In Search of the Perfect Taco – California – part 1

img_2857fish taco from Mercado &Taqueria De Amigos, Pascadero

On a recent road trip to California a really old article from The New York Times, caught my attention. In short, the author, Cindy Price, went on a taco trawl from San Francisco to Los Angeles sampling the tacos on offer. This appealed to me on many levels. Whilst the article was old, I absorbed the information and decided that if we happened to be near any of the places she recommended we’d check them out – if they were still in business that is.

The first place we just ‘happened’ to be driving past was a stones throw from the legendary Highway 1. We’d spent the morning exploring the beaches of Bean Hollow State Park and Pebble Beach, admiring the wild surf and trying in vain to spot a whale along the shoreline. There was a chill in the air and we were eager for some Mexican food to warm us up. California really does have many micro-climates and you only need to go a little inland and the chill from the coast dissipates.  Pescadero is a charming town so small that if you blink you’ll have passed it. There is a county store, a tea shop, a church, a bar and a couple of furniture shops and not much else. On the corner of the ‘main’ street is a garage with a small stores attached called Mercado & Taqueria De Amigos and it was here where we were assured we would find some good, honest Mexican food, and in particular tacos.


img_2859Seeing local Mexican workers having their lunch at the tiny booths was a good sign. If it’s good enough for them then I knew I was onto a good thing. The setup was small, but the choices on offer definitely made my stomach begin to rumble.


I first opted for the fish tacos, which had been recommended to me, my girls had chicken quesadillas (there were another couple of option boards not in photo above) and Mr B chose a burrito, as he likes something ‘more substantial’ and refried beans. As we made our way to our booth we passed the self service nacho bar accompanied by four red and green zingy and spicy salsas to choose from.


We loaded up with our choices in little paper pots and after a short wait the food arrived.  The fish tacos were hot, freshly cooked and fragrant. I added a splash of salsa and dived in.


There is no way to eat these in an elegant manner. You need to pick them up and disregard the looks of your dining companions as the juices dribble down your chin. Loose yourself in the moment people, seriously this is what eating is all about. If I hadn’t been so restrained I could have eaten them again and again and again, but ceviche tostadas were calling.


The tostadas was crisp and held the ceviche in place until it reached my mouth. The zing from the lime, the creaminess of the avocado, the heat from the chilli and freshness from the fish, made this dish memorable. In fact even writing about it now is making me so hungry. Needless to say we totally loved this taqueria. It’s the type of place that you would typically drive by and never consider as a food destination, had you not been given the wink. It’s between San Francisco and Santa Cruz and is definitely worth stopping at. The portions are big and the food reasonable priced – even with our present exchange rate. Order a little and see how you get on. You can easily order more if you can squeeze in another taco or three.


Combine it with a stop off at Harley Goat Farm, which is a few minutes drive away. Here you will be able to see a herd of about 200 goats and pick up some of their award winning goats cheese. I love the presentation of the cheeses above with their edible flowers and dried fruit. They also have a great selection of bath and body products made locally with their fresh goats milk. They also host lunches and dinners which you can attend, so check out their website for dates as these do get booked up.


After you’ve tasted some cheese and patted some goats head back on Highway 1 and go south to Davenport where, just before entering the town, you will find Swanton Berry Farm. Here you can either go strawberry picking, jam tasting, relax over some tea and cake in their tea shop or simply pick up a jar of their delightful jams. You’ll even be able to pick up a jar of the olallieberrie jam, which I’d not come across before. Apparently olallieberries are a cross between the youngberry and the loganberry.

Before heading back to Portola Valley we couldn’t resist visiting the tasting room of Bonnie Doon, five minutes down the road in Davenport. We’d had their wines back in England and had enjoyed them immensely. The first thing you notice about them is their artistic labels which are painted by a wide range of artists.  Am sure many of my readers may recognise the labels? The friendly staff will guide you through a tasting of some of the wines, giving you an in depth overview of the wines themselves as well as the history and background of the vineyard.

