Carrot, Sweet Potato, Coconut and Chai Cake!

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I love spending my spare time in the kitchen, coming up with concoctions, some which work and some which absolutely do not. It is great when you have a partner who can eat a lot and out of the kindness of their heart will try anything you put in front of them. My partner has been my smoothie guinea pig for the last month and he actually says he feels a lot better since having them (haha fool!), so now my recipes have become even healthier and I am chucking everything in!

This bank holiday weekend I wanted to try a recipe which would satisfy my sweet tooth whilst being super healthy and going nicely with a cup of tea. Plus by adding a cup of tea into the recipe it means there is even more tea goodness!

Here is the recipe…

1 1/2 cups peeled and finely grated carrots (if you can, buy organic. Aldi do organic carrots so you don’t have to spend a fortune)

1/2 cup cooked and mashed sweet potato

1 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup finely ground almonds

A handful of raisins

1/3 cup honey

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1/3 melted coconut oil

4 eggs

1/2 cup cold chai tea

2 tbl spoons almond milk or hemp milk or just general milk will do!

 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

I used my Nutribullet for this first bit… Wisk the eggs until white and fluffy. Add honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, chai tea and milk and give a quick blast. Add oil and give another 1 min blast.

In a bowl combine the carrot, sweet potato and other dry ingredients. Fold the carrots and sweet potato properly into the flour so it coats it like breadcrumbs.

Make a well in the center and mix in the wet mixture. Pour into a greased and lined tin and pop into the oven for 30 minutes.

Serve with coconut yogurt or thick greek yoghurt and alongside a cup of TeaShed tea!

 

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Super Hero Tea

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So we all know that tea is wonderful. It’s one of the iconic features of being British, as synonymous with our culture as the queen, or Eastenders. It’s applicable to just about any situation or scenario. Feeling ill? Have a cup of tea. Want a catch up? Lets have a brew. Having a bad day? I’ll make a cuppa and we’ll talk about it. Like a hug from your mum or putting on your most comfortable sweatpants, tea just gives an instant sense of comfort. But what if there was more to tea than just warmth and comfort? What if it was one of those rare occurrences when something that we love to eat or drink actually loves our bodies back? Well read on, as I have got some good news for you my friend.

 

Green tea has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries, for ailments from headaches to depression. But does it actually do any good? Recent findings from  the UK’s Institute of Food Research state that chemicals found in green tea can help protect the body from problems such as cancer and heart disease. Polyphenols found in green tea and apples restrict a protein called VEGF. This protein can stimulate a process allowing arteries to become clogged by fatty substances, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Furthermore these pesky VEGF proteins cause blood vessels to form in a way that plays a key part in the advance of cancer. Green tea has also been linked to boosting your metabolism, lowering blood pressure, increasing brain activity in the working memory area and producing more stable blood sugar levels in people with diabetics.

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Chamomile is a herbal tea often associated with its calming benefits. A recent Greek study found that it’s benefits may greatly exceed a good nights sleep. In a small study researchers found that those that consumed chamomile tea regularly over a long period of time were less likely to develop thyroid malignancies or benign growths. These findings did credit the benefits of a Mediterranean diet (consuming a lot of lean fish, healthy fats and fresh vegetables) in addition to drinking chamomile tea, but there was some further research into how the tea does help and if effectiveness increases over longer periods of time. Researchers found that development of thyroid malignancies did drop as the consumption of tea increased. It was found that drinking chamomile tea 2-6 times a week could lower the chances of thyroid abnormalities by 70%.

 

Mint tea is not only a delicious refreshing drink but is essentially its own medicine cabinet of solutions. It can relieve stress, reduce bad breath and help boost your immune system. However the area which it has the most benefits is the stomach. Whether it be nausea or irritable bowel syndrome, mint tea has been proven to give some level of relief from symptoms. The antispasmodic qualities of mint can help relieve the feeling of nausea and can prove beneficial for those that suffer motion sickness when travelling on boats or in cars. So next time you’re feeling a little ill, reach for a healthy cup of mint tea rather than something from the medicine cabinet and benefit from this super tea!

 

 

So there you have it. As well as giving us a kick in morning or a soothing bed time treat, tea really can also help improve your health. However, do remember that there’s no such thing as a miracle cure. A balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle is the most important thing, but if you can give your health even more benefits through a nice cuppa then why not? Try our skinny tea, chamomile or proper mint tea for a super healthy brew!
TP1 Skinny Tea Leaves&bags&pack TP10 Proper Mint leaves&bags&packaging

Feast of St George at Trafalgar Square

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At the weekend we had a tea tent at the Feast of St George at Trafalgar Square where we served tea, cakes and bubble teas.

Inside the tent we also put on tea workshops including blend your own tea, tea tasting and most popular of all, make your own box of tea! As well as this, there were two talks by tea historian Jane Pettigrew, which were absolutely fascinating!

We had a great time and I am so proud of The TeaShed team for all their hard work.

