Infusions

Summer Rose Syrup

IMG_0501.JPGSummer roses…

This recipe captures the scent, fragrance and wild essence from your garden rose into a syrup so gorgeous and simple you’ll want to keep making it over and over.

In the UK we’re blessed with many herbs and flowers that give food such an extra special unique taste. Elderflower season has come and gone, and this year’s cordial is now frozen into ice cubes for coolers dressings and cakes to be enjoyed well into the summer.

Over the years I’ve been fascinated by cooking with wild-plants that I find in the hedgerows and gardens near wherever I’m living. For some people it is a way of life and the ultimate expression of seasonality.

In America last year I was fortunate enough to meet a herbalist who made her own herbal vinegars, flower coolers, infusions and tinctures. When I tasted for the first time in my life a vinegar made of yellow dock that was so punchy fragrant and utterly indescribably bittersweet, it added such an unique flavour to our roasted vegetable dish, and added so many health benefits I vowed I would make it some day… but right now the roses are in bloom.

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This recipe is so utterly simple and delicious it will put the magic of summer into whatever piece of toast, pancake, yoghurt or waffle you drizzle it over. It makes a lovely icing for a cake.  Full of sugar, just like jam, this doesn’t pretend to be healthy. But as a vegan sweetener or jam equivalent, rose petal syrup can be used in moderation, made in small quantities and appreciated for what it is. I feel it’s a valuable and gorgeous addition to your cupboard.

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CHINESE ROSE

Recently when we were in China, travelling in the South in Yunnan, we came across a rose delicacy that blew me away and got me very interested in learning more about cooking with roses. It was a Moon Cake, a ceremonial and local delicacy, made with a flaking light pastry filled with chunky rose jam. Served warm and fresh out of a linen-lined basket by a crinkly faced apple-cheeked local. We stood there blissfully at the stall (despite it being close to a main road for passing trade) immersed in rose-heaven…a taste so blissful I want to go all the way back to China just to taste it again, it blew my mind!

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Rose sweeties…

Ever since Lee and I volunteered on an organic lavender and rose farm in Turkey in 2014, I became fascinated with the colossal copper vats where literally tons of freshly harvested rose petals would be made into essential oil. All around Turkey, roses featured highly in every market place in the form of soaps, tea, jams, sweets, and as rose-water, traditionally used by woman and men as a hand spray to lightly scent the skin after a meal.

rose sultan

“What is the scent of the Rose? The breath of reason and intelligence, a sweet guide on the way to the eternal kingdom.” Rumi

The Damask rose is as revered in Turkish society today as it was in the Ottoman times for it’s edible petals and delicious scent. Imagine a scene at Topkapi Palace, Istanbul in the Ottoman times where sultans sip rose sherbet in their thrones, Ottoman woman laze around in rose-scented baths applying oils and creams to their skins. Roses, known as ‘The flower of Heaven’ were a symbol of divine beauty and were used extensively in spiritual ceremonies. Medicines, syrups and sweets made from roses were and still are used every day. It’s all very romantic.

If it’s good enough for a sultan it’s good enough for us too, right?

This recipe was requested by a friend of the BHK, super Simon over at the Heart Kitchen.

Here’s the recipe!

Enjoy, Jane:)

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The bits

1 cup of caster sugar

Half a cup of water

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

2 cups of freshly picked rose petals

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Do it

Shake the rose petals well outside after picking to free the tiny insects. Warm the sugar, water and lemon juice on a low heat until it’s dissolved into a thick syrup. Add the rose petals and stir them in the sugar solution for about 5 minutes or so, then take off the heat and keep stirring for another ten, until the rose petals have gone see-through and the syrup has changed colour.

Strain the syrup through muslin into a jar.

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Serve

This is one of the world’s most delicious drizzles to be enjoyed with pancakes, toast, waffles, ice creams, cocktails, in tea and even in salad dressings!

Articles referenced in this post are here and here

Photograph of Sultan was originally taken by Nurhan Atasoy.
Categories: Desserts, Foraging, Infusions, Local food, photography, Recipes, Sauces, Summer, Vegan | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Chai! Spiced and Warming Indian Tea (plus some travel snaps of India)

One of my favourite spots for a chai.  Baba Cake, up in Kasar Devi, Himalayas, India

One of my favourite spots for a stonking chai!  Baba Cake, up in Kasar Devi, Himalayas, India

“Chaichaichaichaichaichai!”  A cry you will hear quite often when wandering around India.  In the streets, in the middle of the night on a train, it’s a bit of a theme tune to your day.  Jane has several versions recorded which we like to play and bring a little bit of India into the Beach House (along with some recordings of birds singing in the Himalayas).

This is a steaming beverage that will see you cruise through winter (or if you are heading into summer, makes a great iced tea!) The spices here add magical flavours, highly fragrant and invigorating, along with a whole load of vitamins and minerals that benefit our wintery parts.  Of course, if you are vegan, most street-side chai is off the menu.  We must settle for a black tea, which can be delicious, but all too often turns out to be a Lipton tea bag in some warm-ish water.  This means our homemade chai’s are even more special.

Jane enjoying a chai outside out little cottage up near Nanda Devi, Himalayas, India

Jane enjoying a chai outside out little cottage up near Nanda Devi, Himalayas, India

Chai is something that we dearly love over here in the BHK. We make it when we need a little pick me up and a spicy memory of our beloved sub-continent. Chai fuels India. Along with the occasional chapatti/ idli. Chai is normally drank at chai stalls, where chai wallahs work sometimes 24 hours, supplying tiny cups of very sweet, dark tea (‘chai’ is basically Hindi for ‘tea’). You average chai in India does vary, depending on the quality of the chai wallah. Generally the back bone is cardamom and ginger, but there are many additions like clove, black peppercorns, star anise, cinnamon……the list goes on. It really is more of an elixir of life than a simple beverage. I find this in so much of Indian cuisine, a holistic approach that takes into account many things, not just sensational flavours.

Jane and I at the Taj Mahal earlier in '15

Jane and I at the Taj Mahal earlier in ’15

Here we have a simple chai recipe that we can all make at home. There is also a rich and delicious Almond Rooibos Chai recipe in ‘Peace & Parsnips’. Something we make when we’re taking it easy on caffeine.

Stay warm and cosy this winter.  Drink more chai!

