Autumn Walks: Holt Country Park

Another post in my unofficial ‘walking around Norfolk in the Autumn’ series.

Holt Country Park is frankly a nice, easy day out, and it helps being so close to Holt as there is so much to do there – so many little boutique shops and tea rooms. We went to The Owl Tearoom for a cream tea, which is a very cute place with delicious food, a charming atmosphere and friendly staff – I would definitely go there again.

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This is a post about Tea.

Being a tea drinker is an unavoidable part of being British, we know this, but we’re not very good at drinking herbal or fruit teas in this country. It’s more of a social occassion than something we do for our health. I’ve managed to get in the habit in recent years of (usually) not drinking any caffeine after 6pm – that includes “normal” tea so I’ve been drinking the fruity or relaxing herbals kinds instead.

I’ve been interested recently in exactly how healthy or not tea is for us, in any of its delicious varieties. If you want a more detailed look at how different types of tea are harvested, click here but basically there are 4 types: black tea, white tea, green tea, and oolong tea. Remember that all tea hydrates, is warm, cosy and edifying, and performs a social bonding function that does more good than chucking down vitamin tablets could ever achieve.

Here we have 10 teas and how they can help your health.

  1. Green Tea – the Messiah of the Teas. Green tea has an antioxidant called catechin and some studies suggest that drinking one cup of green tea per day can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by 10%.
  2. Chamomile Tea – the ultimate relaxer and my personal favourite, it also helps with a range of ailments including hay fever, muscle pain, insomnia, inflammation, and menstrual disorders.
  3. Echinacea – often overlooked, echinacea tea can help prevent commons colds and reduces the risk of infection.
  4. Lemon & Ginger tea – not my favourite but again, another tea that fights bacterial infections.
  5. Oolong tea – the fat burner. Can help you to burn fat faster than you might otherwise as it stimulates an enzyme that prompts weight loss.
  6. Black tea – has the highest caffeine content and can lower cholesterol levels. Crucially, drinking 4 cups of tea a day can cut the risk of stroke by over 20%.
  7. Blueberry tea – now we enter the realms of flavoured tea. If you choose a tea flavoured with a superfood like blueberries you get a double whammy of antioxidants (but avoid the nonsense sweetened versions.)
  8. Peppermint tea – does wonders. Aids digestion, cures bad breath, boosts the immune system. Smells delightfully minty.
  9. Rosehip tea – this is a new one on me. Apparently a great plant source of vitamin C, so it helps skin and tissue health.
  10. Rooibos – 50 times more antioxidants that green tea! Thwarts those free radicals like a mother. Good for digestion and lowers blood pressure.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about tea. I hope you enjoy all aspects of tea.

Here are some photos off tea.

 

Early Grey Tea Cake Recipe

I’ll be honest, I’m a terrible baker. Most of my efforts have resulted in failure. I know even the most proficient bakers are sometimes let down by a bad recipe or ill luck, but in my case, it’s not you it’s definitely me.

It really is my fault. I’m sloppy, I’m messy, I don’t measure things properly, I give up when the mixture doesn’t combine properly and hope that it will just magically heal itself in the oven. My sponges disintegrate. My buttercream still has lumps of flour in it because I forgot to sieve it first.  My batter curdles. I have baked a cake for nearly 2 hours and it was still raw in the middle.

I acknowledge that I do not have the skill, talent nor patience.

Yet still, on a rare free Saturday I might try my hand at baking and today was one of those days. I attempted an Earl Grey Tea Cake and actually it’s kind of, possibly, not all that bad. I mean, it tastes nice and it’s not burnt or raw so I figure I can count that as a success, right?

Well, if you think you can do any better (which I am certain you can) then here’s a decent recipe you could try.

Ingredients

160g butter

250g self-raising flour

150g caster sugar

4 early grey tea bags

105ml milk

Handful of fresh foraged blackberries

2 eggs

A dash of almond essence

And for the buttercream

100g softened butter

175g icing sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Method

Soften the butter and combine gradually with the sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Fold in the flour.

Heat the milk in a saucepan on the hob but be careful not to let it boil. Add the earl grey tea bags and turn off the heat. Give the tea bags a good squeeze and cover with lid to let it steep for 10 minutes. Let it cool before adding to the mixture. You can use loose leaves tea bags if you prefer.

Separate the mixture into 2 sandwich tins and cook for 40 minutes in a pre-heated oven on 160 degrees.

In the meantime, we create the buttercream. Soften the butter and gradually add the icing sugar, mixing thoroughly. Add the cocoa powder and stir together into a thick cream. Add a bit of milk if necessary if too dry.

Et voila.