Pie, Mash & Jellied Eels – A True Cockney Dinner

Since launching our rhyming slang contest on Tuesday, we seem to have stuck with the cockney theme. We always share a recipe or food feature towards the end of the week, so today’s offering is a proper plate of East London grub… and trust us, you’re in for a treat!

The streets of the traditionally working-class areas of east and south London used to be packed with pie and mash shops, of which sadly only a few still remain. Doing what they say on the tin, these establishments have served up minced beef and onion pies with mashed potatoes since the 1800’s.

But the item on the menu which catches most people’s eye, and is certainly the most peculiar, is jellied eels. Despite many people’s disbelief, they are pretty self-explanatory: eels in jelly.

The most commonly found, and thus cheapest, fish in the Thames, they were set in gelatine to draw out the toxicity of the polluted river. The liquid they are cooked in is mixed with parsley into a sauce (or ‘liquor) which is poured over the pie and mash. Delicious!

Our cockney rhyming slang contest is running until next Tuesday. Let us know your favorite term (either made up or real) and the best will win tea and scones for two and a tin of Rosie Lee tea to take home. Wishing you the best of Donald Duck (luck)!

Apples and pears…. stairs!

Cockney Rhyming Slang in Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels

After putting the call out yesterday for your best examples of cockney rhyming slang, our good friend in London Paul Cosier reminded us of this scene in ‘Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels’. It’s a fantastic example of some of the lingo’s finer point that thankfully comes with subtitles. But be warned, expletives are another staple…. parental discretion definitely advised!

After watching, let us know your favorite example of cockney rhyming slang, either in the comments below, on facebook or on twitter. The best one will win tea and scones for two, as well as a tin of our very own Rosie Lee tea to take home!

Rosie & Lee: The Accidental Cockney Twins & The Rhyming Slang Contest

No, not accidental like that, of course! We got chatting to these two lovely girls who were in yesterday for afternoon tea and it transpired their names were Rosie and Lee! For those of you who’ve swatted up on your cockney rhyming slang, you’ll know this means ‘tea’.

Twins Rosie and Lee, both with cups of Rosie Lee!

Nicky was particularly touched, as her old British Bulldog was called Rosie Lee. She gave each of the girls a tin of Tea & Sympathy’s Rosie Lee tea. It’s a very particular blend of English Breakfast tea and Earl Grey, sold exclusively by us. It’s well worth a try and a bargain at $11.50 a can. Available in-store or online – just click here.

Our three speciality teas: Rosie Lee, Earl Grey & English Breakfast.

This little bit of cockney serendipity got us thinking, and for this week only we’re running a Cockney Contest! Here’s the lowdown: cockney is the style of English traditionally spoken in East London. As well as a very distinctive accent, it contains a whole vocabulary of rhyming slang. Always consisting of a pair of words, the second of which rhymes with the word in question. Some well-known examples include: apples & pears – stairs, ruby murray – curry, butchers hook – look, adam & eve – believe. There’s also a whole host of modern additions out there, including Britney Spears – beers.*

The ideal drinking companion!

So we want to know your versions, either made up yourself or that you’ve heard in passing! The best entry will win tea and scones for two and a tin of our Rosie Lee tea to take home. So get your thinking cap on – it’s time to use yer loaf of bread!**

Who are you calling a head?

* To complicate things (and put eavesdroppers off the scent), the first word is then dropped, so ‘apples’ means stairs, ‘ruby’ means curry, and ‘Britney’ means beers, as in ‘Lets go for some Britneys’


Here’s a little video to get you started:

Will & Kate Anniversary Pinterest Contest Winner

Another contest comes to an end and yet again, the response was terrific. We asked you to create a pinterest board and pin something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a paper anniversary gift for Will & Kate. We’ve spent a very enjoyable morning comparing notes on all the entries, and we’re pleased to announce that the winner is… Natalie Zaman!

Congrats Natalie, you’ve won yourself a full afternoon tea for two! We felt your board succeeded in balancing the traditional with the modern and expressing something of Britain’s character. And the curveball of a blue meanie from The Beatle’s ‘Yellow Submarine’ film was the icing on the metaphorical wedding cake!

SOMETHING OLD… OK, they can’t put this in their pocket–but they can visit him. He’s OLD, and according to go.com’s UK Travel Page, he’s one of Britain’s most romantic destinations–and the UK’s Sexiest Monument 😉

Something NEW… and pretty and sparkling to go with that fabulous ring…

Something BORROWED… Dad’s/Father-In-Law’s ’69 Aston Martin 🙂

Something BLUE… What’s bluer than a Blue Meanie? He isn’t really mean–and he’s related to the Bluebird of Happiness!

Happy First Anniversary with a PAPER GIFT–how about a beautiful Book Carving by British artist Su Blackwell? This one looks like a lovely English Garden

Will & Kate’s First Anniversary Pinterest Contest… so far!

