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Sonya Meagor
07773 298 269
Sonya Meagor
07773 298 269

Eco Cuisine Blog

Afternoon Tea or High Tea

My last blog post was all about Wimbledon – of course strawberries and cream came up and as a natural progression, [perhaps because I am Cornish?], Cream Teas were mentioned too. That old argument of cream or jam first…

 

This month has seen me cater so many teas from a smart classic tea for newly qualified teachers as a celebratory event, to an Afternoon Tea for Trip Advisor.

 

I’ve had to bake scones in their dozens, so I thought what better subject than Afternoon Tea for my next post.

 

Trip Advisor Afternoon Tea

 

If you already like and follow my Facebook page you will know I posted some of the pictures of the teas I had catered for this month. These featured dainty chicken salad sandwiches, beautiful patisserie cakes and hearty scones with ample lashings of cream and jam and more. In the caption we called it “High Tea” but we were told by one of our sharp-eyed followers that in-fact, it is not a High Tea, but an Afternoon Tea.

 

Whoops! We may bake a mean scone and would like to think we know a lot about sustainability and ethical eating but we learn something new every-day too.

 

This felt like the perfect opportunity to learn about the difference between High Tea and Afternoon Tea and share it with you too.

 

We found out that High Tea is actually usually eaten between 5pm-7pm and must feature a warm dish. So the traditional teas with sandwiches and cakes that we have been serving recently do not fall in to these criteria at all.

 

After a little more digging we found out that High Tea was essentially what we call dinner or supper these days, but back then it was a very classist affair and was something for the working classes. It involved bread, cheese and veg and occasionally meat too, not forgetting a mug of tea as well.

 

Afternoon Tea was a social event for the upper classes and bridged the gap between lunch and the evening meal as many of the upper class didn’t eat until 8 or 9pm. Afternoon Tea usually involved cakes and bread with butter as a light bite served in a parlour on low comfortable chairs. Whereas High Tea was eaten at the table and so dining high back chairs were sat on to eat this.

 

Afternoon Tea for Three

 

More history for you, as we learned that Afternoon Tea originated in the early 19th Century by the 7th Duchess of Bedford and was enjoyed at home with friends. But soon it took off as a trend and in the Edwardian times tea houses and lounges started to pop up and Afternoon Tea was fashionable to be served in these luxury surroundings at around 4pm.

 

This is quite similar to the teas served at hotels and high-end department stores that we still have to this day – think tea at Sketch, The Dorchester or even Selfridges. Or if you are from up North, Betty’s is the perfect example.

Wedding Afternoon Tea

 

When enjoying an Afternoon Tea catered by eco cuisine, you know that we use the highest quality British ingredients from local suppliers. This means your food is more eco-friendly than when buying from a caterer who isn’t concerned with ethical and sustainable eating. Plus, it is of course delicious!

 



Wimbledon and Food Traditions

Woman serving - Wimbledon

 

It is that time of year again, sun and showers, tennis, champagne or Pimms and of course strawberries and cream! I am referring to Wimbledon of course. At the time of writing this Andy Murray has just lost his game on centre court in the Quarter Final… it was nail biting but whether you are a tennis fan or not, it is a great excuse to eat strawberries.

 

They are in season and British strawberries are delicious. Wimbledon actually sources their strawberries from the Hugh Lowe Farm in Kent, who have supplied the championships for more than 20 years!

 

 

Apparently, 28 tonnes of strawberries were sold last year and Wimbledon do actually subsidise the cost of strawberries to their customers – a bowl of strawberries and cream has remained at £2.50 for the past seven years. You can find more facts and figures on Wimbledon catering here.

 

This got me thinking, what have strawberries actually got to do with tennis anyway? It seems no one really knows where the tradition came from but if you are interested in the history of it, you can read more about it in an article the Independent published here

 

Strawberries and cream seem to be the hot picnic piece again at the moment and we have been catering a huge amount of cream teas too.

