Twist Teas Afternoon Perks - Champagne Twist review

The Tea Twist Taste Test – Twist Teas : Afternoon Perks | Champagne Twist

Twist Teas Afternoon Perks - Champagne Twist review
The Tea Twist Taste Test – Twist Teas Afternoon Perks – Champagne Twist review

Yesterday (Sunday 21st April 2019)  was Easter Sunday and National Tea Day. A double celebration for those who, like me, love tea.

Today, I kick off a new blog series, called The Tea Twist Taste Test, where I taste and review a number of teas from new and established brands. Most of the brands I will feature, I discovered, or in some cases rediscovered, at the recent FesTeaVal event run by National Tea Day.  The first brand in this series is Twist Teas  (love the brand name already!), which has been producing a wide range of teas for 3 years. The first tea I’m taste testing is ‘Afternoon Perks’, from their Whole Leaf Tasting Menu.

Twist Teas Afternoon Perks - Champagne Twist review
The Tea Twist Taste Test – Twist Teas Afternoon Perks – Champagne Twist review

Made with Indian Darjeeling and Sri Lankan black teas and Gotu Kola, ‘Afternoon Perks’ can be drunk with for without milk.

Gotu Kola is used for fatigue, anxiety, depression, psychiatric disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, and improving memory and intelligence. Other uses include wound healing, trauma, and circulation problems (venous insufficiency) including varicose veins, and blood clots in the legs.

Source : https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-753/gotu-kola

I found the tea refreshing in both formats, although I slightly prefer the tea black, with maybe a lemon slice. Just as the ‘twisting notes’ on the tasting menu pack claimed, the tea was energy boosting, after a busy morning in the garden.

Twist Teas - Afternoon Perks by Champagne Twist - without milk
The Tea Twist Taste Test – Twist Teas Afternoon Perks – Champagne Twist

I like the idea of including Gotu Kola in the blend, as I feel it helped with my fatigue. I wonder, with prolonged use, if it would prove to be a good memory boosting aid. Regardless, the tea tastes lovely, and is ideal as a post- noon pick me up. I will certainly be adding this to my collection.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Twist Teas – https://www.twist-teas.co.uk

National Tea Day – https://www.nationalteaday.co.uk

FesTeaVal 2019 day 1 highlights – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtEwh6YFXdA

FesTeaVal 2019 day 2 highlights – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPQQ5lvwifU

FesTeaVal 2019 review – TBC

Next review : Twist Teas ‘Breakfast Boost’

 

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Jerk Seasoned Roasted veg with rice - Caribbean food month | ChampagneTwist.com

Caribbean Food Month – Jerk Seasoned Roasted Vegetables​​ – Champagne Twist

Hello, happy 1st of August and happy Caribbean Food Month here on ChampagneTwist.com!

We’re deep into summer now and the heatwave we’re currently enjoying in the UK is akin to the summers enjoyed in the Caribbean. All that’s needed is a golden sandy beach, a bowl of rum punch and a tropical music soundtrack.

Well, I can’t provide the beach or the soundtrack, but I may be able to produce a few food and drink ideas for the Champagne Twist, Caribbean Food Month.

Caribbean food month, August 2018, Champagne Twist.jpg

Kicking off this month’s culinary extravaganza is Jerk Seasoned Roasted Vegetables. Jerk seasoning is fairly well known as a Jamaican herb and spice blend used to season meat, particularly chicken. But in this recipe, I thought how could vegetarians get in on the act?

This is an easy, flexible recipe staple which allows for a quick exit from the kitchen – let’s face it, who wants to spend hours in a hot kitchen in 32-degree heat? Make a large batch and portion up for healthier frozen meals or barbeque side dishes.  The vegetables are cut into different shapes, of roughly the same size to provide visual interest and to ensure even cooking.

Jerk Seasoned Roasted Vegetables | Champagne Twist

Serves 2 as a main meal or 4 as a side dish.

