Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Great Tea Cup Trade... My American Trade-Off!

In February I was asked by a fellow Blogger (Faith, Hope & Cherry Tea) from America to get involved with her Great Tea Cup Trade... Well... how could I turn it down?....

I agreed to take part, and got very excited about the tea cup that I might get sent in the post from somebody else....Picturing another UK-based tea cup trader would send me a cute traditionally british floral teacup for my tea party table...

However, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was paired with a lovely lady called Sarah from the USA!... A fellow tea cup fan and a lover of all things vintage...she sent me the most beautiful package, even the packaging was bright and exciting!....

Wrapped up very well, I was so thrilled to find the most dainty floral teacup and saucer...but not only these goodies....Sarah was so kind as to send me a very pretty rose shaped pink side plate, a cute little spoon, a set of very small napkins and the most delicious pear tea I have ever tasted!

I could not believe just how generous she had been with her trade! What a lovely gift to have received...I was touched, especially by the beautiful hand made card she had made and sent with my treats.

I love them all so much, that they ALL have made an appearance at The Secluded (BOOK CLUB!) Tea Party in March....and You can see the photos of them all being used!.... The rose plate was used to host my Chocolate Ganache Truffles...and the napkins used at every place setting for my 12 fantastic guests.

Thank you SO much Sarah for your kind gifts... I love them ALL and it has been great getting to know you and your busy family via email (8 Kids...WOW! ; )

To see what I sent to Sarah in exchange....check out her blog here.

Miss Sue Flay 


Tuesday, 29 March 2011


The Secluded (Book Club!) Tea Party was held on Sunday, 27th March at 2pm, and we were granted access to the best possible venue for this event...Plurabelle Books in the very heart of Cambridge... yet secluded within beautiful landscaped city grounds! It was Perfect for a Book Club theme to the proceedings!

The lovely Ruth allowed me to go in a day early and lay the table and set out the room ready for my 12 Cake loving guests, which allowed for a calm baking session prior to the event. This was a rare treat! 

The menu consisted of Savoury Red Onion Tartlets and Home-made Lemonade on arrival, followed by a selection of finger sandwiches, including my legendary Ham & Garlic Jam filling...Which I think went down very well yet again, hurrah!

Also available to my guests were my newly conjured up Fruit & Spice Scones with an Almond/Streusel topping, and accompanied by a jar of Plum-Nut jam, thanks to my lovely local jam lady who tailor-made it for this very tea party! Amazing as always!

Other courses included a Chocolate Truffle selection, which included a very dark Ganache for the lovers of a deep and dark chocolatey kick, as well as newly found recipe for an Oreo-based Truffle!... Yes, you read correctly!.... A blogging friend had suggested this, along with a game for my guests to try to figure out the three ingredients in this surprisingly addictive truffle recipe!.... The Answer, for all my confused guests is.... Dark Chocolate to coat the balls, which were made up of finely crushed Oreo Cookies, and..... Soft Cheese..... They were soft and squidgy, and straight from the fridge are just like mini cheese cake bites. Delicious and worthy of replicating!... Anybody can do it!

My piece de resistance was my first ever Victoria Sponge... Made with a light vanilla sponge, sandwiching together a shed load of piped vanilla buttercream and the most spiffing Forest Fruit jam (Made locally of course by my lovely jam lady!) which added a beautifully sweet and fruity texture to this cake. I was so proud, I could not help but add to it by adding a little robot, complete with footsteps across the icing sugar path on the top! It was the main attraction for this afternoon and my guests all shouted *YES* as soon as I asked if I should cut it!... It was hilarious!

The chosen book for this theme was titled "Cupboard Love" by Laura Lockington, and it had mixed reviews, which is always a great thing for a little spark in the conversation at these things!... Some guests loved the book and laughed and cried out loud whilst reading certain chapters, whilst some guests completely detested the author after a few chapters.... 
It led to some great conversations for the book-geeks in us all!

The tea of the tea party seemed to be the intriguing Rhubarb and Custard Loose leaf from Teabox Online.... A firm favourite for two tea parties running now!...

As well as my guests enjoying the food, and each others' company, they also generously shared and swapped a selection of books from their own collections, and everybody had fun showing the others what they had to give and why they would recommend the books and authors.
We were also permitted to take a book or two from the shelves of the second-hand books at the long as we swapped it with one of our own... what an indulgence!... Guests were browsing long after the tea party had ended!....

This was such a successful event, and the guests did stop talking all afternoon, which from a hostesses point of view, is the best feeling in the world!

