Afternoon Tea for Mother’s Day


Afternoon Tea is a special ritual and must be simple but perfect…

First off, we are extremely fussy about preserving the ritual of a proper afternoon tea.  After all, it’s not a regular feast and therefore, no room for messing about.  The thing is, it’s about dipping spoons into fragrant jams and decadent cream and not faffing around with sticky fingers to open mini jam jars or scrape open pats of butter.

Serving a fresh cream tea is a visual feast as the food is fairly simple, so there is just no excuse for sloppy serving…

So, we have a few basic rules here…nothing to do with etiquette, which is stuffy and dull…afternoon tea as a pleasurable experience, not an endurance test.  It is all and only to do with the quality of the food:

  • The finest quality ingredients and ideally, homemade.
  • As above – quality jam.  Nothing seedless or served in a plastic pouch.  If you must buy it then min 60% fruit.
  • NEVER serve pre-packaged scones (what??).
  • Use a good strong English Breakfast tea, preferably loose leaf.
  • A soft English sparkling wine works even better than champagne or prosecco.

So, the scones…

Scones will make a or break a good afternoon tea. They should be made as close to the eating as possible and should be light and fresh, not leaden and puddingy.

There are many recipes for scones, but the key thing here is not to overwork the dough.  I think there is an old cooking proverb that sagely says something like ‘a good scone is made in a hurry’.

From How to Make Scones

Recipe Yoghurt Scones

There are two techniques that can be used to make these scones irresistible: preheating the baking tray and stacking and pressing out the dough a few times to create mouthwatering, feathery layers.

Makes 12
140g spelt or wholemeal flour
155g plain flour, plus more if needed
1½ tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
115g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
310g creamy yoghurt
1 Preheat the oven to 230C/450F/gas mark 8. Place an ungreased baking tray in the oven.

2 Combine the flours, salt and baking powder in a food processor. Sprinkle the butter across the top of the dry ingredients and pulse about 20 times, or until the mixture resembles tiny pebbles. Add the yoghurt and pulse a few more times, until the yoghurt is just incorporated. Avoid overmixing; it’s fine if there are a few dry patches.

3 Gather the dough into a ball and turn it out on to a lightly floured surface. Knead five times and press into a 2½cm-thick square. Cut in half and stack one on the other. Repeat two more times – flattening and stacking, then cutting. Add more plain flour to prevent sticking when needed.

4 Press or roll out the dough into a 2cm-thick rectangle. Cut the dough into 12 scones.

5 Transfer the scones to the preheated baking tray leaving 1½cm between each scone. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the bases are deeply golden and the scones are cooked through. Eat them hot:  Whether cream or jam first – your choice!

This recipe is adapted from The Guardian

Afternoon Tea for Mother’s Day

Hemp – a Local Superfood

It’s been a while since we’ve written – It’s been a busy few months launching our local produce hampers and finding all new producers and growers and the time has just slipped by…  So here is an introduction to one of our new producers:

Anyone who knows us, knows we have a bit of a mission to prove we can be regionally as self sufficient as possible, without compromising on delicious food.  So, with that in mind, we have been looking beyond the basic food staples for things that will pique interest and keep food something to look forward to.

But, even though we eat lots of fresh food, there is always room for improvement.  But good food doesn’t necessarily mean particularly rich or sweet – but access to ingredients that enhance or develop a good dish.

Why Hemp?

Hemp Flower

One of the key ingredients to healthy eating this year is humble Hemp.  Hemp is the  superfood that is on everyone’s lips at the moment as a new concept in healthy eating, but that seems a little strange as this is the staple crop of our ancestors…used from clothes production to food.

In fact, one of the oldest relics of human industry is a piece of hemp fabric dating back to approx 8,000 BC.  Our ancestors clearly knew it as a useful crop and it was grown extensively to provide materials for the British Navy in the 16th century…riggings, pendants, pennants, sales and even maps, log books and Bibles.

Hemp Rigging

Hemp is a sustainable crop, which is hardy and grows well in most soil types. A perfect crop for the 21st century landscape as it provides not only food but also prevents weed growth, as it is a more prolific plant than the weeds that compete – so is basically organic by it’s strength and speed of growth.

It fell out of favour post-war as the fashion for synthetic fabrics took root – so our generation has lost the association and hemp immediately springs cannabis to mind (which is a different variety of the plant completely, by the way).

Why is Hemp good for you?

65% of hemp seeds protein content is Edestin which is unique to the plant. As a globular protein it is easily absorbed by the human body and is known for cell regeneration and boosting the immune system. The remaining 35% is comprised of Albumin (also found in egg whites), also a readily digestible globular protein, which promotes nutrient uptake in the blood.

Hemp seeds contain all essential amino acids that are needed to stay healthy, including some that our bodies cannot produce themselves and have to come from our diet. Without them, the body would be unable to build and repair proteins, such as muscles.

Hemp seeds have a high quantity of perfectly-balanced Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 3, 6 and 9), which are good aids to neurological function and promoters of cardiovascular health.  They are also a fabulous source of Omega EFAs for vegetarians and vegans.

Where does our Hemp come from?

The hemp is grown 100% naturally, with no chemicals or additives, at the foot of the South Downs in West Sussex. Vitality Hemp was founded in 2014 by 29 year old Nathaniel Loxley, one of only eight Home Office licence holders to grow hemp in the UK.

Vitality Hemp products are made with love and respect for the plant. Production is kept as resourceful as possible by growing the raw material, processing it locally and developing it into new and innovative products using every aspect of the plant.


Recipe – Hemp and Walnut Loaf

Our Walnut and Hemp Loaf – Sorry terrible picture (taken quickly as we had nearly finished the SECOND loaf)

This is a delicious, slightly dense loaf with a smooth nutty flavour.  The Hemp gives a slightly grassy note and really brings out the taste of the walnuts. We dipped hunks of this in Carrot Soup slathered with fresh Sussex salted butter and it was a dish fit for a king….



  • 450g Strong wholemeal bread flour
  • 200g Stoneground Rye flour
  • 30g Hemp protein powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 x 7g Sachet dried yeast
  • 1½ tbsp raw honey
  • 200g walnut halves, roughly chopped


  • In a large bowl,mix together the flours, hemp protein powder and salt. Make a well in the centre.
  • Re-activate the yeast by mixing it in a small bowl with the honey and 230 ml warm water.
  • Pour the yeast mixture into the well of the flours and leave to stand for 15 minutes.
  • Add another 230 ml of water to the bowl and gradually mix in the flours, making a soft but not sticky dough.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth.
  • Add the walnuts and knead for another 2-3 minutes then return to a greased bowl, cover and leave to rise for 2 hours until doubled in size.
  • Knock back the dough, knead again for 2 minutes and then divide into two portions.
  • Shape each one and place on a baking sheet. Cover and again leave to rise for 1 ½ hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F) Gas Mark 7.
  • Slash the top of each loaf three times and bake for 15 minutes and then lower the oven temperature to 190°C (375°F)
  • Gas Mark 5 and continue to bake for 20-30 minutes, until the loaves sound hollow when tapped underneath.
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack.


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Hemp – a Local Superfood