If like me, you enjoy tea; Breakfast tea, Early Grey, Lady Grey, Lapsang Souchong, Green Tea, Peppermint tea, Rooibos - yes, I could go on, and on - what I'm attempting to get at, is that, if you love tea (i.e. you panic when you're abroad, and your hotel room is devoid of tea and coffee making facilities and dream dreams of a singing pot of Earl Grey), you will surely love Tea and Cake, a prettily kitschy and drool worthy recipe book, illustrated by the wonderful Emma Block.
The book covers all the information you'll need to prepare for a tea party, recipes for sandwiches and savouries, biscuits and a variety of cakes, as well as step by step instructions on making the 'Perfect Cuppa'. Heed the first tip: 'Don't even think about making a monobrew in a ghastly cup. Use a tea-pot, preferably ceramic and warm it with some boiling water.' My ghastly cup was a little hurt, but the book is quite right, tea tastes so much nicer when brewed in a tea-pot. Please note, my birthday is coming up - my ghastly (it's actually rather beautiful) cup would love to meet a gorgeous teapot.
The recipes included range from easy to a little tricky and include recipes you may be quite familiar with, as well recipes for those new fangled fashion fancies, such as cake-pops and whoopie pies. I'm rather looking forward to trying out the Banana and Walnut cake, having yet to find a recipe that's taken a liking to me. I do also quite like the sound of caramelized leek and artichoke scones... Mmmmmmm.
If you like a little bit of spirit in your afternoon tea, Tea and Cake offers an entire section dedicated to 'Grown Up Drinks'. The Naughty Earl, Amaretto Tea, Green Teani and Backyard Treat are just a select few you can try for an extra kick.
Though the recipes and instructions are interesting to study, contemplate and create, I believe they are overshadowed (quite rightly) by Emma Block's marvelously dreamy illustrations which clothe every page. It's one of those coffee (I should say 'tea' really) table books, which you could happily flick through and enjoy without reading a single word. I still don't have a coffee (tea) table, so this book will be joining my other 'proud to be on display' books on the bookshelf.
So if you like tea and cake, pretty things to drool at and appreciate wonderfully produced books, with lovely paper, I'm pretty confident you'll love Tea and Cake.
To view images from Tea and Cake by Emma Block, visit my blog.
Follow Akeela Bhattay on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ActuallyAkeela