Cooking with Tea | Matcha French Toast

. Written by leafinhotwater. Posted in tea & food pairing

Ever since I’ve started researching the different kinds of matcha out there, I’ve been also toying with different uses for matcha in food rather than just drinking it straight.

One of the first things I wanted to attempt was incorporating it into my weekend home brunch repertoire. So it was not too long after that I thought of trying to use it in french toast.

Ingredients I used:

matcha (1 tsp cooking grade and 1 tsp drinking grade – I wanted to fancy it up a bit, but most of us should do fine with just 2 tsp of cooking grade alone)
milk, 1/2 cup (used 1% though 2% or 3.25% should do just fine)
egg, 1 large size
bread, 2 slices (not pictured)

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Mix all 3 ingredients, though it helps to first make a match paste so that you don’t get lumps in the mix when its added all at once. I doused the bread slices liberally in the batter, and then into a heated non-stick pan they went.

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I made mine under a lower heat for longer, because I didn’t want to brown up the sides too much, but its all up to your preference. Also, because I had dunked a lot of batter into these bread slices, to cook them all the way through without burning called for a longer heating time but lower heating temp.

Once done, I sprinkled a mix of brown sugar and matcha powder, and served with a side of strawberries and honey.

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In hindsight, I think getting some icing sugar and blending it with matcha powder would certainly improve the look of the topping instead of the chunky pieces of brown sugar.

With the side of strawberries, I do like how the green contrasts nicely with the red of the ripe fruit, and would suggest even adding blackberries/blueberries, or whatever fruit is in season.

In terms of a tea pairing, I would suggest a rooibos tea or black tea, rooibos being a sweet woody tea would help complement the sweetness in this brunch recipe. The black on the other hand, would have any astringency neutralized by the sweetness of the syrup/honey on the french toast.

If you do try it, let me know how it turned out!

Tea & Food Pairing | Rice Noodles & Huangshan Mao Feng Green Tea by Tao Tea Leaf

. Written by leafinhotwater. Posted in green tea, tea & food pairing

Saturday lunches are a always a good opportunity for lighter fare, so this rice noodle dish was on the menu today. Chicken breast strips stir fried with garlic, green onions, beansprouts, then mixed with fresh rice noodles from the grocery store. I couldn’t resist adding some hot sauce to spice up the simplicity of the ingredients.

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The flavours in the dish were mild, which called for a light tea to accompany it. Being stir-fried, I thought a green tea would be appropriate to balance out and ‘wash down’ any grease, which narrowed it down to this green tea in my cupboard, Huangshan Mao Feng (黄山毛峰).

It is a tea produced from the region of Anhui, and is one of China’s most famous green teas. The name literally translates to “yellow mountain fur peak” as it is harvested near Yellow Mountain, known for producing many popular green teas, while the ‘fur’ refers to the downy hairs on  the young buds and leaves that are picked to produce this tea.

The dry leaves were quite green and somewhat curled lengthwise. Some leaves were rather large yet still unbroken, which is rather amazing considering the rolling processes in making the tea.

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When brewed, this tea is very light tasting, with a toasted, sweet grass flavour. The taste and smell reminded me of steamed leafy vegetables. Even the brewed leaves were a medium green that looked like steamed/boiled vegetable leaves. The brewed tea liquor is a light yellow-green that looks and tastes very clean.

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Overall, the lightness of the tea helped complemented the mild flavours of the green onions, rice noodles and chicken. It also helped wash down the little bit of grease in the fried noodles. The mild sweetness in the tea also helped neutralized spiciness of the hot sauce.

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Pink Grapefruit Tea Infused Lipbalm | Bare English & Co

. Written by leafinhotwater. Posted in Uncategorized

Being a former blogger on the beauty and skincare side, I was naturally drawn to Bare English’s colourful lipbalms, especially at the Toronto Tea Festival, as I hadn’t known they contain white or green tea infused into the balms.