The Book Club Tea Party will be back later in the year with a different book...It would be rude not to!

There is so much I could write up about this event, but I feel that the photos that were taken say a million words, so I hope that you enjoy browsing through them all... Such a unique tea party, it has kept a smile on my face for days afterwards : )

And most importantly.... Check out Plurabelle Books in Cambridge... it is a wonder emporium of second-hand books and a delight to spend an hour or ten reading and browsing their books! I love spending a lunch hour in this very unusual venue...and I would suggest it to anybody with an hour to kill!....

And lastly.. for a lovely write up on this event from one of my guests.. visit her blog here.

Miss Sue Flay

PS- A HUGE Thank you to The Cambridge Cookery School for lending me their kettles for the hot water at this venue! Tine you are a STAR! hehe x


This Friday saw lots of lovely things happening to me.... and it was payday....HURRAH!

The loveliest part of the day was catching up with my fellow Cambridge food bloggers for a meaty feast at Efes Restaurant on King Street.
Battling through the Grand Arcade and the hundreds of geeks queuing for the Apple Store and their new products...

....I wandered down to this warm and exciting restaurant to meet Nora, Ireena, Deepa & Sarah where we all enjoyed the delicious Turkish dishes, prepared and cooked right in front of our eyes (The Grill next to our table was a welcome sight...great to see the food so freshly cooked!) 
and we got to catch up and discuss everything food-ish...the perfect way to start a very foodie weekend!

Whilst telling the ladies about the upcoming Book Club Tea Party, and the Chocolate Truffle Selection that I was planning to make for my guests, Sarah suggested the perfect recipe to give to my guests....and I did make them for it too! 

They went down Very well, and I share the recipe here with you all.... I highly reccomend it!


1 Pack of Oreo Cookies, Crushed to their death (Very Finely- Like dust!)
1 8oz Pack of Cream Cheese, Softened
Chocolate to drizzle or dip

All you need to do is halve and place the Oreo Biscuits into a zip lock bag or food processor and crush to dust!
In a bowl, beat the cream cheese until it has become loose... Only takes a few whips with a spatula. 
Add the Oreos to the Cream cheese and mix in well. 
Roll the Mixture into 1" balls and place on a waxed baking tray, and refridgerate for 10 minutes to harden. 
Dip into melted chocolate, or drizzle chocolate over to lace the truffles....decorate however you like really!.... Get Creative!

Enjoy cold OR at room temperature! 
Either way, they are tasty and you will be reluctant to share!

It really is that easy, why not Give it a go?... If you love Oreo's, then you will love this little treat! It has put many smiles on faces this weekend alone! 

Miss Sue Flay 

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

It's all Scone Wrong......!

So... What comes first?.... 
... The Jam OR The Clotted Cream? 

I am not sure that I know anybody who knows the answer to this question.....I am not even convinced that there is a correct answer... But I thought it would be fun to research and get messy trying out the variations for that perfect topping on my delicious warm scones!

Cream teas can be found at most tourist hot spots....and searching for the most fabulous of those is a whole different subject for another day perhaps!....
But in researching cream teas...I was shocked to see that in some establishments, the cream has been spotted to be dispensed from a can!!! A CAN???!!!....GRIM!!!..... How could they do that to us?!

Real British Clotted Cream is the ONLY way forward in my mind!!!...

So how do you eat yours?.... Do you smother the cream on first, giving it the lovely thick layer to host that generous dollop of jam on top?....

Or do you smooth some of the jam on first and then crush it with huge lashings of creamy goodness?

In my geeky research...well.... there seems to be a worrying divide between the Cornish and Devonian Scone eaters (An all out cake-related war right here in Blighty!)......

If you go for Cream on top, then you are seemingly, following the Cornish method of this process.....

However... if you head for the jam second, then you are siding with the lovely people of Devon!.... Apparently!

Who says this?...I am not really just seems to be general bloggers knowledge... And as I am not feeling particularly argumentative today, I shall go with this tried and seemingly tested scone law!..... If you would like to argue with me, then do feel free!....

What has made me chuckle is reading an article where Nick Rodda (Of Cornish territory) is quoted in saying:  "The cornish make their cream better, and as my grandfather always jokingly said *We always put our cream on the top because we are proud of it, Devonians are slightly ashamed of theirs, so they cover it up with their jam* but that's a little bit of tongue in cheek rivalry!"

You have to love the British sense of humour in these matters!