Recipe Note
For a more intense chai, crush the ginger and spices in a pestle and mortar or food processor before hand.

Experiment with the quantity of spices, everyone has their favourite chai and no two chai’s are ever equal!

You don’t need to measure the milk/ water exactly, just use the cups that you will be serving the chai in.

Loose leaf black tea can vary greatly in strength.  The best and most authentic tea to use for chai is from Assam in North East India.  The leaves are normally rolled, meaning they look like tiny black balls and have a rich, malty flavour.  If you are using a lighter tea like Darjeeling or Nilgiri, you may like to add another teaspoon or two for a decent brew.

Chai on the hob.  House filled with those gorgeous aromas.

Chai on the hob. House filled with those gorgeous aromas.

The Bits – For 2 mugs
2 mugs non-dairy milk

1 mug water

8 green cardamom pods (lightly crushed)

4 slices fresh ginger

8 black peppercorns

8 cloves

2 inch cinnamon stick (or 1 teas ground cinnamon)

1 star anise (optional)

1 teas fennel seeds (optional)

3-4 teas black loose-leaf tea (or 3 black tea bags, ripped and contents poured into pan)

 

Do It

In a large saucepan add the water along with the ginger and spices, bring gently to a boil and lower heat, simmer for 5 minutes.

Add your tea, simmer for 2 minutes.   Now for the milk and sweetener of choice, bring back to a gentle boil and serve when the tea has a nice deep colour, pouring through a small sieve.

Chai is a saviour in wintery Wales.

Chai is a one cup saviour in wintery Wales.

Serve

We tend to warm our cups with hot water before pouring in the chai.  Nice to it properly, it is chai after all!

Dad and I in the Imperial Hotel Delhi enjoying very posh chai and those very small sandwiches you tend to get with posh tea.

Dad and I in the Imperial Hotel, Delhi enjoying very posh chai and those very small crust-less sandwiches you tend to get with posh tea.

Foodie Fact

Some of you may have Peace & Parsnips and will be well aware of my love of spices.  A large chunk of the beginning of the book relates to spices and their healing properties.   Some of you may have also been reading this here blog for five years or so and be equally as familiar with my spice box and its contents.  I love ’em!

Cinnamon is anti-microbial (kills bad bacteria), lowers GI, excellent source of calcium and fibre plus even the aroma is said to enliven the brain.  Cinnamon is especially warming and when mixed with ginger in a chai becomes a remedy for the onset of colds and flu.

Seeking refreshment in Paharganj, Delhi with the big man (aka Dad)

When you stop for chai, you'll meet some interesting folk.  Bikaner, Rajhastan, India

When you stop for chai, you’ll meet some interesting folk. Bikaner, Rajhastan, India

Categories: Infusions, Recipes, Travel, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Homemade Spiced Ginger and Lemon Cordial (Sugar free)

Star Anise - one of the 'stars' of the show

Star Anise – one of the ‘stars’ of the show

So Jane and I decided to go for a walk along the beach yesterday and nearly got blown away.  Spring hasn’t quite arrived in North Wales!

I know this may sound like a winter time treat, but having just returned from India, Wales seems pretty damn wintery to me!  Jane and I are warming our cockles around steaming mugs of hot ginger drinks (I have managed to pick up the dreaded sniffles).  Ginger is the best thing for colds et al, more like a potion than just a refreshing tipple.  This cordial also work brilliantly cold, over ice and in a tall glass (glug of gin optional).

The B.H.K is a global thang and we know that many of you are getting ready for winter.  This zingy cordial will help to ease the blow of dark days and timid sun.  We know that our mates Fran and Steve down in Tasmania will dig it for example.  Serendipity Farm will be buzzing!

Jane throwing shapes on Dinas Dinlle beach - Wales is yet to feel the heat wave of the south

Jane throwing shapes on Dinas Dinlle beach – Wales is yet to feel the heat wave of the south

We love making our own stuff, you know what goes into it.  Most cordials, even if they are organic and well made, are packed full of sugar.  Here, you can use as much or as little sweetener as you like.  Sometimes we have it neat, sugarless.  A real wake up zing in the morning!  Try this with hot apple juice for an even more decadent steaming cup of joy.

This is one of those things, once you make one batch or cordial, you cannot stop.  Roll on the elderflower season.  Coming soon hopefully……..

Glorious grated ginger - can you smell that zing!!!!

Glorious grated ginger – can you smell that zing!!!!

The Bits – Makes roughly 500ml
100g grated ginger root

1/2 lemon (peel and juice)

1 lemon (juice)

4 green cardamom pods (split)

1 star anise

1/2 stick cinnamon

5 cloves

650ml water

Sweetener – as you like, we go sugar free is poss.

 

Do It

Place all (except the lemon juice) in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, pop a lid on and simmer for 20 minutes.  Set aside, squeeze in the lemon juice and leave to steep for 2 hours. The longer you leave, the more punch the cordial will have.  We find that after a night in the fridge, the flavours are even more full power.  You may like to add your sweetener now, but we prefer to do it when we drink it, depending how our sweet tooth is feeling.

Strain into a jug and pour into a clean glass bottle or a kilner jar.  Something sealable and preferably glass.  Because it is lacking in loads of sugar, this won’t last for as long as other cordials. Keep in the fridge and use between 3-5 days. Trust me, it won’t hang around that long!

Serve

Add to cup of hot water (just off boiling) to make a lovely steeper or serve over ice with a slice of lemon and sparkling water, making an awesome ginger ale.  Either of these can be made boozy with a glug of dark rum (a Dark and Stormy) or gin for example (as if you need guidance!)

Sweeten as you like, with what you like.  We use brown rice syrup or sometimes stevia if we are being supremely healthy.  Liquid sweeteners work best as they dissolve quickly and easily.

Hot off the hob – try it warm or cold with great apple juice.  YUMMMAH!

Hot, cold, sparkling, with apple juice, in a champagne flute....you decided!

Hot, cold, sparkling, with apple juice, in a champagne flute….all good!

Foodie Fact

All the spices in this cordial are AMAZING for the body!  They are natural medicines for all sorts of ailments.  We will focus on star anise.  Boil star anise in some water and sip it gently, it will soothe stomach pain and cold/ coughs.  Add cinnamon, coriander seeds and fennel seeds to the pan and you will be cured in double quick time.

