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

New Discoveries – Mirabilia – Organic Olive Leaf Tea

New Discoveries – Mirabilia – Organic Olive Leaf TeaA few months ago I spotted a tweet about olive tea, as I’ve never had olive tea before I was truly intrigued. I was under the impression that you actually need a tealeaf to make a tea… but apparently you don’t.

The owners set up Mirabilia Olive Leaf Tea in an effort to maximise the local resources, to provide employment in an area where work on the land is dying out as the young people migrate to the cities, and most importantly to safeguard the ancient and historic olive groves from the onset of open-cast mining which is absolutely iniquitous in an area of outstanding natural beauty such as Piano La Roma.

I simply adore stories like this and businesses which came to be from the need to help others.

The Mirabilia Organic Olive Leaf Tea as the name suggest is organic. In addition to being delicious, olive leaf tea is also:

  • Caffeine and tannin free
  • Very high in antioxidants
  • Antibiotic
  • Anti-viral
  • Anti-fungal
  • Proven to aid weight loss
  • Used to lower blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Proven to boost immune system
  • Reduced tooth discoloration compared to tea-leaf based tea

So you see, all the benefits… no downside at all 😉

And if you wonder how to prepare olive leaf tea, one short instruction set coming right up…

How to make Olive Leaf TeaIt is important to brew olive leaf tea properly. Because olive leaves are much thicker than the ordinary tea leaves we are used to using, it needs more time to “develop” the taste.

Mirabilia Olive Leaf Tea is at present sold in three different flavours:

  1. Organic Olive Leaf Tea
  2. Organic Olive Leaf Tea with Organic Pomegranate
  3. Organic Olive Leaf Tea with Lemon and Wild Mint

The Mirabilia Olive Leaf Tea is sold in 30g packs and it costs £4.69 for the pure olive leaf tea or £4.99 for a flavoured option. It can be purchased directly from Mirabilia website or other shops of which the full list you can find here.

Remember that by purchasing Mirabilia tea you are helping to safeguard the artisan traditions of rural Abruzzo.

Have you ever tried olive leaf tea?

Are you a tea lover or more of a coffee junkie?

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…

New Discoveries – Skittles and Liquorice Earl Grey Tea

New Discoveries Skittles and Liquorice Earl Grey Tea

We are all creatures of habit to some point, I know I am. I know what I like and I tend to stick to these things but every so often I am feeling adventurous…

Yesterday we went off shopping… browsing aisles in the superstore can be so exciting… and boring at times… but then I got to the sweetie aisle 🙂 Oh yes! This is a fun part! Sweets for Gran, some chocolate for us, some biscuits (for Gran again), some cheese crackers… and then I spotted them… groovy looking colourful pouches – Skittles! I started to dig in to the depths of my memory, had I ever eaten them… at some level they did look Skittles Confusedfamiliar or at least the concept of them but I couldn’t really recall ever eating them or even do I like them… Being half price I put three packets to my trolley to settle the matter and then kept going…
In the evening when the munchies took me over it was the moment of truth… did I buy a winner? Open the packet; stare at the little colourful flat balls, pick one who shall “die” first and booom!… I was hit with an explosion of flavour… it was a mango one; there was no doubt about it. Such a fantastic little treat! I really can’t believe we do not buy them on a regular basic.

So here you have it… every day trip to a superstore can bring something new and unexpected… but so can the post man…

Months ago I was lucky enough to win a Twining goodie bag on Twitter. I was very happy as this is one of the tea brands of choice, especially Lady Grey so I received something that I would buy anyway. When my goodies box arrived one of the Liquorice Earl Grey Teateas inside was a Liquorice Allsorts Earl Grey. It looked lovely and I’ve never seen nice packaging like that before but and the end of the day it was liquorice flavour… blah… really not for me (or so I thought at the time). So the packet of tea was left standing on the tea shelf for months. I didn’t want to try it and no one else wanted it when they came to visit either, so unpopular and so it just stood there. One night Mark decided to have a pop at it. OMG what a discovery! The tea smells amazing and it taste even better. The hint of liquorice is ever so slight but it gives an unbelievable aroma and flavour to the tea. Maybe it’s because it’s a kind of flavoured Earl Grey tea, and not a pure Liquorice one. I was shocked and amazed by it. I would never have ever expected it to be so delicious. It was so good that yesterday we hunted the superstore in order to procure a new box. We discovered that it is not the cheapest tea- almost £4.50 for 15 tea bags but we got it anyway because we think as a treat it is worth it.

It is funny how things go… sometimes the most unexpected things can give you so much pleasure and surprise you in amazing ways!

Did you discover something new lately?