All things cosy!

Struggling with finding the perfect gift for not only the world’s most fussy person but also the person that has it all? Then look no further!! The Cragg Sister’s Tearoom has it covered for you…… That’s right my friends – tea cosies – oh yes – this will set your present apart from the rest! Beautiful, handmade, original bespoke designed tea cosies. These will be an instant hit with anyone that loves tea or just collecting cool, kitsch items for their home.

Check these little wonders out …..

 

The cutest owl tea cosy - ever!

The cutest owl tea cosy – ever!

Chickens anyone?!

Chickens anyone?!

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside ....

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside ….

Aren’t they the most adorable cosies you’ve ever seen?! They’re handmade in Suffolk and cost between £15-£20. None are the same and are stock is constantly changing.

Why not pop in and see them for yourself? Or, if you are interested in buying one as a gift, please give us a ring on 07813 552 181 and I’ll help sort our the perfect one for your needs.

‘Till next time folks …

From Aldeburgh With Love, Emma X

Christmas opening and closing time

Howdy people,

how’re you all this week? Here in Aldeburgh we had a brilliant switching on of the Christmas lights ceremony. There was a great turn out with many people visiting to watch Father Christmas illuminate our lovely town. Our mince pies went down a treat and even I managed to find time to scoff a couple! We made the Tearoom look really sweet and Christmassy this year with large white paper decorations, mixed with hanging blue baubles and lights which worked well with the town’s theme of blue lights on all of the shop front’s trees.

Looking in on our simple but warming winter Christmas decorations.

Looking in on our simple, but warming winter Christmas decorations.

With all this talk of Christmas, now seems as a good a time as any to announce our Christmas opening and closing times, so here they are:

Monday 22nd December 2014 11am – 4.30pm

Tuesday 23rd December 2014 11am -4.30 pm

Wednesday 24th December 2014 11am – 4.30pm

Christmas Day – CLOSED

Boxing Day – CLOSED

Saturday 27th December – Tuesday 30th December 2014 11am – 5pm

Wednesday 31st December 2014 11am – 4pm

Thursday 1st January 2015- CLOSED

Friday 2nd January 2015 11am – 4.30pm

Saturday 3rd January 2015 11am – 5pm

Sunday 4th January 2015 11am – 4.30pm

Monday 5th January 2015 11am – 4.30pm

We will then be open Friday to Monday 11am – 4.30pm (4pm Sundays) until February 16th 2015 when we will be open once again,  7 days a week.

Christmas window display, minimal but distinct!

The Cragg Sister’s Christmas window display

Until my next blog, have a good week and good luck with the run up to Christmas!

From Aldeburgh With Love, Emma X

Aldeburgh Christmas lights and mince pies

Aldeburgh Christmas Lights FaceBook page's cover picture

Aldeburgh Christmas Lights FaceBook page’s cover picture

How exciting, tomorrow is Aldeburgh’s annual switiching on of our Christmas lights. From 2.30 pm this Saturday, 29th November 2014 the celebrations will be begin. Father Christmas will be visiting along with a variety of live bands and there will be plenty of stalls and entertainments to keep young and old happy. For more information and times of events, please visit http://content.yudu.com/Library/A387fl/aldeburghchristmasli/resources/index.htm?referrerUrl=http%3A%2F%2Ffree.yudu.com%2Fitem%2Fdetails%2F2496238%2Faldeburgh-christmas-light-2014

We will be open all day serving fabulous teas and coffees as well as offering free tastings of Csaba’s marvelous mince pies – with this in mind, I thought I’d share with you his recipe so that you can make some at home if you can’t visit us on Saturday.

mincepies

Csaba’s Christmas Pies: Switch on a fan oven to 170°c

For the short crust pastry –

  • 250g plain flour
  • 100g butter – can be salted if you like
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 2 x egg yolks
  • 2 x tbsp milk

For Csaba’s mincemeat recipe –

  • 1200g currants
  • 800g raisin
  • 800g sultanas
  • 800g vegetable suet
  • 400g mixed peel
  • 800g assortment of  dried fruit i.e. chopped dates, prunes, apricots & glazed cherries
  • 600g muscovado sugar
  • ½ litre brandy
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • Zest and juice of 2 oranges
  • 1 x egg for egg wash

Simply place the the currants, raisins, sultanas, brandy, the zest and juice of the two lemons and oranges into a pan and simmer very gently until the moisture is soaked up. Once this has happened let the contents cool down. Once cooled add the suet, mixed peel, the dried fruit and sugar. Give everything a really good stir and then decant into sterilised jars.

