National Tea Day Adventures Part One – A festival of tea at Fest-Tea-Val

Every day is Tea Day for me

One month on and I’m still revelling in the tea celebrations and tea adventures I enjoyed on National Tea Day. It was a triple whammy of tea for me on 21st April. I started the day at my amazing local shopping centre in Kingston, The Bentall Centre, where I visited my old friends and tea favourites T2 and Whittard of Chelsea for quite a few morning cuppas. More on that soon…

I spent the rest of the day at Fes-Tea-Val, which took place on 21st and 22nd April 2018. I so enjoyed National Tea Day last year, with so many fantastic tea stalls and tea tastings in one place and so many tea enthusiasts and experts all under one roof, aptly hosted at the fabulous Kensington Roof Gardens, which sadly no longer exist. I met some wonderful tea people (including catching up with old friends, like Tea People!) and enjoyed some spectacular tea blends and accompanying treats, as well as making friends with a few flamingos…

Fest-Tea-Val at Chiswick House and Gardens

Fest-Tea-Val in the tranquil surrounding of Chiswick House and Gardens

Fest-Tea-Val

This year’s National Tea Day festival, however, went way beyond expectations. The fabulous celebration of all things tea, cleverly called “Fest-Tea-Val”, perfectly complemented the tranquil beauty of Chiswick House and Gardens – a genuine and very unexpected oasis of calm in between Richmond and Central London. It was much bigger than I thought it would be – more like a food festival and just as much fun (if not more fun, as everything centred around tea!).

A time for friends and family

I visted on the first day, on National Tea Day itself, 21st April. A couple of my friends met me at the event and were just as surprised at the size, scope and scenery of Fest-Tea-Val. We made a point of visiting every single stall and trying as many teas and treats as we possibly could!

Par-tea time!

The Fest-Tea-Val was divided up into different zones, with something for everyone: Tea ‘n’ Treat Village was exactly what you’d expect – full of teas and treats. Tea ‘n’ Tipple Boulevard showcased some of the more grown up delights on offer, with tea cocktails and tea-infused booze.

There were over 225 providers of tea and treats at the festival, with everything from loose leaf teas, specialist teas, posh teabags, organic teas, detox teas, tea-infused beer and spirits and some tea-inspired tipples. I came home with all kinds of edible goodies – from cheese, to tea-infused gin, to tea of all kinds. I must say I was very excited by my tea-inspired haul, as were my friends. 

As well as enjoying all the tea, tipples, food and frolics, there was live music, baking demonstrations and numerous how-tos. We all learned a lot about tea, and there was even time for some relaxation in the Vitali-Tea Garden.

A fashionable festival of tea

There was even a tent dedicated to fashion, bringing together some of my favourite things: food, fashion, and of course, tea.

So many wonderful tea people

I’m going to try to do some special posts for the different tea companies that we discovered, but there are certain companies that really made it a fantastic day for us, and I’d like to give a little shout out.

Hope and Glory at Fest-Tea-Val

The fabulous Hope and Glory stand at Fes-Tea-Val

Where there is tea, there is hope…

Independent tea brand, Hope & Glory, were one of the sponsors of the event and had both a fabulous vintage inspired stand and a cafe area, right by the riverside. It was a peaceful spot to sit down for a bit and enjoy some top notch tea and tuck-boxes, resting our weary feet as we surveyed our tea purchases and enjoyed a quality cup of tea and a stunning view out over the River Thames. The Hope & Glory afternoon tea lunch boxes were made up by top chef, Cyrus Todiwala, in a special collaboration to celebrate National Tea Day, presented in the Hope & Glory vintage-style tin tea caddies. We were delighted to meet the team behind the brand, including co-founder, Bharat Chudasama, who is so genuinely passionate about tea and welcomed us warmly with a lovely Earl Grey and the tasty tuck-boxes. We enjoyed a lengthy conversation about tea and our shared love of good quality teas until we realised the Fest-Tea-Val was closing and it was time for go home. But that meant going home to more delicious tea – and maybe some of the tea infused boozy treats, too!


A fab festival atmosphere in stunning surroundings

It was a really fab day out all round, perfect for tea lovers and foodies alike. We were exhausted after all the tea adventures, but it was so worth it!

Thank you to all the lovely team at National Tea Day for inviting me and for putting on such an awesome event. True tea lovers!

I’ve so many other lovely tea adventures to share in the coming weeks – from more National Tea Day fun, to some fabulous teas and treats to try at home. Much needed after such a busy time!

I’m looking forward to many more tea adventures, too, now that the weather is getting so much better.

Until next time, hope you’re enjoying a cracking cuppa!

Rachael xx

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

Foodies Festival Fun

The Fabulous Foodies Festival

View of Foodies Festival at Syon Park

The fabulous Foodies Festival at Syon Park

At the end of last month, we returned to Foodies Festival in our local area for the fifth year in a row, this time joined by some good friends, who were visiting from Birmingham to enjoy the VIP experience with us.

The second year at this picturesque venue, Syon Park, the well established Foodies Festival did not disappoint. It was even bigger and better than last year, including a beautifully designed VIP tent, with a grand piano bar, comfortable seating area and unlimited supply of tea, coffee, soft drinks and biscuits.

The grand piano VIP bar at Foodies Festival Syon Park

The grand piano VIP bar

After the threat of rain on a muggy morning, the weather actually stayed bright, hot and sunny for us, so we enjoyed a leisurely afternoon strolling around the many stalls, sampling delightful food and drink, listening to the live music, and even enjoying a mobile massage! What a treat – and what a great way to spend a sunny day!

Tea friends old and new…
Old tea friends, Teapigs, had a whole double decker bus devoted to tea lovers this time around, and the creative social enterprise tea company, Tea People, were there again this year, as well as our recent tasty treat provider friends from the Surrey Food Festival, Wholesome Bakes, who offer gluten, dairy and nut free cakes and bakes.

The Teapigs Bus at Foodies Festival Syon Park

The Teapigs Bus at Foodies Festival Syon Park

The Great British Sausage
Other festival favourites from previous years, such as the always impressive Great British Sausage Company, provided tasty snacks. You have to have a top notch hot dog at a food festival, don’t you think?

Burlesque baking!
We also enjoyed a truly scrumptious cake decorating demonstration from the vintage-tastic Burlesque Baker, Charlotte White, who we had the pleasure of meeting when we first arrived in the VIP tent and who decorated a delicious chocolate cake with pretty baby blue and silver icing and decorations. My friend, a talented and keen baker, enjoyed the tips on how to make different flower designs for cake decoration.

Anyone for a G&T?
I was also very excited to meet the team behind Silent Pool Gin at the festival, as they are local gin distillers, based nearby in Surrey, and their branding is just exquisite. I bought a set of their delicately decorated green-blue glasses, which I will share in a future post.

So, we enjoyed a day of food, fun, drinks, learning about how to prepare, make and decorate food, learning about different drinks, some much needed relaxation and massage, and, as usual, lots of tasty tea. What could be better?

Foodies Festival is still running throughout the UK – upcoming dates and venues can be found at FoodiesFestival.com. Other Foodies Festival locations in the London area are Blackheath, 8-10th July, and Alexandra Palace, 27th-29th August, and not far away in Oxford, 2-4th September.

There’s also a Foodies Festival coming up soon “Up North” in my old neck of the woods, at Tatton Park, 15th-17th July, as well as Harrogate, Edinburgh and Oxford still to come in August and September.

I hope you get the chance to enjoy the Foodies Festival experience this year!

Rachael x

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!