Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Colourful characters and their cuppas!

Previously, I posted some mugshots of famous people posing with cups of tea. There are many celebrities who seem to adore tea. Why wouldn’t they? It’s a very normal thing to like. 

As I was researching for my next article, I remembered Alice in Wonderland and the Mad Hatter's tea party. I even posted an image for my Afternoon Tea write-up. I wondered if perhaps there may be other cartoon characters who enjoyed tea as well. I came across a few pictures that actually took me back to my childhood. I’m a big fan of Looney Tunes, and just love Bugs Bunny! He could do no wrong! Bugs, is just the right kinda personality who would go for a tea. Here’s Bugs along with a few other characters enjoying some sips!


Ha, Ha! Gotta love Bugs!



A rather interesting image on the mug.



I trust the opinions of a bear not wearing pants!



I love tea so much…



…I decided to endorse it!



Check out the tea bag tag and the poster behind Fred.  



Starting them off young!




Not quite a cartoon, but the Muppets love their Lipton Iced-tea!






Saturday, February 25, 2017

Tea Readings: Tea and Cookies

Methinks it is time for another book review! This time, I want to tell you about a cute little book called Tea and Cookies by Rick Rodgers. Totally sounds like a fake name, no? I actually liked this book for its simplicity. It’s not a long read, coming at 139 pages. It’s quick and to the point. 

What goes with tea?

Tea and Cookies centres around the pairing of teas and sweets. In this case, cookies. What could possibly be better than bite-sized treats held in one hand and a piping cup of tea in the other? My go to cookies are macarons!

The book starts off with a tea primer which briefly covers some history, legends and myths, brewing basics, and how to store tea. It then breaks down by each tea type and how best to brew them for optimal taste and aroma. After the tea primer comes the cookie primer. Here, we are given an overview of ingredients typically used, required cooking equipment, the proper baking techniques, and the shaping of cookies.

Finally, we get into the good stuff: the recipes! They ranged from simple shortbread cookies to chocolate sandwich cookies stuffed with Earl Grey ganache. How dreamy does that sound? The section also goes beyond cookies by including other hand-held treats like granola bars and lemon squares. What I really liked about each recipe was the tea or tisane suggested to serve with each tasty delight.

The book ends with a chapter of recipes from various tea drinking countries, and what their traditional bite-sized nibbles include when pairing them with tea. Recipes include: Pistachio Meringues, Sesame Balls, Lime Madeleines, and Green Tea Custard Tartlets.

Tea and Cookies is a good book for the tea novice, especially the ones that like to bake and may want to re-create the Afternoon Tea experience, or, perhaps even a Chanoyu.




Sunday, February 12, 2017

Yes Chef: Spicy chicken with a tea twist!

I’m always looking for different ways to incorporate tea in my daily intake. I drink it all the time, but I want to be able to cook with it as much as possible. After all, with the many tea varieties, think of the all the dishes that can be created! I have cooked a few items using tea, mainly soups or some sort of dessert, so it’s really not at all that difficult to find something to cook up. This time around, I used a couple of teas as a marinade for chicken. 



Look at that spice!

 
 Ingredients:
 
  • Chicken. I used 8 drumsticks with skin-on.
  • 1 medium tomato puréed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp plain yogurt
  • 2 tsp ground Darjeeling tea leaves
  • 1 tsp ground Lapsang Souchong tea leaves
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp chili pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander seeds
  • ¼ tsp ginger powder
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
 
A lot of ingredients, yes, but, it made for a flavourful chicken.  


The full display!

 
Preparation:
 
  1. Grind both teas until they become a powder.
  2. Scale and mix all ingredients until they are fully combined.  
  3. Rub the mixture over the chicken drumsticks and refrigerate over night. I actually marinated for 48 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 °F / 205 C°, place chicken in a pan without overlapping, and cook for about 45 minutes to an hour. I like my chicken crispy, so I cooked it for an hour.
  5. Once fully cooked, remove from oven, and serve along with your favourite sides. I made some spicy yams that I diced and baked, and a side salad with a mustard vinaigrette.
 
The aroma in my kitchen during the cooking phase was superb! There was a sweetness, a spiciness, and a definite hint of cinnamon. It was delicious! The food tasted great too. There was a bit of a smoky smell and taste of the Lapsang Souchong. The chicken had a moist interior, and a crispy, slightly sticky exterior. Just the way I like it. I loved it even more the next day. Though you can’t really taste the teas, I know they are there and I’m getting the health benefits they are known for.  


A tasty trio!

 
Options:
 
  1. Try the marinade on another protein like steak, pork, maybe even fish.
  2. Try other teas as an ingredient. Some Oolongs would work. How about Pu’erh?









Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Teaology 101: Today’s post is brought to you by the letters 'J' and 'K'!

There aren’t a whole lot of words in the tea world that begin with ‘J’ or ‘K’, so, I decided to combine both in one post for our tea dictionary project. What a bargain! See all the previous definitions by clicking on their letters:

A      B      C      D       E      F      G       H      I




Japanese Tea Ceremony:  This is chanoyu or the way of tea in Japanese. Much like Afternoon Tea in the west, these are specific tea rituals in the Japanese ceremonies.

Jasmine:  Tea that is scented with jasmine flowers. Typically,
green tea is used, but oolong or a blend of green and black teas may also be used.

Kandy:  Located in Sri Lanka, this area produces a strong tea.

Keemun:  A
fine black tea from the Anhui Province in China. This tea is often used in blends especially English Breakfast.

Kenya:  A country in Africa that produces a black tea quite similar to
Assam.

Kombucha:  Touted for its health benefits, this is a
fermented, effervescent, and sweetened black or green tea beverage with the capability to detox your body.