Oats & Tea Infused Raisin Cookies

Oats & Tea Infused Raisin CookiesMost people think of oats as a healthy food, most people think about cookies as an unhealthy food, so when you mix these two together do you get a healthy cookie? Well I would love to think so… or at least a healthier option than a standard flour based one.

A few days before we left for our holidays I received a lovely parcel from Mornflake containing a selections of their oats. Did you know that Mornflake has been milling oats since 1675? With expertise and skills handed down from fathers to sons and over 330 years of milling experience, it is no wonder that Mornflake are able to produce what is probably the finest range of oat cereals available today, winning international gold medals for the quality, purity and consistency of our oats year after year.

But back to my parcel… so I had a selection of oats and a 20h car ride in front of us… baking some cookies for the road was an obvious choice.

Oats & Tea Infused Raisin Cookies - IngredientsIngredients:

  • 300g organic oats, we used Mornflake
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 100g raisins
  • 150ml vegetable oil
  • 140g wholemeal flour
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 50ml strong tea, we used Black Tea from Teatulia

Method:

Preheat oven to 180C (160C if fan assisted).

Line 2 large baking trays with baking parchment.

Oats & Tea Infused Raisin Cookies - cooking with teaBrew 50ml of strong tea and pour it over the raisins. Leave them to soak for about 20 minutes or until plump; then drain but reserving the liquid.

In a large bowl, mix together the oil and sugar. Gradually beat in the egg, add the reserved water from the raisins, the cinnamon and vanilla extract. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt into the bowl, then add the oats. Finally, mix in the raisins.

Drop heaped table spoon of the cookie dough onto the baking trays. Make sure that they are well spaced apart as they will increase in size during the baking process.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the trays for five minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Oats and Tea Infused Raisin CookiesOats & Tea Infused Raisin Cookies.Apparently they will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days… well ours didn’t survive that long as they were all gone by day two 😉

*Recipe based on BBC Good Food Oatmeal Raisin Cookies recipe but amended to fit our needs

How to make Tea Smoked Peppers

How to make Tea Smoked Peppers

Here is a brilliant idea to help even the most rubbish cook elevate a dish to a gourmet level with hardly any effort but amazing results. Like all great ideas it is simple, straightforward and almost foolproof. I do not claim any fame or fortune for conceiving the idea I am merely the messenger helping to spread the word so that all can enjoy this technique.

As you can probably tell by now I am enthusiastic, correction very enthusiastic about tea smoking. Readers of my blog will know from historical posts that we are big smokers of food, but until now it relied on a massive effort to clean and fire up the Primo cooker in the garden and like all humans sometimes the will is willing but the flesh is weak. Now we have a quick and easy way to imbue our food with a vast range of smoky flavours inside, on the cooker!

So what do you need in the kitchen to join us in total appreciation of this technique? Not much as it goes….

How to make Tea Smoked Peppers - Ingredients List

  • A vegetable steamer or a saucepan with a colander that fits snugly on top with a lid and can be put on a hot cooker ring. Plastic isn’t going to get the job done it does need to be metal.
  • A strip of tinfoil
  • A small packet of loose leaf tea leaves (best quality you can find). We used Earl Grey Bravo from Adagio.
  • Something to smoke, we used peppers in this example but anything can go in…

Method:

Place the base of you steamer or saucepan on to the cooker.

How to make Tea Smoked Peppers.

Next you need to tap into you creative side and build a holder for the tea leaves out of the tinfoil.
We have learnt to use a small bowl as a mould as this helps a lot. The key part here is to form it in such a way as to have 4 legs to stand on as we don’t want the part with the tea leaves touching the base of the steamer.

Place you creation into the steamer base or saucepan, DO NOT be tempted to put any water in there!

How to make Tea Smoked Peppers..

Put your tea leaves into the bowl part of the tinfoil, a small handful is enough.

Place your colander or upper section of you steamer on top of the base.

How to make Tea Smoked Peppers...

Place in a single layer whatever you have chosen to smoke in the upper section, don’t stack them up if you can avoid it as this will impact on the ability of the smoke to get everywhere.

Lastly strap on the lid and turn the heat up to medium.

As the colander gets hot the tinfoil and in turn the tea will get hot and soon it will start to smoke and fill the house with wonderful tea smells. As the heat works its way up it will heat up the veggies and help cook them. It will also help release essential oils that will greatly enhance the flavour of the vegetable, these oils help trap the smoke from the tea resulting in awesomeness.

Go have a cup of tea or prepare whatever you are going to have you lovely, tasty, smoked veggies with.

After 20 minutes turn the heat off, leaving it for longer will make the smoked tea flavour more intense if you prefer that, concurrently cooking for less time will make the flavour much more mellow. Only practise will give you the right level of flavour that suits your palette.

How to make - Tea Smoked Peppers

Place in your sandwich, or add to pizzas, with scrambled eggs, or as a topping with your favourite cracker, whatever your mind can dream up, and trust me you will be dreaming of countless ways to involve this technique in even the simplest meals from now on…

Go on… you know you want to try it…