Bean Hollow State Park and Pebble Beach – Highway 1 near to Pascadero (take a jumper even in August)

Mercado & Taqueria De Amigos – Pascadero

Harley Goat Farm – Pascadero

Swanton Berry Farm – just before Davenport

Bonnie Doon Tasting Room  – Davenport (please note this is the tasting room only, not the vineyard itself)

Spiced Tamarind Drink and ‘Summers Under the Tamarind Tree’ Book Review


I love nothing more than browsing through cookbooks on a Sunday afternoon (actually in truth it doesn’t have to be a Sunday), cup of tea in hand, gleaning inspiration and ideas and planning feasts that I will then cook for loved ones. Cookbooks that take me to foreign shores, where the recipes sound enticing, exotic and evocative are my favourite.  Photographs are also key as they help to set the stage for the reader.

summers under packshot cropped

Image from Summers Under the Tamarind Tree: Recipes & Memories from Pakistan by Sumayya Usmani, photography by Joanna Yee. Published by Frances Lincoln (£20)

So it was with sheer pleasure that I received a copy of fellow food blogger, ‘Sumayya Usmani’s’ first cookbook, ‘Summers Under The Tamarind Tree – Recipes & Memories From Pakistan’. The first thing you notice is the beautiful, understated and yet elegant cover for the book. The tamarind tree is in the middle with Pakistani style art surrounding it. The green, similar to the Pakistan flag, really complements the golden ornate artwork. Before even opening the pages you know you are in for a treat.

Pakistani cuisine has never really been given it’s own voice here in the UK, so it was with this notion in mind that Sumayya set out detailing some recipes from her very own Pakistani heritage to share with a wider audience. She begins by giving the reader a brief overview of Pakistan both geographically and historically. Understanding it’s DNA helps the reader begin to understand the sheer breath of influences that make up Pakistani cuisine. The next few pages are filled with charming black and white, sepia and colour photographs of her growing up with her relatives in Pakistan and we learn about the wonderful food experiences that were etched upon her memory.

p85-SUTTT-Chapli Kebab-(c) Joanna Yee

Image from Summers Under the Tamarind Tree: Recipes & Memories from Pakistan by Sumayya Usmani, photography by Joanna Yee. Published by Frances Lincoln (£20)

The next chapter talks about cooking methods -‘Pakistani techniques explained’, which I found really useful and interesting to read. I love the sound of ‘dhuni (smoking)’ by infusing meat or vegetables with coal smoke. I also like the fact that there were some photographs accompanying some of the techniques. Before embarking on the recipes themselves Sumayya gives ‘A note on Spice’, which does not overwhelm the reader with too many spices – 9 spices will be mainly called upon within the book. She then gives us recipes to a number of her family’s masala blends. The chapters are organised along the lines of :

Breaking bread and sharing rice -breads and rice dishes

Meaty markets and weekdays bazaars – beef, lamb and mutton

Birds from the Empress – chicken and other birds

Sailing the seas – seafood and fish

My grandmother’s garden – vegetables, fruit and salad

Homegrown guavas – chutneys and pickles

Under a motia-filled sky – celebration feasts

The sweet taste of mango heaven –  desserts

Chani-pani – hot and cold drinks

p68-SUTTT-Nutty Saffron Rice-(c) Joanna Yee

Images from Summers Under the Tamarind Tree: Recipes & Memories from Pakistan by Sumayya Usmani, photography by Joanna Yee. Published by Frances Lincoln (£20).

It all sounds very tempting indeed. Standout recipes for me are undoubtedly: Hyderabad-style samosas, sweet potato and squash parathas, Baluchi-style chicken sajji, spicy crabs, yoghurt and turmeric soup with curry leaves and egg, slow cooked lamb shank curry, mummy’s festive minty beef kofta curry, mango and chilli pepper, spiced pomegranate sharbat. Anyone who loves spice (not necessarily heat) and flavour will love cooking and eating from this book. There are some refreshingly new recipes that will interest and encourage the reader to try some home-cooking Pakistani style.

p117-SUTTT-Biryani-(c) Joanna Yee

Images from Summers Under the Tamarind Tree: Recipes & Memories from Pakistan by Sumayya Usmani, photography by Joanna Yee. Published by Frances Lincoln (£20).

