Lavender Spiced Chai Latte

Find yourself a cup of tea; the teapot is behind you. Now tell me about hundreds of things. ~SakiImage

This is my second post on tea and I guess the quote affirms my love for tea- that is if you could see the absence of great quotes from other posts :-)   I would never ever refuse a cup of tea and always had a great company at home and outside to enjoy the small cups of goodness.

A great contrast to my “tea-crazy” self,  my husband is not much of a “tea” or a “coffee” person.  When he first told me of this, I asked him- “Seriously? what kind of person are you??   Five years into marriage, the tea evangelist in me finally managed to get him to (occasionally) enjoy the masala chai that I make at home.

So when this Friday he asked me for a cup of the chai, I tried a slightly different version of the regular masala chai that turned out great.

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Ingredients:

  • Water- 4 cups
  • Loose black tea leaves- 3  tsp, I used Darjeeling tea
  • Cinnamon- 1 Tsp (coarsely crushed bark).
  • Ginger (grated)- 1 tsp
  • Cardamom- 3-4 pods crushed
  • Grated nutmeg- a pinch
  • Dried Lavender buds- 1/4 tsp

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Instructions

  • Place 3 cups water in a small saucepan.
  • Add cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and Lavender.
  • Add sugar per taste if you are using or any sweetener)
  • Bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Reduce heat to low
  • Simmer until the mixture (and your kitchen) smells aromatic, about 10 minutes.
  • While the tea is simmering, prepare the milk.
  • If you have a milk frother at home, go ahead and use it.  I do not have one, so I  used the following trick that turned out pretty well.
  • Heat milk in microwave for about a minute. Transfer to a glass jar with a tight lid.  Shake vigorously for about 30 sec.
  • Open the lid carefully and with the back of your spoon hold off the froth.
  • Strain the tea into cups and add milk.
  • Spoon the froth and top off the chai.
  • Dust lightly with cinnamon powder and enjoy

Note: I used 2% milk and the froth was good enough.  You can use whole milk for thicker froth.

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Strawberry Lemonade

Refreshing drink for warmer days.  Lemonade/limeade is a routine for us on warmer days.  I must admit that I have never tried Strawberry lemonade before, but after seeing a very tempting picture on pinterest, I decided to give it a shot and I am glad I did.  Apart from the taste being a winning point for this drink, I fell in love with the colors and I am super glad that the pictures turned out much better than I expected.

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Ingredients

  • Simple Syrup: 2 cups water and 1 cup sugar
  • Strawberry Puree: Fresh Strawberries- 1 cup, blend with a cup of water.
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup cold water
  • lemon slices and sliced strawberries (optional)
  • Ice

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan over high heat, mix together the water and the sugar. Cook until the sugar dissolves and it becomes a clear syrup. Remove from heat, add lemon zest and leave to cool.  The syrup will be a lovely clear yellow color from the lemon.
  2. Puree strawberries with a cup of water (strain the pulp- an optional step, I did not).
  3. Add the lemon juice, 1 cup water, and lemon and strawberry slices . Mix in the strawberry puree and the sugar syrup until well combined. Adjust according to taste.
  4. Serve over ice.

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Tea Love

Tea Leaves
Tea Loves
Loves Tea
Lives Tea
Leaves Tea?
Never!
– Uniek Swain

Offer me a strong cup of tea (or coffee for that matter), anytime in the day I never say no.    I bank on my cuppa to start the day off with vigor, as a pick me up for busy afternoons or just to feel good 🙂

When you make Indian style chai, milk is imperative, I believe that is what makes tea a chai.   Only time I ever have tea without milk is when I make Green Tea.  The process is quite simple, I boil milk, water, tea leaves together.  Add some grated ginger and sugar. Boil till required strength and there, I am done with my chai.  Sometimes, I add crushed cardamom pods.

All that changed when I sampled a flavorful black tea at Teavana.  It was heavenly and it was black!! Inspired by the taste,  I made my own mix of spiced tea. I know that I am going to have more cups of black tea from now on.