Anise has a delicate liqourice flavour and the seeds of the star are simply anise seeds.  Surprisingly!  The seeds and the husk can be used in cooking, baking etc.  The main source of anti-oxidant glory is the volatile (in a good way) oil named anethole, but anise does boast a potent cocktail of other anti-oxidant oils.

In many traditional medicines anise is used for: anti-flatulence, anti-spasmodic, digestive, anti-septic, expectorant, stimulant and tonic.  They are also a wonderful source of the vitamin B’s, vitamin C and A and contains high levels of iron, copper (good for red blood cells), calcium and potassium.

It sounds strange consuming all these minerals, but potassium, for example, really helps to lower blood pressure and control heart rate.  What magnificent and fascinating bodies we inhabit!

The wonderful deep browns and gres of a Welsh spring (gale force wind not apparent)

The wonderful deep browns and gres of a Welsh spring (gale force wind not apparent)

 

Categories: Healing foods, Infusions, photography, Recipes, Wales | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Spiced Beach House Chai and the Awesome Power of Cinnamon

 

Beach House Chai in Tamil Nadu

Beach House Chai on Karuna Farm, Tamil Nadu

This is something we quaff every day; with some sitar int he background and little incense waft, we could be back in Tamil Nadu, in our cottage on the hills (we have a thing for cottages on hills!!!!)

The ceremony of chai, the aroma as it bubbles on the stove, makes us both feel so at home. Its up there with the smell of freshly baked bread or sweet peas in the depth of summer.

A simple everyday chai here that adds spice and warmth to your morning cuppa. You may like it milkier, adjust the water to milk ratio as you like.  Namastex

Happy Chai Man, Madurai '14

Happy Chai Man, Madurai ’14

The Bits – 4-6 cups

1.5 ltrs filtered water

500ml almond/ soya milk (unsweetened)

12 green cardamom pods
2 inch piece of fresh ginger
1 cinnamon stick (3 inches, broken in two)
2 star anise

4 teas loose leaf tea (assam is best or 4 normal tea bags ripped open)
jaggery or unrefined brown sugar (to taste)

Do It
Grab a large saucepan. Boil the water in a kettle (quicker) or bring to a boil in the sauce pan.

In a pestle and mortar, bash up the cinnamon and star anise, add to the boiling water, then bash up the cardamom and cinnamon, add that to the boiling water. Lower heat to a simmer and cover, leave to infuse for 20 minutes.

Now, bring back to a rolling boil, spoon in the tea. Leave to bubble away for a couple of minutes and then add your milk. Bring back to a boil and sweeten as you prefer. Indians love it very sweet indeed.  Using a sieve (and a ladle is easiest), pour into your favoured receptacle.

Serve

In your finest cups. Smaller cups are better and more authentic, even a small glass will do (generally how its served in a proper Chai stall). Sip and slurp with relish.

 

Foodie Fact – Cinnamon

Surely one of the worlds coolest barks!  Cinnamon is medicine. Powerful agent for healing.  There are two main types of Cinnamon that we can buy, Chinese (known as Cassia) and Ceylon(which is harder to find and supposedly more refined), it is one of the oldest spices we know of and was used by the ancient Egyptians as medicine and also for embalming!  It was considered more precious than gold.  It was even mentioned in Chinese botanical medicine over 4700 years ago.

Containing some truly magical essential oils, cinnamon is a potent anti-inflammatory, anti microbial (cinnamon essential oil can be used as a powerful preservative), flavouring high carb food with cinnamon slows the release of sugars into the blood stream,  helps with type-2 diabetes, it is a very, very, very strong anti-oxidant.  Even smelling the scent of cinnamon has been shown to boost brain activity.   It is also an excellent source of fibre, calcium and manganese.

Cinnamon has long be regarded as a warming spice in Chinese and Indian energy based medicine systems.  This means that is you feel a cold coming on drink plenty of cinnamon, ginger and lemon tea and you’ll be fine!!!

Cinnamon is best bought in stick form, it stores well for an age.  You can then crush it or grind it up freshly ans savour that familiar aroma.  Once crushed, kept it in a sealed container out of natural sunlight.  A fridge is best (this goes for all spices).

Chai's off the menu for me, I hit the Jack Fruit stand instead.  Yum!

Chai’s off the menu for me in India, I hit the Jack Fruit stand instead. Yum!

Or

Or a banana....

 Banana!!!!!

Categories: Healing foods, Infusions, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Apple Mint Herbal Vinegar – Health Tonic Extraordinaire!

delicious minty vinegar

delicious minty vinegar

It has been a luscious blossoming blooming year for gardeners across the land. Much sunlight and only occasional rain has kept most of the slug and snail critters at bay, hoorah! And over in Staffordshire, Mum and dad’s apple mint went wild again, and started springing up everywhere in places most unexpected. We were lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time to harvest the lot, bring it back to the Beach House Kitchen and get creative.

When faced with huge armfuls of thick 3ft long mint stems, it is easy to find yourself wondering what on earth you’re going to do with the bounty of furry goodness there in front of you! But luckily there are many ways to preserve herbs – in oils, vinegars, dried in jars; and many uses for the finished product like salad dressings, flavouring for your cooking, teas and delightful herbal baths! Lets face it a whole shelf of different herbal vinegars is pure visual delight – and that’s before you’ve even eaten any!

yummy mint, fresh and dried

yummy mint, fresh and dried

The Bits

Glass or plastic jar with waxed paper and elastic band for lid if metal (vinegar disintegrates metal lids)

Apple cider vinegar with the mother culture (great for your digestive system)

Aromatic herbs, such as apple mint (or all the other kinds of mint too), chives and chive blossom, dandelion flowers and leaves, organic orange peel, lavender flowers, even nettles…. The list goes on…

Do it

Fill a jar with your freshly cut chopped herbs, making sure the jar is well filled but not packed too tightly either… (After a few goes you’ll get the idea, I don’t think I put enough in ours)!

Pour room-temperature apple cider vinegar into the jar until it is full.

Cover jar with wax paper held on with a rubber band and metal lid on top, or a plastic lid, or a cork.

Label the jar with the name of the herb and the date.

Put the jar in a kitchen cupboard not too hot and not too cold but out of direct sunlight and leave for 6 weeks.

Don’t forget it’s there!

Serve

Over salads or beans and grains at dinner, in salad dressings, or to season stir fries and soups.

