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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!

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.

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/