 

eco cuisine cream tea scones cream and jam

 

You may know that I am Cornish so it goes without saying that I follow the Cornish tradition of jam and then cream on my scones – those from Devon do cream then jam. But it seems like everyone has a different preference.

 

The same goes for other traditions too – Pimms for example. How do you have yours? I love mine with lemonade, a slice of cucumber and mint to garnish. I know often people have orange slices too but it isn’t my cup-of-tea. I went out for drinks with friends… We were served ours with borage, which is pretty standard, but also elderflower instead of lemonade and had passion fruit and strawberry added into the mix too. Sacrilege!

 

Roast Dinner

 

People do get passionate when it comes to food traditions, probably the way I feel when a classic chicken roast dinner is served with Yorkshire Puddings -everyone knows these should be saved for a beef roast surely! Or equally when a beef roast dinner isn’t served with Horseradish sauce. Roast lamb and mint sauce is another one people feel strongly about. I am not a fan unless the mint is made with fresh herbs. The unusual fact about this is, mint sauce with roast lamb became essential thanks to Queen Elizabeth I. She was actually trying to help the wool industry and prevent her subjects from eating so much lamb and mutton and she commanded that lamb could only be eaten with bitter herbs. She thought this would put people off but they soon discovered that mint made the meat taste even better!

 

Some would say an Indian takeaway with a beer in front of Netflix is the new tradition of Friday nights and given it is the most popular takeaway in the U.K. – who are we to argue?

 

Are you a strawberries and cream fiend or do you have a particular “food tradition”? Let us know your favourites.

 

Thanks,

Sonya



Seasonal Shopping List for July 2017

Shopping seasonally is one of the best things you can do. It is better for the environment and local economy, more sustainable and cheaper. Many say it is much healthier too.

Here’s what you should be looking out for this month;

 

Fruit and Veggies

Seasonal Fresh Strawberries

 

Artichoke, Beetroot, Courgette, Aubergine, Fennel, Pea, Runner bean, Tomato, Watercress, French bean, Sage, Lettuce, Mangetout, Cauliflower, Broad bean, Blueberry, Strawberry, Loganberry and Raspberry.

 

Fish and Meat

Seasonal Clams

 

Clam, Pike, Trout, Pilchard, Lamb, Cod, Crab, Dover sole, Haddock, Halibut, Herring, John Dory, Lemon sole, Mackerel, Plaice, Salmon, Sardine, Scallop, Sea bass and Sea trout.

Berries are lovely and sweet now. Runner beans are in this month too. Sea trout are only available for a small time, so if you want to try this delicious fish, now is the time to search it out so try your local fishmonger, it won’t be in the supermarket!

I suggest you make the most of this beautiful weather and try a veggie bbq – aubergine, courgette and peppers…just add olive oil and sea salt – yummy !! Maybe eat with pitta bread and a yoghurt dressing over your watercress salad.

 

If you have enjoyed some seasonal delights this month why not share with us on my Facebook page ?

Thanks,

Sonya



Events Catering Considerations

 

You may already know that we cater for a number of corporate events whether they are buffets, formal three course meals, suppers, lunches or afternoon teas. But you may not know that we also cater for a number of private functions too, from weddings to milestone birthday parties. Whether corporate or a private function, we don’t always deal with an event coordinator and we often speak directly to the client to cater their event.

 

If you are arranging an event and looking for a caterer there is plenty you need to bear in mind, so we have put together a summary of the process and points to think about when coordinating an event.

 

Champagne Sustainable Catering Events

 

There are a lot of considerations for us to make when catering for an event and usually the first thing for us to do is get a full brief. By this I mean gathering as much information as possible to help me understand what a client is looking for and ultimately to meet or surpass expectations.

 

This starts with the food – which menu? Finger food, fork buffet, hot/cold, with or without service, any special dietary requirements – veggie/vegan options or gluten free options.

 

I always like to visit a venue before the event – this helps me understand the best way to work on the day and take advice from the venue management if there are any special requirements. It is always helpful to meet the client/s to discuss logistics and also chat through any questions they may have. Forewarned is forearmed!