To make the shortcrust pastry mix the flour, butter and icing sugar together until it forms a crumbly mix, now add in the egg yolks, if needed add the milk so that it makes a smooth, doughy paste. Roll the dough out, quite thinly, using two pastry cutters – one larger than the other and cut out rounds of pastry. Place the larger rounds of the pastry into the hollows of a 12 hole patty tin, add a spoonful of mincemeat into each round and then place the smaller rounds onto the tops of each of them and brush the tops with egg wash. Pop them in the oven for about 12 minutes, but do keep an eye on them as they cook quickly!

Once cooked, let the pies cool and dust them with icing sugar. Devour!! Mmmmm yum!

So, if you are free tomorrow, please come and visit us at the Cragg Sister’s Tearoom and enjoy some mince pies with us.

From Aldeburgh with Love, Emma X

Introducing the Colombian ….

This week I thought I’d chat about our house coffee that we also serve. Although we are obviously a tearoom – we do allow coffee on our premise too!

Our problem was trying to find a really good blend – as we are tea specialists and not coffee specialists, we only offer two types of coffee – our house blend and our decaf coffee. When offering only one choice, it is essential to get the blend spot on. It has to be strong, but not too strong. It needs to be bitter but not to take the roof of your mouth off. It should be intense but not lose a taste of fresh liveliness and then what kind of roast do we want? Aagghhhh! So many aspects to think about! Also, it’s not just about my taste buds; I want all my coffee drinkers to be happy with our choice.

So, how to solve a problem like this? After a lot of tastings from a variety of coffee houses, I eventually found Butterworth and Son – a tea and coffee merchants. Based in Bury St Edmunds, they are a family run business whose interests in tea and coffee stem back to the nineteenth century – they certainly know a thing or two about their specialist subject!

They introduced me to their Colombian blend which was recommended as an all round great coffee; enough potency and interest to keep coffee connoisseurs happy but not too strong a taste to put others off.

Our Colombian coffee

Our Colombian coffee

The Colombian (information taken from their Butterworth & Son’s website – http://butterworthandson.co.uk/colombian-coffee/):

Cooperative: ASOGUAR Association
Altitude: 1700-2000 masl
Location: San Agustin, Huila
Preparation: Wet processed
Varietal: Caturra
Owners: 104 smallholder families

Clean with good sweetness. Lemon notes with hints of butter caramel that transform into sweet orange on the finish. Light to medium body.

SCAA Score: 85.25

Agustino Forest

ASOGUAR was established in 2006 with an aim to promote coffee growing to the smallholder communities rather than producing crops for the illegal drugs trade. The cooperative has a strong focus on environmental conservation and the belief is that coffee cultivation is the way to achieve this by counteracting the effects of illicit drug production and the sale of timber in the area. It is currently made up of 104 families who are growing coffee on the land surrounding the ancient forests of South Huila, home to a UNESCO World Heritage site with the archaeological park of San Agustin. This site contains some of the country’s most important remnants of pre-Hispanic culture and it is the protection of this site and the land surrounding it which is at the core of the ASOGUAR Association. The smallholder farmers involved with this Association are given access to the speciality market along with technical training and funding for tree planting and improving local infrastructure in return for commitment by the smallholder’s involved to protect the local environment and the ecosystems surrounding their farms.

