The REAL TeaseMaid since 2011! Take a peep at my blog: a sweet and sexy cocktail of Tea and Tease, a cupcake and cream-tea blog with a burlesque twist. Let's face it, afternoon tea is the most fun you can have with your clothes on! So read on for some tasty tit-bits that you're not gonna get from the 'old dears' at The Tea Guild.... ;-) If you fancy coming along to my monthly Clandestine Cake Club, see the link below. And don't forget to check out the date of my next 'Avon' retro cosmetic party "Cake It On".... Love from The TeaseMaid xox

Friday, 7 December 2012

Afternoon Tea Review

'The Reform Social and Grill' at The Mandeville Hotel
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…and for me that means several things: The Rockabilly Christmas album, the movie ‘Elf’, food and booze - and not much else until January.
Given that my whole reason for setting up this blog is to review afternoon tea, I thought it was about time I headed off for a ‘festive’ themed one so I could do the job properly (like I needed an excuse to munch mini mince pies and quaff mulled wine…) Also, in the name of proper scientific testing I had a ‘control’ to measure against (remember that from GCSE science?) which means I went for a ‘festive’ tea at a place I’d already been to so I could compare. I take it dead seriously, me.
So I headed to The Reform Grill and Social @ The Mandeville Hotel with my long suffering other half who is continually forced to imbibe champers and eat mini fondant fancies in my serious quest to impart knowledge of afternoon teas to the public. I opted for this one in particular as they had a free unlimited champagne offer with the festive tea, which is the same reason we went the first time back in September.
It’s a really nicely decorated place (as you can see from the above pics) – it’s new so it’s squeaky clean and it’s in a good location so no complaints there. Another bonus is that they offer two different afternoon teas: for the ladies they have a ‘Vintage afternoon tea’ but there is also a ‘Gentlemen’s Afternoon Tea’ and when we first went there the gents was better and I was jealous! Instead of finger sandwiches, the gents get a piece of pork pie, a mini burger and steak and snails on a bruschetta! 
In comparison, the lady gets 4 finger sandwiches. Sorry but this is one occasion where 4 fingers will not fill the hole (ahem...) Also, the sandwiches aren’t even good. They’ve obviously been made ahead so they’re crispy on the outside where they're getting stale, and there's not much filling inside at all.
You can therefore imagine how happy Mr Carla was when he saw that the special ‘festive’ afternoon tea was being offered alongside the usual Gents menu. I didn’t learn from my September mistake and went for the ladies festive this time (in the name of research…) but he stuck with his tried and tested favourite.
We got drinks to begin with (an Old Fashioned for the man and a mulled wine for the lady) which is great. You can’t go wrong with mulled wine, or mulled anything for that matter. We also got a glass of champagne straight away too, which was nice.

And we received our tea as well (they have an extensive list to choose from.) I went for their own Mandeville blend but my man likes their black tea with vanilla and they’re both delicious. There was an awful lot to drink at once though!
I was excited for them to bring out the food and when they did the Gents looked amazing but the ladies was still a bit pitiful. So this time I thought I’d ask if I can have extra sandwiches after I'd finished mine in about 1 minute flat and they said it would cost extra!! Now in some places its free to have extra sandwiches (for example, in Volupte Lounge they’re very generous) so paying £3 for that pitiful array is not good news. However the issue was compounded when I was told that if I wanted to purchase the Gent’s platter (of pork pie, burger, steak, snails etc) it would cost £4. That’s a great price and makes the £3 sarnies seem yet more ridiculous. I don't know what they're thinking! I would have been tempted to do that but of course we had scones and cakes to get through so I just waited for Mr Carla to devour his delicious platter and readied myself for the sweet part.
The cranberry scones were really nice, the jam came in individual little jars and the clotted cream was delicious!! And there was enough for two scones each. (There's nothing worse than having to spread microscopically thin layers of anything onto dry scones...)
Also the cakes were nice and they did fit the festive theme: there was a mini mince pie, dundee christmas cake and an almond crumble. However I have had incredible cakes before so really I just weighed up the pros an cons of the whole meal when reviewing this. For example it says on the menu "dark chocolate yule log" so I was expecting a mini log on the plate. But it actually seemed to be a piece of mini yule log so I felt that was a bit misleading...
However, given that we had 4 glasses of champagne in total (it may have been prosecco but it was really nice and I'm happy with either) as well as the cocktail I'd say this is definitely one to go for when they have the unlimited champagne offer on. The link to it is here and it runs until 23rd of Jan on Friday, Saturday and Sunday http://www.afternoontea.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1399&Itemid=1 
It's a great place to head to after your Christmas shopping and I would suggest that if you go for the Ladies tea (which is the festive one) then ask if you can pay £1 extra to get the mens platter for your savoury portion so you can get the festive treats :) xxx
"Sip"-tease rating *****
Pa"Tease"erie Rating ***
Boudoir or Boring Rating****
Cheap or Chic Rating ** (or **** with champagne offer)
PS - I will be posting all afternoon tea offers on here in the future so subscribe for quick updates!!


Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Shoreditch Clandestine Cake Club (6)
"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree: A 1950's Kitschmas"
I think the whole reason I wanted to do this theme was because I discovered The Love Shake in Shoreditch and I wanted a good reason to spend a lot of time in there. It's a cute, tiny 50's style diner right at the end of Kingsland Road and not far from where we had our "Monarchy Anarchy" Jubilee Cake Club (http://www.afternoon-tease.blogspot.co.uk/2012_08_01_archive.html). Look at the cute interior!

The Love Shake was the perfect place to don my Vivien of Holloway cupcake dress too, of course, and I always like to have an excuse to set my hair - in fact icing my cake with my rollers in always makes me feel like I'm in Edward Scissorhands... I'm not sure why!
I found the perfect retro recipe for a 50's kitsch-mas on a genuine vintage advert that was taken off the back of a Swans Down Flour box.
 It's a weird recipe with so many eggs in it and of course the tackiest ingredient ever...Glace cherries!! I even kitsched it up more by making glace cherry and fondant holly for the top and covering the whole thing in those little silver balls that nearly crack your teeth. I was really pleased with how it looked though as it fit the theme well, although it wasn't quite as white as the illustration.

The other girls brought cakes that were just as retro - we had a gingerbread Christmas Tree, a peach Christmas wreath, a spiced apple bundt cake and a fruit loaf with a lovely tree on it.

We had a 1950's 'fill in the blanks style quiz' which ended in a tense, nail-biting tie-breaker question at the end ;) It was a picture question and I was dismayed to find that the girls in question didn't know who this lovely pin-up was:
Diana Dors - for future reference!!
I think you'll have to get yourselves to my "Cake It On!" vintage AVON tea parties more in future ladies... ;) xox

Cake It On: www.make-upbake-up.blogspot.co.uk
The Love Shake: www.theloveshake.co.uk
To join the Clandestine Cake Club network go to www.clandestinecakeclub.co.uk and search for my Shoreditch group :)

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Fancy a Double-D Cup (cake)?
I'm really excited and honoured to be a part of the new campaign from Coppafeel. It's called Cake O'Clock and starts later this month. 
Coppafeel is a breast cancer charity aimed at raising awareness in younger women after its founder, Kristin, was diagnosed with Breast Cancer at just 23. See more info about Kristin on their site: http://www.coppafeel.org/
The Cake O'Clock appeal will aim to get people across the country to have a bake sale and raise money for the charity from November 20th. But it's not just any cakes - it's boob cakes! And why not? Cupcakes come in various sizes, as do boobs. 
One thing I learned from our Eat Your Heart Out 2012 project is that cake is a fantastic way to engage people with a topic that's important. Also, my experience fronting the Shoreditch Clandestine Cake Club has shown me that cake is a sharey-lovely way to get to know people, chat and generally have a good time.
The amazing Miss Insomnia Tulip who created the anatomical breast cake below will be donating one of these to auction off during the event in Islington on the 24th:

I will be making smaller boob cakes but I will be flavouring them Vanilla as it is said that men enjoy vanilla as it reminds them of their mother's breast milk! Who knows if that's true but it's a good experiment to see how many cakes I can flog to the boyfriends of the attendees. All money goes to Coppafeel of course :)
See more info about how you can get involved here:
Coppafeel have patrons such as Fearne Cotton who are young, funky and stylish and their charity events reflect the youth and enthusiasm of the organisers. Recently, they had a Boobie "Flash Mob" in St Christopher's place off Oxford Street and it looked like so much fun! You can see the footage for yourself:

I was so impressed by this I mentioned it on a recent podcast I did for Londonist Out Loud. I wanted to talk the flash mob for ages but alas we also had to get through various other cake and death topics. If you have an hour and fancy hearing more about Eat Your Heart Out and the other events at the Pathology Museum where I work you can listen here:
I'll be updating with more Cake O'Clock details as I get them but for now please do check out their website. You can apply to have text reminders for boob checks and you can even get your boyfriend involved. I got mine to name my boobs for the purpose of the text reminder and he opted for Mickey and Mallory... What names can you come up with? xox

