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31 Meals

Entries in Tea (2)

Chai Tea

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends!

Fall is all about comforts.

the perfect cup of tea

Like curling up in a blanket with a warm cup of tea and a good book.

chai tea recipe mix

I think I can say that it finally feels like fall now. You know those big dark clouds that blow over with a deluge of rain and then move off to let the sun come out, only to let another round blow in. Yeah, that's how you know it's fall around here. Not to mention the big gusty cold winds. It is certainly sweater weather. And let's not forget the pumpkins, squash and fall mums taking over at the market.

That's why I whipped up my own batch of chai tea.

chai tea

There are fewer things more warming than a brewed cup of chai tea that's been made with freshly toasted spices. If you want to make your home smell like fall this will definitely do the trick. Homemade bags of chai tea make a great holiday gift too.

I know it's not Christmas but the pink peppercorns in this add a bit of holiday colour. These will add some heat so if that's not your "cup of tea" (couldn't resist) then cut back on them. They really are pretty though. Cardamom has a unique taste and is intensely aromatic. You want to get the green cardamom pods. It comes from Malaysia and works better in sweet recipes than it's black counterpart, which comes from Asia & Australia and is much stronger and smokey flavoured. Black cardamom is used often in garam masala to make curries. Make sure you buy the pods instead of ground cardamom. Ground will lose it's flavour and aroma quite quickly.

green cardamom pods

Sometimes you'll find fennel seeds in a well made rye bread. They have an intense anise-flavour. It has a taste and smell that is licorice-like, but is sweeter and less intense.

I think one of the things I'm most forward to this fall is soups, homemade bread and roasted delicata squash. If you haven't tried this squash before you'll be in for a treat. Before I get all caught up lets get to that recipe for homemade chai tea!

Chai Tea (makes 12 teabags)

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Ingredients:

  • 16 green cardamom pods
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp pink peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 Tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 Tbsp candied ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup loose leaf black tea (I used Scottish breakfast - it goes wonderfully with milk)

Directions:

  1. Pre heat oven to 325*F.
  2. With a small sharp paring knife, split the cardamom pods in half, and remove the seeds. Combine with next 4 ingredients, through to cinnamon, and place on a baking sheet. Gently toast the spices in the oven for four minutes until fragrant. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Using a mortar and pestle (or rolling pin), crush the spices together. Make sure you snap the cinnamon stick into a few smaller pieces first.
  4. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the crushed spices, candied ginger and tea.
  5. Viola! You now have a lovely chai tea. You can store this in a container. If you use a glass jar, make sure you keep it in a dark area as all teas and coffee should be kept from light for best quality.

Feel free to adjust any of the spices to your taste and liking. Tea and coffee is quite a personal thing.

Be on the lookout for some chai tea lattes on the blog and have a wonderful thanksgiving weekend!

P.S. I smell pie!

Thanksgiving pie

I'm making apple and pumpkin from scratch as well as the pastry for Thanksgiving dinner!

Grandma's Classic English Scones

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee may be over but I can still celebrate by making scones and having afternoon tea in the garden.

Afternoon tea and scones

This is an old recipe from my childhood that my grandma use to make all the time while I was growing up. My grandad sure did love them and so did I, among all the other wonderful things she made for us. She used to cut them as individual round scones, which is what I do now, but would sometimes bake them as a "ring" and then cut them into triangles.

When my grandma passed away, my grandad continued the tradition of making these scones. I think it was something like every weekend that he would make them specially for us. We would just be walking into the house and he'd be leading us to the kitchen saying with a big smile on his face, "come look what I've made you" in that British accent. He would be so happy.

Raisin Scones

This recipe is probably 4 generations old now. It's been passed down from my grandma's mum, to my grandma, to my mum, to me. It's something that will be made over and over again, and it's one of those classic things that just doesn't get old.

Traditional English Scones

Now these are your classic British scones. A little bit sweet, and best cut in half and spread with butter or for an extra special treat maybe some pure strawberry and Devonshire (clotted) cream. They can be eaten warm or cold and are so easy to make you can whip them up in no time to enjoy with your cup of tea.

When making these make sure that your mixing bowls and ingredients are nice and cool so that your scones wont be too heavy or dry. Just like making pastry. You can customize these with any dried fruit or spices you like. If you don't like currants or raisins, try cranberries and orange zest or blueberries? The options are endless really, but I like these just the way I remember them from growing up.

Grandma's Currant Scones (makes 6 scones)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cold salted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • about 1/4 cup of 2% milk, more for brushing
  • 1/2 cup of currants or raisins

For Serving:

  • Fresh strawberry jam
  • softened butter
  • Devonshire cream (for that extra special treat with tea)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 425* F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment.
  2. Combine flour and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  3. Next, cut the cold butter into small pieces and add it to the flour and sugar. Mix until it resembles fine crumbs. Then beat in one egg.
  4. Add milk and blend.
  5. Mix in your dried fruits until just incorporated. 
  6. On a clean lightly floured counter top, form the ball of dough into a large circle and cut out six 2" rounds with a cutter or glass, which works just as good. You can also free form your scones into 6 smaller balls of dough using your hands, just give them a little pat down on the tray before baking.
  7. Arrange scones in two rows on the cookie sheet. If you wish you can brush the tops with a little bit of milk to get a glossy finish.
  8. Bake for 12 minutes until lightly golden on top. Cool on a wire rack.

[note: these can also be made by hand. If you add 1 tsp of baking powder to the 2 cups of self raising flour, this will give you an even fluffier scone.]

Fluffy Scones

Variations to Try:

  • Cranberry Orange Scones:
    replace raisins/currants with 1/2 cup of dried cranberries and 2 tsp of grated orange zest.
  • Lavender:
    instead of raisins add 2 tsp of chopped dried lavender and 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract.
  • Ginger Scones:
    replace raisins with 1/4 cup roughly chopped crystallized ginger and add 1/4 tsp of ground ginger to the flour mix.
  • Blueberry Scones:
    replace raisins with 1/2 cup dried blueberries and add 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract when you add the egg.

Store in an air tight container to keep fresh.