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About my dad- i remember when

4 September 2020

As Father’s Day approaches I got thinking about My Dad – I remember when. I write of some of the things My Dad did for me or I remember about him.

A lasting early memory of My Dad is of him putting the clips on his trouser legs to stop them getting caught on the chain on his bike and taking off to work riding his seemingly large bike. He was always generous with rides for us kids on the boys’ bike bar too.

My parents both worked hard all their lives to try and get ahead financially.  My Dad worked  at the Post Office during the day and at night he worked at a coal yard hand filling sacks with coal, loading them on to trucks and then delivering around town. Later on he changed his second job to a chicken farm which was a little easier on his lungs.

Dad Came Out to Play

During the summer he didn’t have as much work at the coal yard so if he was home from work at the Post Office while it was still daylight he would come out to the playground next door where the neighbourhood kids all played and join in, especially with softball. He was a mean hitter able to hit both left and right handed and would change it up during an innings. I learnt to do the same and was not popular with school mates when I started doing it. The fielders had to adjust each time I took a strike!  I don’t recall any other Dads coming out to play.

I didn’t need help with homework very often but if I did I knew it was Dad for English and Mum for maths, although both were pretty good at either.  Dad had the most beautiful handwriting, quite common amongst those of his age where emphasis was put on quality presentation of work. I remember he was secretary of the primary school PTA for a while and the minutes were all handwritten so neatly.

Dad proud of war service

When we were kids some of us in the neighbourhood would put on concerts for our parents, usually held at our place as Mum and Dad didn’t seem to mind if we moved things around the garage or backyard and made stages etc.  Dad was in the navy during the Second World War so still had his hat. It attracted me to do my version of the Sailors Hornpipe (wearing his hat) at these concerts, when I wasn’t trying to do ballet or recite poems!

My dad was proud but humble of his war service and so he should have been. He was one of many young men who somehow managed to change their birth certificates to gain entry to the forces while still under the age limit.

Dad willingly went in the parents team at school sports, swimming or athletics. He was good too. Often it would be during his lunch break from work. He was tall and lean, never having put on weight after coming home from the war with malaria.

My Dad loved a beer, or two

My Dad loved a beer or two or three and made sure he had his share!  He often embarrassed Mum, and us kids as we got older, at family celebrations as he over imbibed and became annoying. As he burst into ridiculous songs, try dancing with everyone, he was happy but annoying. However he usually redeemed himself by leading the dishwashing in the kitchen amongst the aunties.

When my sister and I learnt to drive my Dad insisted on us learning how to change a tyre and how to check oil and water – before we could drive anywhere. Lessons well learnt and which we were grateful for in years to come.  If he had any other mechanical knowledge he would have taught us that too but he didn’t have!  We had also been taught to fix bike punctures years before. We needed that for Brownies badges.

My Dad – I remember when made mean scones. Crunchy, big and delicious.  We loved them but Mum used to tell him off for making them like that as that was not what a “proper” scone should be like.  We loved Sundays when Dad made them.

To this day I insist on having eggs for breakfast every day because when we were at school we were not allowed out the door without having eggs for breakfast. Dad’s rules. Didn’t matter if they were poached, fried or scrambled – so long as we had them. They were considered a “decent breakfast” to go to school on. Mum was given her cup of tea and two pieces of toast with marmalade in bed every morning before getting up to go to work.  She wasn’t covered by the rules.

Dad would eat anything

My Dad grew up during tough times and learnt to eat anything. He liked tripe, tongues, brains, sweetbreads, liver, kidneys. He seemed to consider some of them treats. I can assure you Mum did not! She stopped at liver and kidneys, thank goodness for that!  Dad happily cooked the others for himself with no interest from us kids either.

The gardens were big when we were kids. Dad didn’t mind keeping the lawns and garden tidy, with help from the rest of us.  He was in charge of pruning the shrubs, trees and hedges. Sometimes I reckon Mum regretted reminding him to do them. He would get out with the bush cutters, no fancy ones in those days, just hand ones with no power. He would lop all bushes, roses and all,  evenly across not far from the base. There would be no shaping, no careful selection of which branches to take off, not even much regard to the time of year. The shorter the better, the longer it would be before he had to do them again.  Imagine the horror when this was discovered. However everyone just had to wait a few weeks and they were sprouting green leaves again and slowly taking shape.