The Association members hand pick ripe red cherry and deliver it to their own micro wet mill where it is pulped and washed. The washed beans are then either dried on patio’s underneath sliding covers in case of rainfall or in a parabolic dryer with the sides open to improve airflow. The dry parchment coffee is then sent to the dry mill to first rest and is then milled to remove the parchment before being graded and packed.

We love this coffee. Not only is it a real crowd pleaser but ethically it supports our beliefs and attitude at the Cragg Sister’s Tearoom. Tea and coffee should be enjoyed by all, not just the consumer, tearoom owner and merchant but the growers and pickers too. We can’t solve all the world’s problems, but in our own small ways, and by supporting ethically led business, we can all make a difference.

So pop in and see us and thoroughly enjoy a cup of our fabulous Colombian cafeteria coffee.

From Aldeburgh with Love, Emma X

 

Emma Freud and the WI

Hi there,

well, I don’ know about you folks, but it’s bleak here! Winter, has definitely set in. On the upside, it means lovely wintry walks along our gorgeous coastline and then relaxing and warming up in the Cragg Sister’s Tearoom with a big slice of gooey cake. Could be worse!

For those of you who don’t know – myself and three other friends – Emily McVeigh, Laura Churchill and Anmar Odendal founded the Aldeburgh WI Sisterhood back in  2012. All of us were finding it difficult to meet new people in this particularly rural area of Suffolk. So, in keeping with the original ethos of the WI, which was initially about women from isolated communities meeting others, sharing experiences, expanding their minds and friendships, we decided to launch a Sisterhood in Aldeburgh. Our group is now known as the Suffolk Coastal Sisterhood.

Adelaide Hoodless, Canadian and founder of the WI. Courtesy of http://www.thewi.org.uk/

Adelaide Hoodless, founder of the WI. Courtesy of http://www.thewi.org.uk/

We meet every 2nd Tuesday of the month at 7pm at Yoxford Village Hall.

Follow us on https://www.facebook.com/suffolkcoastalsisterhood or https://twitter.com/SuffolkCoastWI

Although we are rurally bound, we are lucky enough to be surrounded by incredible people such as artists, musicians, artisans and writers who are willing to give us their time and participate in an evening discussing their work. For example, in our last meeting we welcomed local lino print artist, Gill Bedson who gave a thoroughly interesting talk on her work and lino printing techniques before we all got crafty and had a go ourselves.

Gil Bedson's stunning lino print

Gil Bedson’s stunning lino print

Next month, we are fortunate enough to be visited by Emma Freud – yes folks, the Emma Freud!

Emma Freud

Emma Freud

Emma has very kindly agreed to visit us on Sunday 21st December 2014 at 6pm. She will discuss her varied career including life in broadcast journalism, her work for Comic Relief and living in Suffolk. Everyone is welcome, it’s only £3 for non-members to attend. There will be nibbles and mulled wine – should anyone fancy bringing some food to share please let me know.

 So folks, that’s how it rocks in sleepy rural Suffolk.  Just remember anything in life is possible, but you might just have to organise it!
From Aldeburgh with Love, Emma X

Christmas is coming to Aldeburgh!

Hi there,

yesterday I had a lovely meeting with the Aldeburgh Business Association which works really hard at trying to not only push small local businesses but to also provide all sorts of entertainment for our town. This week we were discussing the annual turning on of the Christmas lights. This is a really big event in Aldeburgh and a great opportunity for people to come and visit our fabulous town. Every year the ABA, town council and other associations work incredibly hard to provide an amazingly Christmasy experience for everyone – no matter what their age!

The light ceremony will take place on November 29th, from 10am until 5pm. There will be a whole host of entertainments laid on throughout the town to keep you busy including: food stalls, masterclasses, activities and Christmas carol singing. The actual switching on of the lights will occur at 4.30pm . At 5pm the day will draw to a close with a spectacular free fireworks display taking place outside of The Brudenell Hotel on the beach. Pretty good, huh?!

