Tea is a way of life for me. Coffee doesn't even rate for me. Don't even talk to me about coffee. Tea is an essential aspect of all the parts of my day. I drink so many cups of tea a day it's just not funny. So when 84th and 3rd (one of my favourite blogs) announced that the next Sweet Adventures Blog Hop theme was 'What's Your Cup of Tea" I knew that I had to make something even though I have been a bit lax in the blogging this month. To emphasise my point here are five reasons why tea is better than coffee (but seriously, I have nothing against coffee drinkers or coffee, so please don't take offence!):
1. Variety - having several cups of tea doesn't mean you have to have the same thing each time. Tea comes in so many different varieties that you can match it to your mood. English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Chamomile, Peppermint, Green Tea, Matcha, Orange Pekoe, Rooibus. I could go on for a long time - but you know them all.
2. Decaf tea tastes just as delicious as regular tea - since I've had a long history of insomnia I'm predominantly on decaf tea which is pretty much the same as non-decaf. But decaf coffee just isn't quite the same.
3. Coffee gives you really bad breath. Seriously. If you drink a lot of coffee and you didn't know this then you should go out and buy some mints.
4. Tea is the first thing guests get offered when they come into your home. It's a symbol of hospitality.
5. Some people (mostly young students) who drink a lot of coffee seem to think that their caffeine addiction is the coolest thing ever. I've had so many days at work or uni in which I've heard people loudly proclaiming that they can't function without their morning cup of coffee - as if it's something to be super proud of. Having an addiction is never cool - just so you know.
When I thought of the tea desserts the immediate obvious choice is cupcakes - super easy to add tea flavours to. I've made lots of Maccha Green Tea Cupcakes and lovely Chai Tea Cupcakes, I've even made Mango Chili Chai Cupcakes. But I wanted to try something completely different and new. Of all the delicious teas that I've got in my cupboard I knew immediately that I wanted to use the gorgeous Thai Red Tea which I bought when travelling in Thailand. It is served ice cold with coconut milk and/or lemon and it is the perfect way to cool down in the humidity.
I bought mine in Thailand, but I'm sure you can get it at some Asian grocers or probably on the internet. It is worth it to find though, as the taste is just great! In this recipe I made a fresh and healthy vegan jelly with a lovely surprise of poached apples on the bottom.
3 apples, peeled and cored
2 1/2 cups strong Thai red tea
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cold water
6 tablespoons of cornstarch
1 tsp lemon zest
A few teaspoons of coconut milk
1. Slice the apples thinly and simmer gently with the red tea and sugar for about 10 minutes, until softened but not mushy.
2. Remove the apple and keep the tea syrup. Distribute the apple pieces evenly in the bottom of six glass dessert bowls.
3. Dissolve the cornstarch in the 1/2 cup of cold water.
4. Place 2 cups of the tea syrup and the lemon zest into a saucepan over a low heat.
5. Add the cornstarch. Leave over a low heat and stir continuously for 5 minutes. Don't allow it to simmer or boil, just keep it on a low enough heat to keep it hot. It should gradually thicken and deepen in colour. After 5 minutes it should look fairly thick but be easy to pour.
6. Pour over the jelly evenly across the six bowls. Add a couple of drops of coconut milk to the top of each one and use a skewer to swirl it across the top. You'll need to do this quickly as it will start to set fast.
7. Chill in the fridge for 40-60 minutes.