Fresh vegetables - Caribbean Food Month | ChampagneTwist.com
Fresh vegetables | ChampagneTwist.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 medium white onion, finely sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, finely sliced
  • 3 or 4 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 medium butternut squash, cut into batons
  • 1 large tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1 large broccoli head, cut into florets
  • 1 large carrot, cut into batons
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium courgette/zucchini, cut into batons
  • 1 corn on the cob, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/2tsp jerk seasoning (try Dunns River)
Cut vegetables Caribbean food month | ChampagneTwist.com
Cut vegetables – Caribbean Food Month | ChampagneTwist.com

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4.
  2. In a large mixing bowl add all the ingredients and ensure all the vegetables are completely coated with the coconut oil and jerk seasoning. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  3. Place the contents of the bowl into a large roasting tin. Roast for about 45-60 minutes until the vegetables are roasted.
  4. Allow to cool slightly before transferring into a serving dish. Enjoy with plain white or coconut rice.  You could also create a rice salad by simply mixing the seasoned veg with the rice. Try substituting with brown rice for a nuttier flavour.
pre roasted root vegetables - Caribbean Food Month | ChampagneTwist.com
Pre-roasted vegetables | ChampagneTwist.com

Remember with Jerk seasoning, a little goes a long way. Err on the side of caution, use a scant 1/4 tsp of Jerk seasoning if you prefer a mild flavour. Don’t be too heavy-handed, it will taste great, but it will feel like your mouth is on fire. Use the wet mix, not the dry spice blend.

Jerk seasoned roasted vegetables | ChampagneTwist.com
Jerk seasoned roasted vegetables | ChampagneTwist.com
Jerk Seasoned Roasted veg with rice - Caribbean food month | ChampagneTwist.com
Jerk Seasoned Roasted veg with rice ChampagneTwist.com

 

 

The national dish of Barbados, Cou Cou and Flying Fish

August is Caribbean Food Month, on Champagne Twist

August is Caribbean Food Month, on Champagne Twist

August. The 8th month of the year, the summer holidays are in full swing and the temperatures, for once, rival that of many a West Indian island.

So, in celebration of the new month, summer and the relaunch of the Champagne Twist website, August has been designated Caribbean Food Month.

Vegan Jerk seasoned vegetable medley | Champagne Twist
Vegan Jerk seasoned vegetable medley | Champagne Twist

Caribbean Cuisine despite its popularity amongst holidaymakers, has been omitted from the fashionable culinary radar in the UK. Elements have on occasion had it’s 15 minutes of fame, such as ‘Jerk Chicken’, ‘Jerk Pork’ and ‘Jerk just about everything else’, but it hardly matches the success of other culinary greats such as Italian, Chinese, Japanese or Indian food.

When attempts have been made to delve into the genre of Caribbean food, the results have been misleading at best.  Adding coconut or pineapple to fish and chips doesn’t make a dish traditional West Indian fare. Nor does eating rice and peas with everything constitute Caribbean style.

The national dish of Barbados, Cou Cou and Flying Fish
A modern take on Cou Cou and Flying Fish, the Barbadian National Dish

So in an attempt to put this right, over the next few weeks there will be new recipes, product reviews and a few surprises, in celebration of this undervalued cuisine.

All starting from tomorrow, here on Champagne Twist.

Lemon and elderflower cake recipe - Champagne Twist

Lemon and Elderflower Royal Wedding Cake (aka Sussex Violet​ Cake) – recipe | Champagne Twist​

No sooner had I posted my predictions for Spring food trends 2018, Meghan and Harry announced that their wedding cake was going to be made with lemon and elderflower!

So not only am I going to call it and say that Champagne Twist is the social media network to get accurate predictions in regards to anything food, arts and crafts, I’m now going to reveal my version of the wedding cake.  Enjoy!

Lemon and Elderflower Cake (aka the Sussex Violet Cake)

Ingredients:

For the cake

  • 8oz butter, softened
  • 8oz golden caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 8oz self-raising flour, sifted
  • zest of 2 unwaxed lemons

For the glaze

  • 1 tbsp elderflower syrup or cordial (I used Ikea but would also recommend Belvior)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar (reserving 1 tbsp for decoration)

plus fresh edible flowers such as violets, roses, elderflowers, for decoration.

original picture source - Kensington​ Palace twitter
original picture source – Kensington Palace twitter

I used violets in tribute to Violets Cakes and the creator of the original Royal Wedding cake for Meghan and Harry, now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.  In a nod to the wedding couple, I also renamed my version of the cake the Sussex Violet cake.