You can even drink it in the morning in a glass of water as a health tonic, after all what could be more healthy than your own produce soaked in apple cider vinegar!

We love it

There’s a lovely aspect of this creative process too and it’s all about the love and appreciation of food that has come out of your own soil. The very act of stripping the leaves from the stem, drying them, and getting creative all feels like a very natural and heart-warming process; one which our ancestors would have done too, to preserve that nourishing goodness of Summer ready for darker Wintery times. And it is SO good for you! Daily use of preserved herbs gives you a little health boost with virtually no expense or effort.

Foodie fact

Herbs are magic because of the high level of nutrients they contain – mint for example contains a lot of Calcium.

Apple cider vinegar has been known as a health-giving agent for centuries. Hippocrates swore by it, along with honey. It is incredible at lowering cholesterol, improving skin tone, and even for arthritis. It is also very good at dissolving nutrients from plants which water is not so good at, meaning this vinegar is super-healthy and mineral rich.

Ever seen your granny splash some vinegar onto her greens before serving? Eaten with iron rich vegetables like spinach or broccoli, vinegar can increase the amount of calcium you get by a third. Pretty amazing stuff!

Vinegar is highly alkaline, I know that sounds strange, but when it is metabolised by the body, it goes through a serious change.  Alkaline foods are incredible for health and keep disease and other baddies at bay.

minty spiral

minty spiral

Categories: Foraging, Infusions, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Flower Power – Homemade Elderflower Cordial

 

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Elderflowers are all the rage in our village this June. we’ve had neighbours knocking on the door asking for recipes! What can we say, they are a beautiful thing and they grow on trees!  Some even call this drink the ‘nectar of the Gods’!

This is not technically raw, as it is simmered slightly, but we hope that it didn’t make it above 46oC as this stuff is lighting up our life right now!  Very easy to make and plentiful, something all Brits should have in the fridge door ready to be mixed with sparking water, gin or whatever takes your tipple fancy.  Did you hear that Brits, its a must!  In the States, I think it grows?  I know you can buy it dried over there and its just as good, if not more intense.

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FLOWER POWER

There are over 30 varities of Elderflowers and some may be slightly toxic, don’t let this put you off.  None of the flowers are toxic, only the leaves and stems, so if you are not sure, just leave out the greens.

You cannot mistake an elderflower tree (some younger plants look more like bushes), the unmistakable aroma will be the first  thing that hits you.  They have the coolest micro-flowers, white and yellow.

When picking Elderflowers, make sure you leave some for the tree!  We only take a small share from each tree and keep our eyes out when driving or walking around for new trees to pick from.  This is the great thing about foraging for your own ingredients, wherever you go, the plants follow!

We recommend making the cordial as soon as you pick the flowers, otherwise they will naturally deteriorate and lose some of their vitality and flavour.  You can of course dry them if you have a dehydrator or live in a particularly hot place (lucky you!)

The Elderflowers will also turn into gorgeous Elderberries later in the year and these are worth the wait.  It makes us feel much more connected to the seasons, watching the trees and plants changing as we move through summer towards the bounty of autumn.

You may also like to try this with orange or lime, anything citrus will do and mix things up a little.  We like flower petal ice cubes – rose and elderflower. Lemon is the classic though to be sipped on a steamy British summer’s day preferably with a knotted handkerchief on your head and some cucumber sandwiches to hand.  Croquet anyone!  Splendid.

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If you like this, you may like our Elderflower Champagne Recipe.

Makes 1.5 litres:

The Bits 

30 heads of Elderflower, 1.5kg sugar, 3 unwaxed organic lemons, 2 pints water, 75g citric acid (food grade) optional

Do It

Shake the Elderflowers and make sure there are no little crawly friends still present.  No need to wash them, they have been breathing the same air as we have!  If they are growing at ‘dog cocking leg height’, wash them well.  Place in a large heatproof bowl.

Put water into a pan and heat gently, add sugar and stir to form a syrup.  Leave to cool.

Now zest your lemons into the syrup and then slice them acrossways, add the slices also.  Pour the slightly cooled syrup onto the Elderflowers and stir in the citric acid.  Cover with a plate and leave to stand for a day.

After that, taste the cordial, then strain through muslin into sterilised bottles.  We use old wine bottles with corks.

Will keep in the fridge for at  least three weeks, but it won’t last that long anyway!

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Serve

We have ours with sparkling water and a little ice, maybe a squeeze more lemon.  We have also had it in cucumber juice, which was quite amazing.  Of course there is lots of boozy fun to be had here, add to sparkling wine or a gin and tonic for something quite special.

We Love It!

The essence of the British summer, concentrate and bottled.

Foodie Fact

Elderflower’s are one of natures power flowers.  They contain bio-flavanoids, many of the omega fatty acids, pectin and tanins.  They are also good for allergies, and I feel alot better hayfever-wise after a glass of this flower power.  It also helps colds, flu, fevers and arthritis.

It has been shown that Elderflower can help to remove toxins from the blood, it stabilises kidney function and even helps with intestinal problems.

Proper FLOWER POWER going on here!

Jane gathering Apple Mint

Jane gathering Apple Mint (with her slipper on)

Categories: Foraging, Healing foods, Infusions, Summer | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Elderflower Champagne

Jane has been a hive of activity of late, rooting through hedgerows, plucking from trees, gathering vast quantities of wonder nettles and generally turning the Beach House Kitchen into a herbal/ potion dry/ infusing nirvana.  We have our very own herbal den on our hands and our new dehydrator is coming in very useful, we’re stocking up for the depths of winter with the sun on our backs.

We have been blessed with some good weather of late (although not when we climbed Snowdon the other day, see below) and all things green and multi-coloured are leaping from the ground and heading towards the sun.  Its a wonderful thing to witness and our courgettes and beetroot especially are loving these conditions.  Summer has hit, Im driving around with the car window open and have even been seen wearing a T-shirt outdoors on a nuber of occasions.

This recipe tastes like summer, the smell of the elder tree is something that evokes memories of me being a little nipper, running around fields and falling over alot.  Our fridge is full of the stuff in all forms of receptical,old gin bottles, wine bottles, large gherkin jars, we’re brimming over with herbal champagne and very chuffed indeed.