My Dad – I remember when he was loving, kind, annoying, stubborn, intelligent, funny, loyal, hard working. I haven’t written everything about him – just a taste. There will be more in my book!

How would you describe your Dad?

Comment below

Tea

tea recipe: tea infused fruit crumble

4 June 2020

It is Tea Recipe time again.

Everyone has their favourite recipes. For some people it is meat dishes for dinner, delightful desserts for the whole family to enjoy or delicious cakes to eat with a cup of tea.  Almost all of them are enhanced by using tea in some way.

Make a difference to the flavour of your dishes. Use up excess teas or even just use your favourite tea. After all it is just like adding a herb to your tea recipe. It can add flavour or aid the tenderness of meat. Also, in a cake it can add some texture or even crunchiness. In this fruit crumble it adds to the flavour of the fruit.

A Tea Recipe using Rooibus

One such tea is the South African Rooibos.  It is rich in antioxidants and Vitamin C as well as caffeine free so popular as a drink on its own. However in your food it brings some subtle flavours to the dish such as malty, orange, vanilla and sandalwood.

This Fruit Crumble infused with Rooibos tea is delicious if you eat it any time of the day.  We had it for dessert after dinner and the leftover was good for breakfast! What other tea recipes do you know which can be used in that way? The ingredients are so good for you and don’t make you feel guilty either. Just think of all the health benefits of tea, fruit, nuts and seeds.

Unique flavour

High Tea with Harriet’s Ravishing Red (Rooibos) tea adds a unique flavour to this tea recipe with hints of vanilla, orange and even sandalwood. A combination of nuts, coconut and spices on top provide a range of delightful flavours depending on which nuts you choose to use. I use whichever I have in the pantry but my favourites are macadamia, almonds, walnuts with a few cashews.

Start on this recipe now. It is gluten free, dairy free, egg free, peanut free, vegan (replace honey with an acceptable alternative).

You will need:

3 Apples, 2 pears and cup of raspberries, brown sugar, honey, rooibos tea.

For crumble topping: nuts, coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, brown sugar, cumin, cinnamon

  1. In a saucepan make up one cup of rooibos tea. Add about 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of honey, apples and pears and cook until fruit starts to soften, approx 8 minutes. Add the raspberries and cook 2 minutes more. The amount of sugar and honey will depend on how sweet you like the fruit.
  2. Place the fruit into one larger dish or smaller serving size ramekins or similar. Boil the tea syrup until rediced by about half. Pour over the fruit.
  3. Combine 100grams of nuts ( any can be used: macadamia, cashew, hazelnut, brazil, walnut, almond) Chop roughly. Add 1/4 cup each of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, 1/2 cup coconut, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Spread on baking tray and cook under grill for 3 minutes.
  4. Spoon crumble on top of fruit. Place under grill until lightly browned and crunchy.
  5. Serve alone or with cream, ice cream or yoghurt.

Let me know if you have any leftover!

Lifestyle

Some Covid 19 restrictions lifted

17 May 2020
Back in the pool

It is 6.59a.m. on Saturday 16 May, 2020  as we step out of the lift on the 12th floor.  Restrictions have been lifted.

We are heading to the open air swimming pools at our apartment building. We are the only people there. Not surprising with the air temperature at just 16 degrees. We have been unable to use these facilities  since March 31 due to Australian Government regulations regarding Covid 19.

Prior to these restrictions we used the swimming pool every day at least once, sometimes twice. So when the ban came along we were devastated. The swimming, exercising, stretching, floating in the pool keeps our active if somewhat ageing bodies comfortable.

The wait……..

We had been sitting in our apartment for at least an hour watching the clock and waiting for this moment. I mumbled about whether my swimsuit would still fit me as, like many, I have gained some kilos over the lockdown. It has been a case of “out of sight, out of mind” with regard to that! It was a relief to find it does still fit. Also to my dismay I liked the look of it for a change.

