It’s My Own Recipe

Creme Brûlée

When I have the energy, I really enjoy cooking. I find it so much fun to get in the kitchen and create something delicious. When I was 7 years old, I insisted I was capable of making pancakes. It turns out I was. I have never looked back.

I also enjoy reading cookbooks for leisure. I have a cookbook full of French desserts that I have never made and that I refuse to part with, mostly because I think it’s a good read. This is the primary way I have ingested the theory of cooking, and in doing so, have become confident in my ability to create a meal from scratch without any instructions.

One of my favourite creations is Creme Bru-Lamb. It’s a layered dish serve in a ramekin with mint yogurt cucumbers, tender diced lamb, creamy garlic blue cheese sauce, topped with fried Turkish bread. It is a decadent masterpiece, if I do say so myself.

Another delicious treat is T2’s Creme Brûlée. This is a black tea with a sweet streak. Hints of caramel, honey and nut dance around the cup with a mild smokey and woody backdrop. It is a superb afternoon tea for when you want something sweet without committing to cake. It screams dessert, but drinking black tea after dinner is not really great for your health (but hey, I’m not your mum, do what you want). Be warned, it’s easy to over brew.

Creme Brûlée: 4/5
Enjoy with: a good (cook)book.

The White Witch

White Rose

I love reading. And as much as I love reading, I love books. The idea of an e-reader is appealing in that I wouldn’t have to store books, but the thought of not turning pages, not having the physical book in my hand, it makes me sad. I like books.

Non-fiction is normally more my wheel house, especially travel, and memoirs, and travel memoirs. I have been embracing more fiction of late, but I find myself drawn to children’s fiction. I’m currently reading Treasure Island, for the first time. It’s a good yarn, and worth a read if you haven’t already.

My favourite series are all children’s novels. Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons books have a special place in my heart. I also love Elizabeth Honey novels, and finished the Harry Potter series for the first time this year (so now I’m a fan). But I’m fairly confident that my favourite books are the Chronicles of Narnia. Long before I was old enough to read them, I was staring, round eyed at the BBC adaptation of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, completely captivated by Narnia. No one was more formidable than the White Witch, and no one more majestic than Aslan. I was also a younger sibling that got picked on a bit, so Lucy was my home girl.

I never understood Edmund from the tv series. Why would he be so keen to betray his siblings, especially to someone he had only just met? Once I read the books, a little more texture is added to Edmund’s character and I understand his motivation more now. The most perplexing thing was, when I had Turkish Delight the first time, I hated it. I simply could not imagine that turning over my siblings in exchange for a box of the stuff was a fair trade. Just a few years ago, I went to Turkey and had fresh, handmade Turkish Delight for the first time. It was simply divine, but still not quite sell your soul worthy.

All this brings me to T2’s White Rose. With a long brew time, this cup tastes like the distilled essence of Turkish Delight, somehow made better by not having any sugar in it. It emits a heavenly, heady floral scent, with a minor sharpness of white tea behind it. Sipping the white liqueur and having the fragrant rose swell over your tastebuds, you realise, this is worth betraying your siblings into the hands of an evil witch for.

White Rose is one of T2’s more expensive orange boxes. It is to be bought sparingly and savoured lovingly. Morning or afternoon, and even post dinner, this tea suits any time of the day that you have a minute to be mindful and concentrate on every sip.

White Rose: 5/5

Enjoy with: a good book.

Book Cover Judgement

Creamy Choc Chai

9 times out of 10 when I hear the phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” it refers to believing there’s more in the substance than on the surface. It is nearly always an encouragement to dig past appearances for enjoyment. Rarely, so very rarely, is the expression used in the opposite manner. That is, I hardly ever hear, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” to warn me against something that looks good, but in actual fact, isn’t.

Furthermore, I find this an infuriating idiom. If I don’t know anything about a book, the first thing I look at is the title. Then I turn the book over and read the blurb on the back. Then I decide if I want to open the book or not. This is the way books are designed to be sold. You are, in every respect, supposed to judge a book by its cover. Also, tacky romance novels have immediate cover art tells. I don’t like these books. So I avoid them, based on the information the cover conveys. I ALWAYS judge a book by its cover.

I expect this expression held more weight at a time before cover art and marketing blurbs were common. Maybe books that were soft cover with just a printed title were considered less worthy of reading, I’m not sure. But it’s useless now. Publishers realised that no matter how often people bandied about the saying, there was no stopping people stopping at the cover. But now, I don’t know how many well-marketed books I have begun and abandoned because the cover drew me in, but the text couldn’t keep me.

Basically, we need to start using this phrase to warn people off things that look good, but actually suck.

Take Creamy Choc Chai. Doesn’t it sound delightful? Doesn’t it sound like the kind of thing you’d brew in a stoneware pot and pour cup after cup on a cosy day while snuggled up in a blanket? When you read the list of ingredients it is undoubtedly tantalising, begging to be your next brew. Once brewed, the creamy, chocolate smell fills the air followed by sharp chai spices, most notably cardamon. And then you drew in your first mouthful.

And it’s the worst. This one could be renamed, ‘Uhh, dishwater, I guess?’ and it would give a better impression of what’s to come. There is an underwhelming chocolate flavour, like you’re licking the inside of a chocolate bar wrapper and getting a few tiny shards, but mostly you’re just licking a plastic wrapper. It’s not even a little bit creamy. And put on your detective hat if you want to go looking for those chai spices.

This tea is accompanied by a wildly ambiguous brew time suggestion of 3 to 6 minutes. Which is wrong, by the way. No brew time makes this a good cup.

But here is the most important thing to note: this tea is a green base. I don’t know of any other chai that is not black or herbal, for good reason. It just isn’t meant to be any other way. And, THIS MY FRIENDS, is one of the offending green teas that has taught me to be wary of all green tea forever after! Shame on you, Creamy Choc Chai, promising the world and delivering naught.

Creamy Choc Chai: 0/5

Enjoy with: Severe judgement.