The recipe that was calling out for me to try and show you today was most probably the seed, from which the whole book grew. Summers under the tamarind tree – Spiced tamarind drink. It is Sumayya’s best memory of the many childhood summers she spent lounging under her tamarind tree. Once the weather heats up here in Blighty I think this drink will really come into it’s own. Move over elderflower cordial, spiced tamarind drink is taking centre stage.


Spiced Tamarind Drink

serves 4

4 tbsp tamarind pulp (from 200g/7oz dried or fresh tamarind)

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp kalanamak (black salt) or 1 tsp chaat masala

500ml/17 fl oz cups hot water

quarter thin slice of lemon

4 mint leaves, finely chopped

  1. Soak the tamarind in a bowl with hot water for 15 minutes. Use your hands to separate the pulp from the stones and then pass the pulp and tamarind water through a sieve. Discard the stones.
  2. Add the brown sugar, black salt or chaat masala (I used this) and then blend in a hand blender and chill in the fridge.
  3. Serve over crushed ice and add a thin slice of lemon and some fresh mint.

The sour notes from the tamarind will harmonise perfectly with the salt and sweetness of the drink. Roll on hot summer days, this drink is a keeper in my books, I hope you agree.



Chai Masala – Hot Spiced Milk


I have a new favourite hot beverage – milky chai masala –  which I urge you all to try when it starts getting really cold, wet and windy.  It may not win prizes for appearance, but what it lacks in looks it makes up for in taste.  It’s the perfect drink when you’ve been out in the cold and need warming up on the inside. It requires a spice or coffee grinder – I use this one and really recommend it – maybe something for your Christmas list if you don’t have one.


I was recently given this recipe from a friend who in turn received it from her Indian neighbour. Like Chinese whispers I have altered  it slightly to suit my tastes but the finished result is equally pleasing. Wafts of black pepper, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg come together to form a warming and comforting hot beverage that is guaranteed to please. Give it a try and let me know what you think by commenting below. I look forward to hearing from you.


Chai Masala


1 tsp sugar (or to taste)

1/2 tsp of chai masala spice mix (see above)


Spice mix

4 inch long cinnamon stick

1 tbsp black pepper

2 tbsp of seeds from green cardamom

1 tsp cloves

1 level tsp ginger powder

1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg


1. Grind the cinnamon stick and black pepper in your spice grinder and then add the green cardamom seeds but not the husks, cloves, ginger powder and freshly grated nutmeg. Blend until all the parts have taken on a powder appearance.

2.  Store in an airtight container.

3. Gently heat the milk until it is boiling hot in a saucepan. When it is hot add half a teaspoon of chai masala spice mix and sugar to taste and continue to heat for another couple of minutes so that the spices infuse. If you think it needs a little more spice then add a little more of the spice mix.

4. Strain into cups immediately. The milky spice taste is so comforting that you won’t be able to resist another cupful.


Mango Lassi


“The choicest fruit of Hindustan for garden pride the mango is sought. Ere ripe, other fruits to cut we ban, but mango serves, ripe or not.” says Amir Khusro in his Persian verse.




This is so true. Mangoes are loved the world over, not least in India where the mango is used to make kulfi (Indian ice-cream), chutney – see my recipe here, or as a sweet mango lassi.

At Boro Amma’s (my husband’s granny) house in Kolkata a mango tree stands bearing sweet fruit outside the kitchen window.  The rustle of the leaves in the gently breeze and the sweet scent of the mangoes is always tempting us. When the fruit is tok (sour) we prepare mango chutney, which is heavenly. As the fruit softens we sip on mango lassi, which cools us in the heat of the day.