The Body Corporate Committee issued instructions for safety hygiene when using the Level 12 facilities. Everything we touch must be cleaned. Therefore we have the disinfectant spray and cloth packed ready. We must wipe the lift buttons, the handrail up the steps, the gate latch, the handrail to get into the pool. Well we might not need to wipe all those rails if our core strength is still there and we can do the steps without holding on.

Hot or cold?

We usually get in the main swimming pool, rather than the hot pool, regardless of the air temperature. This morning we kept our options open. I had talked about the desire to just “be” in the hot pool and feel the heat on my stiff and sore back and shoulders.

One look at the swimming pool with the cool wind rippling across it and my normally “tough” partner is first into the hot pool followed closely by me.  It isn’t hot but warm enough to bring some comfort.  We drift down in the water ensuring shoulders are covered, slowly moving arms and legs to feel like we are exercising. It was bliss despite the not so hot water. Ahh we have missed this. We sit in the chilly morning air soaking up the surroundings. We have a fabulous view of the sea, the mountains, the sky. This is the number one reason we bought in this complex and finally we had our pools back. Thank goodness Queenslanders have behaved and we have been given some treats back with restrictions lifted.

Thirty minutes later we left the pool trying to touch as few objects as possible. The cleaning process is simple but necessary. Will everyone do it?

https://www.pumicestoneblue.com/

Tea

Tea Recipes: Cooking with tea

4 May 2020
Tea Cake

Tea is a passion of mine. Therefore I am always looking for new tea recipes and ways to use tea. I have some which use the tea drink while others use the dry tea leaves.

I have heard tea can be used for anything from cleaning carpets to curing toothache, healing warts to destinking feet, painting to telling the future.  Most of these I haven’t tried but if I ever do I will certainly share the experience and the tea recipes.

Health benefits of consuming tea may include relief from pain, inflammation, stress, high blood pressure and sleeping difficulties so it is worth exploring its uses.

As with all food and drink tea should be drunk in moderation to avoid any unintended consequences. Most common reactions are to tannins and/or caffeine in the tea. These could include reflux and sleeplessness.

When used with food the flavour may seep through or if used as a marinade it can assist with tenderizing meats. 

Tea Recipe – a favourite cake

This time I am sharing with you a favourite tea recipe for a cake I used to make for our café. The recipe says black tea. I have tried this with a Breakfast Tea and also Earl Grey. Oolong teas are good as they are sometimes a little sweeter so most suited for this purpose. Rooibus, a South African herball tea, can be used for a different flavour again. It may also alter the colour.

The tea leaves are placed in boiling milk to steep before pouring into the mix. I have tried pouring it in with and without the tea leaves. The Breakfast or Earl Grey teas can go in complete and create some crunch. Oolong tea should have the tea leaves removed before adding to the cake mix as they are bigger leaves and likely to be chewy.

Experiment for yourself and discover your preferences in flavour and texture.

A slice of Tea Cake with the tea leaves left in.

Black Tea Cake with Honey Butter Cream Icing
250 ml milk
3 tablespoons black tea (or the contents of 3 tea bags)
55 grams butter, room temperature
1 cup (225 grams) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups (175 grams)  flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a 9-inch round cake pan or make smaller cup cakes.

Warm the milk until near boiling on the stove or in the microwave. Cut open the tea bags and add the tea directly into the milk. Allow to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Gradually add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the tea brewed milk, mixing until batter is uniform and smooth.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes (18-22 minutes for cupcakes), or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before frosting or serving.

Note: the batter is quite thin so you will need to have adequate lining in the tin to prevent it leaking out the bottom. Although the smell of cake on the bottom of the hot oven is quite alluring.

Honey Buttercream
1/2 cup (110 grams) butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons honey
2 cups (250 grams) powdered/icing sugar
Pinch of salt

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and honey until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and salt and continue mixing until the frosting comes together. If the frosting is too runny, add more powdered sugar until it reaches the right consistency. Likewise, if the frosting is too stiff, add more honey (or a splash of milk) to thin it out. If the frosting is too sweet, add a pinch more salt until the desired sweetness is achieved.