Here are a few photos…

 

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BCC 10th Feb

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Very honored and excited to have been asked to be on a panel of speakers at the British Chamber’s of Commerce on the 10th Feb! You can get a ticket to this great event here.

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Yeshen Venema Photography

 

How fast did 2014 go?? I remember writing last 2013 end of year blog like it was last month.  2013 was good but 2014 has been even better with many highs and many lows.

 

In February I went out to China and Taiwan to source bubble tea suppliers for our new product launch, PopaBall. That was an amazing experience. After exhibiting at the Spring Fair trade show at the NEC, I boarded a flight to Dubai and then connected to Guangzhou in China. After the weekend of getting over jet lag and wandering around the streets filled with battered insects (as in to eat, not hit over the head), I had my meeting with a potential supplier who I had been emailing for the past few months, thinking I was just going there to check their factory out and sign the deal. About 20 minutes into the meeting the deal has completely changed and they were asking for £20,000 to be held in their bank account until my orders reached a certain volume and then I would be repaid. It was kind of like a holding bond to make sure their investment in the new machinery was met financially by my order volume. Well that was not going to happen. I spent the rest of the day trying to do everything I could do to work out a different deal but unfortunately it didn’t happen. I had planned to stay a few days at the factory, sorting out the finer details but in the end I headed back to my hotel and ate cake in my room for about two days. Not because I was particularly upset, just hungry and don’t like insects or chicken feet soup! I did venture out but it is difficult when you don’t speak or read the language and you are a woman on your own. I wonder whether the reason why the deal changed was because they saw that I was a young woman.

 

A few days later I boarded a plane to Taipei in Taiwan. If you think we have budget airlines you should see the one I got. There was a hole in the floor! After holding my breath for 1 and a half hours, I landed safely and got the taxi into the centre where my hotel was. Taipei was really cool and had a great buzz in the centre.  I had a few meetings with suppliers there, which were good but for one reason or another they were not quite right. On the final working day I got a high speed train to Tainan in the south of the country taking 1hr 45min and traveling at 186mph. I was waiting to be picked up by Mr. Chou and after about 20 minutes I called him but no answer. I emailed and skyped but nothing. I was about to board the return train (this trip was proving not very successful!) when my phone rang and Mr. Chou was 5 minutes away. He picked me up in his car and we started driving half an hour out of the city – if my dad knew about this I think he would have had a heart attack. Eventually we got to the factory and it was great. We spoke about products and production and the team were really nice and were, I believe, more impressed than concerned about my age. After a great day of discussions and a lovely meal I took the train back north.

 

After a very challenging 10 days, I finally had my supplier and came home a happy girl. The months following the  trip were spent sorting UK production and making sure all the boxes were ticked. In November we launched at BBC Cakes and Bakes show and the feedback and sales were great. In December we launched exclusively in Fenwick Newcastle and sales grew week on week. Now going into 2015 there is lots and lots planned with more retail distribution, opening a unit and expanding our online presence. You can keep up to date on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest accounts if you like.

 

Aside from the bubble tea/PopaBall development, I have been pushing TeaShed sales with new products and more retailers. TeaShed was taken on by the wholesaler Cress Co, which has been fantastic alongside continued distribution with Hider Foods Imports. We also had a month pop up at Trinity Kitchen, Leeds.

 

TEASHED POPABALL

 

In September, after three years of persistence, I opened a TeaShed outlet at Northumbria University. I remember when I was in my final year there and on my break I would buy lunch there and say that one day that unit would be a TeaShed. It is definitely a challenge running an operation within someone else’s operation but we are getting there!

 

In October I moved to London for 3 months so that I could do all the Christmas shows and push the awareness of TeaShed and PopaBall down south. London was amazing and it is so great for business with so many opportunities every day. I went on QVC for the first time, which was super cool! I had a live 6 minute slot on which I had to speak to the presenter about the pack which was for sale via QVC. My parents and neighbours were all at home sat around the TV watching and drinking TeaShed tea in support. Sales were great and since then I have been back on air quite a few times and have more scheduled for 2015 so keep your eyes peeled! QVC is a great company to work with and all the guests and presenters are lovely. You have to go in two hours before your slot, set up your stand of products, get yourself ready and then you can chill out in the green room. They have two TVs there, one where you can watch the live QVC channel and one where all the real time sales data is on. I have not actually seen myself ever on QVC and I think it is better that way!

 

In between all this there have been other highs and lows, some new contracts and some lost contracts, some very profitable orders but also some costly mistakes. It is undoubtedly very hard running your own business and whilst somethings get better as years go on, new problems always arise as with anything! That said, the good stuff does outweigh the bad and it has been a fantastic year and I am so excited for 2015 and thank you so much for being part of it.

 

I wish you all the best for the new year and if you are thinking of following your dream then go for it in some way or another. Once you do, you will never go back.

 

Lots of love

 

Jules Xx

 

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PopaBall

 

After a long time of planning we have finally launched our new range, PopaBall! You may recognise these jelly like balls from bubble tea.

