Tag Archives: Amber

Happiness is Tea and Chocolate

15 Feb

If you’re one of the regular readers of this blog, chances are that you wholeheartedly agree with the title of this post. It’s a universal truth: tea and chocolate can make everything better. The possibilities are endless: tea-infused hot chocolate, tea and chocolate biscuits, tea and a slice or two of chocolate cake, tea and a chocolate brownie, a chocolate pudding, chocolate doughnuts…

If you’re a scientist, a nutritionist or a health food fanatic, a word will spring to mind: flavonoids! Both tea and chocolate contain this antioxidant organic compound, which is actually good for you. But this time we aren’t going to talk about health benefits. We want to let our senses do the talking. This post is intended as a guide to satisfying all your tea and chocolate cravings. So here are our favourite combinations:

For a true chocolate feast… . Amber and chocolate brownies

Squidgy, decadent brownies, with an intense chocolate flavour and crunchy chunks of walnuts or hazelnuts require a sumptuous, full-bodied tea like our Taiwanese Amber oolong, with a light smokiness and hints of chocolate and passionfruit. A combination that will satisfy even the greediest chocaholic.

Lahloo Amber and chocolate brownies

Lahloo Amber and chocolate brownies

For a little treat…  Earl Grey and a chocolate madeleine

A petite chocolate madeleine is lighter, fluffier and smaller than a brownie, but sometimes that’s all you need to get your chocolate fix. The zesty flavour of Earl Grey will complement that of the chocolate as they both play in your mouth. If you take your Earl Grey with milk, try dunking your madeleine and enjoy an afternoon tea reminiscent of Marcel Proust, but still quintessentially English.

For a sophisticated healthy boost… Green Jasmine and single origin dark chocolate

Single origin, bittersweet dark chocolate is probably the most satisfying form of cocoa that exists – the food of the gods. Marvel at the way the divine flavours dance on your tongue when you pair the chocolate with a pot of fresh, crisp Green Jasmine tea. You won’t think of champagne and strawberries in the same way ever again.

Green Jasmine and a few pieces of single origin dark chocolate!

Green Jasmine and a few pieces of single origin dark chocolate!

For a dainty dessert… Rosebud and chocolate mousse

There’s something intriguing in a chocolate mousse. The combination of the light, airy texture and the intense flavour of chocolate is intriguing and provokes avid reactions. A cup of the alluring, pure and delicate Rosebud will enhance this otherwordliness and provide the best romantic dessert we can think of.

Enjoy 20% off our chocolate partner tea heroes throughout February. Visit our online shop >> 

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Intriguing oolong!

16 Oct

With this autumnal chill in the air, we feel like wrapping up warm while enjoying a comforting cuppa. The intriguing oolong is the perfect companion for this season, but how much do you know about it?

The Chinese call it black dragon tea, a very appropriate name for a complex beverage that still remains a bit of a mystery in the western world. Originated in the 17th century in the Wu Yi mountains of Fujian, China, oolong is probably the most diverse product of all the varieties of the camellia sinensis bush, with flavours that range from rose, orange blossom or orchid to cinnamon or cocoa nibs!

The development of oolong might not have occurred if it weren’t because of the 17th century Ming Dynasty’s ban on compressed tea, shaped into cakes, and the advocacy of the emperors for loose-leaf tea. In this tumultuous era full of changes in tea-making, Fujian’s tea artisans developed a technique for making partially oxidized and charcoal roasted tea. These first oolong leaves resembled the curling body of a mythical Chinese dragon, a symbol of power, strength and fortune, which was probably the reason behind its name.

The new way of producing tea spread from Fujian to other provinces in China before crossing to Taiwan at the beginning of the 19th century. There are many different styles of oolong, depending on the terroir and the dexterity of the tea masters. Producing oolong requires great skill and it’s considered more complicated than black or green tea, as minor changes in production can alter flavours, aromas and colours.

Whereas green tea is unoxidised and black tea is fully oxidised, oxidisation in oolong can range between 15%-75%. The tea leaves are usually picked from April or May or later in the year, depending on the kind of oolong. Then they are processed, so they might not reach the market until at least July each year. The leaves, big and rich in aromatic oils, are left to wither and oxidise in the sun before going through a complex process of firing or roasting and fermentation. Shaking the leaves at the appropriate time releases the characteristic aromas.