This year mangoes imported from India, including the legendary Alphonso mangoes, where banned by the EU after authorities in Brussels found some mangoes infested with fruit flies, which they fear could damage European salad crops. So while it is possible to buy mangoes here in the shops in the UK, we were not able to feast on the lusciously sweet Alphonso, much to the everyone’s chagrin.


Making mango lassi does not necessarily require fresh mangoes however. Tinned mangoes will also work equally well and for this recipe I used tinned. It’s so simple and sweetly delicious I urge you to try it one hot summers day.



Mango Lassi

Makes 4 glasses

2 cans of mango slices in syrup (approximately 230g of mangoes per tin after syrup has been drained) or fresh mangoes

250g natural yoghurt

300g milk

3 tbsp maple syrup, to taste

6 ice cubes

1/4 tsp of ground cardamom

1. After straining the syrup from the mangoes add all the ingredients and blend together in a juicer/blender. If you prefer it thinner in consistency simply add a little extra milk or water.

Serve in glasses on warm summer days.

Prague Adventures and Spiced Mulled Wine


I’ve been on a little jaunt across to Prague since my last post. As is customary around this time of year my family like to spend a few days somewhere really cold where we can wrap up warm (I wore five layers most days), visit the christmas markets, eat lardy food and soak up a bit of culture. Prague hit the spot and besides I have always wanted to return as my last visit was interrupted the whole time by work calls from London. This time I vowed to turn off my phone and all communication with the outside world.


The best way to explore any city is by foot or bike, although across cobble stones the former mode of transport is by far more advisable. So for three full days we walked around the old city across the bridges, through the various squares, visiting the cathedral, churches and palace and taking in some art – both old and new. Our days of walking were interspersed with tasty pit stops. My girls loved to eat these wonderful hot pastry rolls that were dipped in cinnamon sugar.

Whilst Mr B and I enjoyed sipping some festive mulled wine/gluhwein/vin chaud/glogg. Nothing beats drinking mulled wine when the outside temperature is close to zero. It warms you up from the inside out and gives you that renewed energy to keep exploring a little longer in the cold elements.


It’s brilliantly easy to make yourself and is a great winter warmer for the holiday period. Over the Christmas break you can guarantee that I for one will be drinking a glass or two after our Boxing day walk. The warming smell of the cinnamon and cloves bubbling away in the red wine on the stove evokes so many happy memories.  I recommend using the cheapest bottle of red plonk that you can get your hands on – save your Chateaux Margaux for another occasion!


Spiced Mulled Wine

Serves 6 (a couple of glasses each!)

2 bottles of cheap red wine

150g (or 100g if you prefer it less sweet!) caster sugar

1/2 freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tsp cloves

4 cardamom pods

2 sticks of cinnamon split in two

100ml port (optional)

a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

1 tsp allspice

200ml water

orange peel strips to serve

1. In a large pan add the caster sugar and half a pint of red wine and stir until completely dissolved.

2. Add the remaining ingredients aside from the orange peel strips and simmer gently for 45 minutes.

3. Strain the liquid before serving and gently pour the hot spiced mulled wine into individual glasses or mugs and add a orange peel strip to each one.

You can make in advance and then reheat when needed. You can also store in the fridge overnight to be reheated the following day.

Note: If you have some muslin cloth you could add all the spices to this cloth and then simply remove before serving, instead of straining. 



I bid you all a very happy Christmas and will be back with my next post in the New Year. Thank you for always stopping by and supporting me with your comments and likes over the last couple of years. Merry Christmas to you all.

Torie x

Take a sneak peek at a few of the other sights we saw in Prague below.

