October 26 2012
Darkness falls across the land, the midnight hour is close at hand…
Ahem, anyway, that’s enough Thriller. The spooky season is nigh, the clocks are going back, and blustery air is on its way. Nights in with films and blankets are at the top of our list, so we thought we’d share five of our favorites. And remember, if you find things are getting a bit too spooky, you can always pop and put the kettle on…
1. The Shining. One of my favorite films. We’re heading out to see the extended US cut this Halloween – can’t wait. If you’re of a nervous disposition, when anyone goes into room 237 you can go and pop a brew on. And remember, all work and no tea makes Jack a dull boy.
2. Ghostwatch. First broadcast on Halloween in 1992, Ghostwatch is thoroughly, thoroughly brilliant. In a mock live-on-air broadcast, we find Michael Parkison, Craig Charles, Sarah Greene and Mark Smith investigating a family home where a poltergeist is thought to be making trouble. Long before Most Haunted and Fear, this one-off broadcast is a real trailblazer. You can find it here on Vimeo.
3. The Innocents. A perfectly crafted, dark, subtle ghostly Gothic. The sublime Deborah Kerr takes on the roll of a Victorian governess, charged with looking after two children, Flora and Miles – but of course, all is not as it seems. Co written by Truman Capote, this 1961 is film is as haunting as it is beautiful.
4. Profondo Rosso. Argento. Say no more. Although, creepy dolls should get a mention, and a superb soundtrack from Goblin.
5. Shutter. A gripping 2004 Thai horror, focused (excuse the pun) on mysterious figures and faces seen in photographs after Tun, a photographer, and his friend Jane are involved in a hit-and-run traffic accident. Riveting, relentless, and an incredible scene involving a camera flash (and plenty of better-put-the-kettle-on moments too).
So those are some of our picks – go ahead and tell which ones you’d choose too. We tend to go through autumn horrors with a big pot of Lapsang Souchong and a pile of biscuits, or a good wholesome pot of Dorset Brew. Now, time to stock up on toffee apples.
CATEGORIES: Tea & Coffee
May 4 2012
Come rain or come shine, there is always one tea we find ourselves reaching towards (and definitely hits the spot for a comforting cup during one of those thunderous downpours and chilly breezes we’ve been having) or should I say, family of teas. That family is Oolong.
Oolongs are truly fascinating, and are part of probably the widest varieties of tea groups. They can be green and fresh, while others can be dark and curious, and everything in between. Oolongs originated in China from the Tang Dynasty, and draw their name from Wulong, meaning Black Dragon. This is no coincidence, as your classic Oolong has a beautiful long, dark twisted leaf resembling its mythical counterpart.
Oolong tea is partially withered and semi-fermented, and for how long will depend on the tea. For instance, the Iron Goddess of Mercy is a greener and more grassy Oolong, where Oriental Beauty (a real stunner that we’ll look at in a moment) is far darker. After picking, the leaves are spread out in the open air to help soften the cells in the leaf – this encourages moisture to evaporate, and thus the fermentation process begins. The leaves are then tossed and left to oxidise (or ferment) for as long as needed depending on the desired result. Then comes the drying to halt this process, usually by frying in a wok or steaming, and the leaves are then rolled. After this stage, some Oolongs are fired to give that beautiful, bakey flavour that give the stronger Oolongs their defining characteristics. For this you’ll usually find a roasting pan or electric pans/ovens.
And so to one of the more unusual and stunning Oolongs out there – Oriental Beauty (Dong Fang Mei Ren). This remarkable tea can only be produced every three years, because it has to wait for a visitor to come to the tea garden. That visitor is a cricket called the Tea Jassid. These crickets are rather partial to the Camellia, and when they arrive, start nibbling the leaves. This is where the plant does something rather interesting – to defend itself the Camellia Sinensis produces an enzyme that it doesn’t normally make to help defend itself from these peckish nibbly guests. At this point, the leaves are picked and the production process begins. It is this enzyme that makes Oriental Beauty so beautiful. Sweet, citrus notes with muscatel finish the colour of Golden Syrup. A real rarity, and a truly exceptional Oolong.
Now to peek tentatively outside and see about putting the kettle on.
CATEGORIES: Tea & Coffee
March 19 2012
Well good golly gosh, what a week we’ve had! Let me tell you a tale of some serious tea excitement.
Last Sunday we took a punt on something – we’re not normally the gambling type, but every Sunday evening a certain Mr. Theo Paphitis of Dragon’s Den hosts a small business competition on Twitter called #SBS or Small Business Sunday. So we thought we’d tweet Theo about The Gilded Teapot – and we could hardly believe our inbox. After an evening of general pottering around I checked our emails, and there it was – “You were re-tweeted by @TheoPhaphitis”. He likes good tea! Top chap. All incredibly humbling. Thank you, Theo!
Anyway, back to what’s been going on in Dorset. Now that everything has thawed and spring is beginning to… spring, we thought we’d venture out to the wonderful Anonymous Travelling Market with our stall for the very first time. It was a brilliant day out – music, food, giant bubbles and plenty of free tea to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and all in the gorgeous surroundings of the Larmer Tree Gardens in North Dorset.
The next market is on April 14th 2012 at Wincanton Racecourse – looks like its going to be a stonking day! You can find out more on their website right here.
And before I have to dash, there’s just enough time to tell you about an excellent day we had at the London School of Coffee levelling up our skills on their advanced barista course – watch out Dorchester, our takeaways just got even better! If you see us tinkering around with stopwatches, small electronic scales and equations, don’t be alarmed – we’re working on the science and art of espresso making to bring you the perfect shot. Its absolutely fascinating.
Until next time, tea and coffee lovers!