Spread or pipe the honey buttercream onto the cooled cake and serve.

An alternative topping is a hot caramel sauce on the uniced cake. Delicious!

Gluten free cake

I have also made this with gluten free flour and the rest of the recipe stays the same

Keep a lookout for more Tea Recipes.

Travel

In SABah: Farming, Monkeys and Rice harvest

14 April 2020
Thw riter tasting the season's rice wine

Many years ago my late husband and I had a short trip to Sabah. This is a Malaysian State occupying the northern part of Borneo. We flew into Kota Kinabulu, the capital, with little knowledge about the area.

Most tourists are keen to dive and snorkel in the beautiful waters or climb Mt Kinabulu.

I tried to organise things of great interest to him as being a tourist was not to his liking. These are not necessarily what other tourists would look for. As a farmer I knew his interest was more in something to do with the land so we went to a tour office to get their recommendations. They recommended some very appropriate trips and we set off on two days of driving with our own guide driven car to explore the northern tip of Borneo.

Sarje was an educated man, similar age to us, with a background in timber milling and agriculture who was now a tour guide. Perfect!

Hillside farming – hard work

As we travelled up the state of Sabah we stopped at many locations to observe farming operations on hillsides. It showed the incredible stamina of the people of Sabah. There was no modern machinery to help them out.

They had to make a living and feed their family from about 15 acres of allocated land.

Spot the monkey

Towards sunset we took a river safari in a small boat to look for some of the famous proboscis monkeys. They are known as the Playboy Monkey as they seem to have a permanent erection. They come out to the river edge early evening for food and water. We spotted them on the branches but, apparently, we were very lucky to see so many as it isn’t always that way for tourists especially when looking for them in their natural habitat.

Mount Kinabulu appealed to many

We were in the Mt Kinabulu area but we didn’t have the 3 days required for the walk to the top. Neither did we probably have the fitness. There were hundreds of people already on the trek or preparing to leave the visitor centre. However, we did the walk along the canopy in the rainforest on the ridge of Mt Kinabulu. That was spectacular so can only imagine what the views are like if you do the Mountain climb. Mind you the swinging bridges were rather scary and quite long! Not to my liking.

The Rungus people and their Gongs

The highlight though was the visit to the home of the Rungus people. One of the most important musical instruments in Sabah is the gong. It features in many cultural festivities and traditional ceremonies of Rungus and other major ethnic groups of Sabah. The gongs are made at the Kampung Sumangkap Gong Making Factory in Kudat by the Rungus people. Gong making skills are handed down the generations.

Rice Harvest festivities

While we were in the village they were preparing for some Rice Harvest Festival activities. Fortunately, we were invited to stay and join them celebrating the opening of the season’s Rice Wine. Five villages came together for the rice wine celebration. Each village built their own stage to place their wine vats. Once complete they all marched in procession to their stage and stood for photos and singing before the drinking started in earnest. We were offered a taste of the first of the season’s wine. It was drunk from a bamboo container and tasted rather nice.

Pigs and chickens were sacrificed as part of the ceremony. They were cooked over fires ready for a feast later in the day and the sound of them squealing was a bit disconcerting but the concept of a tasty dinner appealed!

Celebrations continued long into the night

Afterwards, they moved inside for dancing and singing but we were unable to stay for this as we had other places to see. There was only one other tourist couple there to witness this festival. The Rungus people made us all feel very welcome. This was the real thing, not set up as a tourist attraction. We were in the right place at the right time.

For more on Sabah

https://www.sabahtourism.com/

Pictured below: the Rungus women toasting the harvest; one of the village groups; the Rafflesia – a variety of the biggest flower in the world – found in parts of Sabah.

Lifestyle

visitors are welcome – so long as they leave

6 April 2020

Visitors are welcome in most homes.  Although that has changed with Covid-19 present hopefully we will return to old ways eventually.

Many of us like to invite people for a meal, a few drinks or cup of tea or coffee. Not a thought is given to how long they might stay. 

