A virtual tea party

Cup and Saucer Vintage Tearoom

The lovely Su at Zimmerbitch is inviting us to a virtual tea party every month. I make no apologies for taking you back to my favourite Glasgow tearoom, The Cup and Saucer, which featured recently as part of Becky’s January Squares. You might recall that I arrived three hours early to meet my friend Esther, and had to go home and come back again! On that occasion, I was the first person in the tearoom when it opened at 11am, and I restricted myself to a simple black coffee.

However, here’s what Esther and I usually have when we meet – a full blown cream tea. Yum! I’ve even got a selfie in the teapot.

I do usually try to eat more healthily than that, honest. In Su’s post, Care to join me for a cuppa?, she reflected on her eating habits in a way which really resonated with me.

 … my food preferences are really a food philosophy. I want to “do good”; for my physical and mental health, for my bank balance, for small businesses, and for the environment. That means I eat home-grown where I can, buy as much as possible from local, preferably organic growers, avoid foods and manufacturers I believe to be harmful or unethical … and a bunch more considerations I won’t bore you with but which make trips to the supermarket time-consuming, frustrating and really difficult without my strong glasses to read the small print.

Funnily enough, when I met the aforementioned Becky, Queen of the Squares in Glasgow recently, we had a conversation on the very same topic. I’m a vegetarian, there are some countries I just won’t buy from on political grounds, and in the light of climate change I’ve also been trying to restrict the food-miles in my diet, because it seemed that every vegetable I bought was flown in from Spain, or even further afield. My trips to the supermarket can therefore be just as time-consuming as Su’s.

Becky has travelled much further down this road than I have, cooking with only vegetables grown in the UK. She recommended buying one of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s vegetable cook books, which I duly did, and I’m now trying to do the same thing.

How’s it working out? Well, I so miss my Mediterranean diet of peppers, courgettes and aubergines, and I’ve had to rethink my approach to cooking which was previously what I called the bucket method. Fling some combination of the above vegetables into one pot and, depending on what else I added, it could turn into sauce for pasta or couscous, curry, chilli – you get the picture. Seasonal in the UK right now are root vegetables and brassicas and I’m finding that really hard – literally in the case of the root vegetables. I’d never prepared celeriac before, and I can tell you I never will again! However, I now have half a dozen suitable recipes in my repertoire and I shall persevere. It doesn’t do to get lazy in one’s choices, so thank you to Becky and Su for making me think.

Have you been thinking of food recently? (Silly question. If you’re like me you’re always thinking of food.) All contributions to the virtual tea-table welcome!

65 thoughts on “A virtual tea party

  1. Kim of Glover Gardens March 2, 2020 / 00:06

    I love your picture of the cream tea, and wish I had been there. The selfie in the pot is fabulous!

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  2. Ally Bean February 28, 2020 / 17:20

    I just found your blog and the photo of the cream tea is just too yummy. The idea of afternoon tea appeals to me, but in the midwest US it’s not the done thing. Pity that, but I shall enjoy your virtual one.

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    • Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter February 28, 2020 / 18:02

      I very much enjoyed the real one . Although this is merely a cream tea, a true afternoon tea would have sandwiches and cakes too. Now that IS a step too far for me!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jessica (Diverting Journeys) February 26, 2020 / 13:50

    I love that retro-look teapot! I have to say I’ve been doing a bit of the opposite, I’m afraid, and thinking about what European ingredients I’ll have to stock up on in case the shit hits the fan when Brexit goes through. So many of my pantry staples come from there: passata, olive oil, chocolate, pasta, cheese, etc, that I’m panicking slightly at the thought of running out or having to pay significantly more. Guess we might all be stuck eating locally if the alternative disappears!

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    • Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter February 26, 2020 / 14:57

      You could well be right! I still buy all those things because I assume they come in containers by sea or rail, it’s just fresh stuff that has to be flown in I avoid. I hadn’t thought of stocking up though. I hope you like potatoes 😉!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. the eternal traveller February 26, 2020 / 05:10

    Mr ET uses the bucket method too. Whatever’s in the fridge and the pantry goes in, with total disregard to whether it’s all meant to go together. The results are mixed – sometimes very tasty and sometimes not so great. Your cream tea looks fabulous – the scones are huge.

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  5. Retirement Reflections February 25, 2020 / 18:46

    I love Su’s philosophy on eating. It makes so much sense.i also love the selfie in the teapot!

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  6. Erica/Erika February 25, 2020 / 03:38

    Hi Anabel, Nice on the selfie in the teapot! The vegetable cookbook you mentioned looks intriguing. We are lucky to live in an area where we have access to locally grown healthy food. We also enjoy fresh seafood. Likely 80/20.

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    • Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter February 25, 2020 / 07:42

      It does make a difference where you live. In a big city it’s so easy to relay on large supermarkets. There are small shops selling locally grown produce, but not in my area, which adds problems of time and planning.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Liesbet @ Roaming About February 25, 2020 / 00:01

    I recognized that top photo. So inviting! Good for you, Anabel, to change your eating (and buying) habits. Yes! I think about food all the time. And, even though we are on a tight budget, we manage to eat a healthy plant-based diet. Attempting to travel in warmer climates helps to stick to more locally grown food. Our newest goal is to buy more produce at farm stands when we pass them instead of at grocery stores (the easy way out). Here in Florida, at least the prices are more affordable than in New England.

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    • Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter February 25, 2020 / 07:34

      The tea shop is definitely inviting, the owners are lovely (they dress as if it is the 1950s). I’m sure buying locally must be easier in a sunnier climate, but I’m learning to love what we’ve got! I made a big pot of soup with carrot, potato and leek last night – definitely good comfort food for this cold weather.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. rosemaylily2014 February 24, 2020 / 07:19

    We’re so lucky to live here in Perth as we get an array of seasonally grown local fruit and vegetables. We have the same philosophy to only eat, if at all possible, locally grown and sustainable food but it is much easier when you live in a Mediterranean style climate than in a colder climate. I love my rich earthy stews in winter with all the root vegetables but I know there will be an abundance of choice for many other months of the year. I do love cream teas though – I think it’s good to have treats!

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    • Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter February 24, 2020 / 07:55

      We have just got so used to Mediterranean vegetables being available year-round, it’s hard to kick the habit. I’m sure a cream tea every now and then doesn’t do too much harm – or so I keep telling myself!

      Liked by 1 person

      • rosemaylily2014 February 24, 2020 / 08:00

        Yes it is hard to break habits – we switched to getting quite a lot of produce from a local organic supplier a few years ago and I order their seasonal box most weeks of mixed fruit and veg so I know it is currently is season. Having said that I still go down to the shops and buy some things that are definitely not in season when I feel like them. I’m sure everything in moderation is fine – that’s what I tell myself!

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        • Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter February 24, 2020 / 08:10

          I have thought of ordering a box from a local supplier but our times at home are so unpredictable that I’m not sure it would work. Most seem to want you to place a regular order. I should shop more in smaller, local shops rather than the supermarket but a) it’s time consuming and b) the attraction of the supermarket’s covered car park is hard to get beyond in this weather!

          Liked by 1 person

          • rosemaylily2014 February 24, 2020 / 08:16

            I can well understand that! Fortunately our supplier does not expect you to place a regular order so sometimes I order every week, other times it’s every two weeks or so. I get them to leave the box on my front porch if I’m not at home but it is covered so that helps 🙂

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