Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A sparkling finish to the year!

Another year is coming to a close. My goodness how time flies! As the hours dwindle down, I thought I’d share one last treat with you before the New Year arrives. This is an easy one. If you still have some tea syrup available, add a drop or two into a wine glass and pour some sparkling wine over it. Yup. I am ending the year off with a lovely glass of bubbly with hints of Earl Grey tea. It’s pleasant and refreshing, you gotta try it.  Did I mention this is a quick post too?

Tea bubbly!

Happy New Year and have a great 2015 everyone! Cheers!


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Yes Chef: What to do with that sweet goo!

On my last post, I showed you how to make a syrup using tea. Now, you’re probably wondering what you can use that syrup for. There are plenty of things you can use it for. It will also depend on the consistency of your syrup which can easily be adjusted by adding a little water, reheating and cooling down. I kept my syrup in the refrigerator which became solid, but not rock hard. It was soft and I was able to touch it and create indentations with my finger.

I wanted to use my Earl Grey syrup for French toast. So, I decided to nuke some of it in the microwave, add a little water, and whisk it like crazy. Once I got it to the consistency I wanted, I ran it through a sieve to remove any solid particles, and set it aside in order to begin making my French toast. Then, I just drizzled my syrup over the toast. They tasted yummy! Quite different from maple syrup. I could really detect the tea and the citrus notes of that famous Earl Grey flavour.

My sweet breakfast!

What else can you use your syrup for? Well, you could drizzle it over ice-cream, baklava, a parfait, or hot oatmeal cereal. You can add it to a smoothie, or even use it as the sweetener for your tea. I also poured some of mine over Greek yogurt with chopped almonds and enjoyed that for dessert. 

Remember to think of the consistency of your syrup. Re-heat the syrup in the microwave or on the stove-top, add a little water, whisk it and strain it through a sieve if you need to. It’s a bit of work, but the results are worth it. You could even make your syrup to a consistency just a little thicker than water or that of maple sap. Then, depending on what you plan to use it for, you can heat a portion of it and thicken it to your liking. Pretty sweet!


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Yes Chef: Here's a sweet solution!

A great way to incorporate tea into your cookery is by adding it in as a syrup. This is very easy, but requires some patience. All you need is equal parts of water and sugar, and your choice of tea. I would not recommend any strong, smoky teas such a Pu-erh or Lapsang Souchong. Try a tea you drink on a regular basis. Flavoured teas are especially wonderful as they will add another dimension of taste and aroma. Tisanes work just as well too. I’m going to use Earl Grey to create my syrup as I like it for its citrus notes.

Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • 1 ½ cups of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of Earl Grey loose leaf tea 

Preparation:

1.   Heat water to boiling point in a saucepan. Remove it from heat and add Earl Grey loose leaf tea. Allow to infuse for about 10 minutes.

2.   Pour tea through a sieve a couple of times to remove the leaves. Add in the sugar and heat on medium. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. This should take about 2-3 minutes.

3.   Use a whisk and continuously stir in order to reduce the liquid. You want a consistency similar to that of maple syrup at the end. This took me about 20 minutes.

4.   Once you've achieved the right consistency, allow it to cool for a few minutes and then pour into an airtight glass container. This can be kept in the fridge for up to a month.

Pour some sugar on me!

Ditto!

How easy was that? It tastes really good too! I should know…I licked the whisk clean! This Earl Grey syrup can be used in many foods and drinks. I'll show you what I used it for on a future post!




Monday, December 8, 2014

Tea Tips: Infuse and Reuse!

Time for some more great ways to use tea leaves after drinking it!

Before dumping used tea leaves in the organics waste or better yet your garden composter, you can extend their life by freshening up places in your home. After you've enjoyed several infusions of your tea, take the leaves and spread them evenly on a flat surface and allow them to dry. Once dried, use them much as you would baking soda to collect food odors in your fridge or other places to clear the air. Here are a few suggestions for you to try:

Fridge: Place tea leaves in an open container to absorb food odors. I leave mine in the fridge for a few days before throwing them into the organics waste basket.

Sneakers: Throw some tea leaves into your running shoes. About a ½ an hour or even a few hours before you’re ready to wear them again for your next run should help.

Cat Litter: If you have a cat, the litter is the perfect place to dump some used tea leaves. They won’t harm your kitty either.

Carpet: Freshen up your carpet by sprinkling tea leaves on it for about 20 minutes. Then vacuum as normal.

Wooden Cutting Board: Place tea leaves onto your cutting board to absorb traces of food smells that have been chopped on it. A ½ an hour should do the trick.

Of course, there are many other places you could reuse tea leaves to absorb odors. You can also reuse tea bags. Once they've dried-up, rip open the bags and use the leaves as described. Try a fragrant tea such as Earl Grey or Jasmine to add a lovely scent. 

Dragonwell tea in my fridge.

Using tea leaves as an odor absorbing agent is environmentally friendly, economical, and a great way to increase the longevity of tea leaves before discarding them.  Try it out for yourself! Remember, these are USED tea leaves that have already been infused for drinking. Don’t waste perfectly good tea leaves intended for drinking. Infuse and reuse!