I hope I never lose my sense of wonder. If that makes me naive, then so be it.

Monday, 14 November 2011

daring cooks, november

I enjoy tea. Black, green, oolong, chai - a cup is such a nice break or a pick-me-up during the day. This month, though, I got to expand my use of tea and cook with it.

Sarah from Simply Cooked was our November Daring Cooks’ hostess and she challenged us to create something truly unique in both taste and technique! We learned how to cook using tea with recipes from Tea Cookbook by Tonia George and The New Tea Book by Sara Perry.

I really wasn't sure how to do this one on my own, so followed one of the recipes given: Beef Braised in Rooibos Tea with Sweet Potatoes. Stew is always good, right? Even if it uses (a) tea, and (b) a tea I have never heard of. The stew began with the flour-coated beef browning in my cast iron pot, then the aromatics: onion and celery cooked a bit to soften before adding tomato paste and garlic. Sounds pretty normal for stew to me, but instead of adding beef stock, a litre of rooibos tea was added. 

Rooibos tea
 Rooibos tea is from South Africa (and I'll assume dear friend EMP will recognize it!), and is a lovely red leaf that in turn made a reddish tea when steeped. The tea itself was one I will try again for sipping, but this lot went into the pot. 

Then the other seasonings: ginger, orange peel, and cinnamon sticks. All simmered for a couple of hours making the house smell amazing, and then sweet potatoes were added to finish cooking. A bit of fresh cilantro, and there it was.

Finished stew
Delicious!When I make sweet potatoes, my go-to is usually the southern cooking version, done with egg and butter and brown sugar and (to my kids' delight) topped with more sugar or marshmallows. But this time, the potatoes simply absorbed the flavor of the tea-citrus broth and showcased their own sweetness. The mix of spice was delicious! All of us thoroughly enjoyed it.

Russian Earl Grey tea
I decided to wrap up the meal with the tea theme so made Earl Grey lemon shortbread cookies. Buttery, lemony rounds were prettily flecked with the tea leaves, and made for a nice finish. I used Russian Earl Grey, a more citrusy version of the classic tea.

All in all, the meal was delicious, and I have been thinking of other tea-food combinations. The shortbreads will become a part of our Christmas baking, and I will definitely try that stew again. Thanks, DK hosts!


Jenni said...

Fantastic job! Your beef in roobios looks perfect, and I bet those shortbread cookies were awesome ( I LOVE earl grey tea!) Nice job!

The Garlic Press said...

I love your idea of using tea in the shortbread cookies. Nice job!

Lyuba @ Will Cook For Smiles said...

Great job! I loved this one and my hubby loved it even more!!
I've got to try the cookies!

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Zodelicious said...

Nice post Barb, well done on the stew. I agree that you can;t really go wrong with stew. :)
I love to drink rooibos as its non-caffinated. It also makes a great ice-tea.

Rhonda said...

I'm diggin the cookies, I want a few, can you send them my way? Yum!

Ruth Ellis said...

Fantastic - the cookies look and sound so tasty!

Creating Nirvana said...

I am so glad that someone made cookies. I really wanted to make cookies for this challenge, but I ran out of time. Your cookies look great.