To celebrate National Afternoon Tea Week (12th – 18th August 2019), Chris Murgatroyd, Head Chef at De Vere Horwood Estate – a charming mansion house hotel in Milton Keynes – has shared his top tips on how to enjoy the traditional British pastime at home.
The perfect blend
Without doubt the most important element of an afternoon tea is the tea itself. A traditional English Breakfast blend is a firm favourite with guests at De Vere Horwood Estate however, you could tempt your guests with something a little more usual such as a power green tea, for the ultimate teatox, filled with antioxidants and nutrients. Or for the more daring, try a chilli chai tea for that fiery kick. On warmer days, try brewing an iced tea using your favourite tea and add slices of citrus fruits for a refreshing twist.
Sandwiches and scones are the staple of a classic afternoon tea however, you may choose to serve something a little different to cater to everyone’s taste and dietary requirements.
Try experimenting with the fillings in your sandwiches and the flavours of your cakes, for example, you could serve Earl Grey-infused tea cakes, sweet scones with lemon curd, savoury scones with cheddar cheese and chorizo or basil macarons.
Food for thought
Although you may be excited to serve your latest flavoursome concoction, make sure that you keep some of those classic ‘crowd pleasers’ on the menu, namely; egg mayonnaise sandwiches; cucumber with cream cheese and smoked salmon sandwiches; macarons; Battenberg; and éclairs.
Make sure everyone in the group is catered for, and provide more savoury foods such as scotch eggs, quiche and sausage rolls, accompanied with drinks for the non-tea drinkers such as a superfood smoothie for the ultimate health kick.
Dietary requirements now play a huge part of people’s lives with nearly ¼ of the UK now eating a plant-based diet. Include items on your cake stand such as vegan macarons or cakes/ brownies that have been made with avocado as the substitute.
It is hard work being the host and the chef, especially if help is limited, so keep things simple to ensure a stress-free day by preparing as much as you can before your guests arrive.
It’s true that nothing beats a warm scone with lashings of fresh strawberry jam and clotted cream, but you can bake them in advance and then warm them in the oven before serving.
Provide a grown-up treat
Our Champagne Afternoon Tea package is extremely popular with guests being served a glass of Lanson Champagne alongside their tea. Or English sparkling wine provides the perfect alternative to complement to your afternoon tea.
Treat your guests to a glass of CHAFOR Vintage Cuvée, an English sparkling wine from the nearby CHAFOR wine estate. With hints of peach and undertones of baked apple and honeyed fig, it’s perfect paired with afternoon tea.
For an added twist, why not serve your favourite tipple with a splash of elderflower or raspberry liqueur.
Everyone loves a scone and a finger sandwich but if you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to get creative. How about adding a theme? Or even an American twist on a traditional British afternoon tea can be fun and something different. Ditch the macarons and enjoy mini doughnuts.
Set the scene
Afternoon tea isn’t just about delicious sandwiches and cakes, it’s about the whole dining experience from décor to vintage crockery. Rummage in the back of your cupboards and dust off your best cake stands, finest china tea set and polish your silver teapot.
Why not also head to the garden and pick some fresh flowers for a centrepiece, place tea cosies on the table, hang bunting around the room and perhaps create your own personalised menus to wow your guests?
Location, location, location
Why not make the most of the British summertime and take your tea outside. For the perfect opportunity to relax and unwind, explore the great outdoors and bring your afternoon tea with you on a picnic. Or dine al fresco with an afternoon tea set up in your garden so you’re never too far away from your next fresh pot of tea.
Or just relax and let the experts do the work
If this all sounds wonderful but too much of a headache, why not put your feet up and leave it to the experts? Whether you’re with friends or taking a moment for yourself, De Vere Horwood Estate serves traditional afternoon tea in the stylish setting with freshly baked scones with jam and clotted cream as well as finger sandwiches and plenty of sweet treats.
Afternoon Tea is served daily, from 12pm until 4pm and is priced from £19.95 per person.
Milton Keynes Reggae Festival brings stars and sunshine to MK
Milton Keynes Reggae Festival being held in Campbell Park is set to bring some of the biggest names in reggae to Milton Keynes. Taking place on Saturday 14th August, the all day reggae festival will see performances from vintage reggae artists like Aswad, Maxi Priest and arguably the most influential reggae band, The Maytals.
Also performing on the all-day reggae festival are a selection of artists that have taken Reggae to new audiences. These include Lover’s Rock stars Carroll Thompson and Janet Kay, legendary Dub specialists Channel One Sound System (Mikey Dread and Ras Kayleb), The Marley Experience and many more acts.
Limited tickets are available online. Standard tickets are sold out.
Five reasons to attend Milton Keynes Reggae Festival
With such a good lineup, it was hard to pick our favourite artists to see at the festival but we have shortlisted our five favourite reasons to attend the Milton Keynes Reggae Festival.
1. The Maytals Band at Milton Keynes Reggae Festival
The Maytals Band also known as Toots and Maytals are one of the most influential reggae bands of all times. Some even credit the term Reggae to the bands ‘Do The Reggae’ 1968 hit written by the late Toots Hibbert who sadly passed away last September.
