There is a good reason we married the flavours of banana and chamomile in this recipe - they taste great together!
Have you ever explained the taste of chamomile tea as 'creamy'? Do you add honey to your chamomile tea? Do you smell the dried chamomile flowers and think 'ripe bananas'? This recipe takes traditional banana cake to new levels with overly-sweet ripe bananas and dried chamomile flower.
To really infuse the chamomile flavour into the cake, we need to do more than just add chamomile flower to the mixture. We take the milk in this recipe, add our chamomile flower, simmer in the milk on the stove and let cool in the fridge for an hour before adding to the recipe. We even add the now-soft chamomile flower to the mix!
The result? A wonderful tea-time treat!
Very ripe bananas work best in any banana cake recipe. Our bananas were ripened before being frozen for many weeks, leaving them very soft and very sweet!
125 g unsalted butter, softened
115 g caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
4 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon bi-carb soda
150 mls milk
4 tablespoons of dried Chamomile flowers
250 g SR flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Coconut/nuts for topping
125 g unsalted butter, softened
90 g icing sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1. Start with preparing the chamomile milk. Pour the milk into a small pot, add the chamomile and bring to a simmer. Simmer the chamomile in the milk for approximately 5 minutes. Sit in the fridge until it cools.
2. Preheat the oven to 180 .C. Lightly grease a small cake tin and line with baking paper.
3. Cream the sugar and butter with an electric mixer in a small bowl until light and creamy. Add the beaten eggs slowly, ensuring to mix thoroughly after each addition. Then add the banana and and vanilla and continue to mix until combined.
4. Once the chamomile milk has cooled, dissolve the bicarb soda into the milk. Using a metal spoon, gently fold the sifted flour and cinnamon alternately with the chamomile milk into the mixture. Be sure to add some, or all of the chamomile flower into the mixture. Stir until all the ingredients are just combined and the mixture is smooth. Pour into the prepared tin and smooth with a spatula.
5. Bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean and not sticky. Once cooked, leave the cake in the tin for 10 minutes, than turn out onto a wire rack for cooling.
6. To make the frosting, beat the butter, icing sugar and lemon juice using an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Spread over the cooled cake and sprinkle with toasted coconut and almonds.
'Smoky' is not usually a flavour we would associate with a sweet iced tea, especially a milky tea. But trust us- this iced tea will surprise you.
We formally introduce you to our own recipe, the Austin Iced Tea: A smooth and creamy tea that is both sweet and smoky, sweetened with Canadian maple syrup and finished with a pouring of milk, over ice.
One of our favourite things to do is find new ways of enjoying tea, and one of the seeming harder teas to work with is Lapsang Souchong.
Lapsang Souchong is a black tea from the Wuyi Mountain area of Fujian province China. The tea leaves are smoked over a pine wood fire, imparting a deep smoky aroma and flavour. A very versatile tea, Lapsang Souchong can also be used as a natural seasoning in the culinary world.
So, this weekend we decided to try a new way of enjoying Lapsang Souchong, and surprised even ourselves with how well this iced tea recipe worked!
AUSTIN ICED TEA
Recipe Makes 1 glass
3/4 glass of ice
1/2 cup of pre-brewed Lapsang Souchong tea
1/2 cup of milk
1 tablespoon of Canadian maple syrup
TO MAKE THE TEA BASE:
3 teaspoons of Lapsang Souchong tea
1 1/2 cups of freshly boiled water
Steep the tea for 4 minutes, then cool in the fridge
(you may have left over tea base, keep for another drink!)
For this Austin Iced Tea, you are simply building the ingredients over ice.
Start with the tea base, followed by the maple syrup. We pour the milk last, so you can control the amount and because it looks beautiful whirl-pooling with the tea!
Be sure to give it a quick stir, so the maple syrup does not settle to the bottom.
Most of all, enjoy!!!
Platters full of exquisite pastries, dense scones with cream and finger sandwiches, all adorned with silver tea ware and fine bone china cups. This may be what we call ‘high tea’ today; but this was not the case a century ago.
In this post, we will be taking a quick trip to England, as a part of our “Tea service around the world” articles. England has a number of tea service styles, so I will be giving a brief overview of service types in this article and will delve deeper into British tea service etiquette in a follow up post. Let us begin with the most famous;
Today’s tea houses offering high tea service will likely serve highly decorated two or three tier platters with warm savouries, dense scones and exquisitely colourful sweet treats; Often served alongside more than one choice of tea, poured from an elegant glass teapot. What we have here is actually called Afternoon Tea, or the historically named, “Low Tea”.
