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While the Jubilee is over and it is back to normal for most of us, Tea with Rachael takes us on amazing review of her favourite bits. Most of which can be enjoyed at anytime, not just when Queen and country gives us a four day weekend.
It has been a very busy few weeks, out and about for the Jubilee festivities and enjoying our short-lived Summer weather!
Ah, the start of the gloriously summery weekend, which we really made the most of! We ventured outside and sat on a blanket on the riverside outside the wonderful White Swan pub in Twickenham, watching the world go by and drinking ice cold Rekorderlig Strawberry and Lime – what a fantastic summer drink! It was almost like being beside the seaside…
The White Swan 4/5 – great location!
Organic food and drink in stunning surroundings – Ham House and Gardens
Rather disturbed by witnessing a moorhen fight/mating ritual(!), we headed down the riverbank to get the Hammerton Ferry over to Ham House and Gardens, where we enjoyed organic beer and Fentiman’s Rose Lemonade in the sunny gardens of the Orangery Cafe. After a stroll around the kitchen gardens for inspiration, we wandered round the stunning gardens and I managed to get some lovely pictures on this beautifully clear, hot and sunny day.
No visit would be complete without a visit to the gift shop, where I purchased some of the herbs we’d seen earlier, and ones I use regularly in my cooking – Thyme, Lemon Thyme and Tarragon. I will post my recipe for Tarragon chicken, using these lovely herbs, next!
I also got some lovely books: Comfort Food – providing more cooking inspiration – and A Taste of Tea by Brian Glover – a fascinating history of the various rituals associated with drinking tea.
I never go to a National Trust shop without buying Lemon Curd - and this time I bought some Raspberry Curd to try as well! I feel another afternoon tea coming on…
Ham House 5/5 – stunning grounds, lovely cafe and great gift shop!
During the Jubilee weekend, Twickenham was hosting the Charlie Shore Regatta as part of the Twickenham Riverside Jubilee Festival – Twickenham Alive. Always a fun event, this year the festivities were extended to include a craft fair on Church Street and the local church fair. Armed with a large glass of Sangria from Pincho, we perused the stalls and sat in the sunshine watching the river races.
After staying in during the downpour to watch the Flotilla on TV, on the Bank Holiday Monday we met some friends and headed to favourite local Twickenham pubs. The White Swan had a BBQ going and a street party in aid of children’s charity Shooting Star Chase – despite the gloomy weather – where we enjoyed burgers, homemade chocolate cakes and more Rekorderlig! Once it started raining more heavily, we moved on to the Royal Oak to check out the ‘Jumbilee’ in aid of local charity HANDS, where I picked up some fab vintage bargains!
Later in the day, we managed to sit in the sunshine (while it lasted) drinking organic cider outside the lovely old Eel Pie pub, before heading to The Fox for the biggest pie I have ever eaten! We all ordered chicken and cider pie with mash and gravy – not realising you each get an enormous individual pie! It was really tasty – fantastically hearty and quintessentially British in honour of the Jubilee! As we were particularly hungry after all the cider drinking, we ordered fries and chunky chips too, which were also delicious and went very well with the gravy! Heartily recommended!
The Fox 4/5 – amazing pie!
I made the most of my time off over the Jubilee Bank Holidays by drinking lots and lots of tea! As well as my usual stash of Twinings and TeaPigs, I had the privilege of trying a selection of teas from the lovely people at Ahmad Tea, which have very appropriate historical paintings of London on the boxes.
English Tea No.1 is a lovely blend of black teas with Bergamot and is a stylish alternative to Earl Grey. It even has a flotilla scene on it, from the opening of Tower Bridge! Very apt for Jubilee celebrations! Their Earl Grey is also very refreshing, and I particularly like the Darjeeling and English Breakfast blend too!
Ahmad Tea 4/5 – great taste, lovely packaging!
I made sure I had Jubilee-themed biscuits with my tea – I am addicted to Cadbury’s biscuits (favourite chocolate on biscuits – what’s not to love?!) and have eaten far too many over the past few weeks! 5/5
I just had a lovely girly weekend with one of my very best friends in Edinburgh – my first trip to this fair City and a very pleasant one!
We shopped ’til we dropped, both admiring all that the city has to offer and doing some window shopping, as well as making some fabulous bargain purchases!
We were were well set up for our long days of shopping by staying at the delightful Rick’s on Frederick Street – a comfy, luxurious twin room with a well-stocked mini bar, organic tea and coffee, a fantastic power shower and White Company toiletries – fabulous! I particularly liked the purple colour scheme and copious plump pillows on the beds!
The breakfasts at Rick’s were hearty and traditional, providing plenty of energy for our adventures! Yesterday I had yummy Eggs Benedict with Scottish Smoked Salmon, tea (of course!) and freshly squeezed orange juice, and today a wonderfully filling full Scottish breakfast with grilled bacon, sausage, poached eggs, mushrooms, tomato, potato scone and wholemeal toast – along with two pots of tea and more orange juice, setting me up for the long journey back to Richmond!
We booked using Rick’s Sunday Escape Offer – with dinner and a (very good) bottle of Prosecco included in the price of Sunday night’s stay, as well as breakfast. Dinner was also excellent – I had haddock fishcakes which were meaty and filling, served with a light balsamic salad. Main course was chicken in mushroom and Marsala sauce with sweet potato mash – fresh, comforting and downright delicious! For dessert we shared a slice of melt-in-the-mouth lemon curd cheesecake with a home-made shortcake base.
After all our shopping on Saturday, we ate a late lunch in the bar at Rick’s, where we munched on a very generous charcuterie and cheese platter with salad, olives, hummus and wholemeal pitta bread, a selection of cheeses (including the creamiest Feta I have ever tasted!) and Parma Ham, Bresaola and Salami.
We were impressed by the relaxed yet trendy decor and the hotel/bar/restaurant all have a laid-back, fun atmosphere. The staff were incredibly helpful and friendly and we were impressed by the excellent value of the offer. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and will definitely return to Rick’s. We highly recommend it and are both also keen to try their other establishment, Tigerlily.
On Saturday, we had another tasty meal – this time dinner – at Whigham’s Wine Cellars on Hope Street. I ate home-made chicken liver pate served with Scottish oatcakes, which was meaty and had a lovely taste of fresh herbs. For main course I had rare roast beef salad, with wonderfully pink slices of the finest Buccleuch Scotch beef. My friend had a very generous portion of roasted pepper risotto (I sadly couldn’t sample it as I’m allergic to peppers) but it looked and smelled delicious and my friend agreed! We washed it all down with an incredible rose Cava, which was also an appropriately girly shade of pink, and followed the meal with yet more tea! Thoroughly recommended for the great food and wine, cosy atmosphere and attractive decor.
On Sunday, after walking around Edinburgh all day and lots and lots of shopping, we stopped off at Frederick’s Coffee House on Frederick’s Street for their famous banoffee pie and a pot of tea. It was very tasty indeed, and Frederick’s Cafe has a lovely, relaxed atmosphere, with a fashionable turquoise/teal interior, comfy sofas and large windows that let in plenty of light.
I rate each of these establishments very highly and would definitely recommend – I am keen to return with other friends and my husband in the future.
Whigham’s Wine Cellars 4/5