A detoxifying drink used in traditional Indian medicine, Turmeric Tea or Golden Milk, owes its name to the bright yellow colour of turmeric. Mixed with warming spices like cinnamon, pepper and ginger, this sugar-free and antioxidant drink is a pleasant alternative to coffee.
Turmeric Tea or Golden Milk is a great way to get the benefits of turmeric daily. I love drinking this before bed because it aids relaxation and helps boost the immune system while sleeping.
Known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties, turmeric activates the happiness hormone, serotonin. The ochre-coloured root is also a standard ingredient in Indian and Thai cuisines.
Just a recipe this time: a Moroccan soup we thoroughly enjoyed the other day. Too good not to share. Full credits to food.com with a few tweaks!
In large heavy saucepan or dutch oven heat the oil over medium heat. Stir in onion, celery and carrots till tender, stirring occasionally. Add the Moroccan spice blend. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas and broth. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes or until lentils are tender. In a bowl, whisk flour, and 1 cup water until smooth. Whisk flour mixture into soup and simmer, stirring often, for 2-4 minutes or until soup is thickened. Stir in half of the parsley and cilantro, and all of the lemon juice. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper if needed. Garnish with remaining parsley and cilantro.
Although a staunch coffee fan (it is genetic!), since starting Nice n Spice, I have become quite infatuated with teas – with organic loose leaf tea that is. Not just me but the whole family in fact. We have been sampling many, many kinds of teas unleashing some creativity leading up to the creation of Nice n Spice’s own organic tea blends. Some are a true Nice n Spice original, some not so much and were inspired by store bought blends – that we thought we could do way better.
I was a little miffed recently when I found my daughter favored a store bought pomegranate white tea, marketed as an “antioxidant powerhouse”. I knew that a bit of mixing and matching of our own organic teas would generate our in-house powerhouse. So it is with pride that I present the newest addition to the Nice n Spice selection: Hibiscus White tea - a handcrafted 100% organic blend of white peony, hibiscus flowers and dried orange peel.
The prepackaged store bought pomegranate white tea has left the house, never to return….
Our Hibiscus White tea contains one of each tea category: a pure white tea, and an herbal tea (and fruit). You might know there are 2 categories of tea: “pure” teas: green, black, white, yellow, oolong and pu-erh which are made from the Camellia Sinensis plant. Their different looks and flavors depend on when they are picked and whether and how they’re dried or fermented.
Herbal teas make up the other category. They are also called tisanes and are caffeine-free infusions of herbs, roots, leaves or a blend. Some popular ones are mint, chamomile and rooibos.
The following suggestions will get you the best quality cup of tea you can get:
Buy Better Tea
No seriously, great tea is not hard to find…. It basically comes down to carefully selected, fresh and more flavor vs. mass-produced, processed and prepackaged. We sell pure organic teas because we like them the best. Have a close look at the ingredients of some so-called natural teas/herbal blends sold elsewhere, you will be shocked how many have added flavorings most of them not so natural. Dare to try teas you are not familiar with, you will be amazed by the range of taste natural teas provide. They even might have some health benefits to boot.
Ditch the bag
Whole leaf teas provide you with more flavor, aroma, antioxidants and pleasure than the tiny leaf bits and stale tea dust in tea bags. The leaves used in most bags are actually the “dust and fannings” from broken tea leaves. Broken tea leaves have lost most of their essential oils and aroma. When steeped, they release more tannins than whole leaf tea, resulting in a bitter astringent brew.
Oh and if you find the loose leaves floating in your tea inconvenient: use a tea pot or a tea mug with a stainless infuser (I love the Le Creuset one).
It Boils down to this
Different teas require different water temperature. Not only that, the quantity required per cup differs per tea and so does steeping time:
Green/Yellow Tea 1-2 tsp., 2-3 mins. with water under boiling point
White/Oolong Tea 1-2 tsp., 3-5 mins. with water under boiling point
Herbs/Herbal/Red Tea 2-3 tsp., 5-7 mins with boiling water
Black Tea 1 tsp., 3-5 mins with boiling water
So no, you don’t make tea in the microwave.
Nothing Beats a Fresh Brew
Drink tea freshly brewed. It can turn bitter and overly tannic as it sits.
Storage and Shelf Life
Although the shelf life of tea might be fairly long, the sooner you use tea the better. Its volatile oils dissipate over time, leaving a musty flavour. Store tea in an airtight container in a cool and dry place.
