What will you drink on National Tea Day this Friday?


Time for tea on National Tea Day


I love a cup of tea. Whether it’s National Tea Day or not, I love tea.

If I had to choose between tea and coffee for ever more, then tea would win hands down. Perhaps it’s my northern upbringing, but I can’t start the day without a cup of tea.

Unless I’m in Italy. In which case it’s pointless drinking the tea. Likewise in the USA.

But what kind of tea? Well, it depends on when.



Bellevue Belter for a good strong cuppa


I’m a bit of a traditionalist, and it’s usually Yorkshire tea here. That said, I’m also partial to the Bellevue Belter too, which is a good strong black tea. Both will get your day up and running.



Make your own black tea kit from Bluebird Tea Co


I guess I can take two routes here, depending on what time of year the afternoon falls. For these lighter, occasionally warmer, afternoons, then I like an Earl Grey type. If you want something just a little different on the same theme, then I like the Lady Lavender tea from Bluebird Tea.

If the weather turns cooler, or as we head into winter, then I love the smokiness of Russian Caravan tea. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, literally, but I love the aroma and the dark, smoky taste.



Chinese Treasures from Bluebird Tea


I have to admit to not drinking tea after about 6pm, as even decaf seems to cause sleepless nights. There are plenty of good options, if you like fruit or herbal infusions. Certainly Bluebird have over half a dozen different options which might set you on the right track for a good night’s sleep.

So, morning, noon or night, tea can be there all the way, on National Tea Day or beyond. You need a decent mug (back to my northern upbringing, cups and saucers only happen on trips out) and preferably somewhere cosy to get curled up with your tea.

And then, possibly, a decent biscuit, or two to go alongside a marvellous mug of tea. So, what will you choose? What’s in your tea mug?



Around the world in 3 amazing cookbooks


‘dAround the world in 3 amazing cookbooks


I’m feeling a bit guilty, because I’ve been sent 3 fabulous cookbooks to review. They’ve made my mouth water at pretty much every page, and I’ve not got round to cooking from any of them.

And it’s not because they are not appealing, as all three are, particularly as they cover three different styles of cooking. I think I could have an amazing, although possibly slightly confused, global dinner cooking a course from each one.

So, first destination: Turkey

Tree of Life: Turkish Home Cooking*


Tree of Life Turkish Home Cooking

I think this is probably the most beautiful cookbook cover I’ve seen in the while, but it’s not style over substance. Whilst I’ve always loved Turkish food,  I really love that this focuses on home cooking.

I could make a whole meal just from the first couple of recipes: yogurt dip with cucumber & mint (çaçik in Turkish), with baked hummus with pine nuts and grilled halloumi with lemon caper sauce. My idea of heaven.

That said, for something a bit different then I want to make The Imam Fainted, which would definitely prove to be a talking point at any dinner.

Next stop: India

Saffron Soul: Healthy vegetarian heritage recipes from India*


Saffron Soul: healthy vegetarian heritage recipes from India

I like Indian food, it is definitely one of my comfort food tastes (chicken tikka masala in Tokyo made me cry one night). That said, it’s reputation is not for being the healthiest, so this book sets out to change some of that perception.

It does help that this is vegetarian food, but it doesn’t just mean vegetables hidden in a curry sauce. I mean, lentil dumplings in yoghurt and tamarind is a step above my local takeaway for sure.

I’ve never seen an Indian recipe book with breakfast recipes before but this one does. I’d want to try saffron porridge with jaggery at least once, and there’s a recipe for proper chai as well. This book just makes me want to cook, and I almost don’t know where to start. I might just let it fall randomly open at a page and start there.

Final stop: Pakistan

Mountain Berries & Desert Spice*


Mountain Berries & Desert Spice


I have to admit to knowing nothing about Pakistani cuisine, so maybe starting with the sweet stuff is good for me and my sweet tooth. I really wanted to cook from this before a member of my team left, as his family heritage is Pakistani, so wanted to see how authentic a taste I could produce.

This book would be a challenge, in a good way. I mean, I’ve never made a porridge with buckwheat, or cooked with pink salt. Equally, I think mango, cardamom, saffron and red chilli murraba would challenge my perceptions of what I like to eat.

But I’d give it a go.

Beautiful photography (as with the other two books as well) and dishes that just make you want to cook and eat new things every day.


All three cookbooks are just something a little different, and I definitely want to find time to cook from each one. They’d make great gifts for a cook who loves to experiment with different flavours and dishes, or just enjoys a selection of beautiful cookbooks to read in bed! That’s a gift in its own right.

As and when I get round to cooking, then I will share some of the outcomes. Although if they are too delicious, I am terrible at eating first then remembering I’ve forgotten to photograph the dish!


Non affiliate link here.

*Affiliate links may be used. Posts are not affiliate driven.


Probably the dullest post I’ve ever written


The most boring post I've ever written


And there’s not even much food in it, apologies.

This one definitely falls into must do rather than want to do, but given recent changes in ASA guidelines around affiliate marketing, then I needed to flag this.

If you’re not sure what affiliate marketing is, the simple guide is to think of it as a commission. With some links to things I write about, if you purchase that thing from that site, or anything else from them in a set time, then they send me money.

To be fair, not much money, but they do send it.

They just don’t drive what’s on here. My posts are never driven by having links, I wouldn’t write something with the sole purpose of driving cash. Or if I had been, then I’m really bad at it, as I’ve probably made enough over the years for a decent bottle of champagne.

Just the one.

I write for the love of it really, the small amount of cash is incidental. It doesn’t influence what I write about, and I write many more times about stuff with no commercial return at all.

I will obviously comply with the ASA rulings, and going forward will show affiliate and non affiliate links, the choice is yours on where to click.

It’s an interesting area, because when you think about magazines, there’s very little disclosure there. I’m not talking about things like advertorials, which are explicit about being paid for, but it’s more things like how many lunches or lovely events were involved, how many free products for “testing” and photography before a product hits the pages. None of this has to be declared to the reader.

I always declare when I’ve been sent products or books, and there really is no intent to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. If in doubt, please feel free to ask me!