This week we will be celebrating the birthday of Dame Agatha Christie. We felt it only fitting that today’s “Monday Munchies” feature something present in virtually all of her stories- a cup of proper English tea. If you have never had a proper English tea, set aside a bit of time this week to brew a pot and enjoy a cuppa with your loved ones.
As always, we begin with supplies: a ceramic teapot, a tea kettle or pan for boiling water, ceramic cups and saucers, milk (not cream!), sugar (loose or cubes) and good quality black tea. While some will swear that you must use loose teas and a strainer, there are many fine choices of tea bags- we prefer PG Tips.
Fill the teapot with warm water and cover with your tea cosy or wrap in a kitchen towel. Do not skip this step- you need to start with a warm pot for the best results.
Set the filled kettle on to boil. Just prior to reaching the boiling point, pour the warm water out of your teapot. (No need to waste it-pour it into another container to cool and it is perfectly fine for future use.) For each measured cup of water (8 ounces), add 1 teaspoon (or tea bag) of tea, plus”one for the pot”.
As soon as the kettle begins to boil, remove it from the heat and pour the water into the tea-filled teapot. Replace the lid and cosy (or kitchen towel) and allow to brew for 3-5 minutes. Once the tea has brewed to your satisfaction it is imperative that you remove the tea bags (or loose tea in strainer). If you leave the tea in the pot it will continue to steep, resulting in a bitter brew!
To serve the tea, pour a splash of milk into the cup, then fill cup with the brewed tea. If desired, stir in a bit of sugar. Proper English tea never uses cream or lemon. Children may prefer a higher milk to tea ratio, with a generous spoonful of sugar.
Although it is possible to just drink the tea, where is the fun in that? There are many tea biscuits (cookies) made especially for dipping, we love these. Maybe you prefer a scone, or a piece of Victorian Sponge? Finger sandwiches and sausage rolls? Tea can be as simple or elaborate as you desire.