Monday, 10 November 2008

A couple of random tea notes

Some of you may remember that a while back I wrote about making some Earl Grey tea-soaked prunes. I can safely report that they are delicious! The overall flavour is more subtle than the Nigella Lawson ones that I’ve also made, but that’s mainly because there just is less stuff in this version, plus there’s no added sugar or alcohol. They’re a really nice addition to breakfast but they would also be lovely served with a dessert of some kind, even just the liquid would be great poured over some ice cream or something like that. Once I’ve worked my way through this jar I think I’ll make another… perhaps with orange rind instead of lemon rind, and a few added spices. Lightbulb moment: this could be a good addition to our Christmas hampers this year!

My brother has very kindly pointed me in the direction of an essay written by George Orwell (originally published in 1946) entitled ‘A Nice Cup of Tea’ (and what more enticing heading could there be, I ask you?). In this article Orwell outlines his personal rules for making tea – noting that some of them are controversial. I particularly agree with his assertion that one should always drink tea out of a cylindrical cup rather than a wide flat one, because the latter makes the tea get cold too quickly – and, at the risk of entering a highly-charged debate, I also will come down on the side of putting the tea into the cup and adding milk, rather than the other way around; it’s just too hard to judge the right amount of milk if you put it in first!

I confess I am also intrigued by Orwell’s passing reference to ‘sweeping the carpet’ as a ‘subsidiary use for tealeaves’… what on earth does this mean? The rest of the items on this list make sense, but that one is a mystery to me. Anyone who can answer my question, please feel free to post in the comments…

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