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

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Shoreditch CCC/Death Cafe "Mash Up"

My last 'Clandestine Cake Club'
You may have noticed this blog isn't being updated as much as it used to be and that's because I'm getting way too busy now! As much as I love running the Shoreditch branch of the Clandestine Cake Club and reviewing afternoon tea, it's becoming apparent that with my job and the fact that I'm writing a book about the museum's collection (as well as starting a CILT course) I just can't dedicate as much time to it as I'd like! I'm still blogging a lot, although mainly from the page I set up for my museum which describes the conservation of the specimens.
So with all that in mind I decided to make my last ever CCC a 'Death Cafe' themed event, since death is the area I work in and is very close to my heart. Death Café is a concept created in Sweden as a way for people to talk about death and have their questions answered in a relaxing environment with nice cake, comforting hot tea and good company. It's not a bereavement support group, more a facilitated discussion.
Death Café events will have a qualified person to lead the discussion, and many of them will be therapists and bereavement counsellors or similar. I am a qualified person working in the death industry but in a different way: physical rather than mental. As a Mortuary Technician I'm able to answer questions about the aspects of death which affect the body etc rather than the emotional impact, so that's what we focussed on last night.
First I have to say the cakes were amazing! I was so impressed with the effort everyone made. Look at the ones below!:
By Louise
'Masque of the Red Death' By Rebecca
Amanda's 'Scheele's Green Arsenic' Cakes
Kirstin's 'Death By Carrot' Cake with grave saying 'Fluffy'!
By Louise (well, mainly Steven)
I opted to make a 'GingerDead Men' cake which was sticky ginger sponge decorated with white chocolate. The GingerDead Men are made using a cookie cutter and stamp which I purchased but I have to say it was really difficult to find a recipe to make these work properly - it's a shame they don't have a 'suggested' recipe on the box. I've had a lot of trial and error and a lot of deformed and decapitated Gingerbread Men on my hands over the last few weeks! I'll post the recipe for the biscuits on this blog in autumn if people would like it.
My GingerDead Men
The links to the Death Café and CCC sites are in the above text and if you'd like any more information then do get in touch. I won't be holding any more myself but hopefully a Death café event will be a part of a larger conference I'm holding at Barts Pathology Museum in the new year. In the same was as Death Café, the event will be a chance for people to come together and comfortable/intellectually discuss death in a relaxed environment.
The more we know about death, the more we can become comfortable with it. Knowledge is power and can help us understand life and death. In fact, in certain circumstances, knowledge can help us to delay death - for example knowing basic first aid and knowing how to look after your body or how to spot signs of illness. All these things are important to discuss and that's what Death Café can help facilitate. (For more cake and death related info see my article on Funeral Biscuits entitled Mourning Coffee) xox
Cross Bones Cake by Helen
"3 Milk Mexican Day of the Dead" Cake by Jordi

Friday, 22 March 2013

Dillinger's/Sapphire Lounge (Liverpool)

1920s Afternoon Tea
Many moons ago I watched the movie Public Enemies with Johnny Depp because I literally devour any film set in the '20s, '30s or '40s, and I fell in LOVE with Marion Cotillard's wardrobe amongst other things. The glitz and glamour and gangsters (and gin) of the depression era always appeal to me, so you can imagine how crazed I was when I discovered a bar called 'Dillingers' serving afternoon tea in sumptuous Art Deco surroundings,. However, this little jewel is NOT in London...it's in my beloved home town of Liverpool. This is wonderful news for Liverpool but really annoying for me having relocated to London 6 years ago... Anyway, it was a perfect excuse for a working holiday so I scheduled it into my diary and off I went.
The first thing that struck me was the fantastic music which was nearly era perfect (it was a mix of '30s and '40s tunes but that's fine - I was just relieved it wasn't something like Justin Bieber, whos fans I had to spend all weekend running from as his entourage was in my hotel). The decor was spectacular with the signature clean Art Deco lines, tiffany style lamps and fixtures, and sumptuous sofas, but the added flat screens with moving flame images all along one wall were unusual and gave the bar real warmth.
Then the waitress came to take our drinks order and she was dressed in '20s gangster's moll garb so by now we were really feeling like we'd gone back in time.
We opted (appropriately) for hooch to start and my other half was pleased to see they had 'proper' cocktails on the menu - real depression era concoctions of gin and bourbon and more gin. I went for a boring Prosecco (I'm not sure why now!) but ther was plenty of time for cocktails afterwards too.
They arrived quickly, and not long after we also had a pretty afternoon tea stand with all the usual suspects - finger sandwiches, scones and mini patisserie and Art Deco plates
The sandwiches were delicious and included salmon, which I think is an indication of a good quality afternoon tea, as well as egg, cucumber and cream cheese. I think Mr Carla would've liked some meat in there though.... The scones were moist and there was plenty of clotted cream (my pet hate is having to thinly scrape cream onto scones: I want DOLLOPS of the stuff) and individual jam pots so no fighting over that either.
The cakes included mini versions of lemon curd, chocolate sponge, apple pie and walnut cake and by the end of it we were really stuffed. However, I just had to try the namesake's cocktail on the menu 'Dillinger's Punch' which was a teapot and 2 tea-cups so I ordered that as a digestif. I was so pleased when it came in one of these pretty Hendricks Tea Sets!
It was so delicious! I won't tell you what was in it - you'll just have to go there and see for yourself and believe me you should go. The thing I forget (living in London) is that you CAN get a very good afternoon tea for under £20 and you can get a good cocktail for around £5 so it was a really lovely afternoon that cost me hardly anything and I'd definitely recommend it.
The tea is served in The Sapphire Loung which is the upstairs part of the bar and this is the website for all information: http://www.ludusbar.co.uk/
Downstairs in true speakeasy style (behind a bookshelf) is a hidden doorway into Dillingers which can also be hired for your own events and the best website for that is here: http://www.sapphirelounge.co.uk/dillingers/ so be sure to check them out. the staff were attentive, the food and drinks were fabulous, the prices were great and I could have literally stayed for hours xox
"Sip"-tease rating *****
Pa"Tease"erie Rating ****
Boudoir or Boring Rating*****
Cheap or Chic Rating *****
(This is one of my Highest rated teas ever! )

