Make this: Easy DIY matcha latte

Happy Friday! I’m going to make this a short and sweet post, because I’m actually jetting off to Queensland this morning for a quick little family vacay! But before I fly, I like to get to the airport super early so I have no reason to be rushed and stressed and anxious, then settle in with a hot cup of tea and a book. Usually; this morning, I’m in hunt of a matcha latte. I’ve very much liked matcha for quite a while now, and started really enjoying a good matcha latte a few months ago; I’ve now fallen even more in love with them since realising I can make them at home instead of paying $5 of $6 at a cafe every time I want one!

I wanted to write this quick little “recipe” up so that other people can realise it doesn’t have to be an expensive beverage to enjoy. I buy my matcha from ARC Asian Grocery at Preston Market because they offer the best prices by far of anywhere I’ve seen. It also doesn’t have to be complicated – you need a bowl, a small whisk, a sieve or tea strainer and a small saucepan. If you have a matcha whisk, that’s great, but if you don’t, any little whisk will do.

I based this recipe on Namiko’s from Just One Cookbook (I love her blog and recipes!), it’s super easy, so get matcha-ing!

Ingredients (serves 2):
– 1.5 cups milk (I like using an almond/coconut milk from Almond Breeze)
– 1.5 tsp matcha powder
– 2 tbsp very hot water (not quite boiling)
– pinch of caster sugar (optional)

Method:
1. Pour the milk into a small saucepan and set over low heat to slowly warm up – you do not want it to boil, though, so keep an eye on it.

2. While the milk warms up, sift the matcha into a bowl using a small sieve or tea strainer. Add the hot water and whisk quickly in a zig zag pattern to form a thick, green paste.

3.  Once the milk has warmed up to a good drinking temperature, whisk in the matcha pasta, again in a quick, zig zag (not circular) pattern – it should start to form little bubbles if you’re whisking quickly enough. If you have a milk frother and want to get a bit of fancy cafe styling to it, go ahead and get that going, too. I don’t, because I want this done quickly and easily. You can also add a little sugar, if you want it a bit sweeter (the earthy, bitter taste isn’t for everyone, I use a tiny pinch of sugar in mine because I find the almond/coconut milk adds a bit of sweetness, anyway).

4. And that’s about it! Pour it into your mugs and drink away; I did my best to get creative on Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club this week and went all out Japan inspired with my Gudetama mugs and attempted Gudetama-faced eggs… much tricky, so fun!

Skip the expensive cafe version and DIY this weekend! Unless, like me, you’re at an airport and don’t have any other choice to feed your addiction!

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Eat here: Honey Badger, Hobart (dessert)

Honey Badger
7 Salamanca Square, Hobart, Tasmania
http://honeybadgercafe.com

Home, sweet home…
I always returning home to be so bittersweet, whether it’s a few weeks away or just a few days. This little break was exactly what I needed, and I absolutely loved spending time in Hobart 🙂 hopefully you guys will enjoy seeing a bit more of this beautiful part of the world with the upcoming blog posts on it, but given that it is Friday (or FriYay), I thought I’d get back into it with a sweet little post and recommendation for anyone who finds themselves in Hobart and looking for a little treat this weekend.

Our first night in Hobart inevitably saw us end up around Salamanca Place, which is where we noticed an A-frame with the words “dessert bar” on them. That was a no brainier. It had been a long day, I needed a cup of tea and desser is never a bad idea when you’re on vacation!

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Enter Honey Badger; gorgeous, hipster, and very welcoming, it wouldn’t have been at all out of place in one of Melbourne’s hot spots. The menu is a sugar fiend’s dream, with things like panookies (skillet cookies) and waffles, with a pretty great tea and coffee menu to go with it all. Husband really enjoyed his coffee, but we both REALLY loved my matcha latte – it was magic! Husband is now into matcha lattes now, happy days for me!

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We also got a serve of the Kyoto Holiday waffles, that came with green tea custard, sweet red bean paste, pistachios, cream and green tea ice cream. Absolutely completely delicious… It was really hard to narrow down the menu to this one, and I have no regrets! I’d highly recommend it!

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And the best part is that they’re open until late, so if you have a hankering for a big chocolate brownie and a matcha latte at 9.30pm, you’re well and truly covered! Happy weekend, friends 🙂

Honey Badger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Another Christmas gift guide… for the tea lovers

Next up is the tea lover gift guide, because how could I not?!

