Friday, April 08, 2016

"Life is like a cup of tea, it's all in how you make it"

I was born in Lancashire in the North West of England. In Lancashire we drink a lot of tea and eat a lot of cake. We also have our own little dialect and in case you would like to visit here are a few language tips to help you fit right in;


Baggin - Snack with a brew between meals. e.g Tea & scones/sandwich.
Mythering - Annoying / irritating / or telling someone to stop Mythering means to stop worrying.
Brossan - You have eaten enough and you are totally full up!
Fettle - Mend/repair, or condition/health of something/someone.
Chuntering - Muttering or grumbling.
Drinking tea is a very important part of life in Lancashire.  Occasionally we go for the full on fancy afternoon tea with little sandwiches with the crusts cut off but more often it's all about baggin.  Baggin in usually eaten in the afternoon just before milking time (my family are dairy farmers in case you didn't guess).  You take off your wellington boots pour a cup of tea and eat some cake.  It's like a little shot of energy to get you through the rest of the jobs on the farm.  When 3 pm rolls around I still get an urge to put the kettle on and reach for the cake tin even through I live in Canada now and I have no cows to milk!

Afternoon tea was introduced in England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in the year 1840. The Duchess would become hungry around four o'clock in the afternoon. The evening meal in her household was served fashionably late at eight o'clock, thus leaving a long period of time between lunch and dinner.

This divine, sticky, fruity loaf is the best of all worlds.  It's easy, fast, delicious and only gets better as it sits ready for the next slice to be cut from it, buttered and devoured.  Don't be alarmed that one of the ingredients is All-Bran.  Trust me, it is like magic!
This is my Mum's recipe and although us Brits work in either oz's of g's normally this recipe is in cups and therefore I give it to you as it was given to me;


  • 1 cup All- Bran Cereal
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fruit (this can be any fruit you like- raisins, currant, apricots, dates, prunes, figs etc) Just add any combo you like)
  • 1/2 cup seeds- this is optional and not in my Mum's original recipe (sorry Mum) but I love the texture it adds.  I use a combo of pumpkin, sunflower and flax.
  • 1 cup of hot, strong tea (I use 3 tea bags and soak them for 5 minutes)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • Pinch salt

  1. In a large bowl mix the All-Bran, sugar, fruit and seeds.  Pour over the hot tea (strain out the tea bags) and mix together.  Leave this mix for 5 minutes.  
  2. Mix in the flour, baking powder and salt and pour into a greased and lined loaf pan.  
  3. Place in a 320 F/160 C oven and bake for about 45 mins to 1 hour.  It should be golden and slightly away from the edges of the loaf tin.  Allow to cool a little and then remove from the tin and cool completely on a rack.  Wrap it in tin foil and if you can leave it for at least a couple of days before you start eating it to get the full sticky greatness of the loaf.  
  4. Slice thickly and butter generously.  

One of the great things about us Brits is most of us are terribly superstitious and when it comes to our beloved tea you just cant be too careful;

You may or may not have heard of this phrase when pouring tea from a pot. It comes from the English superstition that if two women are drinking tea together and one of the women wanted to have a baby, they’d do the pouring and therefore become a mother within a year.
Also, it was said that no two women should pour from the same pot or an argument would occur!

In some parts of Britain, it is believed that if there are bubbles floating in your tea after it is poured from a pot, it is an indication that there is some money coming your way.

The more bubbles there are, the more riches! In other regions, it was believed that if bubbles stick to the side of the cup, then romance is in the air, with each bubble representing a kiss.

There are many English superstitions regarding teapots. For example, when brewing a pot of tea, if the lid of the teapot is left off, then an ominous stranger will call at the house, and if you forget to put the tea into the pot before the boiling water, it was seen as a very bad omen indeed!

It was said that if you made the tea too weak, then you’d fall out with a close friend. On the other hand, if the tea was too strong, you’d make a new one.

Some believe that if you make your tea in a teapot you should always put the milk in your cup first or you could ruin your love life

Disclaimer: I cannot confirm or deny that "Lancashire" has its own language.  I will not be held responsible if you forget to put the milk in your cup before your tea and you ruin your love life.  I warned you!  

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