What’s your favourite tea? I’m addicted to peppermint tea and green tea. Since the beginning of 2021, I have reduced my caffeine intake sothat I sleep more deeply at night. I start my day with hot water and lemon and then green tea is a mild caffeine boost through the morning. After lunch, I switch to peppermint tea. It helps to keep me hydrated and, in this cold weather, I need the comfort of the hot tea. It’s a comfort that I think for many of us reminds us of childhood when the tea would be made to welcome visitors, show friendship, or give some warmth after a cold cycle home from school. I find that, as an adult, I still use tea for these situations. You will never be far through my door before I’m offering you a cup of tea. It’s my way of saying, you’re welcome here.
That’s why our return to Ripley Farmer’s Market on Saturday has left me with such a warm glow. There is nothing better than welcoming customers to the blue caravan with a pot of loose-leaf tea and a warm scone. Plus, the occasional sunshine poking through the clouds has had a great effect on the old mood. It has been such a long time since we last set up the tea shop in Ripley in November and our customers were delighted to see us back. For those of you that haven’t been to Ripley, it’s a huge market with about 50 stalls. It’s one of the best in Surrey and you can see why it has such a good reputation. The range of produce there is phenomenal. Regular customers do their weekly shop at the market because they can purchase everything in one place. We have lots of friends among the stallholders and there is a wonderful supportive atmosphere. It’s run by volunteers who work hard to ensure the smooth running of the market. We love going there because it’s a reminder that humans can be truly wonderful.
In other news, last week I started my crumpet journey. Did you know that crumpets, according to Google, originated in the 17th century. The mixture is similar to a pancake mixture but with extra bicarbonate of soda and yeast. Originally, a crumpet would have been a pikelet and cooked on a griddle. The name originates from the sticky goo that is used to make the pikelet. Have you ever tried to make crumpets? Crumpets are a big challenge for me. It is so difficult to get the holes to pop! How many times have I appreciated the way that the butter melts into those crispy toasted holes? I promise never to take the humble crumpet for granted again. It’s well known that these are not easy to make. There are so many different recipes out there and I am working on writing a recipe that combines all the best bits. I found a Warburtons recipe and have been reading recipes written by Jamie Oliver and recipetineats.com. Once I have mastered the technique, this will be one of the first recipes included on my newsletter. So far, I have discovered that crumpets are all about the hole! I’ve made about 7 batches and the delight I feel when the holes start popping is addictive. Watch out for when we start selling crumpets and marmalade for breakfast at the markets. This will go well with our freshly ground coffee or loose-leaf tea. Who says tea is only for afternoons? Breakfast tea is the height of decadence!
So, now with a happy heart, I am getting back in the swing of all things tea shop and preparing for Horsley Farmer’s Market this Saturday. You may have seen us at Horsley last year. We feel very lucky to be part of the Horsley family and look forward to seeing this fairly young market grow over the next year. Also run by volunteers, Horsley Market started just before the first lockdown and they have been growing stead
ily since then. Like Ripley, Horsley Market has some great stalls run by local producers. So, if you want to reduce that carbon footprint, bring your reusable shopping bag and shop local. There are some gorgeous Mother’s Day gifts to be found at these stalls and you can complete your visit with a vintage afternoon tea with us at the blue caravan.
The week after, we are newbies at Effingham Market on Saturday 26th March. They called us last year to ask us to replace another cake stall because the owner was moving out of the area. We were so chuffed to be recommended and while it’s always nerve-wracking to start somewhere new, they have already welcomed us with open arms. You will find us there with our floral cupcakes just in time for Mother’s Day. You can buy our teas and cakes to take away. As with many other small business owners, it’s going to be a busy weekend for us as we’re also out and about on Mother’s Day. We will be taking the caravan to some lucky mums who will get to enjoy their afternoon tea inside the caravan – the tiniest tea shop in Surrey. We can seat 4 people at the table inside the caravan while serving fresh, warm scones, cake and sandwiches. For anyone who loves small world play, the caravan is like playing in a grown-up dolls house! My daughter loves small world and, even at 12 years old, still loves to play with her dolls house. There’s something about tiny food and tiny furniture. The caravan is a bit like that. It’s a mini tea shop on wheels. Perhaps that’s why I love it so much. It’s a throwback to my own childhood dolls house games I suppose.
So, we look forward to seeing you at one of our events. You will find us smiling and brewing tea. Join us and forget the world for a moment because tea makes everything better.
Lots of love