Doing my patriotic duty for Britain

December 17, 2013

Do you know what I found out today? One hundred and sixty five million cups of tea are consumed in Britain every day!!! And, I had five of those myself. πŸ™‚

This morning I had my tea in one of my sweet little bird mugs hand painted by the artists at Aston Pottery.


And this afternoon I made myself a cup of Earl Grey in the second of my very old Victorian tea cups.
(the first one is here)

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I love these old cups. I love the wonkiness of the saucer, and the pits and imperfections of the crockery and painted design. This is also one of the “drink it from the saucer cups.” I suppose these cups were every day, made for the plebs. They are some sort of crockery but not porcelain and were probably used a whole lot because it was every Englishman’s patriotic duty to drink tea rather than alcohol or coffee because tea supported British trade, the colonial plantations and the Empire. Amazing that they are not chipped or cracked. Obviously they were well loved.


The best treatie to have with Earl Grey tea while doing my patriotic duty are Jaffa cakes. Do you know Jaffa cakes? Almost 100 yrs in production, they are the loveliest blend of cake, marmalade and chocolate. Oh, I have a funny story to tell you. When Chloe was about 9 yr old, she decided she didn’t like the taste of marmalade and ate the biscuit and chocolate part all the way around the marmalade centre and then, somehow, it became de rigueur to stick the left-over marmalade circle on your forehead and look very pathetic ever since. πŸ˜€ I know! No idea what that’s all about.

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Actually Jaffa cakes are really easy to make. I’ll find you a nice recipe. Β And while I’m at it, I’m linking with Terri and MarthaΒ and Sandi. πŸ™‚

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Here is BBC chef Simon Rimmer’s recipe:

For the cakes
β€’ 2 free-range eggs
β€’ 50g/2oz caster sugar
β€’ 50g/2oz plain flour, sieved
For the filling
β€’ 1 x 135g/4ΒΎoz packet orange jelly, chopped
β€’ 1 tbsp orange marmalade
β€’ 125ml/4Β½fl oz boiling water
β€’ 200g/7oz good quality dark chocolate, minimum 70 per cent cocoa solids, broken into pieces

Preparation method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
2. For the cakes, bring a little water to the boil in a pan, then reduce the heat until the water is simmering. Suspend a heatproof bowl over the water (do not allow the base of the bowl to touch the water). Add the eggs and sugar to the bowl and beat continuously for 4-5 minutes, or until the mixture is pale, fluffy and well combined.
3. Add the flour, beating continuously, until a thick, smooth batter forms.
4. Half-fill each well in a 12-hole muffin tin with the cake batter. Transfer the tin to the oven and bake the cakes for 8-10 minutes, or until pale golden-brown and cooked through (the cakes are cooked through when a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean.) Remove from the oven and set the cakes aside, still in their tray, until cool.
5. Meanwhile, for the filling, in a bowl, mix together the jelly, marmalade and boiling water until the jelly has dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Pour the filling mixture into a shallow-sided baking tray or large dish to form a 1cm/Β½in layer of jelly. Set aside until completely cooled, then chill in the fridge until set.
6. When the jelly has set and the cakes have cooled, cut small discs from the layer of jelly, equal in diameter to the cakes. Sit one jelly disc on top of each cake.
7. Bring a little water to the boil in a pan, then reduce the heat until the water is simmering. Suspend a heatproof bowl over the water (do not allow the base of the bowl to touch the water). Add the chocolate and stir until melted, smooth and glossy, then pour over the cakes. Set aside until the melted chocolate has cooled and set.

The return of the random!
Settling into the rhythm

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  • Reply Pondside December 17, 2013 at 8:56 am

    My mother has always liked her tea in a china cup – the thinner and prettier, the better. I inherited a large collection from my husband’s step-grandmother – from a time when a young woman would have received many beautiful cups and saucers as an engagement gift.
    The Jaffa Cakes look yummy!
    I am finally a follower, so it will be a lot easier to find your posts.

    • Reply Veronica December 17, 2013 at 11:05 pm

      How lovely. I love the thought of those old tea sets being handed down from mother to daughter one her wedding. πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for following, that’s so wonderful for me. πŸ˜€

  • Reply Daryl December 17, 2013 at 10:27 am

    a delightful post .. love the handmade mug …

    • Reply Veronica December 17, 2013 at 11:03 pm

      Aw thank you Daryl. I love that pottery too, but it’s ever so expensive. But then, how many mugs does one really need. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Sara v December 17, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Jaffa cakes sound delightful, especially if you stick them on your head…Both cups make my china/stoneware-loving-heart so happy. Thank you πŸ™‚

    • Reply Veronica December 17, 2013 at 11:02 pm

      So nice Sara. πŸ™‚ You should see some of the photos I have of us looking pathetic with marmalade centres stuck on our foreheads! πŸ˜€

  • Reply Bernideen's Tea Time Blog December 17, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    I had never heard of Jaffa Cakes – look wonderful! Thanks so much for linking to Friends Sharing Tea! Hope you enjoy toe joy of living in England for Christmas!

