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April 29, 2016

Lemon and Fennel Muffins

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:15 am

 

Fennel is a very aromatic and tasty herb and an excellent digestive aid. If you feel bloated and gassy, try chewing on sume fennel seeds or have a cup of fennel tea. Growing up in Germany, fennel was always recommended by doctors for colicky babies and truly worked wonders.

With the following recipe from Katherine Gould you can not only soothe your tummy, but treat your taste buds as well!

 

Ingredients:

2 medium lemons, juiced

1/2 cup apple sauce

1/2 cup canola oil

3/4 cup brown sugar

1tsp vanilla

2 cups grated fennel bulbs and chopped stalks

2 1/4  cups flour (you can use a gluten free flour)

1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Combine lemon juice with apple sauce, canola oil, sugar, vanilla and fennel ina bowl. In a separate bowl, mix flour baking powder and salt. Gently fold this mixture into the wet ingredients. Spoon batter into muffin tins and bake  20-25 minutes until golden brown.

These muffins will make a great breakfast choice!

 

April 25, 2016

African Red bush – An Exotic Drink That is Good For You!

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — wbwingert @ 10:10 am

 Roooibos, redbush, bush tea

While much has been written about the benefits of tea, especially green and white teas, Rooibos (Roy-boss) has only recently stepped into the spotlight as more scientists are seeing its benefits and are studying this marvelous brew, discovering its various benefits and health properties.

Even though Rooibos (Red Bush) is commonly referred to as tea, it is in fact a Tisane. The description tea is reserved for infusions made from leaves of the evergreen shrub Camellia Sinensis. The Rooibos tea plant (Aspalathus linearis), on the other hand,  is a unique wispy bush found only in a small part of South Africa’s  South Western Cape region. The infusion made the prepared leaves has been enjoyed for centuries as both a beverage and a health tonic by the local indigenous population and is now gaining in popularity worldwide. Â

Medical Science is only beginning to discover the many physical benefits of Rooibos, but findings indicate that Rooibos is a broad spectrum antidote to the daily stress of our lives. It is a naturally caffeine free and can therefore be enjoyed at any time of the day and in unlimited quantities. It is an ideal drink for children!

Calming and Soothing

Rooibos has a soothing effect on the nervous system and can be helpful in treating nervous tension, mild depression and disturbed sleep patterns. Its antispasmodic properties have long been known to relief stomach and digestive discomfort in adults and children.

Healthy Skin

Skin irritations such as eczema and acne are significantly relieved by direct application of Rooibos onto the affected area. The anti-oxidants in Rooibos are great for your skin, something the cosmetic industry has found out is increasingly using Rooibos in skin preparations to help improve skin complexion.

Minerals

Rooibos contains essential minerals for several metabolic functions and due to its low tannin content, it increases iron absorption. It does not have oxalic acid and can therefore be consumed without concern by individuals with kidney stones. The potassium, calcium, copper, zinc, magnesium, fluoride and sodium make Rooibos and ideal beverage to replenish electrolytes.

A perfect drink to stay hydrated here in the desert!

April 22, 2016

The Art of Cupping

Filed under: Tea and Health,Tea Classes,Tea Culture,Tea Enjoyment — wbwingert @ 10:05 am

Just like wine connoisseurs, tea aficionados appreciate the differences in flavor and aroma of the over 3000 different tea varieties.

While some tea-drinkers prefer the consistency of a blend, such as English Breakfast, others enjoy the fluctuations in character of a single origin tea, which is influenced by seasonal changes, early or late harvest, elevation and soil quality.

Regardless of our preference, the tea quality is very important and experienced tea tasters spent countless hours evaluating the leave style, aroma and taste of teas. What the “nose” is to the perfume industry, the “tea taster” is to the tea industry.

Tea tasting, or cupping, is a very structured process during which the quality of the dry and infused leaf is examined, as well as the color and aroma of the liquor and finally the taste of the infusion.

