Therapeutic Tea – A very special tea for reviving tired bones

What would cheer you up after a long and tiring day?  A cup of tea of course!  A ‘cuppa’, as the British refer to it with such fondness, is indeed a form of therapy.

My favourite PG Tips!

Well, what I am presenting here is not the traditional British ‘cuppa’ but more related to the Indian style of brewing tea. This is a sweet, milky version of tea with a subtle blend of spices; cloves, cinnamon and cardamoms that could be the ultimate choice as a comforting beverage to revive your tired bones, rather a therapy to relax you mentally and physically.

While sipping this tea, you will enjoy the unmistakable aroma of spices and adding a slice or two of ginger into the pan will offer the warmth you desire most.

I use PG Tips tea bags to make this tea as they have been my favourite for the past 20 years. I was very pleased to hear the wonderful news that PG Tips have made their tea bags biodegradable to support the environment. Hats off to their very timely, environmental friendly move.😊

So, let’s try this wonderful cup of tea with a couple of tea biscuits and feel the real magic!

For two teas you will need :

PG Tips teabags2
Fresh milk2 cups
Water1 cup
A stick of cinnamon
Cardamom pods2 crushed
A few slices of ginger
Brown sugar4 tsp (2tsp for each cup)

Let’s brew it :

  • Pour the cup of water into a pan and boil
  • Drop the tea bags, cardamom pods, cinnamon, cloves and ginger slices
  • Boil for several minutes until the tea is brewed properly
  • Add the two cups of milk
  • Add sugar
  • Boil until milk comes up to the brim of the pan
  • Immediately, lower the flame and let it brew for about 3-5 mins
  • Strain directly into cups and serve with tea biscuits
  • Enjoy!

Oven Temperature Conversion

gas mark temperature conversion chart

Since the temperature dial of an oven has not become completely universal yet, it is often a challenge to get an idea of it, when people talk about in terms of the gas mark, Celsius or Fahrenheit. In order to deal with this seemingly-trivial issue, I am going to give provide you with a programme to do the conversion easily. In addition, you can even download the image in .pdf form for further reference, especially when you are not online. You can download the above image free of charge by clicking on the button below:

Download

Convert Oven Temperatures

Temperature Converting Programme

Housewives, occasionally, have to deal with trivial tasks like converting the
temperatures from one scale to another – Celsius to Fahrenheit or vice versa. The following programme helps you do it in a split second, without compelling you to go through cumbersome mathematical calculations.

You just have to type in the temperature to be converted in the relevant box; the answer automatically appears in the other. Isn’t that cool?

Type in the temperature inside a box:

degrees Celsius

  equals
degrees Fahrenheit

Mint tea

Mint tea – for digestion and restful sleep

mint tea

Mint has been long known as an excellent herbal remedy for numerous health issues: easing queasy stomachs, calming stress and anxiety, and promoting restful sleep.

Peppermint tea has all the magical properties to ease an upset stomach, calming the digestive tract and alleviating indigestion, gas, and cramps. The best news is that making a peppermint tea is so easy; you just need to add boiling water to mint leaves and wait for 5mins and sip it slowly to feel the difference!

 Its rapid reaction in soothing the stomach in the event of food indigestion or inflammation is amazing!  After a heavy meal at night, drinking a cup of mint tea will give you instant relief in stomach and undisturbed sleep.

Mint tea

  • Take 5 fresh mint leaves on your hand and clap with the other hand to bruise them a bit and drop into a tall glass or a mug
  • Add boiling water and cover with a lid. Keep for 5mins for it to brew. The water will turn pale yellowish-green!
  • Sip slowly!

For a sweeter version

  • Leave for 8-10min or until the water is cool enough and add a teaspoon of honey and stir well. This is because honey should never be added when water is hot.
  • Sip slowly and feel the difference!
mint

Roasted curry powder recipe

cuyyr powder

There is no better way to spice up your dishes than adding your home-made curry powder to your cooking; on one hand, you know for sure what goes in it; on the other hand, it will measurably enhance the taste, appearance and aroma of the dishes that you love to make.

Once, experienced the obvious difference, you will never go for the ready-made packets in stores. The good news is that it will only take about half-an-hour for the whole process of making it and you only have to be careful not to let the spices burn up while roasting them in the pan.

You need the following whole spices : 

Coriander whole2 cups
Cumin whole1 & 1/2 cups
Cloves1 tbsp
Cardamoms1 tbsp
Dried red chili whole6
Black pepper whole1 tsp
Cinnamon quills4 broken into small pieces
Raw rice1 tbsp
Curry leaves and Pandan leavesA handful each

Let’s make it;

  • Heat up a wide pan on medium flame and add coriander; slowly, dry roast while constantly running a wooden spoon through.  When the colour changes into darkest brown, immediately empty it to a foil sheet.
  • Now add the cumin seeds and roast until its colour also changed into darkest brown.  Empty it to the same sheet on top of coriander and let them cool down.
  • Finally, add the rest of the spices and roast them, while tossing and turning them continuously.  Add them to coriander and cumin.  Now that the spices are roasted, let’s grind them up.