So, if the fancy service often served between 3 and 5pm isn’t high tea, then what exactly IS high tea?
During the 1800’s in England, High Tea was a meal, served later in the day, and always consisted of meat and bread with butter. Not fancy meat pastries and artisan breads- just meat and bread, often served cold, with a pot of strong boiled tea. The type and amount of food was dependant upon the families budget, but ‘high tea’ was very common among poorer families. For those who could afford it, the spread may have consisted of bacon, fish, potatoes, eggs and cheese. It was served at around 5:30 or 6:00pm in the afternoon, a welcomed meal for the working class. It was called ‘high tea’ because the meal was served on high tables and chairs (at the supper table) and was also referred to as ‘meat tea’. It was often the largest meal of the day and would be what we now call ‘dinner’.
Have you ever wondered why some Australian’s call the evening dinner meal ‘tea’?
This might be thanks to our British ancestors, describing their evening meal simply as, ‘tea’.
Afternoon Tea or ‘Low Tea’- the tea service we mistakenly now call high tea.
The practice of serving tea in the afternoons is given credit to Anna Maria, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, during the early 1840’s. To stave off hunger pains caused by the long wait between Luncheon and the evening meal, which was becoming more fashionably later in the evenings, Lady Bedford requested tea and bread with butter be brought to her bedchamber at 5:00pm. She later began inviting close friends to her bedchamber to share tea with her, and thus, the ritual of ‘afternoon tea’ among the elite was born. By the late 1840’s, afternoon tea with elegant cups and saucers, held in the drawing rooms of grand houses, became very vogue. The practice of afternoon tea didn’t spread to the lower classes until the mid 1860’s and early 1870’s and was often a less extravagant affair, but still an important part of a lady’s day. Afternoon tea was almost always served on less formal, yet more comfortable low chairs and tables (much like what we would now call a ‘coffee table’), hence why it was also referred to a ‘low tea’.
As described in Mrs. Beeton’s 1879 Book of Household Management;
“The afternoon tea signifies little more than tea with bread and butter, and a few elegant trifles in the way of cake and fruit. This meal is simply to enable a few friends to meet and talk comfortably and quietly”.
Of course, as expected since the 1800’s, afternoon tea has evolved to focus more on food, offering fancy pastries, artisan breads and decadent sweets showered with chocolate, fruits and flower petals.
Although many modern tea houses will serve their afternoon tea with glass teapots and heavy crockery, traditionally afternoon tea should be served with fine china cups and saucers, silver cutlery, bowls and serving utensils and a silver teapot. The service is very formal and might be referred to as “Queen’s Tea”. We will cover this type of tea service in a later post.
“Cream Tea” or “Devonshire Tea”
Cream Tea, or Devonshire Tea is a much lighter affair than Afternoon Tea and traditionally only consists of tea, scones, jam and cream. The cream served with Devonshire tea is not just any whipped or aerated cream from a can, but clotted cream. Clotted cream is a crusty yellow cream, hailing from southwestern England, where the rich pastures enabled the cows to produce richer milk with a higher fat content. Devonshire Cream was produced in the county of Devon, while Cornish Cream came from the county of Cornwall. Although made in different counties, both are referred to as clotted cream. The biggest divider between the counties is whether the jam or the cream is placed on the scone first.
Strawberry Tea is another take on Cream Tea. It includes tea, scones, jam, clotted cream and fresh strawberries.
“Elevenses” or “Morning Tea”
Morning Tea as it is known to Australian’s, is known as “Elevenses” in England. To some, it is even called “second breakfast”. Regardless of what it’s called, the meaning is the same; a mid-morning break for refreshments. This mid-morning break comes after breakfast and before lunch (at eleven o’clock), and is a very casual affair, usually consisting of tea (not coffee) and biscuits, small cakes or pastries. Stick with the comforting classics though. Ginger biscuits, anyone?
Elevenses is thought to have come about during the 1830’s, where it has been referenced along with “fourses”, as additional times to take tea during the day.
In a follow up post, we will be looking at tea service etiquette for both Afternoon Tea and Devonshire Tea.
In 2017 we started a blog page to capture all of our tea related adventures.
We will be moving the old AND NEW blog posts right here to our website so you can find all of our tea recipes and ideas in one place, right here on our website.
We hope you enjoy what we have to share with you!