Spicy Virgin Mary with Rosemary Spiced Walnuts


For as long as I can remember I have adored drinking a Spicy Virgin Mary and time and time again I have been a little disappointed by what some pubs pass off as a Virgin Mary here in the UK. Tomato juice with a little tabasco just really doesn’t pass muster, so it’s not unheard of me asking for the necessary ingredients and making my own. Cheeky I know, but hey! In my old life working as a headhunter in the city I would spend a fair amount of time in hotels around London and other European cities meeting up with candidates who wished to remain incognito. I am not a coffee drinker, other than iced coffee and in particular Vietnamese –  for the recipe click here, and there are only so many cups of teas, water and ginger ales you can drink in a day, so my drink of choice, come the afternoon, would be a Virgin Mary.


The quality of these Virgin Mary cocktails on the whole were excellent, as you would expect from a five * hotel, however, I recall the ones served to me at Browns Hotel, London and The Four Seasons, Canary Wharf – London and Milan were ahead of the pack. They often came accompanied by some little bar snack – nuts, olives or vegetable crisps, which worked so well with the spicy drink.


So alongside my recipe of a Spicy Virgin Mary I have found the perfect munchy, Rosemary Spiced Walnuts, which is easy to prepare and guaranteed to please those you hand the bowl to. In fact I have prepared it so many times since stumbling across it on fellow food blogger ‘Gastrogeek’s‘ site that it will definitely be imprinted on my mind as the snack for 2013.


Spicy Virgin Mary

Makes 1 jug around 6 glasses

1 litre of tomato juice

4 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp tabasco

juice from half a lemon

2 tbsp horseradish

pinch of celery salt (or normal rock salt)

freshly ground black pepper

fresh celery sticks

extra lemon juice for rim of glass

1. Add all the ingredients together and taste. I do like my horseradish so perhaps add one tablespoonful then taste before adding the second.

2. To decorate the glasses first squeeze the extra lemon juice on a saucer and the freshly ground black pepper on another. Place the glasses first on to the saucer with the lemon juice followed by the saucer with the black pepper.

3. Add the Spicy Virgin Mary followed by a stick of celery in each glass and a slice of lemon and some ice.

If you want to ‘bloody’ the drink then just add vodka!



Summer is the season for having friends around for a BBQ and generally chillaxing so I hope you get to try this fab drink/snack combo. What homemade snacks do you like to serve up when friends come over?


Rosemary Spiced Walnuts

Adapted from the lovely Rejina over at Gastrogeek, who in turn sourced it from Lawrence Keogh, Head Chef at the Wolseley

1 tbsp butter if eating immediately OR a splash of olive oil if cooking ahead of munching

150g walnuts

1-2 tsp light brown sugar

4 springs of fresh rosemary, chopped into small pieces

splash of water

1 generous pinch rock salt

pinch of ground black pepper

1/2 tsp chilli powder (or you could try smoked/hot paprika/cayenne powder)

1. Heat the butter/oil in a saucepan and add the walnuts. Cover the walnuts in the butter/oil and keep them gently moving around the pan allowing the natural oils to resonate.

2. After a couple of minutes add the sugar and allow the nuts to begin to caramalise.

3. Add the chilli powder (I also sometimes make these with smoked paprika), fresh rosemary, rock salt and black pepper. Continue to stir and shake the nuts around, making sure that they do not burn.

4. After a couple of minutes pour into a serving bowl and sprinkle some rock salt on top.

Perfect with a Spicy Virgin Mary.


Won over by Vietnamese Iced Coffee


This week has been SPECTACULAR on the weather front. London has been basking in the sunshine and everyone has had a spring in their step. Overcoats and leather boots have been put away (temporarily of course!) and spring/summer clothing have made an appearance. Everyone seems happy, even the flowers in the garden seem relieved that the cold spell may well and truly be behind us.


The weather was so bright and warm that one evening, Big A, Little Z, my ma and sister all sat outside for our Vietnamese starter of fresh Vietnamese spring rolls. I taught the home team how to roll their own rolls and then they made their own, which was a great experience, especially as we were all seated on the lawn out the back of my house. I will do a blog post on making these in due course!


