Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Dining with the Bloggers - October 19th.


Sorry for the delay - as Cathy was kind enough to explain, the internet connection is back, but the stove was temporarily out of order. But here it is, Dining with the Bloggers!

I hope you're not all thinking that the only time I eat (or in this case, drink) at the moment is when I have to do something for Dining with the Bloggers. But I guess I can understand why you'd think so - as it turns out, my only posts within the last two weeks has been DwB entries. It's sorta like homework, only the good kind of homework (if there is such a thing?) and I like how I can, for a couple of hours (okay, in some cases more like half an hour!) forget about painting walls, washing floors and wiggly doorknobs, an just concentrate on the food.

It's getting more and more chilly outside as the days pass, and I was in the mood for something warm and comforting. And, I just organized all of my spices, so spicy and warm was to be keywords for the entry this week. That's when I remembered: a while ago, Melissa from The Travelers's Lunchbox had a confession-post up. On her spice bowl. Now, I know it, and you know it - we all have one of those. It might be a bowl, or a cupboard, or a drawer, it doesn't matter. There are up til the point of insane amounts of spices in it!! And we love it - we thrive in the colors, the smells, the abundance - don't mess with my spices, and certainly, don't tell me I have to stop buying them. It's just not gonna happen.

Melissa is what I would call an adventurous cook - Moroccan-spiced Poussin, Duck Legs with Orange-Chocolate sauce and a classic turned thrillingly around: Prosciutto e Melone (look at that picture - it's so gorgeous!) A dedicated scientist, Melissa's gone through three different recipes for chocolate gelato, just to find out which one is the best - and like any good scientists, she shares her results with us. If that isn't dedication to the subject, I don't know what is. She writes superbly, and I only wish I will one day have the guts to play around with ingredients like she does. Maybe I should start out with Roasted Sweetpotatoes with Spicy Feta-Olive salad? Or the Dragon's Breath Caesar Salad?

No. I had to start out with the original. With the Spice Bowl (or in my case, spice drawer). With Masala Chai. That would certainly be both warm and spicy - and quick - I like quick at the moment. Means more time for painting and cleaning. Doh!

Melissa's recipe has you boiling the spices and tea WITH the milk. The recipes I've tried before has you doing the blend of spices and tea, then cool this mixture, strain it, add milk and reheat. So I was curious as to whether I'd find this different, texture- and tastewise. I used an Assam tea, and added a little mace to the ingredients stipulated. After I tasted it first, I also added a little honey - so I have a sweet tooth, you should know that by now!

It is richer, both in texture and taste, than what I've made before, but that's okay - it's winter and we all need to get a little more insulation on our bodies!:-) You're not going to drink cup after cup in one sitting, although I did manage one and a half glass first time around. What you are going to do though, is sit, hands cupped around the steaming glass and enjoy the lovely scent of spices and warm milk and tea wafting from the glass. You take a sip, and as the warmth spreads through your body, you'll send Melissa a thankful thought - and thank yourself for actually stocking up on all of those spices so you could whip this up in no-time!


Mind you, the cup of hot chocolate she's just posted about looks like something I'd love to lay my frost-bitten fingers on too...

Cathy's done a little spicy thing too this week...

5 comments:

Michèle said...

hi Zarah, I am also constantly amazed at Melissa's creations, and I trust her recipes without question because of all the effort she puts into them. Like you, I also tried making her Masala Chai and loved it! Im glad to hear you liked it too :)

Niki said...

Wonderful: a tea shop has opened near me, and after trying their spicy chai I bought some to take home. The woman explained to me that the best way to make it was to steep the mixture in milk (preferably soy) overnight, and then heat it the next morning on the stove or microwave, with a little honey if you like. She also recommended a few drops of rosewater to create a sensation. I haven't tried it at home yet; the weather has been getting warmer, and this week it is warm and wet (humid!) which is my LEAST favourite weather combination, and not conducive to thick, rich, milky, spicy drinks worse luck.

Cathy said...

Yum - we've got chilly weather now too and I've been enjoying spiced tea on a regular basis lately. I'll have to try this and I'm curious to try it with soy milk as Nic suggests.

Melissa said...

Hi Zarah, I'm honored that you chose one of my recipes this week! And of course I'm glad you liked it. It's really the perfect fall/winter drink (apart from hot chocolate, of course!) in my book. And actually, it's been a while since I made it, so you've prompted me to revisit one of my own recipes - how ironic is that? :)

Zarah Maria said...

Hi Michele! I know, Melissa's creations has you sitting, jaw dropped on the keyboard, every time you read her blog. And she make sit sound as it's no problem to just whip around all those (to me, sometimes anyways!) weird things, like rose petals and lavender - I love that there are people out there that makes me want to try and be adventurous - even though I'll start by just dipping my toes...:-)

Hi Niki! Hot and humid - ah well! Enjoy it while it lasts, and save this for the rainy days to come - or maybe you could try working on an iced chai thing?? Don't they do something like that at Starbuck's? I love iced coffee (when it's warm outside!), so iced chai... hmm, you got me thinking! Great idea with the soy milk btw...

Hi Cathy! Give it a go, it's really lovely! I like how it got all rich with the evaporated milk, but I've never tried making chai (or anything else for that matter) with soy milk - let me (and probably Melissa too!) know how it goes if you give it a whirl!

Hi Melissa! Heh, well, that is ironic - I'm glad to have revived it! And I'm happy to have finally tried one of your recipes - they all sound so tempting, I'm just always a little intimidated if there are a lot of ingredients I've never tried using before in a recipe - but I'll come around to it, I promise!:-)