Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Tea Readings: The tea that I adore!

Tea


Remove the cold, clean refrigerator water
Poured into your mind to become a bit hotter.
Poison-less, diamond-faceted twinkling glitter
Internal pulse pounds, skitter and flitter.

Your propane personality flickers, 
Internal heat hushed, the teapot snickers,
But now higher, higher grows your fire
Melting into you is all I desire.

Louder, louder screams the steam
Announcing inner worth below the outer gleam.
The superheated shouts squeaked out your teeth
Can't compare to the bubbling beauty buried beneath.

Trickle, pour, add some more
You're the tea that I adore.
Sometimes bitter, though discretely sweet
Just a little time and it's complete.

Closed eyed sips make my stomach glow
Melting my inner, internal snow.
And through and through, every batch I brew
I can't help falling a little more in love with you.


~ KM, February 2013




Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Steeping Beauty: Kiss me you fool!

Recently, whilst out browsing in a health food store, I came across a lip balm using green tea as an ingredient. Hurraw! Balm uses “premium organic, vegan, and raw ingredients”, in their products. A bit pricey, for obvious reasons, but I decided to splurge and bought the lip balm. I always wear a lip balm to keep my lips soft at all times. I even wear it to bed.

The Hurraw! Green Tea Lip Balm uses ceremonial grade Matcha green tea and a host of various oils. It also contains Cannabis sativa. Hmmm… 


Hip, hip, hooray!

It doesn’t taste or smell like Matcha at all. It has a fruity, floral scent and even tastes floral, kind of like Jasmine as described on the company website. I really like this product! The application was smooth and left my lips feeling soft, and plump. I find many other lips balms I’ve tried go on a bit stiff. You really need to go over the lips a few times to encourage a smooth feeling. Not so with Hurraw! Balm. Just once over the lips went on with ease. I think I may have found my go to lip saver!

Check out the Hurraw! Balm website for other flavours. I already have my eyes set on coconut, Earl Grey, chai spice, root beer, and the Ayurvedic lip balms for future use!




Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Time for a break!

Time for a Kit Kat break! April was not the greatest month for me. Weather’s gone through so many changes which I think took a toll on my health. I’ve been mostly down and out, battling a cold, and just feeling completely exhausted. I wasn’t feeling very creative either, which is the reason why I haven’t posted any articles last month. I’m feeling much now, though. More energized, and the weather is looking up too. So, it’s time sip to and write again!

Speaking of Kit Kat. It’s one of my favourite chocolate bars. I love breaking them apart, enjoying each wafer stick one by one until it’s all gone in a flash! Did you know that Kit Kat makes a few different flavours of their bars? Yes, they do! In fact, a few years ago, I was offered a Matcha flavoured Kit Kat. I searched and searched for this flavoured Kit Kat, but with no luck. Quite by accident, I came across it just recently, and quickly snatched a few for myself. 


Matcha?  No way!


The Matcha Kit Kat uses a green tea powder as an ingredient, and comes in a light green shade colour, much like the colour of green tea ice-cream you get in sushi restaurants. It even tastes like said green tea ice-cream. It’s sweet, crunchy, and very easy to consume! My breaks didn’t last very long! 

All for me!



Had me at just one bite!


I really like the Matcha Kit Kat, but I just like Kit Kat in general. I’m not sure if everyone will like it. Like many other tea inspired items, it is an acquired taste. That’s okay for me though, means more breaks to be had!




Saturday, March 31, 2018

Yes Chef: Some smokin’ scones!

I’ve been meaning to make some scones for a while now, but kept holding off because I wanted something unusual. I’ve made plain scones, blueberry scones, cheddar and dill scones, and as great as they were, I wanted to make something completely different and of course, tea related. Sure, I could’ve made Earl Grey scones, maybe even mixed in some lavender, but it’s not out of the ordinary. I wanted something savory. 


A pretty plateful!


One of my favourite teas is Lapsang Souchong. I used this to make a soup a while back, and it was great. I love Lapsang Souchong for its smoky aroma and flavour. It’s not for everyone and that’s okay. Not all teas are everyone’s cup! With the addition of rosemary and grated Parmesan cheese, the scones turned out quite well. Here’s how to do it:

Ingredients 

  • 300 g all purpose flour 
  • 6 g salt 
  • 15 g sugar 
  • 15 g baking powder 
  • 55 g butter 
  • 185 g milk 
  • 10 g Lapsang Souching leaves 
  • 5 g dried rosemary 
  • 40 g grated Parmesan cheese 