Since my recent trip to Vietnam I have returned home a new women, in the sense that I have found a coffee that I don’t mind sipping, and may well go as far as saying I rather like. Granted it is probably because of the condensed milk, but hey ho, it’s a coffee beverage that I find pleasurable to drink.  I know I am probably in the minority who is not a coffee drinker, but with Vietnamese coffee I make an exception. Whilst it is delicious hot, I decided to make some iced coffee to sip in the warm weather.


I picked up one of these rather handy stainless steel coffee filters in Vietnam, but they are easy and reasonable to source on line here. Whilst they are easy to use and do not take up any space in the cupboard, I did find the filter let some coffee grains through, which didn’t particularly bother me, but if anyone knows a way to stop this I would love to hear. Just leave a comment below.


As for the coffee itself I picked up the variety above from Vietnam  and it smells and tastes divine. Again it is easy to source in the UK or from Europe for that matter from this online site and I am sure there are similar sites in your country of origin too. The coffee comes in varying strengths, but since I am a newby to the coffee scene I went for the weakest.


Creamy and oh so decadent, this iced coffee was perfect for a hot day. Part of the fun is the ritual in preparing it and I especially love the way the coffee initially sits on top of the condescend milk until the point of giving it a good stir.


Vietnamese Iced Coffee

1 cup

1 Vietnamese filter 

1 tbsp of ground Vietnamese coffee (or 2 tbsp if you prefer it stronger)

1 large tbsp of condensed milk

boiling water (to fill the glass/cup)

iced cubes

1. Place the condensed milk in the bottom of your glass/cup.

2. Removing the internal filter from your Vietnamese filter cup, add a spoonful of finely ground coffee into the bottom of the stainless steel filter cup (more if you like it stronger).

3. Place the filter mechanism (the part to the far left of image 3 here) on top of the blended coffee and add the boiling water to the Vietnamese filter cup and place the filter lid on top.

4. The coffee will gradually trickle through to the condensed milk. Leave it a couple of minutes to allow the coffee to filter through.

5. Once this has happened stir it with a teaspoon so that the coffee becomes a milky brown colour. Add a few ice cubes and stir once again.

If you make your Vietnamese coffee another way I would love to hear your tips and suggestions. Leave a comment below for everyone to see.

Rose Lassi – a drink fit for a Queen

I think I have found the perfect summer drink for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, to sip whilst on board the royal boat that will take her down the Thames this weekend to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee. It has a sufficient amount of sugar in it to give her the necessary energy boost to last the occasion and has a hint of decadence with the sweet aromas of rose water. Being non alcoholic and yoghurt based it is wonderfully cooling and lines the stomach well, ahead of the feasts that will no doubt follow.

The drink in question – drum roll please –  is Rose Lassi.

It is quick and easy to prepare and I assure you is a crowd pleaser, for those preferring to keep off the alcohol.

Lassi drinks are commonplace in the Indian subcontinent and it is customary, in many households, to have a jug of it in the fridge ready for when guests drop by. Sweet, salt or mango are common flavours, but there is so much potential for many more delicate flavours to be added. How about mint, peach, strawberry, raspberry?  My favourite of late has been rose, I hope you agree, it is a drink fit for a Queen.

Rose Lassi

Makes 4 glasses (in the size of glass that I used in the photos)

450ml plain natural yoghurt

75g soft light brown sugar (or white if you do not have brown to hand)

2 tbsp rose water

3 tbsp water

4 ice cubes

1. Using a hand whisk or blender mix the yoghurt, sugar, water and rose water together so that it begins to froth. It will only take about 30 seconds.

2. If using a hand whisk, crush the ice in a plastic bag using a rolling pin and add to the other ingredients. For speed and ease I use a blender. Once there is a sufficient amount of froth pour into glasses and serve immediately.

Indian Spiced Tea – the perfect hot drink for stormy weather

Indian Spiced Tea

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

Serves 6

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.