The Maytals Band have had numerous international hits including Pressure Drop, 54-56, Funky Kingston and Monkey Man.
2. Aswad at Milton Keynes Reggae Festival
After over fifteen albums and two decades on the music scene, Aswad remains one of Britain’s best-loved reggae bands. With hits such as Don’t Turn Around and Shine, Aswad are a large part of UK reggae history.
3. Maxi Priest at Milton Keynes Reggae Festival
UK Born Max “Maxi Priest” Elliott was born in South London in 1961 and over a ten year period from 1986 to 1996, notched up a string of UK chart hits with two of them hitting the big time in America where Reggae was relatively unknown.
Known best for his international chart hits Wild World and Close To You, Maxi Priest has gone on to have hits with Shabba Ranks (Housecall) and Shaggy (I’m Alright).
4. David Rodigan at Milton Keynes Reggae Festival
David Michael Rodigan MBE or just Rodigan needs no formal introduction. The DJ, Selector and all-around soundclash champion has established himself as a major force on the international reggae scene. His performance on stage at soundclashes across the world are legendary.
5. Hear something different at Milton Keynes Reggae Festival
With such an incredible lineup, you will definitely get to experience something new. Many new musicals genres have come out of Reggae from SKA to rocksteady to Ragga and UK favourite, Drum & Bass. King of Drum & Bass General Levy is also on the Milton Keynes Reggae Festival lineup. Check out this Incredible video of General Levy.
Campbell Park Milton Keynes
Campbell Park managed by The Parks Trust is located in the heart of Milton Keynes, this central city park stretches from the theatre end of Central Milton Keynes down to the Grand Union Canal.
Could this be the biggest clue for a Five Guys in Stevenage?
Regardless of lockdowns and coronavirus, people want food. Fans of Five Guys could be getting a late Christmas present with a new Five Guys in Stevenage. A recent job post on the Five Guys recruitment page for a General Manager in the Stevenage area has got locals excited about the possible arrival of the much loved American Chain.
Could this be the biggest clue for a Five Guys in Stevenage?
Spotted by an eagled eyed member of ‘Stevenage Chit Chat‘, the advert for a General Manager drops a few clues at a possible opening of a Five Guys in Stevenage.
Clue No.1 for a Five Guys in Stevenage – The perfect scene
Nothing cements a clue in a mystery more than a location. The recruitment team have placed a X on the spot and that is 51°54’02.4″N 0°12’33.7″W. For all the normal people reading this, that is Unit 10 in Stevenage Leisure Park. This was home to Pizza Hut since late 2002 but this recent Google treasure map shows the unit is currently empty.
Clue No.2 for a Five Guys in Stevenage – A job for an ‘accomplice’
Did we mention there is a second job advert for a ‘Assistant Manager? If one job advert was not enough proof, two should be enough to convince you that plans are afoot for a Five Guys in Stevenage.
Clue No.3 for a Five Guys in Stevenage – A motive
What more motive do you need than hungry people in Stevenage in need of a good burger? A Five Guys in Stevenage is well overdue. It could even tempt Sir Lewis Hamilton back to Stevenage.
Special offer from our sponsor Sparky Friend
If you only saved £10/week that’s £500 of FREE food making it a real no brainer!
Hertfordshire’s Paradise Wildlife Park sets out reopening plan
Family run Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne is set to reopen later this month with a social distancing strategy that will see a staggered entry system put in place. Less than a week ago, the team were in despair not knowing when they would reopen.
The good news is Paradise Wildlife Park’s official opening date is the 27th of June 2020 for the general public. As one of Hertfordshire’s top destinations, Paradise Wildlife Park’s re-opening will be a godsend to families across the Three Counties and beyond.
You can book tickets for 27th of June 2020 and onwards on their website. Please note you will need to select a time of your arrival so that staff can ensure staggered numbers of visitors entering the park, thus complying with social distancing rules.
The management team at Paradise Wildlife Park are keen to highlight they are working hard to follow all of the government’s advice to ensure social distancing and safety measures are in place to keep all visitors on site safe.
“We have implemented a one-way system, put up regular hand sanitizer stations on site and much more to give you and your family peace of mind that you are safe. We are also limiting the number of tickets available each day to allow plenty of space.”
“We are so excited to finally welcome our visitors, members and supporters back to Paradise Wildlife Park after a long 12 weeks of closure. We are truly grateful for all the support and donations we received and cannot wait to give you the family day out you have been sorely missing.”
Further details on the safety procedures that have been put in place at the park can be view here. Paradise Wildlife Park is a family run wildlife park based in Hertfordshire. It is also a fully registered charity under the Zoological Society of Hertfordshire (charity number 1108609). Paradise Wildlife Park is rated Hertfordshire’s No.1 Attraction and is Europe’s leading zoo for animal experiences. Paradise is home to over 800 animals including tigers, white lions, snow leopards, jaguars, penguins, red pandas, lemurs, monkeys and reptiles, including the largest anaconda on display in the UK.