Spice Love: Chai

 

Lately it seems like all I’ve been talking about is how exhausting having kids is. How busy you are, how much time they consume, what and how they eat, what time they hit the pillow at night. Frankly, it’s exhausting hearing about it isn’t it?

I decided that I needed a little relaxation recently, as it was my birthday after all and my best friend works at a spa. What better excuse to get out of the house for a few hours alone and get pampered? So I did and I loved it and my toes are still shiny and red and the skin is so soft. I feel like it’s something everyone should do once a week, but of course, none of us have the time or the money.

Why is it so hard to get a minute to yourself?

Oh right, the kids.

 

Luckily I have the most amazing husband in the world who is willing to stay home and keep an eye on them while I hit the town with my besties and get my nails did. There may have also been the consumption of beverages not suitable for children, and plates filled with cheeses and fruits, but I digress.

I’m not quite sure how it is I came to be the partner of such an amazing man actually. I mean, he was pretty good when we first met, but the years have served him justly and like any good scotch, he just gets better with age.

I never feel alone in my endeavours, as he is always there to guide me or just hold my hand. When I get excited about stuff, he gets doubly so. He even watches America’s Next Top Model with me….but shhh, don’t tell the guys.

The time he spends with the kids though, that’s the real kicker. He honestly enjoys it and though I’m aware that a lot of men these days are doing these things, I see differently in the world at large. That 20 minute break I get after he comes home and takes the kids is almost as good as hitting the spa with girlfriends. There is silence in the house and I can think for a second. My fractured thoughts which are usually kept together on scraps of yellow sticky notes strewn about the countertops or in iPhone apps that I rarely look at, now come together and I feel productive. I seize these moments to get important things done, like blog posts or articles, or photo editing. These things take concentration, which is simply impossible when you have two young kids. There is always screaming, or babbling, or music, or make believe noises or thumping or running or jumping……

I don’t have a lot to give back to my wonderful husband besides returning all the affection and attention he so deserves, but recently I decided to make something to give him that feeling of relaxation. Amidst the packing of boxes and tearing apart of our current digs for our impending move, I made a big, creamy, spicy, absolutely intoxicating pot of chai.

The smell in the house was amazing and when we actually set out lips to glasses and took in a sip, it was bliss. A moment of clarity in a somewhat muddled time. It was perfect and seductive and I wish I had made three more pots. We saved some and kept it chilled for the next day and damned if it wasn’t even better then. The ultimate tea, chai mixes the earthy, spicy aromas of India with a creamy and sweetened tea base that so many North Americans can wrap their minds around.

Pre mixed or bagged chai never has that special complexity for me though, it always has too much pepper (numbing my tongue) or too much sugar, or it’s not creamy enough or it’s just missing something. This chai is my perfect chai. Make it in the early afternoon and for the remainder of your day you can bask in the spicy aromas of this wonderfully exotic beverage.

Save any leftovers for the refrigerator as it is equally amazing chilled on ice.

One Year Ago: Is it Pizza or Flatbread?

Chai

Yield: 6 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 minutes

2 cups water
3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp fennel seeds
8 green cardamom pods
8 cloves
2 2″ cinnamon sticks (REAL cinnamon, not cassia bark)
1/2″ chunk of fresh ginger, peel on is fine
1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns
2 tbsp loose leaf black tea, such as Darjeeling or Ceylon

1. In a medium sized saucepan pour in the water, milk and sugar. Bring just to a boil, turn down to simmer, add spices and simmer for one minute.
2. Cover the saucepan with a tight fitting lid and allow to steep for ten minutes.
3. Stir in the loose tea, bring back up to the boiling point, turn down and simmer for 3 minutes.
4. Remove from heat, strain into cups and serve.

Similarly delicious recipes from other fabulous food blogs:

Gluten-Free Carrot Bread with Chai Spices on Gluten Free Goddess
Chai Cupcakes, Two Ways on Dessert First
Chai Gingerbread Bars on Tasty Kitchen
Chai Snickerdoodles on Baking Bites
Chai Ice Cream on Simply Recipes

Also just a note that I have now added a plugin by the Rouxbe Cooking School which will automatically pin relevant videos to my posts. So if you see a technique I have used that you may not be familiar with, there may be a video here to teach you a pertinent lesson. I hope it is helpful!

 

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