A good cup of tea goes SO well with raw cakes and treats. Throw in the fact that it has numerous health benefits and it’s a winning combination.
A girl who knows all about the way tea can give you a big dose of goodness is Jennifer Hill aka the Tea Alchemist of Alderley Edge. I came across her gorgeous tea shop a few weeks ago. I popped in to see what delights were on offer and was kindly treated to a delicious rooibus chai. Jennifer opened The Tea Alchemist last year after following her heart of owning her own business. It’s so inspiring to see a girl living her dream. We both share a passion for the healing benefits of food and drink – as well as great tastes. Check out her suggestions for teas that will compliment your healthy treats perfectly. Here we go…
Uplifting vanilla and Raw Chocolate Pocket Rockets
Jennifer says: If you’re anything like me, then it is around 3 o clock in the afternoon when that familiar burning sweet craving threatens to envelope me; tempting me towards naughty cakes, chocolates and treats. These chocolate truffles are perfect for helping to alleviate these cravings, but what about your drink to accompany it? A syrup-filled latte might sound like an appealing accompaniment to the truffles, but are packed full of sugar and fat – you might as well have eaten half your Easter egg! No, don’t do it!
Vanilla Black. This delicious blend of Assam and Yunnan black tea is infused with high quality Madagascan vanilla, and the result is the perfect, calorie-free sweet kick sometimes desperately needed to satisfy your cravings. The vanilla and caramel aftertaste builds gradually and subtly with each sip, and because of the malty Assam, there’s no need to add milk.
Not only this, but vanilla is actually an excellent spice to lift your mood; it is a natural aphrodisiac (oh yes indeed!) and recent research has found it can cure male impotency (so it’s not just your mood that’s ‘lifted’!) Moreover, vanilla contains vanilloids which are found to activate brain receptors, reducing inflammation and improving mental performance. Its properties for reducing stress and anxiety levels are also notable, as it contains elements which benefit the nervous system.
I know…these qualities are needed most afternoons!
Use 1 teaspoon per 250ml of near boiling water (97 degrees), steep for 3 minutes and infuse 2-3 times.
A touch of Indian spice with Sesame Seed Granola Bars
Jennifer says: Chai is rumoured to become the most popular drink consumed in 2014; researchers predict the sales of Chai to top that of the Cafe Latte by the end of the year! And it is easy to see why.
Chai is a wonderfully warming blend of herbs, spices and the British’s favourite: black tea. There is no one ‘go to’ recipe for chai; indeed every chaiwala, merchant and consumer may brew their chai slightly differently. At The Tea Alchemist, we have two staple blends for chai, one which uses an organic Assam tea as its base and one which uses an organic Rooibos tea, more commonly known as ‘Red Bush’ tea as its base. Other fabulous ingredients include: star anise, cardamon pods, cassia bark, ginger, orange peel, cloves and green pepper corns. Delicious.
However, to accompany Hannah’s Sexy Sesame Seed Granola Bars, I’ve got to pick one.
Rooibos Chai. Rooibos is one of those magic teas. It swoops in with its powerful red liquor, slightly aniseed-like taste and aroma, then waves its anti-oxidant loaded wand over your fabulous body.
People talk about antioxidants all the time, and we all seem to nod our heads in agreement with the fact we should be drinking liquids containing them, but what actually are antioxidants? Well, let’s start with the enemy: ’free radicals’.
Free radicals are cells that are capable of attacking healthy cells in the body through their reaction with oxygen; damaging healthy cells leads to disease and disorder in the body. Antioxidants simply prevent oxygen from reacting with the free radicals; they deactivate them. Many things can cause antioxidant deficiency in the body, including stress, alcohol and poor diet.
However, in Rooibos, two polyphenol antioxidants called aspalathin and nothofagin can be found, which actively seek out free radicals and neutralise them. Drinking Rooibos, or Rooibos Chai, (around 3 cups a day) can therefore prevent some cancers and can protect against Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Because it is a natural anti-inflammatory, Rooibos helps improve circulation, relieves stomach complaints, aids with the absorption of iron and, with its high mineral content and lack of caffeine, helps prevent insomnia, aiding restful sleep. Magic.
Coupled with ginger which helps with the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection, arthritis, menstrual cramps, nausea, muscle pain, bronchitis and coughs, Rooibos Chai is ultimately pretty spectacular.
Use 1-2 teaspoons of tea in 200ml of boiling water, steep for 3-5 minutes and infuse twice.
Very Healthy Carrot Cake gets a floral twist
Jennifer says: I cannot eat cake without having a cup of tea. It’s the law. And there are many that would compliment this delicious Raw Carrot Cake recipe. However, a particularly brilliant tea blend to accompany cake in the afternoon is a Yunnan Rose tea.
Yunnan, meaning ‘South of the Clouds’, is actually the birthplace of tea. It is a very beautiful region of China where the tea plant continues to grow wildly and freely. Yunnan black tea is easily identifiable because the leaves of the bush are dark with very soft golden tips. It is widely consumed and features as part of the blend in the Vanilla Black tea as described above.
Yunnan Rose is a blend of Yunnan Black tea and organic rosebuds, which are naturally dried to retain all of their wonderful health benefits. Not only do the buds help to create a delicate, soothing, floral aroma for the tea, but they also add a mild sweetness to the drink meaning there is no need to add sugar.
Organic rosebuds have a wide range of medicinal properties, not least as a result of the high Vitamin C content of the buds (higher even than oranges!) which helps to protect against cold and flu germs.
Rosebuds are particularly effective at combating toxins that threaten the body; whether these are in the skin, or in the bladder and kidneys, rosebuds are able to seek out toxins and cleanse your your body of them. Talking more crudely about toxins, rosebuds are also a natural laxative and can help prevent digestive problems by breaking down waste that accumulates in the intestines and digestive tract.
A widely recognised benefit of rosebud tea is how it can have a positive effect on the brain and nervous system. Sufferers of depression, anxiety disorders, insomnia, chronic fatigue and nervousness are often prescribed rose tea as it works as a calmative; the tea cleanses the body both physically and mentally. Utter perfection if you ask me!
This tea is best brewed lightly, and the liquor is a wonderfully deep amber colour. Use 1 teaspoon of tea for 200ml of water at 95 degrees.
The Tea Alchemist, 79 a London Road, Alderley Edge, Cheshire.