Ingredients:

  • Loose tea leaves ( I used Darjeeling) 1/2 tsp
  • Cinnamon- 2-3 Tsp (not the powder, coarsely crushed bark).
  • Ginger (grated and dried)- 3 tsp
  • Cardamom- 8-9 pods crushed
  • Combine all the ingredients and store in an airtight jar.

Note:  If you want more stronger tea flavor, feel free to increase 1/2 tsp- 3/4 or more.

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The Tea:

  • Boil a cup of water
  • Add your tea spice mix.
  • Steep till desired strength
  • Strain into a cup
  • Add sugar per taste. Enjoy.
  • Add milk to the cup if you want Chai (Tea Latte).

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Better Limeade and Mango Salad with Sweet mint Pesto

I am a little sad that Gilt Taste closed down.   More than the high-end grocery shopping that the site offered, I was more drawn to the recipes and the stories.  Well, at least as of now, I do not see any way of going back to those sections.   I however did try some of the recipes that I liked from the site, the most recent being yesterday.  However, like my most of the other recipes, I had my own variations and substitutions.

Better Limeade based on Ruth Reichl’s: How to make a better lemonade article on Gilt Taste.  

For me the basic component of the entire recipe that makes it a super hit is the sugar syrup. I have been making lime and lemonades for many years before, but never this way and this is decidedly a really better tasting method.

Ingredients:

  • Juice from 2 large Lime/Lemon
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Mint leaves (optional)

Instructions:

  • Make the sugar syrup- dissolve 1 cup of sugar in 3/4 cup of water and heat till the water is clear.
  • Turn off the heat, zest the lime/lemon and let it cool. (this can be stored in the refrigerator upto a week)
  • Add the lime juice to the water (use water per your taste and how tangy you want the drink to be).
  • Stir in sugar syrup, mix well.
  • Serve over ice and garnish with mint leaves.Image

Mango with Sweet mint pesto

This was one of the recipes on the Gilt taste that was on my must try list.  Francis Lam has a funny and witty way of telling his stories and I have always enjoyed his recipes.  The original recipe calls for using ripe peaches.  I am sure it would taste great with peaches but for now, I have abundance of mangoes in my pantry and decided to give it a try.  Turns out I was not wrong to try.  It was delicious.  I have already decided to use it as a dessert for my guests sometime. A healthier option for sure and an interesting twist to your everyday fruit.

For the Sweet mint pesto.

  • Handful of mint leaves
  • Almonds ( as in the original recipe). I used cashew nuts for this one.
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice.

Instructions:

  • Toast the nuts lightly.  Pulverize them in a processor.
  • Add mint leaves and make into a coarse paste.
  • Add lemon juice and olive oil.  Add the salt and the sugar.
  • Make sure that it is not too pasty, you would want the pesto to be able to coat all of your fruit.

The Salad:

  • Cut the mangoes into 2 inch pieces.  Arrange them in a dish.  Zest lemon all over and shake well.
  • Add the sweet mint pesto and rub evenly with your hands.
  • Chill the salad for 30 min and serve.Image

Inaugural Post: Strawberry Coconut Water Mocktail

Thanks for stopping by!  I am super excited to start this blog and really looking forward to keep it going and share my culinary experiments/attempts with you.

My inaugural post on T&T is a very interesting drink that is inspired from a cocktail that I came across on pinterest.  I instantly fell in love with the picture and wanted to try a non-alcoholic version of the cocoktail, (being a teetotaler).  I am actually surprised that it turned out well.

The sweet taste of coconut water only makes it more tempting with a splash of strawberries, giving the drink an interesting color.

Ingredients:

  • Fresh Strawberries: 8-10
  • Coconut Water: 16 oz can/ or fresh water if you get them handy
  • Sugar Syrup
  • Cut strawberries to decorate (optional)
  1. Wash and blend strawberries in a blender till they are smooth
  2. Add coconut water, sugar syrup and mix well.
  3. Decorate with cut strawberries and serve over ice.
  4. You could also add few mint leaves for some color.

Note: You could skip sugar syrup or lessen the sugar if you want to.

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