Sip on these winter cupfuls and you’ll radiate warmth - perfect right now. A warming and soothing spiced almond milk - great if you I feel a little under the weather, and a deliciously quirky take on a festive favourite. Enjoy, and of course let me know how you get on.
Masala Chai Tea
Chai is the generic word for tea in Hindi. Masala chai is tea cooked in milk and spices and is aromatic and a little spicy and warming.
- 2 cups milk (almond, oat or cows - whatever is your preference)
- 2 cups water
- 4 teaspoons loose black tea (you can take them from a tea bag)
- 4 teaspoons sugar or agave syrup (or to taste)
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 5 green cardamom pods
- 10 black peppercorns (or less if you are afraid!)
- 1 ground cinnamon stick
- 2 ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
(feel free to mix and match the spices to your taste, or to what you have in the cupboard! Some people like to add nutmeg or fennel seeds - its totally your choice)
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, mix the milk and water and set to heat on the stove.
- In a mortar and pestle, pound the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and peppercorns until you get a coarse powder with pieces of husk in it.
- Add to the milk and water and bring to a boil. Lower heat.
- Add the tea and simmer until the whiteness of the milk is replaced by a light brown. Continue to simmer until the strength of the tea is to your taste.
- Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and ginger. Strain into a pre-warmed teapot or into cups.
Vanilla and lime mulled wine
This is as delicious as it is offbeat. You make a quick syrup infusion to ensure you get as much flavour as possible out of the spices and aromatics, then add the rest of the wine and warm through so that all the alcohol doesn’t boil away.
Makes 10 glasses
100g light brown sugar or maple syrup
6 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
3 fresh bay leaves, crushed in hands
2 star anise
1 whole nutmeg
2 vanilla pods
2 bottles good full-bodied red wine
1 Strip the zest from the clementines and limes, using a potato peeler to produce large pieces.
2 Juice the fruit.
3 Put the sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat, then add the pieces of peel and the fruit juice.
4 Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, star anise and about 10 gratings of nutmeg. Halve the vanilla pod lengthways and add to the pan, then stir in just enough red wine to cover the sugar.
5 Let this simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved into the red wine, then bring to the boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes to allow the heat to bring out the flavours.
6 Turn the heat down to low and add the rest of the wine. Gently heat without boiling, then cover and leave to sit for about 30 minutes. When you are ready to serve, warm the mulled wine again without boiling and ladle it into heatproof glasses.
Recipe by Anna Jones.