March 06, 2014

Tea Book: The Love of Tea, by Carol Mark

The Love of Tea cover via The Love of Tea (source)

Cooking and baking are among my favorite hobbies as is preparing tea so I have a  collection of tea cookbooks and recently the collection grew by one with the addition of Carol Mark's The Love of Tea. The recipes are divided among five categories: starters, mains, desserts, cocktails and afternoon tea.  Each recipe is accompanied by a photograph of the ingredients or the finished dish.

Although I have not yet prepared any of the recipes I am intrigued by the desserts section.  Reverse Earl Gray Chocolate Truffles Best Chocolate Tea Cake. The recipes are short which I take to mean easy to prepare.

Non-imbibers will appreciate the mocktail versions of the tea cocktails.  Don't Basil Fawelty made with rooibos, basil, and orange and pineapple juices or Red Blitz Blast with rooibos, lemonade, and cherry juice sound refreshing?!  (Oh, warm weather dreaming.)  And some of the cocktail recipes were designed without alcohol in mind like the Cucumber Sandwich Mocktail prepared with matcha.  This one sounds like a drink for afternoon tea.

Plan your next home afternoon tea using the recipes in the afternoon tea section.  Make classic egg, cucumber, and chicken sandwiches.  Bake scones, shortbread, and sponge cake.  And don't forget the lemon curd!

The Love of Tea is available on iBooks.  You can find Carol Mark hanging out on Google+.

Thank you to Carol Mark for a review copy of the book.

March 05, 2014

Tiffany's masala chai story

I drank the best masala chai ever, or at least of the year, last weekend.  It was served at an open house and I asked its creator for the recipe.  Here's an edited version of what she wrote.  Note: it's not your typical recipe!
We actually have a masala mix from I don't know when and where - must have been bought on one of our trips to India or brought by my in-laws because I never bought it in the US...

Having said that, during our last trip to India we bought a mix which was really not that good, so I ended up making our own with the few spices I had available: black pepper (you should get Indian one, it has a very particular taste), Cardamon, cloves, and ginger (fresh or powder). I usually take the spices as whole and grind them myself (and use fresh ginger)...

You can also add cinnamon or things like that...

Unfortunately I don't really have a specific recipe - I do pretty much everything in the kitchen by "feeling" - even much of the baking. I'd try with pretty even parts of the ingredients, but you may want to use less pepper and adjust the ginger as well because both can be spicy, but the spice level can vary depending on the quality and specific kind of pepper you use...

I also like Oh, How Civilized's recipe. And check out Melissa Cooks Gourmet's Spiced Milk Tea recipe.

Share your favorite masala chai recipe in the comments. 

February 27, 2014

Tea in Children's Books IX

Welcome to the ninth installation of tea scenes in children's books. We are back with scenes from two three picture books.

In Al Pha's Bet by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Delphine Durand, Al Pha creates the alphabet on a bet.  He takes a tea break close to the end of his creative process.

Spoon, in Spoon, also by Amy Krouse Rosenthal but illustrated by Scott Magoon, thinks that the other utensils have more fun until his mother points out all the things he can do that fork and knife and chopsticks cannot, like stirring a cup of tea!

Just before his seventh birthday, Crispin imagines the things he will do with his fiery breath such as "boiling water to make tea"!  Crispin is the protagonist of Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-El with illustrations by Tim Bowers.

Let me know if your favorite children's book has a tea scene. You can also tweet the title with the #teainbooks tag. Catch up on the series here and check out Amy Krouse Rosenthal's website.

February 25, 2014

Tea Review: Chambre de Sucre's World Wayfarer Tea

In advance of Valentine's Day we reviewed Chambre de Sucre's Love Cycle tea flight.  Today we present the company's World Wayfarer Tea.  This tea series also has a story based on the family of Chambre de Sucre's Lisa Kunizaki.

I prepared these teas during one of the many deeply cold spells this winter and was transported to places I imagined to be warmer than where I was while drinking the teas.  Tea No. 6 Kyushu honors the birthplace of Lisa's father with sencha and fruits. The green rooibos and fruits of Tea No. 24 Waiahole Valley represents Lisa's extended ohana while Tea No. 22 Mon Frere, a blend of vanilla oolong and hazelnut pieces, was created with her brother in mind.  He's a peripatetic.

My favorite is Tea No. 22 but I look forward to making iced tea this summer with Nos. 6 and 24.

February 18, 2014

Tea Review: TeaVivre's Chinese blacks

In late January I received a generous package of samples from TeaVivre.  The three black teas I received are Premium Keemun Hao Ya, Bailin Gongfu, and Golden Monkey.  I have been enjoying them!  The oolongs will be enjoyable too, no doubt, but I have not yet steeped them.

Keemun has always been a favorite black tea and the TeaVivre keemun does not disappoint with classic bold, malty flavors.  This keemun is also smooth with a fruity profile.

I have now added Bailin Gongfu to my favorite black teas list.  The steep smells roasted but the taste was more subdued with hints of fruit and malt.  The tasting notes on the TeaVivre website mention caramel so I will have to steep another cup to see if I can detect this flavor.

The Golden Monkey was the sweetest and lightest of three teas as well as the prettiest with with "golden hairy tips."  This Fujian black tea is a good starter tea.

My thanks to Stella at TeaVivre!
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