The has taken our focus back towards nature and the more we learn about the properties of the herbs and flowers that fills the hills and valleys of the area, the more we realise what we have been missing all along.  Jane has some incredible books and nature has provided so much richness and diversity that we were ignorant to until recently.  The flowers are good now, but leave a few until autumn and the wonderful elderberries will arrive, apparently these little beauts can beat the flu!  In old folklore the elderberries signified the end of summer and the preparations for autumn and winter.

If you have an elder flower tree locally, or see one when driving around, we strongly urge liberating a few heads for the pot.  Don’t forget to thank the tree!

The Bits

12 elderflower heads, 1 unwaxed lemon (juice and zest), 0.7kg sugar, 2 tbs white wine vinegar, 4 litres cold water.

Jane amongst piles of herbs and goodness

Jane amongst piles of herbs and goodness (and a cuppa)

Do It

Pop the sugar and water in a large pan, stir until dissolved, shake the elderflower heads (check there are no insects).  We didnt wash them as we live in the air we breath and we wanted to keep them dry and intact, they are quite fragile little guys.

Add lemon juice and zest and leave covered for 24 hours.

Thats it!

Strain through muslin and keep in sterilised bottles.  Wine or champagne bottles look very cool.  Can be kept in the fridge for two weeks.

We doubled this recipe and it worked a treat.

Serve

In champagne flutes, in the sun, feet up, without a care in the world…..

We Love It!

Its as good as champagne and free!  What a gift from nature!!!!

Foodie Fact

Elder flowers contain a whole host of natural flu beaters.

Categories: Foraging, Infusions, Recipes, Summer | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Coriander and Mint Tea with Lemon Flower Honey

Coriander and Mint Tea with Lemon Flower Honey

Coriander and Mint Tea with Lemon Flower Honey

A refreshing green leaf tea with the gorgeous addition of local lemon flower honey, perfect for a cleansing morning tipple.  We need all the help we can get in the mornings to get fully charged!

The lemon flower honey comes from a local co-operative in Murcia, Coato, who produced organic produce in a region where that term is rarely used.  We visited recently and stocked up on all things Spanish; olives, almonds, olive oil, dried chillies, paprika, saffron……the list goes on, we got carried away.  This honey is really something different, worthy of the name ‘Gold Liquid’.  It has a mousselike white honey on the top and then sticky, lemony honey below. Lucky us!

The Bits

1 handful of mint leaves (stems are fine), 1/2 handful of coriander leaves and stems, honey to taste.

Do It

Add all to a kettle and leave to infuse for 5 minutes.

We Love It!

Full of green goodness with wonderful local lemon honey.  What a treat!

Foodie Fact

Coriander is full of anti-oxidants and dietary fibre, it also has bags of potassium, iron and calcium to get you in good shape for the day ahead.

 

 

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The Wonders of Honeygar and the Alkaline Body

Hagar (Honey and Cider Vinegar)

Honey and cider vinegar combined with just boiled water is normally called ‘Honeygar’ and a mighty fine thing it is.  This potion is not only a lovely brew (an acquired taste) it also has great health properties and cures many ailments.  Both Hippocrates and the ancient Egyptians are said to have appreciated the healing properties of cider vinegar.  It  has also been used as an anti-aging elixir, which is always popular!

Good cider vinegar is a completely natural product and is normally made by allowing crushed apples to ferment in oak barrels.  It has cleansing and disinfecting properties which self detoxify the body and it is a powerful cleansing agent and healing elixir with naturally occurring antibiotic and antiseptic that fights germs and bacteria.  Honey (unprocessed) is normally added to make the drink more palatable.

Cider Vinegar also helps to keep the body nicely alkaline.  Vinegar is obviously acid but when broken down in the stomach becomes alkaline.  An alkaline body fights germs and disease better and helps to ward off ailments such as bladder and kidney conditions, osteoporosis, aching muscles, low energy and chronic fatigue, and slow digestion.

Raw fruits, leafy green vegetables, tea and legumes are examples of alkaline foods.  Interestingly a foods actual pH is not a good indicator of a food that has acidic effects on the body, for example, lemons and limes when processed by the body actually have a very alkaline effect.  All animal products are acid forming, even if they have a alkaline pH prior to digestion.  The ideal ratio of alkaline to acid foods in a diet id 70/30.  High stress levels can also effect the amount of acid produced in the body.  For more on getting alkaline see here.

Cider vinegar is especially good at treating arthritis and with the British national health service restricting the access to arthritis treatments, many people are looking for alternative methods of treatment.  There have been many articles recently in the press verifying these healing effects.

Lillies on the windowsill (nothing to do with Cider Vinegar, but lovely non-the-less)

Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the famous explorer and endurance chap, suffered with arthritis in his hand and hip and turned to drinking honeygar.  He says “Without it I wouldn’t be able to have done all the things I have done…it has completely kept my arthritis at bay.”

Honeygar is best drank regularly and can take a while to kick in, so stick with it.  It also must be combined with a low acid diet, that means no nasty foods high in sugar, nothing processed (factory food) and alcohol.  If you have stiff muscles and joints, try taking regular hot baths with epsom salts.

I have a hip that clicks and a dodgy neck, which are probably old injures from when I was young and used to do terrible things to my body, all in the name of sports.  I have started to drink honeygar and will keep you posted on the progress of my dodgy bits.

I think the message is, get off those awful painkillers and other drugs if you can and try something different.  There is enough evidence out there to suggest that honeygar and a huge number of other alternative remedies actually work.   This is not always backed up by medical tests, but who needs that when it works!

When buying cider vinegar, check that it contains the ‘mother’ and is organic.  This ensures that it is completely natural, the good stuff, and has not been distilled.   The distillation process kills of the powerful enzymes and minerals like potassium, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, sulphur, iron copper, fluorine, silicon, pectin and natural malic and tartaric acids, which are important in fighting body toxins and inhibiting bacteria growth.

‘Hagar’ Recipe

Add 2 tbs cider vinegar and top up with freshly boiled water, add honey to taste (1 tbs is normally good for us)

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Some of the info for this post came from the great benefits of honey site and an article in the Daily Telegraph

Categories: Healing foods, Healthy Living, Infusions, Nutrition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 67 Comments

Propolis – Thank you beesX

Here at the beach house kitchen we are always looking for new tasty healthy things to add to our diet. And when we are lucky enough to find a thing as amazing as this, we get quite excited. Propolis!

