Friday, 30 September 2011

Mammy's Mountainous Recipe Book.

I'm giving my blog a revamp over the weekend to make it into accessible sections. I feel like if I organise it more, then I'll post more often. I want to share lots more recipes and invite some guest bloggers to come and post here too. One of the great things about blogging is the networking aspect but there are only so many hours in the day and it's not always possible to read as much as you would like or to have the energy in the wee hours to think of incredibly witty comments.

Also because I have a terrible memory, I think I visit my past recipes more than anyone!

Here in Edinburgh, the weather has been mental. The sundresses and sunhats have been dug out again and there has been much Meadows frolicking. Just as the autumnal vegetables have been appearing, everyone has been eating salads because it's too hot! I took Miss B to visit a friends the other day and we stopped of at a fantastic Moroccan cafe in the city where we were served the most gorgeous mint tea in beautiful bejewelled tea glasses and so when I got home, I decided to experiment with some recipes...

Huh?...Mint tea?! Well, to me this is a big deal as Moroccan mint tea has a fascinating history. Atai as it is known is complex to prepare properly and it somewhat ritualistic dependant on the region where it is served.

The basic preparation is:

The typical green tea used is a gunpowder tea variety imported from China. A simple and practical method runs as follows:
  • In a teapot, combine two teaspoons of tea-leaf with half a litre of boiling water. Allow it to steep for at least fifteen minutes.
  • Without stirring, filter the mixture into a different stainless steel pot, so that the tea leaves and coarse powder are removed.
  • Add sugar to taste.
  • Bring to boil over a medium heat. This important step in the preparation process allows the sugar to undergo hydrolysis, giving the tea its distinctive taste.
  • If desired, add fresh mint leaves to the teapot or directly to the cup. Remember to remove the mint within two minutes, as it can give some people acid reflux.

Traditionally the tea is served three times, and the amount of time the tea has been steeping gives each of the three glasses of tea a unique flavor, described in this famous proverb:
Le premier verre est aussi amer que la vie,
le deuxième est aussi fort que l'amour,
le troisième est aussi doux que la mort.

The first glass is as bitter as life,
the second glass is as strong as love,
the third glass is as gentle as death.
Bored? Try it and see. You'll eat your words!

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