We will be busy providing homemade mince pie tastings to everyone that comes and visits us and we can’t wait to get our festive feeling on! For more information please visit: https://twitter.com/AldeburghC or https://www.facebook.com/pages/Aldeburgh-Christmas-Lights/152377981498075

Aldeburgh Music is also involved with the ABA this year, helping to provide the Christmas carolling. Should anyone who already sings be interested in joining in with the fun on the day, please contact Tracy Virr on tvirr@aldeburgh.co.uk for more details on how to get involved. Or look at www.aldeburgh.co.uk/news/chances-choirs-sing-november for more information.

Aldeburgh Christmas Light's cover picture

Aldeburgh Christmas light’s cover picture

As you can tell, I am getting quite excited about the thought of all the fun we’re going to have. So I say, bring on the mince pies, mulled wine and Santa hat’s and lets get our festive frolics on!

From Aldeburgh with Love, Emma X

Drink, cleanse and revitalise!

Hi there,

we are now in week two of the school half term holidays, and as usual, Aldeburgh is bustling. It’s so much fun meeting new people visiting our pretty coastline and watching them queue for our famous fish and chips! However, everyone I’ve met recently seems to be struggling with the first of the miserable winter colds, and these colds, whilst not awful are lingering and refusing to leave. So, my advice – try our Ayurveda teas.

Ayurvedic medicine is a form of Hindu traditional alternative medicine that I first came across when travelling in Southern India, here they were using packs of specially blended herbs for massage. In very basic shorthand, Ayurvedic medicine works by considering our relationship with the five classical elements – earth, wind, fire, water and ether. Much like our first dalliance with medicine and our relationship with the humours. Ayurveda also names seven tissues which work in conjunction with the elements; these are plasma, blood, muscles, fat, bone, marrow, and semen.  Apparently the body needs a balance of three elemental substances – vata, pitta and kapha. These are called Doshas. According to some understandings, everybody has a unique amount of Doshas within them and you need to modulate them in order to keep your body in its natural state of balance. The Doshas represent health, whereas imbalance causes disease. Modern readings of Ayurvedic medicine concentrate upon building and maintaining a good digestive tract and an appropriate metabolic rate which, with both of these being used well, leads to vitality and well being. Using meditation, yoga and exercise enhance your body’s ability to maintain balance. Most commonly, plant based foods are used as the basis for your body’s well being, this includes roots, leaves, fruits, barks and spices such as cardamom and cinnamon. And that my friends, is where our teas come into play.

The first tea that I’d like to introduce you to is our Balance Tea. This is an Ayurvedic herbal tea supporting the dosha ‘Pitta’ and is therefore soothing and balancing. A blend of cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, fennel, ginger, liquorice & rose leaves are used leaving it a soft and sweetly tasting tea with a subtle spiced overtone.Balance teaHow pretty is that tea? The second Ayurvedic tea I like to introduce you to is our Lemongrass and Ginger Tea. This tea supports the dosha ‘Vata’ which means that it is cooling whilst also refreshing our respiratory system. A subtle lemon sweetness characterises this blend, with a hint of fresh peppermint and spice from the pepper which allows this to be an interesting tea that combines traditional Indian teachings in a modern recipe. lemongrass and ginger tea

So, there you have it – if you’re feeling a bit blue from the start of the winter colds, it’s probably because you’re unbalanced! Come into the Cragg Sister’s Tearoom and we’ll sort you out with a pot of our Ayurvedic tea.

From Aldeburgh with Love, Emma X

 

Introducing our Hungarian stew recipe and Csaba …

With winter clearly on it’s way, I’ve decided to add a few more warming dishes to our menu. Stew is the way forward! Warming, nutritious and darned yummy. Just what we like at the Cragg Sisters.

Behind the scenes, kept in the kitchen and away from the general public – for their own good …. is Csaba, our gorgeous Hungarian, full time chef. Csaba fills in the gaps in the kitchen when I escape for a day or two and generally comes up with new inspiring kitchen ideas.

Csaba and cake!

Csaba and cake!