Here’s three of our favorite entries yet to our Will & Kate anniversary pinterest contest. If you haven’t entered yet, just start a board titled ‘Happy Anniversary Will & Kate’ and post something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a paper wedding gift for the Royal couple. You can see full details here… keep ’em coming!!

Something old, from Candice Stone

Something Blue – Johnnie Walker Blue Label, from Heidi Mackey

Paper anniversary gift, from Emily Maddox

Will & Kate Baby Video and First Anniversary Pinterest Contest

Speculation is rife that Kate is preggers. While whispers will continue until the day she announces she’s expecting – even if it is closer to the Queen’s platinum jubilee. As this video shows, the couple are natural parents.

But it is only a year since they were married, so perhaps everyone should give them some space and invest their energies on entering our pinterest competition to celebrate their first wedding anniversary. Start a new board, and pin something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a traditional paper wedding gift to it and the best one will win afternoon tea for two.

Will & Kate’s Wedding Anniversary Pinterest Contest

It is one year since Will & Kate tied the knot. To commemorate their anniversary, we’re branding the whole week #TSWeddingWeek and running our biggest contest to date over on pinterest. To enter, just set up a ‘Happy Anniversary Will & Kate’ board and pin something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue, along with a paper wedding present – traditional for first anniversaries. The prize is a full afternoon tea for two. Be as creative as you like, and we’ll announce the winner a week today.

The Great British Photo Album: St George’s Day Contest

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: we were blown away by your submissions to our St. George’s Day Contest. We asked for you to post your best vacation snaps from England to our facebook wall and before long, it had become a veritable display of our fair isle in all its glory. We’ve pulled together all the images on our Pinterest account, and below are five of the best. We’ll be announcing the winner on facebook at about midday… stay tuned!!

Whitby Monastery, submitted by Kate Wilson.

The Cornish coast, submitted by Charlotte Quine.

Red phone boxes in Preston, submitted by Corina Pickering.

A bridge in Falling Foss, Sneaton Forest; submitted by Glenda Astacio

Big Ben, submitted by Ashley Domm

How to Marry Harry: Chivalry, Part Two

British etiquette expert Dowager Robinson here. When courting a prince, one must keep their guard up, which is where this second part of my chivalry guide comes in handy. And after reading the guide, cast a vote on your favorite British bachelor in our facebook poll.

Love a man in uniform? Vote for Harry here.

So, notebooks out. First point, a man should stand up to greet a woman the first time he meets her but there is no need to be a jack-in-the-box – jumping up and down every time she goes to powder her nose. The modern British gentleman should focus on instinctive gestures rather than contrived behaviour that feels outdated and oppressive. If you notice these acts are anything other than genuine kindness, he is not doing his job properly.
It’s important to remember that chivalry does not guarantee a good catch. There may be a rascal or two out to get their hands on your trust fund, or who’ll pick up the check but will shoot
 at the waitress while they’re at it. Be wary of these dark knights and lechy lotharios. Here’s my checklist; only a take home a man home if he tickes all the boxes:
  • He rarely loses his temper, and never in public.
  • He can seemingly handle any situation that is thrown at him.
  • He is patient, and left unruffled by life’s daily irritations.
  • He is modest, yet confident, and cultivates an air of ease.

Now that we’ve given you the rundown. tell us your ideal Brit catch. Is it Harry’s hand you’re after, or the foppish charm of Mr. Colin Firth? Or if you’re one for the bad guys, step forward Simon Cowell. Let us know by voting in our facebook poll… we’ll publish the results next week!

With a smile like that, how bad can he be? If you're one for the bad guys, cast a vote for Simon here.

Celebrity Tea Party Competition!

This beautiful weather has got us in a fantastic mood – so we thought we’d run a little competition with a very special prize. Over the weekend, the question cropped up “Who would be at your dream tea party?” This really captured our imagination as suggestions were thrown around from teashop to chippy and before we knew it, half of Greenwich Avenue had offered their suggestions.

I assume our invite is in the mail?

With famous figures from the past and present as diverse as Oscar Wilde (dandy tea!), Rachel Maddow (liberal tea!) and Mahatma Gandhi (thoughtful tea!) thrown around, we’re not even close to settling on a shortlist. Which is why we need your help! Please tell us your three dream tea party guests, and the reason why. Historical, contemporary, American, British, we don’t care – as long as they’d make good company!

But can I bring a friend?

And what’s the prize, we hear you ask? Well, in keeping with the theme of celebrity (celebri-tea!), we’ll be giving the winner the royal treatment. None other than Mr. Sean Kavanagh-Dowsett himself will come and pick you and a friend up in his black taxi from anywhere in downtown Manhattan, and bring you to Tea & Sympathy to be served free tea and scones. A very unique and special prize, we’re sure you’ll agree!

Your carriage for the evening...

So just let us know your three dream tea party guests in the comments section below, via twitter, or on our facebook wall. And while Michele Bachman and Ron Paul certainly aren’t invited, jokes about the last transatlantic tea party are!

...and your driver!