However, how often do you find your visitors stay beyond a suitable time. They leave you clock watching, nodding off to sleep, pacing up and down the room or even doing the housework ready for a quick takeoff in the morning.

Traditionally it is rude to suggest your visitors leave. No one wants to “upset” friends or family.  So here are some tactics we have experienced or have heard about from others.

Time for Pills

Many of us are blessed with excellent health.  Others are not so lucky and have several medications to take daily. They suddenly remember they have to take pills before bed and jump up and start sorting them out. For those of us who are healthy the sight of someone not so fortunate sorting all their pills and medicines for the next scheduled dose is not a sight we enjoy.  It crosses the mind they must rattle as they go upstairs to bed.  A quick reminder goes through the head “must keep myself healthy”. So, you see, it can be enough to send visitors on their way!

Be careful of this tactic if the visitor is also on medication. You could find another lengthy conversation about the benefits of each medication.  Bed will seem a long way away.

Chinese say “like more tea?”

It is well known the Chinese people love a cup of tea. If offered tea in a traditional Chinese family home it will be in small cups. Everyone’s cups will be filled and refilled as conversation carries on.  Eventually, according to a Chinese Tea Master I once met, if the person asks if you want more tea it means it is time for you to go home. If he wants you to stay he will just keep serving more tea without asking!  He has probably been given the look by his wife that dinner is ready or time to do something else.  Believe it or not…well that’s what a Chinese guy told us.

The issue with this of course is that if the person doesn’t understand Chinese custom. They may take it to mean they are welcome to stay longer. You could try “would you like another drink before you leave?” there is an assumption you are leaving, although no time when!

If only it was simple.

Best be going then

We all have little sayings we are known for amongst friends. Sometimes they are humorous, sometimes annoying and other times just confusing.

Some young people I know often chuckle about a saying they hear from someone close to them. Initially it was confusing.  Then it was humorous. This host says “Well best be going then”.  The first time they heard it they wondered where she was going given they were at her place.  Soon they realized it was them who “best be going”.   There is a rather charming and old-fashioned sound to it, don’t you think?  Yet, somehow, no need to explain why it is best you get going – once you realise it is you who is going

Close windows

We used to own a café. It was in an old house with verandah and an outside courtyard. Most customers sat in the courtyard enjoying the fresh air and garden like surroundings. Usually in a café you see or hear the staff clearing out food cabinets, wiping down benches, bringing in Signs. Obviously they are going to close soon.

However our customers didn’t always notice what the time was from their relaxed garden seating. They could talk for hours and hours. We liked to be flexible. If we had enough tasks to be done we would let them be. We would clear their tables of dishes, wipe all the tables and chairs around them, close the gates, empty the rubbish, turn off the water feature.

Eventually it would get too much for my partner. Much to my disgust he would walk round closing the verandah windows with such force they couldn’t help but be surprised by the sound outside. Inevitably the lovely customers would come inside to say good bye and ask “what time do you close?”  or “You will be looking forward to finishing for the day”.  How did they know?

How to avoid the hassle

  1. Don’t invite people to visit
  2. Tell the visitors you can only hang out until a certain time most nights before falling asleep on the couch
  3. When inviting visitors over make them aware of a time limit due to other commitments
  4. As time marches on say sweetly to your visitors you have loved having them and could you arrange another time to meet up to carry on with your socialising.
  5. Yawn excessively
  6. Be honest – say you can’t stay awake any longer, it has been a long day. Or explain you have some work to get done before the morning or next visitor or before going to work.

https://www.quora.com/How-do-you-politely-tell-someone-to-leave-your-house

Good Luck

Lifestyle

busker NEV – never too old to busk

9 March 2020

Have you ever stopped and talked with a busker?

There is something about the sound of buskers, no matter what age or genre of music. They add to the occasion as you wander around market stalls or shopping malls.

One such person is Nev Lerch who has been busking at the Caloundra Street Fair on Sundays for almost two years. He also busks at the Twilight Markets on The Esplanade on Friday nights monthly.