    • Reply Veronica December 17, 2013 at 10:59 pm

      Hi Bernideen, thank you so much for hosting. It’s funny here because the country is so steeped in tradition and jaffa cakes are a huge part of that tradition but some of these traditions don’t really travel out of the country so people don’t know. As it is, Ribena and jaffa cakes and French Fancies and other lovelies can be bought in Vancouver so Robert doesn’t feel homesick when he’s there. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Sandi December 17, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Those cakes look familiar although I’m not sure that I’ve ever eaten one. That is a lot of tea to be consumed in one day! Not much wonder it’s the second most popular refreshment in the world! Thank you for joining me for my tea party and enjoy England! What fun, especially this time of year!

    Christmas blessings,

    • Reply Veronica December 17, 2013 at 10:56 pm

      Hi Sandi, I did the math and it averages to about 3 cups/day/person! Not too bad, and I definitely go over that quota each day…boy I’m patriotic…lol

  • Reply Terri December 17, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    Hello Veronica,
    Your delicate old tea cup is lovely! I do love the really old ones. They feel different in the hand. Tea tastes wonderful in them : )
    I also love your artistic birdie mug : )

    • Reply Veronica December 17, 2013 at 10:53 pm

      Thank you Terri, πŸ™‚ I really love the old ones too and it seems that they aren’t very valued here in E because they seem to be cheap as chips in the vintage shops. I’ll see if I can pick up a few more. πŸ™‚ The mugs on the other hand are pretty pricey and so I don;t think I’ll be picking up any more of those…lol.

  • Reply cindy December 17, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Thanks Veronica for posting about the amount of tea consumed, I’m there only with coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon. I enjoyed your post and old tea cup, I don’t know of the cakes but do now. Thaks for the recipe

    • Reply Veronica December 17, 2013 at 10:50 pm

      Hi Cindy, so many people enjoy coffee in the mornings, or when ever, and I always think it’s such a good idea and sounds so sophisticated and big city, but I just don’t really like the taste at all. I can think of a time, once, when I really enjoyed a cafe au lait but that was in a cafe in Paris and a spur of the moment thing and there was loads of milk and sugar involved…and a croissant I think. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Karen December 17, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    Hi Veronica,
    It’s hard to believe that you are so far away once again. What is the weather like in Britain? I just love that vintage teacup and your Jaffa cakes look amazing. Thanks for visiting me. Hope you enjoy your holiday at West Cottage. That sounds so quaint. Season’s Greetings from Canada! Lol.. Karen

    • Reply Veronica December 17, 2013 at 10:40 pm

      I know, I know…lol. It’s not so much of a holiday as all that Karen because I live here too. Yesterday Robert and I were moving cars around and chopping wood from huge two foot rounds of heavy, fragrant pine. Actually Robert was doing most of the chopping and I was doing most of the stacking up. πŸ™‚ Maybe in the New Year we could get together for a cup of tea?

  • Reply Helen Vaughan December 17, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    sounds like a lovely day!! seasons greeting veronica x

    • Reply Veronica December 17, 2013 at 11:50 pm

      Thank you so much Helen; season’s greetings to you too. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Catherine December 18, 2013 at 4:29 am

    I am envious! due to numerous factors I am now down to my very last useable teacup – I think I hear the bric-a-brac shop in Goring calling out to me ….. you’re right it’s truly amazing how cheap these lovely antique teacups are in England XX

    • Reply Veronica December 18, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      Oh no Catherine, that calls for a tea cup hunt. I think I might have one too. πŸ™‚ xx

  • Reply EG CameraGirl December 18, 2013 at 6:16 am

    Mmmmm. Now I’m thirsty. I think I’ll make myself a cup of tea. πŸ˜‰

    • Reply Veronica December 18, 2013 at 12:22 pm

      Really good idea. It seems chilly out in Ontario these days; a nice hot cup of tea is perfect. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Lavender Cottage December 18, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    I like the mug with the bird but also your pretty teacups. I’ve had jaffa cakes before, but not for a long time.
    Merry Christmas Veronica.

    • Reply Veronica December 20, 2013 at 8:22 am

      Hi Judith, it’s amazing how much “British” stuff we can get in Canada. I love it. πŸ™‚

  • Reply January 9, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    Just LOVE this Veronica! Cheers and to tea together someday in another life!

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