Clockwise from top left, we’ve got…

1. T2’s Melbourne Breakfast Tea
What’s it all about? My favourite black tea – deliciously rich, with an amazing vanilla flavour.
Buy it for: English breakfast tea drinkers who are due for a change

2. A T2 tea set
What’s it all about? T2 have the most stunning tea sets, at a range of prices to suit everyone. The one pictured was a gift from my sister for my birthday, but it’s not my only one!
Buy it for: Everyone. Whether they’re being used to drink or decorate, there’s something for everyone in there!

3. English Tea Shop tea
What’s it all about? Organic, fair trade and utterly delicious, these are my favourite tea bag teas. I go through a 20 pack box of English Breakfast tea probably every 6 weeks or so, and I’m also in love with the lemongrass, citrus and ginger first thing in the morning.
Buy it for: The tea lovers who care about what goes into their tea, and where it comes from.

4. The Old Tea Shop almond & vanilla tea
What’s it all about? One of my favourite places to buy tea from, the range is enormous (over 200 different types), the gem scones baked on site are fantastic, and you can order online if you don’t have time to get to Warburton. My favourite is the almond and vanilla black tea.
Buy it for: Again, everyone – with over 200 teas to choose from, it shouldn’t be too hard!

5. Target glass teapot
What’s it all about? I’ve always wanted a glass teapot, and when I found this one for around $20 at Target, I jumped at it – there’s something beautiful about watching the tea infuse…
Buy it for: The tea lovers who have every other type of teapot.

6. The Spice & Tea Exchange coconut oolong tea
What’s it all about? Hands down the best non-black tea I’ve ever had. Found it in New Orleans and just found out I can order it online to be delivered to my door! It’s the most incredible coconut, woody, fresh flavour, get on it!
Buy it for: An alternative to the standard black or green tea options.

7. Op shop tea accessories
What’s it all about? Underrated way of shopping for tea accessories; hit the op shops and see what you can find! I got that teapot at an op shop for $10, and the vintage cup and saucer for around $15, and they’re my favourites in my big collection because they’re the two pieces that really have soul 🙂
Buy it for: The special tea loving hipster in your life.

 

Also gift guiding…
for the foodies
for the travellers
for the classic bookworms

Tea time: Ippodo Tea, Tokyo, Japan

Ippodo Tea
Kokusai Building, 1F, 3-1-1 Marunouchi Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo
http://www.ippodo-tea.co.jp/en/

Friday. We made it, guys. But it’s not over yet – if your weekend is gonna be anything like mine, it’s gonna get a bit crazy. So before that happens, let’s head back to Tokyo for a few minutes and enjoy a little bit of tea time. To make this a more interactive experience, I’ll wait a few minutes for you to brew yourself a cup/pot/bucket/whatever you need.

It was around 9am on my last day in Tokyo, and it was raining. My plan to head back to Kagurazaka for the morning went down the drain along with the rain water; I decided to take my umbrella out and explore closer to the hotel. I ended up in the basement level of Isetan Department Store, which also looked strangely like food heaven – $400 bento boxes, French baguettes, Italian cured meats, 500 different types of noodles, animal shaped cookies, the most stunningly intricate cakes that would put even Zumbo to shame. Oh, and tea, coffee, wine, sake, beer… my God, it was amazing. I settled on a gorgeous little rice lunch box and a matcha cookie sandwich, and trotted happily home in the rain. Eating my delicious lunch on my crazy comfy hotel bed, I was pretty happy with the week I’d had in Tokyo; there was only one more thing I really wanted to do, and that was to spend part of my last night in a tea house. I did a bit of research, and the name “IPPODO” kept popping up – it wasn’t too far from Tokyo Station, where we intended to meet up later in the afternoon so we could visit Character Street, so I saved the address and finished my delicious lunch.

After shopping our way up and down Character Street and dinner on Ramen Street (and this is all in the basement of the train station, mind you), we made our way to Ippodo. Ever since drinking that incredible Gyokuro tea at Cha Ginza, I’d been on the look out for some of it – it seemed way too expensive at the time to buy (around AUD$50 for a 50g bag), but at the end of the trip I was left with a lot more spending money than I expected to have, so I decided to treat myself! I found a few different varieties at Ippodo and bought a bag to take home.

Tucked away behind the main shopping area of the store was the Kaboku Tearoom; there were quite a few different green teas on offer, which all came accompanied by a traditional Kyoto sweet to compliment that specific tea (the store was originally opened in Kyoto, but another was opened in Tokyo a few years later, as well as another in New York). I’d tried matcha and gyokuro and many times of sencha before, and would have happily had any of them again, but noticed one of my favourite teas on the menu – genmaicha. It’s a gorgeous green tea blended with roasted brown rice, originating from the poorer families who used to add the rice to their tea in order to make it last longer and therefore save a bit of money, as well as using it to cover up the taste of often stale tea. Properly done genmaicha is amazing; it’s got the lovely green tea taste, with the nuttiness of the roasted rice; T2 did a particularly beautiful version of this tea called Jade Mountain, which was a genmaicha (green tea + roasted rice) with cocoa husk, hazelnut brittle pieces, toasted almond flakes, blackberry leaves and chicory root (it was a special one off tea which I bought several boxes of because it’s that good, so if you missed out, sorry… not sorry!).

I enjoyed my pot, which I learnt could be re-filled up to three times if the following points were observed:
– use all of the tea provided (12g, I believe).
– use boiling water.
– pour into the pot, cover, count to 10 and then pour.
– do not let it brew longer than 10 seconds the first time, or it’ll have a bitter taste.
– empty the pot COMPLETELY into your cup – you don’t want to leave any water in there, or it’ll make the next brew bitter.
– leave the lid askew while drinking that first cup so the leaves can breathe.
– you’ll only need to count to 5 on the following refills.

And my sweet? A gorgeous little wafer flower filled with sweet red bean paste. Perfect match with the tea.

The teahouse itself was beautiful – clean and simple, unassuming and very peaceful. And my tea set only cost around AUD$13.00 – it was really the perfect way to end not only the night, but the trip  : )

Tea time: Cha Ginza, Tokyo, Japan

Cha Ginza
5-5-6 Ginza, Chuo-ku
http://www.uogashi-meicha.co.jp/shop/ginza/

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Hello from Tokyo (again) 🙂 cannot believe how quickly this week is going! I don’t think I’m going to be ready to go home tomorrow; I feel like I’m only just settling in properly! 

Yesterday I had one of those gorgeous quintessential Japanese experiences – visiting a tea house. To coincide with the Tea Time! page I’ve just added to the blog (thought it’d be a good idea to have a quick and easy way to find tea places!), I thought I’d write a quick post about my visit 🙂 

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I had heard that Cha Ginza provided a particularly beautiful experience, and I was already going to be in Ginza for around midday, so I decided to seek it out. The easiest way to get there is to make your way to Ginza station, take exit B3 (out through the Armani area), turn right onto the side street the exit will pop you out into, and it’s a few doors down. If you’re already in the area, you’re looking for the side street between Armani & Dior. Easy!

Anther thing to know is that while the store opens at 11am, the tea house doesn’t begin service until 12pm.
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When you get there, you’re presented with a small menu of 3 options:

1. Basic service sake, two types of sencha, and a sweet to go with it (¥800 or AUD$9.50)

2. The nicer sencha option of sake, gyokuro, two types of sencha, and the sweet (¥1000 or AUD$12.00)

3. The matcha alternative option of sake, matcha, two types sencha,and sweet (¥1000)

The hostess recommended I try option 2, as the gyokur is a rarer, higher quality, more expensive green tea (selling for around AUD$45 per 50g in the store); it was the first tea I tasted and it was INCREDIBLE!

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The first sencha I tired came with a chestnut-tasting sweet, both delicious and perfect together.

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And finally, one last cup of sencha. Served on an amazing chain-mail coaster!

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The room itself is stunning; quiet, modern, beautiful, with every detail taken care of and thought out. It was one of those truly beautiful experiences that I think I’ll remember for a long time, and one I’d really recommend if you find yourself in Ginza!

Cook this: T2 Lamington Tea porridge

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Monday morning, ready to take on another week! But not without a good breakfast. And this one is an absolute beauty. But before I get to that, let me explain how the ridiculous idea of making porridge with a cup of tea came about. I stumbled on a great find last week in the Extraordinary Routines site. This project, put together by Madeleine Dore, is exploring the daily routines of creatives such as writers, artists, designers and other who “bring a unique spirit to the world around them.” It’s really interesting to read how these successful and happy people run their days, and has some fantastic inspiration if you’re looking for a bit of a change!

Being food-minded though, it wasn’t long before the RECIPES menu caught my eye. The first image I saw was what looked to be a pretty little bowl of porridge or overnight oats or something, so I clicked on that to find myself face to face with a recipe for earl grey porridge. Sorry, WHAT?!

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It’s no secret that I love my tea. As you may be able to tell from the picture above: that’s all of the tea. No, that’s a lie – there’s more in the pantry And more tea cups and mugs. So many more.  I also love oats, in just about any form. So the idea of combining these two of my favourite things? Yup. All sorts of yup.