Thursday, 1 November 2012

'Pumpkin Pie' Cheesecake

Years ago when I first started baking it was quite difficult to find recipes for things such as Pumpkin Pie. I'm showing my age a bit here but I used to have to read - wait for it - BOOKS to get a recipe. There was no surfing the net...well certainly not in my house. So if you couldn't find an American baking book anywhere you were stuffed.
Then, on actually discovering a recipe, I'd have to use the left over flesh from my actual pumpkin carving to make the cakes as it certainly wasn't available anywhere in cans! Life is easier now and Waitrose is one of a good few places to sell canned pumpkin puree but if you do have flesh left over from carving then that can be used too.
I know enough about baking to put together my own Pumpkin Pie inspired cheesecake just for something s little different so read on for the best Halloween recipe you'll ever eat (in my humble opinion...)

Biscuit Base:
220g Digestive Biscuits
100g Unsalted Butter, melted
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp all spice
Dead easy - bung it all in a bowl and mix.
(Obviously you're supposed to make the biccies into crumbs first and my method is to throw them all into bowl and bash the crap out of them with the end of a rolling pin #CakeRage) Then just pour in melted butter and spices and mix up.
I'd say use a 20cm springform tin and put baking paper on the bottom, greased. Also grease around the walls of the tin with butter too. This is a baked cheesecake (New York style) and as it cooks you want the cheese filling to be able to peel away from the sides of the tin) Now you can spread your biscuit mix onto the paper and leave to chill for 30 min (ish)

700g full-fat cheese (3 1/2 tubs)
120g golden caster sugar
1 tsp all spice
3 large eggs
150g tinned pumpkin or pumpkin puree
When you're ready to make this bit, heat your oven to Gas Mark 3 (160C) - nice and low.
The cheese, sugar and spice can all be creamed together, then add the eggs one at a time making sure each is mixed well before you add the next. Then pop in your garish pumpkin flesh or puree (it will become a much less offensive Magnolia colour...)
This mixture can now be poured onto your chilled biscuit base. Put the whole thing into a bain-marie (i.e. a roasting tin big enough to fit your cheesecake tin in and add a few cm of water to.) Again this is because during cooking you don't want it to dry out too much and crack - the steam from the tin will keep the cheese soft and moist. If you're worried about water seeping into your springform tin (believe me the LAST thing you want is soggy biscuits...) then wrap tin foil around the bottom. I also popped foil around the top to stop it browning too quickly as it needs to stay in the oven for 50-55 min. When out it should look like this, then leave it to cool for a good long time (2-3 hrs):

50g walnuts or pecans
50g butter
85g muscovado sugar (or similar)
Again, bung in the pan and melt together then throw/slather it all over the top of your cheesecake. Wait to cool again (yes...it's tough to wait so I suggest licking your bowl and spatula for the time being) and eventually devour.
If you give this recipe a go, let me know how it turns out and I apologise in advance for your Diabetes...xox

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

EYHO - Funeral Biscuits

A Sugar & Spice (and not-so-nice) History of Funeral Biscuits

As part of my involvement in Eat Your Heart Out 2012, I gave a lecture and presentation to over 100 journalists on press night. The lecture was about one of my favourite topics - Victorian Funeral Biscuits - and was based on an article I wrote a while back. It was entitled 'Mourning Coffee' and was all about the link between cake (or various sweet foods) and death...yes, there IS one! You can read the full article here: http://www.afternoon-tease.blogspot.co.uk/p/mourning-coffee.html and do e-mail me if you have any questions.
The above biscuits were made by Tasha and Fi of the food curiosity company Animal Vegetable Mineral and we gave them out during the first British Biscuit Festival. She recreated the recipe for the press night so as well as anatomical cakes and lots of Kraken Rum, the attendees had them to try as well. Spoilt!
It's Halloween tomorrow (my favourite holiday) so expect many more posts about my random spokky baking adventures over the next few days.
Until next time xox

Monday, 29 October 2012

My 'Tease Maid' Necklace

Bete Noire Jewellery
As part of Eat Your Heart Out 2012 I was asked to do several broadcast interviews. I wanted to make sure I had a personalised necklace from the fantastic Beth Noire to wear and many people asked me where it was from so here is the link: http://www.betenoirejewellery.com
I opted for the large double heart version and of course I chose Tease Maid to personalise it:

