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.





Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Give peace a chance!

Whilst out doing my weekly grocery shopping, I came across iced-tea beverages of a brand I had not heard of. The brand is called Peace Tea and it’s by The Coca-Cola Company. I really liked the graphic designs on the cans, and the price wasn’t bad, so I picked up a few. 


All we are saying...

Peace Tea doesn’t contain a long list of sugary items. It’s actually made up of natural flavours and actual tea. Nice!

I purchased 3 different flavours that were available at my grocery store: Green Tea, Lemon, and Raspberry. I tried each one of them and compared them to each other in terms of colour and taste. The colour of the liquors were slightly different from each other. The most evident was the Green Tea, which was much paler in colour.
 

...is give peace a chance!

All 3 were sweet but not super sugary like some other iced-tea brands on the market. The Lemon and the Raspberry had a slight tangy taste. Each one had hints of their respective flavours. I really liked the Green Tea and the Raspberry flavoured drinks. All 3 of the drinks tasted clean and refreshing. They were great. 


Taking a chance here!

I normally make my own iced-tea, but these drinks I would definitely go for again. I will have to try the other flavours I didn’t get to purchase. The price for this 695 mL can also made for a good buy. Peace out!




Sunday, February 25, 2018

My Cuppa: Tea Time With Tao!

At this past Toronto Tea Festival, I gave my time to volunteer as an Exhibitor Support. For our time spent working at the event, all volunteers were given a gift of a couple of tea samples of our choosing. One of the samples I selected is called Tangerine Ginger by Tao Tea Leaf. Today, I’m sipping and reviewing this tisane!

This Tangerine Ginger tisane is a blend of many elements including: ginger, hibiscus, licorice root, rose hips, and various organic fruits. It can enjoyed hot or cold, and is one of Tao’s top sellers. 


In its dry format!


I prepared my tisane as instructed by steeping the fragrant dry leaves for about 5 minutes in water brought to a full boil. The gorgeous red liquor produced had a spicy aroma of ginger and fruit much like the dry leaves. 


Poured to perfection!


The taste wasn’t bad at all. Not my usual cuppa, but I did like the tangy and the spicy notes of the ginger at the end of each sip. Again, not something I would normally go for, and perhaps that’s why I might have chosen this sample. 


In the red!


Though I did enjoy Tangerine Ginger, I’m thinking I might like it even more so over ice. Maybe even mixed with some alcohol such as vodka? Hmmm…





Thursday, February 22, 2018

Tea Readings: A cup of tea is all I need!

Cup Of Tea


The waitress asks what will it be
And I respond with quite ease
No dish or side this time for me
But a cup of tea if you would please 

Though graciously she does agree
That half past two is time for tea
She soon returns with what I need
A cup of tea if you would please 

A purple pot she sets by me
With spoon to stir the boiling tea
I calmly raise my cup to thee 
To a cup of tea if you would please 

As wisps of steam drift up with ease
The rolling in my tum decrees 
This chai delight empowers me
A cup of tea if you would please 

No sugar will I ever need 
To taste the apple and the seed
The spice of life which sets me free
Just a cup of tea if you would please 

Now comes my check it's time to leave 
And the bottom of my cup I see
One final sip to go with me
A cup of tea if you would please 


SS (Seanathon, April 2016)




Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Fest is the Best!

Well, another year of the Toronto Tea Festival has come and gone, and I had a blast. I volunteered once again as an Exhibitor Support, taking care of the needs of our vendors. My duties were the same as before where I was called upon to fetch water and provide directions. Nothing too difficult, but I enjoy this role because it gives me the opportunity to engage with the vendors and see their tea offerings. 

This year, there was a VIP night which I may consider signing up for next year if it’s running in addition to reprising my regular role. It’s a fun, simple gig that allows me to see old friends and check out the new companies and their products. What’s not to like?

Here are some images I captured after completing my shift. Sipping samples where I can!



My bag of goodies!



All about the tea!



Sippin' some samples!



Japanese Tea Ceremony!






Monday, January 29, 2018

My Cuppa: A taste of genuine Oolong!

For this past Christmas, I received a gift of tea from a co-worker. The tea is an oolong from Genuine Tea, one of my favourite tea brands. I know it’s going to be good, as I have tried their teas before, and have never been disappointed. This particular tea is called Ginseng Oolong. Here are my thoughts.

Genuine Tea for a change!


A spring harvest from the Fujian Province, this oolong has been partially oxidized and then rolled in Ginseng powder. According to the package, it’s “a sweet, creamy profile with a floral finish”. Sounds good to me!

I prepared the oolong as instructed, using a 1 tsp of the tightly balled tea leaves, and infusing them in 8 oz of water boiled to 90 °C, for 3 – 5 minutes. 

Yup.  That's tea.

My first cup did taste sweet and floral, but it was quite subtle. It was a nice golden colour but not much aroma. Still, an enjoyable cup. I prepared a second infusion with much better results. The flavour was stronger with a thicker coating on the tongue.

A perfect cupping!


Definitely felt the creaminess the second time around. I tried a third infusion, allowing the leaves to steep just over 5 minutes. I didn’t really detect much difference from round 2 though. There wasn’t any bitterness in any of the infusions either. I really liked this oolong. 

Genuine goodness!


Ginseng Oolong is yet another winner from Genuine Tea. I’ve sampled other teas from this wonderful company, and look forward to trying many more of their products.






Thursday, January 25, 2018

Tea Readings: Finding love with tea and cake!

Tea & Cake


First off, a declaration; I love you!
There’s surely no mistake.
And if you’ll be my lover, a promise;
Our lives will be filled with tea and cake.

There is nothing I wouldn't give you.
Just take it! My heart, my mind, my soul.
My money, I’ll give it. Take the credit card too!
Your happiness is my only true goal.

But more than that; I’ll give you laughter.
We will be laughing all the time.
And when I make you fantastic dinners,
Our laughs will mix with wine.

Oh, I know I can make you happy!
Let me love you, for goodness sake!
And if you’ll be my lover, my dear,
Our lives will be filled with tea and cake.


~ Elise Reid, May 2014





Sunday, January 21, 2018

My Cuppa: The Terrific Turmeric Tisane!

A few posts back, I wrote about the wonders of turmeric. Though it’s mainly used in Indian cuisine, it also make a great beverage. Here’s how you do it:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 ½ tbsp maple syrup
  • Pinch of black pepper

Process:

  • Heat the coconut oil in a sauce pan until melted.
  • Add the coconut milk and give it a whisk.
  • Add all the remaining ingredients and whisk until it gets a little foamy.
  • Pour contents into a cup and enjoy!

All together now!


There are many variations to make turmeric tisane. In fact, this beverage may also be enjoyed as a cold drink over ice. Play around with some of the spices you have in your pantry. Check out the options below to create a yummy version yourself!


Golden glory!



Options:

  • Try other milk substitutes such almond, soy, or just go with plain regular milk.
  • Instead of maple syrup, try some honey. Perhaps even stevia or coconut sugar.
  • Experiment with other spices such nutmeg, allspice, cloves, or ginger. The list goes on.




Thursday, January 18, 2018

Tea Readings: More words to picture!

Let's kick a new month off with more inspirational quotes. Here are some of my favourites in colour and graphics: