Even though I’m enamoured of tea in all its guises, I’ve never been one of those crazy-strict tea types, obsessed with tea etiquette and a list of ‘should and shouldn’ts’, so this isn’t that! But it is a chance for me to share a few ideas as to how you can make the most of good tea daily, both in and beyond the teapot.
More tea can only be a good thing!
1. While there’s lots of detailed information about brewing times and temperatures, 1st and 2nd infusions, pre-heating cups and teapots etc, I think the biggest impact on whether you are going to enjoy your tea or not, can be simplified to this - if you are having any other tea besides green tea, you can use water that has just been boiled, all other teas, bar green, are very forgiving - if you are having green tea, wait for the water temperature to drop down to 90°C before you brew your tea. If you boil the kettle and then spend 5 minutes choosing your favourite cup, getting a little tea snack, or patting the dog, that should be the perfect temperature for green tea.
2. If you like Earl Grey or any other tea that uses highly aromatic essential oils, the flavour will be more amazing if you store your tea in an airtight glass jar.
3. If you love Matcha tea, keep the powder in the fridge!
5. Whenever a recipe asks to hydrate dried fruit, try using tea, it adds a subtle but delicious undertone.
6. Tea makes ice cream or sorbet feel a little bit fancier - I love coming up with new flavours based on tea. How about Earl Grey and Blood Orange Sorbet, Peppermint and Matcha, or Chamomile and Coconut Ice Cream? So good.
7. Tea works beautifully in jam making too, just swap out the water component with your favourite tea.
Try making your own tea-style jam with Cherie's Apricot, chamomile and vanilla bean version.
8. I love making my porridge with tea - not all teas work in this case, anything too herby doesn’t quite fit the bill, but strongly brewed Breakfast Tea works a treat.
9. Tea is a fantastic ingredient for mixing drinks; either non-alcoholic or for cocktails. At the simplest end of the scale, you can add sparkling water and a squeeze of fresh citrus to any brewed and cooled tea, or if you want to really get fancy, you can make a reduced syrup from tea and add to your favourite cocktail. We have a local brewer that has even made a stout beer based on our breakfast tea!
10. Always have tea exactly how you like it - there’s no right or wrong when tea is at the table in my books, but especially when you can allow the time to enjoy the ritual that tea drinking is, it can be a day changer. Here in the Barossa, I’ve always loved the country response of ‘let’s put the kettle on’, regardless of what the situation may be.
Cherie Hausler hand-blends her Scullery Made tea range in her 160-year-old farmhouse in South Australia’s Barossa Valley. Scullery Made has recently released two new Matcha teas: Good & Green Matcha and Golden Milk Matcha.
Using matcha is a departure from the traditional way of making this uber-simple Japanese dish - generally, tea brewed using regular green tea leaves is used. It's a flexible kind of comfort food, so toppings can chop and change depending on your tastes. Use slices of raw salmon instead of the omelette, or chunks of cooked fish. Scatter over some sliced green onion, toasted sesame seeds or torn bits of nori instead of the seasoned, pre-cut version.
Although green tea ice cream is now found all over Japan and in Japanese restaurants abroad, it only really became popular in the 1990s. It’s simple to make at home.
Delicate and earthy, handmade soba noodles are quick to prepare and an entirely different eating experience to the commercially produced variety. The earthiness is balanced out in this recipe with the addition of fresh cucumber, zingy pickled ginger, and other Japanese ingredients, such as tobiko and shiso.