It's the cutest thing I've ever seen - I literally squealed when I opened it (and honestly squealing is NOT something I would ever do without good reason!) Look at the tiny spoon and sugar cubes! I'm just in love with it and have already decided on other things I want to buy and in fact a friend of mine, Zoe, has purchased one too :)

I also did a radio podcast interview for Londonist Out Loud and I wore the necklace then (and yes I do realise that people couldn't see it on the radio...) so I'll pop the link here for you in case you want to hear me discuss flagellation, scousers, cake and drilling holes in someone's head. Random, - but these are the things I know about......
This is a fairly short post as I'm recovering from the incredible #EYHO - I'm having a nice day off, baking Halloween goodies and watching Addams Family in preparation for Halloween, so expect more soon xox

Monday, 8 October 2012

Eat Your Heart Out 26th-28th October

Official EYHO Shoot!
I was so honoured to be a part of the photoshoot for the event which is going to combine cake and Pathology and is happening at my pathology museum (St Bart's) this October (for full details click on the tab at the top of the page).

Here is an example of the pics:
Photos: @NathanPask. Styling: @katieantoniou @shinythoughts
Hair: @Holly_Rudge.  Make-up: @EmAlexandraMUA
Edible necklace by Miss Insomnia Tulip: @missinsomniatul
I'm with a cake made by Lashanthie Chandrapala of 'Leshie Loves Cake' (orders to leshielovescake@gmail.com) which looked exactly like flesh with a syringe in but smelt divine and was difficult to resist while trying to pose...!
Other contributions will include those below:
STD Box Set by Two Little Cats

'Fungus Toe Cookies' by Nevie Pie Cakes
Breast Anatomy cupcake by M.I Tulip (The Biscuit Barrel)
The aim of the event is to combine my two loves: Pathology and baking into one large public engagement extravaganza to teach people about medicine, anatomy and disease in a totally new way. Co-curated with the notorious Miss Cakehead (http://evilcakes.wordpress.com/), who I previously worked with on the Resident Evil 6 launch, this is going to be an incredibly unique experience so get yourself down. If you'd like to volunteer in some way, contact me the teasemaid@gmail.com xox

Two Little Cats  - jenni.powell@yahoo.co.uk
Nevie Pie Cakes - nevie-pie@hotmail.ac.uk 
The Biscuit Barrel - orders@thebiscuitbarrel.com
Katie Antoniou - http://www.katieantoniou.com/
Nathan Pask - http://nathanpask.com/

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Shoreditch Clandestine Cake Club - Meeting 5: "Whodunnit?"
Do I pass for Miss Scarlett?
Far more people than expected descended on an unsuspecting, dimly lit pub last Monday night. I had chosen the location for its red velvety walls, dark turquoise furnishings and plenty of wood as I thought it would be a good place for a Cluedo-inspired Cake Club. The theme was pretty much any 'super-sleuth' you could think of but considering Cluedo was first made in 1949 and that's pretty much my favourite era, I chose the glamorous Miss Scarlett for my own costume inspiration:

Others went with Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple and Mrs Peacock:
Madeline as Poirot and Caroline as Marple
The lovely Polly as Mrs Peacock, complete with Peacock feather
The cakes were absolutely fantastic and I was so impressed with the different interpretations of the theme. I had opted for a fairly simple 'Miss Marble' cake as I had a lot of other things to do for the evening...namely my hair..! However, the array of cakes was totally amazing and I wish I could've taken pics of them all. Here's just a few:
'Miss Marble' and 'upside-down Professor Plum' cakes
'Tom Banana-by Midsomer' cake, Belgian Chocolate Moustache cake and 'Columbo coffee cake'
Pistachioed Moustachioed Belgian Choc cake, 'Colonel Custard and Miss Scarlett cake' and 'Mrs Peacock cake'
Martha's sponge cake with jelly gun!
My initial plan had been for us to split into teams of two and play Cluedo - I brought two boxes of it with me and tons of pencils and prizes. But the pub was so dim, we couldn't see a thing and there were really far too many of us. Thankfully I had a back-up plan of my 'fill in the blanks of the famous detective's name' game. It even included a picture round :) It was obviously quite difficult as can be seen by these ladies trying desperately to work out if Colombo even had a first name (Incidentally Debbie, Bergerac's first name was not 'Cyrano de') haha
After 2 tiebreakers (it really was nail-biting stuff) the winner received a brand new CSI box-set. (By 'new' I mean, it was in plastic packaging...it was actually Season 1 but it's not bad for free!) I also had an array of little prizes in evidence bags. You can just see the mini Cluedo playing cards and magnetic bookmark with a noose on it. There was also a Miss Scarlett compact mirror:
The rest of the evening was spent discussing our favourite detectives and enjoying cake, although I'm pretty certain that in the darkness everyone was suddenly expecting to trip over my bleeding corpse and have to find out Whodunnit. I might save that for my birthday party....
At the end of the night, Zoe ran off with my rather fetching Crime Scene tape and I forgot my tupperware so I took cake home in evidence bags:

