Oh its been mighty stormy recently in the UK. The type of storm that wakes you up in the middle of the night and your mind begins to play tricks and convinces you that the house will take off torpedo style like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz . Since I’m living in England and not Kansas or along a typical hurricane belt, I normally manage to get back to sleep in the knowledge that the wind will pass and we won’t be reliving the 1987 hurricane.
For the last few days however, the winds and rains have been battering our doors and keeping us cooped up inside. So when they gave us a little respite and a clear sky was visible we grabbed our wellies and headed out to face the cold wind on a country walk and to stretch our legs. We are spending a few days out of London so a walk in the fields with the pheasants and sheep was overdue.
After a bracing walk we returned to the warmth of the house and drank Indian spiced tea from elegant antique bone china cups, as you do.
In Kolkata, where Mr B is originally from, they often serve it in delicate little clay mugs, like this, at the side of the road from chai wallahs. They are often made from river clay that is then baked in an open fire. After use you literally discard your clay mug and it dissolves back into the earth. Environmentally friendly and far more hygienic than having a glass washed rapidly in unsanitised water at the edge of the road.
The drink is sweet, creamy and fragrant with ginger, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon all vying for attention. It’s the perfect drink to transport us to warmer climates and exotic locations. Try it and let me know. If you prefer a stronger tea then add one more tea bag and a little less milk and more water.
Please note that I have not added the water in this photo and you will need more milk than what is shown, the jug was too irresistible not to photograph.
Indian Spiced Tea
600ml full fat milk
600ml cold water
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground ginger
1tsp ground cardamom (this works out to be approximately 5 cardamom pods)
1/2 (half) tsp ground cloves
3 tea bags (black tea such as PG)
6 cinnamon sticks, for serving
Please note that I have used ground spices, however, if you do not have these to hand or do not have a spice grinder you can use fresh ingredients and then simply strain the liquid after the tea has infused and before serving.
1. In a saucepan add the water, all the spices (except the cinnamon sticks which are for serving) and the tea bags. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 5 minutes before adding the milk and sugar and then simmering for a further 10 minutes.
2. Let the spices and tea continue to infuse off the heat. You can leave them in the pan to cool. All this can be prepared in advance a few hours before drinking.
3. When ready to serve reheat the tea, removing the tea bags and simmering gently for 5 minutes. Serve immediately and place a cinnamon stick in each mug/glass. This is done more for effect than a major flavour enhancer so do not worry if you do not have any to hand.
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