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Time For Tea

ea” was a time of day in my grandmother’s house. English born, she always sat down

to tea mid-afternoon, served with bread, cheese and pickles, and always with a few cookies. Gram was serving a “low tea” or light afternoon tea. “High tea” is a full meal.

Small towns regularly host teas as fundraisers in spring, and year round as celebrations of the milestones of people’s lives such as birthdays or anniversaries. Many of our churches and halls possess exquisite collections of pretty teacups reserved for these special occasions.

HOT BLACK TEA

Start with fresh-drawn cold water and bring to a rolling boil. Remember the hotter the water the better, as only boiling water will bring out the maximum flavour from the tea leaf. Warm the teapot to help keep your tea hot longer.

Use one teaspoonful of loose tea or one tea bag per cup (5-8 oz.) of water.

When the water has boiled, take the warmed teapot to the kettle and pour over the tea. Cover and let steep for three to five minutes to ensure maximum flavour is released.

Strain tea or remove the tea bags. Enjoy!

If you prefer your tea less strong, add more water after the steeping period.

FRESH BREWED ICED TEA

Insert six tea bags into a one-litre pitcher. Pour 1-1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over tea bags. Steep for five minutes. Remove tea bags. Fill pitcher with fresh, cold water. Pour over ice. Garnish and sweeten to taste. Once prepared, fresh brewed iced tea should be stored in the refrigerator. A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice.

FRUIT TEA LOAF CAKE

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cream together the oil and sweetener in a large mixing bowl. Add tea (and if using it, the vanilla) and mix well. Sift the flour, salt, soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg together into the wet ingredients, mixing until all ingredients are moist. Stir in the fruit and nuts, blending well. Turn the mixture into a well-greased loaf pan and spread the top with a wooden spoon or spatula to smooth. Bake for 35 minutes or until done when tested with a toothpick. Cool to room temperature before serving. Makes about 6 to 8 servings. Recipe courtesy of the Tea Association of Canada

1/3 c. sunflower or

other light oil

3/4 c. sugar, or

alternative dry sweetener

1-1/4 c. tea brewed at

regular strength

1-3/4 c. unbleached or

whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

Strong as our associations of tea with England are, we forget that tea’s origins are China, where they’ve been brewing it for nearly 5,000 years and where it was a medicine before it became a beverage.

Tea’s popularity has spread across the globe over the centuries. InThe Book of Tea,Japanese writer Kakuzo Okakura’s 1906 essay on tea drinking, he writes “humanity has met in the teacup.”

The Tea Association of Canada has a great website ( www.tea.ca) with lots of information on tea’s history, health benefits, and where tea is grown. This week here’s some instruction sourced from their website on tea brewing and tea types plus a couple of light cake recipes to enjoy with your perfect cuppa.

HowToMakeThePerfectCupOfTea

1 tsp. cinnamon or

vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

2 tbsp. raisins

1/2 c. dates, pitted

and chopped

1/2 c. dried figs, chopped

1/2 c. almonds or

hazelnuts, chopped

HOT GREEN TEA

Green teas are usually a bit more delicate and do better when steeped in water that is a few degrees below the boiling point. Start with fresh-drawn cold water and bring to a rolling boil. Allow water to cool for five minutes.

Warm the teapot to help keep your tea hot longer. Use one teaspoonful of loose tea or one tea bag per cup (5-8 oz.) of water. Take the warmed teapot to the kettle and pour water over the green tea leaves or bags. Cover and let steep for three to five minutes to ensure maximum flavour is released. Strain tea or remove the tea bags. Enjoy!

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CHAI

Start with good-quality tea!

1 tea bag or 1/4 tsp (1 ml)

loose leaf tea

1 tbsp. EACH ground

ginger, ground black

pepper, ground cardamom

1 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 c. milk

Sugar to taste

In a small saucepan, bring 3/4 cup water to a boil. Add tea and let simmer one to two minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine spices. Add milk to tea and let simmer for 15 seconds. Add three pinches of spice mixture to tea and continue simmering for 15 seconds. Using a strainer, strain tea into a mug and add sugar to taste. Makes 1 cup. Source: Tea Association of Canada

RHUBARB CAKE

This is a recipe often found in community cookbooks and it turned up again in theCarman Palliative Care Cookbookwe featured on these pages earlier this winter. This is a delicious and elegant dessert, perfect way to use those first fresh stalks of garden-grown rhubarb, and wonderful served with tea!

To make base:

2 c. flour

1 c. butter or margarine

1/4 c. sugar

Mix and press into 9 x 13-inch pan and bake at 350 F for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

To make filling:

2-1/4 c. sugar

2 tbsp. Minit Tapioca

6 egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue)

1/4 c. flour

2/3 c. cream

5 c. rhubarb

Spread the rhubarb on the hot baked base. Mix the first five ingredients and cover the rhubarb. Place back in the oven and bake for 50 minutes at 350 F. Remove from the oven and cover with the meringue.

Meringue:

6 egg whites

5 tbsp. white sugar

1 tbsp. cornstarch

Mix cornstarch in the sugar, add to whites while beating. Beat until stiff. Place cake back in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. If your base gets too brown, place a cookie sheet underneath while the meringue is browning.

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