Friday, January 30, 2015

My Cuppa: Rooibos and a few other goodies!

Just recently, while I was visiting Steeped and Infused, a tea shop in my neighbourhood, I came across a Rooibos blend they had on sale that sounded amazing! It was called Cinnamon Apple Yogurt. It was a mixture of cinnamon, apple bits, cornflower blossoms, some natural flavouring for the yogurt, I gather, and of course, Rooibos. I loved the appearance in its dry form where you could see specks of the blue cornflower and large particles of the apple. I thought I’d give it a try and purchase a small packet.

Rooibos and something blue!

To prepare this tisane, just follow the instructions from a past post I did on Rooibos. I used 2 teaspoons of Rooibos for 2 cups of water this time around. Make sure to use a sieve to remove the large particles after the infusion. Then sit back and enjoy!

In its dry state, I could really detect the aroma of cinnamon and apples. It was like warm apple pie! This scent was still prominent after infusion. I could even taste the cinnamon and apples. It was not strong nor bitter. I could not, however, smell or taste anything remotely like yogurt. It was likely something very subtle. Other than this, I think this is a lovely tisane and something I would definitely purchase again.



Friday, January 23, 2015

My Cuppa: A tasty trio!

I really enjoy cooking. I like to experiment by combining different ingredients together in order to create a completely new taste. As I was sautéing some button mushrooms to be used as a side dish for dinner, a thought crossed my mind about incorporating herbs I would normally use in my cooking, with tea instead. Sure, on many occasions I've used certain spices to make Masala Chai, but, what about herbs like parsley, oregano, or basil? Would they go well with certain teas?

I love mushrooms sautéed with thyme, rosemary, salt, and of course, a dollop of butter! So yummy! I thought thyme and rosemary would be great herbs to try combining with a tea. They both have a lovely scent and taste, and not overpowering either. Like most of nature’s gifts, they too have many health benefits such as relieving some skin conditions, fighting certain cancers, aiding in digestion and so on.  

I thought a green tea would work best with thyme and rosemary as most green teas are very delicate, not strong like a red tea, or a black tea, or even something smoky. A white tea might be too delicate. I went with Longjing which I find a little more neutral than Sencha. These are my own preferences and tastes, so feel free to experiment with what you like.


The triple threat!

Now came the part on what amount to use of each ingredient. Longjing is the main item, so, I felt it should be the greatest amount. I used equal parts of thyme and rosemary as I did not want one to stand out more prominently than the other. Wanting to make a few cups of tea, I came up with the following measurements:

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of Longjing
  • ½ teaspoon of thyme
  • ½ teaspoon of rosemary
  • 4 cups of water

Preparation:
  1. Bring water to a full boil in a kettle. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
  2. Combine Longjing, thyme, and rosemary together and place in a teapot with a filter.
  3. Pour water over filter and allow tea mixture to steep for about 2 minutes.
  4. Remove filter and set aside for additional infusions.
  5. Pour tea into a cup and enjoy!

I did not know what to expect, but it was delightful! The herbs did not overpower the Longjing tea which was my concern. The aroma was light but definitely the thyme and rosemary that I so often use in my cookery. That taste was clean and soothing, not bitter, and not at all strong like a peppermint I thought I would have created. I found the taste even more enjoyable as the tea cooled down becoming lukewarm. 

Not a bad mixture at all and it was a great experiment. Never hurts to try the different herbs and spices lurking in your cupboards to make a new tasting tea!



Sunday, January 18, 2015

My Cuppa: Chai with a cardamom kick!

Just over a month ago, my sister and I met up for lunch at an Indian restaurant for some much needed rich and spicy cuisine. With our meals, we both chose an Elaichi Chai which was so delightful! Elaichi Chai is Cardamom Tea. 

Cardamom has one of those tastes that’s a bit hard to describe. It’s not hot spicy but, it has a bite. It’s kinda minty and even a bit sweet. It tastes like anise or licorice and is used in both savory and sweet foods.

Pods in my palm!

Cardamom tea is basically a combination of red (black) tea, milk, some sweetener, and of course, cardamom seeds. It’s quite simple and easy to make at home. I used Assam as my tea of choice just because it’s a nice strong tea that goes well mixed with other ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon of Assam tea
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 8 – 10 cardamom pods
  • Raw sugar to taste

Preparation:

1.   Bring water to a full boil in a sauce pan on the stove top.

2.   Add Assam tea and allow to steep for about a minute.

3.   Split the cardamom pods with a knife and dump into the tea. Crush them with a wooden spoon.

4.   Simmer for about 5 – 10 minutes before straining all the large particles with a sieve.

5.   Bring the tea back to the stove and add milk. I just eyed it looking for a colour.

6.   Stir in some raw sugar or honey to taste.

7.   Heat for another minute or two and then pour into cups and enjoy.

This tea really hits the spot on a cold, winter's day. Also, it partners very well with spicy cuisines. It’s great for those that love Masala Chai but want something with a little less punch.  Cardamom provides just the right kick!





Thursday, January 8, 2015

Steeping Beauty: A dip instead of a sip!

Woo-hoo! Another winter has arrived. It’s not only cold, but the air is also very dry. Your skin may feel rough and tight like it’s going to crack no matter how much lotion you slather on. As you already know, tea has many medicinal properties. It is packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Definitely one of nature’s gifts! It’s my go to source that helps keep my skin soft and glowing.

Something I enjoy every once in a while is taking long, hot baths. Normally, I just used bath salts, but lately I've been adding tea to my soaks as well. You could just dump a couple of tea bags into you bath water, or what I do is use a sachet made of gauze material and fill it up with a couple of scoops of loose leaf tea. I use a tea that I've had for a while rather than using a fresh pack I just purchased. Would much rather save the fresher tea for drinking.

As the water begins to fill up the tub, the tea will slowly begin to unfold releasing its healthy goodness while you just lay back and relax, absorbing it all in! I usually soak for a good 20-30 minutes. Afterwards, I like to massage coconut or almond oil onto my skin just before toweling off. This will lock in some of the tea water. Then I just give myself a very quick pat dry to remove any excess moisture. That’s it! 


No tub photos of me!  Sorry...

Feel free to use any tea you like, as they all have their own unique health benefits. If you want to speed things up, you could just boil up some water and steep your tea in a kettle. Then, just pour the infusion into your bath water. A good steep and soak once in a while will do wonders for your skin!