Csaba (pronounced like Chubba) has helped us at the tearoom, part time for a while now, whilst also working flat out in one of the very prestigious Aldeburgh restaurants. However, this year, the Cragg Sister’s Tearoom was now in a position to ask Csaba to join our team full time, and we haven’t looked  back! Csaba is a fully trained pastry chef and his knowledge of all things sweet has really come in handy. He is very competent in all aspects of cooking and has helped me design some new dishes for our winter menu. Starting with, but of course, the classic Hungarian dish, beef goulash – albeit Anglicised! We thought it would be great to share our recipe and give a little winter warmth to you all. A few tips to help add a little more to your stew – we use beef shin, slow cooked so it fulls apart into a rich gooey meaty heaven. You can of course use chuck, just be careful it’s not too lean and doesn’t dry out – a bit of fat works very well with this dish. You can’t use enough paprika! But do try to buy good quality paprika, it does make a difference. I like to use green and red peppers, the red works well to enhance the paprika sweetness and the green adds a lovely bite against this. I usually serve this dish with rice, but mashed potatoes or even tagliatelle works just as well.

Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 170°C/Fan 150°C/Gas 3½

600g Shin of beef

1tbsp rapeseed oil

3tbsp sweet paprika

2tsp hot smoked paprika

1tbsp flour

2 white onions thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic – crushed

1 green pepper sliced length ways into 1cm width slices

1 red pepper sliced length ways into 1cm width slices

Juice 1 lemon

1 beef stock cube

1 can chopped tomatoes

400ml cold water

400ml soured cream (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

  • Cut the beef into 4cm chunks
  • Put the beef into a bowl with the flour, hot smoked paprika and salt and pepper to taste – stir well so that the beef is completely covered.
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan or a casserole dish if you have one that can be used on both hobs and in an oven. Add the beef and fry until it’s browned all over.
  • Now add the onions and garlic and fry these, on a lower heat until nice and soft.
  • Now add the peppers and your sweet paprika and fry gently.
  • Pour the lemon juice over all of your ingredients and cook gently for 5 minutes
  • Crumble the beef stock cube over the top of the ingredients, add the water and can of chopped tomatoes. Stir well and bring to a simmer.
  • Now, either put your dish in the oven or transfer the ingredients from your frying pan into an oven-proof dish and place in the oven.
  • Cook for 1½ hours at this temperature. If you have more time, turn the oven down and cook for longer. The longer you cook this dish, the better it tastes!

Once cooked and ready to serve, pour in the soured cream  – but only if you want to – it’s not a necessity but it does taste lovely!

So, an easy peasy but incredibly scrummy winter dish that will put a smile on any (meat eater’s) face.

From Aldeburgh with Love, Emma X

 

Sorry, but the countdown has begun …

According to the radio station that I was listening to earlier today, we have only 70 days left; Which, in layman’s terms, is 2 ½ months until the ‘C’ word. Yes my friends, we only have a short time to sort out our lives before that insane time of the year, otherwise known as Christmas, occurs.

I felt it was unnecessary for the radio to share such news, but to be fair, I am now sharing it with you guys.

So, what’s a gal to do? Last year I bought the usual supply of socks, perfumes chocolates blah, blah, blah for everyone – they all faked pleasure upon opening the pathetically unimaginative gifts that I had supplied – as did I, when receiving their equally uninspiring offerings.

I’m a busy bunny at the best of times, but as you can imagine, Aldeburgh is very busy at Christmas time, and therefore the teashop is heaving right up till the point of Santa’s arrival. I run out of time and then do the usual thing of panic buying, invariably on Christmas Eve and giving perfectly pleasant but unsuitable gifts to people. BUT NOT THIS YEAR!! Oh no! This year I will be organised and I will find gifts that will actually make my family members happy!!

I’ve decided to make cute individual hampers for people, filled with little bits and bobs – some of them home made, some of them bought, that they will like and use – my Christmas chutneys are already coming on a treat ….