I have also found that Black Treacle and Clotted Cream is a combination enjoyed by many...and I am not sure that this would work for me personally...Perhaps one to try in the future!....But even my sweet tooth has to say no sometimes!......Just sometimes!....

The Ritz, In London have been quoted as saying that they prefer to encourage the *Jam, and then Cream* option as a traditional method of preparing scones.
I wonder why this is...more lady like perhaps?..... Hmmmm
It also reminded that butter can be spread first, although most certainly reserved for the more indulgent afternoon tea participant.

I do feel that some physical testing is in order!

I shall firstly try the Cornish method .... So..... Jam first.....Followed by a lovely dollop of Cream.......

Leave that aside for a moment..... It takes a few minutes to make you realise if this was a mistake or not...will it run, will it stay put?..... There is a lot of chemistry in this exercise!

And followed by The Devonshire method....So..... The cream first...followed by some jam....  (Using the same ingredients of course!....)

To be completely honest with you.... I feel that personally they both look good....They both taste exactly the same..... But what I am sure of, is that this seemingly pointless debate will never be over, however, it has been fantastic fun researching!

Let me know your thoughts and feelings on the subject!

And do you have experience in this methodic testing process? 
...If so, get in touch! hehe


MY FIRST EVER SOUFFLÉ!!! - Feel Good Friday!....

Considering my name is (Miss Sue Flay) ... My little secret is that I have YET to make an actual  SOUFFLÉ.... I have never made one, believe it or not!! 

I have recently felt ashamed to name myself after this notoriously difficult dish and feel a bit of a fraud when people ask me if I make them haha .... so I decided to give it a go... and hurrah!... It was a success!
I made a cheese one, to go with a savoury dish, served with a simple side salad and some fresh bread. It was delicious! And I am hooked!.... I FEEL GOOD : )  

Not too bad for a first attempt I would say..... Not bad at all! 


Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Lindy Hopping in Cambridge...

Lindy- What?.....     

....The Lindy Hop!.... A dance that I had heard of.... yet never really appreciated!...Until now!
The best way to describe this dance is to think about an old black and white film where it cuts to an animated jazz band playing to an audience of swinging dancers with huge goofy smiles on their faces!... And there was I... About to give this a go... And yes, I honestly do have two left feet (I trip over my OWN feet on a regular basis!) so this was going to be a challenge!....

In the search for my top ten things to do in Cambridge for March 2011, I stumbled across a group in Cambridge who teach ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS how to do the Lindy Hop!

As soon as I mentioned it to a few people, I got a few laughs and a few recognised nods and even some squeals of joy at the sound of me joining in....I had no idea just how popular it is!...And in my home town too!.... I love retro coming back to roost, so this was just up my street... and after being told by the organiser, the lovely Hannah, that there would be no watching...that I would have to join in if I came along...well....I still went along! Hehe...

Cue to a sunny Monday Evening with Miss Sue Flay and one of her bestest friends stood in The Man on The Moon on Norfolk Street shaking out our legs and arms in the most fun and uncontrollable manner!...Think along the lines of Bez from The Happy Mondays style movements! (Is the best way to describe the warm up!) Laughing and listening to the instructors introducing us to the class, we knew this was going to be far from what we had expected!

Whilst the live band were warming up to turn the pub into a "Speakeasy", we were taught to move from one leg to the other with 100% of our body weight without moving our feet off the floor...almost like hopping, but through our hips and feet routed to the dance floor...... Followed by a cute little move, where we had to draw a "W" with our hips...much harder than they made it look...but we sort of got it in the end!

Stood in a circle, there must have easily been 30 people in the class, all rotating every couple of minutes to dance with a new partner and get a feel for how different everybody can feel linked in a loose arm lock and spinning around whilst wildly shaking our hips and giggling like school kids!

I just can't tell you all how much fun it have to try it for yourself to believe it!

The most comforting element was being told that it doesn't matter if you get a step wrong, or you mis count your steps...It isn't serious stuff.... Just keep moving and you will feel the rhythm soon after you lose it! Just have fun and go with it!

I haven't smiled so much in any form of exercise class or session before, and this is stupidly addictive!....We will be going back again! And very soon!

Take a look for more information on the Cambridge Lindy Hoppers Website!

If you want an evening out alone or with friends... this is the place to go!

Everybody was so welcoming, and I, for one am well and truly hooked!

Miss Sue Flay 


Sunday, 13 March 2011


Just a little teaser for my fellow guests, who will be attending The Secluded (Book Club!) Tea Party in a couple of weeks time!....

