Matcha muffins

When-life-gives-you3

I agree it’s not as catchy as the lemons and lemonade but I’m trying to make the best of a bad situation here (i.e. 100g of bad matcha). These muffins are easy to make and taste great but they are not the bright green I was hoping for. To fit the part for this weekend I’ll try making them again with maybe 3 tbsp of matcha.

This recipe is adapted from a breakfast muffin recipe that a friend gave me but these muffins could not be considered healthy. To gain the benefits of matcha it probably needs to be taken withouth sugar and white flour. ;-)

Matcha muffins:

  • 2 eggsmatcha muffins
  • 100g sugar
  • 100ml rapeseed oil
  • 200ml plain low-fat yoghurt
  • 220g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp matcha
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 100g chopped hazelnut

Whisk eggs, sugar and oil together in a bowl. Then add the yoghurt.

Sift flour, salt, matcha and ginger together and stir into egg mixture.

Add hazelnuts and then spoon into muffin cases.

Bake for 20 minutes at 175°C.

Masala Chai

Spices for Masala ChaiMasala Chai is spiced and sweetened milk tea. It is mostly associated with India but until the 1900s the spicy mix generally did not contain black tea. In India it is available at every market all year round but for me Chai is a seasonal drink that starts in late October and continues through winter. Its spicy malty heat is perfect for cold winter days.
There are several ways to brew chai – milk only, milk and water, ground spices, whole spices etc. The list of spices varies greatly but black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves seem to always form the foundation. Below is the recipe that I use with some of the health benefits of the spices. This is customised to my own preference for spiciness/sweetness – experimentation is needed to make your own version of Masala Chai.

Masala Chai

  • ½ cinnamon stick [warms the body and enhances digestion, especially the metabolism of fats]
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 7 whole cardamom pods bruised with pestle and mortar [stimulates digestion]
  • 7 whole cloves [antiseptic and anti-parasitic properties and digestive aid]
  • 7 thin slices of fresh ginger [colon cleansing, stimulates circulation, protects the liver and stomach]
  • 10 black peppercorns, ground
  • ½ tsp. grated nutmeg
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp. honey [natural antiseptic, promotes energy and healing]
  • 1 tbsp. assam (or other strong black tea)
  • 1 cup low-fat milk

Put spices and water into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for a further 5-10 minutes. Add honey and return to the heat again to bring to a boil.

Add tea leaves, remove from heat and set aside for 3 to 5 minutes. Strain through a sieve and then add milk. Heat the full mixture over low heat then serve immediately and enjoy!

Tea Brack

I didn’t drink tea when I was young but my first dabbling with the beverage was at the age of twelve and involved soaking sultanas in cold black tea for several hours to make a tea brack. I was a bit of a one-trick pony when it came to baking: every Saturday for several years I made this brack. It never occurred to me to make something different. Why would I? Everyone loved it, it was easy to make and several hundred bracks later, I had fine-tuned that recipe to perfection. I can’t find the worn out sheet of paper that has that magic formula but the recipe below works well and makes a moist, fruity loaf that suits the windy autumn days we’ve been having.

 

Tea Brack Recipe (loosely adapted from Odlums recipe for tea brack)

teapot and brackIngredients:

250ml strong black tea (cold)

10ml Irish whiskey (optional)

400g sultanas

150g light brown castor sugar

30g butter (melted)

1 egg (lightly beaten)

275g self-raising flour

 

 

The tea should be a solid black tea like an Assam or a Kenyan (none of those delicate Darjeelings) and needs to be strong, strong, strong. As a one-time exemption, ignore everything I’ve ever said about not over-steeping tea ;-).

Place sultanas in bowl and cover with the cold black tea (and whiskey, if using). Leave for at least four hours and preferably overnight.

After soaking, preheat the oven to 175°C/347°F/Gas 5.

Add the sugar and egg and melted butter.

Sieve the flour into fruit mixture and combine.

Grease a loaf tin with butter and place the raw cake batter in the tin. Flatten the top with the back of spoon and bake in the pre-heated oven for 75 minutes or until cooked through (when knife or skewer is inserted into the centre of the cake and comes out clean).

 

Brack SlicesMy teenage self would probably call this a very rough attempt at a tea brack but it’s not bad at all. I’ll re-post in a couple of years when I’m finished fine-tuning!!