Enjoy, and let me know if you want to sample some teas from our selection!
And what better use for pumpkin spice than a fabulous home made (and a not so sugar loaded) Pumpkin Spice Latte?
For the latte, you will need:
2 tbs pumpkin puree
2 tbs maple syrup
½ teaspoon organic pumpkin spice
1-½ cups milk
1 tbs vanilla extract
1-½ cups warm strong brewed coffee
Bring pumpkin, syrup and spice to a low simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Slowly whisk in milk and vanilla. Bring mixture to a low simmer and remove from heat. Transfer milk mixture to a blender or food processor and blend until mixture is foamy and frothy. Divide the hot coffee between 2 coffee cups and pour hot milk mixture over coffee. Add whipped cream and if you feel like going wild add caramel sauce too. Enjoy.
And to go with the Pumpkin Spice Latte, you can bake some great Pumpkin Spice Muffins.
You will need:
1 cup sour cream or plain yoghurt
3 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup sugar
½lb. (=16 tbs) melted unsalted butter
4½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tbs baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3 tbs organic pumpkin spice
and 1½ cups golden raisins
Heat the oven to 350°F. Whisk eggs, sour cream/yoghurt, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, sugar and butter in a large bowl. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin spice in a separate bowl. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring until just mixed. Gently fold in the raisins. Grease a muffin tin and fill each cup to the rim with batter. Bake the muffins in de centre of the oven until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted come out clean, for about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the muffins from the tin to cool down.
And yes, you could actually prepare a 3-course pumpkin spice dinner…. How about a Thai coconut pumpkin spice soup followed by a pumpkin spice rubbed pork loin topped off with a divine pumpkin spice soufflé? I don’t want to run the risk to pumpkin spice you out, so will leave that for next instalment.
The current heat wave makes iced tea a favorite summer sipper. Making your own from scratch is super easy and allows you to use less sugar than you’ll find in a store bought mix. Or you can skip sugar altogether and add lemon instead for a tart thirst quenching drink.
The following tips make this crowd-pleasing drink even better:
Tea – use stronger teas
When foods are served cold, flavours become dull. Therefore use a stronger tea – such as Darjeeling or Jasmine. Use 2 heaped tablespoons for every 3 cups of water for best results.
Steeping time – don’t overdo
If you like your tea stronger, use more tea rather than lengthening the steeping time. A longer steeping time brings out the tannins in the tea and increases the bitterness.
Sweetening – syrup rather than granulated sugar
If you sweeten your tea, add the sugar to the hot tea so the granules dissolve. My personal favourite for sweetener is agave syrup or just honey. Don’t add granulated sugar to cold tea as it will leave granules in your glass.
Cool down before refrigerating
Allow your tea to cool before you refrigerate: putting hot tea into a cold fridge makes it cloudy.
Real is better than artificial
That goes both for the tea and lemon juice used! Only use real fresh squeezed lemon juice for the very best flavor.
And – last but not least – fresh is still best
Freshly made iced tea tastes best. Make only what you will drink in two or three days.
Here is to a warm and beautiful summer!
No not just because of the beautiful colour....
The sumac bush is native to the Middle East and produces deep red berries, which are dried and ground into powder. Ground sumac has a tangy lemony flavour, although less tart than lemon juice. The spice was long used in Europe to add tartness to many dishes until the Romans introduced lemons to the area. Sumac is a widely used, essential spice in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. It's used in everything from dry rubs, marinades, and dressing, but its best use is sprinkled over food before serving. It's great over vegetables, grilled lamb, chicken and fish. Ground sumac also makes a nice, flavourful topping on dips like hummus.
I first came across the spice in my favourite cookbook “Jerusalem” from Ottolenghi/Tamimi (you can buy a signed copy here ). I found ground sumac here locally at Middle Eastern markets or already mixed in the spice mix called za’tar, a Middle Eastern spice blend. Za'tar is great mixed in good quality olive oil, spread on pita bread (pop it into the oven for a couple of minutes) or sprinkled over yoghurt, mixed with some olive oil for a terrific dip.
All you need for the spice blend in the following:
Trading spices might be part of my Dutch heritage, but here in B.C. I have learned to appreciate good organic food. Consider Nice n Spice a marriage of the two. This is the place to find my thoughts, recipes and product information. I'll be nice but who knows, there might be some spice as well!