Saturday, November 25, 2017

16 Festive Tasks | Square 2 - Guy Fawkes Night Task - Tea and books!

16 Festive Tasks - Guy Fawkes

Tasks for Guy Fawkes Night:  Post pictures of past or present bonfires, fireworks (IF THEY’RE LEGAL) or sparklers.  Or: Host a traditional English tea party, or make yourself a nice cup of tea and settle down with a good book to read.  Which kind of tea is your favorite?  Tell us why.

By popular request, here is a nice photo of my pewter dragon design tea pot... of which I have never used.  So let's pretend I did use it to steep the tea I'm currently enjoying.  It's just so pretty, all I want to do is stare at it and not blemish it with any kind of use.


Though, obviously I used a tea bag for my tea, but that's because I haven't actually used loose leaf tea in a long time.  Truth be told, tea bags are definitely much more efficient for when you just want a nice mug of tea... like, RIGHT NOW.

Here is a nice little mid-morning snack with my cup of tea as well--a glutinous rice cake, sliced and toasted.  It doesn't come that way, but our family like to eat glutinous rice cake in this fashion.  You may also steam it, as well as eat it with some sugar.

The glutinous rice cake is made of sticky rice as the outermost layer, with mung bean and choice other filling items.  This particular one just has roasted fatty pork.  The glutinous rice and mung bean are soaked for a time, and then everything is wrapped up in banana leaves, tied tightly, then steamed for a very long time until everything is cooked.

Our family typically do not make these from scratch because they take a tedious amount of work and time.  So it's much easier to buy from the store and reheat.  My grandmother used to make them for special occasions, and she especially loved to stuff them full of random ingredients ranging from aromatic Chinese sausages, to shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, boiled peanuts... just all sorts of things.  And the truth of it is, I really prefer less and like the store bought kind with just the fatty pork.

But let's get back to point of this post, shall we?

Yes, I am still reading this book.

Hot tea is one of those pleasures I absolutely enjoy, and I don't know if this is because I'm Chinese and tea is such a significant part of our culture... or if I just plain like it because you can get so many wonderful subtle aromas from a vast variety of different kinds of tea leaves.

For as long as I can remember, I've always preferred my tea hot over cold.  And, for some time, I'd always rejected any kind of sweetening of tea, as I had always felt that any kind of sweetener (be it sugar, honey, or fruit flavored add-ins) would mask the actual taste of the tea itself.  But some years ago recently, I'd realized that my tastes can change, and with it, an appreciation of certain kinds of iced teas, and certain kinds of sweet teas.

Our household will usually keep an assortment of tea bags, from Jasmine tea, to Herbal tea, Oolong tea, and so on.  We also have a few loose leaf varieties, some of which I'm not sure how to translate into English.  Dad has taken to drinking a Bitter Melon Tea, mainly in his attempts to lower his blood sugar (which really isn't that high to begin with)--and since he grows his own bitter melon, he has also started roasting his own bitter melon leaves for tea steeping.  My Mom likes to keep a supply of dried Chrysanthemum flowers, for the lovely and refreshing Chrysanthemum tea, also known as Flower Tea, with just a small spoonful of rock sugar--this is not pictured above as I cannot find her stash.

And, like mother, like daughter, Chrysanthemum tea is also a personal favorite of mine, sweetened or unsweetened.

I like teas of all sorts of varieties, so it's hard to pinpoint which ones are my favorites, to be honest.  While I love Chrysanthemum tea, I also love the more understated Oolong tea, or the lovely smelling Jasmine tea.  The Herbal tea (what I made for myself in the previous photos) is something more recent I'd been introduced to, which has a very subtle sweetness to it without even adding sugar or honey--it's a mixture of chrysanthemum, and other assorted medicinal herbs, which is good for the throat, and wonderful when you're out with a cold.

And that's just one more thing about tea:  It's a wonderful, warm and soothing drink when you're sick.  I like to spike my tea with crushed raw ginger root, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a dallop of honey--works wonders!

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