Indulgent Chocolate Truffles
Sometimes it can be so dark, wet and windy here in Scotland that one needs a good cheer up treat, and for me, chocolate works best. Since the Lunar New Year celebrations have not yet ended, I thought I would incorporate one of our Chinese teas into this cheer-up treat. This alteration is quick and easy; all you need to do is make just one little twist to your go-to truffle recipe - while heating up the cream add your favourite tea to it (if you use a tea filter or pyramid tea bag then you can simply remove it, but of course you can add loose tea directly to the cream and then use a strainer). I chose to include Keemun Black, as its chocolate aroma takes truffles to the next level of indulgence, however experiments with Chai Black, Earl Grey or Chocolate and Coconut would certainly work well too.
Smoky Tomato and Sourdough Soup
The Keemun Black Chocolate Truffles came out so well that I wanted to explore the idea of cooking with tea even further. I love soup but it's on the rainy days that I want it the most, as they are wonderfully comforting. Even just the word 'soup' brings joy - say it few times and you'll see what I mean.
If I was to keep only one cookbook, it would be Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi. His recipe for Tomato and Sourdough Soup is one of my favourites, so much so that I don't have to open the book any more to check the exact amount of ingredients! This creation is loosely inspired by its original version, but I find this method works best. Start with 2 medium sized onions, chop and then fry them in olive oil. After one minute add cumin seeds and garlic. Two minutes later add chopped tomatoes (1 tin + 3 fresh ones) and a cup of stock (vegetable or chicken). That's when the tea addition comes in. Add a cup of strong Lapsand Souchong for the most amazing smoky flavour. After that, it's time for some salt, pepper and just a bit of sugar. The soup needs to simmer for 15 minutes, then have chopped coriander and one hand-torn slice of sourdough bread added in. Everyone who loves bread has their own favourite bakery. Mine is Wee Boulangerie, their Sourdough, Heather Rye Sourdough, Walnut Loaf (Saturday's special) and baguettes are just beautiful. Another few minutes and it's time to blitz the soup, but just a little bit, you still want to keep some chunky bits! I hope you can enjoy this on a particularly cold, wet day here and find comfort in the wonderful smoky aroma and taste.
The last recipe I will share with you requires me to be more accurate when it comes to measures and timings, and this can only mean one thing - it's baking time! Rather than something that has tea listed as one of the ingredients, it is something that likes to be near the tea during our breakfast time, bread. And again, I like my little twists, so for the Year of The Tiger, we're taking 'tiger bread' quite literally - let's see some stripes!
I hope these Year of the Tiger recipes have inspired you to get into the kitchen and try experimenting with tea!