In the absence of school on Wednesday, I had the freedom of the whole day to myself. With adults at work, an act that usually leaves only the dog and cat to their own devices, comforted by a small stuffy or treat, the kids had their homes as their playgrounds for the day.
I awoke to the late morning sun streaming in, almost beckoning me to go outside with my dog more than her puss-in-boot-like eyes and nudging of my hands, which to her, must have held the "key" to the wall that opens.
However the cosiest pyjamas (in the world!) still hugged me warm, and it was nice to have escaped the tasks which usually muddled by thoughts and stirred up my priorities that followed a day of school.
I'm usually calmed by a well-baked muffin, one of my favourites, or a big mug of tea, that more than often contains a caffeine boost to get me back on my feet after school and to get ready for dance.
And being deprived of sleep by the Monday morning, I reached the afternoon on a low, with a severe deprivation of energy. The remedy? A quick trip across the block, a small wait in line, to the satisfying comfort of holding a hot cup, with the knowledge that in a while, I'll be bouncing back. And forth. And back. And forth... Which continued until the next day, keeping my eyes peeled, and my brain wide awake the entire time.
Luckily it was only just after midnight, but the clocks had still changed the date, a worry on my mind as time ticked closer the shrill of my alarm... 6 hours... 5 and a half... 5 hours...
With sleep blurring my focus and hazing the clarity of messages beeping on my phone, I set to cooking.
Breakfast IS the most important meal of the day after all.
The aromas of spices started to fill the kitchen, the juice of freshly sliced ginger remained on my hands, a better replacement for perfume, and intriguing the dog when she came near.
Her nose flicking up and down, and nostrils flaring.
Cardamom, my favourite spice, spilled on the counter, but added to the overall warmth of the smells around, and caused no blip of annoyance or anger at myself for causing such a mess, I was unwinding the coils of agitation. Each stretch smoothing out bumps from the last weeks.
I added the spices to the water in the saucepan and turned up the heat, the temperature rising in unison with the sounds from the radio, which were becoming clearer and clearer as the spices awoke my senses.
Homemade Chai Tea
Comforting, soothing, and smooth. A drink well worth the small wait as you inhale the spices from the bubbling saucepan, invigorating the senses. For cold winter days, chilly September mornings, or as a gesture towards family and friends as they make their way in from work or school (*hint hint* mum!), this drink is the perfect thing to make, and look forward to, in any day.
2 1/2 c water
a pinch of ground cloves (I find the powder as a much stronger taste, which can make the drink end up bitter, therefore I use very little)
1 cinnamon stick
6 whole peppercorns
2 star anise
1 inch fresh ginger, sliced thinly
1 tsp cardamom seeds
2 peppermint teabags (or 2 tbsp peppermint tea leaves)
1 c almond milk (or alternative)
1 tbsp honey (optional)
Pour the water into a saucepan adding the spices and the tea bags. Bring to a boil.
Lower the temperature and simmer for 10 minutes on medium heat.
Pour in the almond milk and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Strain, and stir in honey. Add more almond milk or honey if desired.
From so many chai teas, from recipe, and using the available spices in my house, I've become so accustomed to the strong flavours and no longer sweeten mine, instead I test the limits of my taste buds with different quantities of ginger, cardamom and cloves.
*Replacing the peppermint teabags with black tea will add a caffeine boost, but will make the chai darker, and may mask some of the flavours of the spices.
Labels: Chai, drink, ginger, hot, latte, peppermint, spice, tea, warm