Well, at least here in the Southern Hemisphere it is.
For me winter calls me inside, both physically into the house and spiritually and emotionally inside myself.
I adjust my waking times, I adjust my bed times, I adjust the food I eat, I take hot baths, I put blankets out that otherwise live in the cupboard, I find myself socialising less, particularly in the evenings when it’s just too cosy at home to bother going out. I definitely light candles. Having grown up in Germany, candles and winter go hand in hand. Personally I don’t like scented candles and prefer beeswax candles instead.
An idyllic winter weekend afternoon for me is spent on the couch, wrapped in a blanket, candles lit, a stimulating book ready to be picked up and a lovely cup of chai tea in hand.
I thought I would share my chai tea recipe with you, because not only does it taste good, but it makes the house smell of spices and cinnamon. Aaahhhh…..
1 cinnamon stick
4-6 whole cloves
6-8 cardamon pods, crushed
1-3 teaspoon fennel seeds
1-2 teaspoons of pepper corns
A half thumb sized piece of ginger, chopped
2 tbl spoons black leaf tea (Assam is my favourite)
Optional honey or even sugar (or low carb alternative)
(Serves 2 people)
Boil 21/2 cups of water in a small pot. Once boiling add all the spices and take the pot off the element. Let the spices steep for a few minutes. Put the pot back onto the element and once the water boils again add the tea. Let it boil for a few minutes, depending how strong you like your tea. Then add the milk and watch the pot. Stay there, don’t walk away, it can boil over quickly. Once the milk is warmed through take the pot of the element.
Set out two cups and hold a sieve over each cup as you pour the tea into it. Try it and then decide if you would like some sweetness that day. If so, add some honey or sugar/sugar alternative to it.
Traditionally the milk is frothed before adding to the tea, so if you have a milk frother, you could do that.
Have a play with the amount of each spice. Tastes differ, which is why I gave you an approximate amount of each.
I have a friend who is ethnic Indian and she is lucky enough to be given a chai masala spice mix by her mother. That means all the spices are ground up together and you just add a tea spoon to your tea.
Once you have found the amount of each spice that you like, you could do that, too. Make the spice mix in bulk, grind it up and have it ready as a powder and just add the powder to your tea. It will take you less time when you make it, but of course you will have spend the time making the powder.
I quite like the ritual of making it fresh each time.
Enjoy your chai tea and your winter afternoons inside yourself and inside your house.