Have you all ANY idea where the venue will be yet?.... There are so many Book-ish venues that could contend in Cambridge itself...I thought I might show you all a few of them and see if anybody can guess which venue it will be....Hehe....

Could It be The Haunted Book Shop just off King's Parade?.... What a fantastically Spooky venue this would be!....

How about WH Smith in the Heart of the City?!... Upstairs is always very quiet... so could be do-able..

Perhaps we will be seated in the Fantastic Market Square with the book man hosting a couple of hours of book related fun and games?....

Oxfam Books on Sidney Street is always a contender...a great choice of books and a friendly atmosphere.... Oooh have you figured it out yet?.... Or do you need some more teasers to throw into the mix....?!....

Maybe the Tea Party will be at the prestigious Cambridge University Press Book Shop just off The Market Square?....I am yet to go *Full On* Cambridge!.... Tempting...!....

How could any Cambridge resident forget the fantastic Galloway and Porter Bookshop?!... Now closed down and looking very sorry for itself... Perhaps the owners of this building have let us in for one last ode to all things book-related?.....

Last choice, being a little more mainstream.... Did I opt for a special agreement with Waterstones and bargain with them to let us use their kitchen and facilities for the tea??.... A possibility...

So which of the above do YOU think we are going to be seated for a couple of hours of Tea, Cake and Book chat?!..... If you get it right, I will be VERY impressed...We have SOME Amazing Book shops in Cambridge... and these are just a few!....

Also...Check out my fun video that I have made using the chosen book for this event : ) I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it!
To view the clip, click here.

See you very soon fellow book lovers!!!

MSF xx


The only giggling I did whilst making this recipe was at how my lovely puppy dog loved sniffing around my legs whilst I drained the fruit... I did drop a few currants on the floor, and my furry hoover helped to clean up the floor as I went along!... Hehe. 

This is a cake that I have never heard of before, however it stems from my part of the world..... Well... The Fens to be precise!... A boiled fruit cake... sounds very unappealing... But believe me...It is TASTY!
It is said to make the baker giggle when she or he hears their guests OOH and AHH when they know just how easy it was to make!..... How true this is, I am not entirely sure.... But I like the mystery behind the name of this dish!

I have yet to make a local sweet dish... so I thought that I would give it a go... and I have to say... this fruit cake is deliciously sweet and, not being a fruit cake fan myself, I REALLY enjoyed this. 


  • Ingredients
  • 350g/12oz/2 cups mixed dried fruit
  • 125g/4oz butter or margarine
  • 175g/6oz/1 cup soft brown sugar
  • 250g/8oz/2 cups self raising flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 225g/7.5 can chopped pineapple - drained
  • 125g/4oz glace cherries - halved
  • Put the mixed dried fruit into a large bowl and cover with boiling water
  • Leave to soak for 10-15 minutes the drain well

  • Put the butter or margarine and sugar into a large saucepan and heat gently until melted

  • Add the drained mixed dried fruit and cook over a low heat, stirring frequently for 4-5 minutes
  • Remove from the heat and transfer to a mixing bowl
  • Leave to cool

  • Sift the flour and salt into the dried fruit mixture and stir well
  • Add the eggs, mixing until thoroughly incorporated

  • Add the pineapples and cherries to the cake mixture and stir to combine

  • Transfer to a greased lined 1kg/2lb loaf tin and level the surface
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degree c/350 degree f/gas mark 4 for about 1 hour
 (My Gluten Free Adaptation)

  • Test the cake with a fine skewer - if it comes out clear the cake is cooked - if not return to the oven for a few more minutes
    Enjoy with a Good Strong Cuppa!.... MSF x

Friday, 11 March 2011

Feel Good Friday...(Or at least trying to make it so!)

I feel far from good today haha...I have been struck down with that almighty bug that everybody has had and has now passed on...just before the weekend too!


Peeling myself out of bed for the last working day of the week was hard work in itself this morning! All I would have liked would have to been submerged in a hot bath and perhaps hiring a personal masseur to come and rub my neck pain away all day whilst I did nothing but happily mope around at that would have helped me to feel good!..... I think!?....

In reality...I moped off to work in my little car, feeling as though 5pm was a decade away.
Not so good!

On my way through I did, however, manage to conjour up the energy to whip in to my local coffee shop (Greens Coffee in Cambourne...FAB little place if you haven't been there!) and grab a Cranberry drink (Cranberries are supposed to be good for colds aren't they?!)...and a piece of their legendary Chocolate Brownie (Brownies are equally as good for colds are they not?!...)

My first hope for good feelings today....Perfectly simple...but pursued by (sniffly) happiness at elevenses hehe!