Oolong leaves can be formed into two different shapes. They can be rolled into long curled leaves, which is the most traditional style of oolong that presumably gives name to the tea, or they can be wrapped and curled into small beads with a tail.

Orchid

Jade

Charcoal roasted oolong has traditionally being used as a digestive aid and a mild detoxifier of excess alcohol, cigarettes and fatty, greasy food, having been linked to liver health and muscle relief. Current research has been done on its possible links with weight loss. In traditional Chinese medicine, lightly oxidised oolongs are considered to be beneficial to the respiratory system.

To browse our oolong teas, you can visit our website. We’re currently offering 20% off all oolongs!

Amber Welsh Rarebit

25 Apr

There’s cheese on toast and then there’s Welsh Rarebit. It might be a simple dish, but we think it’s one of life’s little pleasures. Its lusciousness comes from different fronts. The warm, crispy bread! The creamy, intensely flavoured topping! When served with a green salad and some tomato jam or onion marmalade, it’s a meal in itself -and it’s perfect with a pot of strong black tea.

We wanted to experiment with this traditional recipe. So we asked ourselves, what if we added our lightly charcoal roasted Amber oolong to the “rarebit”? Laura and her team worked on it and came up with this delicious variation on the classic, where the Guinness is replaced by Amber. The result? We all loved it. In fact, we all said ‘umm’ for several minutes. Interestingly, we weren’t able to appreciate the full flavour of this oolong, but we all agreed that its sumptuous notes created a depth of flavour, a savouriness that made this a comforting, more complex than you’d expect dish.

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 350g cheddar
  • 60g butter
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2tsps English mustard powder
  • 6tbsps Lahloo Amber oolong (already infused)
  • Worcestershire sauce to taste

Mix the mustard with a teaspoon or two of tea to create a paste, put it in a pan, then add the butter, the rest of the tea and the Worcestershire sauce. Add the cheese and let it melt, without making it boil. Allow to cool down and then add the beaten egg yolks.

Meanwhile, place the sliced bread in the oven for 2-3 minutes until toasted.

Spread the rarebit on top and bake for 8 minutes at 190C.

Our tip: to intensify the flavour, you can add one extra teaspoon of Amber leaves.

Original recipe from World of Mouth blog here.

Amber mojitos

11 Apr

Do you love mojitos? We do! And we knew there was a way of making them even better: adding our favourite ingredient (that’s tea, in case you were wondering!). The chosen one was Amber, our very chocolatey oolong from Taiwan, the one that coffee lovers adore. Its sumptuosity, light smokiness and those hints of passionfruit simply had to work in this traditional Cuban highball.

Invaluable help was provided by expert cocktail maker Charlie from Amoeba (neighbours of Lahloo Pantry in Clifton!), who incidentally hates tea… we still have to find the tea that will convert him! Crucially, though, at the end of our experiment, Charlie admitted that the combination really worked. And we couldn’t agree more! So here’s our recipe for you to try.

Ingredients

  • 50ml rum
  • 25ml freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • 20ml demerara simple syrup (made with sugar and hot water)
  • 12 mint leaves (clapped, not cut. Clapping will release mint oils without adding any bitterness. We, of course, didn’t know this, but it’s the most impressive piece of advice we received from Charlie!)
  • 75ml cold infused Amber oolong. (1 teaspoon per 100ml water, cold infused for at least 6 hours).
  • Crushed ice to taste.

Charlie’s tip: try freezing Amber once cold infused (extracting the tea leaves first!). Once frozen, smash it and use it as crushed ice to top your mojito!

Charlie is not too sure about adding tea to his mojitos…  

…but it works! Holly is loving it! 

Perfect! 


Amber infused Hot Cross Buns!

2 Apr

One of our favourite things about Easter are hot cross buns! In Medieval times, bakers would place a cross on their loaves to protect them from evil spirits. Some say that the tradition might even be pre-Christian.  Either way, their spicy, fruity flavour makes them the perfect seasonal treat. A cup of tea and a toasted hot cross bun with some melted butter is an Easter classic that we can’t wait to indulge in!

Laura, the chef at Lahloo Pantry, has been experimenting with some of our April Tea Heroes and came up with this gorgeous recipe, a variation on an Andrew Whitley’s essential. Using fruity, chocolatey Amber oolong as an ingredient gives these buns a different dimension of flavour that will surprise you!