Set your grinder to full speed (A coffee grinder is perfect for the job)

  • Add a handful of roasted spices and grind until smooth, empty on to a sheet of paper and then slowly fill into an airtight spice container
  • Continue this process, taking short intervals, as over-heating could damage your grinder
  • Tightly close and store away your spice container until needed

Cake tips, Equipment and Techniques

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cupcake cases- silicon

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cup cake traycake tin

  • Use the right equipment : To cream up the cake batter, use an electric hand mixer for best results.  Traditionally, a wooden spoon was used, but now, this machine does a quicker and easier job.
  • Measure ingredients accurately :  For a beautiful cake, all ingredients should be measured with 100% accuracy as specified in the recipe.  The best equipment to facilitate this particular need is a digital scale rather than a normal kitchen scale.  For a volume of 1Kg cake, for instance,  you need, 250 g butter, 250 g sugar, 250 g Self-raising flour and 4 eggs.
  • Use the best ingredients :  Using good brands for your cake is very important for the best results.  The brands that I have been using for the past 15 years are shown above.  All ingredients should be kept at room temperature, before making the cake batter.
  • Mixing the cake : Make sure you beat the batter, clockwise with your electric hand mixer in order to get the right consistency – never side to side or counter clockwise.  Mixing will take for about 3 – 5 mins at high speed.
  • Eggs :   Make sure you use Class A medium eggs that are kept at room temperature.  Take out from the fridge 1/2 hour early or if you are in a hurry, drop them in a bowl filled with lukewarm water for 10 mins. 
  • Butter : I personally do not prefer using butter, as the cake goes stiff after  a few hours in cold climates.  Before using, however, you need to soften up the butter, which gives you an extra task to attend to.  There are very good spreads available in supermarkets, especially made for baking purposes, which are naturally creamy and stay creamy in the fridge too. I use Stork, especially for cakes tub, which has never let me down; it rather helped me bake such glorious cakes.
  • Sieve the flour :  Use self-raising flour for cakes, unless suggested otherwise in the recipe. For some cakes, a blend of both self-raising and plain flour are used.   Swift the flour and baking powder together,  holding the sieve, well above the cake batter.  This will allow the air to escape from the flour, giving a very light, soft texture to your cake.  Make sure you use a wooden spoon to co-ordinate flour and batter together, never the electric hand mixer.  Lightly, fold flour bringing from the sides and dropping to the middle and going around gently until all comes together as soft batter.
  • Sugars :  Use Caster sugar, which is  ideal for cakes.  The mixing time will take up to 1-2 mins for caster sugar as it dissolves very  quickly.  However,  you can use granulated sugar, which gives the same results.   The only difference is that you have to extend the mixing time up to 3-4 mins, up until the sugar granules breaks down and dissolves.
  • Baking powder :  Baking powder is a key ingredient,  as it helps the cakes to rise.  Use a good brand and never use too much.  Excessive baking powder will make the cake taste bitter, leave a sunken cake and a wrinkled  surface.
  • Baking tray :   Choose the right size for your cake.  If you have a large tray, you can divide it by using a thick strip of a cardboard to fit for a smaller quantity of batter.  Remember, never to fill the trays to the brim as the cake doubles it’s volume while rising.  So, fill the tray – 2/3  or half.  ( 8″ x 10″ Oblong tray for 1 Kg cake). For cupcakes, use cupcake trays to place the cupcake cases filled with batter so that they do not spill out and stay intact.  Silicon cupcake cases are great for handling and they could be re-used after a quick wash with warm water.
  • Lining the tray : Use parchment paper to line up the tray.  Do not worry if you have run out of parchment paper; you can use  white blank sheet papers, cut into the shape of the tray and brush butter all over,  dust the surfaces with flour and shake off the excess.  
  • Vanilla essence : Use a good brand of natural vanilla essence.
  • Lemon juice      : Dropping just 1tbsp of lemon juice to your cake batter will make a big difference.  It will give a very pleasant aroma  as well as taking the taste to the highest limits.
  • Salt :  Most of the modern recipes do not include salt in theirs.  Yet, salt used as a vital ingredient for baking since Victorian times.  Just a pinch or two salt will help blending the flavours and heightening the taste.
  • Oven : Set the oven to 180 C , 20 mins before you pop the cake in.  Depending on your oven, the self that you place the cake on differs.  It should be either in the middle self or the bottom.  It’s very important to be in tune with your oven. Bake a few small cakes and check the exact place which bakes your cake to perfection.  Do not open the door of the oven in the first 10 mins of baking as it will drop the cake in the middle.  Baking time varies according to the set ups in ovens.  Normal baking time is 15 – 25 mins.
  • Wooden skewers :  Use a thin wooden skewer to insert in the middle of the cake after 15 mins of baking time.  If the skewer comes clean, your cake is ready!!!! If the skewer is damped with a few bits of batter, shut the door and bake for another 5 mins.
  • Cooling :  Leave the cake in the tray for 5 mins to cool off.  If you try to take it out, the cake can break in several places.  Slowly pull from the sides of the parchment paper and take the cake gently out to leave it to rest on a cooling rack for about 10 mins.
  • Cutting the cake :  Dip the knife in hot water, wipe clean before cutting the cake to prevent it from crumbling.
  • Serve the cake  :  Now, serve your cake with a big SMILE !!!     Store the left overs in an air tight container.  When serving next day, microwave the cake pieces on a plate just for 5 seconds and everyone will think  that they came straight from the oven – so soft, nice and warm!!

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