Anything that comes from bees in my opinion is amazing. They are a beautiful furry marvel of nature, and ingeniously clever with their hexagons, beeswax, royal jelly and honey…But that’s not all they can do.

Propolis is collected by the buzzy ones from tree buds and sap flows. It contains resins, waxes and essential oils. Bees use it to patch up little air gaps in the hive and to keep it sterile in there.

We mix about 8 drops in a pint of luke-warm water first thing in the morning and use it as a flush. (Best add the Propolis drops to the luke warm water; if added to cold water it hardens and sticks to the glass).

So why do we drink it? It is incredibly nutritious stuff, with amazing antibacterial, immunity-boosting, antibiotic and antifungal properties. Also it tastes nice and has the appearance of a fine wheat beer which is most pleasing.

The nutrients found in it are varied and many; and include Vitmin A (carotene) Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 biotinan, an array of bioflavonoids albumin calcium magnesium iron zinc silica potassium phosphorus manganese cobalt copper and 16 amino acids. Thanks to “Bee Pollen, Royal Jelly, Propolis and Honey”, by Rita Elkins, M.A. for our facts and figures.

Propolis is normally available from health food shops and is quite cheap considering how amazing it is.

This is definitely a lovely addition to our daily routine as a health and immunity booster, especially while we go RAW!

Love and Happiness, JaneXXXXXX

Beach Jane

Categories: Detox, Healthy Living, Infusions, Raw Food, Superfoods, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Homemade Nettle Tea

Nettles

Nettles are here and we are loving them.  They are like a cross between mint and spinach and one of the first green leaves of the summer.  Some call them weeds, we call them feed!

Nettle leaves can be dried and enjoyed later in the year, or just thrown straight in a pan of boiling water.  They can also be stir fried to great effect as a spinach substitute.

Nettle tea can also be made for your garden, it makes great plant feed.  You just need a load of nettles in a large container covered with water.  Every day, stir them.  This will stink after a while, keep going for 4 weeks and you have some seriously good feed that can be used on tomatoes.  Great natural fertiliser.

You can even throw some nettles leaves in a bath of hot water, it apparently helps to relieve aches and pains.  We haven’t tried this one out, please check that the sting is long gone before diving in!

Brewing the nettles

For the drinking variety:

The Bits

Nettle leaves (1 cup of leaves makes 2 cups of tea), Water

Do It

Boil water in a pan, add leaves.

Homemade Nettle Tea

Serve

In your finest mug.

We Love It!

It literally grows on trees (well bushes).

Foodie Fact

Nettle is a natural elixir, invigorating the body in preparation for the busy summer time. It is a strong blood purifier and helps to dissolve kidney stones.  It is ant-inflammatory and can help with arthritis, high blood pressure and helps to clean out the digestive system.

Learn more about nettles and sustainable living on this great site, earth easy.

Categories: 'The Good Life', Budget, Detox, Foraging, Garden, Healthy Living, Infusions, Local food, Recipes, Tea, Vegan, Wild food | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Iced Yogi Tea – Ginger Orange with Vanilla and Honey

Here is today’s beverage of choice, fit for a summers day (with a gentle chill in the breeze):

Iced Yogi Tea (Ginger, Orange, Vanilla and Honey)

I’ve always loved Yogi Tea.  They make an intense brew, packed with flavour and a lovely vibe permeates everything they do.  I like the little inspirational message on the end of the drawstring.  Todays read “take time to contemplate and deliberate”……..great advice when sitting in the garden, confronted by some bluebells and a pond wriggling with tadpoles.

I’ve tried a new one today, the Ginger Orange with Vanilla.  It is a delicious blend and makes a revitalising hot brew.  But with the sun out, I decided to cool things down a little.

This will work with many herbal tea bags.  You don’t just have to use black and lemon variety.

I made Jane and I a teapot full:

The Bits

Nice clean tea pot, 2 Yogi Orange Ginger with Vanilla Teabags, 1 spoon of your favourite honey (size of spoon and which hive you visit depends on you), chopped ginger (we don’t peel), 1 juicy orange (1/2 wedged, 1/2 sliced into rounds and all de-seeded)

Do It

Brew your tea using near boiling water for around 10 minutes (good to get all the flavour out of these beauties), add as much honey as you need at this stage.  Then leave in a cool place to chill out for a while (doorsteps are good for this).  If you like vanilla, add a teaspoon of good vanilla extract.

Get some nice tall glasses ready, fill 1/2 way with ice, add your chopped ginger (big slices are best here) and a wedge of orange (squeezed, juice over ice), the fill glass 2/3 with ice.

Serve

When fully cooled (this can be stuck in the fridge overnight if you like) pour into your gorgeous glasses and top with your orange slice and maybe one more slice of ginger.

We Love It!

This has inspired me to get rooting around my tea tin and being more creative with my summer refreshments.  Watch this space…..

Foodie Fact

Any drink made with vanilla is supposed to have aphrodisiac qualities.  Meow!

Its a shame, this looked and tasted brilliant, but my computer is not happy today and won’t upload photos, so here is one I found on google images.  You get the idea!

 

Orange Iced Tea

Thanks to Burlap and Basil for this pic (http://www.burlapandbasil.com)

Categories: Ayurveda, B.H.K Reviews, Detox, Infusions, Recipes, Relax, Tea | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Rainbow ‘Slaw and Rosehip Tea

Beets and 'Rots

Today the sky is the deepest of greys, the washing nearly blew away and Jane poured a pint of water all over her computer.  We both held the stricken machine in our hands, then noticed the water pouring out of the side with the plug still in the wall…the penny dropped…we placed it in-front of the fire and thanked our lucky stars for not getting frazzled.

We put on some Vashti Bunyan and started to make lunch……….

Out of this peaceful state came this wonderful combination of vibrant colours and flavours.  The salad is an old friend from past summer days, the beetroot, carrot and orange is a tantalising combination and packed full of good things.  Preparation could not be easier, this is a real raw food delight.  The tea is fairly straightforward also!

From a potential near-death experience, to a rainbow lunch and ‘Rosehip November’ (in April).  Happy days at the Beach House.

The ‘Slaw

The Bits

1 large beetroot, 1 large carrot, 1 large chunk of butternut squash (optional, just increase the carrot by one), juice of half an orange, handful of chopped coriander.

