Through the porthole - Orange Hibiscus tea

Here is this week's infusion, made using my porthole.


In it is a Orange Hibiscus tea.  I used hibiscus flowers, rose hips, lemongrass, dried oranges, mint, rose petals and three whole stevia leaves.


Its a lovely combination and the whole stevia leaves didn't make it taste really sweet. I actually only put them in as I wanted a large green leaf so looked on my herb patch - and there was my stevia!


The tea is a lovely peachy color - a good blend of the red from the hibiscus and the orange.


I set it on the table yesterday ready for when a class sat to ate their cooking, and they were most intrigued by it and thought how pretty it looked with the sun shining on it.


Any suggestions of what I should try next to infuse in it next week?

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Vegan gluten free scone recipe



In my book club this month, the chosen book was Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. I'd never read any Daphne Du Maurier books before but really got into Rebecca and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The person hosting our discussion decided, true to the book, that she would put on an English tea with scones - as Mr and Mrs de Winter had every day at Manderley, in the book.


As I need gluten free food and don't eat animal foods or sugar, I offered to make my own scone - rather than have her make something special for me. I've actually never made gluten free scones before, never mind vegan gluten free scones, so it seemed like a good challenge.

And I've had some success.  I did actually use a little fat in the recipe. Normally I bake without oil but I was changing so many things in a recipe that I left in the fat.

The scones have a wonderful texture to them and taste just like a good scone should.



They didn't rise in the oven however and didn't brown on top as you would expect from a traditional scone but I rolled them thick so they didn't look flat - and the taste more than made up for lack of browning.

I had them with homemade sugar free plum chia jam.  Delicious.

Here's the recipe: Makes 6
150 ml non dairy milk (I used almond milk)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
270g gluten free flour mix
2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp vegan margarine (I used earth balance)
25g raisins
1 tbsp coconut palm sugar

1. Pre-heat the oven to 425F or 220C.  Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
2. Add the vinegar to the milk and let sit.
3. Sieve the flour into a bowl and stir in the baking powder.
4. Rub in the margarine with your fingers until fully incorporated.
5. Stir in the sugar and raisins.
6. Add nearly all the milk solution and bring the mixture together with your hands to form a soft dough. Don't over work.
7. If necessary add the remaining milk to bind it all together.
8. Roll out gently on a floured board to a thickness of about 1 inch.
9. Cut out the dough with a pastry cutter and place the scones on the baking tray.
10. Reroll the dough scraps as needed to use it all up.
11. Bake the scones for around 20 minutes.
12. Leave to cool and enjoy with sugar free jam and coconut cream, if desired.



They are best eaten the same day that you make them. I will be trying the recipe again, without the fat and will let you know how I get on. I think I'll do savory scones next too.....with some nutritional yeast in them to give a cheesy flavor.

I hope Mrs de Winters would be satisfied and wouldn't return them to the kitchen!  I think she'd enjoy them, like I have!
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Keeping hydrated


I've never been one to drink much water.  Didn't used to drink anything else either, no sodas, no tea, one mug of coffee in the morning..that's about it.

I'd try now and again to always carry water with me, but it only ever lasted a few weeks or so.

But now, I seem to have cracked it! My new habit has lasted a few months so I think I'm on to a winner.


It started after I saw this short video from nutrition facts.org



The video looks at a study of the anti-oxidant levels of 283 different beverages.  Imagine there even being 283 different drinks!  Anyhow the drink with the highest anti-oxidant level, by quite a margin, is hibiscus tea.  A tea made from the hibiscus flower.


So now, every morning, I make a large container (60 fl oz) of hibiscus tea using 4 tea bags, a lemon and hot or cold water. No sweetener.

I leave it in the kitchen and it is a pretty reminder for me to drink it up throughout the day.  Sometimes I forget to make it in the morning, but then I remember later on and catch up!  I don't take the tea bags out, just leave them in all day.  Now it's winter, I tend to start it with hot water and then by the evening, am drinking it room temperature.  I know most Americans prefer cold drink with and ice - but remember, I'm a Brit! Room temperature is good!!!

So now I get at least 60 fl oz every day of water plus a wonderful dose of anti-oxidants.


One of the key parts of why it works for me is that it is attractive! The lovely color of the hibiscus catches my eye. It's pretty.  When I ran out of hibiscus and tried it with white pomegranate tea, I just didn't feel like drinking it.  These are the two brands I tend to use.


So if you struggle with drinking enough fluids throughout the day, try using a large container that will hold a days worth - about 60 fl oz, and fill it with something that is attractive to you and healthy.  You can swap out one of the hibiscus tea bags and add a ginger or chamomile one instead or......

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