 

Bubble tea has been around for a good few years now and is really growing in popularity with cafes popping up all over the world, and now you can make your own bubble tea drink at home with our popping boba and bubble tea powder for as little as £2! Traditionally an Asian drink, bubble tea consists of a drink plus the addition of something to suck up through a chunky straw.  Often this is tapioca, which is black in colour and chewy. But recently, people have been adding bursting fruity balls to their bubble teas, which is what PopaBall is. The bubbles are about 1cm in diameter and have a shell made from seaweed extract, which burst with fruitiness when you bite on them. We think they are not only great in iced teas, but also in water or in cordials, cocktails and on top of ice cream or yoghurts.

 

 

You can buy PopaBall on the TeaShed website or at www.PopaBall.co.uk. If you want to go into store to find them then you can buy them  in Fenwick Newcastle. Check out the popaball website for recipe ideas on how to use them.

 

 

Lots of love

TS Xx

popaball selection pack

Once Upon A (tea) Time… The Story of Bodhidarma

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Many years ago (6th century B.C.E), in a land far far away (China) a Buddhist man named Bodhidharma travelled far and wide teaching the people about enlightenment. He was a very good man and could easily have reached Nirvana himself, but couldn’t bear to leave the others in suffering.

 

But because he was so very poor, no one would listen to him. Bodhidharma racked his brains until finally he came up with a plan: he would show the silly people how important spiritual development is by meditating for nine years. If he completed this challenge they would be so inspired they would want to try meditation and maybe one day reach Nirvana for themselves.

 

So Bodhidharma sat down outside a cave and began to meditate.

 

Although he was a very good Buddhist nine years is rather a long time and one day Bodhidharma dozed off…

 

When he awoke he was so angry with himself for his weakness that he ripped off his own eyelids and hurled them to the ground. Where they fell the first tea plant grew. Tea’s gentle, stimulating quality (try The Tea Shed’s caffeine rich Pick Me Up at 3 *Tea) is said to be Bodhidharma’s gift to the world, helping people on their spiritual journey by making sure they stay awake while they meditate.

 

Don’t worry, there is a happy ending. Bodhidharma did successfully complete his nine year challenge. When he emerged from his meditative state he preached a sermon to the crowd of supporters who had gathered around him. This sermon was known as the Lotus Sutra and all who heard it became enlightened on the spot…

 

Love Imogen at The TeaShed x

 

With original artwork by Martha Emeney

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Herbal Healing

 

Herbal Healing: The TeaShed’s guide to natural remedies

 

At The TeaShed we think a good cuppa can solve pretty much anything… and it seems that our great great grandparents would have agreed with us. Herby knowledge has been passed down from generation to generation and these little plants can still pack a punch in the health department if you know how to use them.

 

In this post we’ll be giving you a quick guide to some of our favourite herbs and telling you which delicious TeaShed Tea to find them in.

 

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Mint:

 

Grown In: Europe, Africa, Asia, North America, Australia

Good For: Indigestion, skin irritation, bowel problems and stress relief

How it Works: It relaxes tummy muscles and improves the flow of bile (that’s what your body uses to digest fat) so that food moves through your stomach more quickly. It is also super cooling on itchy rashes and makes your breath smell oh so fresh.

Where to find it at The Tea Shed: Proper Mint *Tea

TeaShed Tip: Drink an iced Proper Mint Tea before going to the beach to avoid bloating and flatten your tum.

 

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Ginger:

 

Grown In: India and Asia

Good for: Inflammation, nausea and lowering cholesterol

How it works: Inflammation is our bodies’ natural reaction to illness or pain. The idea is that the redness and swelling will prevent us moving whichever part of our body is in the process of repairing itself…clever stuff, huh? However like all of us, our body gets a little confused from time to time and forgets to un-inflame itself. Enter ginger. Its uninspiring, knobbly exterior hides powerful anti-inflammatory properties and a warming, spicy taste.

Where to find it at The Tea Shed: Baby, its cold outside *Tea (Black Tea, Ginger, Cardamom, Nutmeg, Clove, Chai)

TeaShed Tip: Put two Baby, its cold outside *Tea bags and some freshly sliced ginger into a pan of water and boil for ten mins with the lid on. Add to your bath for the ultimate cosy night in.

 

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Green Tea:

 

Grown In: Originated in China but now grows throughout Asia

Good For: fatigue, heart disease, linked with reducing the growth of tumours.

How it Works: It contains caffeine so gives you a boost but has far more nutrients than coffee. It’s also full of chemicals called polyphenols which inhibit the growth of cancer cells and blood clots.

Where to find it at The Tea Shed: Skinny *Tea (Whole Green Tea leaves)

TeaShed Tip:  After you’ve had a couple of Skinny *Tea’s, put the used tea bags in the fridge. Once cooled they make great eye masks, reducing puffiness and black circles.

 

Got a herbal health tip you think we should know about? We’d love to hear from you… share this page and leave a comment. We’ll be sending a free pack of Tea Shed Tea to whoever posts our favourite.

 

Love Imogen Xx