Do It

Grate all veggies, we used a hand grater, or plug-in your food processor.  I appreciated the exercise actually.  I peeled the beetroot and the squash.  Squeeze in the OJ and throw in the greenery.  Add the finely chopped pith of the orange for even more of a citrus POW!  Mix up and leave at room temp for a while, let the flavours mingle a little.

Serve

We made a lunch out of it with some toasted leek oatbread (recipe soon to appear on the blog) and cucumber raita.  This is a versatile ‘slaw that will brighten up any plate.

We spiced it up with a couple of pinches of Ras El- Hanout spice and a splash of olive  oil.  Our raw life starts in June, why not live dangerously for a while!

The Tea 

Clipper Rose hip (and Hibiscus)

It’s a Clipper Tea.  An organically grown infusion, fruity, with a deep colour and plenty of vitamin C.  The good people of Clipper are in all of our supermarkets in the UK and always good value.

They use unbleached bags and have an awesome range.  Their black tea is a winner with a splash of soya milk (and lashings of honey, B.H.K style).  We have also tried the tasty Dandelion and Burdock Tea, which took us back to our childhood days, drinking the fizzy sweet version out of glass bottles in bracken, near streams.

Buy the Rose hip tea here:

http://shop.clipper-teas.com/teas/fruit/organic-rosehip-infusion

And check out the new Clipper Green Room, for offers on the range of teas and loads of top giveaways:

http://www.clippergreenroom.com/

Foodie Fact

Rose hip has been used for years for its health properties, the fruit of the Rose is especially good for the joints.  The Vikings used it on long sea voyages to ward off scurvy, its packed with Vitamin C.  It also contains most of the B vitamins and the mighty vitamin K, with antioxidants and rich fatty acids surely making this a real superfood.

Rosehip November/ April

Categories: B.H.K Reviews, Infusions, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Lunch, Organic, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Side Dish, Snacks and Inbetweens, Superfoods, Tea, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Orange and Apricot Rooibos Salad

Get off to a flier!

This is a quick recipe, like a compote, perfect for a morning citrus buzz or desert option.
It will keep your muesli interesting and is actually best on its own.  I like it chilled.

The Bits
Small handful of dried apricots (unsulphured if poss. and halved), 2 good oranges (cut into segments, the less pith, the better), 2 cardoman pods (well bashed), long ribbons of orange zest, 1 cup of rooibos tea (we used vanilla rooibos), small handful of sunflower seeds, 1 teas of your favourite honey.

Do It
Make a cup of rooibos, leave to infuse a little, put all bits in a tupperware and pour over still hot tea. This gets the infusion going, Stir. When cool, put in the fridge overnight.
Serve
With a blob of creamy greek yoghurt, can go on muesli or is great, chilled by itself. The liquid is a refreshing juice.  We had it with a dash of cointreau on pancakes.  I imagine it would go very well indeed with a nice slab of chocolate cake.  Hmm.
We Love It
It’s the right kind of colour for a morning pick me up! Great sweet and citrus double act.
Foodie Fact
Dried apricot are a great source of vitamins A and C, as well as dietary fibre and have the wonder antioxidant Lycopene in full effect.  Try to avoid the ones treated with sulphur dioxide, they will have the bright orange colour.  It can cause a nasty reaction for people who are sensitive to sulphur, especially those who have ashtma.

Categories: Breakfast, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Infusions, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Apple Mull Steamer

Apple juice made by local kids

If you live on the grey island, it’s probably snowing where you are.  This is the ideal tonic for a chill, we’ve been spiced up on this all winter.

It’s an intense cordial that glows with the spices of distant lands (as you look out at the grey drizzle).  We will normally have a cordial in the fridge and it will change with the seasons.  I’m looking forward to something elderflower soon………

Heres a ‘steamer’ of pure Beach House loveX

The Bits

One bottle of good quality cloudy apple juice.  Glass is best in this situation (you can re-use it) or use a corked old wine bottle (clear glass looks very cool).

Zest of a lemon (or orange) in long slices, not chopped.

2 star anise, one stick of cinnamon, 2 cloves, 1 bashed liquorice root, a finger of ginger in large chunks, a little splash of good vanilla essence.

1 large tablespoon of honey (or to taste)

Do It

Pour the apple juice into a pan, add all ingredients.

Bring to a steam, close to boiling, then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes (or longer, the flavours will only get more infused), do not boil, leave to cool.  Wash bottle well.

When cooled, pour back in bottle, I like to add all the bits into the bottle also. Keeps well in the fridges for a week, but won’t last that long!

Serve

Use it like a cordial, with hot water.  Or take it to the next level with a glug of dark rum.

We Love It

Its gives the body a big warm hug and if drank with rum, this potion will send the most stressed mind to a blissed out place of calm.

Foodie Fact

You’ll get a big kick of Star Anise in this mull.  It has been used in China and India to treat disorders of the nervous conditions.  Cloves are powerful!  Not just in flavour.  they are anti-oxidant, anti-flammatory, anti-septic, as well as calming and warming.  Ahhhhhhh

Categories: Infusions, Recipes, Relax | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Magic Morning Lemon Water

I have always known that a glass of hot water and lemon is a good idea first thing.  It just feels right (especially after a whiskey the night before).  I thought I’d read into exactly why and was pleasantly surprised.

A glass of hot(ish) water and lemon will stimulate your digestive system, the potassium in lemons will help to give the brain and nervous systems a wake up call.  The vitamin C boosts the immune system and reduces the signs of aging by purging toxins from the blood.  The citric acid, when metabolised, will help lower your bodies acidity.  Most of us are too acidic (in many ways!).

Lemons are high in pectin fibre, which helps fight hunger pangs.  They help to stimulate the liver into producing more bile, which aids digestion, helping against heartburn and indigestion.  Your peeing rate will increase, flushing out more toxins.

The fructose is lemon will give you a gradual sugar kick.  Fructose levels are relatively low in fruit and vegetables and release sugar into the blood slowly (a low glycemic index), so its better than most other sugar***.

Fresh lemon will help to beat chest infections and has been known to help with allergies and asthma.  You will be more chilled, Vitamin C is one of the first things to be depleted by a stressful life.

Most of all, it starts the day of with a zing!  A real citrus wake up call.

As of this very day, I will almost definately, be drinking this every morning (maybe).