I mentioned this earl grey porridge idea to husband, to which he replied, “I bet it’d taste good with that Lamington tea you’re so obsessed with at the moment.” Damn, why didn’t I think of that?! Done deal! I love T2’s teas (their Melbourne Breakfast is a HUGE favourite in our house), but they’ve really outdone themselves with their Lamington Tea; as you can see below, it’s a gorgeous black tea with coconut flakes, cocoa nibs and tiny little chocolate drops. Heaven!
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I’m sure whatever the recipe on the site was was perfectly good, but I didn’t actually bother reading it. Once I’d seen the title, I figured I’d be able to get it right myself. And surprisingly, I actually did (not all of my ideas work out so well)! Here’s how you can make your own bowl of lamington porridge breakfast happiness..

For one bowl of porridge, you’ll need:
– 1 cup of tea. T2’s Lamington is perfect for this, but if you don’t have any/can’t be bothered buying any, just use your favourite black tea. Brew it with ¾ cup boiling water, steep for a few minutes, then mix it ½ cup milk.
– ½ cup rolled oats
– Toppings of choice – I used a few raspberries, crushed toasted almonds, shredded coconut and toasted cacao nibs

 

To cook it:
1. Combine the tea and oats in a pot over medium heat. Bring to boiling point, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until porridge reaches your desired consistency. Serve immediately with your toppings of choice.

A one step recipe. So simple. So delicious. It’s also the perfect starter meal for the day for me, being gluten and lactose free (I use almond milk), as well as low FODMAPs. So much stomach can’t bitch up later on. And just to get a bit more tea in, I made a cup of the English Tea Shop’s organic green tea to go along with it.That, my friends, is the way to breakfast.

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Tea time: Alice’s Tea Cup, New York. And take home some of their tea!


Alice’s Tea Cup (Chapter II)
156 E 64th St, New York
http://alicesteacup.com

Sunday afternoon. AKA time to kick back with a cuppa and enjoy the last few relaxing hours of the weekend. And I’ve got just the cup of tea for this afternoon. I’ll get to that in a minute. First up though, let me tell you about the deliciousness you can see above these sentences, at Alice’s Tea Cup in New York.

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I found this place by chance after a random Google search for a good afternoon tea spot in NYC. I love tea and scones (#secretnanna), and figured it’d be freezing cold in the city while we were there and my evil plan was that at some point husband would be like “damn it’s cold, could use a hot drink” and I’d be like “oh, great, I know just the place” and would be all “just follow me!” and lead us right here! It didn’t go exactly like that (I was the one who complained about the cold first this particular day), but we did get here, and it was amazing…

Alice’s Tea Cup actually has a few stores (chapters) in the city, and as the name implies, it’s a bit of a cutesy, whimsical, Alice-In-Wonderland themed tea nook. Yeah, it’s pretty girly, and I usually don’t go for that stuff at all, but I’m a bit Alice In Wonderland fan and I love tea and scones, so I made an exception just this once! They do everything (literally – breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner AND high tea), all day long. And to say that the tea list is impressive is a wild understatement – as you can see from their website, they cover every single one of your tea needs!

We went late at night, around 7.30pm, and decided on a pot of tea to share, along with a chocolate chip scone and a buttermilk scone, which came out with jam and cream. The scones were nice and soft, a little crumbly, but the jam and cream held it all together beautifully. I’d have loved to have done the high tea there as well… maybe next time 🙂 The service was really wonderful too, despite being close to closing time, and the floor staff looked after each and every table with the same bright smiles and warm chatter.

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The tea we ordered was the house special, “Alice’s tea,” an interesting blend of both black (Indian black vanilla) and green (Japanese) teas, with rose petals – it had another strong aroma that I can’t quite place right now.. maybe bergamot? Anyone else tried this tea and can remember? Anyway, it’s a beautifully smooth tea with plenty of flavour, I absolutely loved it. I asked our server if it was available to buy; all of the tea on the menu is available to purchase and take home! I grabbed a small pouch and am brewing a small pot for myself right now, actually. It drinks well both as is, and with a little milk (which is my preference), and is perfect on a colder day.

With three “chapters” around NYC (102 West 73rd St., 156 East 64th St. and 220 East 81st St.), the most enticing display of cakes and scones, the most thorough tea list I’ve ever seen, which you can take home with you, and such lovely staff, there’s really no reason not to visit!
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