I picked up 4 balms at the show, one for a friend and the rest for myself. Lipbalm is one of those things I lose all the time so it will be interesting to see how well and hang on to these.

Pink Grapefruit was one of the first flavours that caught my eye. I love grapefruit and have a cornucopia of all things grapefruit related.

Grapefruit Bliss body butter, Fresh fragrances, and a real fresh grapefruit. Not shown, but a huge staple in my routine is the Green Beaver grapefruit cleanser, as it smells heavenly and is quite relaxing on my dry, sensitive skin.

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Going back to Bare English & Co., their balms are packaged in an unusual flat-ish tube, and because it is a transparent container, its good to be able to see that they’ve generously filled up every inch of the container.

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There’s something a bit magical about grapefruit for me. It wakes me up and gets me in a good mood, compared to other kinds of citrus fruit this does it the most. The smell used in this blend is just right, reminding me of the fresh fruit itself.

The texture of the balm is also great. Bare English & Co do not use any beewax but a blend of oils instead, and the feel of the balm during application AND wear is light, and moisturizing.

When applied, the balm leaves a nice sheen.

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Overall, this is a flavour I would repurchase, considering how comfortable the blend feels on my lips and how spot on the flavour profile is.

Day 25 of 100 Days of Tea | Energize Tea by Honey & Tea Culture

. Written by leafinhotwater. Posted in 100 days of tea, rooibos tea

Energize is another tea blend from Honey & Tea Culture, an Oshawa based tea shop.

The ingredients are organic rooibos, organic honeybush, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, juniper, natural flavours, guarana, star anise, fennel, cloves.

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The liquor brews up reddish-brown, with the sweetness of stevia and warm, woody aromas of cinnamon, clove and floral notes.

Since it is naturally sweetened through stevia, I found I didn’t really get any snack cravings and intead was satisfied sipping this on its own. The ingredients last well through multiple infusions too, retaining much of the original flavour through 3-4 steeps.

Due to the strength of the flavours, I think this is one blend where its advisable to use a metal infuser rather than fabric or plastic, which could absorb the aromas and be more difficult to clean. I had a similar experience with a David’s Tea blend and it was annoying to have the aroma of the last tea stick through a few more teas before disappearing finally.

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Overall, the flavour profile of this strikes me as a tea best suited for chilly seasons, and best served hot.

Day 24 of 100 Days of Tea | Cafe Caramel Pu-erh by Lemon Lily Tea

. Written by leafinhotwater. Posted in 100 days of tea, puerh

One of the teas I purchased at the Toronto Tea Festival was this Cafe Caramel Puer blend from Lemon Lily. Being someone who usually needs coffee in the morning to get started, I’m trying to reduce coffee and get by with tea instead, so this seemed like a great compromise to bridge the gap, being part coffee and part tea. What I do like even more about this tea is that its blended right here in Toronto, and is 100% organic.

According to the website this blend is made of puer tea, coffee beans, palm sugar, and caramel flavour.

With such strong flavours in this blend, it seemed that chocolate would be the perfect pairing for this blend. I had a limited edition Kit Kat with a mix of white and milk chocolate which fit the bill nicely.

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The puer carries the typical leather / animal notes when brewed, while the coffee beans add notes of berries to the mix. Also detectable are molasses, which makes sense with the caramel flavour.

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I do find the strong flavour of the puer a bit too much, so pairing this with a snack helps neutralize that a bit. In fact, I think because its strong, brewing this in something more hearty, like steamed milk, to make a latte might work quite well!

I did find it a bit difficult to scoop out the blend evenly, because the tea leaves were so light they would float to the top, as would the coffee beans, while the sugar, being heavier, tended to sit at the bottom of the bag. It might work better for the sugar to be packaged separately from the tea/coffee, which also would make it convenient for those who may be watching their sugar intake.

Note that if you like to resteep your tea, this blend may require adding some sugar in the subsequent infusions, since the first infusion would likely have used up the sugar. My solution? I grab a brown sugar pack from my work cafeteria, or add honey :)