Process 

  • Place the first four items and the butter into a mixer and give it a whirl using the paddle. 
  • Add the milk and whirl until the mixture comes together. 
  • Mix in grinded Lapsang Souchong tea and rosemary leaves. I grinded mine in a pestle and mortar. 
  • Add the Parmesan cheese and give the whole mixture a quick whirl just to combine everything. 
  • Place the dough on a table and knead it just enough to gather it. Roll it out to about an inch thickness. 
  • Using a cookie cutter, cut out some rounds. I got eight pieces with this amount. Just enough for me! 
  • Brush an egg wash on top of each scone to give them a nice sheen. 
  • Bake at 350 °F for about 20 minutes or until scones turn a golden colour. 
  • Enjoy them fresh out of the oven with a slathering of butter.

One for me!


These scones had a rich, savory, smoky aroma and flavour all courtesy of Lapsang Souchong. The rosemary and Parmesan cheese added another layer of flavour, really elevating the scones to another level. I enjoyed mine warm with butter along with mugs of Assam tea. Really good! 


Options 

  • Try another herb instead of rosemary. How about some thyme or basil? 
  • Cheddar cheese might be something to go for instead of Parmesan.

Like one?





Wednesday, March 28, 2018

My Cuppa: The way of Chaiwala!

One of my favourite tea companies is a local company called Chaiwala Chai. They specialize in masala chai or spicy tea. I’ve sampled their yummy teas ever since they began hawking their products at the Toronto Tea Festival. This time around, I decided to make a purchase so that I can enjoy their tasty teas at home. I bought a package of their classic Masala Chai. 

The goods!

Masala Chai comes mixed with all the popular spices that go into making the ultimate spiced tea along with a few other ingredients. These include: cloves, star anise, black peppercorn, cinnamon, fennel, cardamom, dried orange peel, raw and dried ginger, organic honey, and bay leaf. This particular blend also includes a Ceylon Tea as their choice for tea rather than, say, an Assam


Chaiwala Chai recommends using soy milk to prepare a cuppa, but, I’ve decided to use a cashew and almond milk blend. Any milk or milk substitute will do, however.

To make a cuppa is pretty easy. Just combine 8 g of the masala mix to 1 cup of milk and heat in a small pot on medium heat, under a boil. I whisked the contents until the mixture was heated. Then, I just strained the tea into a mug for drinking. 


Lovin' spoonful!

The tea itself is not as dark as other masala chai I’ve had. Even a spicy blend I made in the past is much darker in colour as there is a greater quantity of tea. This tea is more milk based with the flavours of a spiced tea. Nothing wrong with that, it’s still good. Plus, there are gazillions of ways to make a masala chai. Factors contributing the taste, colour, and aroma of each masala chai may range from what spices, tea, and milk were used and how much.

I love this Masala Chai blend by Chaiwala Chai. It is milkier, but it’s got a wonderful aroma, and the taste is just as exotic as any other masala chai. I have tried their Rooibos Chai blend as well. It’s something I’ll have to purchase next time!





Thursday, March 22, 2018

Tea Readings: So you prefer the tea over me?

Shall I Compare Thee To A Cup Of Tea?


Shall I compare thee to a cup of tea?
Thou art less lovely and less temperate.
Your voice winds do shake my tranquillity,
And fair attentions are too hard to get.
Sometimes too hot your critical glare shines,
And often is your vicious tongue untrimmed;
And every sip of love in time declines,
With swift return to lover's lounge much dimmed.
Your sharp heat shall never cool to comfort,
And all sugar in the world won't sweeten,
The bitter beating of your blackened heart;
Nor shall the greed of your soul be beaten.
As long as men can drink a cup of tea,
So long lives my hate and disgust for thee. 


~ Pip Jaggers, July 2014




Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Culinary adventures in tea!

I’m always on the lookout for ways to incorporate tea into my diet. So, when I found a cooking workshop that used teas or tisanes in an entire meal, I jumped on it and signed up for the class. It was instructed by President’s Choice, a food company that also includes other divisions such as banking and travel, under their management. They offer the PC Cooking School in many of their large grocery stores, demonstrating a variety of lessons for all age groups. 

I attended the Cooking with Tea class at a school one evening and it was a blast. The course included a starter, entrĂ©e, dessert, and beverages including wine. It was pretty impressive, and they didn’t skimp on the portions. Here’s what we made and enjoyed: 


Rosemary lemon iced-tea.


Harissa roasted carrot salad.


Black tea rubbed beef tenderloin.


Grapefruit curd and ginger snap crumb.


It was a fun, interactive course that got me interested in other classes the school offers. I’ll definitely be signing up for other interesting workshops.