Method:

For the cake –

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4.
  2. Line a 20cm round tin with parchment paper.
  3. With a food mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until pale in colour, and light and fluffy in texture.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating in the sugar-butter mix in between.
  5. Fold in the flour and lemon zest until well incorporated.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin, and place on the middle shelf of the video.
  7. Bake for 45-55 mins. To test if the cake is baked, use a skewer and poke it through the middle of the cake. It should come out clean when removed.
  8. When baked, remove from the oven and set aside. Add the glaze at this point (instructions below) still in the tin.
  9. Carefully remove the cake from the tin and place on a wire cake rack to cool completely.

For the glaze –

  1. While the cake is still hot, mix the syrup, granulated sugar and lemon juice together in a small bowl.
  2. Poke a few holes at random intervals through the top of the cake, with a skewer.
  3. With a teaspoon ‘feed’ the cake with the glaze, making sure to cover the entire top of the cake. The glaze should soak through quickly and will leave a sugary crust.  Leave the cake in the tin for about 10 mins.
  4. Carefully remove the cake from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. When the cake has completely cooled, sprinkle the reserved granulated sugar on top, and scatter violets or your edible flowers of choice on top. Serve with a cup of tea, perhaps Wedding Blend from Fortnums or Clipper’s mint and green tea.
Lemon and elderflower cake recipe - Champagne Twist
Lemon and elderflower cake recipe – Champagne Twist

Congratulations Meghan and Harry.

 

National Tea Day – 21st April 2018 | Champagne Twist

creative | London | lifestyle-4.pngHello,

Can you believe it’s that time of year already? Yes, National Tea Day is coming up this Saturday and as, for me at least, it’s one of the most important days of the year, I collated a tea quotes video for your enjoyment.

More tea-related treats coming up this week, but for now, grab yourself a cup of your favourite brew and indulge in some tea wisdom. Enjoy!

 

Champagne Twist On Vacation: Barbados Series Preview​ now Live!

It’s finally here, the series preview of my new travel series.

The new series, Champagne Twist On Vacation: Barbados starts news week. There will be reviews, blog and vlog posts, travel guides and tips and so much more.

It all starts next week, so subscribe and make sure you don’t miss out!

5 Food and Drink You Should Look Out For in Spring/Summer 2018 | Champagne Twist

The Beast from the East may be making a snowy return, but that shouldn’t stop you from looking forward to the super hot summer weather* and the delicious foodie treats that will be heading their merry way to an eatery near you.

*May not be strictly true, but we can dream.

1 Mocktails.

pexels-photo-613037.jpeg

As diners steer more and more from alcoholic drinks and seek healthier alternatives to sugar-laden soft drinks, mocktails are fast becoming the trendsetter in the drinks industry.  Using colourful and unusual fruits and vegetables as the base, drinks are set to be not only healthy but fun too.

2 Caribbean cuisine.

IMG_20180225_113740

There are been so many dawns and false starts with this culinary masterpiece, but 2018 is set to be the year, finally, for West Indian food and drink.  This oft-overlooked cuisine is making a mark this year as the food to look out for. And it’s not all coconut-based either.

3 Tea.

pexels-photo-220069.jpeg

Yes, of course, I was going to add this one, it’s my favourite after all. But tea as we know it is going to have a serious makeover in 2018 and not before time too. Herbal teas, fruit tea and even iced tea will all be on trend this summer.

4 Plant-based food.

pexels-photo-533360.jpeg

The trend for Vegan and Vegetarian food shows no sign of abating, as increasing numbers are seeking alternatives to meat-based diets. Who would have thought 10 years ago that beige food would be referred to meat pie!

5 Floral flavours.

pexels-photo-434230.jpeg

Elderflower, lavender, rose, chive blossoms, violet, hibiscus and pansy. Prepare to see these floral favourites and more, everywhere, from cakes to teas, from cocktails to salads.

 

 

On Vacation​ – New Travel​ Series: Country Reveal | Champagne Twist

Hello,

So excited to finally reveal which country I visited. Take a look at the video below to find out. Did you guess correctly?

Also, the series preview will be posted on Tuesday followed by a weekly video series, featuring travel hints and tips, food, culture, history and a little adventure thrown in.  Stay tuned to find out more.