Birthday at the Tea Hive

So it was my birthday on Monday and I did as any sensible girl would do – took the day off in order to eat cake and drink tea. Where better to do this than in my all-time favourite Chorlton spot, the Tea Hive. Tea Hive is a small quirky cafe serving delicious home made cakes, lots of lovely and interesting loose leaf tea blends, and a select few dishes which are focused on fresh ingredients, locally sourced. It is decked out in mismatched vintage style furniture and furnishings with tea sets to match. Very cute. They also have a tranquil little garden out the back which is great in summer, if we ever get one again!!

I have previously blogged about a parsnip, pecan and maple cheesecake I delighted in here. Main courses include stonkingly good sandwiches served on doorstop granary bread from local Chorlton baker Richardsons and meat, I think, from local butcher Frosts. The problem I have experienced in the past is that both the sandwiches and cake portions are MASSIVE! So you finish your sandwich, groaning ever so slightly in pain, and lament the fact that there is no way you can fit in the cake! Luckily, Tea Hive has an answer to this! The so-called “light lunch”. It’s anything but light, really, but damn is it good! You get a smaller version of the sandwich, the soup or salad of the day and a slice of cake. Winning all round!

This is what I went for on Monday. I selected the mature cheddar, homemade chutney of the day and rocket sandwich on granary bread. This doesn’t sound all that exciting compared to some of the exotic creations you get these days, but the beauty is in the simpleness which allows the true deliciousness of the quality ingredients to shine though. Bread; gorgeous, cheese; delicious  chutney; oh so moreish. As a whole, the most perfect cheese sandwich you could ever ask for. The soup of the day was leek and spring greens, and it was light, fresh and lovely.

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To wash it down, I ventured beyond my two favourite tea blends (Earl Grey and Tea Hive Black Tea Blend) to try something new, Russian Caravan. Having an interest in many things Russian, the name intrigued me and I was very glad it reeled me in! This is an intense, smoky, robust tea which actually went perfectly with the mature cheddar.

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It was then time to linger at the cake counter as we tried to choose just one cake to eat for afters! Aside from the parsnip and pecan cheesecake, other previous favourites of mine have included honey and ginger, and orange and almond cakes – the selection is different everytime you go in. On this day however, despite sorely tempting me with a lemon, blueberry and yoghut sponge, there was a tasty looking carrot cake calling to me from behind the glass. Sometimes you just can’t beat the classics and carrot cake is one of my all-time favourites!

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This was incredibly flavoursome and moist, and also nice and coarse, just as it should be in my opinion – lots of big chunks of nuts, yummy! The icing was also spot on! The other half went for the salted caramel chocolate cake, which was demolished before I had a chance to take a picture! He assures me that it was also delicious, however!

Iced peppermint tea

So Summer has finally arrived in the UK! We had the first week back in May and this will no doubt be the second and last week of it now… Still, while the sun shines we shall remain optimistic!

Everything just seems so much better in the sunshine. Standing on the sunny platform waiting for the tram to work this morning was almost pleasant!

Anyway, a little bored with the usual soft drinks, I was seeking inspiration for a new cold and refreshing drink for this hot weather and came up with iced peppermint tea.

I usually make mint tea by just adding a handful of mint leaves from my garden to hot water, however I found it a bit difficult to get the intensity of flavour required in the small amount of hot water used to make this so I used a peppermint tea bag. Make around a third of a cup of peppermint tea and let it brew for a few minutes, I like to give the bag a bit of a mash to release extra flavour. Pour the tea into a glass filled with loads of ice cubes, these will immediately cool the tea and some of the ice cubes will melt straight away lengthening the drink. Delicious, cooling and refreshing! I can’t get enough of it! In fact, I’ve always found cold minty things to be exceptionally refreshing, mint choc chip is clearly one of the best ice cream flavours and childhood trips to France were never complete without the obligatory Kimmy menthe ice lolly! Yum! Hhmm quite fancy making some more now…