If you guys are struggling with ideas, why not make hampers of your own too? You can chuck in anything from home made jams and chutneys to chocolates and sloe gin. Why not add a home made scarf or facial treatment made from natural ingredients? We also sell some really lovely packets of tea which are not only unusual, packaged beautifully but also won’t break the bank. Or how about popping in one of our gift vouchers?

Lots of our yummy and unusual loose teas that are available to buy

Lots of our yummy and unusual loose teas that are available to buy

Our pretty gift voucher makes a lovely present

Our pretty gift voucher makes a lovely present

Our Big Breakfast House blend and Star of India packets of tea for sale

Our Big Breakfast House blend and Star of India packets of tea for sale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These can be redeemed for maybe an Afternoon Tea or lunch for two, or whatever your recipient fancies. Alongside the packets of tea we also sell gorgeous little tea strainers as well. These can easily and cheaply, help pad out a  hamper whilst providing a yummy and original present for someone you love.

I’m going to leave you with the thought of 70 days left till crazy day descends upon us once more, and get on with making the mincemeat for my pies that I’m intending to make this year!

Good luck!

From Aldeburgh with Love, Emma X

Snape and Cake!

Hi,

we’ve just had the most beautiful weekend and Aldeburgh was thriving! However, as I now write this, the weather has done a complete U turn and is actually starting to behave as though it’s finally realised that it’s October and not July! Last weekend was just as gorgeous which was perfect for the annual Aldeburgh Food Festival at Snape Maltings. The festival, held over two days every September, champions local food producers, restaurants, butchers, farmers, breweries, delicatessens, tea shops – in fact anything that is properly and locally produced and associated with food is likely to have a stall at Snape! Aside from the vast array of stalls there are also numerous demonstrations from chefs, lectures on and about the produce of food and local bands serenading the visitors as they wander around the food wonderland.

This year, alongside Scandinavian chef Trine Hahnemann http://trinehahnemann.com/, Hannah Marriage from Marriages Flour http://flour.co.uk (whose flour we use in all of our baking at the Cragg Sister’s)and Kate Hawkings http://www.bristolfoodconnections.com/kate-hawkings-love-bristols-independent-slightly-maverick-character/I was asked to judge the esteemed Aldeburgh Food Festival’s Baking Competition. This was such good fun and with so many great cakes to choose from – it’s never easy being a judge, but it’s sure harder being the brave person entering their cake. I’d be terrified! It was a real giggle with the other ladies and I like to think that the entrants enjoyed themselves too…

Awarding a young baker with his prize.

Awarding a young baker with his prize.

All the judges in a row ...

All the judges in a row …

One of the most elaborate entries

One of the most elaborate entries

 

The festival is a great opportunity to see familiar faces and catch up outside of the usual work arena. For example, I saw Clare from Aldeburgh’s Lawsons Delicatessen selling their fabulous wares – her pasties and sweet choices are to die for! I also managed to catch Gerard King from Aldeburgh’s Salter and King butchers giving a demonstration with chef Valentine Warner on a BBQ outside – this was great fun and really informative.

Man and BBQ!

Man and BBQ!

Gerard and Chef Valentine's demonstration

Gerard and Valentine’s demonstration

I have to say, aside from the compliment of being asked to judge the cake competition, the other hi-light for me personally, was the festival feast on the Saturday night. This was held in the Hoffman building at Snape and involved communal tables, a folky band and a choice of starter sized dishes from some of the chefs and producers at the festival. I had the most divine venison and balsamic onion ciabatta from Peter Harrison; unfortunately I couldn’t manage much more due to completely over indulging earlier in the day on a massive and scrumptious Kenton Hall burger. He he! Got to love food festivals!

 

Trine Hahnemann's brilliant recipe book

Trine Hahnemann’s brilliant recipe book

Henrietta Inman's pop up patisserie - really lovely

Henrietta Inman’s pop up patisserie – really lovely

 

From Aldeburgh with Love, Emma X

The Cragg Sisters Tearoom, 110 High Street, Aldeburgh, Suffolk IP15 5AB, 07813 552 181