Thanks so much everyone for coming and eating cake in the dark and expecting to be clubbed over the head with a candlestick at any moment. And thanks so much to Lynn Hill for devising the Clandestine Cake Club and giving me a reason to get people together to act nuts and dress-up once a month. Hope to see you all at the next one :) xx
Go to http://clandestinecakeclub.co.uk/ to join the network, then click on my Shoreditch group to join us :) For info on how to do hair and make-up, go to my vintage site at http://www.make-upbake-up.blogspot.co.uk/ xx

Monday, 10 September 2012

'The Park Lounge' at The Milestone Hotel, Kensington
Despite the fact that we just had a heatwave, we have crossed the threshold into September and that means it's Autumn. Does anyone else remember years ago we'd be getting ready for our new school term and purchasing new tights and jumpers and a 'big coat'? As the years have passed it's like the seasons are getting later and now September is fairly summery for us. Even most of winter is quite mild until we get to Jan and Feb and freeze our asses off... Oh, bring back cold September mornings with the smell of burning leaves in the air and chestnuts underfoot!
Anyway, musing aside, I absolutely LOVE Autumn - it's my favourite time of year. All the great things happen: Halloween, Bonfire Night, My Birthday (to name a few. E-mail me for details of the latter...) and of course you can mull cider and wine so you have a great excuse to drink all day, especially if you're at a market or in the park.
I've decided to start reviewing some great autumnal places to fit in with the time of year and I recently went to The Milestone Hotel, basically because in the pics on the web it looked like Sherlock Holmes' drawing room, or a place where Oscar Wilde may have sipped champagne and dreamed up 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'
You can see what I mean: rows of books, soft lighting, velvet and giant paintings - The Milestone really didn't disappoint. The only thing is that photographs of places tend to make us imagine there are blanks to be filled in with our minds so I pictured this room with its grandiose decor as much larger than it was. It was gorgeous but it's really only the size of someone's lounge in their house.
That's quite nice though - it's not a negative. Less space = less people and noise (yes - I am an old person and I want to be able to hear my conversations...) so me and my guest (the lovely Amanda Sutton from Amanda's autopsies who I met during Taxidermy and Tea, see here for that review and her details http://afternoon-tease.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/taxidermy-and-tea.html) thoroughly enjoyed it.
The problem with reviewing tea for a magazine or similar publication is they treat you really well because they know who you are. Amanda and I were treated like royalty with a free full afternoon tea as well as champagne. The food was truly delicious with the typical finger sandwiches: smoked salmon, egg and watercress and ham and mustard to name a few. However there were a couple of very strange circular chicken mayonnaise sandwiches that had been rolled in chopped almonds that neither of us particularly liked (you can see them in the pic). Perhaps if they were Coronation Chicken circles the almonds would make sense, but with only mayo the combination was a bit strange.
The cakes were gorgeous but I think it's fairly difficult to go wrong with any kind of cake! We kept ourselves busy with mini eclairs, Black Forest cupcakes, almond financiers and coffee macaroons etc, and the room was very silent for that little episode...
Despite it being gorgeous it was also filling, so we had to ask for a doggy bag to take the rest of the cakes home. The Milestone provide you with a little carrying box plus handles so you can take them home in a dainty little case - however, I totally forgot to bring ours with me so that was a little fail right there :(
All in all it was a lovely ambient place to have a civilised afternoon tea with beautiful decor, gentle piano music drifting in from the conservatory and very helpful staff and I certainly want to go again and take tea in the conservatory itself (it has a totally different feel to the Lounge and would be lovely after a shopping trip with the girls):
Head to the conservatory if you want to extend your summer but if you want to speed up the cosiness of autumn then do what I did and go to the Park Lounge xox


Blog content