 

  1. For the cupping process, the leaves are placed in a container and lined up in a long row on the tasting bench. The taster weighs a specific amount of each tea and puts it in a special small brewing vessel. Sometimes this is a lidded mug (Gaiwan) or a small porcelain teapot. The brewing vessels are always white so that the color of the infusion is easier to assess.
  2. Boiling water for black teas, and slightly cooler water for green and white teas, is poured over the leaves which are than allowed to steep for 3-6 minutes depending on the varietal.
  3. After the steeping, the infusion is poured into tasting bowls and the infused leave is collected on the lid of the brewing mug.
  4. Like a wine taster, the tea taster slurps the tea into his mouth which is quite a noisy affair, but necessary because the tea needs to hit all taste buds to unfold its character.

 

Tea tasters taste hundreds of samples of different teas from different estates regions and seasons every day. In fact, it takes a long time to become a professional in this art. At least five years of training are needed before becoming a tea master, however even after many decades of tasting, these tea masters will tell you that they are still learning and honing their skills.

 

 

April 4, 2016

Apple Ceylon Tea Cake

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 10:10 am

Baking

To complement the wonderful Ceylon Teas we were tasting  yesterday, I had prepared this tea cake and it turned out to be a huge success. I only hope it did not steal the show, but am flattered that I was asked to post the recipe on the blog!

The cake is easy enough to make and just delicious with a little vanilla ice cream on the side and, of course, a cup of tea. My choice would be a nice cup of Kenilworth– a match made in heaven!

You will need:

1 1/4 cups of water

3 tbsp. loose leaf Ceylon tea (Assam with its full and malty flavor will also work)

1 cup unsweetened apple sauce

2 tbsp. plus 1tsp. bourbon or brandy

21/4 cps plus 2 tbsp. granulated sugar, divided

1/2 pound cold unsalted butter

2 eggs

2/ 3/4 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, ground ginger, fine sea salt

1 1/4 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apple (Granny Smith)

For the topping use 5 tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 5 pieces

1/3 cup light brown sugar, 1tsp ground ginger and 3/ cup chopped lightly toasted pecans

 

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

Bring the water to a boil and pour over the tea leaves in a medium bowl. Steep, covered for 4-5 minutes. Strain and discard the leaves. There should be 240ml of liquid left. Stir in the apple sauce and brandy and set aside.

Spray a 10 x 2-inch spring form or standard cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle the inside lightly with sugar. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer on medium high to cream the butter. Add the sugar  and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time until smooth. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour mixture, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt.  Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture one bit at a time. Beat until the batter is smooth. Gently stir in the apple and then spoon the batter into the prepared pan and lightly smooth the surface.

To make the topping: In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium-high to beat the butter until soft. Add brown sugar and ginger and beat until smooth. Add pecans and beat until well mixed. Crumble the pecan mixture over top of the batter, distributing evenly. Bake until the surface is firm and a tester comes out moist but clean – about 60 minutes.

Enjoy!!

(source: Culinary Tea )

 

April 1, 2016

Lavender Dreams

Filed under: Tea in Arizona — Kwingert @ 9:31 am

April is National Stress Awareness month……not that we aren’t already well aware of the daily pressures, the long to-do lists and mounting responsibilities that all of us face on a daily basis.

This month, we’ll introduce herbs that help your frayed nerves and bring serenity back into your life.

We’ll have tips to combat stress and recipes for herbal preparations that are fun and easy to make – but also have profound effect on the health of your nervous system.

For example – do you need a little help relaxing or getting restful sleep – Lavender might just be the herb for you!

Native to the Mediterranean, this beautiful, fragrant and hardy plant thrives in hot, dry conditions and is therefore easy to grow here in Arizona.

Lavender is not only a poplular scent used in perfumes, massage oils, salves andlip balms,  but it has long been revered for its medicinal properties. The relaxing aroma is used to soothe headaches,  calm nerves and lift your mood. Lavender also has antiseptic properties and can be used to treat minor cuts, scrapes and insect bites.

To benefit from Lavenders calming properties and to prepare for a restful night’s sleep, try this easy to make Lavender Spray:

Ingredients: 1/2 cup distilled water

1 tsp witch hazel

5-6 drops lavender essential oils

Mix ingredients and pour into a clean spray bottle. You can use this spray on your skin (lavender can be used by all skin types, especially sensitive skin) or use it on your pillow before going to sleep.

Sweet Dreams!!!