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

"Eat Hearts, Sweethearts" Valentine's CCC

Pots of Tea Among the 'Pots'
Despite the current fascination with anatomy, and trends in 'subverting-the-form' when it comes to old ideas, I have to say Valentine's Day has ALWAYS been about anatomical hearts for me. In one way or another I've worked with Anatomy and Pathology for 10 years so the association has been a long one. I explored actual anatomical heart cakes in my project 'Eat Your Heart Out' (above) but for this CCC I just thought it would be nice to have my Pathology Museum (@BartsPathology) as the venue so that those who had never been could have a sneak peek at this amazing building, amongst the pathological 'pots' after dark...
One of the wonderful specimens under my care
And so it was the Shoreditch CCC sat amidst the real hearts (hearts like the above specimen) with endless cups of tea and delved into topics such as Valentine's dates we'd had in the past, what we planned to do this year and whether or not we'd seen a dead body....
I can't tell you how amazingly imaginative the cakes were and they tasted unbelievable! here's a selection:
Madeleine's 'Hot Date Passion Cake' with sticky date, choc and toffee
Louise's 'Red Velvet Surprise' with gorgeous gooey heart centre

But I think my favourite had to be Valentine-hating Tilly's 'Black Widow' cake (above) which was an incredibly exhilarating choking hazard experience full of chopped up plastic army men!!
We had wonderful 'special guests' in the form of Bethan and colleagues from the publisher Quercus who are of course responsible for making the Clandestine Cake Club cook-book a big success! For a review on that book read the previous post and there's a link to purchase at the top of this page so don't wait too long to get yours!
And I even did a Valentine/Hearts themed quiz with the prize being two lovely AVON lipsticks in the shape of a heart (I am an AVON Lady of course)
All in all it was a fab way to spend an evening a few days before Valentine's Day and we've already started on the next theme "Slice of Life: Dexter Cakes" in March.
Go to www.clandestinecakeclub.com to join the network and see you at an event soon xox

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The Secret is Out.......

'The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook' by Lynn Hill
Lynn Hill came into my life like a great cakey captain over a year ago. I was feeling quite low, watching TV at my mother's house (probably attempting to get some sympathy) when she popped up on The One Show. (Lynn did I mean - not my mother..) 
A link to my first CCC blog post with video clip is here... http://tinyurl.com/by98yfu

I was suddenly inspired to join her army of cake cadets and start a club in my own corner of London: Shoreditch. I bombarded her with e-mails, literally as soon as the piece on BBC1 was over and told her that I too wanted to earn my stripes of icing and lead the people into the promised land of fondant and cream and jam...
A year (and many CCC Shoreditch events later) I am one of the contributors to the CCC cook book!

My recipe was selected, my face was plastered on its pages (well half my face...I appear to be shoving cake into my gob, above) and my group of cake club members now exceeds 80!!! I've held events such as Blitz Bakes: Ration Cakes, Film Fatale: A Film Noir Night and Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree: A 1950's Kitsch-mas. And don't worry, I still have plenty of ideas. The next event is an Eat Hearts, Sweethearts party for Valentine's Day as well as a special event in Waterstone's, Islington to celebrate the book release. Coming up in the next few months we'll have That's a Damn Fine Piece of Pie: Twin Peaks evening, a 'CCC and The Death Cafe' mash-up and A Slice of Life: DEXTER cakes, so make sure you register on the club's website to join in the fun: www.clandestinecakeclub.co.uk

My copy of the book arrived today, but its general release isn't until February 14th which makes it a perfect Valentine's gift. In fact, there's a recipe (from Rachel McGrath, CCC Bolton) for an 'Achy Cakey Heart' cake which you would get points for if you baked it for your other half as a Valentine's treat.
I literally have no idea where to start as there are so many to choose from, but the 'Chocolate and Marmite Caramel Cake' (Becs Rivett, CCC Leeds) is too intriguing not to try ASAP and I have to make Lynn's own 'Elderflower Cordial Cake' as elderflower is a weird addiction of mine.
The book itself is crammed with recipes in chapters like Classic Cakes, Celebration Cakes and Creative Cakes with wonderful pictures and beautiful styling by Anita Mangan, well-known for her work on the LEON Cafe cook books. So get yourself a copy on pre-order (see link to your right) or head to your local bookshop on February 14th as this is a book worth owning and cherishing. After just one leaf through its pretty pages I'm sure Lynn Hill will inspire you as she inspired me 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


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