Cream teas

Get that holiday feeling with afternoon tea in the garden.

Cornish and Devon
Cornish and Devon

The origins of the humble scone hail from a Scottish griddle baked bread. The origin of the name is more of a mystery with some suggesting a link to the Dutch word ‘schoonbrot’ meaning beautiful bread, while others say they are named after the Stone of Destiny where Scottish Kings were crowned.

The Duchess of Bedford (1788-1861) is credited with making the ritual of afternoon tea popular. She complained about feeling peckish mid afternoon and asked for tea and sweet breads which included scones.

There are two pronunciations of the word scone, one rhyming with con and the other with cone. Some argue the latter is the “posh” version but I believe it to be a regional difference. Apparently the con sounding pronunciation tends to be found further North. As a Southern belle I say s-cone and my posh hubby with Northern origins says s-con.

We both agree on how to serve our scones though. We eat ours the Cornish way, jam first then clotted cream.

Travel Cafe scone recipe Oven 200C or 180C fan Gas mark 6
250g SR flour
pinch salt
1 teasp baking powder
40g unsalted butter
1 egg plus 1tblsp greek yoghurt and water to 100ml beaten
20g caster sugar
50g sultanus

Rub butter into dry ingredients.
Add sugar
Stir in beaten egg and yoghurt
Knead gently to form dough
Roll out to 2cm thickness
Cut using 4cm cutter
Brush tops with egg or milk
Bake for 8-10 minutes

Serve with strawberry or raspberry jam and lashings of clotted cream

YUM ; )

In Shakespeare’s footsteps

We enjoy the slower pace of walking to cycling as walking enables you a greater connection with your surroundings. Fortunately it also dispenses with the need for lumpy lycra. In the interests of removing said lumpiness we chose to increase the distances covered when walking by embarking upon a long distance footpath called Shakespeare’s Way. This is a 146 mile way marked path that stretches between Stratford-Upon-Avon and the Globe Theatre in London. Aptly described as “a journey of the imagination” it allegedly winds along a route that the Bard himself may have travelled.

A crochet covered tree at the start of our walk. It was January so maybe the tree was cold?
A crochet covered tree at the start of our walk. It was January so maybe the tree was cold?

We divided the walk into ten 15 mile sections using a little book called Shakespeare’s Way from a website of the same name If you buy the book from the website profits go to the Shakespeare Hospice in Stratford-Upon-Avon. They also supply free path updates (our old version of the book suggested crossing an absent bridge across the Grand Union Canal). We found the ordnance survey app downloaded to our phone useful as you see exactly where you are relative to the path even in the middle of a field (£8.99 per region and you only need 2 or 3 for entire walk). We caught buses from the end point to the starting point for the pre Oxford stretches (timetables available online). Post Oxford buses were scarcer so we sometimes caught a taxi to avoid walking in circles (mostly £25 per ride).
The variety of landscapes surprised us from fields of open countryside, quaint market towns, canals, rivers, woodlands, Chiltern hills, M25 and London city

The grounds of Blenheim Palace
The grounds of Blenheim Palace
Walking into Oxford
Walking into Oxford
There were up and downsides to our trek because the great places we found to eat meant a possible imbalance between calories burned and calories consumed for each walk. Each walk was a great day out and the entirety merges into a long disjointed holiday (of 18 months duration).

Follow the Bard
Follow the Bard

We completed the final walk between Kew Gardens and the Globe Theatre on the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s demise. Walking along the south bank of the Thames was a great way to appreciate our wonderful capital city. Historic sights yes, but also green spaces and surprisingly crowd free considering that it was London marathon weekend.

Green banks of the Thames between Kew and the Globe
Green banks of the Thames between Kew and the Globe
Journeys end- the Globe theatre for a chilled glass of prosecco
Journeys end- the Globe Theatre for a chilled glass of prosecco 23rd April 2016

We had purchased tickets for Hamlet the same evening, but our tired tootsies could not be persuaded to stand for two hours (as groundlings), should have booked seats. Oh well another time……

Why a virtual travel cafe?

We travel not to escape life……… but for life not to escape us   (anonymous)IMG_0299

The idea for this website came from wanting to enliven the everyday.
One day we would love to give up work and walk or sail off into the sunset.
Mostly though we plan and dream of our escape from the comfort of our red wine coloured sofa.

The photo above was taken near the edge of Northampton. We don’t need to travel far to escape the ordinary, we just need to know where to look.

A real life travel cafe would offer travel ideas, comfy sofas and delicious food.

The Virtual Travel Cafe aims to inspire, fuel the imagination and hopefully take you further afield.