Remember – use the lemon peel.  Its bursting with flavour and it’s such a waste to just use the juice.

***However, there is an increased use of high fructose corn syrup in processed foods.  We can end up eating too much fructose, which can be a problem.  Fructose is processed in the liver and avoids the normal appetite stimulators.  This means that we feel like scoffing more and put on weight.  If the liver processes too much frustose it begins to form triglycerides which may lead to heart disease.  Diabetes is another potential concern.

The Hit List

HFCS is found in processed cereals, sweets (candy), soft drinks, ice cream, tinnned fruits, cakes, even some cough syrups.  Thankfully its used less in Europe than the U.S.A, but its still there and ever increasing.  It’s a cheap way for big business to sweeten food.  Stay away from food wrapped in plastic and you are on the right track.      

Categories: Breakfast, Healthy Living, Infusions, Nutrition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Morning ‘Steamers’

My mug

Fresh and clean. These steamers are the perfect way to get the body hydrated and feeling vibrant in the morning and are easier than making a cup of tea.

There must be something in the ether because two friends, Julie and Gwen, have sent me their style of ‘steamer’ through today.  I felt prompted to share.

A steamer is basically an infusion of anything with hot water.  I regularly used ginger, mint, lemon, rosemary (a little), add a little honey if you’re a sweet one.  I would not drink them very hot, let them cool a little, be gentle with your poor old body, especially in the morning.

There is not much to this.

The bits

Your favourite mug that brings you the most happiness.

Choose from:

– A couple of teaspoons of sliced ginger (no need to peel, just wash)

– A nice wedge of lemon (squeezed into water and plopped in)

– A small handful of torn mint leaves.

– A classic.  Teaspoon of honey, squeezed wedge of lemon, teaspoon of sliced ginger.

Or

Julie’s  Steamer

Add one stick of bashed lemongrass

Gwen’s Steamer

Add one stick of peel liquorice root and a small handful of mint leaves.

Do It

Drop in bits and leave to steam for a few minutes.  Then aaaaahhhhhhhenjoy.

We Love It

As Gwen rightly put it, a fresh steamer will beat any tea bag, any day, forever.  Viva steamers!

Foodie Fact

There are many health benefits to drinking warm water when you first rise, especially with a slice of lemon in (see the post ‘Magic Morning Lemon Water’).  Warm water will flush out the kidneys and prepare the stomach for food by stimulate the glands on its walls, helping the bowels move regularly (hoorah!).

Warm water can be used easier by the body,  it’s not such a shock to the system, because it doesn’t need to be warmed up.  Drinking water at mealtimes can dilute gastric juices and slow digestion.  It’s a good idea to drink water half an hour before eating.  Drinking water is different from getting water via food or juice, clear water helps to cleanse the body internally.

The ‘Steamer’ variations are many.  Have a play and let me know of your favourites……star anise, sticks of cinnamon, grapefruit juice etcetcetc……….How do you like yours?

I truly believe that after a good stretch, they are the best way to start the day.

If you like this kind of thing, Gwen has a great vegan and freegan blog, have a wee look:  http://peasandloveblog.blogspot.com/

 

Categories: 'The Good Life', Breakfast, gluten-free, Healthy Living, Infusions, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Herbal Teas – The B.H.K Award

Fancy a brew

We shall start at the very beginning, before there was even light …..(the mornings are dark up here on the hill)…there was tea.  Our precious tea box.  Bought by my lovely Mum as a housewarming gift and well used throughout the day. These brews and infusions are the life blood of every great bean-bubbler and help to distract me from quaffing too much coffee.

This is an essential survival necessities in this wilderness (and everywhere). Not your traditional British mug (that’s a strong cup of black tea with a dash of milk) which is also amazingly satisfying. We talking now ’bout ‘erbs. ‘Erbal Teas.

Here are some staples that we never run dry of, that keep us full of zing and turgid with hot water and vibrant botanicals.

We’ve whittled the selection down to three heavyweight contenders for the esteemed prize of ‘The B.H.K – Worlds Best Mass Produced Herbal Tea Bag (available in Dimensions Health Food Shop, Bangor, North Wales)’. ***

YOGI TEAS (http://www.yogiproducts.com/products/perfect-tea/)- The largest herbal tea range, at that price. The Classic variety, packed with cinnamon, keeps us warm and full of Yogi love in the mountain gales. Choco is a nice change, they’re all nice really. I’ve never met a Yogi bag I don’t like.

CELESTIAL SEASONINGS (http://www.celestialseasonings.com/) – Seasonings?! We drink their tea by the bucket load. Jane was on a special no sugar diet and the Bengal spice variety is so packed full of carob that we thought we’d died and gone to Wonka heaven. Sweet and spicy. Tension tamer does exactly what is printed on the card, with a lovely minty exotic herb. This American company makes fantastic little boxes of intensely flavoured teas.

TEAPIGS – (http://www.teapigs.co.uk/) – Intense stuff this. One bag is enough for a nearly full red teapot (which is a beast of a pot).  It’s more expensive, so a treat as opposed to an everyday quaffer. We love the Heirba Mate, that keeps us charged up, like a caffeine buzz but without that sense of ‘am I getting a headache’. It feels so healthy to sip. The Liquorice and Peppermint is a real winner though. It goes a lovely shade of vibrant green and is potent stuff. Cool little pyramid bags too.

And the winner is…………..’you may rattle your teaspoons now’…………….

XXXXXXXXXX YOGI TEA XXXXXXXXXX Its called Yogi, its cheap (ish) and always hits the spot. The Classic is, well, a classic and I love the little words of wisdom on each tag (the tag on the bag?! Tea bag tag?!). We also cut the used boxes up to decorate christmas cards and other things (friends you have been warned). A versatile all-rounder.

As well as buying bags, we also like to just throw mint leaves, chopped ginger, maybe a couple of cardoman pods or some rosemary into a big mug of boiling water. If you’re a sweet tooth, make it sweet (honey). Experiment with your own infusions.

Heres and interesting blog I’ve just read about all things tea and spice http://www.steenbergs.co.uk/blog/about-axel-sophies-blog/

*** We will be giving out prized like this regularly, because it makes us feel all-powerful and authoritative, when really we are merely two humble bumpkins who view the world with wild-flower tinted specks.

Categories: Infusions | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

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