Not only did I have this simple pleasure to make today feel just a little bit better.... After speaking to a new speedy-cycling friend about the blog and what was actually going to make me feel good when all I wanted to do was stick my head in a huge vat of vaporub (!!!)...he suggested lemsip, sleep and aspirin....

....He wasn't far off the mark!....

And to finish off a simple yet feel good Friday.....I enjoyed an open air (liquid) lunch with a creamy hot chocolate at The Gog Magog Farmshop, where we managed to marginally miss a Kamikazee chicken in the car park, as well as get stared out by a creepy hissing turkey called Clive! Much to my amusement...but not so to the lovely Carlito's!

Not only did we get to spend our lunch hour with the residential poultry, but I enjoyed throwing a drool-coated ball for our furry canine friends who had joined us under the picnic table.

The two collies that trot happily around the farm are what makes it so appealing to me! So throw a ball for them is a different experience to throwing for my own pooch who just stares at me with a goofy look when I throw his ball....and I end up having to walk half a mile after it myself and point it out to him before he will retrieve it! hehe....

It makes me very excited about going home this evening and cuddling my own bundle of fluff, even if he is just a little bit simple!

Have a fantastic weekend!! And perhaps I will see some of you at Judy's Vintage Fair tomorrow at the Guildhall in Cambridge!...I will be the one sniffing out vintage aprons and a good strong cup of tea!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


......will be held on
Sunday 26th June 2011 from 2pm to 4pm .....

Just 12 Places Available!

......To include the most Beautiful and Luxuriant afternoon tea yet with me, Miss Sue Flay and my fellow guests.

Come dressed in your Sunday best....or your finest vintage frock (Or frills!) or why not enter into the spirit of this theme and go with ruffles and feathers that would put Marie Antoinette to shame!?!

This secret Location will be somewhere fitting for the title of this new afternoon event, and it is suggested that you bring along your purse (or wallet!) along for the ride! A real MUST for this location!

This exclusive venue is closed to the general public on this date, and open purely for the relaxation and pleasure of my guests!
Such an honour!

You will be able to browse this venues' wares, and enjoy shopping without the crowds.... whilst enjoying an afternoon of entertainment and exquisite afternoon delights.


To Be Confirmed.


Selection of unlimited Teas served.


The Venue ... A Secret Location somewhere not too far from Cambridge...
This secret location will be revealed nearer to the contact me to find out more!

Why not bring along a friend or two, or just come alone and make some new friends over the table? Don't be scared!...It really is a great way to while away the afternoon.

To secure your place, just email: thesecludedteaparty@live.c
with how many guests you would like to take places for, and I will send you further instruction.

I look forward to meeting you soon!

Miss Sue Flay 

Saturday, 5 March 2011


Following on from the GREAT blogging advice that was given to us at the Food Blogging Conference from the lovely Daniel Young....I have decided to make a regular spot on my Blog, so that all my trusted followers will know EXACTLY when to read in and see what mischief I have been up to each week! 

I still plan to waffle every few days, or when I see fit!.....But my regular spot will be FEEL GOOD FRIDAY!........ And it will be exactly what it says on the tin! ....You can read about what I have baked or found or did or smelt or had happen to me that makes me feel good...On a Friday!

So This Friday was the first event in a while that has had me in stitches.... "I Haven't a Kazoo" - a local students take on the panel show "Never Mind The Buzzcocks" held at CB2 Cafe & Bistro on Norfolk Street.

Not really knowing what we were letting ourselves in for...6 of us strolled into town and met up for much Japes and Bants! (Thanks goes to Lingers for this terminology!)

This was just one of my top ten things to try out in Cambridge for March... so I dragged some friends along for the musical ride!!....

We enjoyed the panel show, listening to the 4 guys discussing music and current affairs, as well as listening to their interesting take on Lady Gaga and other popular tracks on the Kazoo and Recorder... it felt very much like sitting in and listening to a group of friends in the middle of a pub chat. Very amusing. 

The drunken polish lady in front of us claimed to be a professor for one of the universities, and she was almost as funny as the crew were! We even managed to persuade her that one of our friends "Used to be in the band, titled MUSE"....Much to our amusement, she took the bait and discussed popular music and the industry with him as well as introducing him to the ORGANISER of the event as we had such an important person in the room!.... Playground silliness, but I haven't laughed so much in weeks....I felt good! And that is the name of the game!

Check out "I haven't a Kazoo" for more info on their upcoming events!

Miss Sue Flay