 

Through visiting the venue we can identify whether they need equipment hire or crockery, cutlery, glassware, tables, chairs, tablecloths etc. as well as any staff or additional drinks. Sometimes, through visiting the venue we identify something required that was overlooked by a client. If events and catering isn’t your usual job it can be challenging to cover everything. When it comes to the catering we do all we can to be proactive and helpful.

 

For larger events I can offer sale or return but as a guideline – corporate events for two hours, allow two glasses per person (wine/fizz) plus soft drinks – some regular clients I know have quite a drop more than that, so I order accordingly for them… I would never suggest that guests help themselves, as two things happen – the bar area becomes very messy very quickly and the drinks run down much quicker!

 

Sometimes entertainment is a part of the event and this is always lovely to be able to see.

 

The most lovely entertainment I’ve seen was at the AGM of Triodos Bank held at the National circus building near Hoxton Square where they had a trapeze artist performing above the attendees at the end – it was truly beautiful to see – and a surprise for the guests too.

 

If you are planning an event and would like to find out more about our catering service, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.



What can you do for World Environment Day?

Today is World Environment Day – a global event designed to help us reconnect with our planet and ensure we take care of it.

 

World Environment Day Planet

 

The website states: “In recent decades, scientific advances as well as growing environmental problems such as global warming are helping us to understand the countless ways in which natural systems support our own prosperity and well-being.”

 

UN Environment’s Erik Solheim encourages us to connect with nature and “make the planet great again”

 

So in today’s blog post we want to talk about ways you can be environmentally friendly in your home without breaking the bank!

 

Not that we wouldn’t love everyone to live green all the time in all the ways they can, but let’s face it, for some of us the thought of installing solar panels and upping the specification of your house’s energy efficiency can be a big task. Rather than covering this we will focus on changes that are quick and easy.

 

  1. Use rechargeable batteries!
  2. Make use of your brown and green bins and recycle all the items that your council collects
  3. In the office and at home – ensure you turn off any computer/laptop monitors at the end each day
  4. Get some exercise and walk or cycle your local trips to the bank/post office/shops and walk up stairs instead of using a lift or escalators (good for our bodies too)
  5. Use Green businesses when possible – this extends to buying non-toxic household cleaners like ecover or Method and use eco friendly beauty products.
  6. Take your packed lunch in an insulated bag rather than plastic containers or bags and keep a water bottle and re-use instead of buying bottles continuously (this is another great money saver)
  7. Get a smart meter installed and see how you can save electric and money too by not having unnecessary lights etc. on
  8. Buy seasonal British produce which is cheaper than unseasonal imported produce and better for you!
  9. When doing your weekly shop remember to use re-usable bags and not disposable ones
  10. Try growing your own veggies and/or herbs – a window box is great for growing your own herbs
  11. Avoid food waste by cooking batches of food and freezing some portions – this is a double dose of goodness as keeping your freezer full makes it more economic to run
  12. Use a roasting dish in the oven and not disposable ones and use a metal platter rather than disposables on your BBQ

 

Not only will these small changes help the planet but a lot of the above will also save you money. Win-win!

 

At eco cuisine we use a fully electric van to deliver our clients event catering.

 

eco cuisine electric van world environment day

 

In the kitchen we use Norwex cloths to clean and shine our worktops and use ecover products to clean/wash-up. We carefully monitor our water usage and ordering is done by each event so as to avoid food waste. We recycle all cardboard packaging and tins we use. We don’t over-cater to avoid food waste -that’s not to say we are mean with portions by any means but at the same time don’t give huge portions that are not needed and inevitably thrown away. Bills are paid online and invoices sent by email. Business cards and flyers are printed on recycled card. We use British producers to avoid food miles and seasonal produce for taste, cost, and food miles considerations.

 

We hope these quick and easy tips provide some food for thought. Until next time…

Thanks,

Sonya