You can’t beat the old tunes

Familiar old tunes of yesteryear ring out from the accordion he is playing, usually in the shade. Memories come rushing back of family parties and sing-a-longs to the rousing Irish tunes. These, in particular, played on a piano by one of many musically talented relatives.  It reminds me of my father grabbing one of us, any female close by, and twirling us around the room. Never mind he wasn’t a particularly good dancer after a few drinks!

For my partner Tama it is the likes of Pearly Shells which causes him to reminisce about the guitar playing with singing with his extended family.  It reminds him of the sea he loves so much.

 Who can resist the rhythm of that tune anyway? Picture the ukulele playing Cook Islanders or in Hawaii with the women doing the most beautiful hula dancing.

Early starts soon forgotten

Yesterday we stopped and talked to Nev.   First, he told us he started lessons on the accordion 17 years ago. Nev is 81.  When he retired he decided to go into about six different Aged Persons Homes and play for them.  He observed the elderly loved the music.  Nowadays he limits himself to the street busking and one “Home”.

He has thought about giving it up especially when the alarm goes early on Sunday mornings to get him up in time for the Street Fair. However, he says once he is here he forgets the early start. He loves it too much to give up yet.

By the look of his accordion case on the ground in front of him lots of others enjoy his street performance too. He has a pile of coins and notes blowing in the wind.  Above all else, he deserves some reward for the atmosphere he helps create.

He loves a chat with passersby. By the way, have you ever asked a busker their story? Make their day and ask them.

http://www.caloundrastreetfair.com.au/performers-sunshine-coast

Tea

Drinking Tea – 6 benefits

25 February 2020

The experience of living and travelling in South East Asia has given me many opportunities for drinking tea. I have enjoyed tasting teas in tea houses in Delhi, Singapore, Hong Kong, Penang, Sabah, Phuket to name some destinations. As an Australian Tea Master I am also familiar with hundreds of other teas but not all are to my liking.

You will read about the health benefits of drinking tea everywhere. The history of tea and the origins of the various types of tea are of interest too and widely promoted across other sites. How to make tea can be good to read about too.

Here are six reasons I find drinking tea to be beneficial. I drink tea every day and have a big stock of teas on hand to choose from. Green, black, white, purple, oolong all feature in my supply as well as various herbal infusions. I am not keen on fruity flavours but occasionally find something to suit.

  1. Hydration

They say you can’t beat a good cup of tea when you are thirsty. However, teas such as black, green, white and oolong contain varying amounts of caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic and may contribute to dehydration or thirst.

To truly quench your thirst and rehydrate choose a herbal infusion.  Herbal teas or infusions are made from herbs and/or fruit alone and contain a variety of health benefits. Don’t confuse them with tea blends which may include say a green tea with fruit, or black tea with some herbs and/or fruit. Overall you can’t go wrong with a pot of herbal tea.

My favourite is Rooibus. This is a South African herbal  and is delicious hot or iced.

2. Meditation/Mindfulness

When I was working in a stressful job Tea was my moving meditation. Just taking the time to brew a cup of tea mindfully can quiet the mind and help tune into the present moment.  The whole process of tea making requires focus. From choosing the tea to how long to boil the water, which cup to use – the mind is focused on the process. It can be long enough to calm down, think clearly, gather your thoughts before an important phone call. Try it.

For a still meditation you have to decide if drinking tea immediately before will be disruptive. I know I would have to go to the bathroom part way through if I drank tea before meditating!

My favourite is a white tea – Silver Needle.  It is packed with anti oxidants making it an incredibly healthy tea. Some people believe it also helps with weight loss.

3. Relaxation

Find a place in the sun or a warm spot inside. Make sure you have plenty of room for your pot of tea, cup and saucer and some reading material. Pour one cup of tea, then another, and ……….. I enjoy drinking tea like this even more if I dunk a plain biscuit in it. My favourite biscuit for this is Malt but it can also be good with Gingernuts or Wine Biscuits. Dunking the biscuit makes you really focus as it will fall in the tea as soon as it softens so you have to be paying attention! It takes your mind off everything else. Once you have mastered the dunking you can then concentrate on drinking the tea and reading your book.