Image

Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be

Ingredients

(for the fruit) 

half a cup of Lahloo Amber oolong
200 g of sultanas and raisins, mixed to taste
Soak the fruit in Amber for at least an hour, but preferably overnight. Make sure that all the fruit is covered.

(for the ferment)

280 g milk
140 g wholemeal flour
20g sugar
10 g fresh yeast
Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the milk and make a paste, adding some of this mixture to the flour. Gradually add the rest of the milk, whisking until creamy. Leave the ferment covered in a warm place for about an hour.

(for the dough)

200g strong white flour
110 g wholemeal flour
50 g butter
35 g sugar
10 g mixed spice
1 tbsp and 1/2 finely ground Lahloo Amber oolong
1 egg
a pinch of salt
Place the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix. Add butter and egg, mixing all the ingredients together and kneading. It shouldn’t be too tight, so some stickiness is fine. Once you’ve been kneading for a while, add the fruit, draining any excess of liquid first. Carefully fold and press until the fruit is evenly distributed.
Cover the mixture and leave it to rise.
Separate the dough into 16 pieces, putting them on a floured surface.
Place the rolls in straight lines about 5 cm apart on a lined baking tray. Cover them and put them in a warm place until they’re almost touching.

(for the crossing mix)
50g plain white flour
50g water
5g sunflower oil
1g baking powder
Place this mix in a piping bag with a fine nozzle and draw the crosses. (Is it just us, or are piping bags fun?)
… Now it’s time to bake! Put your hot cross buns in the oven (preheated to 180 C). It should take around 15 minutes, but keep an eye on them so they acquire the right colour!
Once they’re out, it’s time to glaze them!

(for the glaze) 
10g cornflower
100g tea
sugar
Boil the cornflour in the tea until clear. Brush over the buns as soon as they’re out of the oven. They’ll be super shiny!
Once cooled, you can toast them and slather them in butter, although we must warn you, they’re amazing on their own!

Tea with a twist!

22 Jun

Last July at the Bristol Wine & Food festival we served up Long Island Iced Earl Grey Tea and Amber Mojitos and they went down like a storm in a teacup (sorry)! So we’ve been working on new recipes for this years’ events – including Bristol Wine & Food 2010, Clinger Farm’s Harvest festival and Dartmouth Food Festival – with  our friends at The Rummer Hotel.  Fabulous bar tenders and mixologists and last night I invited a very select twitter crowd (@cowshedbristol, @pearcafe and @essexeating) to give me their verdicts.

It’s a tough job but someone has to do it! We tried these delicious creations:

‘Caviar’ Marteani – Didi’s clever and unique molecular competition entry. Dry gin martini with fabulous little black salty pearls of our cinnamon Smokey tea ‘caviar’ to give you a burst of flavour. Crazy but a little tricky for us to replicate!

'Caviar' Marteani

Smokey Margarita – Martin’s amazing twist on a classic margarita using tequila infused with our smokey tea (they all loved the smokey tea)! Sensational and definitely coming to a festival near you soon! Here’s Elly sipping away…

Elly sipping the Smokey Margarita

Dragon Pearl Vespa – Joe’s chose the stunning fragrant jasmine Dragon Pearl tea to infuse vodka and created a jasmine and apricot Vespa with a burnt orange twist. I could’ve sipped it all evening! Dan and I loved this one and it will also be making an appearance…

Dragon Pearl Vespa

Lahloo Tea at The Cowshed, Bristol – a taste of the country in the city

16 Feb

The Cowshed is an immediately inviting place with flagstone floors, exposed stone walls and chunky wooden tables, some of which have been fashioned into butchers’ blocks. It feels like a Cotswold pub that has been transported brick by brick to Clifton. The concept here is to bring the English countryside to the city so it’s all about the provenance of the meat and fish being served up“. Mark Taylor of Fork Magazine and Bristol Evening post

The Cowshed is a restaurant that serves good, simple, British food, in a relaxed environment. They particularly put an emphasis on quality local produce and boy can you tell it when you see and taste the food! This fantastic ethos lead Lahloo to Adam and his team at The Cowshed on Whiteladies Rd, Bristol. Not forgetting they do what can only be described as the best Sunday Roast in Bristol, it has to be seen and tasted to be believed.

From the beginning they wanted to have the best loose-leaf tea in town to compliment the superbly sourced and cooked food, hence why they have chosen to serve a unique selection of Lahloo tea. The one to look out for is the sumptuous Amber oolong tea – perfect as a digestive or as a pick me up anytime of the day.

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