place on plate and enjoy! Perfect with summer cocktails, iced mint tea, or a nice pot of Chocolate Mint Roiboos!

I hope you enjoy trying out these fabulous, healthy summer recipes. Follow Scott on Instagram at Callisto22 for more fab recipes and drool-worthy pictures of his latest creations!

Eat, drink and be merry!

Rachael and Scott xx

Scott and me at the Labyrinth Masked Ball

Guest Chef Scott Turnbull with me at the fabulous Labyrinth Masked Ball!