My favourite is Lemon Myrtle. One pot is never enough of this. If it runs out before the reading material – get up and refill the pot!

Cups of lemon myrtle tea in beautiful English china cups

4. Socialising

These days apartment living means home visiting/socializing is not as common as it used to be. It is more likely you will suggest meeting up at a café for a coffee or tea. A pot of tea lasts longer than a cup of coffee!  So, no need to feel you should move on after the coffee is finished. With tea always ask for more water to be added.

The tea itself and your choice of tea can be a good discussion topic. Memories of tea drinking aunties, mothers or grandmothers can add to the conversation.

I use to have High Tea parties for friends so I could use the beautiful English China tea sets I had. Once I had a High tea for my son’s 30th birthday. He was living in another country and I used it as excuse to get some friends together. Not that I needed an excuse. I invited the mothers of his best friends from school days. We had a wonderful time.

My favourite is an oolong – Tie Guan Yin. Tie Guan Yin contains high levels of polyphenols. They boost brain health, good for keeping conversation going!

5. Release Creative Juices

The  health benefits of Green Tea are well documented.  

It could also be an antidote to writer’s block or artists needing inspiration. Tea enhances mood and creates positive feelings. This sparks the creative juices and off we go. Some people may find alcohol has the same effect but there is no guarantee the product will be coherent!

A limited study conducted by Peking University showed the group who drunk tea had more creative points than those who drunk water.

From my experience a pot of Green Tea alongside me while I am writing works wonders for keeping me calm and the brain ticking over. I recommend you try for yourself.

My favourite is Anji Bai Cha. This green tea is refreshingly delicate for a green tea. It can also be steeped a few times so you get good value from a slightly more expensive tea.

6. Natural Digestive

Not only can Herbal teas aid with digestion they may boost the immune system, assist in weight loss and provide relief from headaches. You would struggle to find a health issue that can not be helped by herbal teas.

Digestion and stomach ailments are very common and eased with My favourite of Mint Fusion. This is a fusion of peppermint and spearmint and very refreshing It is ideal to have a cup of peppermint tea following a meal or just to re energise after a long hot day

Cups of Mint Tea

I have found the following sites handy for sourcing some of the teas I like:

https://www.middlepath.com.au/plant/index.php

http://www.australianteamasters.com.au/product-category/tea-tisane-blends/

Lifestyle

COffee Beans are just part of it

20 February 2020

There is much more to coffee than the coffee beans. Finding the right milk can add huge value and pleasure to the coffee beans. I never dreamt I would be a coffee a day person. Nor did I think the type of milk in my coffee would be such a big discussion point.  

 It was well on in my life before I even started to drink coffee. Not that I didn’t like the flavour of coffee. I have always loved a good coffee sponge roll.

I preferred a baby chino

When I went out for coffee with friends I used to ask for a cappuccino with plenty of froth and chocolate. Some baristas would ask if I wanted a child’s “fluffy” or baby chino as they are known these days.  I would say “yes, that’s it as I don’t really like coffee. I am just being sociable.”

On top of that the words latte, flat white, long black terrified me. I had no idea what they were.  I also needed milk well disguised to be able to stomach it.

Once I realized my body and my mind had minor intolerance to cow’s milk I started experimenting with other milks.

As I was trying to find a way to join the coffee brigade my milk discovery journey was purely about my taste preferences.  Occasionally I would consider health benefits. Rarely did I consider the type of coffee beans being served. However key priority was to figure out a way to drink coffee. It seemed like the sociable thing to do.

So many different ways to take your coffee

I had grown up with a mother who drunk tea only. My father also drunk strong black tea but liked very strong black coffee with a good shake of salt. Admittedly this was in the 1960s where instant coffee was the main way to take your coffee!  Apparently the salt neutralizes the bitterness and acidity. It may have needed it more then.  I digress.

Now I know there are so many different ways to have your coffee.  Cappuccino, mochaccino, latte, flat white, macchiato, long black are some. You can add flavours like vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, chocolate.  I counted out straight black as it was just too strong to stomach.

