There was much interest in the ‘living tea trolleys’ at the Fun palace event on Hounslow High Street. Our vehicles were bedecked with teapots and teacups planted up with herbs and full of fruits. People made fresh teas, teabags to take home, tea paintings – and they also gave us lots of recipes to try out (see these at the end of the page). Everyone enjoyed being able to make concoctions – savouring the aromas and colours as part of the process. There was a choice of herbs and fruits – sage, fennel, hibiscus, nettle, ginger, dried apple and cranberries to name a few. Everyone took time to consider and choose their ingredients, occasionally snipping or squeezing a leaf or fruit segment to add into their brew. The results were a collage of smells and visual delights as the materials were transformed into vivid colour and scents. The street cleaner said his tea reminded him of his village back in Poland and there was much talk about plants, gardens and the things people liked to cook.
Just some of our eager tea-makers
What a beautiful arrangement of colour and form!
Some of the tea paintings made with participants’ concoctions; a very sensory record!
Purna’s Nepalese Tea – Cut fresh lemon grass into small pieces and pour over hot water: add salt to taste. Alternatively, use lemon leaves instead of lemon grass but you will still need to add salt!
Taj’s Indian Tea – Boil grated ginger in water, then add sugar if you want a sweeter drink. Then add crushed cardamon to this before then adding black tea( in teabags) to the infusion. Finally add milk- simmer this so that it infuses and continue to slow boil. Drink and enjoy! …..other variants we were given to this were to boil water with black tea and sugar and the following spices-cinnamon, fennel seeds, ginger, cloves and cardamon- and milk if you wish.
Naseema gave us lots of recipes. Her Kashmiri Salt Tea recipe uses Assam tea which you boil with a tiny amount of baking soda. She allows to boil for about half an hour until the water is reduced, then adds more water and boils it again until it reduces once more. She then shakes the mixture up and down and adds milk – which makes the tea go a wonderful baby pink colour. Then add salt to taste.
Naseema’s Kahwa Tea is made with green tea which she boils with green cardamon , cinnamon, and sugar. Sometimes she adds a pinch of saffron and crushed almonds and sugar. Yum!
We were told that Masala Tea is also delicious. Crush cinnamon, cloves, cardamon and black pepper- or use whole- and boil . Add tea, sugar, and milk. Some favourite combinations of flavours which were suggested to us by an Iraqi lady were: cinnamon and raspberry, mint and nettle, and ginger with lemon and honey- great for zapping colds. She told us that eating raw fennel after eating would keep us in amazing good health! As tea ladies we are going to try lots of post-meal fennel tea!
We heard that Somali Tea is often drunk strong and black, with up to ten spoons of sugar! Whereas Kenyan Tea is very wholesome and favourites are mint or green tea with honey.
Sudanese Tea uses roselle, a type of hibiscus, with sugar. It’s great for high blood pressure!
Mauritian Tea sounds amazing! We were told that you keep a vanilla pod in loose tea for a few days to allow it to infuse, which gives it a lovely vanilla flavour – you don’t need sugar. Or try keeping a vanilla pod in sugar and allowing that to infuse if you want to to a sweeter vanilla flavour to your beveridge.