What does the last of the housewives do?

Tag: Iced tea

Lemongrass Iced Tea

Well at least I think it’s lemongrass. The leaves look right, and smell right. The flowers look about right. It’s the stalks that I’m not sure about. They’re segmented and kind of pulpy in the middle and also eight feet tall.

A friend gave them to me, pulled them out of her garden which they were threatening to overtake. I was very pleased, I love home grown surplus. It wasn’t til I got home that I started wondering about them. I chopped up some of the leaves and ran a bath over them. No scent. There was some scent when you rubbed the leaves. And the stalks didn’t look right, they are more like bamboo. “You’d better identify them properly before you kill us all”, said my killjoy husband. No sense of adventure, that man. I thought I’d experiment on myself by making lemongrass tea.

I took some leaves and snipped them into the Thermomix, they’re pretty dry and I didn’t fancy chopping them by hand or pounding them with a mortar and pestle, equipment with which I’ve never had any success at all.

I zapped that lot to get something that looked like it had been scraped from the underbelly of a lawnmower. Undeterred, I added two tablespoons of gunpowder green tea, that black stuff that looks like rat droppings.

It was very fragrant, no denying that. A bit reminiscent of lemon scented Jif, as I always find with lemongrass. I added a litre of water and set the Thermomix going at speed three on reverse at one hundred degrees for ten minutes. The result was full of stuff that I wasn’t confident my usual sieve would catch. So in a stroke of sheer genius I rummaged around in the back of the cupboard to find the coffee percolator we’d got as a wedding present that my brother-in-law actually broke on our wedding day. Couldn’t throw it out, sentimental reasons and all that. But look!

The filter fit exactly over my tea jug and did a marvellous job of removing all the very unappetising looking sediment. I added four tablespoons of honey to the hot tea and tasted. It tasted like slightly bitter green tea. I slung in a bit more honey, added a litre of cold water and stuck it in the fridge, hoping for the best.

I was called in to work the next day and my magic teaching tonsil tonic is iced tea, so I took some of my latest concoction. Much to my surprise it tasted completely different cold. Too much honey, for a start. Otherwise, light, fragrant, with a definite lemongrass aftertaste. Either that or some dishwasher powder residue. It’s good enough to make again, if I can ignore the clamouring for a return to the popular favourite of strawberry iced black tea.

Strawberry Iced Tea

It’s like this. No, that’s not right. It’s not like I actually went out and… Well, what with one thing and another, I appear to have a job. Only a small one, mind. But it does involve quite a lot of standing up and talking and rather gives one a thirst.

I’ve tried the sipping of water and it isn’t enough. I’m not just talking, I’m projecting. Singing a little bit. By the end of the first day what I most felt like was a glass of honey with a splash of whiskey in it. The following week I discovered that the beverage I was looking for was iced tea. Which is odd, really, because I don’t like tea. Sometimes I feel like it, or the occasion seems to demand it, and then I have it black with one. Most of the time I regret it, because it makes me feel like my tongue has been sandpapered and I get a squeezed feeling about the kidneys. But I appear to be able to drink iced tea with no ill effects. So naturally ones thoughts turn to making the stuff.

It turns out to be dead easy. In its most simple form it is actually tea diluted by its volume again in cold water and heavily sweetened. I fancied it flavoured, but the peaches you can get at the moment come from very far away. What is cheap and a plausible tea flavour is strawberries.

First make a pot of tea. I have in the collection a teapot that makes about a litre of tea.

Four scoops of tea in the mesh strainer thingy. I really must go and buy some nice tea for this exercise, because once the kids discover it I’ll be making it a lot. Then put a decapitated punnet of strawberries into the Thermomix, along with a peeled and deseeded half a lemon. You knew the Thermomix was going to come into it. Zap the fruit. Pour in the hot tea. Zap again. Taste for sweetness. There isn’t any. I have a small pot of honey that I found in my handbag last time I cleared it out, I have some vague memory of someone giving it to me. Its time has come.

I think it would be about a third of a cup. Possibly half. That took it up to the desired sweetness. I thought I’d filter it into a jug, there was a lot of pulp that I’d rather not strain through my teeth. I added a litre of water to the jug. The we have it, strawberry iced tea.

The Moose said it tasted just like Liptons, which I’m fairly sure is a compliment. I thought it was much nicer. If it doesn’t last until Friday, I’m sure I can find five minutes to make up some more. I wonder what other plausible tea flavours there are?