I am a sucker for chocolate. Therefore, it seemed something with chocolate added was going to help disguise the coffee and milk. At last I had some options. Next, we had to sort out the milk.

I tried skim milk, lactose free milk, soy milk………

Maybe the fat/ cream on top of full cream was the issue. Therefore I tried skim milk. So I would ask for a skim milk cappucino with chocolate rather than cinnamon and if possible some marshmallows. I would have to say this quietly as it seemed weird having skim/skinny milk but having chocolate and marshmallow. Not exactly a good diet tactic. Anyway, I found I was leaving half the cup of coffee. That was a waste and I was dissatisfied. What could I try next?

Next, I tried SOY Milk.  I found the different brands were quite different in taste. One café I would like it, just, then another café it would taste foul. It depended on the brand of milk. So that didn’t work for me. I didn’t persevere.

The thought of lactose free milk didn’t appeal to me as it still seemed like milk.  No further discussion (in the mind that is) on that.

Special dispensation for milk

I had never liked milk from childhood. Furthermore, I don’t recall ever having it at home as a child.  We were forced to drink milo in the school hall at lunch time during the winter.  Also had to try and drink warm bottles of milk in the summer. When I went to boarding school I had to get special dispensation not to eat the many milky desserts on offer. I used to sit at the table dry reaching as the spoon approached my mouth. Call it a mind thing but that’s how it goes.

I fell upon Coconut milk while running our own café and used it in baking as well as coffee. It is very acceptable in a coffee and very tasty in an iced chocolate or milkshake.  It can be difficult to froth up. That’s my second choice just now for coffee and first choice for smoothies.

Is it gluten free

Oat milk is a vegan alternative to dairy and suitable for those with nut allergies.

Most Oats are gluten free but not always processed in a gluten free environment so I steer clear of oat milk despite its other apparent health benefits. I ordered one for my partner recently and between us we decided we could manage that if no other milks were available.  It certainly didn’t spoil the coffee.

Nut milks with coffee beans

Nut milks are so popular you are unlikely to find a café without at least one type.

The most common one they reel off is almond.

Even though I like to eat almonds the smell of almond milk puts me off my coffee.  The flavor detracts from the coffee itself. 

We had several people buying almond coffees in our café. We would ask them their reason for having it. I don’t recall anyone saying it was because of the flavor. They generally had it because of a dairy allergy or intolerance.

Macadamia – the Queen of Nuts

Our first taste of Macadamia Milk was at a tea and coffee festival expo in Melbourne. It was very pleasant to drink even on its own. Soon after this we had enquiries from regular customers for this milk in their coffees. So, we started recommending Macadamia Milk. I am yet to come across anyone who has not liked it once they tried it. You would expect it to be the younger generations to go for newer trends but we even had an 85 year old regular who made the change from lactose free milk.

Macadamia nuts are a popular treat here in Australia.  Macadamia milk is smooth and no strong flavor so the coffee which I am now quite fond of, and chocolate if having a mocha, are able to come through.  I have become a very big fan of Macadamia milk.  Although a Macadamia coffee is usually a little more expensive than others it is well worth it.

It is slightly creamy. An experienced barista is able to froth it and make a delicious mochaccino easy to drink.

I add a marshmallow as a treat and to slightly sweeten it although it doesn’t need that.

Seen at local cafe.
Photo credit: @classicespressobar

Now I may be addicted to coffee……….

Finally, I have found the perfect milk for my coffee.

MILKLAB have done a good job with this milk.

We walk to our favourite café every day and I have a small maca mocha.

However, after 3 years running our own cafe  and making my own maca mocha each day I am fussy. Well, I can identify places I prefer to buy my coffee from. It could be the coffee beans they use or it could be the way they steam the milk.   Believe it or not a lot of things go into making a good coffee.

It has to be made with love to the individual drinker’s liking. An exceptional barista discovers what that is!  That will get them repeat business. Don’t be afraid to give your barista feedback about the coffees you have from them.

What’s your preference for milk, coffee beans?

What type of milk do you like in your coffee? What impact do coffee beans being served have on your choice?